Unverified Voracity Was 20k Off

Unverified Voracity Was 20k Off Comment Count

Brian May 11th, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Mott stuff. Get thee to WTKA Friday for an opportunity to participate in their "radio-a-thon" in support of Mott Children's Hospital, where you can Donate For Stuff. This stuff:

Donations are accepted at any level but fans will receive giveaways for donating at the following levels:

$20 donation: a Fathead Teammate Block M (roughly 12”x7”)

$50 donation: a limited-edition Charles Woodson t-shirt made exclusively for this event

$120 donation: a Fathead Junior Big House Mural (17”x30”) autographed by Charles Woodson

$250 donation: four passes to a pre-season scrimmage

$500 donation: two pre-game sideline passes (does not include game tickets) to ONE of the following four games: Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, San Diego State or Minnesota.

If you are a strange, obsessive person—and you are reading this site so you probably are—you might actually find the $250 donation to be value for money on top of the heart-warming altruism. I went to the pre-season scrimmage last year; it was at least as interesting as an actual game against EMU and depending on where you sit it's actually cheaper. Last year featured the quarterback battle; this year will feature an early opportunity to reassure yourself the spring game didn't mean anything about Denard's role in the new offense. You can donate online at WTKA.com.

Over the weekend a bunch of players will return for a swank gala dinner and a golf outing, too, but the press release doesn't have any information about how to crash that. Best bet: show up at the golf course and say you're Alijah Bradley by way of explaining why you're not huge. AnnArbor.com does have details on the big baller packages they're putting up at the gala dinner, but they'll just make you sad you're not rich, unless you are.

That car totally wasn't zero dollars. Thaddeus Gibson did not get a year-old 300M for zero dollars:

BMV records show that former linebacker Thaddeus Gibson paid $13,700 for a 2007 Chrysler 300C that he bought from former Jack Maxton salesman Aaron Kniffin in June 2007.

Why the Dispatch couldn't figure this out before they ran their story is unknown but definitely the internet's fault.

Unfortunately for Ohio State, if you've been on a Michigan internet this morning you've run across three different people running Kelly Blue Book values for a 300M and coming out with a number about ten grand more than the 14k Gibson paid four years after the fact. At the time of purchase the discount relative to KBB value was probably closer to 20k. Again, this Kniffin dude has a choice between declaring the number correct—hello extra benefit—and declaring it incorrect—hello tax evasion. Hopefully we'll get to see whether the inevitable claim about a trade-in is on the up-and-up. If they were 1) giving players sweetheart deals and 2) not idiots, taking rusted out junkers as trade-ins worth 20k would provide some additional level of deniability.

Meanwhile, Chris Spielman is bracing for more:

“I’d be surprised if he’s coaching next year (2011). Why I say that is I think there is more stuff coming out,” the Ohio State legend said.

Spielman also said a bunch of other things, some very touching about his deceased wife, but everyone's focusing on that bit. I wonder if Charles Robinson's "ten of ten" Yahoo is supposedly launching in August is a pile-on? Probably not. Keep it reasonable. This section brought to you by my internal monologue FERRETS

BONUS:

Chris-Spielman

Even if he's a Buckeye, not loving Spielman is a sin. (Via Doctor Saturday.)

Camp: back? When Rodriguez arrived he substantially revamped Michigan's camp, focusing more on individual high-level prospects in a one-day setting instead of just rounding up every football player in Michigan with a few bucks to spare. More than one emailer with connections to the local coaching community has cited that as one of the ways in which Rodriguez shoveled his own grave: while increased focus on college-level recruits may have helped land them individually the coaches who lost camp opportunities were pissed off, downward spiral, etc.

Hoke appears to be bringing back the whole shebang:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke and his coaching staff will host Wolverine Technique Schools this June for high school students (entering grades 9-12) and youth (grades 6-8).

The Wolverine Technique School for high school students will be held from June 19-23, while the youth camp will be held June 24-26 at the University of Michigan. It will mark the 37th year of the high school football camp and third youth camp.

Brady Hoke Gets It. Of course, now when you say Brady Hoke Gets It your withering sarcasm percentage is under 100% and dropping with every instate MAC recruit suddenly hearing from Michigan State.

From a fan's perspective this is probably good. While Rodriguez generally opened up the program the shift in camp philosophy meant there were a lot fewer high school coaches wandering around watching various Michigan recruits and relating impressions back to the peanut gallery. Useful information from camp dropped off considerably the last three years.

I'm not sure how much it will matter this year since it looks like Michigan is going to be well on its way to filling its class a month from now. Normally a few sleepers emerge and get offered, but if Michigan is sitting on 15 commits in June they might start swinging for the fences instead. It'll probably be more meaningful for the class of 2013—presumably Shane Morris will be on hand to make an impression on every junior in the state.

Luke Hancock and other guys. UMHoops pinged a George Mason blogger for information on potential transfer Luke Hancock and got some clarification on his weird statistical profile:

He matured into more of a guard role during his sophomore season and was labeled a “point-forward” because he brought the ball up the floor on most possessions. Definitely an unorthodox type of player with his long loopy dribbles and slow pump fakes but he gets the job the done and finds different ways to score. He has good range but is a better asset when he’s driving to the basket.

More at the link. Dylan also points out that adding Hancock would put him in the Morgan/McLimans/Horford/everybody class, swelling it to seven players. Without attrition that would see more than half the team graduate in 2014. It would also leave just one scholarship in the class of 2013 for Michigan to play with. So it's a bit more complicated than "here's this guy."

Random AD items. MGoShoe rounds up things Dave Brandon said at some sort of appearance associated with the AP. There's not a whole lot of actual new things but this is something to note:

Brandon believes it will be "several years" before the Big Ten goes to a nine-game conference schedule. He said several teams are booked through 2015-2016 and it would be "expensive and problematic" to unwind those schedules.

Also, more unfortunate first-person:

“I will sell more seats at Yost Arena knowing that we are going to tee it up against our big competitors in the Big Ten,” Brandon said. “We’ll still have a robust nonconference schedule … but at the end of the day, student-athletes that come to Michigan come to win Big Ten championships.”

He might sell a few more seats but it won't be many—Yost already drew capacity last year, and while anyone who's been to Michigan Stadium is familiar with the various tricks used to up attendance figures the additional sales might add up to a couple hundred seats. Also also, don't blame Rodriguez etc etc let's talk about something else.

Officially unofficial. Michigan moving its dominant club lacrosse program to varsity has been the worst kept secret on South Campus for going on a year now, but now the secret is even a little more poorly concealed. A portion of Tim's CCLA recap/MCLA preview:

First, when presenting Michigan Coach John Paul with the conference championship trophy, the announcer said something along the lines of: "probably for the last time ever, Michigan wins the CCLA Trophy." JP played it cool when accepting the trophy, but certainly wasn't in a hurry to deny anything. Following the game, the official @UMichLacrosse twitter account dropped the following:

"Michigan finishes FINAL MCLA regular season with a 103-2 all-time record in CCLA competition."

While it may seem (or ultimately be) inconsequential, it is the first public statement from any official, on-record source that something is definitely going to happen for next season.

Tim's side joint has more.

Etc: UMHoops hit up Spiece and profiled Trey Burke. Holdin' the Rope on Denard and Borges and Hoke.

Comments

Big Ten Hockey Official: Now About Logistics

Big Ten Hockey Official: Now About Logistics Comment Count

Brian March 21st, 2011 at 3:43 PM

 psu_jerseyanthonytscherne

As expected, the Big Ten was all like "yoink," announcing it will begin play in 2013 when Penn State moves into its new arena. I laid out the reasons I think this is a good move for college hockey as a whole (as long as measures to prevent smaller CCHA teams from folding are taken) in an earlier post, but there are still a ton of variables to work out.

Items follow.

Configuration

Western college hockey schools will probably look like this in 2013:

WCHA

  • North Dakota
  • St. Cloud
  • MSU-Mankato
  • Minnesota-Duluth
  • Bemidji State
  • Colorado College
  • Denver
  • Alaska-Anchorage
  • Michigan Tech
  • Nebraska-Omaha

With three of college hockey's premiere schools and another three or four regular tourney contenders the WCHA will be fine. The two Big Ten schools finished fifth and seventh this year and were swept out of the playoffs in the first round. As far as the product on the ice goes, they'll be fine.

CCHA

  • Miami
  • Notre Dame
  • Western Michigan
  • Ferris State
  • Lake Superior State
  • Northern Michigan
  • BGSU
  • Alaska-Fairbanks

As long as ND and Miami stick around it's a viable conference with at least two bids every year and possibly a third when WMU/Ferris/Northern are having a good year. Finances might be tighter but I'm not sure how much of a difference it will make—it's not like anyone in the CCHA was getting more than peanuts from FSD.

Bowling Green, FWIW, seems to be past the bit where they threaten their lone national championship program:

"Our member schools have a commitment to hockey, so we'll figure this out."
Christopher was quick to reiterate that the news does not shake Bowling Green's commitment to its hockey program.

"When we went through the process a couple of years ago, we put our stake in the ground that we were going to sponsor a strong hockey program," he said. "I'm not concerned about this news affecting the future of hockey at Bowling Green.

With eight teams everyone in the league can play four against each other and still maintain 28-game conference schedules, or they can cut it back a bit.

Big Ten

  • Michigan
  • Michigan State
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • Ohio State
  • Penn State

The Big Ten has announced teams will play four games against the other five opponents, leaving 14-16 nonconference games available depending on whether or not the Big Ten takes advantage of exemptions for travelling to Alaska.

Despite small school fans wailing about how they're doomed, Michigan is the only(!) Big Ten school to make the tournament the last two years. The year before that Ohio State was the only addition, squeezing into the last at large slot and getting clunked by BU. You have to go back to 2008 to find more than two Big Ten teams in the tourney*.

*[Michigan was a 1 and made the Frozen Four; Minnesota, MSU, and Wisconsin were all threes. Minnesota went out right away, and the other two made it to the second round.]

Conference tourney: how does it do?

WCHA teams currently play in St. Paul. CCHA teams currently play in Detroit. Big Ten teams would probably do neither. They could alternate between the X, the Joe, and… uh… Pittsburgh I guess. Or they could put it in Chicago, a location that's as close to central as you can get and features throngs of Big Ten grads.

Or… you know… the thing is… right now the CCHA tourney is a three week affair. With six teams you could play three best two-of-three series on home ice. That provides 10-15 probably-sold-out games. A four-team tourney after a first round provides 8-10 games, four of which are going to be at a neutral-ish site hosting doubleheaders. It seems like abandoning the neutral ice would provide more money and a better championship structure.

College hockey is addicted to hypothetically neutral ice, but will it be enough to overcome doubling your playoff revenue?

TV: Yes, please

Hockey loves HD and I'm betting most Michigan hockey fans used to cameras from the 70s that make everything look underwater almost gasped the first time they saw a BTN hockey production. I remember it myself—a road game against OSU with a picture so sharp it could skate. The main asset from the fan's perspective is the prospect of ten road games on BTN.

Getting to ten road games is kind of a hike, though. Basketball teams rarely play on Friday, so you can televise a Friday game of the week, but what happens on Saturday at 8:00? What do you do when two teams are playing simultaneously? There are three options:

  1. Many games are not televised on BTN.
  2. BTN deploys its bonus feeds.
  3. Games move for TV.

#2 seems ideal but probably costs more money than it brings in. #1 could make the TV situation worse than it is right now.

#3 would be weird but I think it's manageable. They can probably massage the schedule such that there are rarely three conference series on the same weekend. Unfortunately, getting two games on Friday would require one starting at 7:30 Eastern, and the other at 9 Central. That's going to hurt attendance.

We might start seeing a fair number of series that go Saturday-Sunday—a quick look at the basketball schedule doesn't show anything pressing most Sundays and even most Saturdays could hypothetically squeeze two hockey games in. If you have at least two teams playing nonconference series every week you could hypothetically broadcast every conference game if the only overlap is on Saturday.

Further realignment?

The conferences above seem viable to me, but they might not be done shuffling. I'm not sure how much credence to put in rumors that the WCHA will seek to poach Miami and ND since those teams are very far away from the WCHA core (Miami's shortest road trip would be 681 miles to Michigan Tech, longer than Miami's longest current conference trip) and travel costs would seem to eat up more money than either team would get from increased attendance at their nice, new, very small arenas.

I don't think the CCHA is going to take another look at Huntsville since the same ruthless cost-benefit equation that saw UAH denied when UNO left still applies, but when Niagara left the CHA they wanted to get into the CCHA and only grudgingly accepted entrance into Atlantic Hockey. AH has a cap on the number of scholarships you can award significantly below the NCAA's max of 18, and as a result a Niagara program good enough to twice get NCAA at-large consideration has fallen off the national radar. Niagara would bolt for the CCHA in a hot second if the conference would take them. If the CCHA wanted another team, Robert Morris would be the most likely candidate. They're located in Pittsburgh.

The most likely outcome seems to be the status quo above, but I'd watch those AH schools.

Further expansion?

If we don't get that AH move, college hockey finally has some spots for new teams to come in. I'm not sure any Big Ten teams would add hockey without a crazy rich guy donation similar to Penn State's but there's been a steady stream of smaller schools that start up, find that there's nowhere to go, and then evaporate. Now you might see a Wayne State stick in the CCHA.

Let's play for stuff

fa-cup

The FA Cup

One of the most exciting aspects for Michigan hockey is the prospect of getting 14-16 nonconference games, allowing Michigan to play BC, BU, North Dakota, and other teams they have a history with on the regular. On the other hand, I've played too much Football Manager to not look on that massive schedule gap as an opportunity to add silverware to college hockey. This seems like a fantastic opportunity to add a cup competition for Michigan-ish schools.

Unfortunately, NCAA scheduling regulations mean that everyone always tries to play the maximum number of games and that makes structuring a competition between seven teams awkward, as does the geography, as does the presumably very large CCHA conference schedule. We can either add BGSU or Notre Dame, or both and boot Tech since Tech has the GLI and is always terrible.

Assuming the latter:

1. Create groups of four by splitting the Big Ten teams and the UP teams and dividing the other four up randomly. Example group: Michigan, Lake Superior, Ferris State, BGSU.

2. Michigan and MSU play home and home series against the non-UP teams early in the season and alternate home and away with whichever UP team is in their bracket yearly.

3. The CCHA teams set up their scheduling such that teams in the same group play an early conference series. In the example above, LSSU-FSU, LSSU-BG, and FSU-BG would all take place before Christmas.

4. At the end of this process you have four teams having played each other round-robin twice. Pick the top two teams World Cup-style. These teams move on to the Joe to play a traditional college hockey tournament that probably replaces the GLI. (Issue: what about teams not selected? They wouldn't want to leave two games on the table but the only teams that would have an opening are the other teams in the tourney, most of which are other teams in their conference. Maybe you could get the NCAA to exempt the finals? This would lead to more of these tourneys, which would be cool.)

End result:

  • Assuming no more GLI, Michigan and MSU spend six nonconference games playing old conference foes.
  • Noncon-restricted CCHA teams spend two games each against MSU and UM, which helps mitigate losing those old rivalries.
  • The GLI gets way more interesting.
  • You're creating a banner that means something.

I know Tech started the GLI in the 50s and they think it's really important but they've been so, so terrible for so long that the tournament's way less than it should be.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Sees A Grant Hill Effect

Unverified Voracity Sees A Grant Hill Effect Comment Count

Brian March 17th, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Merry Christmas. We get presents this year. I'm an American so my productivity collapses like everyone else's during these couple days—content will be a bit light. Expect Tennessee/CCHA finals previews at least. A game column immediately afterwards is up in the air since I might be in Detroit rooting for Notre Dame. We'll play it by ear.

He's so articulate*. Man… I suggested the Grant Hill NYT op-ed would just confirm the Fab Five's 20-year-old opinions but I had no idea he'd actually drop Latin into it and call Duke a "special family," then tweet that his interminable diploma-waving had been edited for length and that you could find the whole thing on his website. I can't believe we actually hired one of these dips to coach our basketball team, and by "can't believe" I mean "can totally believe."

WLA truth bombs!

“was”. “hated”. “hated”. “felt”. “hated”. “was”. “came”. “went”. “played”. “was”. “had to”. “was”. “resented”. “looked”.

These are the verbs that the four members of the Fab Five use during their description of their feelings towards Duke. What do all these verbs have in common? They are in the past tense. This is an elementary fact of grammar of which you would expect one who mentions his place in the “special” brotherhood of Duke graduates to be aware. Apparently, he is not.

Rose has since clarified to foreigners, people with learning disabilities that prevent them from understanding verb conjugations, and Duke graduates that when he used verbs in the past tense he was talking about the past.

No one thought Grant Hill was a bitch, even the guys who said they thought he was when they were 19, until he wrote his response. Now everyone thinks he's a bitch. Can we get a Grant Hill Effect wikipedia page?

*[514 hits for "grant hill articulate" in the last 24 hours by people who don't know what articulate means but do know he's black. Hill's clunky constructions are reminiscent of a high school term paper even after going through a battery of NYT editors. Look at this:

It was a sad and somewhat pathetic turn of events, therefore, to see friends narrating this interesting documentary about their moment in time and calling me a bitch and worse, calling all black players at Duke “Uncle Toms” and, to some degree, disparaging my parents for their education, work ethic and commitment to each other and to me.

Too many commas. Pointless use of "interesting"—95% of the time a filler word. Awful finger-wagging intro. Too many goddamn commas. This sentence could have been half as long and communicated the same thing**.  If this is articulate to you, you need to read more.]

**[That thing, of course: "The Fab Five was right."]

OH-LIE-O_2

via MZone

Dead coach walking. Bruce Pearl's athletic director said his status was undecided yesterday and it took all of two hours for this to morph into a "he's fired" news-type substance propagated by local radio. This is a perfect opportunity for hindpsychology no matter what happens tomorrow: if Tennessee loses, they have been distracted. If they win, they were motivated to protect their embattled coach.

Since Pearl's job status isn't likely to affect Hopson's jumper his wavering status is more interesting as a window into Tatgate. Tennessee is trying to hang on to Pearl, something that hardly any team facing a serious ethical violation has done before. If they can't do that it could bode poorly for Tressel, who'll get the same charge on his docket of major violations. The NCAA typically levies show-cause penalties when you break bylaw 10.1 ("don't be a liar, coach"), and those are basically a death-knell.

Bolden wavering. Robert Bolden is in at Penn State… for now:

"Nothing is official," he said [Wednesday]. "I'm just here for the spring. I decided to come back. I'm just here. I'm going to work hard and we'll see what happens from there."

That's a sticky spot for PSU. If he sticks around because he "won" the job in spring—for whatever that's worth—his threat to transfer hangs over that decision and a fall benching for McGloin or redshirt freshman Paul Jones seems likely to cause instant hissyfit + transfer. If he doesn't win the job he's out, leaving PSU with walk-on Favre and a guy who wasn't as good as Bolden last year.

Not far enough. Gasaway's annual rule-fixing column is up, and as per usual he is mincingly weak on the tyranny of basketball timeouts:

3. Reduce the number of timeouts. Here's a tip. If the coaches in your sport can call timeout, send their players into action, see what defense the opponent is using, and then call another timeout before anything has even happened, your sport gives its coaches too many timeouts. Let's make a start here by taking away one timeout per game from each team. The earth will continue to spin, I promise, and TV networks fretting about lost commercial time can be accommodated via slightly extended breaks in the action during the remaining timeouts.

Take away one timeout per team? Teams should only have one timeout. Make it count, yo, like they do in hockey, and stop turning the last two minutes of a basketball game into the Odyssey.

Big Ten hockey en route. Rumor has it a Big Ten Hockey conference, already a fait accompli—SUCK ON THAT GRANT HILL—could be announced as early as Monday. Big Ten play would start in 2013 when Penn State moves into its new building. They'd spend a year getting their feet as an independent.

Small schools will complain but Big Ten Hockey is great for the sport.  Reasons:

  • It opens up spots for expansion that don't exist right now. A variety of schools have come and gone over the past ten years, unable to stick because their only conference option was the constantly shifting, constantly almost evaporating CHA. Creating a Big Ten creates 12 slots in stable conferences for new programs, although half of those would have to be Big Ten schools.
  • Twelve schools is too much for a hockey conference anyway. Nonconference schedules are preposterously small when 28 of your 34 games are ticketed for your conference. Getting the Western conferences down to 6, 8, and 10 teams greatly increases available nonconference games, making schedules more varied and ranking systems more reliable.
  • Big Ten hockey will increase the profile of college hockey as a whole, helping it as it battles with the OHL for players.

A lot of small school fans are horrified at the prospect but it's not like North Dakota, Denver, and CC are going away. Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota would be hard pressed to recruit any better even with the promise of gorgeous Big Ten Network HD. Big Ten hockey will help the sports profile but not so much that it turns everyone else into mid-majors.

Fears that some of the smaller CCHA programs could be threatened by loss of revenue are more worrying. BG considered dropping its program a couple years back and hockey is an expensive sport. Ferris and Lake State and other places where it's the flagship are probably going to suck it up, but that's not the case everywhere. I certainly hope the Big Ten schools create scheduling agreements that see them regularly visit former conference opponents, and hate the idea of Miami and Notre Dame moving to the WCHA. That would see two perfectly viable conferences turn into one very good conference and CHA 2.0, and we know how CHA 1.0 ended.

Losing schools is bad for everyone since college is in a perpetual war against major junior; college hockey needs to work together to make this transition one that everyone can live with.

Etc.: Michigan has an 0.9 percent chance to make the Final Four. Zack Novak is short. Wojo column on Beilein. Hardaway fluff comes with another spectacularrrrrr Emotions of Tim Hardaway photo. Hockey fluff. Caporusso returns this weekend to the place where he scores.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Gets Served

Unverified Voracity Gets Served Comment Count

Brian September 17th, 2010 at 2:50 PM

disregard-shoelaces

Shirtpocalypse. So if you've gone to the MGoStore you've noticed that there isn't much of it left. This is why:

We have been ordered to remove many MGoStore designs by the University of Michigan. They feel that these designs violate NCAA compliance rules as well as certain University trademarks. As a thank you for your support of Brian, MGoBlog, and the MGoBlog Store, receive 10% off any purchase at www.moesportshops.com by using the code: mgoblog10

Thank you for your understanding and support and we appreciate your patience as we figure all of this out and continue to provide you with unique apparel. Go Blue!

This is extremely frustrating, but Underground sells licensed apparel and has no choice but to comply. It's not quite as bad as it looks since they threatened but did not actually C&D a number of designs that were pulled yesterday, including stuff like "Worst State Ever"; these will return shortly. Anything player-specific, no matter how oblique, is out unless it's an officially-licensed #16 jersey. We can't do anything but stew about it, unfortunately. Sorry for the lack of warning.

The one thing you can do is take pictures of those stupid t-shirt stands (you know, the ones with "MICHIGAN DRINKING" shirts) that ripped off several MGoDesigns when they have player-specific merch and send it to the U. They deserve pain, too.

Big Ten Hockey less a possibility, more a certainty. Barry Alvarez, always the first guy to tell the world about potentially seismic changes in conference realignment, on Wisconsin's position:

“I don’t know the logistics — how long it takes to get out of a league, all of that — but I sense that we will move in that direction,” UW athletic director Barry Alvarez said Thursday.

Madison.com also cites a source close to the process saying the same thing:

“There’s going to be Big Ten hockey,” assured a source with intimate knowledge of the process, adding that 2014-15 is the target point for introducing the new league although he said “it could happen sooner than that.”

College Hockey news says it's "nice" Penn State made noises about cooperating with college hockey but the tea leaves were easy to read: "BTHC is inevitable in 2014."

A six-team league would presumably play 20 conference games, leaving 14-16 nonconference games for the defectors to spread out amongst former league-mates. A ten-team WCHA featuring Denver, Colorado College, and North Dakota would still be a power conference, and a nine- or ten-team CCHA (depending on whether they reconsider Alabama-Huntsville) would still have new arenas and elite coaches at ND and Miami to guarantee themselves respectability. Hopefully any move to Big Ten hockey will make an effort to preserve existing programs with scheduling agreements and guaranteed home games for the Ferris States and Northern Michigans of the world; the last thing college hockey needs is more programs folding.

One thing that's being kicked around that you probably won't see: Notre Dame in the BTHC. The Big Ten is not going to throw Notre Dame a bone if they don't have to, and making that move would further damage the leftover CCHA schools I assume everyone wants to protect. I bet Michigan still has a home-and-home with them most years, but they aren't going to be in the conference.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Steve Breaston in two questions. Via the Arizona Republic:

Question: Do you have any hidden talents none of your teammates knows about? You know, like can you play jazz flute?
Breaston: I can write. I'm a writer. I post a lot of stuff on my fan page on Facebook. Oh, and I can bend my thumb behind my knuckles like this. Look.

Q: Pretty cool, but that's a little creepy. Did you have some sort of freak accident as a kid or what?
A: No, no. My thumbs are just like that.

Also, Breaston's favorite baseball team is Pittsburgh. Jeez.

Optimism from Massachusetts. Except not really:

Q: What's the best case/worst case scenario for UMass? In other words, what needs to happen for the Minutemen to win? How does a blowout happen?…

A blowout seems more plausible. UMass hasn't faced a good dual-threat quarterback in a while, and if Robinson gets going early, things could unravel fast. The Minutemen can't afford to turn the ball over. Naturally, if they can avoid falling behind early, their confidence goes up. An early hole could drain their belief in their ability to win pretty fast.

It's so nice to have people saying things like this, even if they're a I-AA beat writer.

Etc.: The MZone's Know Your Foe returns! This is just like when we used to go to bowl games! FSD talks to Denard's mom, who says he runs like Grandpa, which is a terrifying thing to think. Tom reports that 2011 OL Chris Bryant and his 2012 teammate Jordan Diamond will be unofficial visitors tomorrow. I will remind you about this again but Phil Brabbs is having a fundraising event in Chicago for the Indiana game.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Will Eat Them Up

Unverified Voracity Will Eat Them Up Comment Count

Brian September 13th, 2010 at 5:45 PM

I Will Eat Them Up: Remix. Boyz in the Pahokee wanted to parody hype videos. He failed, but in doing so succeeded:

Sit under the Banyan tree and ponder this.

As long as we're pondering the above, yeah… I thought this was slightly premature after UConn but, like, dude:

Yeah… kinda. Offer still stands with the Brock Mealer shirt, by the way: buy a Brock shirt, donate to Brock's continued rehab, get five bucks off another MGoShirt. "onepercent" is your magic word.

Old school. Did you know Bump Elliott was on "What's My Line?" With his brother? Who was Illinois' coach at the time?

Different world when you could have the head coaches of Michigan and (I guess) Illinois on a TV show and people had to guess as to who they were instead of saying "what's the deal with hiring that rube from Southern Miss, eh?" FWIW, Michigan went 6-3 in the 1961 season, defeating 0-9 Illinois 38-6 but losing to both Michigan State and Ohio State by lots. Minnesota was the other loss.

Die, Special K. Straight from Brandon's mouth about pipin' it in:

"I will probably be chastised for telling this story:  At a Big 10 AD meeting I proposed an amendment to allow bands to be miked and it was emphatically turned won.  I kept pushing it and tried to convince the other AD's that it was about distributing the sound throughout stadiums better and not amplifying the sound on the field.  Using my persuasive powers, we eventually got this amendment passed and now we've got the band miked.  Now to head off any questions about the recorded music, we are planning on there being less recorded music now that the band can be heard better. "

Adios, Ron. #87 Ron Kramer, the last Michigan player to have his number retired, died on Saturday. Since he played 20 years before I was born I don't have much to say that's not in a press release, but the News's Jerry Green does:

Ron Kramer lugged the wooden brown box into the saloon close to the University of Michigan's campus in Ann Arbor. "Give me two Scotch-and-waters," Kramer told the bartender.

Kramer placed the brown box atop the bar. The guy behind the bar looked at Kramer with deep curiosity. Ron was alone, accompanied only by the box.

"What do you want two for?" the bartender asked Kramer.

"Bennie is kind of dry," answered Kramer.

Yeah: Oosterbaan, ashes of. The Hoover Street Rag has another story in the same vein and Lynn Henning talks to Frank Beckmann, Jerry Hanlon, and Don Dufek about him.

It might be pretty stupid to think that Denard Robinson going 87 yards had anything to do with Kramer, but what the hell, right? Let's do it anyway.

Perspective: there is no perspective. Denard's second week by the Mathlete's numbers:

Another ground game worth 12 PAN [Ed: Points Above Normal, IIRC], just like last week. My database goes back to the 2003 season and during that time there have been a total of 107 games where a player has recorded a PAN of 12 or higher. Of those 107 times, there are 10 players who have done it at least twice (4 have done it three times). The only players to have put up a dozen on the ground twice in one season versus BCS teams, Denard and two others, Jerome Harrison at Washington State vs Stanford and UCLA in 2005 and Chris Barclay at Wake Forest vs Clemson and Maryland in 2003.

So if he does this again in the Big Ten season he will have done something unprecedented over the last seven years in college football. Also, the Mathlete calculates that Michigan's penalties cost them a full touchdown and the kickers are not good, but you didn't need math for that last bit.

Penn State hockey: engage. INCH is reporting that Friday will see an official announcement of Penn State hockey, something that will likely be followed by the CCHA extending a membership offer as soon as whichever official is drafted to make the statement finishes the syllable "ho—". This is win for the CCHA, for the Big Ten Network, and possibly for a Big Ten conference I'd be behind as long as it can be accomplished without seeing any existing programs fold, whether that's by scheduling guarantees from departing clubs or whatever.

This is all very vague still but USCHO reports some grumblin' and mumblin' at a top-secret WCHA meeting:

At a meeting late last week, WCHA coaches discussed the potential of a Big Ten hockey league starting in the near future, and how that would impact their league, sources said. … Sources indicated that the hot topic of speculation at the WCHA meeting was that the 2014-15 season is a potential start date for the Big Ten in hockey.

At this point I doubt anything other than Minnesota blanching can prevent the Big Ten Hockey Death Star from forming. Wisconsin ended the College Hockey Showcase because it explicitly wanted more games against Big Ten opponents; it seems like they'd be willing to jump. Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State aren't attached to the CCHA closely enough for tradition to override dolla dolla bill ya'll. That would be a brutal six-team conference on paper but of late State and Minnesota have struggled to consistently make the NCAA tournament, and Michigan came within a whisker of whiffing for the first time in twenty years. Still, PSU hockey would be in for a rough ride to start.

I don't think the impact on CCHA members would be too hard since a six-team Big Ten leaves at least 14 nonconference dates for conference members to fill and it will make economic sense to spend most of those playing Ferris, Western, Lake State, Northern, et al. Michigan might schedule regular trips to Alaska because those get exempted, as well. The WCHA will be fine; all of those programs are established.

Slow States has the PSU angle.

Defending the inside zone with the 3-3-5. Relevant post by Football Defense on something we figure to see later this year:

Versus the Inside Zone, I want to either avoid double teams (pretty tough in a 3-3-5 Defense) or or split double teams.  By slanting our Defensive Line against the Zone blocking, we have the best chance to split those doubles.

Stopping the Inside Zone

As long as we’re still working to split the double, the Offensive Line can’t get off to get to the Linebackers, and this is where I believe we stop the Inside Zone.  If you have 3 Linebackers that are able to run free (not including the Outside Linebackers a.k.a. Overhang Safeties here) you should have no trouble stopping the play.

Thus far it's been a lot of power (pulling linemen, not sliding double-teams) but we'll run up against zone teams in the Big Ten schedule, most prominently Illinois. Since Michigan ran a ton of inside zone against UConn I'd hope they're proficient at it.

Etc.: Dhani Jones will return to campus on October 15th to speak to students at the behest of the Social Entrepreneurship Initiative. Union Ballroom, 3:30. I wouldn't ask him about Rodriguez. Denard Robinson tribute tumblr. Scott Wolf has an irrational hatred of the Big Ten. Whirlwind '>pre-UConn Mustache tour.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Signs For Bandwagoneers

Unverified Voracity Signs For Bandwagoneers Comment Count

Brian August 6th, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Falk never stops. Falk.

Never stops.

I'd look suspicious, too, kid. Via the SI vault, Desmond Howard dealing with the world's least enthusiastic autograph-seeker:

desmond-howard-autographs"Why don't you get out of that bucket of ice," I says, and he says "because you're wearing a Bulls jersey, a Phillies hat, and asking me to sign a Jaguars pennant. Also because I'm in crippling pain."

Score-o. Thanks to the largess of some guy who sold his company to Shell for just under five billion-with-a-b dollars, Penn State's perennial powerhouse club hockey team appears on the verge of moving on up to the big time:

Rumors and speculation have existed for more than a decade, but it finally appears Penn State is on the verge of building a new ice hockey arena near the Bryce Jordan Center and adding Division I men’s and women’s hockey programs.

“We’re close,” a source close to the situation told the Mirror on Thursday. “It won’t be long before we’ll be able to potentially make some kind of announcement. But it’s not a done deal yet.”

Close means within two months. Score. Penn State adding hockey would be the biggest positive development in college hockey since… uh… the shuttering of Division II gave D-I enough teams to expand the tournament to sixteen teams? I guess. If you even see that as a positive.

The existence of the Nittany Lions would bring Big Ten hockey into play—you need six teams to have an official Big Ten league—but extracting Minnesota and Wisconsin from their rich history in the WCHA is problematic. (No offense to the teams in the CCHA but I assume M, MSU, and OSU would leave in a hot second.)

There is the possibility that ripping flagship teams out of the CCHA and WCHA would see several weaker schools in those leagues fold, but it doesn't seem like a strong one. A WCHA anchored by North Dakota, Denver, and Colorado College is still a powerhouse full of good games. A few CCHA schools might be on shakier ground but the emergence of Notre Dame and Miami as powers with shiny new rinks would give the smaller conference a couple of anchors. Also, even if Big Ten teams play each other four times each they'll still have 12-14 nonconference dates to fill and will be able to keep up local rivalries.

Negotiating all that will take time; as it stands Penn State will be a member of the CCHA as soon as it fields a team. I'm betting the powers that be in the league had been informed that Penn State was laying groundwork when they rejected Huntsville's application.

(HT: Slow States. If you miss BSD's content from Kevin HD and RUTS, that's where they've relocated.)

Except with more Coastal Carolina. Slow States—which I don't think I'll be abbreviating, thanks, why don't you just name your blog Not Another Zimmerman Impersonator*—also looks at what a Penn State schedule might look like after the Big Ten goes to nine conference games by pretending ND is part of the Big Ten and looking at Michigan's schedules during the 12-game era. BCS opponents are bolded:

2002 – Washington (return trip), W. Michigan, ND, Utah
2003 – C. Michigan, Houston, ND, @Oregon (H-H)
2004 – Miami OH, ND, SDSU (11 games)
2005 – N. Ill, ND, E. Michigan (11 games)
2006 – Vandy, C. Michigan, ND, Ball State
2007 – [The Horror], Oregon (H-H), ND, E. Michigan
2008 – Utah, Miami OH, ND, Toledo
2009 – W. Michigan, ND, E. Michigan, Delaware State
2010 – UConn (H-H), ND, UMass, Bowling Green

Vandy isn't much but a couple of games against Utah were against vaguely(2002) to extremely(2008) BCS-caliber opposition

The assumption is that the best looking out of conference game gets the bump and Penn State's OOC schedule is going to look pretty sad. Thoughts related to this:

  • Penn State's OOC schedule is already pretty sad.
  • Michigan won't be able to dump ND and replace it with a tomato can without sparking a riot, so at least in their case they'll be upping the minimum number of BCS games they play over a span like this by four or five. Similarly, MSU and Purdue can't get away with three tomato cans, Ohio State is going to play at least one legit OOC opponent yearly, Illinois will likely continue its series with Missouri, and Minnesota will cast about looking for ways to fill Not The Metrodome. Indiana won't be able to replicate this year's mockery of college football.
  • The net result will be more competitive games…
  • …and probably fewer competitive games between conferences…
  • …which is worth it if I don't have to sit through three MAC/I-AA games a year…
  • …but Penn State fans will.

Solution: man up. Or have the legislature threaten terrible things unless you play Pitt every year like you goddamn well should.

*(Which is actually a great blog name for a technically-inclined fellow. Except for the acronym.)

Optimism is a disease. The readership of this here blog has predicted an 8-4 regular season according to the recent survey conducted by MGoUser "tpilews", with 84% predicting a win over UConn, 71% predicting one over Notre Dame, and so forth and so on. Despite being a home game, Wisconsin was declared the most terrifying opponent at 14%; other hypothetical losses come against Ohio State (31%), Iowa (35%), and Penn State (49%—a margin one vote VOTE OR DIE). As these things always are, it's too optimistic but that's life in August.

Divisions. None of this means anything, but:

  • Joe Schad says the Big Ten will split into divisions with PSU and OSU on one side and Michigan and Nebraska on the other with a guaranteed M-OSU game, which is absolutely the worst-case scenario for M assuming the rest of that division is the Iowa/Minnesota/Wisconsin triumvirate of hate and Michigan State: Michigan is the only team in the league with guaranteed games against four of the six powers. Woo.
  • Teddy Greenstein, who I'll remind you works for a newspaper in Chicago and is therefore about as accurate as the Bleacher Report (the latest crack reporting is random anonymous sourcing that Kentucky's top recruit took 200k), suggests they'll go straight geography.

Dorsey difficulty. Premium article, but the bit that's relevant($) is small:

What about Demar Dorsey and Jordan Campbell? Louisville officials gave no formal update on either player, though InsideTheVille.com confirmed that Dorsey is not on campus yet.

If Louisville is having a hard time getting him through, all conspiracy theories about admissions doing anything other than what they had do can go out the window. RR should never have gone after Dorsey; hopefully Michigan's pursuit of him didn't cost them Tony Grimes or Sean Parker.

Etc.: Via the MB, UConn has lost linebacker/DE Greg Lloyd for the season. Lloyd was UConn's second-leading tackler last year and possibly their best defensive player. If you don't know this already, the Big Ten Championship Game will be played in Indianapolis, as was ordained by geography.

Comments

Mailbag!

Mailbag! Comment Count

Brian March 10th, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Hey Brian,

Last year you had a post on why Penn State wouldn't go varsity in hockey, and why a Big Ten Hockey conference would not happen. While the economics have gotten harder, one of the central tenets was all the conferences were full - but the CCHA will have an open spot that they didn't want to give to Alabama-Huntsville after UNO's departure. Would the CCHA welcome in Penn State (and why not)? How much does this improve the likelihood that Penn State's hockey program goes varsity?

On a related track, if Notre Dame joined the Big Ten, would it spell doom for the CCHA?

Vasav

The main reason Huntsville was rejected from the CCHA application is that the small schools in the league are already in a financially precarious position and adding a trip to Alabama would have been a net loss. At least, that's my reading of the boilerplate:

“The CCHA will remain focused on maintaining and strengthening our existing members to ensure the conference’s continued success and long-term viability.”

Penn State is closer—about four hours by car for most CCHA sites—but not close enough that anyone is going to drive, so the financial drain is about the same. However, it's bleeding obvious that PSU brings a lot more cachet to the league than UAH. Would Ferris sell out for a game against Penn State even if PSU was terrible, as they likely would be for the first few years? Maybe or maybe not, but they'd probably draw better than any other mediocre-to-bad CCHA team. The Big Ten Network would televise more games and maybe the smaller CCHA schools could extract some money from that in exchange. Financially, it seems feasible for the existing members.

I assume Penn State's varsity hockey outlook is considerably improved by the opening, but that just means it goes from "no way in hell" to "very small chance."

Your Notre Dame question is sort of a question about a Big Ten hockey conference, which I don't think we'll see in the near future even if ND joins. You have to have six schools to call your conference the Big Ten, but you don't have to play in a Big Ten conference once you get to six.

HOWEVA, this offseason is going to be the most interesting one in a long time for college hockey. Some sort of Big Ten quasi-conference has moved past the realm of rumor and into things coaches are talking about directly. The announcement that the College Hockey Showcase was kaput actually came with the notion that Michigan and Michigan State would end up playing their WCHA Big Ten brethren more often, not less:

"We have one more year after this and that's it,'' MSU coach Rick Comley said. "I think it's run it's course. Wisconsin did not want to extend the Showcase. They want to get Ohio State involved and they prefer a Big Ten Conference.'' …

"My preference would be to play (Minnesota and Wisconsin) twice (each season),'' said Comley, who is not in favor of a Big Ten league at this point. "I think we could declare a Big Ten champion. It would require a reduced number of CCHA games, which I'm in favor of.''

Whenever I talk to the Big Ten Network people, which has been a few times now, I ping them about hockey and their response always is "we are interested in televising games between Big Ten schools." The network needs content but doesn't want Lake Superior; the BTN money then gives the big schools a huge incentive to play each other.

With the CCHA headed to 11 teams and the WCHA to 12, both conferences are going to have to adjust their schedules. I don't know how you could possibly make an 11 team conference work with the unbalanced schedule the CCHA has been running since they went to twelve, so a reduction to 22 conference games seems inevitable. If Michigan is going to play Wisconsin twice and Minnesota twice and maintain their four games per year against State, they might as well throw in a bonus series with Ohio State and call that a Big Ten schedule, right? If the WCHA goes down to 24, UW and Minnesota can do this too, but that will eat up every nonconference game in years they don't travel to Alaska or manage an exempt tournament.

Brian, 

How come our band goes to so few road games? It seems like the MMB only goes to MSU, ND, and OSU. The Purdue band and their big drum managed to make it to the big house. It seems like at every SEC game the visiting band is always there. How come our band never travels to non-rivals games?

Brad H.

I pinged someone formerly in the band and they pinged someone closer to the situation and this is what I got back:

More than money, I think it's logistics. It's hard to convince schools to give up 230-280 seats so that Michigan can have more of a presence in their stadium; that was the deal with PSU before. They'll give us like 90 tickets, or enough for a big pep band, but not enough for pregame or a meaningful halftime performance. At the time, the directors decided that it was better not to go than to send a group too small to really represent the MMB, and nothing's changed, more or less.

This seems sort of unlikely to me since Northwestern and Indiana aren't going to sell out when Michigan comes to down, and if opponents were unwilling to fork over seats for the MMB Michigan could retaliate by not allowing opposing bands to come. That's not the case: there might be one home game a year where the opponent band does not show, and that's homecoming. Virtually every band in the Big Ten shows at Michigan Stadium.

I’ll go on the record as being opposed to our new AD making comments that RR will be the coach for this season insomuch as it could be construed that RR could be done if they do not improve this season.  With the sharks already circling the program, I see this as an unwise move by Brandon.  Why give legs to the notion that RR is on the hot seat?  If Brandon does not see the impending doom and downward spiral that awaits us if we push out RR too fast, then shame on him for not learning from the Notre Dames and Nebraskas of the world. 

Thoughts?  I am really concerned that we’ll jump the shark on this one.  I don’t see a scenario out there that does not put us into a tailspin.  Hire Les Miles/Harbaugh and you’ve got the revamp the offense to more of a traditional attack and we’re looking at least another year or two of development and recruiting.  Yes, a Miles hire would be an uptick on your recruiting trail, but would it be enough to overcome the current perception of the program?  Hire another spread guy and you’re limited to a crop of guys who are descendant from the guy who wrote the book and that you just got rid of.  Where is the win in that scenario.  Our best bet is to go on the offensive in support of our guy.  Let’s not lay out there for interpretation anymore lame-ass ambiguous quotes for the Sharp’s, Snyder’s, and Rosenberg’s of the world to run wild with.  Let’s go on the offensive with the media and boot the Free Press and their Guerilla journalism tactics out in to the cold and make an example out of them.  Let’s go get these supposed Old Guard or Moles or whatever the message boards are calling them today and let it be none that you’re either on-board or off the ship, even if it means returning checks to donors.

I think leadership like that is what we need now and not the comments I read this morning, which are not the comments of someone convinced we’re headed in the right direction.

I mentioned this in UV yesterday about Brandon's stay on message moments in the press conference and with Generic Fox Business Jerko, but to reiterate: I think the explicit "Rich Rodriguez will be our coach next year" is not so much a threat that Rich Rodriguez won't be the coach in 2011 as a way to remove any ambiguity about Rodriguez's job security right this moment.

Unfortunately, Brandon has to live in reality, and in reality there is a chance that Rodriguez doesn't make it to 2011. If Michigan doesn't make a bowl this year it may be impossible to keep him even if you think he is a good coach just because of the brand damage. I sort of kind of felt that way about Tommy Amaker: even if he'd been extremely unlucky to barely whiff on NCAA tourney bids and suffer through that one year where the team was so injury-wracked that Dani Wohl started against Michigan State, after six years you can't really justify keeping him on. I was way less enthused about Amaker in general since his history was one Sweet 16 season followed by an implosion.

"Going on the offensive" with the media never works out. The hive mind perceives a threat and releases single-sentence pheromones that scurry to their defense. Why do you hate freedom, Mr. University of Michigan? Censorship, Mr. University of Michigan? For shame. Etc. The best thing is to be as explicit and boring as possible. And from what I've seen elsewhere, outside of the shrill yelpers in the local media the end result here is regarded as nothing. Self-imposed sanctions will be announced and then everyone will forget about it unless they're creating a spittle-flecked case to fire Rodriguez.

As far as a hypothetical new coach in 2011 resulting in a tailspin, I actually think there could be something of a Ron English effect going on here. After years of clamoring for Jim Herrmann's head, Michigan fans finally got it in the 2006 offseason. Ron English walked into Lamarr Woodley, Alan Branch, David Harris, Leon Hall, Shawn Crable, Prescott Burgess, Terrance Taylor, and so on and so forth, and promptly went on an all-crushing tear until Ohio State and USC realized that Morgan Trent was Michigan's second-best corner and linebacker Chris Graham was their third-best. English seemed like a frickin' genius… and then promptly went out the next year and got nuked in The Horror and the Post-Apocalyptic Oregon game.

It's evident now that English is not a frickin' genius, but getting back a huge number of excellent players disguised that. Jim Herrmann probably would have had a lights-out year, too.

This is what Hypothetical New Coach is going to walk into in 2011: 20 returning starters (including specialists). Everyone except Steve Schilling, Obi Ezeh, Jonas Mouton, and Troy Woolfolk will be back. If there is a hypothetical new coach, Michigan will probably have had six or fewer wins in 2010. Bouncing up to 9-3 or whatever is going to be child's play, and Hypothetical New Coach will get carried around on a palanquin.

I'd much, much rather Rodriguez stick around because the last thing the program needs is another bowlless season, round of transfers and decommitments, and general inefficiency where square parts meet round holes. Obviously. But the roster agony Michigan suffered through the past two years (Nick Sheridan! Four scholarship defensive backs!) is not coming back in anything approximating that level of pain.

And now some Terry Foster pile-on:

Brian,

wondering if you had heard this rumor that i just read on terry fosters facebook page:

Terry Foster I heard a rumor Michigan coach John Beilein was looking to leave for Rutgers or North Carolina State. The Michigan mafia swears it is not true. He still has their support.

i wanted to ask you first about this before i even thought about posting it on the site. but i wanted to put it on there before 2pm when his radio show starts and he leads off with it.

one more question, how the hell is this "michigan mafia"??? foster always references them when he talks about michigan.

thanks,

David Krauser

Everything you need to know about Terry Foster's totally awesome rumor skillz can be found in this old post. Key graph from 16-year-old (who is now 21!):

Jayborne23 posted on 8/23/2005 9:53:28 PM
HOLY S***, WAS I RIGHT?
Is Sheed for Chandler and Nocioni a real deal? Cause I sincerely made that s*** up. That hoopsworld article mentioned it. WHAT THE F***?

Comments

Unverified Voracity Makes A Birdman

Unverified Voracity Makes A Birdman Comment Count

Brian October 19th, 2009 at 3:04 PM

Throw it down, Jimmy Chitwood. Zach Novak's house-destroying, contest-obliterating slam dunk from Michigan Madness, via UMHoops:

Darius Morris had already picked up a 40 of 40 on his second dunk, which you can also see at Dylan's site, but the Novak dunk ended with various members of the women's team—who were the judges—attempting to give him all of their score placards. So he got like 160 points. Nice points, Novak.

I had to duck out before the scrimmages, so I don't have much else to add about the event. It was worth having and I hope Michigan continues it, though next time maybe the introductions can go much, much quicker?

SIDE NOTE: Hey, remember this from the Iowa recap?

This disaster was played incessantly over the PA, and we, not being 14-year-old-girls, didn't know what it was. Friend of Blog joked that it was probably a Jonas Brothers song, and we laughed, and then we thought to ourselves IS that a Jonas Brothers song? It turns out no, but it's by the Black Eyed Peas, which is 95% as emasculating. Hell, this imeem playlist by one Shelby Veppert, who—no foolies—is a 19-year old from Columbus who lists Nickelback(!!!) as one of her favorite bands, has the song sandwiched between two Jonas Brothers songs. If Michigan Stadium ever has anything that can be considered a sort of theme song I'm going to buy out Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork, and if it's ever something as terrifyingly fey as that thing, I'll storm the castle myself.

Guess what fey, awful disaster of a song was used for the pre-festivities hype video? I've got my torch. Who's coming with me as we storm the guy in the Michigan marketing department who picks the music, find out he's Seth Green's character from Ten Things I Hate About You  Can't Hardly Wait, and mail him to a former Soviet republic? Anybody?

TWIS addendum. Aaaaargh. I thought I had plenty of Ohio State material ("It's not easy being an Ohio State fan. No wonder we're a drunken army of idiots.") for This Week In Schadenfreude, and I did, but if I had checked BHGP before I threw it to my editor I would have included this guy four or five times:

Seriously. Seriously: watch this bucktard. Seriously. He challenges Pryor to a fight. Call Pryor whatever you want—Darko in cleats, arm punter, murder condoner, guy with emotional problems—but there is no way he can't beat the holy hell out of a skinny white dude with a soul patch. And that's not even considering Eleven Warriors' withering Purdue recap:

I mentioned it last week and feel compelled to bring it up again: Could it be that Pryor simply doesn’t have the necessary mental skills to play QB at the major college level? All we hear is how hard he works in the film room blah blah blah but the end result thus far is a QB just as inconsistent in all phases of the game as last year.

The new wrinkle this week to the TP-Trainwreck was of course the ridiculous comments he made about the offense being ready to explode. Uh, I suppose he meant implode. Here’s a sampling of his mind-numbing handiwork yesterday. It’s like deja vu all over again. And I’m supposed to be happy he’s here for another 2.5 years?

Holy crap, man. I've been bringing up Ohio State's gaping backup QB hole for a year and a half now, but the hope I held out for an OSU implosion at the position always assumed the disaster would befall OSU in the event of an injury to DiC. This sort of meltdown was a distant possibility harbored in the deepest hearts of Michigan fans, prevented from surfacing because merely speaking the hope would result in Pryor going all Troy Smith on Michigan.

…Which is still a possibility. At this point in Smith's sophomore year he was running for more yards than he passed for and looking a lot like Denard Robinson does right now minus the world-class speed. I'm not ready to bury Pryor yet.

Inside-outside. I already pulled out Chris Brown's explanation of the differences between the inside and outside zone plays last week, but he's expanded his thinking into a full post on his home site that's worth checking out if you're into that sort of thing. I'll try to use that information going forward, though the way Brown describes it the differences are so subtle it might be hard to determine what's what.

One coaching point people have offered up this year during my attempts to discern one play from the other: the thing you want to look at is the alignment of the QB relative to the RB. If they're about even, that's going to be a stretch play. If the QB is a yard or so in front of the tailback, that's usually because the RB's angle is going to be more upfield because the play is an inside zone or other quick-hitting run that aims to punish the opponent for overpursuing on the stretch. It's sort of like a mini version of the pistol, if that makes sense.

Big Ten Hockey wha? Via Michigan Hockey Net and Yost Built, here's the first step towards a potentially shocking college hockey realignment:

A series of high-level discussions took place this summer about the creation of a new men's hockey league featuring the five Big Ten Conference members that sponsor the sport.

But despite support for the endeavor from multiple schools, including the University of Wisconsin, the concept failed to extend beyond the exploratory stage.

Minnesota was against it, Ohio State and Wisconsin for, it and Michigan and Michigan State "brought open minds" to the summer talks, whatever that means.

There are some obvious problems with a Big Ten Hockey conference. With only five teams sponsoring the sport, a BTHC would fall one short of the minimum necessary to garner an NCAA auto-bid (not that the schools in the conference would need one), and one short of conference requirements to sponsor a sport. Unless the prospect of a Big Ten conference would spur Penn State or Illinois to go varsity, it's a non-starter. And as discussed here whenever the topic comes up, Minnesota is the beating heart of the WCHA and is loathe to give up longtime rivalries against a zillion instate schools and, most importantly, North Dakota.

On the other hand, a Big Ten conference would break the current logjam that sees college hockey virtually unable to expand because each conference is full. The remainder of the WCHA would be a highly viable conference, with UND, CC, and Denver all national powers and teams like UMD, SCSU, and even Minnesota-Mankato tourney contenders on a regular basis. Add in UNO with Dean Blais and that's still a strong conference. A CCHA without Michigan and Michigan State would be considerably more rickety, but the recent emergence of Miami and Notre Dame as powers gives the league something to stand on, and a small Big Ten conference would provide a ton of nonconference opportunities for the departed programs to throw around to local schools.

If a Big Ten hockey conference is not in the cards, another crazy move might be:

Multiple college hockey sources said UW officials responded to the slowing of the talks by making it known they would consider moving to the CCHA.

!!!

not-so-fast

Oh no, Corso!

Frazier acknowledged that UW would be a "jewel'' for the CCHA, but he denied such rhetoric, saying, "We're loyal to the WCHA."

…Asked about the notion, Alvarez said men's coach Mike Eaves wasn't interested in changing leagues. "If Mike's not interested, I'm not interested,'' Alvarez said. "I'd be interested in other things. As I've said before, regionalizing hockey makes sense.''

My head is spinning here.

Etc.: Meta: Seth Godin on "notice me," which is a lot of what the web emphasizes but fails to have a purpose in and of itself. CONER. (Yes, I'm charting him. Call off the hounds.)

Wait. Wait:

“I was trying to get in at wideout, too, to be honest, but it didn’t work,” Cone said. “I took a couple (reps in practice) a couple weeks ago just because I’m tall, but they gotta get some more confidence in me first.”

Okay. Carry on with your life.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Is On To Great Tiger

Unverified Voracity Is On To Great Tiger Comment Count

Brian September 24th, 2009 at 11:17 AM

punchoutcharlesmou

The Shredder, endeavoring to fill the Autumn Thunder gap and succeeding wildly. (Thread)

No bags. Bags. None of them Saturday. Don't bring bags of any variety to the stadium. You can't bring them in.

Site note! A couple tweaks: annoyed with the folk who would just post diaries because they didn't have the requisite 20 points, I removed the minimum points required to post a board thread. Q: should I have gone the other way? I can do that.

The other tweak: lightbox links that won't take you off the page now have dotted underlines so they're differentiated from regular old links.

The starting lineups. Multiple people have asked what's with the lack of starting lineup announcements, so I asked Bruce Madej. The response:

Really, it came down to timing. The idea to develop more on an exciting atmosphere prior to the game works around keeping things upbeat, quick and exciting. We only have a little over three minutes to accomplish what we are trying to do. The starting lineups were long and drawn out. Hope this helps.

I'm not exactly sure how that helps. With the starting lineups there was cheering and shouting "who cares" and now there's nothing. I've got a follow-up in.

The starting lineups part II. David Moosman was expected to start in David Molk's place if he was healthy and he is:

David Moosman is back practicing after missing last week's win over Eastern Michigan with a shoulder injury, and Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez said he'll start at center in Saturday's Big Ten opener.

“He had a good practice" Tuesday, Rodriguez said. "He’ll be ready to go."

Moosman will be replaced by John Ferrara, who played against Eastern, or by moving Huyge inside and starting Perry Dorrestein at RT. Carlos Brown is still the starter at RB as Minor tries to get over his high ankle sprain before serious opponents pop up on the schedule, and Mike Williams' ankle went from "tweaked" to "sprained"; he was in a red jersey yesterday. He might miss the Indiana game if they're being cautious.

Hurray now we have to deal with this all year. Cheap Shotty the Boiler Lineman got his one game suspension. As you might imagine, Danny Hope is displeased:

“Well, really he [Rodriguez] should worry about his own team,” Hope said Sunday. “I didn’t think Zach Reckman’s play at the end of the game was all that vicious. ... I’m sure it’s going to be brought up and we’ll address it. I don’t think he should have gone in there and jumped on that guy at the end of the play, but maybe he was hoping the ball would come loose. He was just trying to give us a chance to win.”

That last part is just as laughable as Rodriguez's assertion that Mouton was attempting to free himself. And, of course, Rodriguez is worried about his own team.

Should this guy be suspended? No. But now the Big Ten is in the position of trying to make the Mouton suspension not seem like a one-off idiotic decision based on the complaining of the Great White Fail. I'd actually prefer the hypocrisy to the new "policy."

Scoop and score? Robbie Czarnik's cousin Austin was a Michigan State hockey commit until just recently:

I had heard a rumor this past June that NTDP forward Austin Czarnik had de-committed from Michigan State, and checking the NTDP's roster today, he's now listed as uncommitted, so that would seem to confirm that.

Czarnik's stock's shot up in the past year—he was the U17's leading scorer—and decided that casting his lot with the CCHA's 11th-place team and Rick Comley (who just got a contract extension!) was unwise. Now that he's back on the market, you figure that Michigan and his brother look like an attractive option. A catch: Czarnik will skate with the U18s this year, but he's only in the 11th grade. He'll have to head to the USHL for a year before heading to college, which makes him a 2011 prospect. This means he would only overlap with his cousin for one year, and that's assuming Robbie stays all four years. (Pretty good assumption at this point, but still.) OTOH, it also means that Michigan would have plenty of room for him.

Czarnik has been drafted by an OHL team but at 5'8" and 150 pounds he's not likely to be the sort of super-hot NHL commodity for which the CHL actually makes sense. Also he probably wouldn't decommit from Michigan State, he'd just sign with the OHL team.

Elsewhere in hockey land, Lake State's coach had some interesting comments in the aftermath of the Big Ten's decision to reject Alabama-Huntsville:

Roque pointed to both the situation with Bowling Green [which almost folded] and “pressure by the Big Ten Conference” to have Big Ten member teams from the CCHA and WCHA face off more during the season. “If anything, I think our league schedule is going to change here in the next year or two as far as a few less league games to allow those schools to play each other more,” Roque said.

Wha? Michigan and Michigan State already play a game each against Wisconsin and Minnesota every year; adding more—which would be 100% for the Big Ten Network, I imagine—would bring the number of games up enough to start contemplating a quasi-official Big Ten Championship.

And there are a bunch of photos of incoming recruits Chris Brown, Kevin Lynch, and AJ Treais at HockeyPhotography.com. Aaaand and WCH's CCHA season preview pegs Michigan second. Notre Dame is picked to repeat; State picked ninth.

Etc.: Men's soccer now 7-1 heading into the Big Ten schedule. Game went from 1-1 at halftime to 5-1 at 62 minutes.

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Hockey Near The Halfway Mark

Hockey Near The Halfway Mark Comment Count

Brian December 7th, 2006 at 6:13 PM

Right, so hockey coverage has been nonexistent. This changes... now!

The Story So Far

Yuck. Awesome. What? ARRRRGH.

Basically that. Michigan started the season with a walkover of overmatched opponents, though the Saturday UConn game provided a dark foreshadowing of what was to come when Michigan was sailing through, up 6-0, when they let the UConn Connecticut Huskies of UConn Who Suck score five straight goals in a game no one saw because it was on at the same time the Penn State game was. So what happened? You got me. I was busy watching Alan Branch eat Anthony Morelli's face.

...but I can guess!

  • Matt Hunwick got walked around at least twice.
  • Billy Sauer faced several slapshots from the Josh Blackburn zone of you let that in?
  • The third and fourth lines got caught in their zones for entire shifts.
  • The freshmen defensemen brought gift baskets overflowing with turnovers.

That's wild speculation, mind you.

After an understandable split with Miami -- one of the three teams in the CCHA who have separated themselves from the pack at this early date -- Michigan faced perennial Hockey East bottom-dweller Northeastern and freakin' split, losing 3-2 despite outshooting the Huskies 47-20. (Many goals, few shots will be a theme.) That loss will be a PWR anchor all year. The season's low point came the next Friday, when Michigan went to Munn and turned a 3-1 lead after one into a 7-4 loss.

Then they ran off seven straight wins. Go figure, I don't know. They even kept the puck out of the net, keeping opponents to two or fewer goals in five of the seven wins, and against fairly quality competition: two MSU games, two against UNO, one against Wisconsin (though the Badgers are inexplicably terrible this year). Then came Minnesota, the #1 team in the country, and an 8-2 loss featuring four (four! F-O-U-R!) shorthanded goals, a dismal loss to Western that featured horrible play from Sauer, Hunwick, and Chris Summers, and a skin-of-their-teeth win at Lawson featuring Steve Jakiel in net. Jakiel did not exactly show himself to be Michigan's knight in shining armor, giving up 5 goals on 29 shots.

Michigan stands at 12-5-0 right now, headed for another tournament bid and neck-and-neck with Notre Dame and Miami for the league title but not a serious threat to do anything in April unless they stop fishing the puck out of the net every five minutes.

What's Gone Right

  • TJ Hensick. Long dogged by accusations of selfishness -- though not from this quarter -- Hensick's senior year is turning into the best display of passing I've ever seen anyone in a Michigan uniform put on. Kevin Porter has Milan Gajic disease something wicked but still has 13 goals and 16 assists because he's getting two glorious chances per period on Hensick's wing. David Rohlfs was such an offensive force he played D for the past two years; this year he's averaging over a PPG and has already smashed past his previous season high for points (13 as a freshman forward) by seven. Why? Because Hensick is a dirty mofo, that's why. Theory: they should put Brandon Naurato on his wing just because he can shoot, and that's all he can do. It worked for Andy Hilbert.
  • Jack Johnson. An erratic freshman season where Johnson won the crowd's admiration but not many games has been followed up by pure domination. A force at both ends of the ice, this is the Jack Johnson who went in the top five of the NHL draft. One thing: someone who does not play 30 flawless minutes a night should probably be the one getting fighting majors when Sauer gets run.
  • David Rohlfs. Sure, he's the beneficiary of all those Hensick passes, but let's review: 10-10-20 with little powerplay time from a player who was a non-entity on offense before this season. Red always liked Rohlfs, placing him on the powerplay when he was a freshman, but never got much production out of him. Rohlfs does the dirty work for the Hensick line and gets rewarded for it. May be playing himself into Edmonton's fall camp.
  • Brian Lebler. For a guy who never scored in junior, Lebler sure has some stickhandling ability. He makes a lot of smart little plays, takes the body, and is working his way up onto the Cogliano line slowly but surely.

What's Gone Wrong

  • Billy Sauer. We're approximately a year and a half into Sauer's career and there's no evidence he's good at hockey. While Sauer's not exactly playing behind the 1994 Devils here, he's also posting a .892 save percentage. Last year he posted a .898. In the USHL he did a little better at .904, but was still beat out Shane Connolly -- now Brian Elliot's backup at Wisconsin and a major suck vortex his freshman year at .885 in nine games, five of them rare UW losses -- and his .911.

    That's the statistical case against him. He saves nothing. The anecdotal case against him is equally simple: last week against Western Michigan I'm pretty sure I saw him toss his blocker at a shot that wasn't even on net and deflect it into the goal.

    This is different than Al Montoya, who clearly didn't give half a crap his junior year and had a proven track record of being damn good. There was always a chance he would snap out of it. Sauer has left a trail of "meh" in his wake and it's unlikely to get any better. Unfortunately, Noah Ruden's gone and Jakiel... well, Jakiel was beat out by a recruit we have coming in next year and traded. Also, five goals against.

    Still, we've seen a lot from Sauer and all indications are that he's just a bad goalie. Platooning Jakiel may reveal him to be a better option.

  • Defensemen not named "Jack Johnson" and "Tim Cook" (seriously!). (That Cook-to-forward experiment was a disaster I hope we won't see repeated -- with Dest out for the next month with a shoulder injury and Jack gone for the WJC, I'm sure to get that particular wish until at least January. Cook has turned into a reliable, uninspiring defenseman. At forward he may as well not even have a stick. Anyway.) I don't know what's with Matt Hunwick, but ever since the game-losing goal against Wisconsin where Hunwick's man split him and a shocked Jack Johnson, I panic when I see him one-on-one against an onrushing player. And shockingly, I've been right to do so this year. People just dance past him on a weekly basis. It's amazing. Senior captain: take the damn body.

    Summers and Kampfer have been turnover machines and generally tetchy, but as freshmen they have a built in excuse. Summers, at the least, skates gorgeously and clearly has tremendous upside, but too many times this year he's weakly attempted to purse-check his opponents and watched them waltz in for scoring opportunities.

  • Lines without Hensick and Cogliano on them. The third line is close to getting off the dreaded MGoBlog naughty-word-for-poop list, but we need more crash and bang and less "help I can't break out of this zone." The only guys on the team who are minus overall other than statistical blip Anthony Ciraulo? Turnbull, Lebler, and Bailey (a frightening -9). The fourth line is a mishmash of JJ Swistak 2006 -- no offense, Fardig, I always liked Swistak -- a guy who can't do anything but shoot, and whichever walkon is so not being Trevor Lewis on this particular night. Effective? Not so much.

Outlook

A fundamentally flawed team that's riding the brilliant performances of a few amazing players. Hensick, Johnson, and to a certain extent Andrew Cogliano are carrying the team. The offseason defections of Lewis, MacVoy, and Swystun are being felt keenly, as that's the difference between the Michigan teams of years past where gu ys like Gajic and Ryznar were our third-liners and this one. While no one would ever confuse Gajic and his sawdust stick with stardom, he was still a plus player who you could count on for double-digit goals and a whole lot of gorgeous misses. Once you get past the Hensick and Cogliano lines, the offensive skill consists of some flashes from Lebler and the (very) occasional wicked wrister Naurato gets off. Top heavy are the Wolverines.

Defensively, Johnson's dominant and then Mitera and Cook are competent. Hunwick is still an enigma; Dest and the two freshmen are turnover machines. No quarter necessary.

And then there's goal. While Sauer's not the only issue -- he's been five goals worse than a goalie with an NCAA-average (.904) save percentage, and removing those five goals moves Michigan up from 44th of 59 in GA all the way to... 37th! -- he, like junior Montoya before him, has been obviously subpar. Combine that with festival de turnover and hello sir I would like you to have a breakaway, especially shorthanded and you get bad.

Good news: if the defense tightens up and cuts down on the opposition's chances and the third line gives up and just traps the hell out of everyone, the top-end talent on Michigan's roster is enough to outscore just about anyone. Bad news: unlikely to happen, and Sauer's probably not going to get a visit from the Goalie Fairy with five-hole caulk anytime soon.

Midseason-esque Projection

In a battle all the way with ND and Miami for the CCHA title. Probably finish second. Tournament bid as a 2 or 3 seed; fate depends heavily on opponent. WCHA = WCH-dead. Grinding team a la Cornell? Probably okay. Frozen Four unlikely; national championship verrry unlikely.

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