Submitted by Brian on December 9th, 2014 at 12:22 PM

I don't really have much today. Sorry. Monday must be trash night. Wait a second…

/takes out trash


never not funny

ANYWAY. Yesterday was notable for two reasons: the Football Bust and a you-dead Harbaugh press conference. Harbaugh's response to the inevitable Qs about his job:

“I don’t talk about any other job other than the one that I have,” Harbaugh told reporters on Monday.  “And I’ve answered this question many times, even recently, so you’d know exactly what my priorities are.  I get this from the Marines, ‘Leaders eat last.’  My number one priority is winning football games.  Second priority is the welfare of our players, our coaches, all our staff, for the welfare of our team.  And lastly is my own personal professional future.”

If that quintessential non-denial-denial was not sufficient, poke a Michigan insider and he's calling BS on reports that Michigan is out. Webb:

…the growing NFL sentiment that Harbaugh will remain in the professional ranks is an overstatement in our view, it does speak to the belief held by some that have talked to him in recent weeks that he will be tougher to lure away from the pros than previously thought. The source to which Harbaugh reported his ongoing uncertainty about the future to put the odds of his return to Ann Arbor at 50/50.

See also 247, Rivals, etc. The divergence between the Michigan people and the NFL people is massive. It would probably be even larger if anyone knew exactly what happened with Brandon and Harbaugh in 2010. In retrospect, the popular story about how he was in the bag and then flaked sounds a lot like Dave Brandon making himself look good instead of objective reality. Brandon blew everything else and was a pathological liar. If his version of 2010 events is the reason people are hesitant, I might increment myself from hopeful to optimistic.

WE DON'T HAVE FLIGHT AWARE SO GIVE US THIS AT LEAST. We're gonna extrapolate from minimal information and nobody can stop us. Block the plane, fly commercial: whatever, man. We've got body language.

Watch the relevant part of Jim's latest press conference here, from 7:40 to 8:35.

Now watch this youtube video.


Seriously though, he tenses right up, starts using his hands/arms, sort of rambles, etc. You get a body language expert in here, and that's a Michigan coach at that podium.

Let's get a body language expert in here then.

SHORTLY AFTER, YOU SAY? Tyree Kinnel tells Scout's Dave Berk that a Michigan assistant contacted him and said that Michigan hopes to have a head coach in place($). "right after Christmas." Like, four days after maybe?


sad clapz

MILES? Webb also reiterated what Les Miles himself said a couple days ago: unlike everyone from Steve Addazio on up, he hasn't heard anything from Michigan. Lorenz thinks that's not a death knell for his prospects($) if Harbaugh doesn't happen; John U Bacon had a similar take in a post-Bust interview with the local Fox station that MGoUser michgoblue provided Cliffs Notes for on the board. I'm still skeptical, as you know.

AS FOR THE BUST. Not much of interest coaching-search wise, just Hackett saying he has been "blown away" by the level of interest in the job and Reggie McKenzie advocating Mike Trgovac.

Trgovac was an interesting candidate in 2007 while he was in the midst of a pretty successful run as the Panthers' DC, but he's been stuck as the Packers' DL coach since 2009. It is kind of surprising that we hear about Teryl Austin but not him; neither is likely to be plan B… or G.

PLAN B? OKAY. I've heard Bob Stoops may be available as familiarity with an .800 win rate breeds contempt at Oklahoma; Lorenz echoes that strongly($) in his latest, and you begin to wonder if there was something real behind that Stoops-should-leave moment we had a few weeks ago, as unlikely as that seems. Chris Petersen was never going to go anywhere until he did; Bob Stoops could be in a similar boat.

It still seems highly doubtful. It's just plausible enough to kick the tires and see what happens, which at least makes it a lot more sensible than Sean Payton.

Meanwhile: this is yet another spread coach. In Stoops's case it's an Air Raid so prolific that seemingly half the country has an offensive coordinator from the Stoops tree. Stoops famously installed Mike Leach in his first year as a head coach because he hated defending Kentucky's offense and wanted to hire it, and he's never waved. That shouldn't be a problem, but recent history of Michigan etc etc etc. The Air Raid is a better fit with Michigan's current QB corps, but if you want a pro-style guy this is not it. (If this does not make you reconsider your pro-style dogmatism, I cannot help you.)

COORDINATORS? I'd be fine with a coordinator if he came with the correct combination of impressive performance, recruiting output, and long-term upside—I've got a brief post later today on how frequent the promotion is even for big time programs. Sam's starting to poke around those guys as well, mentioning a few NFL guys($) even outside the obvious Teryl Austin. IRL troll Colin Cowherd brought up Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell, a former Wisconsin QB who's been an OC in the NFL for about a decade. If Michigan is going to make the dubious decision to grab an NFL coordinator, he is one of the guys who makes some sense.

I'm not too interested  those gentlemen, but Sam also says that one of the 14-man list Hackett told the team he was evaluating is a current Big Ten coordinator($). That can only be one of two guys: Pat Narduzzi or Tom Herman.


Who's up for decades of Herman's Head jokes? Just me? Oh.

This site is highly intrigued by Herman, who Urban Meyer yoinked off an uninspiring three-year tenure as Iowa State's OC to his great profit. Since, he's coordinated consecutive top-ten offenses by any metric you care to name. The latter is an incredibly resilient year in which Herman lost four OL, his QB, and his top RB without batting an eye, then lost his second-string QB and still turned Wisconsin into a radioactive, glassy plain.

Herman is a Broyles finalist this year and was the 2013 Rivals Big Ten recruiter of the year—he's the total package.

Narduzzi is a bit less exciting because it's hard to tell exactly how much he is the MSU defense and how much is Dantonio. That's less of a concern for Herman because Dan Mullen went on to succeed at Mississippi State and Florida cratered under Steve Addazio; Meyer is also less insanely involved in the day-to-day after his UF freakout period.

There were also some signs that MSU's defense was beginning to get figured out this year. Oregon and Ohio State took advantage of MSU's aggressive cover-four safeties by blazing guys down the slot until the Spartans didn't know what to think; I'd prefer the guy who put up 49 this year on the MSU defense instead of the guy who ceded same.

Either would be preferable to a low-upside head coach, be he an older gentleman or a debatably good idea.

PLAN Z. File this under "agent": Washington coach Jay Gruden, who has done nothing in his coaching career of note other than be named Gruden, is getting fired soon. You will not be shocked what is being floated out there by his agent, then:

One source I trust tipped me off to a potential landing spot for Gruden: The University of Michigan. This source, who is intimately familiar with the Wolverines’ rapidly emerging coaching search, informed me on Thursday that initial contact has been made between the parties and that Gruden’s representation was enthusiastically open to the potential. I can’t put a figure on the likelihood of Gruden fleeing to Ann Arbor, and another UM source I trust refused to confirm anything I asked, but it’s an interesting leverage point nonetheless.

Never trust a sentence with "rapidly emerging" in front of words that need no adjectives. Gruden is 3-10 with Washington and most of his coaching career prior was spent in the Arena League; this snippet means that Gruden's agent called Michigan and was not quite laughed at. The only thing this means is that he's out the door in Washington; it has no relevance to Michigan's search.

Etc.: I agree.

Searchbits VIII: There Is No Carr Illuminati

Searchbits VIII: There Is No Carr Illuminati

Submitted by Brian on December 5th, 2014 at 10:49 AM

PULL THE STRINGS. There was another round of echo-chamber Carrspiracy stuff on the various message boards over the past couple days. No idea why, unless Brian Griese expressing his opinion that he wouldn't go after Harbaugh is reason to envision Carr as a puppet master cackling behind the scenes. For the nth time, Carr is a civilian who only talks to the athletic department when they call him up. That is not frequently.

And then there's this, via Craig Ross by way of Sam Webb:

“I am not involved in the coaching search in any direct way,” Carr said.  “However, I have been asked my opinion. My opinion was Jim Harbaugh would be my number one choice.”

This take was replicated at the News a bit later; 247 also freed up an article from a couple weeks ago in which they described what was going down between Carr and Harbaugh:

We've confirmed with a few different sources that any animosities between former Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr and Harbaugh have been mended, and very recently. Carr's influence at this point is unknown, but it's believed he had a hand in the hiring of Brady Hoke during the last coaching search, and there's been a history of a tenuous relationship between the two since Harbaugh's comments about Michigan football and academics when he coached at Stanford. This is mostly important in the idea that there's no doubt Harbaugh will be Michigan's top target when the job opens up, and it's looking more and more like it will be a full group effort with all the oars rowing in the same direction. That makes this likely coaching search different than the last two already.

Even that bit about "having a hand" in the last search conflicts with my information, in which Carr was asked if he thought Brady was a good dude and said yes because everyone says yes to that question.

Carr is not interested in machinations. Michigan might be better off if he was—if he was inclined to call his guys up and get them to toe the line. But that's not who he is, for better or worse. I look forward to my next item pointlessly begging the internet to stop it with the Carrmason stuff. Y'all should get a pool going. I've got two hours ago.

TIMEFRAMES. Hackett met with the players yesterday and told them they'd have a new coach within a month:

"He wasn't overly specific," one person said. "But he mentioned that in all likelihood the whole situation will be resolved before the players return from their Christmas break."

That would be the start of the new semester on January 4th, a timeline long enough to resolve the Harbaugh issue. Or it could happen any time before that.


HARBAUGH HARBAUGH HARBAUGH. Zero clarity. Sam threw some cold water on the idea($), citing a couple of sources who think it's going to be tougher than they previously thought. His best guess is still Harbaugh, FWIW. Those are gentlemen who have talked to Harbaugh directly, so I would take that seriously. Gregg Henson, who's been beating the ITSHAPPENING.gif drum harder than anyone for a solid month now, is also walking his position back a bit.

On the other hand, Rivals is emitting the kind of ambiguously encouraging bits that have little information content—they're enough to get people in frenzy mode but  laden with plausible deniability. There was poll on their board about what people would do in the event of a Harbaugh hire; it was heavy on the wink-wink with "but it's still a coinflip" attached. That link above is to a "you're gonna like Jim Hackett!" tweet. I mean… cumong, man.

If Harbaugh doesn't end up at M a ton of people are going to be pissed at them and they'll blame the people who are praising them to the heavens now, just like they strenuously denied that Harbaugh and Brandon had a problem working together until the instant Brandon left.

But that's none of my business.

The upshot here: Sam's hearing stuff that we don't want to hear, Henson is still pretty gung ho but hearing some things that give him pause, and Rivals is on the optimistic side. 247 has not ventured anything($) resembling a "probably" or "probably not," which is where I'm at, too: at this point it feels like Harbaugh's yes or no is about which neurons fire in his brain at the critical moment.

Meanwhile, Wojo details why things might go better this time:

Interim athletic director Jim Hackett knows it can't be cursory, which was the case four years ago. Dave Brandon didn't want to play the wooing game and cede control. But now Michigan football sits at another dangerous juncture, and while Harbaugh isn't the only prime candidate, he's the first and best one, an instant infusion of energy and credibility. And I doubt he'd use his alma mater simply to get a better deal elsewhere. I think he'd tell Michigan if he weren't interested, and he hasn't done that yet.

Wojo's "sense" is that Michigan would pay in the Urban Meyer range, which is kind of close to the Godfather offer reports.

STOOPS STOOPS STOOPS. Also zero clarity, with plenty of people saying there's no way and plenty of other people saying that this might be a point at which a mutual separation from Oklahoma makes sense.

I personally doubt it's feasible because of the Florida search, but as I mentioned in the comments of the Mullen PIH "Jeremy Foley is not good at his job" is a reasonable explanation for a lot of Florida's actions over the last five years, so it is possible that they just overlooked the possibility. Also, Stoops has a game this weekend and may be evaluating his situation more closely afterward.

Stoops's justifiably pissy reaction to the "ARE U JOB X" question sticks out, though. Chatter is just chatter.

ON THE RADAR. A group of guys appear to be filling out the B list:

  • JIM MORA, UCLA. Sam Webb broached his name in an article, and now Cowherd's chattering about a secret Michigan candidate who is thankfully not Greg Schiano. Cowherd is based in LA and would have more reason to know about a guy in LA; I've also gotten a little chatter to that effect. Former M OL Courtney Morgan is on Mora's staff, so he could be a point of contact. Sam also points out that Mora and Mike DeBord were on the same Seahawks staff($) five or so years ago.
  • KYLE WHITTINGHAM, UTAH. Wittingham's well-known to the Michigan brass after multiple encounters with him in the recent past and has a solid resume. Poachability is a bit of an issue, and Utah had a rough transition to the Pac-12, but he's a solid option Sam says is getting some chatter from the West.
  • DAN MULLEN, MSU. Sam says that "surprisingly enough," Mullen is getting attention. That this would be surprising bothers me, but there it is.
  • STEVE ADDAZIO, BC. I hate this idea but it has enough chatter that someone somewhere clearly has him on the list. Again, Addazio is 55 and is coming off consecutive seven-win seasons at BC; he was the disastrous follow-up to Mullen as Florida OC. He makes no sense unless Mullen is off the table.
    Butch Jones is seemingly also a person of interest, but with Tennessee preparing to give him an extension after a 6-6 year when he's got four years left on his contract it looks like the Vols are trying to block interest before it gets started. Carr also pumped up Art Briles to Craig Ross when they talked, which is pretty interesting. Unfortunately you have to figure that if Briles wanted to leave Waco he'd be the guy at Texas right now.

OKAY THEN. Someone asked Teryl Austin about the Michigan job, and this is an actual-denial denial:

But Austin says he has no interest in pursuing the Wolverines' head coaching position, which opened after the firing of Brady Hoke earlier this week.

"No," he said. "I'm interested in this (Lions) job."

Michigan going after someone in his first successful season as a coordinator (and second overall) was a monster longshot anyway.

SORRY, THAT'S NOT ALL OF US. Local New Orleans reporter on the Sean Payton loves hotdogs thing:

Rivals broadened their hot board in response… by adding Mike Tomlin and Josh McDaniels.

Etc.: Local columnist Sharpin' it by yelling at Les Miles to take the job. Thamel says the pace will be "deliberate," which I'm suddenly very much in favor of after the Florida/Nebraska searches.

Searchbits V

Searchbits V

Submitted by Brian on November 18th, 2014 at 3:32 PM

STOOPS IS NOT HAVING IT. Can't say I blame him for this response:


Via Eddie M

WOULD JIM HARBAUGH GO TO THE ONE PLACE DEFINITIVELY LESS WELL-RUN THAN MICHIGAN? I hope you're all rolling your eyes super-hard at any suggestion that Jim Harbaugh's stuck on the West Coast for the rest of his life because his wife likes it there. Ian Rapoport:

…according to Rapoport, the Miami Dolphins, long rumored as a potential landing spot for Harbaugh, are no longer an option. Miami's recent success apparently has convinced ownership to keep head coach Joe Philbin around and, in any case, Harbaugh is "not on the Dolphins' radar." Moreover, Harbaugh's wife does not want to leave the Bay Area, limiting the number of locations he can consider.

Accordingly, Rapoport listed the Oakland Raiders as a "real possibility" for Harbaugh.

That's not very nice to his wife in the event that Harbaugh and the 49ers part ways.

"Honey, I lost my lucrative job."
"But I thought I might return to home and restore the legacy of the place I grew up and played quarterback."
"Nope. Raiders."

Neither end of that conversation seems particularly likely, and neither is it likely that San Francisco would let Harbaugh out of his contract so he could move across town. There are a ton of pieces that would have to fall into place for that to happen.

Also there is this:

(Not that Reggie McKenzie, this one.)

McKenzie is in his fourth year as the Raiders GM and has drafted well. As of a few weeks ago he wasn't thought to be under threat. Now maybe not so much with the Raiders riding a 15-game losing streak. The Raiders are kind of in the same situation as Michigan is with an interim AD, except an AD is only your boss in the technical sense that you can fire him—in college you are otherwise king of the mountain. Oakland would probably have to offer that level of control to get Harbaugh, and those arrangements have rarely worked out in the NFL.

THE THING ABOUT THE DOLPHINS ABOVE. That is some relief as Stephen Ross had previously been thought to be interested, for obvious reasons. Hearing that is no longer the case.

NO MULLEN FOR FLORIDA? Florida got the drop on Michigan but apparently they're not interested in the guy who's kind of a big deal right now:

Okay by me. If Michigan does not get Harbaugh he would be my first choice.

SLIGHTLY INSIDER STUFF. A source inside the department relates that Hackett was explicitly brought in as a short term guy and there is no inside track to the permanent spot for him even if he decides he wants the job. FWIW, this person thinks that Hackett doesn't intend on pursuing the job long term.

Also, the search committee is on the verge of being formed. As in: it has not been formed yet, some weeks after Brandon was axed. They'll act as the primary point of contact with the search firm that does these things; still, any and all comments from Schlissel about taking a long time and getting the hire right should be taken seriously. Hackett's going to do the firing and almost certainly the hiring.

This is not likely to dissuade Harbaugh, who has a ton of reasons to want to come back to Ann Arbor and an unshakeable faith in his ability to kick ass. That makes the AD virtually irrelevant to him. Relevant to us, of course. To Harbaugh he's just the guy who clears out the underbrush so he can coach.

Searchbits IV: Holding Pattern

Searchbits IV: Holding Pattern

Submitted by Brian on November 13th, 2014 at 11:58 AM


ON HAVING THINGS. I don't have anything. Nobody has much. This appears to be because the Schlissel quote about how the AD search would get underway in a couple weeks was accurate, and of course the coaching search consists of "we still have a coach" and "HARBAUGH."

Have heard that Harbaugh is very interested, no foolies. Again. But you know how much that means.

ON THINGS SAID BY SAM WEBB ON THE RADIO. There have been a number of threads about what Sam's saying that are a bit panicked. This is seemingly because the panicky people tend to be the ones running to post the threads about the slight possibility something seemingly bad might happen.

I have not gotten any vibes to get panicked about from him. I've actually urged him to be more explicit about his thoughts, and Sam says "THAT'S WHAT I'M DOING!" and kind of vibrates in frustration. So. Either the situation has changed from what some were panicking about or these threads are wildly inaccurate, because we just had our WTKA roundtable and Sam asserted that:

  1. Hoke has no chance unless he wins out.
  2. Even that is no guarantee.
  3. Hackett is likely to be around for the coaching search in the event Michigan does, say, get beat by 20 by OSU.

If you don't like #3, okay. But at this point the chance that there's a chance Hoke returns is slim indeed. And given the timing here if your top priority is a new coach that's fine. Hackett can make a reasonable decision and then go search.


I guess I have to talk about this pipedream

ON STOOOOOOOOPS. Fresh off an emasculating blowout at the hands of Baylor comes Bob Stoops, who's an indisputably really good coach in a weird Lloyd Carr holding pattern: he wins, a lot. He frustrates his own fans more than he probably should. Carr let teams hang around and reaped the occasional whirlwind; Stoops gets blown out a shocking amount for a guy who wins 11 games a year.

Still, you're probably all like "Bob Stoops? The persistent ND fever dream? Why not just bring up ESPN goblin John Gruden?"

Hey, I'm with you. But Dan Wetzel's urging it:

The odds of San Francisco 49ers coach, and Michigan alum, Jim Harbaugh returning to college look longer each week. The perception around the NFL is that if he's let go by San Francisco, a shot with another franchise (New York Jets? Oakland? Miami? A new L.A. team?), featuring more control and money, seems far more likely.

If so, Michigan should try to convince Bob Stoops not just how he'd be great for Michigan, but how Michigan would be great for him.

There is nothing in this article resembling concrete information; it's just a "hey, do this" thing. Okay, I guess, we would look into doing that before heading down the list but a move like that is just about unprecedented in the last 20 years of college football. Oh, and Stoops just signed a contract that pushes him to around $5 million annually. Michigan would have to match that and pay a hefty buyout just for starters. Doesn't seem at all likely.

There is a little bit more substance to Travis Haney's ESPN piece:

“I think it’s very real,” one coach said when I asked him generally about OU's staleness. “Fans get spoiled. A lot of coaches move on to keep it new, keep energy high. Look at Urban [Meyer].”

Maybe it was just a contract leverage play, which worked, but I believed some coaches when they told me Stoops had genuine interest last winter in the Cleveland Browns job.

“I think he’s looking for other options,” a coach said Saturday.

Stoops is 54, FWIW. I got dollars to donuts less than nothing comes of this chatter.

ON PATTING PEOPLE ON THE HEAD AND SAYING "THAT'S NICE." Mike Shanahan could be convinced to take the Michigan or Florida jobs. Mike Shanahan, who is 62 and has not been in college since 1983. Thank you for your interest, Mike Shanahan.

But he's a young 62!

Shut up, bolded alter ego.

ON ROTE NON-DENIAL DENIALS. Brad Bates was asked the inevitable question and said this:

“It really doesn’t distract me at all,” Bates said “I love it here at Boston College, my values align with the institutional mission and we’ve really enjoyed living in New England, one of the greatest cities in the world. It hasn’t been a distraction at all.”

When asked if he knows if UM has been contacting candidates or has even contacted him, he elected not to directly comment.

“There’s no value of me commenting on other institutions and their processes,” Bates said. “I love it here at Boston College, my values align with this institution and I hope to be here a long time.”

"…unless I am offered the Michigan AD job, whereupon I will leave so quickly my clothes will hang in the air for a comical moment before collapsing in an empty heap."

The Detroit News headlines this "plans to stay as Boston College AD," which is not at all what that passage says unless you are unfamiliar with rote non-denial denials. Also in this vein:

Burns is a former Daily guy so he's probably got a good connect. But, as always, sources say things they don't 100% know or mean. I've heard he'd also leave an empty pile of laundry if offered the job.

Unverified Voracity's Hiring Bob Stoops To Be An IHOP Line Chef

Unverified Voracity's Hiring Bob Stoops To Be An IHOP Line Chef

Submitted by Brian on November 30th, 2009 at 1:47 PM


No, you don't get a pony. This Notre Dame coaching search is going to go exactly like the last three: everyone is going to get all hyped up about a wide variety of downright laughable names and they'll settle for someone not coaching at a power program. Unfortunately, the guy they "settle" for might be Brian Kelly—who ND Nation is hilariously opposed to—since there are exactly zero other major jobs opening up this year and Kelly has no buyout.

But, still, come on people:

Will Bob Stoops be Notre Dame's next head coach?

No. Brian Hanley of the Chicago Sun-Times, I will bet you any amount of money that he will not.

On Nov. 15, the Sun-Times first reported Stoops' interest in the job that will be vacated when Charlie Weis is fired after the Irish's regular-season finale today at Stanford.

The South Bend Tribune, citing a ''university source,'' reported Friday that Stoops is the first choice of ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick.

That goes for you, too, David Haugh of the Tribune. Stoops can be ND's first choice all they want. They won't get him. Is Notre Dame going to pay Weis's huge buyout and somehow raise Stoops's already enormous salary beyond Oklahoma's ability to match it? I mean, look at this contract Stoops just signed:

Football coach Bob Stoops had his contract extended through the 2015 season and will make $3.675 million this coming season. His new contract includes an annual raise of $250,000, a $700,000 stay bonus each July and an additional one-time $800,000 bonus in 2011. If Stoops remains through all seven years, he will make more than $4 million a year in the final five years of the contract and make nearly $5 million in the the 2011 season.

Stoops is second only to Pete Carroll in total compensation and has a six-year contract that makes him virtually impossible to fire. And is Stoops going to be more successful at Notre Dame than he is at a place he's already turned into a national power? You'd have to be a lunatic hung up on the idea that Notre Dame being good 20 years ago is somehow relevant.

Don't take it from me. Doctor Saturday's a neutral party here and his take on this rumor is witheringly factual:

Stoops, for the record, has no past connection to Notre Dame, has never described it as his "dream job" and has no apparent reason to leave the lucrative juggernaut he's built in Norman for a gig that's eventually swallowed up three straight coaches with winning records and January bowl games on their resumés.

By my count, Stoops has only publicly denied his interest in ND twice so far -- only eight or nine denials short of Urban Meyer's tally, meaning Stoops will remain in the mix for no good reason for at least another week before Cincinnati's Brian Kelly emerges as the clear frontrunner.

Stoops taking less money—not necessarily a cut, but you have to believe Oklahoma will have the wherewithal to match or better any ND offer—to move from a national power to a program that hasn't contended for a title in over 15 years would be, to say the least, unprecedented.

Scatterplottin'. Interesting graph from The Only Colors:


Teams farther to the right are more effective passing the ball. Teams towards the top pass more. The line is a simple linear regression. The graph takes sacks into account, but not interceptions. This makes Michigan's reticence to throw as much as you might expect given the yardage spread more understandable. I wonder what this would have looked like with David Molk available all year?

Inking David. Here's David Terrell talking about his tattoos:

They hate you! Donovan Warren sort of announced he'd return for his senior season but will apply to the draft, and new cornerback commitment Cullen Christian has a mildly stomach-churning take on that:

Christian said junior Donovan Warren, Michigan's best corner and his host during his official visit last week, spoke of exploring his NFL options this offseason.

"I honestly think that Donovan's going to try to mess around and go to the league," Christian said. "He told me personally he might mess around."

"Mess around" is an odd way to put it, but the upshot: Warren's senior season will hang in the balance until the draft deadline passes. If he gets a second-day grade, he's probably back.

Charles Woodson is awesome in many ways. Way #1: he donates two million dollars to Mott's. Way #2: he picks off two passes on Thanksgiving, returning one for a touchdown. Way #3:


How it went down. Jimmah's black eye, revealed:

Harbaugh. Well… yeah… hopefully this won't be relevant. If Michigan's in the market for a coach in the next few years, though, the #1 topic will be Jim Harbaugh and his stupid, stupid mouth. For what it's worth, Harbaugh's father:

“I think he’s very, very happy at Stanford and Stanford is where he wants it to be,” Jack Harbaugh said. “But I would say this that still Michigan is the place that he loves, the place that for him was his foundation. It’s where, the five years he spent there, his education there at Michigan and his associations with Bo and the other coaches on the staff, that’s the place that he will always call home.”

I'm willing to forgive and forget, should it come to that.

Showcase seeya. Last weekend's College Hockey Showcase is the last one that Michigan will host. Next year's edition will be the last, period. However, this is not the end of Michigan's series against Minnesota and Wisconsin. In fact, there appears to be some sort of official(?) Big Ten conference-type substance on the horizon, as was suggested by Lake State's coach before the season started:

"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.''

If that comes about, good. The Showcase has always been a missed opportunity. I've hardly ever attended it because of Thanksgiving, and having virtually no student section for two of the biggest games of the year always struck me as dumb. More games against Minnesota and Wisconsin at less inconvenient times = win. Moving OSU-Michigan to the Saturday after Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is a personal disaster.

The most logical way to make an unofficial Big Ten conference would be to drop WCHA/CCHA conference schedules down to 22/20 games—enough to play everyone twice—and use the extra six games for the Big Ten. Michigan would play 20 games in the (hypothetically 11-team) CCHA, 10 against Big Ten opponents (MSU/OSU games would be either Big Ten or CCHA, not both), the GLI, and get two random nonconference games. That would be it except in years in which Michigan goes to Alaska, when they'd have an opportunity to play another two games. Maybe that's too steep a cost in nonconference scheduling. The other option is to not play Michigan State or Ohio State four times and just count those games in both sets of standings, but that would cut out two games against State every year, something that no one wants.

Elsewhere in hockey stuff, Yost Built's Tim was interviewed by Puck Daddy about Michigan's struggles this year.

Gladwell bits. So last week I referenced Malcolm Gladwell's disappointing ad hominem directed at a critic of his recent book and, by proxy, a few well-meaning bloggers. Along the way I mentioned David Berri, the doctor of economics who's the best argument going for meathead anti-statheads who want to dismiss the whole enterprise of refining the statistics meathead anti-statheads use constantly.

I bring it up again because—surprise—a bunch of serious sport statisticians have taken a look at Berri's latest work and found it full of holes. By age 24, QB playing time is largely based on performance. Though there is some preference for highly-drafted quarterbacks, it's small relative to performance. I'll let Pro Football Reference provide the requisite sarcasm:

What is clear to me, though, is that performance matters. A lot. I know this is a shocking finding in a performance driven business like the NFL.

Also a shocking finding: David Berri has vastly overstated his case in an effort to get attention. This is catnip for someone like Gladwell who loves pointing out "Outliers" or "The Tipping Point." Sports statistics would be far better off if Berri took an interest in misrepresenting crocheting, and if Gladwell would accept the idea that sometimes people paid huge amounts of money to determine something aren't totally wrong.

(HT: Football Outsiders.)

Etc.: I like Clay Travis, really I do, but his take on the Rodriguez situation—the thesis is Michigan should manipulate the NCAA investigation so that it results in major sanctions, allowing them to fire Rodriguez—is literally the dumbest thing I have ever read about Michigan. Gregg Doyel just wrote something! Drew Sharp exists! This is a meaningful statement! I leave the destruction to Braves & Birds.

In Belichick-related stuffs: John Harbaugh went for a fourth and five with his team trailing that both announcers thought was a must-punt situation, got it, and won the game. Sometimes the right call works out, eh?

Doctor Saturday surveys the latest ham-handed attempt by the BCS to convince you that the BCS isn't stupid. It is amazing how tone-deaf public relations firms are.