Unverified Voracity Brings Out The Joe Tiller In You

Unverified Voracity Brings Out The Joe Tiller In You Comment Count

Brian June 19th, 2015 at 3:59 PM

downloadHTTV on Kindle! We have a Kindle edition of the book. We had to drop a lot of the pictures and formatting because of Kindle restrictions and we don't have to print it, so it's a bit cheaper than the book itself at $9.

If you are a Kickstarter backer who would like the Kindle version in addition to the DRM-free digital copy provided to all backers, please give us a little time to figure out how to give it to you. We'll send out an update when we've figured it out.

Books themselves are being lovingly folded right now and should start shipping soon. Because of the way this works there will be a sizeable spread in delivery times (they get mailed out in batches as they're finished), but we are going to hit our mid-July goal.

More Battle. Apparently this is serious:

It is difficult to imagine that Syracuse is suddenly the choice since they have a coach who's already announced he's retiring and are stung by NCAA sanctions, but that's basketball recruiting for you. If Battle does indeed defect and this head-fake costs Michigan Josh Langford I'm going to be pretty pretty annoyed.

Sounds like work. Kirk Ferentz is the first—only?—Big Ten coach to come out against satellite camps.

“What it really gets down to is just how you want to use your time. Me personally, I’m hopeful — and the NCAA will probably react — my personal preference is I’d like to see camps probably be limited to campus. On top of that, I would support not allowing any outsiders coming to work your camp.”

Iowa has actually done two or three of them already, but…

"We did three this year, and I don’t think we made the news for any of them. We don’t really broadcast it."

The noise you are hearing is an Iowa fan snapping a pencil with his mind.

Cost of attendance calculations. The NCAA's "Power 5" conferences adopted legislation to extend scholarship benefits to cover the full cost of attendance. What does that mean? There is a number that schools maintain called "cost of attendance" that has nothing to do with sports. It's for calculating financial aid, that sort of thing. Now that it's been dragged into a realm it doesn't really belong, people are noticing that the numbers vary a lot—and not very sensibly. Massive rent areas like Palo Alto or Ann Arbor often have nearby universities with low COA numbers; meanwhile Auburn has one of the highest numbers in the country.

How did they come to that conclusion? A lengthy Montgomery Advertiser article explains why. It has essentially been indexed to inflation from a large number determined a long time ago:

Reynolds, who has worked for Auburn for 16 years, said he inherited a cost of attendance figure when he began working for the university and has routinely increased the tuition, board, and personal figures in accordance with the Consumer Price Index, as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with transportation being increased in accordance with the CPI inflation rate, and room being the average cost of all available on-campus housing, currently 4,539 beds.

"This is a financial aid budget," he said. "This isn't an athletic scholarship budget."

The $5,586 in Auburn's cost of attendance is divided into $2,728 for personal expenses and $2,858 for transportation, according to the budget Reynolds provided to theAdvertiser, and remains unchanged from a year ago.

At some point the Power 5 is going to have to come together and figure this out, because there's no way they're going to let a four-year gap of up to ten thousand dollars stand.

A nation of Joe Tillers. Back in the day, (probably) Joe Tiller used to bomb his colleagues behind their backs in entertainingly catty anonymous Athlon articles. It hasn't been the same since he retired to wherever walruses fade away, but the re-emergence of Jim Harbaugh in college has revitalized the genre. ESPN's Travis Haney interviewed a dozen or so  coaches, offering anonymity in exchange for salt($). He got some. Bret Bielema asked to be identified and said Harbaugh was rad:

“I have had great respect for Coach Harbaugh for what he built at Stanford and as a man who isn’t afraid to speak his mind,” said Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who specifically asked to be identified on the record. “Too many people in today’s world love to voice opinions and beliefs when convenient. Few represent who they are and what they believe daily.”

And… I developed respect for Bret Bielema? Odd day.

Others did not think Harbaugh was rad:

“I think he’s nuts. He loves to stir the pot. He’ll have a very short shelf life – but he’s a very good football guy. I will be interested to see how he does there,” a Pac-12 coach said. “[Former 49ers and current Bills offensive coordinator] Greg Roman has always been the brains behind the operation. [Harbaugh] has been at private schools before so I’m interested to see how he does at a public school. There’s a huge difference in how things are handled.”

Greg Roman, Brains Behind The Operation. No offense to Greg Roman but all you have to do to dispel that is look at Harbaugh's coaching tree, which is already more impressive than most.

Others refer to Harbaugh as "Rain Man-ish," which… okay, accurate. Whole thing is insider but worth it.

Speaking of Rain Man-ish. Former 49ers tight end Delanie Walker:

"He dressed up in full gear and practiced the whole practice – pads, helmets, everything on. He had the whole uniform on,'' Walker said of Harbaugh. "We came out and said, "Who is that dude out there? And it was Jim Harbaugh. He had some old high top cleats on.

"He did pretty good. He just couldn't throw the deep, deep pass."

Walker thinks Greg Roman is not the brains behind the operation:

"I think he is going to be great (at Michigan),'' Walker said. "People buy into his philosophy. Every team he has ever been on has been good, right? So you tell me what he is going to do. Young kids love to have a coach who is crazy."

Also fans.

Just like Domino's clap clap clapclapclap. The Michigan athletic department's annual budget shows a shortfall for the first time since Tom Goss was athletic director:

Michigan's athletic department had a deficit of nearly $8 million this year, marking the first time in about a decade it operated with a loss, according to interim athletic director Jim Hackett, but he assured the budget for 2016 will be balanced.

Since Goss was working without PSLs or the Big Ten Network, that is truly impressive. Hackett explained why there was such a big shortfall:

"The result of football ticket sales being down (and) added compensation for settlements this past year caused us to have a deficit of about $7.9 million. We covered that with operating reserves, but we've got a balanced budget proposed for next year."

Michigan had to give away almost 20,000 tickets for the Maryland game, then pay Brady Hoke after they fired him, then continue paying Brandon his 100% guaranteed contract, then gather up every nickel in a five-state radius to present to Jim Harbaugh. The first three are Dave Brandon's fault. The last is a pretty good idea:

"We can tell you today, season ticket sales, which are just a portion of the stadium, will probably hit an eight-year high. We just started selling our packets, with combined games (Wednesday) online, (and) we've had almost 18,000 tickets that were sold for some of the single games. We're very optimistic about our fall and what promises there."

Michigan should get out of paying much or all of what it owed Brandon, as well. That dude somehow scoring a CEO job that should pay him more than he was getting as AD means that Michigan won't have to compensate him unless he gets fired from that gig too.

Which… well…

He's worse! /checks coaching hires… He's not good! Chip Brown lays the wood to Texas athletic director Steve Patterson in a 5,000 word piece with startling revelations like:

Steve Hank, chief revenue officer of Texas athletics, told HornsDigest.com the 6 percent average increase (actually 5.7 percent, he said, but it was rounded up) was based on a formula that involved the value of each seat “spread across” the entire, 100,119-seat capacity of Royal-Memorial Stadium.

But when comparing exactly what football season ticket holders paid in 2014, including their contribution to the Longhorn Foundation to retain those tickets, to what they are paying in 2015, season tickets were increased an average of 21.5 percent.


Sources said football coach Charlie Strong, who saw his and his coaching staff’s personal ticket allotment cut from eight to four last year, fought to increase the salaries of his eight quality control coaches from $24,000 to $50,000 after last season.

Texas has the lowest salaries in the Big 12 for its quality control coaches – even behind last-place football finisher Kansas ($45,000).

Strong’s request was denied by Patterson, and six of Texas’ eight quality control coaches who had built relationships with the rest of the staff, left to find better paying jobs, the sources said.

But he did hire Charlie Strong and Shaka Smart. Despite being quite evidently an idiot. People in charge of things are just in charge of them.

Etc.: Nick Boka draft preview. Hiring Les Miles was never a good idea. Denard After Dentist game at 8 tonight on BTN. The Mack Brown-Matthew McConaughey connection.


Dear Diary Ain't Too Proud to Beg

Dear Diary Ain't Too Proud to Beg Comment Count

Seth July 18th, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Aint too proud to beg

My vote: the OTHER Big Chill at the Big House

We've been collecting unheralded diaries for several weeks. Let's herald them.

[TRUMPETS OF HERALDRY: bah dah dah dah dah dit daaaaaaaah!]

Michael Scarn asks the big question: if college sports are corrupt and we hate the guys who are running them, do we continue to go? I say go, and grumble. My thing about my dad was 5% inspired by this diary, because my response to it that I didn't write had about the same point: the complaints are valid but they're not the whole thing or even most of the thing. Most of the thing is kids from your college are playing on recently reattached ACLs and you're on a bench next to someone who will never forget being next to you on that bench on that day.

Money talks but it's not the only thing that does so. Write emails. Call into WTKA. Attach a strongly worded letter with your check explaining this is the last one they'll get. No matter how unreasonable they seem, keep giving them every chance to be reasonable.

Mich1993 has been going over the depth chart to see how the recovery's coming from Michigan's Notriguez-to-Rodriguez-to-Notriguez adventure. In Part I he went over the various position groups; CB, LB, and DE appear fine but safety and DT are "mild concerns." On offense the skill positions are strengths and the meaty parts look awfully uncooked. Part II compares it to the depth of 2013 and expected depth of 2015.

LSAClassof2000 put together a thing not nearly enough of you read that compares the SEC and Big Ten's volume of contribution to the NFL. Brian already linked the one where he showed Michigan was one of the top NFL producers in the '90s and now is Minnesota. The aggregate shows us falling behind.


We just passed Alabama who's going just as swiftly in the other direction. Hi Alabama. Tell Nebraska hello for us when you see him and we'll do the same to Auburn.

Guides to other sports. Since soccer is now Germany's sport everybody start calling soccer things German words:

Soccer is no longer "Football", it is now Fußball.
A Team is no longer a "Side", it is now a Mannschaft.
A Game is no longer a "Match", it is now a Spiel.

Nice spiel.

Reshp1 is watching the Tour de France, or as my agricultural consultancy business family members call(ed) it: "Le Tour de Corn" because they use it to gauge how European corn is growing this year.

Yes I do mean cycling is less interesting than watching corn grow.

I used to know a guy who rode his bicycle across part of the U.S. that included South Dakota, and who used the ride across South Dakota to write a song called "I Won't Cry When I Leave South Dakota." Look for sadeto's hit single "There's Nothing Between Lansing and Grand Rapids" in a month or so.

[jump for controversy on the board]


Unverified Voracity Goes Family Circus

Unverified Voracity Goes Family Circus Comment Count

Brian May 30th, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Everything in Minecraft. Michigan Stadium in Minecraft.

I like healthy butts and I cannot lie. Jake Butt is jogging again:

"Went for my first little run yesterday and my knee feels great!" Butt tweeted.

The 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament on Feb. 13 during conditioning drills before spring practice began. Butt underwent surgery to repair the torn ligament on Feb. 28, exactly three months ago Wednesday.

ACLs are six-month things these days so Butt could be back even earlier than the third or fourth game, as Hoke projected a couple months ago.

Yes, this is a good idea. Auburn's having a big ol' recruiting weekend, so naturally they've painted the path of the Kick Six on their field.


If I find out they've also got a cardboard cutout of Nick Saban in tears, I will commit.

In unrelated news, Bret Bielema took a job at Arkansas. Bielema demonstrates his mastery of making himself look bad with his mouth:

Bret Bielema why he made move from Wisconsin to Arkansas "SEC will get minimum of 2 teams in 4-team playoff"

None of these are ever going to be Arkansas, is the thing. The other thing is that give or take a tough decision, the SEC would have gotten two teams in a four-team field about 25% of the time since the dawn of the BCS era. Three is off the table.

Hooray for three months of this. If there was a single moment when Dave Brandon completed his heel turn with the Michigan fanbase, it was when he picked up the steel chair of Appalachian State and beat us over the head with it by scheduling a rematch. While the blessed event is still three months away, first extensive article on the Horror has been published. I refuse to read the thing, so here's a paragraph at random:

It’s no secret around campus that the football success of 2005-07 was a boon for the school’s “PR value” and “notoriety,” in the words of ASU athletic director Charlie Cobb. It helped bring enrollment increases, academic improvement and more.

I can't wait for replays to be on my television 24/7. Reliving the moment Michigan football went from national power to… this… is not high on my list of desirable activities. Here it comes anyway.

Possibly related. The student section has dropped alarmingly:

"We're projecting that number to be somewhere between 13 or 14,000 for student ticket numbers this year," Michigan associate athletic director of media and public relations Dave Ablauf said. "(That number was at) about 19,000 last year. We don't have a finalized number (yet), that's just an approximation because all the incoming freshmen haven't put in their orders yet."

This is partially because students can just buy tickets next year without long-term punishments and this home schedule is not worth the 300 dollars they're asking for it, let alone the regular price they're charging everyone else. It is also partially because last year was no fun and partially because the students don't like Dave Brandon at all.

The alarming thing is that this is probably going to happen every other year going forward unless Brandon can find a home and home series that actually moves the needle. Arkansas and Virginia Tech do not have anywhere near the appeal that Notre Dame does, and since Michigan got totally boned by having MSU and OSU away in the same year, every other year has no schedule anchor.

Even for you, this is surprising. Zach Travis has a column on the student section drop that you should read. The themes in it are things we hit on frequently here. In the comments, though, TOC contributor MSUDersh relates a story about the things happening to the UM wings of his family that is sadly believable. His dad and uncles are old-timey ticket holders in section one with tickets that go back 50 years:

A few months ago my uncle who splits tickets with my dad & another uncle rec’d an email about their tickets. The university told them that it appreciates their loyalty and also wants to ensure that they continue to have those great seats going forward. And in order to do so, the school recommended that they purchase four more season tickets (plus PSLs) in a completely different area of the stadium. Despite there literally being decades of my family history with the school & athletic department, including an endowment from my great grandparents in the 60’s that continues to fund scholarships today, Dave Brandon’s team is threatening to pull their choice seats and relocate them if they don’t purchase more.

I just had a wow experience. Has anyone else received an email like this? I'd like to confirm that the AD is stooping so low.

I motion to not do this and have ice cream. Latest O'Bannon wrangling:

Lawyers for the NCAA asked the appeals court to vacate U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken's order for the trial to start June 9. The NCAA also wants the appeals court to rule that the O'Bannon antitrust trial should not be held before the Sam Keller right of publicity trial involving videogames, a related but now separated case scheduled for trial in March 2015.

The filing late Thursday night marks the fifth attempt by the NCAA in recent weeks to delay and/or redefine the case. A three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals previously rejected one of the delay attempts without comment.

Our local law-talkin', football-playin' dog weighs in:

The NCAA is also asking the courts not to consolidate the wave of anti-trust lawsuits filed by former players claiming they were cheated out of compensation above and beyond the value of a scholarship, and trying to get anyone other than Claudia Wilken as their judge, because Oakland is "spectacularly inconvenient" for a trial. A flight's a flight, according to the NCAA's own rules for seeding the NCAA hockey tournament.

Incoming. Dylan Larkin NHL draft profile ahoy:

“Larkin has shown he can be an elite-level power forward in addition to showing a high level of offensive ability. His ability to take the puck hard to the net allows for unique scoring chances most players would not be able get because of a lack of size and strength.”

Etc.: You definitely shouldn't watch Mitch McGary's draft workout video unless you want to be real sad. Nussmeier's position now sponsored by rich dude. Barking Carnival's boot camp series continues with leverage.


Unverified Voracity Unleashes Charity

Unverified Voracity Unleashes Charity Comment Count

Brian May 7th, 2013 at 11:45 AM

On my signal, unleash charity. EDSBS's annual fundraiser for Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta is up. Michigan has won this thing back-to-back, crushing all comers, and I'm pretty sure if we win a third straight year we get the right of first refusal on any 7'3" Spiderman shot-blocking centers they might accidentally produce.

Orson suggests commemorating a past football game with your donation. I'm going SUMMER OF TATE!


I blame the Big Ten Network for this. And wheel routes, of course. The donation page can be reached directly here. Michigan State is currently leading.

Hagerup gets the Stonum treatment. Michigan has announced that Will Hagerup is reinstated and will be suspended for the entire 2013 season. He'll have one more year of eligibility in 2014 if he can survive the double secret probation period, which of course Stonum could not.

Q: would Michigan announce anything if their own players didn't spill the beans on social media? The timing of all these reports seems to be: "wait for someone on a message board to notice, announce once it starts getting wider attention."

If Hagerup is still on scholarship that would take Michigan's next recruiting class down one.

Kovacs doing his Kovacs thing. The NFL equivalent of a walk-on is the undrafted free agent, and Kovacs is doing his Kovacs things with the Dolphins. But first, awesome lead!

Jordan Kovacs is the rarest kind of three-time all-Big Ten player. The kind that is nearly $100,000 in debt.

That might be a first, actually. Kovacs came in for a profile on the Dolphins' site with this quote in it:

"Those within the Dolphins organization tell me that Kovacs has a legitimate shot," MiamiDolphins.com's Andy Cohen wrote, "that you aren’t as productive as he was at Michigan without having a chance at the next level."

Practice observers are united in stating he is small but impressive nonetheless. One:

Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs was the main guy who caught my attention. At first I noticed he's the runt of the litter, standing all of 5-foot-10, 205 pounds. Most NFL safeties are three inches taller, and maybe 10 pounds heavier.

"Then I noticed Kovacs has a knack for being around the ball," Kelly continued, "and plays with a feisty spirit. He pulled down one of the Friday session's two interceptions and was consistently around the ball. What does that mean? No clue at this point, but flashing is a good thing."

And two:

Former Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs, an undrafted rookie free agent signee, knows how to make an impression. He was a walk-on at Michigan and rose to prominence and had something of a cult following in Ann Arbor. He knows the way to draw attention and that's hit. He did plenty of that, taking some liberties at times in the defensive backfield. He also had an interception. So he's got my attention, at least.

Spiece means all of the scouting reports. There was an immense AAU tournament in Fort Wayne over the weekend that has resulted in an unusually large scouting dump even for the internet. Trevon Bluiett had a great weekend on both ends, filling it up and giving five-star Kevon Looney the business on defense:

Dylan on Bluiett:

We’ve been keeping tabs on Bluiett for a long time now so his offensive exploits don’t come as a big surprise. Bluiett can score the ball against just about anyone. He has a great jumpshot, can use his 6-foot-6 frame to get to the rim and even has a nice mid-range game. But it’s always encouraging when a guy that you’ve been following for a long time shows off something new. We already touched on Bluiett’s defensive exploits against Kevon Looney but his performance was very impressive – mostly because we haven’t seen that out of him. Five threes on the other end didn’t hurt, although this still wasn’t Bluiett’s best offensive game of the tournament, that would have been his 28 point outburst against Team Thad.

He told Rivals($) that Michigan and Butler are recruiting him "most vigorously" at the moment. Everyone who's ventured an opinion thinks Butler has a tentative lead, and time is running down. Bluiett wants to decide before his senior year begins.

UMHoops also put together a scouting reel on Looney. Which… wow. He doesn't have the quickness to drive on guys a lot shorter than him, but he's a 6'9" kid who blocks everything, runs the floor, has three point range, and is aggressive. I say, he might be a good player.

Scout also has extensive, uh, scouting($). Vince Edwards had a little bit of a rough outing as his teammate and OSU commit Jae'Sean Tate went to the basket over and over; everyone's now filing Looney as an "elite face-up power forward."

Oh. ESPN's Paul Biancardi puts Zak Irvin on his class of 2013 "dream team," describing him as an "alpha dog($)":

Every team needs some alpha dogs, and Irvin fits that category. He provides the luxury of having a big-time scorer who can stroke it from deep with excellent size or beat his defender off the bounce, pull up and nail it from the midrange. That scoring versatility is priceless. He also has high-level athleticism, and his frame is strong enough that he can take a hit and finish at the rim. Irvin is a competitor who can play the game up tempo or in the half court. Bottom line, he is a bucket getter who can put up big numbers.


Sports in which you attempt to throw a ball past a person with a stick. Softball clinched their sixth straight Big Ten title over the weekend with a narrow 2-1 win over Northwestern, then celebrated by clubbing the Wildcats into a fine paste 16-1 in a game I attended. I was just talking up how Sierra Romero was pretty good when she put one over the fence; later in the game they walked her with a base full. The next day, Northwestern walked her at every opportunity, plunking her the first time. Also she's the shortstop. She might be good.

Softball is the top seed for the Big Ten tourney, which is in… Nebraska. Does that make more or less sense than having the hockey tournament at neutral sites? Advanced math necessary to tell. In any case, it's a big tourney for Michigan, which currently sits on the edge of the top-eight spot that would not only guarantee them a regional but also a home super-regional should they advance.

The softball tourney is a twelve-team single elimination thing; Michigan's Friday opener won't be televised but their hypothetical semi would be at 3 Saturday and the final is 1 Sunday, both on BTN.

Meanwhile, the baseball team is fighting for the last spot in the six-team Big Ten tournament, taking two of three from Iowa over the weekend. They've got six conference games left, a home series against Purdue and a trip to Lincoln. Purdue is about as good as Iowa—not good—and Nebraska is just okay; Michigan has to keep ahead of Illinois for the last spot. They've got a game on the Illini.

Dollar dollar bill y'all. The Big Ten's distribution to its schools pops up over a million dollars to $25.7 million. The BTN is now putting out $7.6 million a year. Makes you wonder how they used to manage with just 15 million a year. Probably ate roof tiles, sat in a hot tub filled with dirt, used old batteries to decorate.

The irony of this bullet. The only good thing about the new flood of articles (YES IT'S A TWO-ARTICLE FLOOD GAWD) about Chris Webber is they're the ones spurred by the dissociation period imposed on him by the NCAA ending. So they should be the last, by God. Has anyone else ever been a subjection of this much discussion 20 years after he left his college team?

Canadian Football. Your names. I don't know what to do. There's a new Ottawa CFL team that just drafted a backup Iowa lineman in the first round because the CFL draft is only for Canadians. In any case, I bring this to your attention mostly because that team is considering the following names:

Wiki says they're choosing between the RedBlacks, the Nationals, the Raftsmen, the Voyageurs, or the Rush. Of course a Canadian team would consider "Rush" an appropriate nickname. Whatever they end up going with, they're always going to be The Fightin' Tom Sawyers to me. But I digress.

Canada. I think "RedBlacks" is actually the goofiest what with its connotations of a distant rollerball future where all things are named according to the colors that comprise them because the gubberment has confiscated nouns.

Knobwatch. When Bret Bielema isn't fighting with Wisconsin fans on twitter—seriously—he's dialing up the doublespeak to its maximum:

Coincidentally, "Transition is a process" is also what the noun-confiscating dystopian gubberment says when it takes your nouns.

One of those guys is a postgrad quarterback everyone will want Michigan to look at who will instead go somewhere he can play.

Barwis talking about Mealer. Via the latest TEDx event at M:

Etc.: Is the body of this article titled "Why B1G has no November night games" just "IT'S COLD"? It should be. Ringer departure official if you missed it yesterday. FWIW, I heard he'd had microfracture surgery a la Greg Oden. Where the O'Bannon case stands and is going in the near future. Ben McLemore stuff just makes me want agents to be cool wit the NCAA. Burke's got a shot at going #1.


Unverified Voracity Starts And Ends With Canada

Unverified Voracity Starts And Ends With Canada Comment Count

Brian December 6th, 2012 at 12:33 PM

IMPORTANT. McGary sings Beiber, endorses Teen Wolf:

IMPORTANT AS WELL. You kind of felt this was on the table when the Big Ten Network put up a survey that asked you whether you knew which division your team was in and you instinctively knew that even if you could figure it out by remembering that Michigan is not in the one mentioned by their fight song, you should put down "no." And then you thought about it and knew everyone else would do the same thing too. So yeah this happened at some conference that is apparently going on today:

Delany says names of Legends and Leaders TBD.

I mean who could question a decision to expand coming from the people who gave us Legends and Leaders? Speaking of:

So I went to a Maryland basketball game last night. They played a MEAC team Kenpom ranked 345th, and played like it. I have seen more people at a basketball game.


I am pretty sure I have seen more people at a softball game.

The arena itself is cool, and amongst the few people around me were some old guys who had clearly been getting seats adjacent to each other since the dawn of time. At one point the cheerleaders held up big cardboard cutout credit cards and asked people to wave theirs around for some sort of prize that was probably FREEEE PIZZAAAA, and I marveled at… that.

I came away with an excellent picture of why Maryland's in such dire financial straights and with an unformed joke about how Northwestern should start calling themselves WASHINGTON'S BIG TEN TEAM™ because the position is most certainly open.

Meanwhile, Maryland forms a commission to consider re-adding some of the seven sports they recently dropped.

Mercenaries for… wait what? Yesterday's Bielema-related bombshell was the revelation that Arkansas offered him a whopping 600k extra to move to a school that has never won an SEC title and is probably never going to. Bielema was forced to say the usual things, added in some nonsense about how his first year he lost to Michigan 27-13 because of a bad call, and said this:

"When I began to have more and more success at Wisconsin, I stayed but a lot of my coaches left," he said. "I just wasn't able to compensate them in the way other coaches were. I know I'm hiring the right guys, because everybody keeps taking them from me."

Bielema lost six assistants last year, and he noted that three of them went from salaries around $225,000 per year to over $400,000 annually. He said that hours after the Badgers won the Big Ten title game last Saturday, three of his assistants told him they'd been contacted by other schools and were offered significant raises. He said he wouldn't have been able to match those offers.

"Wisconsin isn't wired to do that at this point," he said. "With what I wanted to accomplish, I needed to have that ability to do that. I've found that here at Arkansas."

If that's true—and I'm skeptical that people fleeing Wisconsin are not actually fleeing Bielema himself—that's another way in which the money is just not a factor. Wisconsin has that, and they are just choosing not to spend it because…? Because they need to build world-class facilities for non-revenue sports? Is that the answer?

That can't actually be the answer. But Wisconsin was the 8 team in revenue as of 2008 and I find it hard to believe they've dipped much what with the BTN. That year they brought in 30 million more than Arkansas. And yet…

Don't give me recruiting budget stuff either. Wisconsin spent 466k less than Arkansas in 2011, which is a big gap but it is also chump change. I don't know what the problem is, but adding more money to the huge and ever-growing money spigot isn't going to fix it. If it would, it already would have.

The problem is cultural: as Bielema said, we don't want to be like the SEC at all. Probably the best thing Brandon has done is pay the assistants the relative chump change that makes them happy.

The least the Big Ten can do for us as they set every tradition they can find on fire is actually spend the money on the stuff fans care about like "keeping that guy who has gone to three straight Rose Bowls."

BIG TENNNNN. Darrell Hazell is introduced as Purdue's next head coach and the world gets a terrifying glimpse into the reality of being a beat reporter in West Lafayette:


if I could summon the energy to do anything it would be obtain the sweet release of death

Darrell Hazell, by the way, is a wild-ass swing at another MAC coach of exceedingly short tenure (two years) who has shown little other than the ability to inherit a team that floats to the top of the MAC talent hierarchy for reasons unknown. And he'll just fly the coop if he works out anyway. Expanding the league does not fix this. Purdue is still Purdue.

But maybe they can be Purdue in another division! Here we go again:

"There are some advantages to 16 (teams) compared to 14," Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis told ESPN on Wednesday. "Fourteen is clumsy. We're not out looking for two teams, but basically we will continue to survey the landscape."

At this point I endorse all Big Ten expansions in an effort to get to the Bargaining Phase post. With 16 we we can chuck the Indiana teams into the other football division and pretend none of this ever happened.

But it's about academics you guys! No, no it is not. It is not about academics in any way whatsoever.

Professors at the meeting alleged that the Athletic Department did not consult the ABIA on the addition of the Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten Conference.

“I happen to think that the implications of expanding the conference ... are significant academic matters, and I was personally very disappointed when I heard it on the radio,” Political Science Prof. Edie Goldenberg, an ABIA member, said.

If it was about academics, the academics would know about it.

Explaining to do, attempted. Michigan nixed a charity run at the Big House in two steps.

Champions for Charity is a for-profit limited liability company, though Highfield says all of the money a team raises prior to the race goes directly to a charity of the participant’s choice.

"It's just a little mom-and-pop organization," Highfield told AnnArbor.com.

Champions for Charity rented the stadium each previous year for roughly $7,000. Highfield was astonished when the school more than doubled the old rate, charging just under $16,000 for the next annual run.

The next step was just cancelling the thing entirely, because:

Really the decision in the end came down to our external focus," said Ablauf. The department announced last monththat it would begin partnering with the Special Olympics of Michigan for community service efforts. The first event of that partnership is the "Polar Plunge" at Michigan Stadium on Feb. 23, 2013.

That partnership, Ablauf said, has become the department's priority. Ablauf said the run had become "a very challenging event ... to fit into our stadium."

"We have our own private rental program, we're doing stuff with the Special Olympics and we have a lot of things we do now in the stadium," Ablauf offered.

I was waiting to sputter about this until the athletic department had its say, and… that's it? You can't spare the stadium for one day in April and one of the reasons you state for this is because you rent the thing out for profit (and annoy everyone at every football game by constantly repeating that fact)? I'm feeling a sputter comin' on you guys!

Actually, I don't have anything to say on this that I haven't already said a lot. I mean, this is a great thing to have people do from the ol' branding standpoint:


someone had a super idea once and people liked it

The thing had a lot of traction and if there was some problem with the organizational nature of the thing that was not organized as a non-profit it doesn't seem to be that hard to work through the issues. But I'm neither surprised or even disappointed that this happened. It's just how things work these days.

Antidote! Hey Charlie Strong seems like a good good dude.

Strong: I was 9-10, and (Jurich) hands me an extension...How do you walk away from someone who trusts and believes in you. …

Strong said his ego had him thinking abt what he coud do in the SEC. "It's not abt that. It's about people and how you affect their lives."

Yes Virginia, there are Bo-like people still around. One of them is Michigan's coach, and that's nice. 

Anti-antidote. Mario Cristobal is fired by FIU after one bad year when he turned down opportunities to move up in the world after he took the fledgling program from an 0-12 national joke to a couple bowl games.

STAUSKAS. As always, Canada bails us out of feeling bad. John Gasaway ranks his top 25 freshmen in college basketball and Stauskas comes in third($):

3. Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan Wolverines
Stauskas is merely Michigan's third option on offense, and you may think being rated the No. 3 freshman in the nation is self-evidently disproportionate for a role player. In the abstract I agree wholeheartedly, but exactly how much tribute do we give to a player who has helped his team's offense to the very limit allowed by the sport itself? Stauskas has an offensive rating (152.8) that's in another zip code entirely from what even the amazing likes of Bennett (127.5) and Adams (122.8) have posted. He is a normal carbon-based player in only one facet of the game: Stauskas inside the arc with the clock running is a mere mortal. But if he's at the line (89 percent) or, heaven help the opponent, outside the arc (64 percent), he's Stauskasesque.

His numbers will correct downward from this point forward, but the larger point is that for a second consecutive season John Beliein has a freshman who arrived in Ann Arbor as a lightly regarded recruit and then promptly began stomping on opponents like Mothra.

Stauskas was a little less lightly-regarded than Burke but yeah I mean seriously the hobbit at NC State was a burger guy. Oh right and that GRIII guy comes in ninth, which probably gives Michigan the best recruiting class in the country as of December what with adding in McGary and LeVert and Albrecht.

Etc.: Annual bowl swag update. Here is a tiny fraction of the money in gift cards because we can't give you cash. Tom Izzo goes full Holtz after MSU beats up on a SWAC team. Bielema fallout. More fallout. UMHoops podcast. David Merritt stops by to suggest his Merit fundraiser. Hockey coaches can now call CCHA reffing a joke in public. Gordon Gee is either lying now or lied to Urban Meyer.


Bret Bielema To Arkansas!

Bret Bielema To Arkansas! Comment Count

Brian December 4th, 2012 at 3:11 PM

This is not a drill:

In a stunning coup, Arkansas will hire Wisconsin's Bret Bielema as its next football coach, Yahoo! Sports has learned.

Bielema, who has taken the Badgers to three straight Rose Bowls, was nowhere on the radar amid months of speculation over who Arkansas would hire.

An announcement will come Tuesday, sources told Y! Sports, but Bielema is not expected to be introduced until Wednesday.

But like adding Rutgers and Maryland will prevent this sort of thing from happening. People in charge of things are just in charge of them, for no reason.


Unverified Voracity Challenges You To A Duel

Unverified Voracity Challenges You To A Duel Comment Count

Brian February 3rd, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Blood battle part deux. Beat Michigan State. Give blood.

And then they went "aaah." UMHoops shows how back screens blew up the Indiana defense:



And there was much jumping up and down and yelling. Look at those wing defenders not sagging off the corner threes.

A key point UM Hoops doesn't quite get to: a major reason these things work is the position of the ballhandler and the frequency with which Michigan runs ball screens. On each play (there's a third one on which Novak gets the layup attempt) the post defender is sticking close to his man because he is expecting Michigan will ball screen and he will have to hedge hard upcourt when that happens. On two of these Smotrycz is the five and there is some justification for checking him out to 18 feet*, but on that first one you've got the opposing center guarding Jordan Morgan basically at the three-point line.

*[Not much of one, though. The threat is a long two, ie: not a threat.]


This is not Nam. There are rules. Immaculate image via Doc Sat. Additional Big Lebowski reference available at A Beautiful Day For Football.

Tempest in the Urban-pot. This is not a very good bolded sentence or two. It was one thing for Bret Bielema to complain about Urban Meyer's "illegal" recruiting tactics. Bielema tends to say things without considering how they'll make him sound, and do things without considering how many dead Hoosiers will be on his hands. But they appear to  be pursuing this business by complaining to teacher:

“I can tell you this,” says Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema. “We at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC—in any way, shape or form.”

Just so we’re clear: Bielema wasn’t talking about winning national championships. He was talking about Meyer’s recruiting tactics—and how after a little more than two months on the job, Meyer already is getting under the skin of his colleagues.

Just how much, you ask? Bielema, whose teams have won more games than any other Big Ten team in his six seasons in Madison, says Badgers athletic director Barry Alvarez will speak Friday with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany about Meyer’s recruiting methods during the league’s athletic director meetings in Chicago.

That is a cheesed off coach. All of this is because of one decommit. I wonder what Bill O'Brien thinks about the four Penn State suffered?

“I’m looking forward to getting back [to the hotel] and working on third downs in the red zone."

Oh. Bill O'Brien is wondering when the draft is.

Meanwhile, Michigan State is firing up a recruiting "rivalry" based on their solitary decommit of a guy who never would have committed in the first place if Ohio State had a long-term coach. The long term impact of this: zero. Ohio State will stop talking to Wisconsin and Michigan State commits because no one who secretly wants to play at OSU will commit to them. I'll believe the "illegal" bit when I see it.

Meyer's response:

"You're pissed because we went after a committed guy? Guess what, we got 9 guys who better go do it again. Do it a little harder next time."


Green knee update. There's nothing seriously wrong with Draymond Green's knee but it sounds like his availability for Sunday is far from certain. Green's mom:

Babers said her son is off the crutches he used Tuesday night and has a chance to play.

"It's a possibility," she said. "He's able to put some pressure on it. But it's just that he has some swelling. It's all about how fast his body heals."

Meanwhile, Izzo said on Wednesday that Green "could return to practice within the next few days." Green himself tweeted out a picture of his leg in a futuristic fast-healing encasement.

I'm sure that if the doctors don't outright disqualify him he'll be on the floor. How likely that is, and how effective he'll be will be uncertain until tipoff and possibly a while after. It seems hard to believe he'd be full go six days after being unable to put any weight on it.

With freshman Brandon Dawson coming on I'm not sure how much it matters except when it comes to three-point shooting. I mean, it obviously matters. But don't get your hopes too extended. Green has not played well against Zack Novak to date so it's uncertain how big of a blow that is.

Brock Mealer standing some more. This is relevant to my interests, and apparently Jessica Rabbit's.

Novak prepares for the chantings. The AP has picked up on the Everyone Hates Zack meme:

Zack Novak has a pretty good idea what kind of reception he'll face when he takes the court Sunday at Michigan State.

"Awful," the Michigan senior said with a slight smile. "Yeah, I'm not very liked." …

It's easy to understand how Novak became the Michigan player opposing fans love to hate. His enthusiasm is on display every game, whether he's chasing after a loose ball or trying to fire up his teammates in a huddle. He's the type of player fans can't stand losing to.

Also he occasionally hits people in the head, hard. Surprisingly, he singles out Indiana as the worst place for taunting. I would have bet many dollars on MSU.

Two: two dumped recruits ah ah ah. Three star defensive lineman Darius Philon got dumped on Signing Day by the Sabanator and ended up signing with Arkansas. Clearly, the SEC's new cap on signees is one that has some impact. Now two guys currently on Alabama's team get to keep their scholarships and the two guys cast off are less likely to meet the same fate. Stars apparently don't care about this, unfortunately, but at least the worst excesses of oversigning have been tamed. Good job, internet?

Etc.: Daily on MSU matchup. Wojo on same. Mike Martin on the Huge show; TTB collects what people are saying about his draft prospects. Rittenberg puts out an all-name team for Big Ten recruiting. Late Iowa flier Daumantas Venckus-Cucchiara is a strong challenger for Hugs Etienne's name of the year title. AA.com on the linebacker haul.


Unverified Voracity Steamy About Many Things

Unverified Voracity Steamy About Many Things Comment Count

Brian October 19th, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Site note. Had some issues getting and converting the game this week—my UFR process is byzantine—so UFR will be delayed until Thursday/Friday. It's a bye week, be chill.

Reminder. This is what Michigan wore on Saturday:


I hadn't seen a good shot of the sleeves, which miraculously manage to make the whole ensemble seem even dumber-looking. If you run across a picture from this game in five years you are going to laugh at the clown uniforms like people laugh at that one year a bunch of teams wore stormtrooper shoulders.

The MZone points at a prescient slippery slope prediction and says get used to it. Michigan's the first team to get their Arena League on twice in one year—even the pro combat victims only have to put up with it once.

How does this happen again? There will be a fuller discussion in the UFR of this, but it is absolutely maddening to see MSU time those double-A-gap blitzes with Molk's head going down and never get a check or read in their face. Molk on this:

"They did jump our snap count," Molk said. "They knew us, they knew how we played and how our plays were going to start."

Michigan State's Trenton Robinson originally told The Wolverine on Saturday his team could anticipate Molk's snaps because he bobbed his head down, then back up before he hiked the ball. …

Molk said Michigan recognized this during the game, but could not adjust because of the crowd at Spartan Stadium.

"Making an adjustment came down to our ability to communicate, and with the crowd noise, it sort of covered that," he said. "It puts us into a tough situation, and something we have to react to, and we weren't ready to react. They got us, no doubt."

During the game? They've done this the last three years! For Michigan to have no answer to the instant A-gap blitz into the fourth quarter is a massive, inexplicable coaching failure. Not once did Michigan block that, not once did they bring Molk's head up to reveal the blitz and then check into another play. There was no one in the center of the field for a dozen snaps and Michigan didn't use this at all.

Upside: At least this blows up the halftime adjustments meme. Downside: it's been replaced with the "Michigan State was tougher" meme, which even Molk is repeating. I guess that's the effect of an offseason in which every other word out of Hoke's mouth was "toughness." I'm not seeing it. I'm seeing MSU outcoach Michigan for the fourth straight year. It's not toughness when no one has an angle to block the same linebacker five times.

Boo-boo, line edition. Via a pouty-looking WCBN sports director hanging out in Sweden:

Taylor Lewan limping around campus with a giant boot on his left foot/ankle. Looks uncomfortable.

Somewhere on the coaching film there is evidence Gholston swept the leg. Of this there can be no doubt.

Obligatory Gholston-Dantonio statement. Anyone who's surprised that MSU is ham-fistedly taking a page from the Gene Smith playbook by declaring Saturday's events an "isolated incident" in an attempt to keep a starter on the field hasn't been paying attention. Dantonio's established a pattern. Ending a kid's hockey career with a sucker punch doesn't get you kicked off the team, every year there's a posse of 20 guys getting together to beat up some engineers, etc. etc. etc. This is the way he wants his program. End of story.

Bielema don't care. I've been annoyed with the program's public reaction to the above, possibly because it seems like they're lying through their teeth for better PR. This doesn't make me right, it just makes me annoyed. In contrast, Bret Bielema is a guy who gets his digs in:

"We'll do our talking with our pads and we'll do it between the whistles."

This is the only guy in the league who was able to call Tressel the asshat he was instead of going with that tragic hero/tragedy business that Carr and Dantonio did or refusing comment like everyone else. He also runs up scores like there's no tomorrow—it's clear he's something of an asshat himself, but these days I'll take any public figure who says what he thinks instead of what someone says he should think because it looks prettier in the paper.

Ain't hearing you about a deranged prosecutor. In the aftermath of the personal-foul-fest over the weeked the WSJ assembled their number-crunching team and came up with a list of the dirtiest rivalries in college football as measured by personal fouls of a late/unnecessary hit variety. A number are expected. One in particular is not:

Auburn-Georgia 5.4 Georgia 59%
Duke-North Carolina 5.2 N. Carolina 69%
UCLA-Southern California 4.8 UCLA 54%
N. Mexico-N.Mexico St. 4.6 N. Mexico 65%
Kansas-Missouri 4.2 Missouri 76%
Michigan-Michigan St. 4.0 Michigan St 80%
C. Michigan-W. Michigan 3.8 Western 58%
Brigham Young-Utah 3.6 Utah 61%
NC State-North Carolina 3.4 N. Carolina 59%

All of those are competitive series save North Carolina bludgeoning Duke annually.  Maybe they're just mean dudes at UNC—they're the only team to show up twice.

Of course, this pretends the personal foul stuff is a two way street, which it isn't in certain cases. On a per team basis your winners are:

  1. UNC (vs Duke)
  2. MSU
  3. Missouri
  4. Georgia

So… yeah, UNC hates Duke a lot. Either that or it's impossible to not get personal fouls for unnecessary roughness when you've got a lot of illegally acquired future NFL players and they've got eleven mewling kittens.

The fresh take NOTline*. Magazine writer Chris Jones came up with a fresh take that really adds to the sporting zeitgeist: you shouldn't say "we" when you are identifying the team you root for because you are not on the team. Awesome, dude. Thanks. For your troubles SBN's Andrew Sharp effectively compares you to Whitney.

Sharp has ten reasons a fan might break out the we but doesn't hit the reason I do it periodically: it is a convenient linguistic trick. If I am discussing the Michigan-Michigan State game and wish to refer to the teams by words shorter to read and type, I can either continually re-introduce the team names and briefly refer to whichever one is the most recent antecedent as "they." That's potentially annoying and confusing. The other option is to dump them entirely in favor of "we" and "they," which clearly indicate who is who while preventing constant repetition of already established facts—that we are indeed talking about Michigan and Michigan State.

It would take a fun-hating mutant whose super power is pedantry to object to this, which is why someone who works for a newspaper or magazine writes this column every three months.


Trouba: pretty good. Hockey 2012 D commit Jacob Trouba is good, first round good. As of late he's pushing his way into the top half of the first round:

Defenseman Jacob Trouba (U-18 U.S. national team development program): He is most likely to land in the top 10 picks and could crack the top five if he keeps progressing. He's 6-1 and 170 pounds, and he can skate well, fire the puck with authority and show a physical presence.

"You hate to say a guy can do it all, but this guy can do it all," said former Calgary Flames general manager Craig Button, an analyst for NHL Network.

Trouba checks in tenth on Button's list of top prospects at TSN; forward commit Boo Nieves is on his watch list. He's seventh to ISS. Nieves also features as a "riser":

Boo Nieves, LW, Kent HS
Nieves has rocketed up the charts after showing off his stuff with USA at the Ivan Hlinka on top of several favorable viewings last season. Nieves is a skilled, offensively productive center who has the potential to grow into his body. He has great hands and displays a real high level of skill. He also has better then average skating, utilizing a smooth stride that provides him with a top gear when required.

He's still not in ISS's top 30.

Comment truth. Let me pull this out from the depths of the game column comment thread:

With our personnel, I think most people would want Rodriguez running the offense. They would just want him to stay far, far away from the defense.

The dirty little secret is this: This game was the cost of doing business, by deciding for a full scale switch from the head coach - who didn't earn himself a 4th year based on results, everyone settle down -  on down, rather than just going after the massive problem that was the defensive coordinator and staff. Now, in the long term it was probably the right decision, but in the short term, we have set ourselves up for frustration. …

[discussion of last year's game vs this year's game with focus on field position and yardage]

So reality is this: Because Rodriguez was defensively incapable, he lost his job. In turn, Hoke was hired and he brought in Mattison, a guy who has proven - along with having a more experienced secondary - to be one of the best hires in college football. He also brought in Borges, who isn't the proper fit for our offensive talent. It's not his fault and as has been stated, won't be a problem in 2 years time. But this year, we're going to have to suffer through another flawed season, which to me is incredibly frustrating given that a spot in the Big Ten title game is there for the taking.

That is exactly where I'm at. We had to deep-six Rodriguez and the coaching hire appears to be working out about as well as anyone could have hoped, but burning Denard's career in an offense he's not suited for is killing me. Shades of gray exist.

Etc.: Basketball ranked 20th by Rivals. Smart Football on combining quick passes with runs and screens—this is like extending the zone read concept to linebackers downfield. Michigan Monday in case anyone thinks the Sparty == Dirty meme is restricted to homers. Lake the Posts also jumps in with outrage(!).