Unverified Voracity Does A Sensible Thing By Omission

Unverified Voracity Does A Sensible Thing By Omission

Submitted by Brian on May 3rd, 2016 at 1:02 PM

Spike to Purdue. The Boilermakers will not have to play the final ten minutes of an NCAA tournament game without a point guard next year:

Purdue was horrendous—horrendous!—at that spot a year ago so that's a move that makes sense. Spike's health is still in considerable doubt, so it makes sense for Michigan to move on with Walton and Xavier Simpson; for Purdue a crack at anything resembling a PG is a true wonder.

Obvious obvious whaaaa? PFF has a mock draft for next year largely based on their numbers. It features Jourdan Lewis and Jabrill Peppers at 19 and 22, which is more or less expected. #23 is out of left field for me:

Minnesota Vikings: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

The third Michigan defender in the last five picks, Hurst fires off the ball and his +38.0 overall grade ranks third among returning interior defensive linemen despite playing only 418 snaps in 2015. Hurst shows the power to push the pocket and disrupt in the backfield, though he does need to do a better job of handling double teams and finishing plays.

I like Hurst a lot but he's 282 on the most recent roster and got beat up by inside zone teams to end the year; I have a hard time seeing him go in the first round unless he adds 20 pounds and has a monster year. I'd guess Glasgow and Wormley both go ahead of him even if he does forgo his final year of eligibility.

No Arizona State for Big Ten hockey. CHN reports that ASU is close to joining the NCHC. That's the most logical place for them since that conference contains all the teams somewhat near them; thankfully this also means that the Big Ten will not add another potential RPI anchor nowhere near any of its current members. ASU brings the NCHC to nine programs, which is an awkward number.

I wouldn't assume that the ASU move means the Big Ten is going to poach an NCHC member. As I noted when the Big Ten added Notre Dame, seven teams in a league is slightly odd but workable. Eight starts forcing compromises on you pretty fast. If the Big Ten can add a North Dakota that's worth it. Western Michigan maybe not so much.

Baseball is back to being good. Baseball is projected as a two seed in latest Baseball America bracketology. They're in #4 overall seed FSU's region, so they're towards the bottom of the two-seeds. However, they might be in line to get the annual bone the NCAA committee throws half the country. BA projects Minnesota as a regional host right now, but:

With the dearth of hosting candidates in the West, the door is open for either Minnesota or Michigan to land a hosting spot out of the Big Ten. Right now, we’ll give the edge to the Gophers. … Michigan, by comparison, has a much more RPI-friendly schedule with all four of its remaining series against top 100 teams—granted that one of those opponents, Ohio State, is barely in the top 100 at No. 99. If the standings stay in the order they are but Minnesota can’t keep its RPI strong enough, then it’s more likely neither would host than a second-place Michigan team gets a bid over a team it both lost to and finished behind, regardless of its own RPI.

This is how ludicrously unbalanced college baseball is: the SEC and ACC are projected to acquire 19 bids between them. That's 17 at-large bids. The rest of the field has 16. Here is my default thing where I suggest the Big Ten leaves the current structure and plays through August with wood bats, like God intended.

Satellite camp fallout. Harbaugh likes the decision, surprise. So does almost everyone else. He's also willing to let bygones be bygones with The Georgia Coach, as UGA will join Michigan at a camp in a few weeks. The Georgia Coach is past it, too, man:

Smart’s comments generated a stinging tweet by Harbaugh: “If the Georgia coach is implying any intent on our part to break rules, he is barking up the wrong tree.”

Last week in Dallas, Smart was asked about the situation.

“That whole thing got so overblown,” Smart said. “Because he and I, he and staff members from his staff had communicated. That’s a big deal to the media, big deal to you guys. But in the coaching profession we’re a bit more lighthearted about it.”

The end result of this sturm und drang is a whole bunch of nothing, but it's nice that Michigan gets another year in which Harbaugh's football mania can be deployed without restriction. Also, ban proponents come out of this looking like big dumb idiots. Dan Wolken:

“What we're talking about is recruiting tours,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told reporters last year when the issue first started to bubble. “So, let's just be clear about what we're really talking about here.”

The strategy, of course, was transparent: To turn recruiting into a dirty word, as if somehow the entire enterprise in which these people operate doesn’t revolve around the pristine pursuit of attracting athletes to their school.

“They're not satellite camps,” LSU athletics director Joe Alleva sneered, according to the The Advocate of Baton Rouge. “They’re purely and simply recruiting camps.”

Well, yeah.

Thank you, Mr. Wolken. That has been the most infuriating part of this whole process: SEC folks acting like there's any subterfuge in what Harbaugh and company are doing. References to the "scholastic environment" were also in that bin since satellite camps promote contact between players and college coaches; they are in fact a counterweight to the AAU-ish explosion in 7-on-7. But I already yelled about all this in a fisk post a few weeks back. 

Etc.: Todd McShay calls out Laremy Tunsil for telling the truth. Connor Cook probably fell in the draft because he was helpful to the elderly. Why the Lions drafted Rudock. (No, not because they can continue to have Harbaugh coach him.) Ian Boyd on POWER. The Cowherd-Whitlock PTI ripoff will be horrible but at least it spawned this twitter thread. Andy Staples on Tunsil.

Mailbag: Unbalanced Classes, Hockey vs Basketball, Further Hockey Expansion, Defensive Coach Turnover

Mailbag: Unbalanced Classes, Hockey vs Basketball, Further Hockey Expansion, Defensive Coach Turnover

Submitted by Brian on April 15th, 2016 at 1:31 PM

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[Eric Upchurch]

Brian -

If you're doing a mailbag any time soon, a potential question:  does all the defensive coaching turnover dampen your expectations for the defense?  Having three new coaches, including a new DC, has to impose some kind of transition cost, right?  It would be frustrating to have what might be an excellent defense undermined by coaching changes.

Thanks.
-Joe

On the whole, no. For one, while Chris Partridge is a new coach he's replacing John Baxter, who did not work with last year's D. There are only two guys being replaced. Losing Greg Jackson is a blow, as by all reports the players loved him. The secondary's performance last year was a major step forward from everybody—even Peppers, who we had not really seen before, developed over the course of the season. It's likely that Jackson is very good at his job, and you always hate to lose a guy like that after just one year.

I have zero concerns about replacing DJ Durkin with Don Brown. Durkin's defense last year was very good until it collapsed late, and while part of that was on Glasgow's injury it was very frustrating watching Michigan play a spread option team with a safety lined up 18 yards off the LOS. You can't do that when the opposition has an 11-on-11 run game, and Michigan found that out the hard way. Since that was a thing that even a blogger was warning about

So it's up to Michigan: ride with what got you here and try to hold up, or go to more of a zone based look in an attempt to replicate what just happened [against MSU]. The bet here is that Michigan enters with the latter in their pocket but tries to go toe to toe, combating zone with the addition of a safety to the end of the LOS and the corresponding blitz.

…and Michigan emphatically had nothing in their back pocket in the second half, I'm happy to see Durkin at Maryland. He could be a great coach, sure. He could be a guy who hung on to Will Muschamp's coattails and got exposed by Urban Meyer.

Meanwhile Brown has an excellent track record:

Bolded years are Don Brown; others are there for comparison. YPP is raw yards per play. FEI and S&P+ are advanced metrics that attempt to take schedule strength and various other factors into account.

 

Year TEAM YPP FEI S&P+
2008 Maryland 56 63 75
2009 Maryland 87 64 44
2010 Maryland 14 20 31
2011 Maryland 83 74 102
         
2010 UConn 40 40 63
2011 UConn 56 23 34
2012 UConn 8 22 38
2013 UConn 64 56 72
         
2012 Boston College 63 81 80
2013 Boston College 92 98 80
2014 Boston College 30 68 36
2015 Boston College 1 5 3

It is possible that there's a settling-in period where Brown's D isn't as effective. The data don't show anything conclusive about that, with Maryland and UConn both getting significantly better in advanced metrics in year one despite a drop in yards per play. Meanwhile last year Michigan's defense was very  good despite being in its first year of a new system.

Michigan can't get significantly better in advanced metrics and should expect a backslide just from regression to the mean, so I won't be judging Brown on how he does relative to last year's D… except against Ohio State. The absolute best news of the offseason to me is that Don Brown spent his time at Michigan's coaching clinic ranting about run defense

Coach Brown believes that it all starts with run defense, “Check our record, 4 out of the last 5 years, nobody runs the ball. I don’t give a crap what I have to do, we’re going to stop the run.” Don Brown’s defenses finished #2 in 2011 (UCONN), #3 in 2012 (UCONN), #2 in 2014 (Boston College) and #1 in 2015 (Boston College) in run defense.

…and detailing the varied and intricate responses he's developed to zone read including inverted veer or "power read," as coaches seem to be calling it.

The result of last year's Game (and the one before that, and the one before that, and the one before that) cried out for a defensive coordinator who is awesome at stopping a power spread attack. Don Brown looks like the ideal candidate. I was getting pretty nervous for a couple weeks there when Rivals kept bringing up NFL guys—exactly the wrong kind of candidate for the biggest game on the schedule—and couldn't be happier with the way things worked out.

I'll be keeping a wary eye on the developments in the secondary but at least Brian Smith is a DB by trade and a DB coach until he was shoehorned in at linebacker a year ago; this isn't going back to Roy Manning, lifetime LB, as a CB coach. As far as the DC trade goes, I give it an A++++++.

[After THE JUMP: Jim Delany and the satellite camps, college hockey realignment stuff, hockey and basketball expectations.]

On Notre Dame Hockey To The Big Ten

On Notre Dame Hockey To The Big Ten

Submitted by Brian on March 23rd, 2016 at 3:21 PM

So this happened, and it's kind of a big deal if you like hockey:

Assorted takes to follow.

Yes, it's a good idea

NCAA Frozen Four — Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. UMD Bulldogs

[Tony Webster/flickr]

There's been a ton of bitching about this move on both sides, which I expect from NDNationers literally still upset about something that happened in 1910. I expected less of that from the Michigan side of things but our thread here is about 80% "f*** Notre Dame." I wish Bo had never said "to hell with Notre Dame." It is the crying Jordan of things Bo said.

I downvote all of you metaphorically. Michigan and Notre Dame should play. In hockey, in football, in whatever. Curling. Sure, curling. They have a strong AD and quality revenue programs, they are a historical rival, they are a geographic fit. Not playing them—not wanting to play them—is juvenile.

This goes double for hockey given the situation the Big Ten finds itself in. Simply put, the schedule is much better off with four games against the Irish than it is without those games. (Especially because those will be home-and-home weekends.) The league is much better off with Jeff Jackson in it than outside of it.

The downside is… what, exactly? Notre Dame will feel less pressure to join the Big Ten in all sports? If you think hockey factors into that decision one iota I have news for you.

No, don't add Arizona State

A seven team conference is a bit odd but is doable. The league schedule expands to 24 games, one team is on a bye they can fill with a nonconference series every week, it's fine. FWIW, Brad Traviola says an eighth team is not currently on the table:

Notre Dame makes seven, and Big Ten deputy commissioner Brad Traviolia said there are no current plans to expand to eight. Some Illinois and Nebraska fans wish their club team would upgrade to varsity, but such a move requires major funding and proper facilities.

Moving to eight gets tricky. Options:

  • 28 game conference schedule. With 28 conference games your nonconference gets very restricted. Michigan and MSU are in the GLI every year and the cap is 34, leaving just four slots for new teams. This was the worst thing about the 12-team CCHA.
  • 14 game conference schedule. Opposite problem, nowhere near enough.
  • Two divisions of four, 20 game conference schedule. This was more or less the CCHA's solution after they went to 12. They rotated pairs of teams through groups of four so the schedule did change up.
  • Play everyone three times, 21 game conference schedule. Logistically difficult. Some of the odd games could be taken care of in switch weekends like the old College Hockey Showcase. M would travel to Minnesota for Friday and head to Wisconsin on Saturday while MSU did the opposite, that sort of thing. The eighth team would probably have to be a geographic pair for Penn State, though, and there isn't one that makes sense. I mean, Robert Morris is in Pittsburgh but do we want to add Robert Morris?

All of these have costs in a way that adding team #7 does not, and so the hypothetical eighth team had better be worth it. A team in freakin' Arizona with zero history is not worth it, especially when the Big Ten does not need another RPI anchor. Arizona State doesn't have a name brand in any sport, let alone hockey.

Yes maybe add someone else

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There are teams that would be worth it if they were amenable. Foremost is North Dakota, a fierce rival of Minnesota and Wisconsin who Michigan also has a ton of history with. North Dakota is an incredibly well-supported program that would bring a buzz to Yost every time they showed up.

As a Midwest-ish state flagship school, North Dakota fits the Big Ten reasonably well. Bringing them in would mitigate some of the Minnesota hate for the new arrangement. It would improve the overall quality of play. It avoids some of the optics problems with adding a school with a bunch of other D-I programs—North Dakota is D-II in everything else. [Update: this is no longer true.] If they want in the Big Ten would be dumb to say no.

Would they? I think they probably would. Despite being perennially one of college hockey's best teams, just four North Dakota games were on national TV this year. From the Big Ten's perspective you do get a small bump by adding North Dakota, the state, to the footprint. And as mentioned, UND-Minnesota was the fiercest rivalry in college hockey once Michigan State went into the crapper. (And probably before that.) NoDak is the easy #1 choice.

If the Artists Formerly Known As Sioux don't want to come, there are other programs that would be worth it:

  1. Miami. Quality program with a new rink. Hating on Enrico Blasi is great fun. Geographic fit makes three-game league configuration feasible.
  2. Whichever Minnesota program the Gophers want. St. Cloud, UMD, whatever. Good programs that will be good in the future. Mitigates Gopher hatred of new league. Geographic fit.
  3. Western or Ferris. Neither team is going to knock your socks off with their on-ice performance but they are a geographic fit and old CCHA rivals.

Let's Play Hockey suggested Miami along with Arizona State, UConn, and UNO. Only Miami should be a viable contender amongst those schools. UConn has most of the baggage ASU does and is already in Hockey East. The only reason they would join the Big Ten is in the faint hope that would be a prelude to joining in all sports, and see Notre-Dame-to-the-Big-Ten-in-all-sports above for my take on that. UNO is a good program vaguely in the footprint but it's not much better or worse than a lot of schools a lot closer.

Notre Dame keeping its NBC contract is good

This is not the right take at all:

This isn't basketball or football. The BTN cannot televise all of its hockey. Other channels pick up games for the rest of the league all the time; there is no reason not to allow Notre Dame to do the same. Meanwhile now I know two road games will definitely be on a channel I get. From a fan's perspective anything that gets a game on TV is good; the NBC contract takes pressure off the Big Ten Network's limited programming space.

Now we can definitely do the State Championship thing

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Trophies are good [Patrick Barron]

Notre Dame now becomes an obvious choice to fill out the field for the Michigan hockey championship I've been advocating since the dissolution of the CCHA. There are seven hockey programs in Michigan spread across three conferences now; they should play each other, and they should give someone a trophy for it.

Add Notre Dame in now and divide the eight teams into groups of four that switch annually. Michigan and MSU are never in the same group. Two WCHA teams are in each group. Hypothetical groups:

Group A Group B
Michigan Michigan State
Ferris State Michigan Tech
Western Michigan LSSU
Northern Michigan Notre Dame

Each team plays the others twice. Teams in the same conference have an early-season conference series that counts towards the standings without adding additional nonconference commitments. The top two in each group advance to the GLI. The bottom two play a consolation round at the Joe either a couple days before or at the same time. Hand out a big ass trophy to the winner.

This is a:

  • Six-game commitment for the WCHA teams, ND, and one of M/MSU.
  • Eight-game commitment for M/MSU every other year and WMU.

Michigan, MSU, and MTU have already committed two of those games with their annual participation in the GLI. With a 24 game conference schedule Michigan would have 2-4 dates to play with annually and could still go out to Boston, play a tomato can, that sort of thing.

It is doable, and it would make the GLI a bigger event. It would provide a semblance of the old CCHA and amp up early season nonconference games. It's more or less adding an FA Cup to the college hockey schedule. The state of Minnesota would probably follow suit in short order.

Maybe things can start making sense now

ND to the Big Ten makes sense. Could this be a new era of not shooting yourself in the foot in college hockey? Please Tiny Jesus make it so:

No regional sites have been selected past 2017. And, according to Kristin Fasbender, the NCAA’s director of championships and alliances, the committee and the college hockey body as a whole will explore whether a new structure to the regional portion of the tournament, which could include playing games at campus sites, is a more viable option.

“I think there is continued conversation about [changing the regionals],” said Fasbender. “The committee keeps talking about what [the tournament] looks like when we go forward.

“We’re in a year here where at our four regional sites, none of our host institutions are in them. So I think we’ll continue to have this conversation as we get into the championship in Tampa and at the coaches’ association meetings in April and the [NCAA Division I men's ice hockey] committee meetings in June and trying to talk more about what we want to continue to look at globally for the whole tournament as we go forward.”

It's long past time to move to campus sites. North Dakota earned the opportunity to host a regional. Instead they're in Cincinnati, playing in front of nobody. But I'm a broken record about neutral site college hockey.

Don't overlook this sick Rutgers burn

Red on the move:

“Expansion is brought up every time the Big Ten is mentioned so (the move) is a good step in the right direction,” Berenson said. “It makes sense geographically. It’s not like we’re going out to play Rutgers or something. We’re playing a team that is in the Big Ten footprint.”

Oh snap, Delany.

Unverified Voracity Is Putting Hockey In Arizona

Unverified Voracity Is Putting Hockey In Arizona

Submitted by Brian on November 19th, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Does anyone ever check anything? No? Okay. This exists.

Michigan needs to have a twitter feed in which they ask everyone if this thing they're about to do is a bad idea.

Speaking of things that exist without being checked that should not exist. Oh man the takes coming out of the Free Press after Frank Clark's dismissal are super super hot:

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The Free Press must have a logic puzzle as part of their hiring process. Anyone who figures it out fails.

This, by the way, this is a great example of the pointless moralizing I was talking about. Seidel doesn't give damn about whether Michigan officially dismissed Clark on Sunday or Monday, he's just complaining to show off how impressively ethical he is. Barry Petchesky just had an excellent piece on how the NFL is using Adrian Peterson to repair The Brand:

3. This is a pure PR play on the part of the NFL, and it's almost too cynical to be believed. The league had been reeling from widespread criticism of its eagerness to co-opt the legal process and its inability to sensitively or sensibly handle morality. Peterson—a black-and-white villain—was a blessing. Maybe a bad man, maybe a man who did bad things, he's a relatively uncomplicated figure, and the NFL was thrilled to have someone to position itself against. The NFL clambered over Peterson to regain the moral high ground it never actually deserved, and is using that platform to shout out, "We are strongly against the beating of children." This is the safest and most defensible position in the world. What we're seeing is the return of the soldiers-and-puppies-and-Pinktober NFL, barely months after the Ray Rice fiasco exposed that as a thin facade. There has been no meaningful change. The league is still beyond reproach, because it cares about the children.

Seidel roundly condemns domestic violence to create the appearance he's a rad dude; the only person served by his column is himself.

Fan appreciation day. At least they're trying. Michigan's announced a bunch of minor fan perks for the Maryland game, including some concession concessions and apparel discounts for season ticket holders. They're also allowing field access. That access is slated to start 30-45 minutes after a 3:30 game that looks likely to feature freezing rain—ain't nobody staying for that.

We've got photos of other stuff. We've been branching out our photos into non-revenue sports. Here's a SOON shot from volleyball's outing against Minnesota:

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[Bill Rapai]

Rapai also shot a WBB game; Marc-Gregor Campredon shot men's and women's soccer.

As always, mgoblog photos are Creative Commons licensed so you can use them. Just credit the photographer and link back.

Exit Will Muschamp. Florida axed him yesterday, and man the parallels here are eerie: Muschamp had a weird, horseshoe-flavored 11-2 year (his second; Hoke's first) before seemingly excellent recruiting collapsed in a pile of offensive ineptitude too intense to be believed. QBs in Gainesville and Ann Arbor disintegrated into quivering interception machines before our eyes; the defenses generally stood tall despite extremely adverse conditions; both teams mutated football never-before-seen piles of suck, despair, and hilarity.

Today they had a press conference in which Muschamp handled himself ably and everyone swore up and down he was the best dude. Earlier this year Spencer and I had an IM conversation about swapping coaches, and it turns out that's beside the point: Muschamp and Hoke are the same dude.

Spencer eulogizes:

3. There is no limit to the variations of failure here. Muschamp was blown out at home on Homecoming by Mizzou, 42-13, and sniped by a late field goal, completing a 30-27 home collapse against LSU. Alabama could have scored 60 on the Gators, but got bored and politely declined the option in a 42-21 road humiliation. When Florida lined up for a late punt against South Carolina after the Gamecocks had already blocked a game-clinching field goal, the kick was blocked before the ball was ever snapped. Don't ever tell anyone you can't block a ball with your mind; Florida did it, and then handed it to South Carolina with a smile. The confidence in delivering losses was the only constant Florida had left, something it got down to some time after the worst loss in program history: a home defeat by Georgia Southern in 2013.

Did you forget that happened, the low point of lows for an entire era? He did that. Will Muschamp's signature loss of signature losses is him misspelling the word "fart" in spray paint across "The Birth of Venus."  It's an atrocity almost admirable in its accidental, perfect malice. For the record, I think Will would spell it "p-h-a-r-t," because that's the funniest possible misspelling of the word.

With reports that Dan Mullen won't be of interest, my main regret about Florida pulling the trigger early is that Spencer got the jump on the one-sentence summation of the last four years:

11. In conclusion: RIP, Big Dumb Will Muschamp Football. In the end, you were too dumb to live and too ugly to mourn.

May Spencer find his Christmas tree stocked with Air Raid coaches, and may Will Muschamp migrate northwards to be Jim Harbaugh's DC.

Now everything will be fixed forever. The NCAA has taken the first and most important step towards being an organization that creates good in this world:

Long national nightmare, etc.

Hockey stuff. I haven't said too much about the hockey team yet; I don't usually during football season because of time constraints and just the fact that I'm not that good at figuring out hockey even now and need some time to get my head around. I'm not much closer after Michigan's meh sweep of American International. Center Ice:

The problems started when the defensive pairings were changed again. The blueline predictably looked disjointed, pinching at the wrong times, getting caught out of position and allowing the Yellow Jackets to get countless odd man rushes on Zach Nagelvoort.

Michigan suffocated AIC by pressuring in the offensive zone for the majority of both games, but when the Yellow Jackets countered they easily found quality scoring chances. When the defense had their way on Saturday cutting down mistakes, Nagelvoort wasn't able to keep the puck out of the net and the Yellow Jackets were able to not just stay in the game, but put Michigan on the ropes early.

AIC is usually so bad that anyone within shouting distance of the tournament sees wins against them excised from their RPI because counting those games would actually lower it. These games were essentially exhibitions against a team much worse than the U18s, and Michigan duly dominated attack time and SOG.

I don't take much positive from it, though. On Friday AIC had three separate 3-on-1s and a half-dozen other odd-man rushes besides; on Saturday they played Michigan almost even through two periods. I'm at a loss to explain Michigan's play. They have piles of talent, certainly enough to scrape through if their back end was making moderate mistakes occasionally instead of enormous ones frequently. That's not the case, and then the offense has lacked incisiveness against anyone better than AIC since… since TJ Hensick left? It's been a long time since Michigan's had a guy like him.

So I don't know. Michigan is really behind the eight ball here, already, playing in a crappy conference with a 2-5 record in games that will actually matter when it's time to find tourney participants. Would Red hang on for that last year when Tech is 10-0(!) and headed for their best season since the 1980s, thus paving the way for Pearson to come back? I don't know, but that's what I'm thinking about now… not getting back to the tourney this year.

At least they're finally fixing the ice infrastructure? Yost's ice has been iffy for years.

Speaking of hockey. Arizona State(?!) announces they will add a D-I program. Like Penn State, they make the leap from ACHA power. ASU is a weird  program to make the leap; there are no West Coast programs. The three Colorado outfits are the only schools even vaguely close. Even so I'd guess the NCHC snaps them up. Arizona State brings a bigger athletic profile than most of their members.

This is one of the benefits of the Big Ten's formation, by the way. That reorganized the western programs into three conferences instead of two. After CHA folded, programs  that were considering hockey had a dubious future as an independent. Now there are spots for another dozen teams, as long as some of them are in the Big Ten.

Buffalo might be next, with Penn State benefactor and new Bills owner Terry Pegula potentially fronting the capital.

You used to know how to do this. Michigan scheduled a home hockey game for a football Saturday. That game is at 3:30. The hockey game is at 7:30. Remind me why I have season tickets again? Is it because I'm dumb? It feels like that's the reason.

Michigan never used to do this. Instead they would have the occasional Sunday matinee. New athletic director please save us. And stop running the ARE YOU FAN ENOUGH commercial for the hockey game the previous athletic director yanked out of our season ticket packages.

Etc.: Ray Taylor's baby has impeccable timing. Approximately 3k unsold seats for Maryland. Michigan catches another personnel break as freshman Maryland WR Juwann Winifree is suspended for Saturday. Old photos. Justin Meram gets a call-up to the Iraq national team. Dilly bar details.

Unverified Voracity Tears Down Camp

Unverified Voracity Tears Down Camp

Submitted by Brian on July 15th, 2014 at 2:06 PM

HEY. If you didn't already, read Seth's thing.

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Bryan Fuller

Just a shooter. Ex-just a shooter? Zak Irvin's trying to shake the reputation that he has a campsite outside the three point line he only leaves when he needs water:

Zak Irvin smirked at the old saying. He heard it before. So did Nik Stauskas, his predecessor on the wing in Michigan’s offense.

Just a shooter.

The title was stamped on Stauskas at this time last year. As a freshman in 2012-13, the 6-foot-6 guard attempted 58.3 percent of his field-goals from 3-point distance.

Now here’s Irvin. If Stauskas was just a shooter as a freshman, what does that make him? Also a 6-foot-6 guard, Irvin launched a freewheeling 74.5 percent of his shots from behind the arc as a freshman.

The thing is: Stauskas was way less of a shooter than Irvin was, to the point where UMHoops was pointing out that he was even more efficient than Trey Burke in pick and roll situations. Whenever anyone asked me who would step up as the alpha in Burke's absence I immediately said "Stauskas" in a tone of voice that was probably insulting to the person asking the question.

Just-a-shooter-related stats indicate that Irvin is starting well back from Stauskas was when it comes to initiating offense.

STAUSKAS (FR) IRVIN (FR)
3PA/FGA 61% 74%
FTRate 29.2 10.7
Assist Rate 7.6 4.7
TO Rate 14.2 9.3

Also… I mean…

Irvin made a total of 11 2-point field goals in 18 Big Ten games as a freshman. His 21 free-throw attempts were three less than Mitch McGary, who played in only eight games. His 13 assists were only one more than McGary produced.

I am now sad about Mitch again, but that's pretty stark.

Michigan doesn't need Irvin to be Stauskas, what with Walton and LeVert still around. They would like him to be a third creator—hell, if Irvin gets to Stauskas's freshman shot generation numbers that would be terrific.

One thing we do know: even if Irvin does become Not Just A Shooter (drink), we will not hear that he is Not Just A Shooter (drink), because he's not a pale guy from Canada.

FINALLY. It is policy around here to ignore preseason watch lists for major awards because the last time I looked at one I was on there. But we will make a solitary exception for the one organization that seems to have watched Devin Funchess play last year:

On Tuesday, Funchess landed on the 2014 Biletnikoff Award watch list, which goes annually to the most outstanding receiver in college football.

Praise Biletnikoff.

Yes, I know this is just because watch lists place anything vaguely hominid on their lists. I'm still taking it and running.

So there's this. They changed the trophy, likely because of intellectual property issues or something like that. Now it looks like this:

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David Jones:

The one piece of the BCS worth keeping (the crystal football) is replaced by a wagon-wheel coffee table

…leg? I think he left out "leg." But yeah.

A major blow to SMU. Megarecruit Emmanuel Mudiay was set to make a visit to Crisler for his one and only year of college basketball; instead he's taking whatever money he can get this year:

"I was excited about going to SMU and playing college basketball for coach Brown and his staff and preparing for the NBA," Mudiay said in a statement relayed by his brother, Stephane, to SI. "But I was tired of seeing my mom struggle. And after sitting down with coach [Larry] Brown and my family, we decided that the best way for me to provide for my mom was to forgo college and pursue professional basketball opportunities."

That's likely bunk, since Mudiay can just get cash on the side and the school he graduated from was co-founded by Deion Sanders and has had a number of graduate-types get shot down by the NCAA. Either way, that SMU game looks significantly less intimidating.

SMU's still going to be a challenge. They went 27-10 last year and lost to Minnesota in the NIT final; they lost only an inefficient third wheel and a low-usage OREB guy from last year's team.

That would be bizarre, but fun? Chatter about NCAA hockey expansion pops up only every once in a while these days, and when it does it's usually followed by an athletic director making grumbly noises about the general impossibility of such. So go ahead and guess which AD actually wants to make it happen. No, no, no, and no. Arizona State!

Count Arizona State Vice President of Athletics Ray Anderson among the growing number of people who like to see the Sun Devil hockey team compete at the highest level.

"I personally would love to see hockey as a varsity sport at Arizona State," he said. "We have to make a commitment to figure that out."

Penn State's departure from the club hockey ranks apparently made ASU the big dog on the block, whereupon they turned in a 38-2 season, and ASU has a relatively small department for a school of its size and revenue level.

The obvious problem: there ain't nobody to play. The nearest NCAA hockey schools are in Colorado. I guess you could slide them into the NCHC. It would still be an expensive proposition. Unlikely unless ASU gets the kind of donation PSU got.

That'll fix it. Michigan proposes fireworks after the Penn State and… uh… Miami (Not That Miami) games. I don't care, really, but it's notable that a bunch of Penn State and Ohio State people on twitter are now seemingly offended on our behalf.

On the one hand, yeah. On the other hand, YOU'RE PENN STATE (rawwereraaarr rawwrr). YOU ARE THE CHINTZ MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE.

But anyway this is where we are: opposing fan bases are getting irritated because we are not Michigan enough.

Etc.: Mark Donnal profiled. Summer league recap. Kam Chatman scouting. 20 reasons this World Cup was fine. My buddy Jerry on the 2014 World Cup and his USMNT origin story. All whites?

Unverified Voracity Trolls The Free Press

Unverified Voracity Trolls The Free Press

Submitted by Brian on August 26th, 2011 at 12:09 PM

Countdown: 8.

three-men-and-a-baby-poster

Son, never throw a punch at a redwood.
Tom Selleck

Second amendment say what. Borges:

"We'll be gunning more than we've ever gunned — than I've ever gunned," Borges said. "We use a lot of shotgun, but we're tailoring the gun more to his skills. I'm not going to reveal any trade secrets here, but we're going to use Denard the way he can best exploit the defense."

And there was much rejoicing.

He's done it. Thanks to user Chunkums here's a glimpse of Borges running the speed option at Auburn back in the day. It's at 26 seconds:

Dollars to donuts this is happening.

Are you a woman, a bicyclist, a baby, very sweaty, or all of the above? This is your lucky day if you've been interested in some MGoShirts. Underground has a limited-time store up with women's, kids, and toddler sizes plus wicking shirts, hoodies, and assorted exotics. Check it out. Order by the 30th.

Tomorrow they'll announce Dantonio's hiring. The RCMB had a thread featuring user photoshop mockups of the Pro Combat uniforms everybody will always wear against Michigan forever. One of them featured the RCMB logo on the helmet. So of course this happened the next day at the Free Press:

image

Someone associated with the "Downtown Coaches Club" emailed it out, so that's obviously happening. I hope the State spokesman was under 40 and therefore far more aware of the RCMB than Steve Schrader.

Chagrined by their mistake, the next day the Free Press reported that TE Evan Jones had committed to State. That's accurate. It also happened three months ago.

This is probably just me. Does Darrell Funk give off kind of a Gary Busey vibe?

Just me? Okay. As far as actual news, Huyge is holding off Schofield; Schofield is actually practicing at RG(?) as well.

Bring out yer dead conferences. The CCHA has ceased to be, or has set a point in the future where it will cease to be:

After two rounds of talks, the WCHA is ready to accept five CCHA schools into the conference, sources have indicated to CHN.

The switch from the CCHA to the WCHA is pending each individual schools' Board of Trustees approving the move. Announcements will thus come piecemeal, with the first ones potentially coming as early as Friday.

The WCHA has given the CCHA schools are 30-day window in which to officially accept the invitation. At least three CCHA schools are certain to accept — Lake Superior State, Ferris State and Alaska.

Bowling Green and Western are both waiting around to see what Notre Dame does. If ND joins the NCHC—we really need a sarcastic nickname for them—Western hopes to tag along. If Notre Dame goes to Hockey East, both BG and WMU hope to get their faces kicked in for all eternity in the NCHC. That latter scenario would mean the powers of the WCHA broke it up so they could add Miami, WMU, and BGSU.

I'm a little disappointed this is the way it's playing out. I would rather have seen the CCHA bolster itself with the four Atlantic Hockey schools that were interested in moving and kept conferences relatively small so expansion would be an attractive option. It's still a lot better than it was before the Big Ten formed.

At least get your lame political cracks right. Via the MZone, here's this guy:

USAOSU

I thought Ann Arbor was supposed to be full of liberal hippies. Apparently it is also really into sharia.

Etc.: Catlab returns. Trippy. I think I'm in love with Dana Holgorsen: "Holgorsen's idea of balance is making sure a bunch of people get the ball, whether by pass or by run, and then get a bunch of yards." Frank the Tank's latest on conference realignment. The Hoover Street rag is irritated that Michigan is phasing out the seal in favor of the block M. Holdin' The Rope explores the file on Nate Brink.

Unverified Voracity Excepts Van Earl Wright

Unverified Voracity Excepts Van Earl Wright

Submitted by Brian on July 15th, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Brady, Bernie. Bernie, Brady. Man, local sportscasters never die.

Bernie's "Hoke impression" is… something.

Yes and no. Desmond Howard wants his number retired or a statue or something:

"You travel around and you see how a lot of these programs have retired jerseys of players who haven't even accomplished some of the things on the field like myself and Woodson have accomplished," Howard said. "It's just a way they try to honor their players."

At Oklahoma and Florida, for instance, Howard has seen statues of former players.

Howard says Michigan is now more receptive to change.

"You look at these things and you understand the tradition and the way Michigan has handled that in the past, but obviously, you kind of got to get into what's happening now," Howard said. "We're moving in that direction. Just like … the stadium — you update your stadium to keep up with the competition."

I'm not a fan of retiring numbers. I like seeing a guy out there rocking the #2 or #21 and being reminded of Howard or Woodson (and usually how much less good at football the current guy is than Howard or Woodson). I wouldn't mind a Ring Of Honor bit where they have the names in the stadium. With the boxes there's even a place to put them.

Statues are cheesy unless you are deceased, and sometimes even if you are.

Q: if there was an in-stadium commemoration thing who would be on it?

  • Obvious Heisman Guys: Harmon, Howard, Woodson
  • Essentially as obvious: Ford, Oosterbaan, Friedman, Carter
  • Fringe-y sorts: Braylon, Jake Long, Steve Hutchinson, Dan Dierdorf (someone from 1969 is a given, no?), Tom Curtis (all time INT leader, CFBHOF), Woodley, Graham (all time sack leader), Messner, Irons

I'd probably grab one guy from the 1969 team to go with the obviously obvious ones and call it a day. Add one name per year starting with Harmon.

Tatgate du jour. Another batch of FOIA requests have been responded to by Ohio State, and the results are as embarrassing as usual. Highlights from two articles:

  • Jim Tressel got an "unacceptable" on his 2006 performance review when it came to promptly informing compliance of stuff.
  • Tressel was specifically admonished to pay closer attention to the cars his players were driving after the Clarett business.
  • That was the last performance review Tressel got because Gene Smith started doing verbal reviews; Thad Matta continued to get written ones.
  • Ohio State's reviews that loaners were totally on the up and up were regarded as suspicious even by people in the department: 'Greg Gillum, director of football operations, wrote to Smith and Archie that car salesman Aaron Kniffin, who once worked at Maxton and later at Auto Direct, "is supposedly working on players' cars and sending guys to Auto Direct for loaners ... Our suggestion is that someone from compliance try to investigate whether this arrangement is valid."'
  • Ohio State "heavily" redacted the documents, including blacking out the number of cars purchased from one particular dealership.
  • One redacted Ohio State player was driving around a 75k vehicle.
  • The investigation into ten pairs of cleats claimed stolen by Pryor, Herron, and Posey reached a dead end after a random purchase of some old-model Pryor-signed cleats.

I'm not sure if there's any upshot here except the car stuff going further back to Clarett and the lack of reviews for Tressel. Pryor entering the supplemental draft when his stock is poisonous certainly implies the NCAA will find him ineligible for car-related hijinks Ohio State started right at and chose to ignore.

Strike while the iron is hot, which it is because you just breathed on it. The "Mankato" in Minnesota State Mankato seems likely to become useful instead of redundant, because DUCK

image

Flames all up in here, all golfin' and stuff. Also this guy:

image

Moorhead is a DII program with no hockey program… yet. They just announced today that they're looking for $37 million to start one and already have 15 in soft commitments. They're looking for the rest in the next three months; if they make it the WCHA will no doubt snap them up. And then everyone gets to play against the Dragons.

Mwahahaha. Rivals has just released its state rankings for Michigan, and Brady Hoke All Your Base Co. has secured five (RJS, Ross, Richardson, Funchess, and Godin) of the top seven. Michigan is heavily involved with the two others, Aaron Burbridge and Danny O'Brien). MSU's first commit is #8 Jamal Lyles, and it's a little surprising Ben Braden isn't ahead of him—he's been killing people at camps and I was under the impression he had a shot to move up to four stars. Maybe that was Scout.

Etc.: LSU is still oversigned by seven(!) in the middle of July. They've been "transparent" with the kids this time around, so at least the guys know two of them are totally screwed. Les Miles == NFW. Meanwhile, South Carolina people are upset because Spurrier didn't renew the scholarship of a track walk-on who got one last year. I'm high on the zealotry scale when it comes to oversigning but that one fails to stoke any outrage with me.

MVictors on old-timey polls. Dodd suggests college football's cleanup needs to start at OSU. Okay by me. Stewart Mandel's version of "Brady Hoke poops magic." Wojo on the open door in Ohio. Glenn Robinson hooping it up. No one closes the barn door or writes open letters like the Ohio State Buckeyes. The SBN ND blog is newly extant. Alex Massie likes the CFB blogosphere.

Unverified Voracity Fits In Tight Windows

Unverified Voracity Fits In Tight Windows

Submitted by Brian on July 13th, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Borges in detail. I referenced this interview with Borges yesterday but I didn't actually listen to it. That turned out to be a mistake because in addition to the boilerplate about turnovers Borges said a couple of interesting things. Specifically about the shotgun percentage:

We’re going to be under center about half the time, and we’ll be in shotgun more than I’ve ever run before.

That's the baseline; it will be interesting to see how that breakdown moves as the season progresses. If the under center stuff is less effective (and Borges prefaced the above quote with a fairly ominous sentence or three about how different dropping back from under center is from taking a shotgun snap) how far is Borges willing to depart from the pro-style approach?

Meanwhile, I'm a bit leery about this:

So much of what they have done here in the past is based on Denard’s ability to run, and then he would pull up and then kind of pass underneath coverage and throw the ball down the seams. They killed people with that stuff. ... A big part of our game is running the intermediate cuts and being able to be precise coming out of the breaks and learning the timing and all that. In that regard, we are different than the last staff because, although they had those routes, we just use them more. It’s going to be a little transition for them, but like Denard, our receiving corps has been very receptive to the changes.

Michigan did do a fair amount of intermediate stuff last year but a lot of it was constraint stuff built around Denard's legs that was witheringly open. When coverage gets tight I can't help but think of the Michigan State game, when Denard threw two end-zone interceptions on plays that John Navarre would have made without blinking. (The first of those was just plain wide open; the second was a slant where there was a window for a pro QB that Denard missed badly on. At the time those seemed anomalous but by the end of the year his INT rate had sunk to the Jacobian depths.)

Offseason hype is at its usual fever pitch about the transition; Grady Brooks and etc etc etc.

They put in lights for a reason. Amidst a lot of talk about branding Dave Brandon drops this about the future of night games in Ann Arbor:

Night football is so popular right now. What's the future outlook there for Michigan?
DB: We've not committed to any more night football games until we get the experience of Sept. 10. We're going to see how this goes, execute this at a high level, have it be a safe, positive experience for our fans. If it's a good experience and we execute it well and it's overall a positive night for our community and for our fans and our players and coaches, my expectations would be we would try to do a night game at least once a year. I don't know that we would necessarily go much beyond that, but to have one a year in Michigan Stadium would be a great goal.

At least he's got the hang of the first person plural these days.

I'm in favor of the occasional night game because it might let me see the Red River Shootout once before I die and I hate missing the 3:30 window so much. Just maybe not so much with the "legacy throwback" uniforms that are neither throwbacks nor part of Michigan's legacy.

Be careful what you wish for. I googled Troy Smith's violations to see whether or not Ohio State was exposed to repeat violator status because of them*, and in the process I ran across this remarkable article from a couple Septembers ago:

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Maurice Clarett and Troy Smith for Ohio State. Reggie Bush and basketball's O.J. Mayo for USC.

As the Buckeyes and Trojans prepare to meet Saturday night, they do so with recent athletic success that also includes NCAA investigations of their brightest stars.

Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor is currently the biggest name on this national stage, and it's not unreasonable to wonder what might happen with the NCAA and the most high-profile football recruit of the last several years. The NCAA has already conducted an on-campus investigation of Pryor's recruitment to Ohio State, which resulted in two minor secondary NCAA violations.

It's time for Gene Smith to say something regrettable:

"I kind of look at them as the auditors," Smith said of the NCAA. "I welcome auditors because all they do is help us do a better job ourselves."

And time for Jim Tressel to one-up that like whoah:

"Especially as an administrator and as a head coach, you always want things evaluated," Tressel said. "Because if one of Gene Smith's coaches' isn't doing something right, he needs to know. So I don't think you ever worry about that as long as you don't have anything to worry about."

*[The verdict appears to be yes even though IIRC the NCAA only issued a secondary violation after Ohio State's thorough investigation only turned up the one guy who had taken a $500 handshake. The OSU response admits they are subject to repeat violator status but only addresses the old basketball allegations in its attempt to mitigate. Troy Smith does not come up.]

Windows. Yost will uncover them as part of the renovation; they were covered because direct sunlight was bad for ice back in the day. SCIENCE(!) has taken care of it. No word about returning the Old Man's head.

Meanwhile in chaos. The Super League has named itself the "National Collegiate Hockey Conference" because the nation consists of a smattering of Midwestern states and North Dakota. This is not a very good name but their first tweet

First @TheNCHC tweet: "We are exciting to announce the formation of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference."

…implies that it sounds really cool in Japanese and just needs a better translator.

Also Western is so gone from the CCHA, yo:

"We've positioned ourselves, telling people the value in Western Michigan," said Beauregard, who has formed a "Why Western" campaign to sell the program to other universities and existing and potential conferences.

"We want to hear what they have to say." …

"We've had close conversations with Notre Dame," Beauregard said. "We want to follow them and be a part of what they end up doing."

Getting dragged along with ND because they're a convenient bus ride from South Bend is quite a break for a team that spent most of the last decade battling BGSU for last place in the CCHA.

Or maybe it's not a break since without Blashill the most logical landing spot for them is the cellar of the Badly Translated From Japanese Conference. Congratulations, you're Michigan Tech. If they stuck in the CCHA they'd instantly be in contention for an autobid; if they succeed in persuading the BTFJC they're worthy the next time they see the NCAA tournament the skies will be red with blood and Mel Gibson (only Mel Gibson) will have been raptured up.

The remaining CCHA teams have been trying to meet with the remnants of the WCHA, but the WCHA is trying to find room on its rolodex between "eject all tournament teams" and "blither aimlessly"; NMU would really like to hook up at some point in the future but will be washing its hair until 2013. Any day now we'll start hearing about Niagara and Robert Morris and etc.

Etc.: The Kalis stepfather call all podcasted and stuff. Pros and cons of this brave new world in hockey.

Unverified Voracity Is Unhappy You Found Him

Unverified Voracity Is Unhappy You Found Him

Submitted by Brian on July 11th, 2011 at 5:08 PM

Hurray issues. So this morning an iframe insert got put in the js file. It has been removed and we are monitoring that particular file intently; the good news is that no other files on the server have been changed. I've turned off js aggregation, which will make the site marginally slower for first loads. We are still looking for the entry vector; if a js file gets updated we will know about it and check to make sure it does not have the malicious code in it. We have a request in to Google for a clearance.

If you are concerned, running a noscript module on your browser is a good idea. Apologies.

(Note: this is unrelated to the scattered reports people were having of malware from the Google Ads, which are client-side issues.)

Fun with hats. Ace has it:

1888

There's Waldo. Insane axe-murdering Waldo.

Hatch update. Via his CaringBridge page:

By the grace of God, Austin James is showing improvements everyday. He is comfortable and stable. He has begun opening his BIG BLUE EYES a little bit more! We understand that his healing will be a very slow and gradual process; we're not sure whether Austin has any awareness of what he sees yet.

He's got a long way to go, but it sounds like he's getting out of the woods.

Further evidence for the skinflint theory. The Big Ten continues to pile up the cash:

They continue to not spend it on football coaches:

The SEC paid its assistant coaches an average of $276,122 in 2010, according to figures compiled by St. Louis attorney and agent Bob Lattinville of the firm Stinson Morrison Hecker.

The Big 12 was second at $232,685 and the Big Ten a distant fourth, behind the Atlantic Coast Conference, at $187,055. In each instance, the averages do not include salaries at private schools such as Baylor, Penn State and Vanderbilt.

You may have noticed that Penn State is not a private school, but they have some sort of state law that protects them from FOIA requests. They likely pay their assistants more than the Baylors and Vanderbilts of the world but Northwestern is also omitted and Penn State isn't closing a 50-grand gap with the Big 12, let alone the 90 grand to the SEC.

Not that I have a problem with not heaping even more money on football coaches, but Braves & Birds's theory that the Big Ten is falling behind because they refuse to lay out money for proven coaches is looking pretty good these days. At least Michigan bucked the trend by 1) wildly overpaying their version of Gene Chizik and 2) finding their own Mahlzahn in Mattison.

Dominoes go further. College hockey lurches towards its final configuration apace, with Northern Michigan making the obvious move to the WCHA. Northern was in (an almost completely different) WCHA until the late 90s and returns, renewing a conference rivalry with Michigan Tech and easing their travel burden.

Interestingly, word from Marquette has a surprising second school on the WCHA hit list: Alaska. The WCHA retains Anchorage and the conventional wisdom holds that two Alaska schools are too many for one conference since teams could be required to make more than one trip up north per year. If the WCHA's endgame is an eight team league, you'd think the conference schedule would be 28 games—four each against seven opponents. That would require two trips per year. Even if you go to a division system where you play four teams only twice, you're averaging 1.5 trips to Alaska per year. Lake Superior seems like a more logical option due to its natural rivalries with the other UP teams.

Meanwhile, the smoking husk of the CCHA takes another hit. Notre Dame's gone sooner or later. Western Michigan's openly pleading for someone to take them. Lake State has to be angling for a WCHA invite along with Alaska. Poor Bowling Green and Ferris State are hanging out in Fred Pletsch's basement drinking the cheapest beer on the market until Atlantic Hockey teams start to look attractive.

Current wild-ass guess at what college hockey in the West looks like in two years:

WCHA CCHA Big Ten TCHA
St. Cloud BGSU Michigan Miami
UAA Ferris State Michigan State Notre Dame
Minnesota State Mercyhurst Penn State WMU
MTU Robert Morris Ohio State North Dakota
NMU Niagara Wisconsin Minnesota-Duluth
Bemidji State Alaska Minnesota CC
LSSU     Denver
Air Force(?)     UNO

If LSSU does not move to the CCHA you can insert Cansisius, another Buffalo-area AH team, or UAH into the CCHA to make eight.

Is that viable for everyone in the WCHA and CCHA? I think the WCHA will be okay. Most of the programs there have recent financial commitments from their universities; at all of them hockey is unquestionably the top dog. That's the case for everyone in the CCHA, as well, except for Ferris (no recent insertion of capital) and BGSU (MAC football and basketball probably more important). I think Ferris would be able to keep its footing.

What would really help is having a formal state of Michigan championship. In this new doomsday scenario Michigan teams are split across four leagues, making the previous plan—which relied on a lot of conference games being counted for the championship—dubious. On the other hand, in this new world there are a ton of nonconference games that need filling.

Have fun storming the castle. Even if Russell Wilson isn't certain doom for Wisconsin's opponents this year he's better than whatever the Badgers had before. KC Joyner makes an interesting point, though: Scott Tolzien was one of the most underrated players of the last decade in the league and Wilson won't approach his insane efficiency.

Etc.: Michigan's new white hockey jersey is going to be regrettable in a few years, and I miss the cool Rangers-esque lettering on the maize one. Outrage is low because they'll just change them next year anyway. Yost Built also says "you're out, White Jersey" in a flat sexy German monotone. Holdin' The Rope assembles things.

Hockey Realignment React

Hockey Realignment React

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

explosion2elliottwallpaper0os

right via let's go du

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now…

THE COLLEGE HOCKEY TEAMS MOST SCREWED BY REALIGNMENT

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

THINGS MICHIGAN SHOULD DO

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

HYPOTHETICAL NEW WORLD CONFERENCE RANKINGS

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

HYPOTHETICAL MAIN BENEFIT OF SUPER CONFERENCE

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

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

Zero.