Michigan All-Blank Teams: The Blue Chips

Michigan All-Blank Teams: The Blue Chips Comment Count

Seth June 1st, 2018 at 3:03 PM
But which position he? [Patrick Barron]

Here’s some very important #content for #content week as our focus remains on pushing out two very important projects. MGoBlog photographer Eric Upchurch last night tweeted one of those “make your all-time” lists that generate the same answers (our board is up to that now). I thought I’d up the difficulty/interest by theming them, sort of like how Ace made his all-Beilein teams last year. First: the 5-stars.


Rule: Has to be over 4.5 stars on my database and a five-star to someone.

Cut-off: Had to commit (or transfer) to Michigan after 1989. If you want all-Bo teams talk to Dr. Sap, and anything earlier go to MVictors, because I’m not old enough to have strong opinions on anyone before the mid-1990s. Also my recruiting database only goes back to 1990 (yes, millennials, crootin existed before the Rivals database).


Quarterback: Chad Henne

No this entire post won’t be me posting gifs and slapping some words on it; I just wanted to try it once.

Four-year starter, his healthy junior season was the best by a Michigan quarterback under Lloyd Carr despite being up against a parade of NFL draft picks. Drew Henson at his best was the best, but as the owner of a Henson jersey I can vouch it was Henne who really rescued the value of that purchase.

Speaking of that parade, partly because the position gets ranked higher, Michigan has brought in a LOT of five-star quarterbacks. Brandon Peters didn’t get anyone’s 5th star but was a 4.60 for reference.

Other candidates: Shea Patterson, Shane Morris, Devin Gardner, Ryan Mallett, Clayton Richard, Matt Gutierrez, Drew Henson, Jason Kapsner

Running Back: Tyrone Wheatley, Anthony Thomas

The first time I learned that Michigan had to convince high-schoolers to play for them—rather than, I dunno, springing from midfield or something—was a Free Press article about Wheatley being the most perfect human-football specimen ever produced in the state. Wheatley is the but… response to “are our 5-star running backs cursed?” You youngsters probably don’t know what it feels like to have this massive pair of shoulder pads gliding away from smurfs (and Nits). To this day his signature shoulder-dip is my go-to move when trying to dodge a person in an enclosed space.

If you do have a frame of reference, it’s probably because A-Train was a near carbon copy of #6. Thomas didn’t have much of a pro career but he was a great college player, fast enough to return kicks and one of the best pass blocking RBs of the modern era. And he always. Fell. Forward.

Other candidates: Kareem Walker, Ty Isaac, Derrick Green, Kevin Grady, Kelly Baraka, Justin Fargas, (okay okay we’re cursed!), Ricky Powers.

[After the JUMP: This all could have been (was) a Tweet. Happy June]


Defunct Michigan Blogs

Defunct Michigan Blogs Comment Count

Seth May 29th, 2018 at 5:28 PM

Yo this is going to be some #content right here, since I don’t have time for nothing else. I was going through our lists in preparation to transfer the tertiary things to the new site (don’t ask) and this reminded me it had been a long time since we cleaned up the links on the sidebar.

I’ve done so, but it hurt to remove some old bookmarks I used to check every day. So they don’t all just get summarily dumped, I figured a thread in tribute to some great Michigan writing during the formative years of blogging was in order. If you joined the sphere too late for the age when 20-something Michigan fans all had blogspots and tried to invent our own shticks so as to not come off as LiveJournals, some of them are worth going back and reading.

A top three:

Burgeoning Wolverine Star


An X’s and O’s Michigan blog. Chris Gaerig is one of those guys I keep meaning to contact about writing for HTTV sometime because he was a fantastic writer as well as a deep thinker about specific Michigan plays. His posts used to get linked regularly in UFRs. Neck Sharpies exists because I set out myself to fill some of the void he left. Also: basketball.

The Blog That Yost Built


There are two types of MGoBlog readers: those who think we have too much hockey, and those who think it’s awful how little we cover hockey. Tim Williams started his site because we didn’t have enough hockey coverage at MGoBlog and if he still had time to write he’d be a regular here, since we’re all among the former as well.

Ronald Bellamy’s Underachieving All-Stars


Though he has a far better writing gig these days, I still think of him as Johnny RBUAS. If you have ever wanted to feel very emotional about a beloved Michigan player’s fictionalized stream of consciousness, this site was for you. If you haven’t, really that’s okay, I won’t curl up in a ball and cry, unless Johnny RBUAS writes about it. Bonus: the url was umichedme dot blogspot.

Others I remember and don’t:

  • The Ace of Sports—His name was Ace (actually Harry), and he liked M and Detroit sports. Get it?
  • Autumn Thunder—The half-assed Michigan blog. MS Paint, Hart, and more Hart. Still occasionally useful, though some of his best work has grown outdated.
  • Bitter Rivals—Short-lived M v MSU site, beat Mike Hart to the fraternal metaphor.
  • Blah Blah Blah—2008 was not the year to start blogging about Michigan.
  • Hokeamaniac—That didn’t last.
  • In Rod We Trust—That didn’t last either.
  • Maize Wings—Very late to the very late-‘00s blogging party
  • MGoBlue Football
  • MGoSwim
  • Michigan Football Recruiting—Guy I grew up with made a crootin site.
  • Michigan Football Saturdays—Dedicated blogger in the era of everyone had a blog
  • Michigan Hockey Net—Covered M hockey, Red Wings
  • MMMGoBlueBBQ—Joe Pichey wrote for himself before he wrote for us.
  • Stadium & Main
  • The Diag—MLive tried to have a blog
  • The Game—Can’t think why a M fan wouldn’t want to post daily about the M-OSU rivalry anymore.
  • The M Zone—Humor site, now a worthy follow.
  • The Michigan Faithful
  • The Wolverine Blog
  • Three And Out
  • UMGoBlog—Annoyingly, would get our traffic. Annoyingly, UMGoBlue.com took his twitter handle.
  • Victors Valiant—Had useful previews.
  • When Carcajous Attack!—Used to have some great previews, joined Maize ‘n Brew for a time.
  • Wolverine Liberation Army—Only the unicorns remain of the once proud proletariat
  • Wolverines Daily

What did I miss? What do you miss?


The Dairy Products of the American Heartland Annual Kvetch About Bowl Game Names

The Dairy Products of the American Heartland Annual Kvetch About Bowl Game Names Comment Count

Seth December 23rd, 2016 at 9:42 AM

The tradition continues. See previous for Why.


image: Oh, flibblyniblets.

image: What’s wrong, April?

image: I am trying to surprise my husband with a bowl trip this year but I don’t know how to communicate where we’re going. I thought we were going to the Orange Bowl, but then I looked it up and it said some sort of credit card company.

image: Oh, I see what happened.

image: You do?

image: Why yes, you need COMMON LANGUAGE!

image: Lamegwege? What’s that?

image: Language! I use it all the time! It’s a body of words—and the systems for their use—that are common to a people who are of the same linguistic community. Here’s how it works:


Words are used to convey meanings that the listener is already conditioned to understand. The words enter the ear canal and are interpreted by the brain into cognitive thoughts.

image: But I’ve tried that. What if, like, some credit card company pays to replace the words for a bowl game with their name?


image: Silly April, you can’t BUY language! All you have to do is use words that your listener will comprehend.

For example here’s how you refer to all of this year’s bowl games in English:

(bold are the ones where they’ve done away with the real names. All times are EST. Click each logo to get the full size. Use however you like.)

Date/Time You Call it They Call It Since Teams Logo
Dec 17 New Mexico Gildan… 2006 UNM/UTSA New Mexico Bowl
Dec 17 Las Vegas 1992 SDSU/Houston LasVegasBowl
Dec 17 Camellia Raycom Media… 2014 AppSt/Toledo camellia-bowl-logo
Dec 17 Cure AutoNation… 2015 ArkSt/UCF curebowl
Dec 17 New Orleans R+L Carriers 2001 S.Miss/La-Laf NewOrleansBowl
Dec 19 Miami Beach 2014 Tulsa/CMU
Dec 20 Boca Bowl Boca Raton 2014 WKU/Memphis b_xxLEMu
Dec 21 Poinsettia San Diego County Credit Union… 2005 BYU/Wyoming PoinsettiaBowl
Dec 22-7pm Potato Famous Idaho… 1997 Idaho/CSU Potatobowl
Dec 23-1pm Bahamas Popeyes… 2014 EMU/Old Dom logo
Dec23-4:30 The Military One at TCU Lockheed Martin Armed Forces 2003 Navy/LaTech armedforces
Dec23-8pm Mobile Dollar General 1999 Troy/OHIO! mobile
Dec24-8pm Hawaii 2002 Hawaii/MTSU Aloha_Bowl
Dec26-11am (or Tampa II) St. Petersburg 2008 MSU (NTMSU)/
Miami (NTM)
Dec26-2:30 Motor City Quick Lane 2014 Maryland/BC Bowl in Detroit
Dec26-5pm Independence Camping World… 1976 NCSt/Vandy indepencence-bowl
Dec27-noon Heart of Dallas or
Cotton II
Zaxby’s… 2010 Army/N.Tex DallasBowl
Dec27-3:30 The Military one in D.C. Military Bowl 2008 Temple/Wake military_bowl_logo_2
Dec27-7pm Holiday National Funding… 1978 Minn/WSU HolidayBowl
Dec27-10:15 Cactus
(or Copper)
Motel 6… 1989 Baylor/Boise 14cactusbowl
Dec28-2pm Pinstripe New Era… 2010 Pitt/NWern pinstripebowl
Dec28=5:30 Tangerine
or Citrus II
Russell Athletic 1990 Miami(YTM)/
Tangerine Bowl
Dec28-8:30 San Francisco Foster Farms 2002 IU/Utah sanfranbowl
Dec28-9pm Texas or Bluebonnet AdvoCare V100… 2006 A&M/KSU bluebonnet
Dec29-2pm Birmingham 2006 SC/USF birminghambowl
Dec29-5:30 Queen City Belk 2002 Ark/VT queen city
Dec29-9pm Alamo Valero… 1993 OkSt/Colo 5kcx6fynk65qmg23v4ek
Dec30-noon Liberty Autozone… 1959 UGA/TCU Libertybowl
Dec30-1pm Sun Bowl Hyandai 1934 Stan/UNC SunBowloldlogo
Dec30-3:30 Music City Franklin American Mortgage… 1998 Neb/Tenn music city bowl
Dec30-5:30 Arizona Nova Home Loans… 2016 AF/S.Bama arizona-bowl-logo
Dec30-8pm Orange Capital One… 1935 Mich/FSU OrangeBowl
Dec31-11a Citrus Buffalo Wild Wings… 1946 L’ville/LSU 1990_1-1_Citrus_Bowl_Guide
Dec31-11a Gator Taxslayer 1945 GT/Kentucky Gatorbowl
Dec31-noon Peach* Chick-fil-A 1968 Bama/UW peach_bowl_logo
Dec31-7pm Fiesta* PlayStation… 1971 Clemson/OSU Fiesta
Jan2-1pm Outback
(or Hall of Fame)
1986 Florida/Iowa HOFBowllogo
Jan2-1pm Cotton Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic 1937 WMU/Wis Cottonbowl
Jan2-5pm Rose 1902 PSU/USC rose bowl
Jan2-8:30p Sugar Allstate… 1935 Auburn/Okla sugar_bowl_logo
Jan9-8:30p CFP National Championship   2015 ?/? event-cfp

* semi-final games.

image: So I’m a bit less confused, but why is the bowl in Jerryworld called the “Cotton Bowl” when the one played at the Cotton Bowl is called “Heart of Dallas”?

image: I guess that’s why they added “Classic” to it, but yeah, words can’t fix everything. They can assist in communication, not guarantee clarity.

image: So I can actually use these names to convey meaning to other people who speak the same language as me! Tell me, is this legal?

image: Have you entered into a contract with any of the sponsors above where they pay you to replace words in your speech with their names?

image: Well, no, that actually sounds kind of...

image: yeah.

image: …fizzly. Flupped even. Totally flupped beyond wizzly fizzy.

image: Glad we had this conversation.


Ten Ways To Make X Better: Baseball

Ten Ways To Make X Better: Baseball Comment Count

Brian August 2nd, 2016 at 11:43 AM

Previously: hockey, soccer, basketball, football.


10. No warmup pitches for relievers.

What did you just spend 15 minutes doing in the bullpen? Why are you wasting our time like this? I have things to look at that aren't you! Ever heard of a book, buddy? Yeah, probably not.

9. Every time a pitcher throws to first he has to put on another hat.

If the hats fall off before the end of the inning that counts as one ball per hat that falls off.

8. Balks are cool.

Balk away.

7. I don't have any other ideas.

Baseball! It's good if you want to drink beer outside with something else going on vaguely in your perception. The exact structure of the game is beside the point.

6. Wait, wait, now I do.

Remember Basewars? Yeah, do that.

I prefer robots but if we can get this on the road with people I'm down. You want me out? Put me out. I do not recognize the authority of this "ball" you have tagged me with.

5. This is a bad post.

You can think that. It's okay.


Ten Ways To Make X Better: Football

Ten Ways To Make X Better: Football Comment Count

Brian July 28th, 2016 at 12:25 PM

Previously: hockey, soccer, basketball.


[Bryan Fuller]

This is about college football. The NFL list is "why are you the way you are" ten times.

10. Fumbles out of the endzone are treated like other fumbles.

Nonsense that a fumble that goes out at the one stays with the team that fumbled but one that brushes the pylon is a game-changing turnover. Way to emphasize the essentially arbitrary nature of both football and life, rule. You suck!

9. Count intentional grounding as a sack, and count sacks against pass yardage

This doesn't do anything to help on-field things but hoooooo boy do I want to throttle whoever came up with these inane statistical quirks that I shake my fist at every week during the season. If I was a defensive end and saw the QB fling the ball moments before I engulfed him and then I didn't get credit for a sack I would send a sternly-worded letter to someone. You better believe that.

8. Actually enforce illegal man downfield rules.


that's two count-em two Air Force OL seven yards downfield on a pass

It's three yards in college and one in the NFL, except it's more like infinity yards in college since refs don't bother calling it*. The lack of enforcement here has created an indefensible subset of run/pass option plays. Those are fine, as long as they stay within the rules. If OL are allowed to go downfield and cut block linebackers, which I have seen multiple times in UFR, you might as well bury defensive coordinators alive. They'll enjoy it more than defending RPOs.

*[Except once when Taylor Lewan engaged a guy on a pass block and blocked him so dang good they ended up a few yards downfield. In the aftermath the announcers admonished him for not being aware enough of where he was on the field; I swore so hard at these gentlemen that an iceberg shaped like a middle finger broke off of Greenland.]

7. College overtime starts at the 35.

The 25 is so close that even a three-and-out gives the offense a reasonably makeable field goal. Moving the start back to the 35 would make each overtime period more likely to be decisive and help prevent 6 OT marathons.

6. Adopt NFL punt coverage rules.

Spread punting and its seven gunners have made the punt return an increasingly boring exercise in watching several people surround a ball until it ceases moving.

That percentage doesn't include balls that aren't fielded at all.

The NFL prohibits all but two people from leaving until the ball is gone; adopting similar rules in CFB would restore some of the drama when man kicks ball to Jabrill Peppers-type object.

6. Adopt MGoPlayoff and never change it.

In a nutshell: 6 team playoff with home games the first two rounds and the championship at the Rose Bowl. Six teams allows all reasonable contenders in almost every year without much if any filler. Byes for the top two and home games help preserve the importance of the regular season despite the slight expansion of the field. Having things at the Rose Bowl is just obvious man. All things should be at the Rose Bowl.

5. Change the scholarship cap to an annual one.

I'm ignoring Title IX and the absurd ways it funnels money from poor to rich here, so that objection is noted.

Virtually all of the problems with oversigning and medical redshirts and not-so-voluntary transfers go away if the incentives change. With an annual cap of new scholarship players instead of an overall one, schools are incentivized to keep everyone around in case they work out. I'd set it at 25 since there would be attrition still; you could tweak it if that ended up being insufficient.

4. Allow players to sign an early, non-binding LOI.

Moving Signing Day up is a dumb idea, but it's one that gets pushed on the regular because some people think the current "offer" environment is bad for player and program. They might have a point, but allowing people to sign mostly-binding LOIs before hiring and firing gets done just increases the chances that bad fits get locked in.

Instead, create a system where recruits can sign an early LOI. Parameters:

  • The team must offer a scholarship on Signing Day.
  • Team and recruit can have unlimited contact; other teams can have none.
  • Recruit cannot take officials to other campuses; gets second to team he signs with.
  • Recruit can withdraw NBLOI at any time until Signing Day.

A NBLOI offers more certainty for both player and program without the deleterious effects of locking players in early.

3. Add an FCS exhibition before the season. Other FCS games don't count.

Doesn't count against redshirts. Doesn't require players who are actually going to see the field to play. Adds another chunk of revenue with which schools can play more meaningful nonconference games. Prevents that week where everyone in the SEC plays Chattanooga at the same time.

2. Kickoffs that go through the uprights are worth a point.

Yeah buddy. Put some bite in those personal fouls after touchdowns.

1. Multiball allows you to score as many touchdowns as you need.

In the last two minutes you can snap as many balls as you please as long as they're all snapped at the same time. You get the outcome of the worst ball, but if you score with both you get two touchdowns.


Ten Ways To Make X Better: Basketball

Ten Ways To Make X Better: Basketball Comment Count

Brian July 14th, 2016 at 12:21 PM

Previously: hockey, soccer.


[Patrick Barron]

10. Use advantage calls on fast breaks.

Dunks are the best. On this we can all agree. Cynical fouls to prevent dunks are the worst, and there's a model out there for preventing them. Soccer refs will let fouls go if the team fouled seems to have an advantageous position. Basketball should adopt this for situations where there is about to be a breakaway dunk.

9. Eliminate hack-a-blank.

Allow teams to take the ball out of bounds with a reset shot clock instead of shooting free throws on a non-shooting foul. Like the previous bullet this is an attempt to reduce the number of situations where someone is intentionally violating the rules to their advantage. Don't @ me about how players who can't shoot free throws shouldn't be protected. Rules exist to make the flow of a game more pleasant to watch, and when they fail that they should be changed.

8. Get rid of the three-second call.

Nobody calls it. Its purpose has always been mysterious. The rationale is nonsensical: "open up the offense by restricting what offensive players can do." Clogging the lane is the least of modern basketball's concerns.

7. For the love of God please figure out how to call a charge.

Nobody knows what a charge is. I don't know, and you don't know, and refs don't know, and players don't know. The NCAA made things infinitely worse a couple years back with a change that made things even more confusing; one year of that was enough.

Charges get a bad rap. They're very dramatic. There's a dude on the ground fist-pumping; Teddy Valentine has recruited a crew of Busby Berkeley dancers, all of whom are pointing to the other end of the floor theatrically; the offender is grasping the basketball disdainfully and trying to murder the entire arena with his eyes. Duke ruined them for everybody, but now that there's a restricted circle their preferred tactic is no longer valid.

My suggestion on charges is to make the rule as simple as possible. If a player is moving parallel to the basket, outside of the circle, and gets plowed in the chest by an opponent who still has the ball, it's a charge. Glancing contact is a block. Taking a charge-type substance when the player in question has already released the ball is a no-call. Maybe it would need some tweaks, but the current regime is as close to completely random as possible.

6. No timeouts on out-of-bounds plays.

The final proposal here is the best plan I have to stop the scourge of timeouts, but if people continue to insist on having a break for tea and scones every ten seconds in the waning moments of a close game there are still some improvements that can be made. Number one is eliminating timeouts that come one nanosecond before a five-second call on inbounds plays. In all cases these timeouts reduce the drama of a game, because they prevent the team that's pressing from their shot at a critical turnover. Infuriatingly, they almost always come in the immediate aftermath of another timeout.

Say no to timeouts, in all their forms. But especially this one.

5. Adopt a draft and follow system.

This is discussed in more detail in a previous post. The upshot is that the NBA should move to a style of drafting closer to the NHL model, where everyone is automatically eligible for the draft. This allows drafted players to retain NCAA eligibility and prevents a lot of the consequences of bad draft entry decisions. I also suggest that NBA teams should have to offer longer contracts when they want to sign younger prospects—five year right out of high school, four after one year of college, etc.—and that drafted college players should be able to participate in NBA summer league.

4. Promotion and relegation for the NBA.

People keep talking about this in MLS, where it is dubiously viable and could lead to teams folding. The NBA's situation is vastly different, with an enormous new TV contract and the ability to support teams in Sacramento, Oklahoma City, and the like. The NBA also has an enormous tanking problem. Way too many NBA games are functionally exhibitions. Promotion and relegation fixes that.

Existing team owners looking to protect their franchise value could be a hurdle, but adding, say, ten expansion franchises and gradually splitting into two leagues of 20 teams would bring in enormous expansion fees, enough to offset the possibility of ending up in NBA 2.

3. Okay if you don't want to do that, something else to fix tanking.

First picks in the draft go to the winners of a post-season competition between teams that missed the playoffs. There are 14. The three best and three worst teams are omitted from an eight-team single-elimination tournament that gets played in the latter stages of the NBA playoffs. There is a third place game; top three get the top three slots in the draft.

This is more content to get money from. It turns the bottom three slots in the league into poison to be avoided, instantly upping the drama for the 8 teams at the bottom who are otherwise trying to lose games.

2. Goaltending is legal if you're 5'9" or shorter.



Sorry, Tom, you've got way too many fingers to call timeout [Bryan Fuller]

1. Coaches can only call timeout by cutting off one of their digits and handing it to the referee.

I admit my previous no-timeouts-ever stance was too radical. In the spirit of compromise, let us allow for timeouts if coaches are willing to take garden shears to their toes and fingers. If the situation truly calls for a little huddle on the sideline where the coach can remind his players to "play good" and "show effort", all it requires is one sickening moment of shredding flesh and cracking bone that forever alters a man. Should a long-time coach be so mutilated that he can no longer operate a pair of garden shears, a Make-a-Wish child can execute the act for him.

It is in this way timeouts can be responsibly managed.


Recruits In Retrospect: 2011 Offense

Recruits In Retrospect: 2011 Offense Comment Count

Ace June 1st, 2016 at 4:19 PM

Previously: 2008 Offense2008 Defense2009 Defense2009 Quarterbacks2009 Offense2010 Offense, 2010 Defense

Michigan's best offensive recruit of 2011 entered the program as a walk-on. [Barron]

It's that time of the offseason when I go back through the recruiting profiles for the class that just finished its five-year cycle, which brings us to...

Oh no. Ohhhhhhhh no. It's the 2011 hybrid RichRod/Hoke class, an underwhelming group at the time—ranked 26th in the composite—that didn't come close to living up to expectations. I promise this exercise will be less painful next year. Until then, let this serve as a painful reminder of how far the program has come in the last couple years.

This post on the offense will be mercifully short, at least; there were only seven scholarship players on that side of the ball in the class, and two didn't make it through their first fall camp.

Forcier Comparison = Accuracy

Michigan snake-oiled three-star dual-threat quarterback Russell Bellomy from Purdue shortly before signing day. By the time Brian got around to writing up Bellomy's profile, Shane Morris had already committed to the 2013 class, while Devin Gardner was waiting in the wings behind Denard Robinson. Bellomy's profile didn't exactly scream "future starter" regardless of the competition:

So what have they won? A developmental prospect. Bellomy's a bit like Justice Hayes in that he seems like a better fit for the offense Michigan just dumped. That might not be a big deal long term—unlike Hayes, Michigan actually got interested in Bellomy after the transition—but Bellomy is not Chad Henne. He's described as an "efficient spread offense QB" and completed only 58% of his passes on a run-heavy team. He rarely broke the 20 attempt barrier. Opposing coaches($) say stuff like "he was much more effective in the pocket than we expected" and "you have to respect his passing ability as well." He needs work.

Bellomy's YMRMFSPA was "pick a Forcier" due to his mobility and reputation as a "riverboat gambler." The comparison worked in that Bellomy flamed out of the program. You know the story well: Bellomy entered the 2012 Nebraska game over Devin Gardner, then moonlighting at receiver, when Denard Robinson hurt his elbow, had a disastrous three-interception performance, and never saw meaningful time again. He transferred to UT-San Antonio for his senior season, attempted ten passes as their backup quarterback, and left the program only a month into the 2015 season.

[Hit THE JUMP for, well, more pain.]


Ten Ways To Make X Better: Soccer

Ten Ways To Make X Better: Soccer Comment Count

Brian May 31st, 2016 at 12:56 PM

An irregular series in which I fix all of a sport's problems. Previously: hockey.


[Paul Sherman]

10. Use goal line technology. The imposition on the flow of the game is minimal and there is no reason to not have it. Whether or not a goal is scored is kind of a big deal in a sport that sees 3 or 4 a game.

9. Offsides is reviewable on goals. Again, this disrupts the 90-minute-flow that soccer and only soccer has. But since the game is getting broken up anyway—at least slightly—a quick peek at whether an offsides was or was not accurate is worth it as long as they adopt the NFL's hard limit on time available to make a decision. If it's not obvious in 30 seconds the call is close enough.

8. Stop the clock when people are injured. Ideally soccer would dump the whole stoppage time concept and have a clock that actually reflects what time it is. Every other sport manages this. In lieu of a total overhaul which is not coming, soccer games should borrow a concept from college soccer and allow the ref to cease the inexorable march of time with an X symbol over his head.

The X is deployed when the game is stopped because a player is down. Right now the perception amongst players is that falling over when nursing a late lead helps you win, so it happens all the time. Erase that perception and second half time-wasting gets 50% more tolerable.

7. Yellow cards for being Pepe. In the Champions League Final, Real Madrid defender Pepe twice rolled around like he'd been shot after light taps to his face. These should be cardable events. I will also accept a firing squad.

6. Dump Financial Fair Play and replace it with… I don't know. FFP, if you don't know, is an attempt to prevent a rich owner buying a Chelsea or Manchester City and making them very good by spending a lot of money. Because teams are allowed to spend what they make it tends to set the current power structure in concrete, Leicester notwithstanding. Also it does not work for the same reasons that NCAA amateurism rules, and prohibition more generally, don't work. There is always someone smart enough to cheese the rules. Like… yep, Leicester.*

I have no idea what to do with it in its place. Ideally the euro soccer structure would change so that a Leicester City event was more of a one-in-ten-year event instead of one in a hundred, but I struggle to come up with something that would work. Even Germany—which has the most even revenue distribution and rules against club ownership by individuals—has seen Bayern win four straight titles and 12 since 1998.

The predictability of euro soccer is the main reason I can't be bothered to care about any of it. I have the choice of picking the Yankees or the Lions, and no thanks to either. But without radically reshaping it into a socialist American-style thing*, which isn't happening, there appears to be no solution other than buying a little defensive midfielder from Ligue 2.

*[The cheesing Leicester managed was not enough to get them anywhere near the giants in the EPL and should not color anyone's perceptions of the magnitude of their accomplishment. The fact that there's a Guardian expose on the fact that Man Who Owns Soccer Team Spends Money On It that includes the phrase "Leicester City’s dash to an unlikely Premier League title is billed as football’s most romantic story in a generation but" is so very NCAA and demonstrates why FFP is destined to fail.]

**[The irony here is vast, yes.]

5. Allow refs some discretion on PKs. Right now a lot of fouls in the box don't get called because the punishment for them is outlandishly severe. Also some harmless situations get punished in an outlandishly severe way. If a ref spots a foul in the box that doesn't disrupt an imminent scoring chance he should be allowed to call for a free kick at the spot.

4. Free kicks resulting from fouls that draw yellow cards should be more dangerous. Defenders should not be allowed to line up in the penalty box on the resulting free kick unless they are level with or behind the ball*. That's not as severe as a penalty kick, but it's a lot more severe than it currently is and would adequately punish teams that specialize in those canny fouls just outside of PK territory.

*[IE, they can still defend the opposition on FKs that are more or less corners.] 

3. No shootouts in finals. I don't care what you have to do to prevent them. Anything vaguely resembling the actual sport that's going on is far superior to the current system, in which all of a sudden a darts competition breaks out after 120 minutes. The only person who likes that is Steve Lorenz. I grudgingly accept that maybe you have to have shootouts for early stages in competitions because winning the equivalent of a triple OT hockey game is going to destroy your fitness for the next game. Finals should end with someone scoring a goal.

There are various ways to approach the problem but I think the simplest and best is to remove the goalies after 30 minutes of extra time and play sudden death. Is that 100% soccer? No. But it's at least 50% instead of 0%.

2. All throw ins must have a totally rad flip before them. I mean.

This one is obvious.

1. Teams have the option of putting a guy on field with skates. Offsides does not apply to him. Goals he scores count double. It works for any sport!


This Week's Obsession: Most Irreplaceable

This Week's Obsession: Most Irreplaceable Comment Count

Seth May 25th, 2016 at 4:15 PM


Michigan can't afford to lose their best back you say? [Upchurch]

Following a good laugh over one of those offseason #content lists where they name random skill position players at recognizable schools, we thought maybe a real answer might be good for, you know, an offseason #content list. So:

So who IS Michigan's most irreplaceable starter?*​

David: In most years, I think there would be a few clear-cut, shining star answers.  And while Michigan’s ceiling would not be as high without some of its premiere talent, I’m not sure those particular players are the most irreplaceable. Let’s try a Top 3, this time…

1. Mason Cole. He’s played LT for 2 years and has done a very solid job despite not being ideally-sized for that position. Now, it appears he will be starting at center, which just tells you how much smart of a player he is. Michigan basically has four proven OL starters, one highly-rated probably starter, and a couple of depth guys that no one really knows how they’ll turn out. Losing Cole would mean that everyone more-or-less has to be a hit in their respective positions. That COULD happen…but will it? Ehhhhh…I don’t know. Losing anyone else on the OL and Cole can move if it would allow M to put its best five on the field.

2. John O’Korn. Ok, this miiiiiiight be a reach, but I’m going off of some potential and I get to be the guy on the staff that goes rogue sometimes. I do think that JOK has the highest ceiling on the team in a position that does not quite have the depth…yet. I think we still need one more season of injury-luck in this department before the options absolutely explode. There is still some uncertainty with him, obviously, but he’s shown the physical [in]tangibles to have some backing for what he can do…in addition to belief in QB development under Harbaugh. Plus, like mobility, etc. Perhaps Speight would be adequate –or even successful- enough, but I’m personally not sold, yet.

3. Jabrill Peppers. I’ve been arguing with a buddy about this spot for a while, now. What it came down to for me is that Peppers is the backup everything on this team. I actually believe if he had to play guard or weak-side end for a couple plays, he would hold his own.  Seriously though, in addition to Peppers playing his 5 positions on the field where you know he’ll line up and be awesome, he could potentially take over a starting role at 3-4 of them and there would be very little drop off from the nominal starter. On most teams, Peppers would be the cornerstone of any defense. And while he is certainly important, this defense is SO deep that he do almost whatever is needed and not be depended on to do one certain responsibility…in addition to being to handle most single-position responsibilities. Get it?

[After the JUMP: offseason #content, plus Rashan Gary's hudl highlights are embedded again]