This Week’s Obsession: Dave’s Burner Account

This Week’s Obsession: Dave’s Burner Account Comment Count

Seth May 30th, 2018 at 11:42 AM


hashtag ifitaintbrokebreakit [Eric Uphurch]

THIS ARTICLE HAS A SPONSOR: It’s Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management. Have you checked out his podcast yet? He’s been bringing in interesting guests—Richard Hoeg was one, Brian’s bolded subconscious alter ego was another (actual Brian plans to do one soon). If your financial strategy is to bounce around liquidating failing companies, you don’t need Nick, but if you’ve built something that has value, and this has in turn gotten you some value, and you’ve got a lot of life yet to go, you should talk to Nick about a strategy for that.

Legal disclosure in tiny font: Calling Nick our official financial planner is not intended as financial advice; Nick is an advertiser who financially supports MGoBlog. MGoBlog is not responsible for any advice or other communication provided to an investor by any financial advisor, and makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of any particular financial advisor and/or investment for a specific investor.



slackbot: quit drinking and go to bed

Ace: Slackbot knows this is a bad idea but we’re gonna power through it.

The Mathlete: This a probable mild bad decision, @probablemild

Seth: @thebrand1234567

Ace: @retailactivationerror

The Mathlete: @enoughlatenightdrinking

Alex: @campdavid6969

Ace: @everafter734

Alex: @vulturecapitaltoysrus

Seth: @tgiff And by the way we are docking the cost of those cardboard boxes from your last paycheck.

Ace: @findanewteam


Seth: @...

The Mathlete: @plentyofseatsonmyjet

Ace: @lochdogg

The Mathlete: @wowexperience

Seth: @section1.

Ace: lol, was waiting for that one.

Seth: Sorry, Section 1.

Ace: Should we maybe tell people why we’re doing this? This is why we’re doing this:

The Curious Case of Bryan Colangelo and the Secret Twitter Account

A collection of Twitter accounts that has criticized Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz, disclosed sensitive information, and outlined team strategy shares eye-opening similarities. What does that have to do with the Philadelphia 76ers’ decision-maker?

I never thought I’d say anything like this but… at least Brandon knew better than to get on the bad side of his own players?

[After THE JUMP: we create the space.]


Unverified Voracity Is Waiting For The Package

Unverified Voracity Is Waiting For The Package Comment Count

Brian March 14th, 2018 at 1:51 PM


Oguine is excellent both ways

Montana scouted. Andrew Kahn interviews the Eastern Washington head coach a couple days after EWU went down in the Big Sky title game:

The Grizzlies won the league with a 16-2 record not just because they're well coached but because of their athleticism, according to Legans. Michael Oguine, a 6-foot-2 guard, was the Defensive Player of the Year in the conference. "He's quick, athletic, and can guard anybody on the perimeter." …

"If you can pull their bigs away from the basket a little bit, then you make them play small and beat them up inside. I see those problems occurring with this game because Michigan's size and skill could hurt them bad."

Oguine combines that DPOY status with excellent offensive efficiency and will be the main guy to watch for the Griz.

Final pre-tourney shot volume. Michigan finishes 13th amongst P5 teams, and coupled with Michigan's stellar transition D this rather validates the approach:

For example, you’ll hear during the tournament that Duke is a swaggering beast of offensive rebounding might, and, sure enough, the Blue Devils do fit that description perfectly. But did you know that, with all those spectacular offensive boards, Mike Krzyzewski is merely equaling what a certain Big Ten coach is already doing with his less eye-catching yet highly effective low-turnover ways?

                         TO%     OR%     SVI
12. Duke                18.3    36.4     98.0
13. Michigan            13.6    24.5     98.0

So, yes, this can be a nifty item at times.

Potential S16 opponent North Carolina, unfortunately, finishes first.

Find me a single-atom violin. Ted Valentine will not be theatrically incorrect on your television sets this weekend:

Well-known NCAA referee Ted Valentine, who officiated the Final Four last season, will not be working NCAA tournament games this year -- and he told ESPN it's because of fallout from the incident in which he turned his back on North Carolina's Joel Berry II during a game in January.

"This is not right, it's just not fair," Valentine told ESPN. "It hit me like a ton of bricks. I'm being punished unjustly."

It is absolutely right, and absolutely fair, for the NCAA to make an example of Valentine after he did the Joel Berry thing. That was the worst breach of ref impartiality I can remember, and it came from a guy who fills out the rest of the top ten personally.

He'll no doubt be back next year unless his repeated public bitching sours the powers-that-be permanently. Any coach who talked about Valentine like Valentine has twice talked about his employers would be fined. Here he is complaining that the Big Ten is not professional enough for Ted Valentine:

Valentine, who had considered retirement after the Berry incident, said he was pulled off a pair of Big Ten games earlier this year because of the episode. Valentine had officiated primarily Big Ten games for 34 years, but said he began doing more ACC games two years ago because he lives in South Carolina and the travel was easier as he approached his 60s.

"It had nothing to do with the Big Ten," Valentine said. "The ACC handled it in the utmost professional manner. It was overblown, and no big deal."

Fire that guy into the sun and never have him work a Big Ten game again.

When the FBI can inject sensibility into your enterprise… The divers alarums and excursions you've been hearing from the direction of NCAA boardrooms has finally resolved itself into that greatest of problem solvers: the Task Force. The Pac-12 put one together; it put together a 51-page PDF that's actually kind of interesting* in that it acknowledges the relative helplessness of the NCAA and then puts forth a collection of proposals that sort of acknowledge this. Large themes:

  • Restrictions on coach-prospect contact should be significantly loosened. This includes allowing prospects to take an additional five official visits as a junior and
  • Agents should be more tolerated. Hockey and baseball have allowed formal contractual relationships with agents recently; the report suggests basketball should do the same. This is vastly overdue for a thousand reasons.
  • Eligibility should be less fragile. The reports specifically reference baseball as a sport where players retain eligibility "after being drafted," and later directly calls for the NBA to adopt the baseball model where you can go pro immediately out of high school but if you don't you're in college for at least three years. Chance NBA adopts this: zero. Maybe draft and follow would be a compromise?

The report also calls for an NCAA enforcement arm separate from the NCAA, which sounds like rearranging deck chairs to me.

The Task Force doesn't go anywhere near something radical but it is a baby step.

*[A sports car races by. I am pelted in the head with a snowball. A bro in a white baseball cap screams "NEEEEEEEEERD" as the car peels out, careening wildly.]

Shea in limbo. Shea Patterson's lawyer is also spearheading five other applications for immediately eligibility and tells CBS that Ole Miss is being rather petulant about all this:

Ole Miss actually received that [waiver-request] package as a courtesy from Michigan. Because it didn't officially come from the NCAA, the 10-day clock did not start ticking.

"So, from a technical rules perspective, despite having all the information for the past two weeks, Old Miss could continue to keep its position on the Shea Patterson waiver request to itself for at least another two weeks," Mars said.

"In the meantime, as everyone knows, the process is at a standstill."

For whatever reason the NCAA has not sent the package to Ole Miss, so it will be at least another two weeks before a determination is made, and probably longer than that.

This is not a Dave Brandon story. Toys R Us is going to liquidate. Whenever there's a Toys R Us story several people send it to me. Please stop doing this. I am aware of goings on at Toys R Us that reach the media. The thing about Toys R Us is that it's not a story about one man's over-arching incompetence setting everything on fire. It's a story about a patsy being installed at a doomed company so he can leech millions of dollars out of it for doing nothing:

In 2005, the Toys R Us board of directors sold the company for $6.6 billion to the private equity firms Bain Capital and KKR and the real estate investment firm Vornado. The firms put up about 20 percent of the total and borrowed the rest.

Toys R Us became a private company with more than $5 billion in debt. And then things went off the rails.

“The beginning of the problems for Toys was that exploded,” said Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s.

During the next five years, sales at Amazon quadrupled to $34 billion.

“Amazon went into the toy sector in a big way,” O’Shea said, and it “added one more big competitor for Toys R Us.”

To compete, Toys R Us would have had to invest significantly in its website and stores. But the retailer was using most of its available cash to pay back its debt. …

The private equity firms’ investors haven’t made money off this deal. But the firms themselves have. It’s unclear where Vornado ended up. But after collecting fees from Toys R Us, Bain and KKR each took home at least $15 million.

Brandon, the chump installed on this sinking ship in 2015, was compensated ridiculously:

Toys ‘R’ Us is seeking bankruptcy court permission to pay Dave Brandon, the company’s chief executive officer since 2015, a cash bonus of as much as $12 million for 2017, on top of a $2.8 million “retention” bonus he received just before the company filed for bankruptcy in September, according to court filings.

Moreover, Mr. Brandon would be entitled to receive 40% of that bonus, or $4.8 million, within the first quarter of 2018.

A Toys “R” Us spokeswoman said that the company’s plan to pay millions of dollars to Mr. Brandon is in line with common practice in restructurings. “This type of plan is standard practice for a company involved in a restructuring and in this case rewards team members at all levels of the company,” she said.

You know this guy is an idiot, and it is crystal clear that nothing he did at a doomed company helped it an iota. But because he's bros with Mitt Romney he gets an eight-digit payday. That is one of many reasons income inequality has skyrocketed. Because it doesn't matter if you'd lose a spelling contest to a mop once you've got cronies high up.

Etc.: Fergus Connolly makes an entrance, also an exit. Shooting talent and FTs. The story of how the FBI got on the trail of college basketball is a typically bizarre one. Daily profiles Cooper Marody. Scrimmage observations.


Mailbag: DL Snaps, Three Star Quality, Notre Dame Resumption, Some Guy Mad At Manuel

Mailbag: DL Snaps, Three Star Quality, Notre Dame Resumption, Some Guy Mad At Manuel Comment Count

Brian July 21st, 2016 at 12:35 PM


please stop yelling at me about Gary starting, you win [Eric Upchurch]

Hi Brian,

Care to offer your guess on how the snaps will be distributed along the defensive line?

I would guess something like this:

Strongside End: 40% Gary, 20% Wormley, 20% Godin
Nose: 55% Glasgow, 45% Mone
3-Tech: 45% Wormley, 45% Hurst, 10% Godin
Weakside End: 65% Charlton, 25% Winovich/Jones/Kemp, 10% formations with only 3 down lineman.

Obviously this exercise assumes no injuries, and I ignored Lawrence Marshall who'll probably see some playing time.

Interested in your take,


Other than the fact that you project only 80% of the strongside end snaps that seems about right to me. (I assume that was meant to be 60% Gary.)

Over this offseason I've gotten a bunch of pushback about my assertion that Gary probably won't start, pushback that now seems on point after various insiders have asserted that Wormley will stick at 3-tech and Charlton will move over to WDE. But that was always a distinction without much of a difference. Even if Gary was nominally behind Wormley at SDE there would be sufficient snaps available when Wormley rests or Michigan goes to a pass rush package for Gary to make an impact. We're talking about a half-dozen snaps per game going to one guy or the other guy.

The only slight corrections I'd make would be to bump Glasgow up to 60 or 65% and bump Charlton to 70% at the expense of three-man lines.

Hey Brian-

No doubt there's been a recruiting uptick since Harbaugh came aboard....Rashan Gary is nice.  But what about our lower ranked pickups?  I seem to remember you comparing the success of Tressel 3-stars to Carr 3-stars, and the difference was stark.

Without the benefit of seeing how they pan out, how do you think JH's less-heralded guys will stack up to those of previous regimes?  vs. Tressell/Urban?  Curious if you've noticed a difference in talent/potential based on film and summer camp performance.




I don't remember that post but there is certainly a difference in quality amongst the vast plain of three-stars, one that's relatively easy to discern. However, that difference isn't based on evaluations I make with my amateur read on Hudl highlight films. It's more about the shape of a kid's recruitment.

There are three stars who end up on the radar of major schools, and three stars who do not. Maybe a Josh Uche or a Nate Johnson comes with sufficient questions for a rating service to correctly peg them a three-star, but it's also correct for teams like Florida or Notre Dame to go after those guys when their plan A gentlemen are uncertain or head elsewhere.

When we're talking about Michigan commits the players in question have tautologically garnered big time interest. That's one vote of confidence; it's better to have other votes from top 25 schools. There's a set of three stars who are targets of multiple big schools and a set who are not. My read on how the 2016 composite three-stars fit in those bins:

  • Multiple options: Nick Eubanks, Khaleke Hudson, Nate Johnson, Josh Uche, Eddie McDoom, Elysee Mbem-Bosse, Michael Dwumfour.
  • Hard to tell: Kingston Davis.
  • Not so much: Sean McKeon, Devin Gil, Josh Metellus, Stephen Spanellis.

I believe everyone in the "multiple options" section could have gone to one of PSU, Florida, Auburn, or Oregon, along with a number of other schools on that level. Davis almost certainly could have gone to Nebraska and maybe LSU or Florida but probably not. The four guys in "not so much" didn't field much if any interest from top-half Power 5 schools. Four guys out of a class of 28 is quite good.

It's hard to get a solid read on the number of comparable prospects in earlier classes. Awareness of the "offer"/OFFER distinction has crept across college football gradually and many earlier recruiting assessments take listed offers at face value when they probably shouldn't. There's more wobble in older assessments, but here's my estimate of the number of Michigan three-stars that didn't seem to get a whole lot of interest from top 20 programs. (I'm not counting MSU here since they only started recruiting like a top 20 team last year and are no longer.) You'll find some excellent players on these lists, but all told it's better to be noticed by more than one big program:

  • 2012 (9/22): Matt Godin, Kaleb Ringer, Sione Houma, Jehu Chesson , Drake Johnson, Willie Henry, Ben Braden, Jeremy Clark, Blake Bars. Godin and Bars might have had real interest from Notre Dame.
  • 2013 (7/28): Jaron Dukes, Csont'e York, Channing Stribling, Khalid Hill, Da'Mario Jones, Reon Dawson, Scott Sypniewski. I'm leaving out kickers but counting Sypniewski here since long snappers are usually walkons; Harbaugh just got the #2 guy in the country as a PWO. Dan Samuelson and Ross Douglas were Nebraska and PSU decommit three-stars and the only guys in that range who had big time offers.
  • 2014 (6/16): Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Wilton Speight, Maurice Ways, Noah Furbush, Brandon Watson, Brady Pallante. Jared Wangler was a PSU decommit.
  • 2015 (5/14): Karan Higdon, Grant Perry, Keith Washington, Jon Runyan Jr, Nolan Ulizio. Shelton Johnson was a battle against FSU; Reuben Jones against Nebraska.

Lone wolf fliers comprised over a third of the four Michigan classes before Harbaugh got a full recruiting cycle, and just 14% of the 2016 class. So yes, the 2016 class's three stars are a different caliber.

Given Harbaugh's tendency to rack up decommits it's too early to state with any confidence how many will be in the 2017 class. As of right now I'd put Joel Honigford (Oregon), J'Marick Woods (VT, maybe LSU), Phillip Paea (Oregon), and maybe Andrew Stueber (Tennessee) into the "major target" category" and Ben Mason, Carter Dunaway, Chase Lasater, and Kurt Taylor into the "not so much" category. (I'm assuming Benjamin St Juste ends up a composite four star.)

[After the JUMP: Notre Dame resumption!]


Unverified Voracity Is Seeded Second

Unverified Voracity Is Seeded Second Comment Count

Brian May 16th, 2016 at 12:32 PM


[Bryan Fuller]

#2 overall. That's the softball team's seed for the upcoming NCAA tournament:

Ann Arbor Regional – May 20-22 at Ann Arbor, Michigan

Notre Dame (41-11) vs. Miami (OH) (34-21)

Valparaiso (18-32) vs. No. 2 seed Michigan* (46-5)

Notre Dame should present the toughest test for Michigan. The two teams didn't play this year and there's very little in the way of common opponents; ND is ranked around 20th in the national polls and is thus a considerably tougher second-round opponent than you'd generally expect—it's the equivalent of a one-seed in the basketball tournament drawing a six-or seven-seed in round two.

MGoUser South Bend Wolverine has written excellent previews the past couple years and we pinged him; we hope to front-page it later this week.

Exit Rawak. Chrissi Rawak is leaving Michigan to become Delaware's AD. Rawak is a name those of you who have read Endzone probably remember. Rawak, Dave Brandon's second-in-command, features prominently both as a symbol of the change Brandon wrought and as a crutch increasingly forced to take on roles that she's not comfortable in. The book makes it clear that she was rather divisive, especially amongst the old hands forced out because of a lack of personal loyalty to Brandon.

I'm skeptical anyone Brandon could rely on so comprehensively was a good fit with my ideal Michigan athletic department, so the move is a win-win. Rawak gets an AD job with winged helmets to ease her transition, and a prominent Brandon apparatchik is no longer wondering what's wrong with a giant noodle ad in the Big House.

Ever aft… uh. Speaking of the Before Times, infamous Dave Brandon mansion "Ever After" is up for sale for a cool seven million dollars.



Not pictured is the other plaque by the gate, for obviou's reasons:


May its next resident be better at apostrophes and email.

I still can't get over the spectacular hubris of naming your home the thing that fairy tales say after the princess gets rescued by the dashing prince. If there was ever a better example of "be about it, don't talk about it" I can't think of one. The same hubris that caused "Ever After" is the one that caused "find a new team" and eventually resulted in the thing being put up for sale. It's nice to know that cosmic justice does strike, at least occasionally.

Relevant to our interests. Ian Boyd writes on how 4-3 defenses—that would be us—are adapting to the "smashmouth spread"—that would be OSU. MSU's defense features prominently, as they've increasingly found their safeties matched up one-on-one with receivers they cannot hang with. You may remember a number of Jake Rudock passes in last year's game that would have been touchdowns had they been accurate; Baylor and Oregon have also made a habit out of bombing it deep to slot types.

Michigan's changed so much over the past few years that it's hard to draw any conclusions from what they're doing. (Other than "don't do that against OSU again.") MSU's adapted, as teams constantly do; Boyd says that to cope with smashmouth spreads that run a lot of RPO these are the key components:

To make this style of man/zone combination work a defense has to have a few particular components. The first is a lockdown corner to play man coverage on the weakside. If the opposing team has an ace WR in that spot and love to throw him the ball on standard downs then this scheme is DOA without a corner that can match him.

The second is a pair of DEs that are fundamentally sound and good at responding to different blocks. If that DE can't consistently contain the ball inside on the weakside this scheme can get into trouble fast.

Finally, the strong safety should be a player worth featuring as a free hitter against the run game.

Michigan appears to check all these boxes, pending the resolution of the WDE spot, and looks set to be a 4-3 over team this fall.

The other thing you haven't considered. Steve Politi keeps banging the War On Rutgers drum because all of a sudden his articles are clicked when he does this. I keep banging on the War On Rutgers drum because it is deeply hilarious to me. Anyway, this episode:

Now that we have the seeds of a Rutgers-Michigan feud planted,


now that we have the New Jersey high school coaches lining up behind their state university in an eye-popping show of solidarity,

against Paramus Catholic with Rutgers as a proxy

now that we have a reason for the national college football media to pay attention to our state in early June,


we should probably point this out:

Satellite camps are a farce.

yes, but not for the reasons you think.

The rest of the article is the usual reiteration of Politi's worldview that Harbaugh is a Machiavellian manipulator of the media and "fake," whatever that means. Anyone who's laid eyes on Harbaugh knows that his personality is on full display, and at maximum volume, at all times. This insistence that the guy is anything other than genuine is the least convincing rival smack talk I have come across. Crazy, sure. Phony, no. That's the equivalent of accusing David Shaw of being excessively emotional.

One strikeout. A couple times this space has wondered why Michigan State was telling people they expected three sixth-year players back when none of them seemed to have any case. Here's the resolution to one of those cases:

Veteran defensive tackle Damon Knox will not play for the Spartans in 2016 and has decided instead to pursue a career in law enforcement, the school announced on Friday afternoon.

MSU didn't even submit paperwork for him; as of a few weeks ago they hadn't done so for either of the other two guys, LB Ed Davis and OL Brandon Clemons. This is a really weird situation: it seems like the relevant persons at MSU are unaware that a sixth year is much harder to get than a fifth year.

The spin here rankles a little. Knox didn't get a sixth year because he never had a case for one. It's not because he has a passion for The Law. but the aforementioned oddity means outlets who haven't been paying much attention write articles like this:

There’s something you don’t see every day.

Friday, Michigan State announced that defensive tackle Damon Knox will not be returning to the Spartans for a sixth season.  The reason?  The lineman has decided to pursue a career in the field of law enforcement.

Uh… no. That's not CFT's fault They're just aggregating a story. It is the fault of the universally credulous Spartan beat, which will get around to investigating Max Bullough's suspension any day now.

Etc.: Rutgers fans remind each other to thank Jim Delany for "the biggest gift the school had received since Colonel Rutgers donated the money to revive the college back in the 1820s," which is accurate.

People attempting to purchase Budweiser-taunting "Murica" beer disappointed to discover it doesn't exist. Hey man take a cue from InBev and just put the same beer in a different package. Just one incoming hockey recruit, Will Lockwood, mentioned amongst the top 100 prospects for the upcoming NHL draft in an extensive article. BU is cleaning up.

Again, I would like to apologize to dogs for my insensitive comments about their intelligence.


Unverified Voracity Has An Anniversary

Unverified Voracity Has An Anniversary Comment Count

Brian December 30th, 2015 at 1:07 PM

Happy anniversary. Today is one year out from Harbaugh.


Max Harbaugh. To commemorate the event, Harbaugh had a radio appearance on Stoney and Bill. He completed that radio appearance and then CALLED BACK IN to advocate having Wrestlemania at Michigan Stadium, where he could referee a match between Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan:

“Why not the Big House?” he said. “Why not? 140,000 – I bet we could get in there for Wrestlemania. They’re trying to break the attendance record at Jerry Jones’ stadium in Dallas. (There’s) a great Canadian presence in wrestling. Why not Michigan and the Big House?”

When a producer on the show suggested that Harbaugh participate as a referee in a Flair vs Hulk Hogan matchup, Harbaugh didn’t hesitate.

“I’m in,” he said.

The chances of that match are not great since Flair and Hogan are a combined billion years old and Hogan was dropped by WWE after tapes of him being racist-uncle-level racist were released as part of a lawsuit he's embroiled in. With Gawker, because of course.

But other than that, yeah, sure. Unfortunately it's too late for Michigan Stadium to get it this year, since last year it was in the 49ers' stadium and that symmetry would have been perfect. Screw you, Jed York! (Actually, thank you, Jed York. Thank you so much for all that you have done for Michigan athletics.)

Either way, AJ Williams is in.

And now let us reflect on the previous gentleman. The Washington Post has an article on ballooning costs for athletic department administrators. If that sounds like an article in which Dave Brandon features, you would be correct:

Last December, at a conference on the business of college sports, a panel discussion involving Michigan athletics executive Hunter Lochmann turned to the topic of paying players. Lochmann, according to media reports, expressed skepticism about whether players deserved any of the millions sponsors paid to have their logos seen during Michigan games.

“Those are fleeting, four-year relationships,” he said of the careers of Michigan athletes. “At Michigan, it’s the block ‘M’ that has the affinity and power globally, not [former Michigan quarterback] Denard Robinson.”

The response was interesting coming from Lochmann, a former longtime National Basketball Association marketing executive who himself had just a four-year relationship with college sports at that point. In 2014, Lochmann made $225,000 performing a job — chief marketing officer at Michigan athletics — that didn’t exist before 2010, when then-Michigan athletic director Brandon created the position, luring Lochmann from the New York Knicks.

Lochmann was not the only new face in Michigan athletics. Between 2004 and 2014, records show, the department added 77 new full-time positions, contributing to an administrative payroll surge from $14.7 million to $27.7 million.

That 89% increase considerably outpaces the national average of 69%—this is national trend that Brandon managed to beat out. The returns on those additional staff were nil, as by the end of Brandon's tenure the Big House was three-quarters full and the athletic department had suffered a never-ending series of PR gaffes culminating in the concussion fiasco. The article revisits Lochdogg a bit later:

Michigan’s front office has gotten a bit smaller since last year, however. A few weeks after Lochmann’s controversial comments about Michigan athletes — which sparked backlash from university alums, including some NFL players — the university announced that Lochmann had resigned to “pursue other opportunities.”

In the year since, Michigan athletics has not needed to fill the vacant chief marketing officer job.

Except insofar as Harbaugh fills that role.

Anyway. The article ably details the flood of money going somewhere. That is an increasing army of administrators and higher salaries for extant ones, because, and I quote this quote "We’re no different than any other corporation that wants its business to be successful.”

I can think of one way it is different.

Bobby Bowden and IU athletic director Fred Glass come off well, FWIW.

Florida things. Suspensions and early NFL draft announcements may indicate a Gators program that is not fully checked in at the moment. Four players have already announced they're out the door for the draft after the game. DE Alex McCalister was dismissed from the team a couple weeks ago. Three players, including a starting OT, have been suspended. That starting OT projects to be replaced by a true freshman, which would bring the number of first-year players starting along Florida's lines to four.

That's all good news for a Michigan team that ended the year with a bit of a thud.

Brian Cole mystery, resolved. If you follow the premium sites you've noticed a hard split on the first year of Brian Cole at Michigan. Cole disappeared from the field after a few games thanks to an injury and never returned. Rivals repeatedly asserted that he was deep in the doghouse and unlikely to ever emerge; Scout said he'd moved to safety and was doing well after an early Internal Matter. RJS helps clarify:

"B-Cole's at safety, he's been coming down and bringing a lot of havoc," senior linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone said Monday. "He's been good." …

"Everybody's getting some time to play, we've been doing a lot of scrimmaging with younger guys," Jenkins-Stone said. "Coach Harbaugh's putting people where he feels like they'll be best for the team.

"Coach Harbaugh feels like (Cole) can make that happen, and I'm pretty sure he'll be able to fill a void next year at safety."

0% chance Cole plays in the bowl game since he's got a medical redshirt coming, but good to hear that Michigan's top athlete from the 2015 class is not in the same boat Derrick Green is.

The boat Derrick Green is in. A fast one, going anywhere but Ann Arbor. Ty Isaac will stick around; multiple reports had him taking most of the first team reps before the OSU game.

A less dangerous Indiana. #CHAOSTEAM may be a bit less chaos-y next year thanks to departures. RB Jordan Howard and DT Darius Latham have declared for the draft. IU loses most of their OL and Nate Sudfeld. I find it hard to believe that Zander Diamont is going to replace Sudfeld's production. Kevin Wilson is pretty great at offense but all they have to do is take a half-step back and the chaos turns into something like the LSU-Texas Tech bowl game where it's close for a while and then whoops it's 42-20.

Etc.: Chris Wormley reiterates that he will return next year. At this point I think the only person we're waiting on is Willie Henry. IU guard James Blackmon has a knee injury of undisclosed severity. This is a good vine. Holy crap, Baylor. Three pointers are suddenly easy. Harbaugh Christmas.


Unverified Voracity Swears At Kicker

Unverified Voracity Swears At Kicker Comment Count

Brian November 24th, 2015 at 12:55 PM


[Eric Upchurch]

Peppers Peppers Peppers Peppers. Nick Baumgardner about one of the pressing issues of The Game:

Paging Mr. Peppers
It's officially time to empty the tank. Michigan can't afford to save anyone's legs for a potential game next week, because, well, there may not be a game next week. And that means any type of Jabrill Peppers pitch count likely gets tossed out the window. Harbaugh dropped a little nugget in passing Monday about Peppers' ability as a running back, going so far to say he's going to have to think rather hard about how Michigan's multi-faceted athlete is best used on the roster. Maybe Harbaugh's actually talking about next season, or maybe he's planting another seed in Ohio State's head.

We had a caller on MGoRadio ask a similar question about Peppers's deployment. Neither Ace or I thought you could sacrifice him on defense in either the short or long term. In the short term, Michigan's about to face a team that has a heavy QB run game and will test the edge in various ways. In the long term, Peppers is going to figure out coverage and be an all-around terror.

But: I might be inclined to steal some snaps on D with Peppers out of the lineup if that meant he could get more action on offense. They've already offloaded kick returns to Jourdan Lewis with great success; I might be amenable to Peppers leaving on passing downs against OSU as Michigan plays Stribling/Clark/Lewis on the corner. Anything else and I think you have to have him in there.

HYPE VIDEO. This is A+ work here.

The Banner Incident. Can you imagine the reaction if this was to happen today?

It was on this day (November 24) in 1973 the Ohio State Buckeyes performed one of the most heinous acts in any rivalry, in any sport – they went after the sacred GO BLUE M CLUB SUPPORTS YOU banner.

If you aren’t aware of this, or have been living under a rock, I have created a YouTube Video that documents this act, one which legendary broadcaster Bob Ufer decried that the Buckeyes “will meet a dastardly fate here for that!”

The the Buckeyes returned in 1975 word was that Woody wanted to do it again, but this time the Michigan Students were ready.  The Buckeyes decided that discretion was the better part of valor, so no dastardly shenanigans ensued.

Twitter would roll over and die. Apparently they tried it again in 1977! We do have some spicy rival business of recent vintage thanks to Marcus Hall, so there's that. I appreciate OSU's willingness to come out and be dastardly before or during a game. Really adds something to the proceedings, unlike MSU's current student-taunting tradition.

An oral history of The Guarantee. Featuring this much more effective way to ice the kicker:

Frantz: In my mind, if I make that field goal, I'm the governor of Ohio. That's how big it would have been. When I was teaching myself to kick in the backyard, my father would literally say, "This is to win the Michigan game." I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted a chance to make the field goal.

I trotted out on the field, set my tee on the ground and looked at my holder, Scott Powell. Then I heard the referee blow his whistle for a timeout. It was a TV timeout, which meant it was an extended timeout. I looked around and saw a hundred thousand people and realized they were focused on me.

Just before the timeout was over, I looked over and saw Bo Schembechler about three-quarters of the way out on the field. He was screaming, "Frantz, you little s---, you're going to miss this kick!" He was going nuts, and his coaches were trying to hold him back. People ask me all the time if icing the kicker works. I tell them, "Well, in my case it did." It was a perfect snap and a perfect hold, but I hooked it a couple of feet left. There's no explanation and no excuse.

This is why I want to fight anyone who brings up whether a coach is "classy" or not. Hypocrisy, malfeasance, punting in plus territory: I'm listening. Whether a guy drops too many f-bombs or, in Woody's case, is constantly plotting ways to assassinate someone does not register.

Never has a mascot fight video been more accurate. I like the hat, too.

Who wins a Michigan-Ohio State mascot fight?

RIVALRY WEEK MASCOT FIGHT CLUB: Michigan Football vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Posted by SB Nation on Monday, November 23, 2015

A man who remembers his promises. Posted to reddit, Jim Harbaugh gets a letter from a Michigan fan, Harbaugh asks her to meet for the PSU game, and kapow:


It's not surprising, but it's a little surprising even so.

Exit Les. Les Miles is about to be out of a job at LSU:

Les Miles' tenure at LSU may be coming to an end, according to a highly ranked source involved with the decision-making process.

A decision on his future is likely to come in the very near future, with many Tiger Athletic Foundation (TAF) members ready to move on and start a new era in Baton Rouge. The $15 million-dollar buyout clause that is in Les Miles' contract is what many perceive as one of the bigger hang-ups in making a move.

However, TAF, the athletic program's booster club that funds a lot of the athletic programs for LSU, will not allow the buyout issue to thwart its plans, according to a high-ranking source.

Even before LSU's dispiriting loss to Ole Miss, their equivalent of a regent actually said to an actual newspaper actually on the record that if Miles won out "that complicates it." Now that he's lost one of them he's a dead man walking. At this point there are multiple independently-sourced reports from just about everyone that covers LSU; despite a 15 million dollar buyout Les's demise is imminent.

On the one hand, that's a quick trigger finger. Miles is just one year removed from a string of 10-win seasons. On the other, he went 8-5 last year and is currently 4-3 in the SEC. He is a CEO head coach who lost John Chavis. He's never hired an OC who has done much other than run a basic set of plays and waste prodigious WR talent. He's a Cooper-esque 2-7 against Saban. LSU fans assume they'll just sweep up most of the massive talent base LSU sits on no matter who the coach is. Miles is 62; things probably don't get better from here.

I'd can him if I was magically placed in charge of LSU, but I'd can just about anybody short of Harbaugh if I thought I could get Tom Herman.

None of this really impacts Michigan—I don't think M was even peripherally involved with anyone LSU is recruiting this year—but Miles will be an interesting name for a lot of mid-level schools. He'll be cheap for the same reason Jedd Fisch is cheap for Michigan this year (a big buyout), and he's got a long and mostly successful track record. While I think hiring him would be a bad idea, a lot of bad ideas are brought to life. Could he end up at, say, Illinois?

On the other hand, if LSU is actually targeting these guys… Names for the LSU job include the Usual Suspect and lolwut:

"Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher is the main target for many foundation members; with names like Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, TCU head coach Gary Patterson and even former NFL coach Jon Gruden being tossed around as well."

"Jimbo, Dabo: you have both proven that the winner of the FSU-Clemson game will easily be a playoff entrant should the rest of the season break correctly. You are paid exorbitantly well. But forget all that and play Alabama every year just to get out of your division. Sound good?


"Jimbo Fisher to LSU" is going to be this year's "Saban to Texas," a coaching rumor that will never do anything except line Jimmy Sexton's pockets.

Taco Charlton self-portrait. Via the Players' Tribune:


I don't have anything clever to say. I just wanted you to see it.

This isn't a great way to do it. The Big Ten wants to reduce the age at which you can start college hockey without burning years of eligibility from 21 to 20, and they've taken the matter direct to the NCAA without even stopping by college hockey to check. The obvious reason why:

In a memo obtained by College Hockey News, college hockey coaches voted 49-11 in a straw poll against the legislation. That poll has no bearing on the NCAA vote, but it demonstrates the mindset of the college hockey community as a whole. The specific 11 to vote for it is unclear, though six are presumed to be the Big Ten coaches.

Everybody except the Big Ten and a smattering of bluebloods (dollars to donuts "yes" voters outside the Big Ten include North Dakota, BC, Notre Dame, and BU) hates the idea. The rest of that article is everyone arguing self-interested positions that are obvious.

The Big Ten's hope is that by taking it direct to the NCAA the larger body will look at an outlying sport and try to bring it closer to the line all other sports take. With the league looking like hot butt—just one program, Michigan, is even on the NCAA bubble a third of the way through the season—this looks like an attempt to not be hot butt that doesn't involve firing the various terrible coaches in the league.

Special demerit to NMU head coach Walt Kyle for this take:

"A lot of these schools right now, and I'm not naming names, are doing everything in their power to push the scales in their favor," Northern Michigan coach Walt Kyle said. "A lot of these guys should be embarrassed. They want NCAA (tournament) games on home campus sites. Why is that?"

Because neutral sites have been a financial and public relations disaster that holds back all of college hockey. Because single-elimination playoff hockey is inherently ridiculous and even more so when it's been played in an empty AHL building. It's unclear why Kyle even cares about this at all since he's managed to acquire one tourney bid in the thirteen years he's been head coach.

This isn't a good look by the Big Ten but if Kyle's opinion is representative it's the main reason college hockey has the worst playoff in sports. In that case, all these guys can get bent.

Happily ever after. I think it all worked out for the best, really.

Everyone ended up where they should be.

Doubtful. MSU will try to get Ed Davis a sixth year, which will require some proof that Davis was legitimately injured as a freshman. Survey says not likely since he was the scout team player of the week twice:

2011 SEASON: Redshirted . . . named Scout Team Defensive Player of the Week vs. Minnesota . . . selected Scout Team Special Teams Player of the Week vs. Central Michigan.

Coaches try but the NCAA is usually pretty strict in these departments. Michigan is apparently going to try to get a redshirt for Mario Ojemudia, but I very much doubt that will come off either.

Etc.: Spencer on deceased rugby force of nature Jonah Lomu is worth your time. Not looking so hot at Penn State right now. Jake Rudock is Jarrod Wilson? Basketball will  change its starting lineup, no doubt starting at the five. Charlie Strong is about two-thirds of the way down the RichRod road. Steve Everitt's bandana.


This Week's Obsession: A Moment in Endzone

This Week's Obsession: A Moment in Endzone Comment Count

Seth September 23rd, 2015 at 12:03 PM

The Question:

Now that we have all read it, what for you was the most jaw-dropping moment of Brandon's Lasting Lessons?

The Warning:

We're going to spoiler this. If you haven't read it yet you should go do that.

The Responses:

Brian: There are many jaw-dropping things. The whole book is cause to walk around Ann Arbor drooling, from Lochdogg's inability to parse data to Brandon cutting down the nets to all of the infinite firings. But I was most stunned by this:


Also the ellipsis.

That's the welcome plaque outside Brandon's house. It is quite something, and then you get to "the Brandon's." WHO DOESN'T CHECK A PLAQUE THAT IS GOING ON THEIR HOUSE CALLED "HAPPILY EVER AFTER"?! Even leaving aside the crazy rich person vibe the whole thing gives off, this is one metal object that Brandon clearly intends for generations to come and marvel at, and it isn't even proofread. Says somethin' about somethin', that.


Seth: It has to be "Firing Fridays," and the massive turnover inside the athletic department. Throw a football down Granger and chances are it will be caught by someone sitting on the porch of a modest home with an "M" flag. That person probably had many opportunities through the years to take a job somewhere else that would afford a far larger and newer home, probably with a big yard and PVC pipes. So many of these people were pushed out, scared off, or straight-up let go that I even know a few of them.

In some cases, e.g. football coach, directing a money cannon at a proven professional is warranted. But Brandon took this to an extreme, bringing in two six-figure outsiders to replace every longtime $45k family member, then firing the family on the flimsiest of pretenses—often just voicing disagreement with Brandon—at such a rate that "Firing Fridays" was a thing. In a few short years those remnants from the Canham-Schembechler-Martin department were surrounded by a certain archetype of in-it-for-the-money young professional who knows nobody in town, owes everything to Dave Brandon, and knows little about college athletics except not to disagree with the boss.

Reading the quotes from former marketing and event presentation director Ryan Duey was the point when I got so angry at Brandon that even after getting up and stomping around the house for 20 minutes I had to get up and stomp around again like one sentence later. My page 297 is smudged and stained and has water wrinkles because it took me a day and multiple rooms to get through without throwing a tantrum in front of the kid.

The damage from that is irreparable. The people Brandon brought in are hardly worthless—they earned that payday by being excellent at what they do—but it will take 30 or 50 years for the kind of community and institutional knowledge Michigan used to have to grow back. Even talking about it now—three times in writing this response I've had to put down the keyboard and take a stomping tour around the living room. In fact here comes the fourth.


[After the jump: you may want to make sure there's nothing throwable in reach]


Brandon's Lasting Lessons: A Review of 'Endzone' by John U. Bacon

Brandon's Lasting Lessons: A Review of 'Endzone' by John U. Bacon Comment Count

Seth September 8th, 2015 at 6:18 PM


Since Brian is in the story, it (again) fell to me to write this site's official review of John U. Bacon's latest book, Endzone: The Rise, Fall and Return of Michigan Football.

We'll get the Amazonian recommendation bit out of the way first: You should read it. If you are a Michigan fan, you should read it. If you are a rival fan, you should read it. If you are part of any organization that has customers and/or employees, you should read it. If you are a fan of a college football team you should read it, then try to get your athletic director to read it. If you're a fan of Texas you should just throw copies of it at Steve Patterson. Except this hardcover is over 450 pages, so that might hurt him. Do not throw copies of this book at Steve Patterson. Read it.

Since you are reading MGoBlog right this minute, either you already own the book, are going to follow this link to buy the book (hardcover/kindle) right this second, or else you're just here because you heard we are a purveyor of Blake O'Neill photographs (here you go). If you're not done with the book yet, you are invited to leave this tab open and come back when you are, since this review is going to spoiler the hell out of it. I will give you the same bit of advice that Brian did when he handed it to me:

"This book is going to blow your mind."

[After the jump: We with the broken bits of brain matter and skull on the floor try to piece that back together long enough to find a theme. (Spoiler alert) Michigan contracts a disease, but its immune system wins]


Unverified Voracity Was On The Other Side

Unverified Voracity Was On The Other Side Comment Count

Brian August 24th, 2015 at 3:59 PM

Rudock versus M. I missed this in April when it was posted; let me repair that omission now. Wolverine Devotee put together an every snap video of Jake Rudock playing Michigan in 2013:

Rudock threw three interceptions, but only one of those was really his fault. On the other two he got obliterated as he threw; one of them deflected to Brennen Beyer for a Rather Fit Guy Touchdown and the other required Raymon Taylor to make a great play to dig out a play that was otherwise open. The third was real bad, a Blake Countess bait and switch job that went directly to him.

For the day Rudock was 19/30 for 8 YPA and 2 TDs and the three INTs. Of note: every pass Rudock is actually trying to complete is dead on the money except a flea flicker that hung up in a 25 MPH wind. The long Tevaun Smith touchdown was greatly facilitated by Rudock locating the pass where Smith could catch it and keep running without so much as breaking stride—something that is a consistent strength of his.

The interceptions are not much of a worry since he just went through a season in which he had five against 16 TDs. I think he's pretty good.

More ENDZONE Brandon's Lasting Lessons excerpts. From Michigan Today on Hackett:

“I was retired,” Hackett recalls, “sitting at our home on Spring Lake, convalescing from my hip replacement on my right side. Already had the left one done. And the idleness hit me—and I realized something that I didn’t realize before: I don’t like to be idle. I’m wired to be busy. Serving on boards is good, but they only meet once a quarter. I have a lot of energy, and particularly like solving problems,” a central part of the CEO mindset.

Schlissel refrained from telling Hackett that Brandon had just resigned. Instead, Hackett recalls Schlissel saying, “I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I just need to know if you’re interested. And I need to know tonight.”

From ESPN on the 2011 coaching search:

And that's what it came down to. Not money. Not power. Not fame -- but love. And Michigan, under Brandon, wasn't offering it to Harbaugh.

"I will never know what Brandon's motivations were," Anson told me, "but it seems clear to me that Dave was so insecure that he needed to be the big deal and could not countenance a strong personality as Michigan's head football coach.

"The 49ers swooped in and grabbed Jim, while Michigan stood on the sidelines. In my mind, Michigan should have had Jim locked down a month before that, and could have. I can only conclude that Dave Brandon is the sole reason Jim did not become our football coach in 2010."

Now it can be told (because it's in the book) that Anson is the gentleman who bought Jim Harbaugh those ties.

The Hoover Street Rag has a review and Bacon talks with ESPN as well.

Well, yeah. Beilein, nation's top offensive coach:

Beilein, entering his ninth year as Michigan head coach, was voted as the best offensive coach in the country in CBS Sport's annual "Candid Coaches" series, an anonymous polling of nearly 100 Division I basketball coaches at all levels.

Unfortunately this poll doesn't come with the set of anonymous comments it has in the past. Those were always interesting and, in the case of Beilein, highly complementary.

Hiding in the hidey-hole. OH YEAH THAT GUY

John Beilein can take a good joke every once in awhile. Chalk it up to those Irish-German roots.

That's why he cracked his familiar wry grin last week. It was suggested that, should the 62-year-old Michigan basketball coach have any skeletons in his closet, now would be the time to air them out.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"No one is paying attention, John," he was told.

"Oh man, I'm loving it," Beilein said, laughing. "I absolutely love that part of it. I have no problem with that."

John Beilein can start a world war or eliminate snakes from an island every once in a while. Chalk it up to those roots.

Not that bad. Joel Klatt visited Michigan practice and came away relatively impressed:

"They're not even in the same sentence right now in their own division with Michigan State and Ohio State, but here's the misconception," Klatt began, speaking on The Rich Eisen Show. "The misconception is that they're down talent-wise. I like Brady Hoke, but Brady Hoke underachieved to an enormous level with the talent he had. ... When I went yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to see the type of talent they had.

"I don't think nine wins is out of the question. I could see nine wins this year."

Since they only play two teams in the preseason top 25 that is certainly within the realm of possibility. Michigan's schedule has many winnable games… and many losable ones. Many outcomes are plausible.

Etc.: Michigan's director of social media on the hacking incident. I do like this. I do love the Big Ten. BYU loses a starting TE. 1977 player intros. Cometh the Doylepocalypse.


Summer 2015 Survey Results

Summer 2015 Survey Results Comment Count

Seth August 24th, 2015 at 10:19 AM

We had a survey, 3,556 people responded to it. We learned some things about them:

1. They only get to a few games


The average was two a year but the split is more like 26% go to no games, 36% get to one, and 38% get to more than one.

2. Most don't have season tickets


Four in five (79%) responders don't. Also, when these were run against the previous question season, ticket holders averaged 5.05 games a year, while non-season ticket holders went to 1.11 per year. Season ticket holders were then asked if they would have renewed if Michigan had kept Hoke. Most (68 percent) would but even 32 percent "no" is ominous:


3. There's a clear preference for ADs

Rating Brandon %RS Hackett %RS
1 (bad) 1488 42% 17 0.5%
2 (poor) 1654 47% 0 0%
3 (meh) 322 9% 28 1%
4 (okay) 33 1% 426 12%
5 (good) 19 0.5% 3040 87%
[no response] 40 - 45 -
Avg. 1.70 - 4.84 -

On overwhelming majority (almost 90%) of respondents gave Brandon a 1 or a 2. Conversely, Hackett cleaned up; among Michigan fans just 17 people who are impossible to please out of 3400 is some kind of magic. Brian demanded I combine these in a bar graph.


Ace: "That is beautiful."

Brian: "See? Bar graphs!"

4. Harbaugh?


Harbaugh has some catching up to do on his boss, at a still really positive approval rating of 4.27 out of 5. Then again Hackett has already reeled in a 5-star while I guess Harbaugh has yet to do so.

5. As for his predecessor



6. They'll pay more for better opponents, but not too much.


What they have now is about what the market wants to bear.

7. What they want to wear


Either the readership didn't understand that Underground Printing is our t-shirt guys and this would essentially mean MGoBlog gets to design all the uniforms, or they understood too well. Anyway UGP barely beat Under Armour, probably because they're the only company other than Nike that spells their name right.

8. Who they'd like to play

You're going to have to click this one I think:


Notre Dame is the obvious one, and the next-most popular was Harbaugh taking a shot at his old team. Stanford makes a lot of sense in fan type, location worth visiting, old history, and a team we haven't seen much of. LSU would be great too though it probably will be less fun (and less easy) once Les and Cam are out of there. The Pac and SEC were easily the most desirable conferences. A breakdown:

Conference Votes
SEC 3587
Pac 12 3139
ACC (no ND) 1312
Notre Dame 1122
Big XII 452

The games already scheduled weren't included, otherwise I'm sure the interest in Texas and Oklahoma would shoot the Big XII back up to at least ACC levels, while Washington and Colorado could put the Pac 12 on equal footing with the SEC.