TWO EVENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:
ANN ARBOR: Bars of Gold/Wear Your Rattiest-Ass Michigan Gear, This Saturday, Blind Pig, 9pm. Bear vs. Shark was one of my favorite bands in college. It turns out they're big MGoBlog fans and have another band—Bars of Gold—that's in town and headlining at the Pig this Saturday night. It would have been an empty room if things had gone according to plan last weekend. Now, dressing like a zombie and going to a rock concert feels like just the thing. They'd like fellow MGoBlog readers to show out, and are inviting you to Come in your rattiest, most outdated, or most embarrassing Michigan gear. A free t-shirt will be given out to whoever apparently needs one most. Door is $10.
CHICAGO, soon: Early bird deadline for the March 2 Go Blue Gala is this Saturday. Also they asked me who you might like as an honored guest or panelist. You tell me.
WRITE MORE: Everyone's got their coping method for dealing with The Loss. Mine is to get handy, dadding about all the house-breaks that accumulate when you combine a half-a-century-old building with a rock-solid excuse like "I'll get to it after football season." The nice thing about puttering is I can screw up royally and nobody is going to hold me accountable. Like yesterday I took a mostly functioning (refilling too slowly) toilet, broke the part I probably just needed to clean out, broke the top of the tank, and sliced open my middle finger on razor chunk of it. One trip to urgent care, seven stitches, a Home Depot run, and about the cost of a new toilet later and we've got a working potty with no top, and not a single person in my household who thinks less of me for it. I've got cred, you see. You shoulda seen this house when we bought it.
Anyway it hurts too much to type this week—especially anything with an 8, I, K, or comma—but it's also why we should be doubly impressed with the members of the MGoCommunity who gave us free content.
PASS MORE: Of all the autopsies submitted this week Ron Utah's I thought was the most relevant and hit the right level of criticism:
This leads to one of the glaring problems: usage. Michigan's inflated S&P+ rating reflects the passing offense's effectiveness when a pass was simply unexpected. And who could blame opponents for not expecting a pass when Michigan ran the ball on 519 of its 829 plays? Almost two-thirds (62.6%) of our plays were hand-offs this season. Again, contrast that with Alabama running 57.7% of the time, despite being in blowout win mode more often. In fact, 'Bama averaged just 30:13 of possession because they were scoring so fast. Michigan averaged almost 35 minutes of possession each game. We just didn't throw the ball much.
CHEAT MORE?: The title—"Michigan is Good, But Not Elite, and Won't be Elite Without Different (Worse) Institutional Standards"—is the most controversial line in jcorquian's forest-view take on Michigan's slip on the way to elite season. While certainly not to the degree as some schools, I take issue with the assumption that Michigan is squeaky clean. With the SEC powers we're talking about a vast difference in institutional corruption and scale, but probably not non-existence.
StephenRKass also contributed a board post that should have been a diary on the subject, after talking to an NFL agent who'd know.
In our discussion, he shared that a huge number of highly rated players, including several prominent guys currently on Michigan's team, receive compensation. From his perspective, basically every kid who is from a low income family and is ranked more or less in the top 100 prospects, probably in the top 200 or 300 prospects, is currently receiving compensation. He also believes that given the ridiculous amounts of money involved, this makes sense.
I know some players got some extra benefits—a handshake here, a free milkshake over there—under Lloyd's eye when I was in school (I was on the Daily and worked at a pizza joint), and while I don't know of any particulars today—that being something they keep out of earshot from sports journalists as you might imagine—I doubt things have changed. Michigan fans shouldn't advocate for Michigan to do the illegal thing that we're bad at. We should be advocating for the thing that should be legal to be legal, not just because yay capitalism, but because Michigan would be the most advantaged school in the country.
REVENGE MORE? Brian linked Best and Worst already right? If he didn't, and you haven't already, read bronxblue's maybe best work yet.
But sports have always occupied a particularly comfortable niche for this sermonizing. We joke about cheering for clothes, but it's pretty on the mark to say that sports give you color-coded heroes and villains upon which we shower praise and scorn. It removes the humanity from the equation and replaces it with a Pavlovian response to a name and a uniform. And when it's just laundry, it's soooo easy to then douse your fandom with the gasoline of class-ism, provincialism, and moral relativism that turns normal, semi-intelligent people into, well, cheap-seat NFL fans. And I'm as guilty as anyone - I still find myself occasionally getting really mad at college students who attend other schools than a college I graduated from damn near 20 years ago
BO MORE? The last 40 years (since Woody was fired) of Michigan football show this season was pretty much in line with a standard year of Late Bo or early Mo. I would take it back another decade, since 1969 was the revamp. Bo got the first upset and his program got better after that, but Ohio State got the lead early in the 10-year war. The 1970 game was a 20-9 blowout loss. 1971 was Touchdown Billy Taylor. 1972 was the year Michigan kept scoring from the 1 and the refs refused to call anything that didn't go >2 yards past the line a touchdown. 1973 was the tie that precipitated that awful vote to send OSU to the Rose Bowl, meaning that tie ended up having all the effect of another loss. 1974 was the Lantry kick that was good and called wide. And 1975 was another OSU victory. After seven years Bo was 2-4-1 against Ohio State. You know how it ended.
While we're on the history of The Game, Swayze Howell Sheen gave a charty one that looks pretty good and I haven't read because I didn't get to it before…that…and haven't had will to since.
CHUCK LESS? A non-hateable Buckeye recounts what it was like to live in the 1985-2001 period. I think we've been repaid for that and more.
Best of the Board
What would you change about college football? From time to time I'm reminded you how all the moderation and community-building we put into the board can be rewarded with—and I kid you not—a thread with a good debate about ideas from a wide spectrum of thought. I rarely click past page 1 these days and I'm glad this time I did so because things start getting threaded about how to separate Power 5 from Group of 5 without telling them.
All-B1G: Diagonal Blue compiled a list of all the all-conference winners since Harbaugh arrived.
MGoBlog 3.0: We've got points working. Sticky thread is being watched—I hope to have a grander update on the site in a week or so. Short version is we didn't want to roll out any big fixes during the season but we'll have a few soon, including the big one I wanted.
Etc. Hockey thoughts. UMProud rewrote the lyrics to a Simon & Garfunkel song. I lol'd at this after I clicked expecting to have to delete it. Previews were much more correct than the way things were last week. Not as bad as it looks. Turkey Day thanks from the mods. Some recruiting tidbits from Sam.