2017 Recruiting: J'Marick Woods

2017 Recruiting: J'Marick Woods

Submitted by Brian on May 8th, 2017 at 11:50 AM

Previously: Last year's profiles.

       
Florence, AL – 6'3", 205
       

 

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Scout 4*, NR overall
#31 S
Rivals 3*, NR overall
#45 S, #24 AL
ESPN 4*, NR overall
#22 S, #18 AL
24/7 3*, #591 overall
#46 S, #30 AL
Other Suitors MissSt, Ark, LSU, VT, Tenn, Duke
YMRMFSPA Jeremy Clark
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Twitter.

Film

Senior:

Junior:

Most of the time I come into these profiles with some idea of what I'm going to say about the player in question, but pretty much all I remembered about J'Marick Woods is that he does not have a nickname. Because this is not a nickname:

"He's kind of earning his nickname -- we call him 'Woods' -- and he definitely brings the wood, as a physical player."

That is literally his name. No, I will not drop this. This is important. I used the tag and everything. This, on the other hand, is in fact a nickname:

"He's 'The Truth.' ... I know they hit down South, but he's a different human," Chris Evans said. "The way he's been hitting people all spring it's like 'oh, you've got to watch out for that guy because he's really hitting people hard.'"

It is also a Perd Hapley quote.

Anyway, it turns out that Woods is a large safety, listed at 6'3" everywhere except ESPN (which gives him an extra inch) who mostly slipped through the cracks when it came to scouting evaluations. There are drips and drabs here and there, but not much other than the sites' now-usual commitment-spurred scouting post. This is a situation where I'll watch the film to try to come up with my own opinion, and the main thing I took away from Woods's is that he is indeed very large. Almost unbelievably large. This is a common impression:

"Coach Durkin said he couldn't believe how big I was in person," Woods said.

His most impressive plays come on balls over his head that he has the vertical reach to affect. In an ideal world he is the free safety who's maddeningly able to get to everything deep.

Scout's profile echoes this assessment:

...great length. ... could get a look at cornerback, but he is likely a free safety in college. His length is an asset in coverage and recovery. He has wide receiver-like hands and he makes plays on the ball. ...great range and he reads things well.

As did Clint Brewster on 24/7:

...great length and range. ...really reads the quarterback well, flows to the ball instinctively. Woods has the athleticism and ball skills you like at safety. He looks like a receiver going up for jump balls. It's hard for teams to complete deep passes over the top of him because of his length and vertical jump.

And ESPN:

Very good height and frame ... long arms and rangy body ... Covers a lot of ground quickly and flashes very good pursuit speed. More straight-line in speed and movements. ... Shows good ball skills and awareness around it when its in the air. Will go up and attack the ball at its highest point. Turns into a receiver when the ball is in the air. Shows good range coming off the mark getting on top of routes. Still developing man to man skills.

Woods is an ideal centerfielder.

He also garners praise for his run support, which is unusual for a lanky high school safety at his height. He's got to tackle RBs a half-foot shorter than him, and he does so ably. Brewster:

...explosive tackler that runs through ball-carriers with his shoulder. He diagnoses and reads action quickly. Does a great job shutting down the option or zone read. Really good breaking down in the open field and coming up with a tackle.

ESPN:

Productive run defender from the high-point, in the box or from the line of scrimmage as a blitzer. Fills fast downhill and with a purpose. ... Closes hard on ball carriers and delivers a pop on contact. Lacks a a lot of punch behind him at this point but is strong in his ability to lasso ball carriers to the ground and is reliable in the open field.

The one aspect of safety play that consistently gets dinged is man-to-man, and that is something of a concern in an aggressive Don Brown defense that frequently flips safety assignments on motion. Any Don Brown safety is going to find himself in situations where he has to check someone man-to-man. The "straight-line" assertion might end up being a problem: if Woods can't change direction well he'll be in trouble if he gets flipped onto a slot receiver.

But these evaluations don't fit the ranking. A couple of sites had him an unranked four-star, including ESPN; it still feels like an evaluation that end with "Woods has the frame, range, athleticism and aggressiveness that should make him a coveted safety prospect" would correspond to something more.

Michigan certainly had him high on their board. Michigan offered Woods before anyone else, just after his sophomore year. Per Lorenz, Duke was Michigan's main competition before his early commitment. Woods took visits to Arkansas and Mississippi State during the season before re-affirming to Michigan; a reported LSU offer is probably in the "offer" category. The offers do match the rating.

What's going on here? This is a 3.5* prospect with an elite frame—it can't be all sunshine and roses. One factor in the ranking: I can't find any reference to Woods attending a recruiting camp. He hit up a Michigan satellite camp but he did not do any of the Opening stuff, Rivals Five-Star stuff, etc. Not one. He did play in the Mississippi-Alabama All Star game but the only scouting I found coming out of that was a negative take:

"...worked out both ways [at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game] and actually looked more comfortable at tight end than on defense. He has some raw physical tools that can’t be taught, but will need some time to develop at the next level.”

That was the only scouting a Rivals employee with the power to rate players offered.

Tim Sullivan is very good at tactfully mentioning negatives but there wasn't a whole lot he had other than adding weight:

Woods's aggressive style of play typically includes a sense of responsibility that prevents him from giving up big plays on play-action while still being able to come down in run support when the ball is handed off. Remaining a student of the game will allow that to continue in college, again when the opposition has more speed and talent.

He also doesn't yet show an ability to take on blocks on the edge.

Other parts of his evaluation do suggest he's going to take some polishing. In his "class impact" piece he notes that Woods played both ways at Florence and was actually more of a wide receiver early in his career, asserting that "turning his natural athleticism and ball-hawking attitude into a well-rounded defensive back may be a bit of a process." Overall, though, Sullivan's take is positive. He was "likely undervalued" after his junior year.

There's no dissenting voice that actually bothered to type something out, then. Woods has great evals, middling offers, and a middling ranking. Hard to parse.

Woods was one of Michigan's 11 early enrollees and seems to have improved his stock despite not playing in the spring game. The injury that held him out did not affect him for most of the spring, allowing Webb to get a clip of him in Rome:

It's always tricky to separate out the generically positive coachspeak from words that are actually meaningful, but it is less so when Don Brown is deploying guttural utterances:

"J’Marick didn’t go, which, arghh. I wish you’d have seen him today. He’s really been showing some things."

Michigan's DB coaches both offered up their opinions, with a "very impressed" Mike Zordich highlighting his physicality. Brian Smith went in-depth with Sam Webb:

He can match up against tight ends and he’ll be a guy that won’t necessarily looking up to tight ends.  He’ll be almost at eye level with them, so that automatically gives him an advantage.  He has got long arms, so he can get his hands on guys and be able to press them.  He also has some ability in the post.  He has got good range at the post and that’ll definitely help us in our man to man.

(I'm not sure what "the post" means in Michigan's defensive jargon, but I'm guessing that means coming down over a slot receiver?) Smith also asserted in that interview that Woods came in with a 3.5 GPA and he "picks things up quickly," which is necessary at safety.

Etc: I got nothin'.

Why Jeremy Clark? Clark was another skinny, very tall defensive back with a modest recruiting profile and some offers from mid-level SEC schools. Though projected as a safety he moved to corner midway through his Michigan career; there he was an effective starter and eventually an NFL draftee despite losing most of his senior year to a knee injury.

Woods could end up looking like a version of Clark who stays at safety. Clark reportedly struggled with the mental aspects of the position(calling coverages, adjusting to motion, etc.); hopefully the same won't befall Woods. The Duke push offers some reassurance there, as does Brian Smith's take.

Other comparables include Jarrod Wilson (if Woods is very very boring) and Ernest Shazor (if Woods is shockingly athletic and a touchdown factory for the opposition).

Guru Reliability: Moderate-minus. Not a ton of scouting but some; some rankings spread but not a ton; not many camps but did play in a state-vs-state all star game.

Variance: High. Frame gives him a ton of potential. Needs to fill that out and could end up a man without a country, stuck between safety and OLB.

Ceiling: Very high. Scouting reports are notably lacking on athleticism dings and he claims a 4.62 40; pair that with his frame and the sky's the limit for a free safety. 

General Excitement Level: High. Woods skipped the rankings rigmarole and his numbers suffered for it; all the scouting is more indicative of a top 150 kid than his actual 3.5* status.

Projection: Woods's early enrollment, positional stability, and special teams suitability would probably see him play right away even if Michigan's safety depth wasn't worrisome. It is, and he's on the two-deep by default. He should get whatever garbage time is available as Kinnel's backup and serve as an integral part of various coverage units; he's not a bad candidate to throw at punters what with his length.

In all likelihood Woods will apprentice again in 2018 with an eye towards being a two year starter at free safety after Kinnel graduates; his competition for that job is not yet on campus so he should be the favorite.

Spring Items: Defense

Spring Items: Defense

Submitted by Brian on April 12th, 2017 at 11:47 AM

Defensive line

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[Bryan Fuller]

Headline news is not at all surprising: Rashan Gary is like dang. Palpable excitement from the coaches about getting to line up Gary next to Maurice Hurst and God help anyone assigned to block those guys on a stunt. Or not on a stunt. Gary remains extremely coachable and is on track to deliver on that #1 overall recruit hype. The end. Gary talk this year == Peppers talk last year. Everyone knows he's coming so it's almost beside the point to mention it.

Carlo Kemp looks set to back Gary up at strongside end:

"Rashan's a great person to definitely model your game after and follow up," Kemp said. "Especially because he goes in there, sets the tempo. For me, backing him up, I want to be as close as I can that there's no dropoff. When Rashan's in, we already know what he can do, and then when I come in I try to mimic his game a lot, so that when he's in and I'm in, it looks the exact same."

That would be nice. Kemp has impressed the coaches after a rough start that was partially because he was being played out of position at linebacker. (Remember that Michigan had a crisis at LB before the emergence of McCray last year.) Kemp on his interactions with Don Brown:

"He said when we first started spring ball 'I don't even know who this guy is anymore, last year I'd have traded him away for two used footballs' " Kemp said. "So that felt good. Last year I might have done the same thing, traded me away for two used footballs.

"Maybe we're up to three this year."

Kemp has the bloodlines and good size (265 now, probably approaching 280 by fall) so backup snaps at the anchor should be relatively productive. Early-enrolled freshman Donovan Jeter is also impressing, and right now he and Kemp are both wearing #2. Winner gets to keep it, I guess?

At the other end, Chase Winovich has added another chunk of weight as he attempts to replace Taco Charlton; hopefully this will allow him to hold up against the run while not sapping his ability to get around the corner. All weight gain or loss is good in the spring. Haven't gotten anything about the folks pushing Winovich on the depth chart so that might be a spot of worry. Jeter is probably more of a SDE/3T than a weakside end.

DT starters are established and I cannot tell you anything about them that you don't already know. Mo Hurst should be an All-American with increased playing time and the shiny stats he racks up. Everyone is waiting for Bryan Mone to finally display the potential people have chattered about for years. Chatter remains the same on Mone, and he did flash talent late in the year. If he can stay healthy dot dot dot.

Very thin on the interior with few of the freshmen on campus yet and Michael Dwumfour frequently limited with minor issues. As a result Michigan is experimenting with redshirt freshman Ron Johnson on the interior, which is very much a work in progress. Johnson arrived as a 245-pound edge rush type. I would interpret that as distress about backup DTs. Lawrence Marshall is also on the interior and has not drawn much buzz.

Depth is a concern. Starters should be bonkers.

Linebacker

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[Fuller]

Mike McCray is an obvious starter and looks like you'd expect. Leader, thumper. Michigan's offense isn't of the variety that frequently tests McCray's main 2016 weakness—operating in space—so I assume you're going to get a lot of very positive reports on him that are about the stuff he was already excellent at, and we'll have to wait for live fire this fall to see if he's made progress on the downsides.

The other spot was presumed to be Devin Bush, but don't sleep on Mike Wroblewski, who keeps getting brought up by Don Brown for a reason. Wroblewski is an "A-gap player," which means he's a guy to take on fullbacks and hammer the interior run game but might be limited in sideline-to-sideline range. He's taken over some of the calls from McCray, which is quite a thing to do when you're taking them from a returning starter and fifth year senior who is presumably going to be a captain. He is on the two deep, legitimately.

Bush is also very much in the mix and will at least rotate through a la Gedeon when he was the third guy behind Morgan and Bolden. He could start, as well—he seems a much more natural fit for Michigan's forays against spread offenses.

FWIW, one report that Ben Mason "looks the part" at LB, so they are giving him his shot there and he may yet defy this site's oft-stated opinion that he's destined for fullback. Redshirt freshman Josh Uche Is "laying the wood" a lot and should get some playing time this year, possibly as a pass rush specialist, with a productive career in the offing.

The VIPER(!!!) spot is addressed in the next section because it should be.

Safety

Michigan looks set to go with a three safety look again—the defense is a bonafide 4-2-5 and we should get used to it—in a slightly different configuration than last year. This is not insider chatter but rather something the coaches have directly stated:

"We'll see in the Spring Game how those guys line up in live competition, but right now Tyree Kinnel and Josh Metellus, those guys are leaders of the pack [at safety] in my eyes," Smith said. "They've done a good job from a leadership standpoint. I think Tyree has done a good job with communication -- getting guys lined up and making checks. I feel comfortable with him in the game right now."

Tyree Kinnel is your free safety and will play the Dymonte Thomas role; Josh Metellus is the strong safety and will replace Delano Hill. Both are heady and "kind of going Jarrod Wilson," which is music to your author's ears. All hail boring safeties, with a side of Metellus thumping people in their earholes.

Meanwhile many reports have it that Khaleke Hudson is your leader at VIPER(!!!) and will seek to replicate Jabrill Peppers. Hudson was a bit slow picking up coverages per a couple people; he is physically capable of the slot coverage that Hill was so good at a year ago, and as he gets increasingly comfortable people in his vicinity have a tendency to get "jacked up," as the kids say. One report notes he's making a number of spectacular, freaky plays. As we've asserted about Hudson since he popped up on our radar, he's not Peppers but he's basically Peppers. The emergence of Metellus gives Michigan the opportunity to use him in that spacebacker spot he was born to man.

Meanwhile in news I find very important indeed, people think J'Marick Woods has a nickname but he does not.

This aggression against nicknames will not stand. That is just his name. Hockey nicknames that are "last name followed by -y" are bad enough. Come back when you've named him "Scooter" or "Booger" or "Dump Truck." Preferably all three.

Cornerback

All systems go for David Long and Lavert Hill, who have been gathering extensive praise as physical, sticky corners. Hill is currently stickier but Long isn't far off. When the projected starters are in it's been difficult for Michigan's receivers to get separation.

There is a significant dropoff after those two, with Brandon Watson and Ambry Thomas currently drawing the most mention. There's no such thing as a second unit yet, of course; those two guys are a nose ahead of the pack after the starters. Watson was meh as a slot corner a year ago and is past the age where rapid progress is likely; I assume he'll have a role similar to last year's unless he gets passed by Thomas right out of the gate. Survey says: possible.

Overall, practice insiders are positive about Michigan's ability to weather all the departures. Don Brown's said as much publicly, and privately he's saying basically the same things: there's no reason this defense shouldn't be in the same ballpark as last year's. #1 is a tough ask because of randomness and whatnot, but Don Brown has put together top end defenses without having a guy like Rashan Gary. He remains a hard-boiled cop one day from retirement in a candy store.

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

Submitted by Seth on December 23rd, 2016 at 9:42 AM

The tradition continues. See previous for Why.

image

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:

image

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

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)
Primary-Full-Color
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)/
WVU
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.

Unverified Voracity Isn't Saying That It's Zombie Apocalypse Time, But…

Unverified Voracity Isn't Saying That It's Zombie Apocalypse Time, But…

Submitted by Brian on February 17th, 2016 at 4:13 PM

Football Booklet Cover

IT'S MADE OF PAPER UNKNOWN TO MANKIND. The Daily has a book that compiles all their Harbaugh stuff, Harbaugh-related stuff, and Harbaugh-tangential stuff from the past year. You can order it for $5 plus shipping, or skip the shipping and pick it up from the Student Publications building on Maynard. Proceeds help the Daily keep running so they can continue to pump out epic features. Someone's got to write COLUMNS that don't make you want to die.

If this is the start of the zombie apocalypse I'm going to be upset. Gotta give me at least five years of Harbaugh before the end of the world.

Apparently most of the swimming and diving team is sick and they're checking the pool for something that turns you into a flesh-eating, non-verbal lumbering horror. Sounds like they should check the press box, not the pool.

Marge_vs._the_Monorail_(promo_card)monorailcolorWATER-410x600

Also please not before the MONORAIL. True story: one of the first Every Three Weekly articles ever was about an outlandish plan to join Central Campus to North Campus with a monorail. (In it, Tom Goss projected it would make money thanks to monorailgoblue.com, because Michigan had just launched mgoblue.com. Also it was on paper. I am old.) Well, IT'S HAPPENING DOT MONORAIL:

Schlissel, city envision monorail to unite North and Central campuses

Tuesday, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel reintroduced the idea of creating a rapid transit system between Central and North Campuses, a project that has essentially been dormant since 2013.

Would I ride this just to ride it? Definitely. Let's put our town on the map.

Yes, thank you sane person. Man, has it been hard to keep the fisk in the garage after the latest and dumbest hot take explosion about Harbaugh. The main reason I haven't opened both barrels is indecision about whether I should go after Mitch Albom, Drew Sharp, or Tony Barnhart, all of whom put the literary equivalent of Skyline chili on the internet in response to Harbaugh's plan to visit IMG. Nothing has been as dumb as this, though:

image

I mean… I can't put it past a guy whose version of the "Art of the Deal" will be titled "Chasing Rutgers," but cumong man. Put down the Confederate flag bong and sober up.

I may break down pretty soon here and call someone horseface, but for now Andy Staples is keeping me sane:

The Power Five leagues, including Sankey's SEC, got autonomy legislation passed so they could loosen some restrictions that other Division I schools wanted to keep tight. The new attitude in major college sports was supposed to be this: If you want to do it, do it. If you don't, don't. That lasted until several millionaire coaches got mad at another millionaire coach trying to mitigate their competitive advantage.

I'm so so done with being Meatloaf The Football Program: I'll do anything to win but I won't do that. Staples does mention that Harbaugh getting up in his players' spring break might come up during the infinite lawsuits the NCAA is fighting, but since a bunch of spring sports already do that it's likely a moot point. And as I always point out, Michigan fans should be hoping amateurism dies swiftly and comprehensively for the same reason the Yankees don't want a salary cap. I don't think Harbaugh is consciously attempting to point out the hypocrisy, but I'd support him if he was.

Meanwhile in attempts to negative recruit based on the above. Michael Dwumfour opens up about his recruitment process, detailing an ill-fated Penn State trip:

The Penn State coaching staff knew the competition it was up against. According to Dwumfour, the Lions poked fun at Jim Harbaugh’s recruiting techniques.

That didn’t sit well.

“When I was at Penn State, I heard jokes about Harbaugh and stuff like that,” Dwumfour said. “In the back of my head, I’m thinking ‘What he’s doing is working, obviously. Instead of criticizing him, you might want to take some of his techniques to try and help yourself out and get some recruits.’”

The prospect of Penn State coaches making fun of Harbaugh's sleepovers boggles the mind, but I put nothing that is bogglingly dumb past James Franklin.

Status of Bush the elder. Devin Bush Sr was long rumored to be on the verge of a Michigan job, something that he was openly hoping for in an interview with Brandon Brown:

“For me, if I was to get an opportunity, because I would love to coach at the next level, I never wanted to put it out there because I didn’t want to move my kids while they were in high school. If you get into that world you could be moving every eight to ten months. Once my son graduated, now I would be open for an opportunity because I don’t have to worry about moving kids, it’s just my wife and I.”

That sounds like a guy who is waiting for the Ts to get crossed and Is dotted. And now that Michigan's down Greg Jackson they might look at him for that job as well; Bush's profile isn't that far away from Jackson's: former NFL safety, little high-level experience. Harbaugh grabbed Jackson when he was an assistant DBs coach with Wisconsin.

Who doesn't these days? Tom Brady's agent wants to blow up the NCAA, and he's likely correct about how the edifice comes tumbling down:

This is the promise of [Don] Yee's advocacy. He is a football insider with firsthand knowledge of how a business works and the credibility to make people listen. He is exhausted, he says, by talk without much action and has reached the point of arguing for revolution: Blow up the system. Start over. Build anew. "This generation of players has more tools at its disposal than any other to be heard and to organize," he says. "If they adopted a Twitter hashtag of #disruptthefinalfour for the NCAA tournament, they would at least start a discussion. And significant change typically happens through some discussion that is too large to ignore."

All it would take is two basketball teams deciding to delay a Final Four game and amateurism is all over but the shouting. They don't even have to refuse to play. All they have to do is agree to start the game 15 minutes late, and there will be no illusions as to where the power actually resides. Yee:

"Nothing will change for the players unless they take the responsibility of becoming something more than willing victims to this system," Yee says. "At some point, you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself, 'Who am I? What am I doing? What's going on, and what am I doing about it?' These players, they have all the power -- they simply don't realize it."

That is correct. Someone's going to be the NCAA's Curt Flood, and pretty soon. Related: Sonny Vaccaro talks to the NYT, says the same things Vaccaro usually does.

I guess he's a Walverine. Michigan fans have this odd conversation about whether it's okay to be a Michigan fan without having attended the school. They do this largely because MSU fans are livid that nobody who doesn't go to MSU gives a damn about the Spartans and project this anger all around them. Meanwhile 95% of Alabamans are either Auburn or Alabama fans, and… uh… let's just stipulate that more than 5% of Alabamans do not have a degree from either institution. (Ace, at home, just screamed "BAN BOOKLARNIN'" again.)

It is good to have Michigan fans scattered about with no other connection to the school. One of them just joined the recruiting class:

“Honestly I’ve been a Michigan fan since I was little,” [Dylan] McCaffrey said. “My grandma is a big Michigan fan. She has a house about 40 minutes away [from Ann Arbor], so I don’t know why, but I just ended up loving them. I could’ve always seen myself going there, and in the end I just went back to how I felt about Michigan as a kid.”

Another person who was a Michigan fan for no particular reason: Jabrill Peppers. Let all who want to root for winged helmets do so irrespective of their degrees, and let MSU fans stew about it.

More on "floor seats". Everyone hated it. Especially people who have televisions. ESPN trotted out some poor damn spokesperson, who immediately torpedoed any sympathy I might have for her with a statement so inane it bordered on Dave Brandon Hire:

ESPN was built on trying new things and taking risks, and tonight is just another example of that.

ESPN was built on showing people athletics contests, not utterly failing to do so.

12552955_10154043291659610_3015410978315126092_n

[Eric Upchurch]

Austin Davis is looking rather different these days. Many people thought taking Davis was questionable at best when Michigan did, and it is going to be strange next year when Michigan has up to six post players on the roster (Doyle, Donnal, Wagner, Wilson, Davis, and Jon Teske). But Davis has done everything he can to prep himself:

635908046831956828-AUSTIN-020816-KD-12[1]While he was 6-10 a year ago, he was also 265 pounds. Today he is a svelte 235 and his game has benefited immeasurably.

“The big thing is I changed my diet around; I changed it pretty drastically,” he said. “And then I got on a new weight program.” …

A year ago, Davis was more of a plodder as he moved up and down the court. His teammates often had to wait for him to join them before they could run their offense.

That, more than anything, is why no major college offered him a scholarship — and U-M coach John Beilein made Davis aware of that fact.

“We had a directive,” said Eric Davis, Austin’s dad. “Coach Beilein really wanted to see him start moving better and running the court better.”

He has, and he now looks like a college post. Whether he'll still look like one in college is unknown; his 79% shooting percentage is indicative of both his talent and his competition level.

Who runs Big Ten hockey? The equivalent of Tom Anastos. Tom Anastos, hockey coach, not Tom Anastos, CCHA commissioner. Because Anastos was all right at the latter before being thrust into a role he had no frame of reference for. Ditto the folks running Big Ten hockey:

“Coming from a non-hockey background, it’s kind of hard for me to imagine a fan in the state of Minnesota who wouldn’t be excited to see a Michigan or a Michigan State come in to play,” he said. “I recognize and acknowledge that significant rivalries developed over the years in the previous leagues, and that’s fine."

Minnesota fans did not like this interview with Brad Traviolia, not one bit. I'm not much of a fan either. Nobody comes to the Big Ten hockey tournament because most fans are very far away from said tournament no matter where it is.

There is no possible solution to this problem. A neutral site Big Ten tournament is never going to draw. I have had season tickets for a decade now and I have no plans to ever go to a neutral site Big Ten Tournament, because that product sucks. It sucks being in a big empty building where hockey is going on. I am barely willing to put up with it for an NCAA tournament game. A Big Ten tourney where everyone makes it in doesn't even come close to moving the needle.

The only solution is to go to series on home ice, which four of the six schools should support since they have dedicated rinks. If Wisconsin or Ohio State don't want to host because of high school sports, they don't have to. Quit letting two schools that clearly don't care about hockey dictate to the 3.5 that do.

Hockey tourney status: don't collapse. Jim Dahl's excellent Pairwise projection site is reaching peak utility as hockey comes down the stretch here. Michigan is in barring a spectacular collapse:

michigan

Even 2-5 likely sees them sitting in a pretty secure at-large spot, though they'd definitely want to win a game in the Big Ten tournament. Three wins and they would be all but a lock going into that tourney unless results elsewhere conspired against them; 4-3 and they're 100% in.

A one seed would require Michigan to absolutely sprint down the stretch; even a 6-1 finish most likely sees them still a 2 going into the BTT.

I have no idea how good this goalie is. The Daily's Jason Rubinstein on Michigan's poor, bombarded goalie:

After three and a half years, Racine is playing the best hockey he ever has in a Michigan uniform. Berenson named him the team’s bona fide starter more than three months ago. For his last six games, he boasts a .931 save percentage, a career high for any stretch over five games that he has played.

And this past weekend, he was the only reason Michigan managed to escape Madison with five points, rather than three. In Saturday’s contest against Wisconsin, the Wolverines won in a shootout, despite surrendering four goals.

“You should’ve seen him at Wisconsin,” Berenson said. “He stood on his head, and we had no business winning the game based on the chances we gave up.

“That was his best game of the year.”

This has got to be the strangest year for hockey since I've been paying attention. They give up four goals to a very bad Wisconsin team only because their goalie stands on his head; they are on pace for a two-seed.

Etc.: Barry Alvarez apologizes for saying innocuous, accurate thing about UW hockey. Bob Miller on incoming goalie Jack LaFontaine. Jim Harbaugh adopts a kitten. PWO Anthony Kay profiled. Incoming hockeyist Nick Pastujov also profiled.

The Tucks Medicated Pad Annual Article About Name Sponsorships on Bowls

The Tucks Medicated Pad Annual Article About Name Sponsorships on Bowls

Submitted by Seth on December 8th, 2015 at 1:37 PM

subsidized time

HT PoorYorickEntertainment

Portrait of attractive young female showing a thumbs up on white background: Hey there, Steve!

steve[3]: [sigh] Hey Carol-Sue.

Portrait of attractive young female showing a thumbs up on white background: Why so glum?

steve[3]: Well I told my wife last weekend that I want to go to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Then she went and booked our flight and told her mother we were coming to visit!

Portrait of attractive young female showing a thumbs up on white background: Then why aren't you happy?

steve[3]: Because my mother-in-law lives in Phoenix!

Portrait of attractive young female showing a thumbs up on white background: Oh.

steve[3]: She thought I meant the…whatever it's called I dunno—the one we went to against Kansas State!

Portrait of attractive young female showing a thumbs up on white background: I see. Well it looks like you need LANGUAGE!

steve[3]: Language?

scientist

That's right, Steve! You see, I'm a scientist. And we here at the Human Race have developed a special patented technology called Language™ to communicate ideas using mutually understood sounds.

One of the keys to our Language™ technology is the ability to identify a person, place, or thing by association with a specific set of organic sounds called "nouns." Through the transmission and recognition of commonly recognized nouns within a grammatical framework, we make it possible for another human to actually understand what bowl you're actually talking about!

Our nouns are specially pre-formulated to achieve maximum comprehension. By using a noun your listener is already familiar with, the thing you actually meant to convey will be transmitted directly to the brain thing of your audience, enabling 100% instant, seamless, optimized, non-GMO return on linguistic investment.

steve[3]: Wow! Where do I find nouns like that?

scientist2: Well that's the great news, Steve: you know them already! But if you hit THE JUMP right now, you can have all of these nouns that describe bowl games, and their commercial-free logos, for absolutely free!

Dear Diary Puts the Cereal in First

Dear Diary Puts the Cereal in First

Submitted by Seth on November 13th, 2015 at 4:37 PM

We'll get to the important thing but first wow this UFR Visualization tool by grozzy is useful. For example here's how much of an outlier Desmond Morgan's game vs Minnesota was:

Morgan_bounceback

Small request: the numbers always get thrown off by how many plays are in a game. I wonder if the visualizer could adjust for that by making it points per charted play.

Okay the important thing:

image

Yes, MGoReaders, a plurality of you have correct taste in cereal. For the record, the entire MGoStaff voted for Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Not only did they perfectly pull off the miniaturization of Angelo's specialty, but they knew to add just the right amount of cinnamon to make the post-cereal milk-slurp experience the BEST.

Also apparently a minority of you are colorblind and can't tell who won from the above chart because everything looks like blue or green. And a minority of that minority blamed me instead of the OP for that. Hey it ain't my fault you (probably) lack red cones a thing our primate ancestors developed pretty late in the story to be able to spot berries. My grandpa had that; they put him in the lead plane in WWII because tank camouflage didn't work on him.

[Hit THE JUMP to learn what happens if Michigan wins out and you call Keith Jackson]

My Big Ten Realignment Proposal

My Big Ten Realignment Proposal

Submitted by Seth on July 27th, 2015 at 2:00 PM

college football realignment

One conference. Sixty-one teams. All the football.

Is realignment done? The Big XII is bouncing around the idea of making their conference even more mid-major than it stands now. Meanwhile the Big Ten's TV deals are all up very soon, so there's a chance to lock in oodles and oodles of money that won't come again. Why not go on one last expansion binge now to really set the market and ensure our conference's survival and fan interest in an uncertain future?

Here's my suggestion:

1. Rename. We're not 10 schools anymore, and this is confusing. I suggest the Big Ten rebrand as THE BIG SIX. The six shall refer to the six divisions, many of which have "Big" in their titles. Also since anything more than 11 teams is really a league not a conference, we'll call this the BIG SIX LEAGUE and the divisions can be called "conferences."

2. Expand. Here are the teams I'd add to the conference league, and how I'd break them up into divisions conferences of 10 or 11 teams based on shared geography, program culture, and history:

  • Midwest Conference ("The Big Ten"): Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Iowa, Purdue, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota
     
  • Northeast Conference ("The Big East"): Penn State, Syracuse, Boston College, Pitt, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Maryland
     
  • Atlantic Coast Conference ("The ACC"): Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, NC State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State, South Carolina, Miami (YTM), Louisville
     
  • Southeast Conference ("The SEC")*: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU, Arkansas, Kentucky
     
  • The Plains Conference ("The Big XII"): Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas, Nebraska, Mizzou, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Colorado
     
  • Pacific Conference ("The Pac Ten"): Washington, Washington State, Oregon State, Oregon, Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State
    *The SEC is the only 11-team conference to start

These divisions can have nicknames like "Big Ten" or "Big East." To ensure no more crazy realignment, every team must affirm a six-year commitment at the beginning of every season (i.e. there's a six-year waiting period if you want to leave). No conference can expand past 11; any joining school must get a 2/3rds majority of votes from the league, and unanimous support from its conference.

3. The Schedule. Every school plays all of its division opponents plus three from the other five conferences (scheduled as two-year home and homes), for 12 games total (since the SEC has 11 teams they play just two non-conference opponents). Six must be at home and six away, and no more than five conference games can be home. Cross-conference schools may contract with each other to schedule these in advance, with any holes filled in by the league two years prior.

Every team is allowed to schedule one pre-season exhibition (the Rich Rod plan), but it will not count toward that team's record for determining final postseason ranking. Every league game (not just division record) however will count toward winning your division. League play begins the week after Labor Day, and must conclude by the last Saturday of November.

4. Conference Championship Playoff. I would replace the conference championship game with a six-team conference playoff between the division winners.

The first round is played at the home of the higher-ranked (determined by committee) school in early December, with the two top teams getting a bye.

The second round is played Christmas Day at the Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl, with the two winners of the first round versus two teams that earned byes (highest overall seed selects its venue).

The championship is played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on January 1. The third place game is played at the Fiesta Bowl. Any school eliminated from the Final Four is free to play in any bowl game against any opponent (in or out of the league), regardless of final record.

5. Make Appropriate Hand Gestures Toward NCAA. The league shall declare its own rules superior to any made by the NCAA, and choose to ignore any NCAA rule. The league will make its own rules, specifically regarding appropriate compensation for its athletes (for example lifetime medical benefits, performance bonuses, league-approved player agents, and pay), and recruiting rules. Member schools will no longer be directly responsible to NCAA enforcement. The commissioner of this league shall be selected by the athletes, and will hold veto power.

6. What I did there. You see it. Good.

The Freshmen Have Numbers 2015

The Freshmen Have Numbers 2015

Submitted by Seth on June 9th, 2015 at 11:14 AM

Guess what jerks?

This morning the freshmen got their numbers, and started telling people. Lorenz posted those he was able to gather, which was all but the transfers, Ulizio, and Shelton J. (Warning: 247 autoplays videos on their pages so mute first if you don't want blang blang blaring through your speakers).

May your obsessive compulsive videogame rosters be accurate, and your visions of greatness now come a bit more into focus around the chest and back areas. I'll update this as more come in today.

Freshman #s:

# Name P Hgt. Wgt. You may remember this digit from…
10 Zach Gentry QB 6'6" 230 Tom Brady of course, but also Todd Collins, Jeff Cohen, and friend of the blog Kyle Anderson. Da'Mario Jones was wearing this through spring so looks like he'll have a new jersey.
12 Alex Malzone QB 6'2" 205 (Spring) Surprisingly few 12's have remained such through graduation (Grbac and Gardner both wore it for a time). Dreisbach was the last QB to do so.
22 Karan Higdon RB 5'10" 190 Harbaugh era mooseback Gerald White is the only RB I can remember wearing it.
81 Brian Cole WR 6'2" 190 (Spring) Historically a TE # at Mich (I always think of Kattus). Was C'sonte's
9 Grant Perry WR 6'0" 183 Dileo, Diallo, Martavious Odoms, and Mercury Hayes. And of course "The Rece" Butler
8 Tyrone Wheatley Jr. TE 6'6" 245 Wore 9 in HS. Little round number on a big Wheatley body? I'm a fan. (Walk-on Joe Hewlett gave it up)
77 Grant Newsome OL 6'7" 280 Lewan, Long, Pape, Jansen, Jenkins, Trgovac, Tabachino, Guy Curtis, Art Walker...
75 Jon Runyan Jr. OL 6'4" 275 Sr wore 69, Jr wore this in HS. Last great interior OL to wear 75 was Baas. OTs include Schofield, Skrepanak, Yearby, and Bubba Paris.
70 Nolan Ulizio OL 6'5" 293 Wore 70 in HS. Bobby Doherty is the one that springs to mind; Mark Erhardt wore it during Harbaugh years.
? Shelton Johnson SDE 6'5" 225 Waiting on #. Wore 7 in high school; I doubt Poggi gives it up.
4 Reuben Jones WDE 6'4" 225 Less weird when you consider he'll be playing a role not too different from Cam Gordon's. Of course you remember a certain quarterback who wore this.
17 Tyree Kinnel SS 5'11" 197 "Wolf" Dwight Hicks wore it in the '70s, J.O.W. in the early '90s.
6 Keith Washington CB 6'2" 175 You remember Donovan Warren. One back you certainly don't remember wearing this was Harry Kipke when he played for Yost (he wore it one year).
16 Andrew David K 5'8" 170 M used to leave 19 for kickers (Bob Bergeron, Remy Hamilton, Mike Gilette). Andrew's the first 16.

Nothing yet from the transfers but their previous numbers were all available-ish except O'Neill's.

Name Prev # Pos Starts Elig You may remember this digit from...
Jake Rudock 15 QB 25 Grad transfer Garrett Moores would have to move. Grbac obviously, also Loeffler.
John O'Korn 5 QB 16 So (RS) Other than Tate you mean? Johnny Wangs! Walk-on Kenny Sloss will have to give it up.
Wayne Lyons 24 CB 20 Grad transfer Took Blake's spot, took Woodson's NFL # – several safeties (Bobby Abrams, Charles Drake RIP) but I can't think of a CB other than Hollowell.
Blake O'Neill 39 P 12 Grad transfer Finley! Complication: Houma wears this and plays punt coverage in case you forgot this.

Spring Roster Overanalysis 2015!

Spring Roster Overanalysis 2015!

Submitted by Seth on February 24th, 2015 at 2:03 PM

We get excited about certain things around these parts. Like fun-to-size ratios. And new official rosters with updated weights. We've had 24 hours to parse the Spring data, and with Brian on the road today it's up to me to see how they've grown:

Things of [a Certain Definition of] Interest:

  • Brady Pallante is a fullback
  • Ross Douglas is listed as Ross Taylor-Douglas, and is back at corner
  • Ian Bunting is up to 6'7/243
  • A.J. Williams is up to offensive tackle size (6'6/285)

Weight Gain/Loss 2000

A reminder of internet policy on weight changes: all weight gain is muscle fiber, all weight lost was fat, and all static weight means fat was replaced with muscle fiber. I've highlighted things discussed after.

Player '11 '12 '13 S'14 F'14 Sp'15 '11- '12 '12-'13 '13-'14 '14- 15

Quarterbacks

Shane Morris     202 202 204 209     2 5
Wilton Speight       230 234 235       1
Alex Malzone           218       N/A

Running Back

Derrick Green     240 227 220 234     -20 14
DeVeon Smith     224 223 220 228     -4 8
Drake Johnson   203 213 212 211 207   10 -2 -4
Ty Isaac         225 240       15

Fullback & Tight End

Joe Kerridge     238 247 244 249     6 5
Sione Houma   221 231 240 242 243   10 11 1
Wyatt Shallman     237 243 239 244     2 5
Brady Pallante         263 276       13
A.J. Williams   282 265 263 260 285   -17 -5 25
Jake Butt     237 250 249 248     12 -1
Khalid Hill     258 255 252 252     -6 0
Ian Bunting         227 243       16

Wide Receiver

Amara Darboh   218 212 214 211 216   -6 -1 5
Jehu Chesson   183 196 195 197 207   13 1 10
Dennis Norfleet   170 169 167 169 168   -1 0 -1
Freddy Canteen       170 176 185       9
Da'Mario Jones     192 198 196 199     4 3
Jaron Dukes     190 200 197 204     7 7
Maurice Ways         195 205       10
Drake Harris       180 176 174       -2
Brian Cole           200       N/A

Offensive Line

Jack Miller 263 287 290 297 299 297 24 3 9 -2
Patrick Kugler     287 295 299 297     12 -2
Graham Glasgow     303 308 311 303     8 -8
Kyle Kalis   292 302 304 298 292   10 -4 -6
David Dawson     297 295 296 309     -1 13
Dan Samuelson     283 282 292 289     9 -3
Ben Braden   299 318 319 322 331   19 4 9
Mason Cole       275 292 287       -5
Erik Magnuson   290 285 295 294 296   -5 9 2
Blake Bars   282 291 290 294 281   9 3 -13
Chris Fox     338 310 309 303     -29 -6
L. Tuley-Tillman     300 290 290 309     -10 19
J. Bushell-Beatty         319 319       0

Defensive Line

Ryan Glasgow   294 300 300 296 297   6 0 -4
Bryan Mone       315 312 325       13
Ondre Pipkins   337 315 313 306 317   -22 -9 11
Willie Henry   302 306 297 293 311   4 -13 18
Matthew Godin   270 280 283 286 287   10 6 1
Maurice Hurst Jr.     270 277 282 281     12 -1
Chris Wormley   268 289 292 295 300   21 6 5
Taco Charlton     270 275 275 273     5 -2
Tom Strobel   250 265 268 268 270   15 3 2
Henry Poggi     260 271 270 273     10 3
Mario Ojemudia   223 250 250 251 252   27 1 1
Lawrence Marshall         241 238       -3

Linebacker

Desmond Morgan 220 230 228 232 232 236 10 -2 4 4
James Ross   225 220 225 227 232   -5 7 5
Joe Bolden   230 225 225 231 232   -5 6 1
R. Jenkins-Stone   206 225 221 234 240   19 9 6
Allen Gant   196 212 222 223 225   16 11 2
Ben Gedeon     236 236 240 241     4 1
Mike McCray     237 242 241 242     4 1
Chase Winovich         220 227       7
Noah Furbush         210 217       7
Jared Wangler         219 230       11

Safety

Jarrod Wilson   190 200 202 205 210   10 5 5
Delano Hill     205 205 205 204     0 -1
Dymonte Thomas     190 191 193 191   0 3 -2
Jeremy Clark   191 205 206 205 205   14 0 0
Jabrill Peppers         202 205       3

Cornerback

Blake Countess 176 182 182 183 180 185 6 0 -2 5
Jourdan Lewis     170 174 175 176     5 1
Terry Richardson   154 167 172 170 174   13 3 4
Ross Douglas     176 186 189 186     13 -3
Reon Dawson     170 178 178 175     8 -3
Brandon Watson       185 188 189       1
Channing Stribling     171 176 178 178     7 0

[Hit the jump for discussion on this and other bits I could glean.]

Haknpoints of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster

Haknpoints of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster

Submitted by Seth on December 23rd, 2014 at 10:46 AM

BillyMays

I write this column every year: a plea for humans of the college football world to use clear language instead of the names they have for bowl games. Truthfully, a brand name for a bowl game communicates something, but think how much more accurately we could communicate if things like geographical location, history, traditions, and common, relatable experiences were more important than who pays the most.

I realize not everybody enjoys the ability to elegantly express ideas to other humans as much as I do, and that mercantile interests can be human interests as well. But since I started using language in my communication, I've experienced a 1000% improvement in comprehension, and I wanted to share that success story with you. Don't believe me? Here are some other humans who've benefited from this same extraordinary device:

happy-man4: "Hello, I'm Steve, a relatable middle aged white man with the body, hairline, and lifestyle that other middle aged white men envy. My wife Janet and I are proud Bowling Green graduates and big fans of the Falcons. I wanted to get Janet a trip to BGSU's bowl game for Christmas, but when I triumphantly announced "We're going to the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl!" she was very confused. Then I discovered Talking Like a Human Being™, which taught me to tell Janet it's the "Camellia Bowl in Montgomery." Janet was thrilled, because the name communicated to her that we were going to a bowl game in Montgomery, and the flower association made it memorable!"

178488-Business-man-giving-thumbs-up-on-white-background: "I'm Lewis, a non-threatening yet sexy young African-American businessman with perfect skin. My in-laws are coming to visit our tasteful suburban Atlanta home over Christmas, but they asked me to drive them to the airport the afternoon of December 31st. When I tried to explain that we would have to leave very early because of "Chick-fil-A Bowl" traffic, they thought I meant the South is just that insane over a fast food restaurant. But when I called it the "Peach Bowl," suddenly they could recognize the name of a big traditional football game that they've heard about since the late 1960s, and even offered to order a taxi so that I could stay home and watch it! Thanks, Talking Like a Human Being™!"

Portrait of attractive young female showing a thumbs up on white background: "I'm Krista, a cute and friendly Minnesota undergrad. Men find me very attractive in an approachable way, and women want to be my friend because they wish they looked this good while rocking a knit scarf, high wool socks, and "M" stickers on my cheeks. I was so totally stoked by my Gophers' great season, but when I told my girls we were going to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl they were like "that's a crappy one" because until recently that meant the old Copper Bowl. So then I said it was "the old Capital One Bowl," but then they got even more confused because that's now the name of the Orange Bowl—you know, the BCS bowl in Miami that Big East teams used to go to. Then I discovered Talking Like a Human Being™. And once I said "Citrus Bowl" my friends knew that meant the bowl that 2nd place Big Ten teams go to, and they were more excited than that one time our sorority went ice skating with Goldy!"

thumbs-up: "I'm Batman. Specifically, I'm Batman from that 1990s Tim Burton movie with Jack Nicholson that hits all the nerd-nostalgia buttons for men between 25 and 40. When I say 'I'm Batman', people know that I'm Batman, because I've been calling myself Batman since 1939. Could you imagine if I was like: 'I'm Batman, presented by Vizio?' I'm sure I could make some money by doing that but to be honest I'm already filthy rich, and while Alfred assures me I could always use more money, I feel like the incremental revenue wouldn't be worth cheapening 75 years worth of brand equity. So I turned them down and went with Talking Like a Human Being™ instead. Because I'm Batman!"

[After the jump: bowl games in a human language, bowl logos without sponsors on them, and discussion on the whole title sponsorship business]