Mailbag: Vintage Punt/Counterpunt, Hurst Bowl, Patterson Transfer, Getting Served

Mailbag: Vintage Punt/Counterpunt, Hurst Bowl, Patterson Transfer, Getting Served

Submitted by Brian on December 8th, 2017 at 12:59 PM

UMvsOSU Program 1997 - Cover

Vintage Punt/Counterpunt.

I found my copy of the free game program from The Game 20 years ago in a box of old school stuff. Thought you guys might enjoy the Punt / Counterpunt column from that day.

Go Blue!

UMvsOSU Program 1997 - Punt-CP

Here's a zoomed in version.

UMvsOSU Program 1997 - Punt-CP

UMvsOSU Program 1997 - Punt-CP

Thanks to Nick and Ken for being a formative part of my fandom.

Hurst take.

If Hurst is worried about getting injured and the NFL draft. Lloyds of London will insure him for injury for the one game.

So you're asking Mo Hurst to literally pay for the privilege of playing in a football game that is mostly interesting because it will feature Ryan Nanni as a bloomin' onion? Nah.

I'd be vaguely upset if Hurst wasn't going to play in a New Year's Six game but more or less understand. The Outback Bowl? Hurst going in the top ten of the draft is probably more helpful to the program in the long term than whatever bonus chance he provides of beating South Carolina.

If you want players to compete in dink bowl games, there's an easy way to do so: pay them and sign them to a contract that says "you play in bowl games."

Recruiting is DISAPPOINT.

Is it fair to say, absent a change in trajectory, that '18 recruiting heads toward at best "unexciting", possibly even "disappointing"? I guess I have grown quite used to having a consensus top 100 'bell cow' (I loved it when K Jackson used to call FB players bell cows) at basically every position group, and a difference-maker (DPJ - Solomon) for each unit. Is that a reasonable standard, or is that Osu/Bama, which I don't think is realistic until we experience some playoff success and maybe never, given relative boundary-pushing of three programs. (Although the rush to Oxford has me questioning my prejudices.)    

Thanks, dirk

I'd say unexciting is about right. Michigan's sole composite top 100 prospect right now, Otis Reese, is pretty wobbly. That's a comedown from Harbaugh's first two full efforts, which delivered guys like Rashan Gary, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Aubrey Solomon, and Cesar Ruiz—amongst many others.

There are a lot of reasons for this: it's a severely down year in-state; Michigan had to hire yet another recruiting director; playing time is hard to sell when you return a zillion starters. And, yes, Michigan is working uphill for a lot of guys because they don't have a bagman network—at least that's what I've heard from guys close to the program for years. 

But the class is still 11th and should add a couple additional big fish to finish. Adding the three Ole Miss players also helps fill scholarships with talented players. And this looks like a blip. Michigan already has two five-star-ish DEs in the 2019 class plus top 100 guard Nolan Rumler and four-star LB Charles Thomas. I expect Michigan to bounce back to their previous level in 2019 now that they've got what looks like a solid recruiting infrastructure that isn't going to take a position coaching job next year.

Patterson feels.


I am sure if I posted this as a thread I would be down voted as a babe in the woods and comments of “this is what it takes to beat OSU and Alabama” would rain down from the heavens.  But i have to say, going after Peterson when you have two VERY good QBs that harbaugh recruited in the stable feels very unmichigan.  What say you?

Thank you again for all you do and next year, please think of adding Boston to your season preview tour.  We would love to host!


I don't think taking a transfer is a problem. Players at the same position as that guy might be a little cheesed off, but I'm sure Harbaugh didn't promise them they'd get to start. Because that's crazy. But that doesn't mean it's wrong. If Patterson does come in and start—which is not a foregone conclusion—because he's the best option, that's a negative for the other quarterbacks but a positive for the rest of the team.

Michigan doesn't take JUCOs because they can't get them through admissions, and I guess that's the reason taking a transfer seems weird? I find this take baffling. Recruiting kids in college isn't any different than recruiting them in high school. And if a school that was flagrantly buying guys out from under Michigan's nose suffers as a result, all the better.


So, as a lawyer I got to thinking, .Maybe a lawsuit for violating the Constitutions First Amendmenment protection of Free Speech is in order. Maybe Ill win maybe I wont Probably will) but even if not , it wont cost me one nickle. However you will need a battery of lawyers to deal the various and numerous motions I could file.  Hope you have deep pockets.

Expect to be served

Matt Mann

This gentleman was upset that I shut the comments down and has challenged me to a dance-off.


Mailbag: Recruiting Outperformance, APR and Hardship Logistics, Burn This Card Now

Mailbag: Recruiting Outperformance, APR and Hardship Logistics, Burn This Card Now

Submitted by Brian on April 10th, 2015 at 12:43 PM

Recruiting rankings and outperformance


[Bryan Fuller]

Good afternoon –

Beilein has developed a reputation for being a stellar recruiter. He is now known for uncovering basketball players who were either lightly regarded, lightly recruited, unknown, or young, so that they grew and developed significantly after he recruited them. (Burke, Rahkman, Dawkins, Albrecht, LeVert, and now Moritz Wagner all fall into this category.)  I will be interested to see how Harbaugh and his staff correlate to Beilein in this regard. In one sense, every fan wants every recruit who comes in to be a 4 or 5 star rated recruit. But the reality is that the coaches sometimes see things that the rating experts missed. This has been an on-going discussion: how much do stars matter? I think the correlation of Wagner and Kingston Davis committing today brought this topic to my mind.

So, my questions and requests for you:

1) I’d love to see a table showing recruiting ranking vs. actual performance. Who ends up bring in recruits who significantly outperform their ranking, who brings in recruits who perform the way expected, and who brings in recruits who underperform, relative to how they were ranked.

This is too hard to do for basketball since there are very small and wildly varying recruiting classes. Last year Michigan brought in six players; this year it looks like it will be just one. A couple years ago Ohio State's recruiting class was… nobody. The attrition rates are wildly different so recruiting rankings, which always favor volume, are going to be skewed. You can point to anecdotes like Beilein turning fringe top 100 recruits into lottery picks on the regular; I don't think it's possible to do anything systematic with the numbers.

Football does give you a reasonable baseline to work with and this has been done by Ross Benes at Deadspin. You will be unsurprised to find Michigan where it is in a study that covers 2009 to 2013:


I am a bit skeptical about the methodology here, as it doesn't seem to account for the fact that there's nowhere to go but down for the teams at the top of the rankings. (It also doesn't take last year into account, which is why Michigan State isn't in the Wisconsin zone.) But it's still good for comparing you to your peers and the result is undeniable: amongst teams that recruit like Michigan, only Tennessee and maybe UCLA perform worse; Miami is on par.

2) The followup question would be to assess how much of this is attributable to a recruit being ranked accurately and appropriately, and much is attributable to the recruit’s development in college. The knock on Hoke wasn’t recruiting:  it was the belief that he didn’t develop players to perform to the best of their capability.

Thanks, best regards, and enjoy the balance of the Spring.

Steve Kass

No doubt it is some of both. Recruiting rankings are necessarily ignorant of a number of things that will influence the development of the player—ACL stability for one. But it's clear that some guys are awesome teachers able to improve players and others are guys who clap and shout "let's go." It's nice to see Stanford on the right side of this ledger even after Harbaugh's departure since many of those coaches were his, and he set up the culture that lifted them from the bottom.

APR logistics


I think that perhaps I don't understand what goes into the APR and was hoping you could help me understand.  I thought (although it appears incorrectly) that APR measured the percent of a school's players with remaining eligibility that return to school, maintain that eligibility academically, and/or graduate.  With 7 Kentucky players declaring for the draft (following several years of many more declaring), it would appear that Kentucky couldn't possibly evade APR penalties because legions of eligible players have not and will not be returning to school.  Is there an exception for going pro that I'm unaware of?  Is Kentucky's APR really only measured by whether their mop up players stay eligible and graduate, without regard to the majority of the team that goes pro?



That is correct. The APR has a loophole for players who leave school early for pro sports. You don't even have to get drafted to take advantage of it—NCAA-sanctioned UConn men's basketball started digging out with a perfect score this year despite a player leaving for Europe. He signed a contract overseas and left in "good academic standing," so he doesn't hurt UConn's APR.

As a result of that loophole all Kentucky has to do is gin up some Cs for the NCAA minimum progress toward a degree and their APR is untouched. It's probably in fact easier for them to comply with APR stuff because all they have to do is get their kids to go to Easy Class 101. Few end up having to move on to We Kind Of Need You To Pay Attention Now 386.

On the one hand, you need that exception because it's not the school's fault if, say, Nik Stauskas blows up into a top ten pick and wants to go get paid millions of dollars. On the other it does enable the travelling circus that is the current one-and-done system.

Medical hardship logistics

Hey Brian --

Recently there's been significant attention paid to key questions facing Michigan basketball this offseason (Will Levert go pro?  Will Jaylen Brown commit? etc.).  All of the discussion seems to operate under the premise that either Austin Hatch will continue to take up one of the 13 scholarships the team has to hand out, or the team will place him under "medical hardship."  I have two questions.

1) What does this medical hardship entail?  Would it be 100% career-ending?  Would he no longer be able to practice and play with the team?

A medical hardship allows the school to continue giving the kid a full scholarship. It would end his playing career at Michigan. He could still be affiliated with the team, could still practice (there's no regulations on who you practice with in college; womens' teams will often go up against guys). He could not get in the game. He would be a student manager, basically.

Michigan might be able to get a waiver for senior day.

2) Why has there been no discussion of freeing up Hatch's scholarship to use on, say, Jaylen Brown or Mike Edwards, by making him a walk-on?  I'm assuming there are other ways the University can make sure all his tuition bills are paid for.  At the very least, paying for Hatch to go to Michigan is worthy of $200K of the millions of dollars the athletic department has gotten from Stephen Ross or Al Glick.

In other words, maybe we don't have to choose between keeping Hatch on the basketball team and bringing in another scholarship player of Jaylen Brown's caliber, should LeVert choose to come back.


M 2012

Once you've been on scholarship, you count as a scholarship player even if your money supposedly comes from a source than the athletic department.

There are in fact certain things that you can do when you are just a recruit that make you count as a scholarship player, something that football teams have been dancing around of late with this "blueshirt" thing where kids arrive on campus as walk-ons. Those kids can't take officials or they end up counting against the limit of 25 signees annually.

Again, this is a situation where Michigan might be able to get a waiver since it's very high profile. Without that Michigan cannot use Hatch's scholarship without disqualifying him from playing.

Buy it and burn it.


I am so upset about this I had to share...


The above Ebay link is for a new Devin Gardner card with a sick & twisted "variation" of the winged helmet. This just is not right! I don't see how Upper Deck can get away with messing with our helmet design and printing this card.

Ed McArdle

Saginaw, MI

Is that a sugar cookie made by a deranged aunt on the card? Why is anyone making a Devin Gardner rookie card and is it even slightly possible that any of the bids on this travesty are legitimate? Supposedly this card is up to 16.05 with four different bidders. This makes me want to find a WIRED article about the shady lives of professional EBay sellers or something. I have a million questions.


Gonna go with "no" on this one.