Unharbaugh Vorharbaugh

Unharbaugh Vorharbaugh

Submitted by Brian on December 29th, 2014 at 5:36 PM

PODCAST TOMORROW. Hooray. Also we'll do a twitter Q&A/presser thing.

THANKS FOR PLAYING. Countable coaches are also not a priority at the Free Press.

Yes, you have already seen this six times today.

INTENSITY. One, tiny Jim Harbaugh looks exactly like my brother did at the same age. Two, he was always Jim Harbaugh.

THIS IS PROBABLY NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN. But I wouldn't put it past him.

LOOKS PRETTY HATED TO ME YOU GUYS. The early-season word in the NFL was that Harbaugh's act had worn thin with NFL players and that he was widely hated in the locker room. That appears to be attempted spin by the Niners management as they attempt to cover for their decision to axe the fifth-winningest coach in NFL history:

This is not at all what it was said to be.

In the aftermath of Harbaugh's departure Niners players tweeted out seemingly heartfelt things about how they'll miss him. They gave him the game ball. I was struck by how Harbaugh lit up when someone in the room for his final presser asked about Frank Gore's performance in San Francisco's season-ending win over Arizona. "THANK YOU!" he exclaimed before praising Gore as a true competitor.

It was reminiscent of Harbaugh's reaction in the aftermath of Stanford's stunning upset of USC in 2007: approached by ESPN, he said "don't talk to me, talk to Pritchard," his third-string QB who led the team to victory. So they did. The guy is a nut but he's a team-focused nut.

If the YOU DON'T SAY meme didn't exist we'd have to invent it. I mean.

Schefter is still the last guy dying on NFL hill (well, maybe not the last), saying that Michigan official "believe" Harbaugh is coming back with them today and continually saying things like Michigan boosters were "told" that it's happening while still saying that NFL teams are pursuing. Schefter will probably tweet "Raiders officials plan to meet with Harbaugh after this press conference ends" on Tuesday.

And ESPN is simultaneously trying to credit him with breaking the story. Cumong man.

Do you even read what you write? Ray Ratto:

People will immediately seek out informers at Stanford, where Harbaugh wore out his welcome on a college setting, as well as he did with the 49ers.

Many people will yell at him for being a dumbass on twitter, and Ratto will blame the people yelling at him. I have a feeling that Stanford might have consented to a fifth year of Harbaugh.

I mean:

He may know Michigan, but he cannot truly own Michigan. He didn’t own Stanford when he helped bring down USC, and he only owned the 49ers until the smell of a new stadium got into York’s lungs. And his history of wearing on players is well and often told, loudly enough to show him that he has to find another, more contemporary, gear.

Tell that to Frank Gore, and a lot of people:

Iupati said things got pretty emotional after Harbaugh and his players had what Harbaugh termed a "discussion" in the locker room after the game.

As usual, Harbaugh concluded the talk with everyone huddled in the middle of the room, a hand raised in the air and thrust toward Harbaugh's hand as he asked, "Who's got it better than us?" And everyone replied "Nobody."

"That was awesome," Iupati said. "I will remember that for the rest of my life. We're going to miss him. I'm going to miss him."

The other narrative. Now that Harbaugh's exited the NFL, the narrative switches from "never happen" to "there weren't any suitable openings" and "he's going to leave immediately anyway." Florio:

He wanted to stay in the NFL, but with no viable options paying him at or near $8 million and Michigan ready to give him the keys to the financial kingdom, it appears that Jim Harbaugh will indeed become the next coach of the Wolverines.

Please. If Harbaugh wanted to stay in the NFL he wouldn't be on a plane today. He wouldn't have told Michigan he was coming a week ago. He would be waiting to see what the casualties were on Black Monday, and possibly having his agent hint, oh, 20 or so NFL teams that if they axed their guy he would come. As Braves and Birds put it:

Tangential Harbaugh. Via Dr. Sap, Gerald Ford with Bo, 1976:

PEAK WEINREB. As Michigan struggled, Michael Weinreb carved out a cottage industry for himself rewriting the same column about how Michigan is old and fusty and arrogant and not too good at football, all the while coolly ignoring the fact that similar criticisms could be made about Penn State at deafening volume levels. So it is right and just that he's the guy Grantland called out of the bullpen to throw shade on the Harbaugh hire. This covers all the bases:

I would worry that Harbaugh is doing this for the money (a reported $48 million over six years, which would make him the sport’s highest-paid coach) or out of some misguided sense of obligation to his alma mater.

Weinreb is concerned that Harbaugh is doing this for money and that he is not doing this for money. I think he's got us on that one.

I look forward to the next one of these. My almanac says it should be in the immediate aftermath of the Spring Game.

Etc.: Probably legit post from a Harbaugh son about what went down with the Niners. Nick Baumgardner could teach some NFL folks the three words that lead his column. All your Harbaugh weirdness documented. Manning is still around, if that means anything. Best And Worst! Top 5 Harbaugh games. Five reasons this is awesome for neutrals.

Unverified Voracity Is Putting Hockey In Arizona

Unverified Voracity Is Putting Hockey In Arizona

Submitted by Brian on November 19th, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Does anyone ever check anything? No? Okay. This exists.

Michigan needs to have a twitter feed in which they ask everyone if this thing they're about to do is a bad idea.

Speaking of things that exist without being checked that should not exist. Oh man the takes coming out of the Free Press after Frank Clark's dismissal are super super hot:

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The Free Press must have a logic puzzle as part of their hiring process. Anyone who figures it out fails.

This, by the way, this is a great example of the pointless moralizing I was talking about. Seidel doesn't give damn about whether Michigan officially dismissed Clark on Sunday or Monday, he's just complaining to show off how impressively ethical he is. Barry Petchesky just had an excellent piece on how the NFL is using Adrian Peterson to repair The Brand:

3. This is a pure PR play on the part of the NFL, and it's almost too cynical to be believed. The league had been reeling from widespread criticism of its eagerness to co-opt the legal process and its inability to sensitively or sensibly handle morality. Peterson—a black-and-white villain—was a blessing. Maybe a bad man, maybe a man who did bad things, he's a relatively uncomplicated figure, and the NFL was thrilled to have someone to position itself against. The NFL clambered over Peterson to regain the moral high ground it never actually deserved, and is using that platform to shout out, "We are strongly against the beating of children." This is the safest and most defensible position in the world. What we're seeing is the return of the soldiers-and-puppies-and-Pinktober NFL, barely months after the Ray Rice fiasco exposed that as a thin facade. There has been no meaningful change. The league is still beyond reproach, because it cares about the children.

Seidel roundly condemns domestic violence to create the appearance he's a rad dude; the only person served by his column is himself.

Fan appreciation day. At least they're trying. Michigan's announced a bunch of minor fan perks for the Maryland game, including some concession concessions and apparel discounts for season ticket holders. They're also allowing field access. That access is slated to start 30-45 minutes after a 3:30 game that looks likely to feature freezing rain—ain't nobody staying for that.

We've got photos of other stuff. We've been branching out our photos into non-revenue sports. Here's a SOON shot from volleyball's outing against Minnesota:

15748084645_8274b94d01_z

[Bill Rapai]

Rapai also shot a WBB game; Marc-Gregor Campredon shot men's and women's soccer.

As always, mgoblog photos are Creative Commons licensed so you can use them. Just credit the photographer and link back.

Exit Will Muschamp. Florida axed him yesterday, and man the parallels here are eerie: Muschamp had a weird, horseshoe-flavored 11-2 year (his second; Hoke's first) before seemingly excellent recruiting collapsed in a pile of offensive ineptitude too intense to be believed. QBs in Gainesville and Ann Arbor disintegrated into quivering interception machines before our eyes; the defenses generally stood tall despite extremely adverse conditions; both teams mutated football never-before-seen piles of suck, despair, and hilarity.

Today they had a press conference in which Muschamp handled himself ably and everyone swore up and down he was the best dude. Earlier this year Spencer and I had an IM conversation about swapping coaches, and it turns out that's beside the point: Muschamp and Hoke are the same dude.

Spencer eulogizes:

3. There is no limit to the variations of failure here. Muschamp was blown out at home on Homecoming by Mizzou, 42-13, and sniped by a late field goal, completing a 30-27 home collapse against LSU. Alabama could have scored 60 on the Gators, but got bored and politely declined the option in a 42-21 road humiliation. When Florida lined up for a late punt against South Carolina after the Gamecocks had already blocked a game-clinching field goal, the kick was blocked before the ball was ever snapped. Don't ever tell anyone you can't block a ball with your mind; Florida did it, and then handed it to South Carolina with a smile. The confidence in delivering losses was the only constant Florida had left, something it got down to some time after the worst loss in program history: a home defeat by Georgia Southern in 2013.

Did you forget that happened, the low point of lows for an entire era? He did that. Will Muschamp's signature loss of signature losses is him misspelling the word "fart" in spray paint across "The Birth of Venus."  It's an atrocity almost admirable in its accidental, perfect malice. For the record, I think Will would spell it "p-h-a-r-t," because that's the funniest possible misspelling of the word.

With reports that Dan Mullen won't be of interest, my main regret about Florida pulling the trigger early is that Spencer got the jump on the one-sentence summation of the last four years:

11. In conclusion: RIP, Big Dumb Will Muschamp Football. In the end, you were too dumb to live and too ugly to mourn.

May Spencer find his Christmas tree stocked with Air Raid coaches, and may Will Muschamp migrate northwards to be Jim Harbaugh's DC.

Now everything will be fixed forever. The NCAA has taken the first and most important step towards being an organization that creates good in this world:

Long national nightmare, etc.

Hockey stuff. I haven't said too much about the hockey team yet; I don't usually during football season because of time constraints and just the fact that I'm not that good at figuring out hockey even now and need some time to get my head around. I'm not much closer after Michigan's meh sweep of American International. Center Ice:

The problems started when the defensive pairings were changed again. The blueline predictably looked disjointed, pinching at the wrong times, getting caught out of position and allowing the Yellow Jackets to get countless odd man rushes on Zach Nagelvoort.

Michigan suffocated AIC by pressuring in the offensive zone for the majority of both games, but when the Yellow Jackets countered they easily found quality scoring chances. When the defense had their way on Saturday cutting down mistakes, Nagelvoort wasn't able to keep the puck out of the net and the Yellow Jackets were able to not just stay in the game, but put Michigan on the ropes early.

AIC is usually so bad that anyone within shouting distance of the tournament sees wins against them excised from their RPI because counting those games would actually lower it. These games were essentially exhibitions against a team much worse than the U18s, and Michigan duly dominated attack time and SOG.

I don't take much positive from it, though. On Friday AIC had three separate 3-on-1s and a half-dozen other odd-man rushes besides; on Saturday they played Michigan almost even through two periods. I'm at a loss to explain Michigan's play. They have piles of talent, certainly enough to scrape through if their back end was making moderate mistakes occasionally instead of enormous ones frequently. That's not the case, and then the offense has lacked incisiveness against anyone better than AIC since… since TJ Hensick left? It's been a long time since Michigan's had a guy like him.

So I don't know. Michigan is really behind the eight ball here, already, playing in a crappy conference with a 2-5 record in games that will actually matter when it's time to find tourney participants. Would Red hang on for that last year when Tech is 10-0(!) and headed for their best season since the 1980s, thus paving the way for Pearson to come back? I don't know, but that's what I'm thinking about now… not getting back to the tourney this year.

At least they're finally fixing the ice infrastructure? Yost's ice has been iffy for years.

Speaking of hockey. Arizona State(?!) announces they will add a D-I program. Like Penn State, they make the leap from ACHA power. ASU is a weird  program to make the leap; there are no West Coast programs. The three Colorado outfits are the only schools even vaguely close. Even so I'd guess the NCHC snaps them up. Arizona State brings a bigger athletic profile than most of their members.

This is one of the benefits of the Big Ten's formation, by the way. That reorganized the western programs into three conferences instead of two. After CHA folded, programs  that were considering hockey had a dubious future as an independent. Now there are spots for another dozen teams, as long as some of them are in the Big Ten.

Buffalo might be next, with Penn State benefactor and new Bills owner Terry Pegula potentially fronting the capital.

You used to know how to do this. Michigan scheduled a home hockey game for a football Saturday. That game is at 3:30. The hockey game is at 7:30. Remind me why I have season tickets again? Is it because I'm dumb? It feels like that's the reason.

Michigan never used to do this. Instead they would have the occasional Sunday matinee. New athletic director please save us. And stop running the ARE YOU FAN ENOUGH commercial for the hockey game the previous athletic director yanked out of our season ticket packages.

Etc.: Ray Taylor's baby has impeccable timing. Approximately 3k unsold seats for Maryland. Michigan catches another personnel break as freshman Maryland WR Juwann Winifree is suspended for Saturday. Old photos. Justin Meram gets a call-up to the Iraq national team. Dilly bar details.

Just In Time For The Showcase Showdown

Just In Time For The Showcase Showdown

Submitted by Brian on March 2nd, 2012 at 11:48 AM

3/1/2012 – Michigan 72, Illinois 61 – 22-8, 12-5 Big Ten

Michigan-at-Illinois-3_thumb[1]

UMHoops/Dustin Johnston

If you were in a really, really good mood in June and thought of Tim Hardaway Jr's sophomore season, you probably envisioned him tossing in three-pointers like he's casually skipping stones across Lake Michigan, rebounding like he's a bouncy Zack Novak, and maybe developing enough of a handle to attack the rim when people close him out hard.

Instead you got… not that. Instead you got every preview of every Michigan game having a section on Hardaway that is the verbal equivalent of:

You got not that until yesterday, when Hardaway flung in 25 points on 7 shots and secured an array of bouncy, mansome rebounds en route to holding Illinois to six offensive rebounds in 31 opportunities. Oh, and Michigan won a road game by double digits. This is what you envisioned last summer when you closed your eyes long enough for Denard Robison-related daydreaming to pass.

That didn't happen so much but Trey Burke showed up on a mission to discredit scouting services and picked up most of the slack there, so that was okay. Michigan muddled through to its best record in a long, long time. Hardaway lingered, though, a hovering sad inexplicable what-if and source of indigestion whenever he rose up for a three-pointer that had a 26% chance of going in.

We spent the season waiting, mostly winning but mostly frustrated. Every flash of effectiveness was dissected for repeatability; every clanged shot was a re-descent into depression. The last time this team played Illinois, Hardaway had an efficient game that fluttered hopes:

When Tim Hardaway Jr. got an open-ish look from three early, he passed it up. He faked, got past the closeout, and took an open look from the elbow. He missed. He got another midrange jumper a minute later, which he missed. A minute after that he got an open look from three, and the building kind of moaned.

It was a complex moan. It acknowledged the fact that this was a very good shot and that if you are Tim Hardaway Jr. and you're not going to take this shot you probably shouldn't be on the floor at all and while there may be some basketball teams who could afford to bench Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan is emphatically not one of them. It also loathed everything about the preceding sentence because none of it meant Hardaway was at all likely to make it. It was a richly subtextual moan. Given enough time and processing power, Ken Pomeroy could calculate Hardaway's shooting percentage from it. He would find it is not high at all.

Hardaway made it anyway. The building thought maybe basketball would bring it flowers.

He then proceeded to… well, defy easy classification. Tim Hardaway Jr, this is a five game stretch in your sophomore year:

Opponent Min 2PM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB ASSIST TO PTS
Illinois 30 3/6 2/3 3/5 1 3 3 2 15
OSU 38 2/3 2/2 3/5 0 3 0 4 13
@ Northwestern 38 2/3 2/9 4/10 2 5 1 1 14
Purdue 34 5/7 0/6 0/0 1 6 1 4 10
@ Illinois 38 2/3 4/4 9/10 0 11 1 3 25
AVERAGES 35.6 55% 42% 66%         15.4

There's some frustrating wobble in there what with the 0-fer from three against Purdue and the Ben Wallace free throw shooting against Northwestern. There is also the 25-points-on-7 shots outing last night, two other extremely efficient games, an obvious uptick in turnovers, Hardaway's second double-double of the year, and the same 42% shooting from deep that carried Michigan to a shock tourney bid last year.

This chart reminds me of the NCAA hockey tournament. IE: it terrifies. If Hardaway is off, Michigan is capable of losing to anyone in the tourney, literally. The Ben Wallace FT game saw them go to overtime with Northwestern, currently the last team in on many brackets. If he is on, daggers rain from the sky and Michigan can take down just about anyone.

Michigan has no choice but to deal with this. They have one and a half backups and the fourth-shortest bench in the country. If Hardaway isn't producing, there's nowhere to turn. We've got little to go on either way. As Hardaway bounces up from a pretty horrendous year he settles back into a funk for back to back games, then surges.

Riding him is being at sea in a storm. When he rises up for his first-three pointer in Columbus or Pittsburgh or Nashville against an autobid from a small conference, every Michigan fan from the eight-year-old who thinks Trey Burke is the greatest point guard in history to John Beilein himself will watch the flight of the ball, thinking please, please, please.

Bullets

Burke + Hardaway == um. This will not be an original thought, but finally finally finally Michigan got good, efficient performances from Burke and Hardaway at the same time. No one else did much offensively but it did not matter because the top guys had an 80% eFG% and were 10 of 10 from the line even before Illinois started fouling tactically late.

That is going to be tough to beat; that is far from guaranteed. Who would have thought Anthony Wright would be the guy holding Michigan in against Blake Griffin a few years back?

Just Burke. Very, very smooth last night, pushing the ball when it needed to be pushed and ruthlessly punishing high-screen switches with easy step-up three-pointers. Long term that's his future—he won't get better than last night but will have more nights like that. Exception: as he learns the intricacies of the Beilein offense he'll increase his assist rate and maybe edge up his two-point shooting because fewer of his attempts will be heaves late in the shot clock.

Smotrycz. He managed to foul out in 14 minutes and has a lot of people down on his potential contributions next year. Two things:

  • Big men develop slowly and unpredictably.
  • Smotrycz is badly miscast as a center and will benefit more than anyone else on the roster from the additions of McGary, Horford, and Bielfeldt to the lineup… unless Bielfeldt turns into a Draymond Green-style four, in which case he's screwed. Chances of that next year are low.

Next year he should be able to take Novak's role in the offense and on defense, something he's better suited for. He may be a bad matchup in certain situations and get lifted, but—holy pants—next year Michigan will be able to do that by inserting GRIII, McGary, or Bielfeldt at the four. He will not have to take on Adreian Payne, Jared Sullinger or Meyers Leonard next year, and thank God for that.

Jalen Rose is one divisive guy. I was not a fan of his color commentary last night and tweeted something out about it. In the next ten minutes that tweet received an avalanche of support, criticism, and hur hur jokes about racism. Say what you want about Rose, but he moves the needle.

Of course, the thing I say about Rose is that he moves my needle in the wrong direction. The contrast between Rose and Bardo was obvious: Bardo was a pro; Rose sounded like he'd won a fan contest to call a game.

It wasn't all bad. Rose consistently made an excellent point about players trying too hard to take charges or block shots when they should just be annoying presences to contest shots, and he backed it up every time he should have. I bet he's a lot better when he's not covering a Michigan game.

Injuries. Smotrycz and Morgan were both dinged but it doesn't sound like anything serious:

"I hope they're all right," Beilein said. "Both of them had little stingers, (Morgan) in the shoulder and (Smotrycz) to his hip.

Losing either one would obviously be a disaster sans Horford.

Elsewhere

Photos from UMHoops and AA.com. UMHoops recap. Baumgardner recap. Burke just set the Michigan freshman record for assists. Daily on Hardaway doing work:

“Having a winter break right now, Tim has used every bit of it,” said Michigan coach John Beilein. “He's been in the gym like crazy. Just looking at his shot, we've been watching the video tape, seeing any different type of quirks that maybe he could work out. He's such a student of the game, so he's really worked at it.”

Holdin' the Rope:

I'm not sure what it is about playing Illinois, but it has for whatever reason brought out the very best in THJ this season. He was just about as efficient as you can possibly be, and his shot was crisp, clean, and confident. Bacari Alexander will now be given the task of using whatever psychological tropes he can muster to convince THJ that they are playing Illinois before every game from here on out. John Gasaway says:

It's hard to disagree. This Michigan team has, by varying combinations of Trey Burke, Beilein sorcery, TRUE GRIT, and Bacari Alexander motivational ploys, manufactured a 22-8 record with THJ struggling for long, bleak stretches of conference play. Imagine, oh imagine, what this team can accomplish with a THJ circa the end of last season added to the fold.

A Lion Eye is depressed; A Lion Eye is always depressed. A Lion Eye reminds me of me two years ago.

Hardaway is interviewed at Grantland:

Your dad was an NBA All-Star. Did you grow up playing against him? At what age could you beat him?

Yeah, when I was a kid we played a seven-game series every Saturday. I used to go to open gym to play with my friends and teammates, and I'd get there 30 to 45 minutes early so I could play one-on-one against my dad. When I reached ninth grade, I was finally able to beat him. He'd win the seven-game series, mostly, but I knew if I got two or three wins I could tell everybody that I'd beat my dad one-on-one. That's when I knew he was done.

But even when I started beating him regularly, he wasn't mad at all. He'd still teach me things I could get better at. To this day, I go up to him and ask him for advice about what I need to work on, and he always does a great job helping me out. That's not to say there wasn't a lot of trash talking when we played one-on-one.

What kind of trash talk, specifically?

I can't say. I can't say!

Asked whether this is his last year at Michigan, he says "I'm not sure" and "I can tell you I don't plan on leaving." I'm guessing he's around for at least another year since he's probably not a first-rounder after this business.

The NYT has an interesting article up on the variations between basketballs making life difficult on road teams. Bo Ryan is specified as a guy who uses a weird ball that causes problems for visitors; this made me think of a recent Daily article on Michigan's odd choice of ball:

“I just have a long association with The Rock,” he said. “I used it way back to LeMoyne and also at the Division-I level. I’ve used The Rock, I think, all the time. They have a good product.”

Though many teams choose to stick with their school’s sponsor for their choice of ball, Michigan passed over Adidas in favor of The Rock — a brand from Anaconda Sports.

“It feels very much like the Wilson, which we use in the NCAA Tournament,” Beilein said. “That’s why I like it.”

In fact, the NYT article seems like an rehash of the Daily article what with its frequent referencing of Wisconsin's unusual deployment of Sterling basketballs and focus on the home/road effects. Zinger not contained by NYT for obvious reasons incoming:

But if Michigan fans are worried about the Wolverines’ play without The Rock in the postseason, there is good news. On Dec. 10, Michigan put up a season-high 90 points in a victory over Oakland at the Palace at Auburn Hills.

The ball? Wilson. The same brand used for March Madness.

Hardaway Hardaway Hardaway Hardaway.

Or is that "Hawafty"?

image

Paywall ho!

Unverified Voracity On Time Lapse

Unverified Voracity On Time Lapse

Submitted by Brian on October 6th, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Cannibalism is actually an improvement in their level of civilization. Add Eddie George to the long list of current and former Buckeyes bombing the program:

“It appears to me that Bollman is out there, he’s totally exposed,” George said. “It’s his offense to lose, and clearly he has no idea or concept what to do with them at this point.”

Blue Seoul described the MSU-OSU game as "fun to watch if you don't like either of these teams" and that is so true. It's more true for Ohio State, which was blithely running second and long draw plays as Michigan State run blitzed with nine guys in the box. "OY OY OY this worked with Troy Smith OY," Bollman thinks.

Crack journalism. Well done, Free Press, well done:

image

Michigan does not have a women's hockey program.

Podcasting in two doses. One with Northwestern blog Sippin' on Purple on which I'm hard to hear and a second with the Michigan Man Podcast.

Time lapse. The Notre Dame game in time lapse photography:

The numbers. It's week six. FO's advanced stats maintain some preseason projections in them for another week or two, but they are increasingly based on events on the field and whoah:

Rank Team FBS
W-L
FEI Last
Wk
GE GE
Rk
SOS SOS
Rk
FBS
MW
FBS
RMW
1 LSU 4-0 .304 1 .234 12 .097 8 9.6 6.1
2 Alabama 5-0 .303 3 .342 5 .134 19 9.2 5.0
3 Oklahoma 4-0 .298 2 .359 3 .186 40 10.7 7.1
4 Wisconsin 4-0 .247 4 .600 1 .467 95 10.1 6.2
5 Clemson 4-0 .244 5 .162 19 .206 43 9.2 5.9
6 Michigan 5-0 .241 10 .347 4 .341 74 10.3 5.7
7 Stanford 4-0 .227 9 .405 2 .513 103 11.0 7.1
8 Georgia Tech 4-0 .225 15 .340 6 .441 92 9.3 5.5
9 West Virginia 3-1 .215 13 .138 20 .161 28 8.3 5.3
10 Oklahoma State 4-0 .211 6 .227 13 .156 25 9.8 6.3

Moving up four slots after bombing Minnesota probably means the formula does not yet comprehend how terrible the Gophers are—they did hang tight against USC and FEI ignores games against I-AA foes. Also it does not know just how goofy that ND game is.

Still, how are you doing, Stanford? U MAD?

Block MST3K. So this happened at the Hoover Street Rag:

THEME SONG

In the not too distant future, Saturday A.D.
There was a guy named Jordan, not too different from you or me
He worked at Schembechler Institute, just another face in a maize jumpsuit
He did a good job cleaning up the place, but his bosses kinda liked him so they made him play in space

(Curse you GERG!)

We'll send him speedy runners, the best we can find
He'll have to stop, tackle them all as we monitor his mind
Now keep in mind he can't control when the games begin or end
He'll try to keep his sanity with the help of his D-Line friends...

D-LINE ROLL CALL!

Martin! (I'm Captain!)
Heininger! (Left side!)
Van Bergen! (Where've you been?)
Rooooooooooooooooh! (I'm sophomore!)

If you're wondering how he eats and breathes and other science facts
He's got a meal card and it's set on earth so you can really just relax
For Michigan Defense Theater 3000.

Either you have no idea what that is about or you are no longer reading this post.

Woolfolk comes in. I erroneously left Woolfolk out of the Monday game post talking about the guys who stayed through all this drama, as Rodriguez might say, but in the Michigan blogosphere there is always someone to pick up where you fell short:

And one wonders; why have the Wolverines normally injury prone players been relatively healthy this year while Woolfolk has been injured time and again?  Bad Luck?  Anger an old gypsy woman?  Did the coaches use black magic to keep the guys healthy but the turnover was Woolfolk gets hurt instead?  Did they find some D&D style Rings of Transference to transfer all injuries to Troy as long as everyone was wearing the rings?  Not that I've ever played Dungeons and Dragons or anything.  Like I don't have a level 17 Wizard named Tulmo Falconclaw just sitting around, so don't think that.  I'm just guessing what nerds would say.  FIREBALL!!

It gets even saner from there.

Etc.: Highlights from hockey's season opener. I was not aware that Michigan's first goal was not a lucky bounce but rather a beauty assist from Hyman. Also Hunwick flashes the glove. WAC "instant" replay takes 22 minutes. Cue Special K homer drooling.

Maize Pages belated Minnesota recap. Five hours of Calvin Magee talking about the spread 'n' shred comes three years too late but is still really interesting.

Unverified Voracity, Forcibly Skeptical

Unverified Voracity, Forcibly Skeptical

Submitted by Brian on September 6th, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Item of the week. A new weekly thing: in conjunction with the Pat Maloy Scholarship fund we'll be plugging Michigan memorabilia on a weekly basis. All proceeds go to scholarship endowments at Michigan. Item!

multi-signed-ball

The above features signatures from blog favorites Brandon Graham, Zoltan Mesko(!), and Ron Bellamy:

This item is a perfect addition to a Michigan collection in that it spans several decades of Michigan football greatness. A white Michigan football adorned with a large blue block M and two winged helmets on either side. The football is autographed by 18 former Michigan stars including Jim Brandstatter, Brandon Graham, Billy Taylor, Jarrett Irons, Buster Stanley, Vada Murray, Harlan Huckleby, Jarrod Bunch, Ron Johnson, Andre Weathers, Greg Mathews, Ron Bellamy, David Moosman, Stevie Brown, Zoltan Mesko, Derek Walker, Greg McMurtry.

Do it for Johnny.

Hatch update. From his Caring Bridge page:

Monday, September 5, 2011 5:25 PM, EDT

Another great week by a determined and hard working student athlete. Austin has a beautiful attitude and is enjoying day visits with close friends and family. We are following the medical staff advice to control the visitor schedule to no more than three at a time to allow him to focus on his recovery. While the length of the rehab program is still unclear, he looks forward to returning to home and normal activities.

 Mitch McGary enjoys torrential downpours. Mitch McGary visited for the Western Michigan game and reportedly had quite a time. Here's MGoUser Max hanging with McGary in the rain:

mitch-mcgary-picture

(BONUS: Just A Simple Minded Football Coach caught a shot in the Detroit News where McGary is going nuts as Herron roars down the field. Also he recapped the Western game.)

Post something like this and you'll be hounded until you give people the full story, so Max did:

I asked him about his official visits; he told me he is allowed to take 10 (instead of the usual 5) since he took a year off after high school.  "You're gonna hate me for this, but I'm going to Duke next weekend."  I asked, "Are you visiting anywhere more than once?"  He replied, "No, but I'll be back at Michigan for camp in [whatever month it was]."

He was going batshit crazy on all the big Michigan plays, waiving his towel and giving out high-fives.  He, like the rest of the student section, clealy enjoyed the rain, too.  He sang and fist-pumped along with The Victors. He even tried to start a cheer, but his "LET'S GO BLU-UE" wasn't very catchy.

Finally, right before he and the others left, I asked him to take a picture with me.  He seemed really excited, throwing his arm around me and joking around.  I got a little too excited and started slapping him on the shoulder. He cringed a little, and I remembered that his shoulder had gotten cut up pretty badly when he broke that backboard.  I apologized, but he just thought it was funny.  After the picture, we all started jumping around a little bit, yelling "Go Blue!" and whatever else.  He said several things to the effect of "I'll see you guys next year!" and then left.

So that's spectacular except for the part where Michigan fans whap him in his fresh wounds. UMHoops points out that McGary's AAU coach, Wayne Brumm, has been talking up Michigan to any outlet that will listen—I'm guessing that's he's the source for the national recruiting guys who keep saying "McGary isn't close to a decision but I'd keep an eye out for Michigan." Sam Webb hit Brumm up for a take on his visit and the resulting Webblog says Michigan is "STRONG" with McGary in the headline. This seems like time to get those hopes off the floor.

If you're like me you'll need to see McGary in a Crisler shootaround before you'll believe Michigan can snag a top five recruit in this modern sleaze-paced basketball recruiting society, but it seems like they've got a shot. McGary's off to a who's who of basketball powers over the next few weeks, whereupon his love for the block M and sea turtles falling from the sky will be tested. The good news: The rumor is Michigan's main competitors are Maryland and Florida and McGary mentioned to people around him that he planned on returning to Ann Arbor for "camp"—November camp? Next year's Elite camp?

Snagging McGary would take Beilein's recruiting trajectory from "we'll be pretty good in 2013" to "Big Ten contender NOW." Fingers crossed.

BAD HEADLINE MONKEY. You're new here at the Detroit Free Press (motto: Metro Detroit's second best paper named "The Detroit Free Press"), kid. So we'll cut you some slack. But this is not cool:

image

Kid, "rigorous" means you are more than doubling NCAA practice time maximums. When you're a headline monkey at Metro Detroit's second best paper named The Detroit Free Press, you have to know these things. I'm glad we had this talk. Now if you could lay out the arts section, clean the bathroom, copy edit* A1, and check the roof for suicidal reporters you can go home.

*[LOL JK]

I've always wanted an opportunity to get sued by Righthaven. Thanks to the rain, I've got one. It turns out that Vegas refunding the world's tickets on the Michigan-WMU game is quite a letoff for sportsbooks:

"It was kind of wacky. There have been some crazy weather games, but I've never seen that," MGM Resorts sports book director Jay Rood said. "I would rather have seen the game get in and played than end the way it did, when maybe some people feel like they were cheated.

"We were going to lose on the game. That was by far the biggest public-backed game on the board. The ticket count was ridiculous, like 20-1 for Michigan."

Wow. Either the sharps or the books were heavily on Western.

WAYS YOU CAN TELL THE NEWSPAPER YOU ARE READING IS BASED IN LAS VEGAS PROTIP: The reporter says "I was on the Wolverines, for the record" and wishes a natural disaster had befallen the Georgia Dome so he wouldn't have gotten taken on the Boise State-Georgia game.

mediachanges_thumb

Time to update the Michigan reporter whirlwind. MVictors's handy movement graph is now out of date since Zach Travis has been picked up by Bleacher Report of all things and is getting paid to write on the Big Ten. Spreading that venture capital love around, they are. If you'd ceased paying attention to Zach's old blog Dreaded Judgment, he's firing it back up.

Are we still talking about this? Well done, Jon Wilner. You managed to get me all the way through your article on yet more realignment without making it clear that your source is a guy in a Pac-12 athletic department who likes messing with journalists:

The Big Ten won’t expand until it’s time to renegotiate the league’s deals with CBS and ESPN, which expire in 2016, according to a source.

At that point, if the Pac-12 and the SEC have grown to 16 teams, then Notre Dame will join the Big Ten.

Guh. I have been expansion-trolled. If you still want to take this seriously, Wilner says the Pac 12 presidents are opposed to expanding but will do it if the SEC jumps off the bridge first, at which point they'll have no choice. I hope the Big Ten is wise enough not to follow them.

Etc.: If you like the arrangement of the Victors for the Michigan Difference commercials, you can download it for your phone or (emo) tailgate or whatever. Holdin' the Rope starts a Michigan Monday analogue focused on the Golden Bobcats. Bruce Feldman is outside the paywall. Tommy Rees will start for ND this weekend.

Unverified Voracity Trolls The Free Press

Unverified Voracity Trolls The Free Press

Submitted by Brian on August 26th, 2011 at 12:09 PM

Countdown: 8.

three-men-and-a-baby-poster

Son, never throw a punch at a redwood.
Tom Selleck

Second amendment say what. Borges:

"We'll be gunning more than we've ever gunned — than I've ever gunned," Borges said. "We use a lot of shotgun, but we're tailoring the gun more to his skills. I'm not going to reveal any trade secrets here, but we're going to use Denard the way he can best exploit the defense."

And there was much rejoicing.

He's done it. Thanks to user Chunkums here's a glimpse of Borges running the speed option at Auburn back in the day. It's at 26 seconds:

Dollars to donuts this is happening.

Are you a woman, a bicyclist, a baby, very sweaty, or all of the above? This is your lucky day if you've been interested in some MGoShirts. Underground has a limited-time store up with women's, kids, and toddler sizes plus wicking shirts, hoodies, and assorted exotics. Check it out. Order by the 30th.

Tomorrow they'll announce Dantonio's hiring. The RCMB had a thread featuring user photoshop mockups of the Pro Combat uniforms everybody will always wear against Michigan forever. One of them featured the RCMB logo on the helmet. So of course this happened the next day at the Free Press:

image

Someone associated with the "Downtown Coaches Club" emailed it out, so that's obviously happening. I hope the State spokesman was under 40 and therefore far more aware of the RCMB than Steve Schrader.

Chagrined by their mistake, the next day the Free Press reported that TE Evan Jones had committed to State. That's accurate. It also happened three months ago.

This is probably just me. Does Darrell Funk give off kind of a Gary Busey vibe?

Just me? Okay. As far as actual news, Huyge is holding off Schofield; Schofield is actually practicing at RG(?) as well.

Bring out yer dead conferences. The CCHA has ceased to be, or has set a point in the future where it will cease to be:

After two rounds of talks, the WCHA is ready to accept five CCHA schools into the conference, sources have indicated to CHN.

The switch from the CCHA to the WCHA is pending each individual schools' Board of Trustees approving the move. Announcements will thus come piecemeal, with the first ones potentially coming as early as Friday.

The WCHA has given the CCHA schools are 30-day window in which to officially accept the invitation. At least three CCHA schools are certain to accept — Lake Superior State, Ferris State and Alaska.

Bowling Green and Western are both waiting around to see what Notre Dame does. If ND joins the NCHC—we really need a sarcastic nickname for them—Western hopes to tag along. If Notre Dame goes to Hockey East, both BG and WMU hope to get their faces kicked in for all eternity in the NCHC. That latter scenario would mean the powers of the WCHA broke it up so they could add Miami, WMU, and BGSU.

I'm a little disappointed this is the way it's playing out. I would rather have seen the CCHA bolster itself with the four Atlantic Hockey schools that were interested in moving and kept conferences relatively small so expansion would be an attractive option. It's still a lot better than it was before the Big Ten formed.

At least get your lame political cracks right. Via the MZone, here's this guy:

USAOSU

I thought Ann Arbor was supposed to be full of liberal hippies. Apparently it is also really into sharia.

Etc.: Catlab returns. Trippy. I think I'm in love with Dana Holgorsen: "Holgorsen's idea of balance is making sure a bunch of people get the ball, whether by pass or by run, and then get a bunch of yards." Frank the Tank's latest on conference realignment. The Hoover Street rag is irritated that Michigan is phasing out the seal in favor of the block M. Holdin' The Rope explores the file on Nate Brink.

Not A Banner Day For Detroit Sports Sections

Not A Banner Day For Detroit Sports Sections

Submitted by Brian on August 3rd, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Is it ever?

The Free Press as translated by Doc Sat:

Never an operation to pass up a free shot at its favorite target, the Detroit Free Press reports today that giving to the Michigan athletic department was up more than 22 percent in 2010-11 over the previous year — a boon the Freep attributes entirely to spikes in January and February, after alumni darling Brady Hoke was hired to replace the heathen Rich Rodriguez as head coach.

Michigan downplays the effect of Rodriguez's exit, pointing instead to its efforts to sell out the luxury suites in Michigan Stadium that went unsold in 2009-10. Yes, but why did they go unsold? A good journalistic victory lap waits not for semantics.

The home schedules of the last two years with the best three games bolded:

2010 2011
UConn WMU
UMass Notre Dame (@ night)
BGSU EMU
Michigan State San Diego State
Iowa Minnesota
Illinois Purdue
Wisconsin Nebraska
N/A Ohio State

/wanking motion directed at Free Press

And while I'm derisively profaning the Detroit media, here's some new guy making quite a first impression:

Children, for the most part, don't understand tradition.

That's just one reason why the University of Michigan needs a mascot.

Kids need a tangible reason to begin a lifelong fandom, and a furry wolverine mascot can keep them from becoming Spartans fans against their family's wishes.

I went to the University of Minnesota during a four-year span that included just one bowl game — a loss in the hallowed Insight Bowl — and little success in men's basketball and men's hockey, the other two most popular sports on campus.

But all the preteens and toddlers kept coming to games with the hope that Goldy Gopher might greet them with a high-five or a hug.

Josh Katzenstein understands tradition. He went to games in the Metrodome. Therefore he thinks the greatest attraction of a football game is a guy in a costume.

Here's what happens to kids at Michigan:

He was about ten. He was wearing a number seven jersey and when he took his hat off for the national anthem his hair was staticky. Before the game he was hopping up in down in an attempt to burn off nervous energy, and when Michigan ran out to touch the banner his mind was blown. He exclaimed "this is so AWESOME" as only a ten-year-old boy can. The words forced themselves out in self defense—if they hadn't the pressure would have given him an aneurysm. I know what that excitement is like. I remember getting a Nintendo.

I can't imagine what his mind is like four fighter jets, three overtimes, 132 points, and one last-play win later. He's probably sitting at his desk right now, mouth slightly ajar and drooling, involuntarily twitching out the words "so" and "awesome" as the rest of the class learns to count to 15 in Spanish. Plans to put him on ritalin have been temporarily shelved. His father has been asked "what did you do to the boy?" …

After the game we're walking up the bleachers and the kid's right in front of us, trying to show his father his hand. His father seems to acknowledge the hand, but not enough for the kid's taste. "I'm never washing this hand again," he says. "Denard gave me a high five."

In conclusion, paragraphs can contain more than one sentence and newspapers are the leading consumer of sippy cups nationwide.

UNVERFIED FORAGITY FLARB FLEEB FLOO

UNVERFIED FORAGITY FLARB FLEEB FLOO

Submitted by Brian on August 18th, 2010 at 4:00 PM

HAI GUYS WHAT'S—

No, just kidding. We're back to normal service except for the occasional outburst of spine-threatening sobs and pauses to shake the MGoFist at the sky.

So how screwed are we? Oh… I'd imagine pretty screwed. We've had to consolidate the "can Teric Jones/Michael Shaw/Denard Robinson/Will Campbell play corner?" threads in one big annoying glob of Kubler-Ross bargaining. But at least we've gotten some excellent paint action out of it:

twolfgodreal From the Shredder, naturally.

Also there's this from Antidaily:

fuuuuuu

 

Even the house organs, who were busy dismissing the importance of Justin Turner's departure last week, admit this is a "devastating blow" to what was already a ramshackle Burmese lean-to of a secondary. Rittenberg says Woolfolk's name would have been "right at the top" of players Michigan could not afford to lose and asks if Pac-Man Jones or Charles Woodson have any eligibility left (answer compliance should absolutely not double-check: HELL YES). Orson breaks out Crazy Old Testament God; Burgeoning Wolverine Star goes with that damn owl again for some reason.

And UMGoBlog gets all scientific by ripping Dorsey, Turner, and Woolfolk off Michigan's roster in NCAA 2011 and seeing what happens:

PASS YPG PASS TDS PPG RECORD RODRIGUEZ
Before 200 19 24.1 7-5 "I feel happy!"
After 235 24 28.4 5-7 [thud]

That last column is my addition. Obviously.

Io-wha? Yeah, you see what I did there. Black Heart Gold Pants got all huffy about the idea Iowa might be overrated. While I was wrong about how many defensive starters Iowa lost (it's three, not five) and this somewhat mitigates their situation, when you deploy the Mathlete luck graph in an attempt to argue you weren't that lucky last year, well, Braves and Birds treats you like it usually treats Stewart Mandel:

You know your argument sucks when you're fighting the notion that your team was lucky in 2009 and you cite a chart that shows your team to have been the second luckiest team in the conference.

As a result of Iowa's inability to demonstrate its superiority over Arkansas State and Northern Iowa, every ranking system that accounts for data beyond record and strength of schedule pegged Iowa in the lower part of the top 20. The Sagarin Predictor had Iowa 17th. Sports Reference's SRS measure had Iowa 19th, as did Football Outsiders. In short, you can accept what reams of research tells us about football, which is that points, yards, and drive outcomes are a better indication of a team's merit and contain less noise than the final record itself. Or, you can reject all of that, put on a dumb hat, and wait to be punked by Fire Joe Morgan.

The chart thing's even better since it shows Iowa was seriously unlucky the year before, puncturing any argument that Ferentz has a knack for making chicken salad out of Stanziballs. Why is it that when I make a bleedingly obvious comment like "Penn State's quarterback situation sucks" or "Iowa was lucky last year and I am skeptical of them this year" people get all mad? Go ahead, predict Michigan's secondary will be a black hole of despair. I won't stop you.

Hockey guy but sort of the wrong year. Michigan's finally picked up another hockey commit, with 2012 forward Justin Selman picking Michigan a couple days ago. Selman joins Boo Nieves and Connor Carrick in that class; Michigan is still way, way short for 2011, with one guy currently scheduled to replace Michigan's extensive senior class.

As per usual with hockey recruits more than a year out from the draft, information on Selman is sparse. USHR has a positive note as one of a dozen or so "A" players from the '08 Select 15 festival:

-- 5’10”, 165 lb. Justin Selman. A smooth skating late ’93 from Upper Saddle River, NJ and the NJ Avalanche. He can make plays. Strong hockey sense. (White)

He's grown a couple inches since then. Other schools visited were RPI (meh) and UNH (good). There are a couple comments on Hockey's Future, for what it's worth:

Selman- Great at faceoffs. Had a growth spurt and is suprisingly strong. Solid skater with the drive to score. doubt he goes to the O.

Same guy:

Justin Selman- 5 10 160- A great skater and an absolute wizard on face offs. He is physical and has grown a lot in the past two years. A young 93 and still is one of hte best in a strong 93 Atlantic district age group.

Same guy:

Selman is not really a pro prospect I guess but he is still a very good player who could receive consideration for 2012.

Fiutakin' it. Since this guy exists…

get-a-brain-morans-go-usa

…and so does walk-on kicker and varsity soccer star Justin Meram, this Free Press typo (print) goes from pedestrian to "Evan Metrics" competitor:

image It is always dangerous to taunt the embarrassing typo Gods—a couple of months ago I called PSU's Tom Bradley "Steve" or something—but, man, that was posted yesterday and passed around to great laughter and still hasn't been updated as of this post.

Expansion detail trickle. A couple more items from Delany:

  • A ninth game likely wont happen until 2015 at the earliest, and…
  • Straight geography is not happening when it comes to Big Ten divisions: “We didn't think there's any way we could achieve principle one [competitiveness] and two [rivalry preservation] if we were rigid about geographic contiguity. We are aware of geography, but we're not going to be driven by it.”

There's a rumor out there that Michigan and Ohio State will be split into separate divisions, which I find abhorrent because it necessitates protected cross-division games, which are dumb, and guarantees that Michigan will be elaborately screwed by that cross-division game being Ohio State, guaranteeing them a brutal schedule year-in, year-out as Ohio State and Penn State go play with Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern, and Illinois.

Remember when… wingless helmets were the thing we were panicking about?

It was a simpler, more annoying time because everyone hysteria was unjustified. Here's to annoyance.

Etc.: Hoover Street Rag breaks down Michigan logos past. Seth Wickersham's ESPN the Magazine article($) is insider, it is also the second MSM article in the past couple weeks to break down the Michigan document dump months after Heads Should Roll. It's probably worth your time, though. I don't buy the idea that compliance couldn't dare escalate from their perpetual Labadie pings; that was a screwup on their part, though most of the problem lies with the bungling underlings and the system that allowed the bungling to continue so long.