This Week's Obsession: Production Values

This Week's Obsession: Production Values

Submitted by Seth on September 16th, 2015 at 11:12 AM

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The Question:

Color changes, helmet stickers, rawk/band ratio, production: what was better/worse/different this time about the stadium experience?

The Responses:

Adam: What was better and worse and different was people going to the game. The neighborhood I normally park in had lots of people tailgating and throwing footballs around outside, and the tailgates that used to exist closer to State Street were back as well. It was nice to see people outside enjoying a game day in Ann Arbor, especially considering how tail gates disbanded more and more often as last season wore on.

The downside of attendance numbers that actually pass the eye test is traffic. Last season I got stuck once, and that was after the Penn State night game. Usually people were cleared out by the time I finished with the postgame presser and walked back to my car. The last thing I expected was to get stuck on Main Street after a game that entered garbage time early in the fourth quarter, but that's what happened. People care again, man. They stuck around.

As far as in-stadium stuff goes, I'm hoping the block M and end zones get repainted to match the uniforms soon. I think the darker maize on the uniforms is perfect. I don't really care who the apparel manufacturer is as long as the maize and blue we saw on the field Saturday are the maize and blue they use.

Sticking with uniforms, I was initially lukewarm on helmet stickers but have come around after seeing them in action. I can understand people's concern over a helmet that appears cluttered, but I think they look great. It's hard for me to argue with a uniform change that results in something that appeals to Harbaugh and appealed to Bo and not illegible maize letters or oddly placed stripes.

[After the jump: WE ARE WINNING AT THIS!]

Unverified Voracity Plays Underwater Basketball

Unverified Voracity Plays Underwater Basketball

Submitted by Brian on August 7th, 2015 at 3:31 PM

Media Day photos. Via Eric Upchurch:

Michigan Football Media Day 2015 (Upchurch)

Events! Upcoming things:

  • TONIGHT, Ann Arbor: we have an HTTV thing at Literati at 7 PM.
  • August 11th, Washington DC: Season preview. Intimately titled.
  • August 12th, New York: Season preview. Seventh(!) annual. Wow. Do not attend both, they will be the same thing.
  • September 1st, Ann Arbor: John U Bacon discusses BRANDON'S LASTING LESSONS at Rackham.

Events this year with the Chicago and Philly clubs did not come off, but Philly has an event with half a dozen lettermen on the 29th.

Trollin' trollin' trollin' trollin'. Jim Harbaugh took questions from adorable children.

Moments later he said Michigan was about to go in a "submarine" and that you wouldn't hear from them for a while. Media members in attendance snapped their pencils in dismay.

Except this one. Drew Sharp, everybody!

Wear some damn socks.

Simplified, maize-r. Michigan wore last year's jerseys at Media Day but even so there was a clear change to the uniforms this year:

This naturally leads to a discussion about lighting and camera stuff but multiple reports from media day report that the maize is darker. Also: Harbaugh was probably so incensed by uniform clutter he sewed the flaps that cover up the superfluous block M himself.

Fewer seats. Michigan loses 2,300 seats, mostly for ADA compliance reasons:

The most noticeable changes to Stadium seating relate to ADA accessibility, as seats had to be eliminated in order to widen aisles and install hand railings around the entire bowl with the exception of the student seating section.

Michigan still has the largest capacity in the country, and they will actually fill it this year. Also:

J. Ira and Nikki Harris Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh

Did they drop the "Family" from the still-very-unwieldy endowment there?

Sounds un-good. Linebacker Mike McCray told Mike Spath that he's going to miss a chunk of this season with an undisclosed injury. The way he talked about it seemed a bit ominous for his recovery prospects, as well. McCray on Durkin:

"He told me they're not giving up on me, and to keep fighting to get back, so I've been coming out to 7-on-7s and doing everything I can to stay part of the team, and my teammates have been helping me out with that a lot too."

If we don't see him at all this year he would be in Chris Fox territory, wherein everyone is waiting for the news he's transitioned to a student assistant. Hopefully it doesn't come to that and we at least see him on special teams some.

Okay then. Harbaugh had a direct answer to the minor fifth year kerfuffle caused by Keith Heitzman's comments to the Columbus Dispatch:

"The fifth year has to be a mutual decision," he said. "Nothing is guaranteed except the opportunity to take that spot. Do you want to come back for a fifth year and does the football team want you back?"

Apparently some guys were put on the "impress me" block and some were not. FWIW, I've heard that Countess was not one of those guys—they expected him to stay and were expecting to play him a lot.

Somebody didn't read BRANDON'S LASTING LESSONS. Minnesota's AD has resigned because he started drunk-sexting colleagues late at night. Athletic directors: typing anything after 9 PM is like feeding Gizmo after midnight.

Battle bracket. Basketball's tourney has a bracket:

image

UConn first, then one of Syracuse/Charlotte. Looks like we get to find out what "AXS" is and if anyone in the state gets it, as the opener is on it.

UConn was 20-15 in the American last year and bounced from the first round of the NIT; they lose Ryan Boatright, their highest-usage player, but return everyone else. Syracuse was 18-13 and 9-9 in the ACC; they did not have a postseason because they took the ever-popular midseason NCAA sanctions after Jim Boeheim got nailed for all manner of malfeasance. They lose C Rakeem Christmas but return everyone else. Charlotte was 14-18 last year and looks pretty bad.

Shooting is shooting. Brendan Quinn profiles Duncan Robinson:

The thought of Robinson playing for Beilein -- "He's born to play the system," Maker says -- made too much sense, so a phone call was made and film was sent.

Trusting Maker, Beilein called Robinson before watching the game film. He reached out as a courtesy to tell Robinson that Michigan might be interest in him as a preferred walk-on.

Robinson was flattered, but not interested. Plenty of Division I programs were offering scholarships now.

Then, one week later, a second phone call was made.

"OK, I saw you play," Beilein told Robinson. "Forget the walk-on stuff. We're talking about a scholarship. I want to get you here for an official visit."

Excellent piece; go read it.

One return. Zach Werenski will return to Yost:

Werenski confirmed for NHL.com that he will return to the University of Michigan for his sophomore year.There was speculation that the 6-foot-2, 221-pound left-handed shot would play for London of the Ontario Hockey League in 2015-16. London selected Werenski in the second round (No. 24) of the 2013 OHL draft.

Losing him would have been very, very bad on top of the Copp and Larkin departures.

Etc.: Hiring NFL people to coach college offenses is usually a disaster. Lawnmower men. The Ferry Field gate. BYU loses its starting running back. The Big Ten's new scheduling rules are also about money.

Dear Diary Settles on a Yellow

Dear Diary Settles on a Yellow

Submitted by Seth on July 10th, 2015 at 12:17 PM

Here's where yesterday's maize poll stood around noon:

image

I initially had labels for the first few hundred voters, which stole maybe 100 votes from Iowa—I think most people didn't realize our official corn shade was darker than theirs. Anyway 80% of the readers who voted wanted Michigan to wear something appreciably darker than what they currently do, and over half preferred the orange-iest options. There's still a large and vocal minority—about 20%—who like the brighter yellows.

One of them, stephenrjking, wrote a diary to demonstrate the lighter shades have been part of Michigan's uniforms a very long time:

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Also that stills are notoriously bad—the saturation is way high on the left and way low on the right. Stephen isn't crazy; he too noted the modern hue is too damn loud. Here's the Woodson interception in the '98 Rose Bowl that he submitted as a preferred shade, with a color swatch I grabbed from it:

Woodson-original

That is exactly the same color as the "faded from the 1970s" swatch people voted on, with an average hue of 53. Hue (similar to Tint on your old television set) is a circular axis through a 360-degree rainbow spectrum, with 360 and 0 being red, 60 is yellow, 120 is green, 180 cyan, 240 indigo, 300 violet, etc. That "53" matches the official Iowa color, but the saturation is toned down about 30%. By contrast, the Adidas color online is 60 (straight up yellow), and almost everything I got from the last four years of MGoBlog photos was usually around 65, sometimes as high as 70, i.e. 5 or 10 steps toward green. Michigan's official maize, on the other hand is 48; if you get to 45 you're half-way to orange (aka "gold").

So if washout is traditional, it's much closer to official M(official) than Adidas(what they're using now) on the orange scale. Here's what it would look like with the "maize" parts on Woodson and Peterson changed to the various shades we've been arguing over (matched to Woodson's knee—click from big):

Woodson-1-YellowWoodson-2-IowaWoodson-3-Maize

From left: current Adidas yellow, Iowa's yellow, and Michigan's official maize.

Perhaps a good compromise then is to take it back to the low 50s and tone it down so the primary blue can stand out more. That won't placate the "I actually like the bright yellow" crowd, but I'd rather have 20% of the fanbase bitching about it than 80%.

Further reading on apparel. See Maize.Blue Wagner's interesting trip through historical department store catalogues (this was how we did Amazon before the internet, people who don't know what a tint dial is). Here's the 1980 Sears jersey:

image

And here is a sweatshirt of a bear wearing a sweatshirt:

image

Picking a Quarterback

Right, the actual football. I highly recommend MilkSteak's quarterback comparison diary, where he showed various previous Michigan QBs at the same age vs this year's starting candidates. I'll give you the upshot but only if you promise you'll hit the link and give the author a plus for his work. Done? Okay:

Beyond the Gardner comparisons, Rudock appears to be a less turnover prone version of 1998 RS Junior Tom Brady, which is nice. Rudock had 22 more attempts than Brady and 5 less INTs with a TD/Int ratio of +11 to Brady's +4. The Y/Att and Adjusted Y/Att are very similar, and the QB Ratings are damn near identical.

I would take "1999 Tom Brady with fewer interceptions." Shane Morris's scant data isn't that different than a slew of other passing era guys we didn't see until they started. His freshman data jives with sophomore Todd Collins, however last year's performance, mostly against Minnesota, looks like freshman Denard Robinson minus the legs. Upshot: 2001 John Navarre, presumably with Darboh doing his best Marquise Walker impression.

Etc. Low Key Recidivist mentioned the Jeff Zuttah story (Michigan wanted to medical him so he transferred to Stanford, and medicaled) as it relates to Pipkins. Erik in Dayton tackled the ethics of it. Also by EiD: recruiting rankings of starters on Harbaugh's last Stanford team. Was a the Deflategate report dur or derp?

Board stuff: The big news is Sara Driesenga got her medshirt!

Pitcher Sara Driesenga, who suffered a rib injury in the early season and only played in a handful of games, has been granted a medical redshirt and will come back for a 5th year!

This gives Michigan a 4-pitcher staff. They'll have every class represented with 5th year Driesenga, B1G Pitcher of the Year Megan Betsa who'll be a Junior, Tera Blanco who was recruited as a star pitcher as a Sophomore and incoming freshman Leah Crockett.

The team that nearly won the national championship receives an almost a one-for-one replacement for Haylie Wagner, and everyone else returns except catcher Lauren Sweet. National Championship or bust!

Board questions answered.

I'm gonna skip most of the board because it was a lot of "Omigod Nike!" But I will answer a few questions:

Whats' the best burger in Michigan? The best greasy spoon is a little dive (just a counter and four high tables) attached to the Seville Motel on Woodward in Royal Oak called Monty's Grill (my dad claimed that way back in the day it used to be Biff's and stood where Comerica Park does now). Best pub burger is Sidetracks in Ypsilanti. Please trust me that I have investigated this thoroughly—at least in the lower peninsula—and there is no question.

How would you allocate your hate? If all of my hate could damage Ohio State even a little bit I feel I have to try, so 100% to Ohio State, and Michigan State will have to make do with a sizeable portion of my contempt instead. I guess that answers this too.

Jorts? No.

What's your favorite Michigan Replay? A: The one after 1997 Ohio State when Lloyd cannot stop smiling despite trying to do so the entire episode.

Your Moment of Zen

Here you go ladies: a glistening and shirtless Jake Butt, and I promise you'll be watching his hands anyway:

Unverified VorCLANGA CLANGA CLANGA

Unverified VorCLANGA CLANGA CLANGA

Submitted by Brian on October 14th, 2014 at 12:07 PM

So this happened.

We need a Holtz/Norfleet mashup.

Penn State fans: aim before firing. See, this is a fanbase that's overreacting:

Year one, sanctions finally biting deeply, coach made Vanderbilt competitive. Let's stone him!

We are fulfilling our responsibilities as an internet website under provision 6 of the Norfleet Atomic Dog Act of 2560. Via Melissa Storch:

We misattributed the source of the Norfleet GIF in One Frame At A Time; this is the original.

INJURIES. Michigan has an implausible number of them. Remember when we thought Hoke was lucky? Funny thing about that. Water finds its level. Gardner was in a boot after the PSU game, but that seems like a precaution more than anything since the guy was on the field. He's got a well-timed bye to rest up before… another bye? Let's go with that.

Speaking of injuries, we have confirmation that Gardner was playing on a broken toe last year:

"Devin's leadership has been outstanding," Hoke said Saturday night. "He played a year ago with a broken toe for half the game (against Ohio State). You know he's got a toughness to him.

Everyone knew this; Michigan insisted on pretending otherwise.

Well played, headline guy? He didn't say the thing that is implied here:

Brady Hoke asked about being at Michigan in 2015, says he's not focused on that

"I'm focused on Heartstone, mostly."

Let's hire the guy who never punts! Barking Carnival has a two-part piece on Arkansas high school coach Kevin Kelley—you know, the guy who always goes for it and always onside kicks:

Kelley prepares the players for chaos.  Pulaski lives in created chaos - their job is to inoculate their players to its effects and let the other team drown in it.  That's what the conventional analysis of Kelley's approach doesn't understand - the Pulaski defense fully EXPECTS that they're going on the field with the opponent inside their territory several times in a game.  It's how they play.  Your panic is their comfort zone.  It's just another day at the office. …

Their guys are mentally tougher than yours because they always play in the fringes of chaos - they're experts in weirdness.  You're playing weird just one week.  They're veterans of weird outcomes and know that leads with time on the clock either way mean nothing.  Just keep playing.

We probably shouldn't hire the guy who never punts. But Kelley is an interesting guy who questions the basic assumptions of football in the same way Beilein did coming up what with his 1-3-1 zone and ALL OF THE SHOOTERS lineups. The burgeoning conventional wisdom that you should strive to shoot threes and layups and nothing else was the moneyball that got Beilein to the top of the ladder and there are guys out there who are doing the same in football now. We just don't know which thing is the thing.

Michigan should be looking for the most interesting plausible mind.

So here's Dan Mullen doing things. Mississippi State has a 6'5" linebacker headed for the early rounds of the NFL draft. How did that happen? Via the Caris LeVert method:

But then, to hear his coach tell it, McKinney’s emergence from obscurity had nothing to with odds, gambling, or catching lightning in a bottle. To Mullen, it’s all in a day’s work. “I don’t look at where they are today. My mind is, ‘Where are they going to be three years from now?’” Mullen told me. “Here’s a 6-foot-3, 210-pound high school quarterback who hasn’t played a lot of linebacker. But you talk to him and you realize he has toughness. And he can run. And you get him in the weight room, and he grows an inch and a half — which you can’t control — and he becomes a 250-pound athletic linebacker who can play at the next level.” …

“I’ll tell a kid sometimes, if he’s not rated very highly [by the recruiting services], ‘Hey, we have you rated higher than that,’” Mullen said. “If he’s got two stars beside his name, that’s even better. Because in my evaluation, he’s not that player.”

Mississippi State has systematically found guys who exceed expectations in the same way John Beilein has, and he's deployed them to maximum effectiveness. There hasn't been anything fluky about Mississippi State's rise, and that's why anyone with a job opening will be blowing up his agent's phone for the next couple months.

The NFL does not exist. That's the approach Michigan should be taking here. When Penn State grabbed Bill O'Brien, Brian Bennett wrote up a piece on guys who had made the NFL-to-college leap. I'm going to cut out everything and just list the names in the article:

  • Bill O'Brien
  • Charlie Weis
  • Ron Turner
  • Bill Callahan
  • Tim Brewster
  • Kirk Ferentz
  • Al Groh
  • Pat Hill
  • Pete Carroll
  • Mike Sherman
  • Dave Wannstedt

So you've got Carroll, who is in the 99th percentile of hey dude energy, Kirk Ferentz, a guy who went back to the NFL after two years, and fail fail fail fail fail. Oh and Pat Hill, who had a good run at Fresno.

The best coaches in college football are all college guys. The NFL does not exist.

Mullen speculation will be constant. Spencer Hall thinks that there might be a bit of a rift between Mullen and Florida AD Not Dave Brandon:

WE THINK DAN WOULD BE FINE BUT DOESN'T REALLY GET ALONG WITH FOLEY REPORTEDLY DOT COM. It's a nice idea to want Dan Mullen as Florida's head coach, but there are a few problems with this. Like for instance--

--fine, fine, just get the damn checkbook and paperwork. Get it now. YOU GO RUN AND GET THAT DAMN CHECKBOOK RIGHT NOW, FOLEY.

So there's that.

LeVert, profiled. DX scouting report:

If I was a college coach I'd have the "weaknesses" music on cue to blast whenever one of my stars lived up to one.

Furman, ascendant. Remember Josh Furman bolting for Oklahoma State in the offseason? Not really, because he seemed like a meh player? Well:

How’s this for help: Furman, with a fifth sack Saturday, through six games has more sacks than any Cowboy’s produced in a season since 2011. He forced a fumble to go with his pick against Kansas, adding just another solid performance to his building resume that would put him on a short list of contenders for OSU Most Valuable Player at the midway point.

“Yeah, I’d hate to think where we’d be without him,” Spencer said.

He is a "star" linebacker akin to the S/LB hybrids OSU rolls out on the regular; think a senior version of Stevie Brown.

Insert Balotelli WHY ALWAYS ME shirt here. Jon Chait (no polo) on football's concussion/health panic:

he same organization cited by Time found that, over a 30-year period, football is not a uniquely deadly sport for high-school athletes. It is not even the deadliest sport. High-school football has a fatality rate of 0.83 per 100,000 participants. This is actually lower than the rates of boys’ basketball (0.92), lacrosse (1.00), boys’ gymnastics (1.00), and water polo (1.3). There were three heartbreaking deaths of high-school football players last week, each of which attracted wide media coverage the way that tragic low-frequency events often do. But the unusual cluster of unfortunate deaths does not indicate a broader trend any more than the crash of an airliner signals an increasing danger associated with air travel.

Chait also follows up with a response to a guy who is a crusader against barbarism.

It might be more maize? Usual disclaimers about photo coloring apply but MVictors caught a reshoot of Devin Funchess on the program cover that strongly implies that Michigan has moved away from the highlighter yellow this year:

Since cover shots for the game programs of the players were shot before the season, they had to re-shoot Funchess in the #1 jersey:Photo Oct 11, 9 37 03 PM

Two things:
1. Notice Funchess has the 2014 helmet with the block M nosebumper.
2. Notice the striking difference in maize tone in the wings that was cited earlier this season between the 2014 and 2013 helmets.

And  while we’re on the topic of game programs…again—I wish they’d get creative here—do somethingbeyond just players standing there posing!

Those are likely to be in controlled conditions so I think it's for real. Small mercies.

The mood from an outsider's view. Excellent Michigan blog with bizarre color scheme Eleven Warriors had a correspondent take in the threatening-cow-rubbing affair on Saturday. The pulse:

Michigan is not broken, nor is it going anywhere at any point in the near future. Though the current caretakers aren't living up to the high standards heaped upon them, the likelihood of the program as a whole sliding toward eternal mediocrity is unlikely. With hundreds of thousands of living alumni, the tradition of "Michigan" is bigger than any one person.

I'm considering a piece about the "lack of local fan support," per Gameday, and the finger-wagging about how Michigan fans need to get behind the program. We're behind it; we're just thinking about more than the next few game.

Etc.: Get The Picture with a magnificent takedown of the NCAA over the Gurley affair. Speaking of, this guy should move to Canada.

Rick Pitino says Louisville is at a disadvantage recruiting because they're an Adidas school. SBN CEO Jim Bankoff talking media stuff is worth a read. Nerds are being adopted by hockey. Defense every snap.

Michigan's run by a guy who only sees the next spreadsheet.

Unverified Voracity Might Be Real Maize

Unverified Voracity Might Be Real Maize

Submitted by Brian on August 8th, 2014 at 11:58 AM

1994: when the universe was right-side up. Via Wolverine Historian:

This game featured a halftime interview with one Gerald Ford:

It's over. Everything is over. The FAKE 40 scale has been broken. They said that man could not claim a 40 time with more than five FAKES attached. They said a lot of things. Well, I present you with the first level eight (eight!) FAKE 40 time:

Unstoppable run-god Trevor Siemian? That does not sound right. Rodger Sherman figures that whether this is true or false this is the beginning of the end for Pat Fitzgerald. I agree. This has destabilized the entire structure of the sport.

IS IT MAIZE? This poster-type thing makes Michigan's uniforms look far less highlighter-y than they have in the recent past:

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Delonte Hollowell front and center

All discussions about this inevitably center on the fact that you can make the same color look vastly different depending on lighting and various other photo doodadery, so let's just stipulate that. But maybe it'll look like a color instead of a fire truck this year.

I am intrigued by your newsletter. 2016 AL SG Josh Langford is arriving on campus today. It is possible there has not been enough chatter about this. Everyone's focused on Tyus Battle after Battle's camp appearance, but Langford is just as highly touted of a prospect, says highly positive things when asked about Michigan, and now 247's Jerry Meyer has put in a prediction for M on their Crystal Ball. He offers a brief explanation as to why:

Duke had been considered the leader in his recruitment but the Blue Devils have only showed minimal recruiting interest to this point.

Sources tell 247Sports that Michigan and Kansas are the two schools in the strongest position with Langford. … A physical guard at 200-pounds or more, Langford loves to attack the rim and also has a versatile and skilled game that would fit great into John Beilein's system of play.

Langford's quotes about Beilein are on the rapturous side, and apparently there's some substance to that.

Meanwhile, Michigan is asserted to be the leader($) for 2016 CA PF TJ Leaf by Scout analyst Evan Daniels. Asserted to be the "slight" leader. That is still an improvement over the perception that Indiana or UCLA was on top.

Leaf's Crystal Ball is a total mess, with five different schools listed—a recent Duke offer has caused a lot of picks for the Blue Devils to come in, there's a random CBS Sports writer projecting Florida, etc. Leaf just visited Arizona, as well. His recruitment could go any direction from here. Michigan probably needs another visit before Leaf's announcement in March or April to feel good. The current plan is for Leaf to take an official in February.

DRIII. Jeff Eisenberg has a rather lengthy article on the second-newest Wolverine, Duncan Robinson. How does a guy go from D-III to Michigan? Bad luck and hard work.

He stood only 5-foot-7 entering his freshman year at Governor's Academy in Byfield, Mass. He suffered an ill-timed back injury that hampered him during the all-important summer before his senior year at Exeter. And even after his growth spurt, he still needed to build the muscle necessary to absorb contact and finish at the rim. …

"His goal is to be an impact player," Tilton said. "He's not a kid looking to play a small role. He'll put the effort and energy in. I have not coached a kid with more passion for the game of basketball. He has a tremendous work ethic. He spends hours and hours on his craft. Basketball is his social life, and that's why he has been able to put himself in this position."

It'll be fascinating to see how this decision works out. Michigan passed on Nevada's Cole Huff when it looked for all the world like he would end up transferring in and seem ready to shut down 2015 recruiting entirely with Robinson in the fold. All Hail Infallible Beilein, of course, but 6'8" two-guards shooting 45% from three do not grow on trees.

Almost ready to shut down 2015 recruiting. 6'6" combo guard PJ Dozier just announced a top five and a plan to visit Michigan this fall, and if he has been shut out by the Robinson commitment he is not aware of this fact:

“Some people will say I like this school because they’re this type of school and I’ve watched them forever. But P.J. is selecting a school that is the correct way in what is going to be the best program and the best fit for him so Michigan is definitely a strong, strong possibility.”

Michigan does have a spot in the 2015 class, and if a guy on Dozier's level—#31 on the composite—wants to take it you probably let him even if it removes the possibility you get a similarly-ranked 2016 guy.

Well yeah. Listen to this man, he is a wizard.

"It's no longer about education," Snyder said. "We've sold out to the cameras over there, and TV has made its way, and I don't fault TV. I don't fault whoever broadcasts games. They have to make a living and that's what they do, but athletics -- that's it. It's sold out."

I am skeptical it was ever really about education but yes probably more so than now; "sold out" is correct.

I would be okay with this. Stunningly, a plurality of coaches in the Power 5 support doing away with cupcakes entirely:

Of the 65 Power Five coaches from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and Notre Dame, 46 percent (30 coaches) favored playing exclusively Power Five opponents while 35 percent (23 coaches) were opposed. About 18.5 percent (12 coaches) were undecided.

"About 18.5." Significant digits, man.

Anyway, they did away with the requirement that you have to win six games to go to a bowl, significantly greasing the skids towards a "yes" vote. Pac-12 coaches were the most gung-ho in favor, with only Rich Rodriguez opposed; the ACC was the only conference where more coaches were opposed to the idea than in favor; The Big Ten split down the middle. Hoke was not quoted but was listed as in favor.

Joe Dumars' last transaction. Brendan Quinn notes that the DRIII transfer saga was kicked off by none other than Joe Dumars's firing:

After the Pistons fired general manager Joe Dumars in mid-April, a six-week search for his replacement finally landed on Marist College head coach Jeff Bower.

Bower accepted the position, vaulting from a low-major college coach to an NBA GM.

That left Marist scrambling for a new coach as the summer churned toward key recruiting periods. The coaching search in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., ultimately landed on Mike Maker, a 48-year-old who had led tiny Williams College to a 147-32 record and two national championship game appearances in six years.

With Maker gone, Robinson started looking around. May this transaction be more in the 'Sheed department instead of the "everything after the Billups trade oh and also the Billups trade" department.

Etc.: Thanks, Landon. Autonomy passes. No one knows what that means yet. Impact figures to be minimal in basketball. Scrimmage details. You have to register, because you need to be bombarded by emails. The NFL is suddenly open.

USA Today previews Michigan. Scouting Caris. YOU WRE-E-E-CKED ME.

Dear Diary Is Still Laughing at 2012 Duke

Dear Diary Is Still Laughing at 2012 Duke

Submitted by Seth on March 21st, 2014 at 11:08 AM

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jonvalk's Wallpaperpalooza (1/4)

Things in the Past. There were some great diaries that would have been required reading if this was yesterday. Paps previewed Wofford (this you saw on the front page), Erik_in_Dayton tackled the history of 15 seeds upsetting two seeds; it's happened seven times since 1991. That may be more fun to visit now that the danger is passed, if only to relive 2012 Duke.

The game was played only 55 miles from Duke’s campus, but it was also the site of the first round game for UNC.  Tar Heel fans gladly joined in rooting for the Mountain Hawks.

Oh man, Duke. That was two years ago. Is it still acceptable to laugh about it?

It is considered acceptable to still laugh about this game.  

Lol Duke.

Speaking of way-back, remember the Big Ten Tournament? LSA has stats on that.

Meanwhile MGoBlueline put a ton of effort into reintroducing the hockey team for the Big Ten Tourney and then who-knows in the plinko playoff system. But those guys lost to Penn State in double-OT (finishing 2-3 on the year against the hockey equivalent of our lacrosse team) and will need to be lucky to earn a tourney bid. There were plenty of things to go wrong, including really bad turnovers and the now-requisite game-winner that almost went in but didn't.

The hockey guys (Brian, Center Ice and Blueline) will cover the most unsurprising upset ever in more detail, but there was one thing that infuriated me all game, and that was Penn State's defensemen were pinching despite being rather bad backwards skaters, and only a few times did Michigan challenge this by speeding through the neutral zone. When they did move up-ice with any kind of urgency in the 3rd period, DeBlois and Nieves split defenders and got off great scoring opportunities.

Since we're now left watching tourneys and hoping the unworthy don't steal autobids, here's a handy graphic of the tournaments.

Things in the Future or Never. Interesting, quickly consumed diary by saveferris looks at the history of 1-4 seeds in the NCAA tournament. Survey says:

  Semi-Finals   Finals
Seed W L Pct.   W L Pct
1 27 20 57.40%   18 9 66.70%
2 12 13 48.00%   4 8 33.30%
3 9 5 64.30%   4 5 44.40%
4 3 10 23.10%   1 2 33.30%

I just stole his lede here, so I'll tell you that there's a Burke gif at the top if you take the link. My guess is the closer seeds are to each other the more this will look like 50-50, i.e. the reason two-seeds won just 4 of 12 Finals games since 1985 is only 12 two-seeds have made the Finals.

sierralawrence
The other Sierra (soph. OF Sierra Lawrence) has a .462 OBP going into Big Ten play.

And Softball. I could probably say this about the softball team most years, but I really really mean it this year: pay attention because they're on a new level of awesome fun awesome. They've carried a 19-6 record so far through an epic brutal schedule. South Bend Wolverine provided the update as the team is (finally) going into Big Ten play.

Thing to Know 1: Pitching is huge in softball; one great one will put a team in the Top 25. Michigan has three(!) such towers. I'll stop comparing junior Haylie Wagner to Verlander because her 0.93 ERA/13-0 record is more like Walter Johnson. Freshman sensation Megan Betsa has 63 strikeouts in 49 innings. Something's been off with junior Sara Driesenga, who was All-Big Ten both previous seasons, and picked up the slack last year when Wagner was out. If Sara returns to form the pitching is just going to be unfair.

Thing to Know 2: Star shortstop Sierra Romero's looks like Miguel Cabrera at the bat and in the field; in the comments Hail to the Blue points out her glove is fine but her arm's been erratic.

[Jump for Best of the Board]

Dear Diary Has Somebody Out There Giving Us a Bad Name

Dear Diary Has Somebody Out There Giving Us a Bad Name

Submitted by Seth on February 28th, 2014 at 10:14 AM

12722979453_b67b342805_b

We believe the guy with the fake mullet managed to convince him it is, while acknowledging the recently greater popularity of Freesia. [Fuller]

Molecules of competitiveness. I don't get all of the WWE references in the Best and Worst columns. For example, would this qualify as a bodyslam or a chair to the face:

MSU hit a school record 17 3 pointers against Purdue, including 6 by Gary Harris. In their losses to Nebraska and UM, they hit 14 total out of 47, with Harris going 5 of 20. Apparently, those wrists, shoulders, and ankles were fine on Thursday but that long bus ride between East Lansing and Ann Arbor jostled all the bones out of sorts again.

Chair to the face I'm guessing, since most of the momentum was generated by Izzo's bouncing off the ropes, and bronxblue just put a hard object in the way. Either way it's pretty entertaining.

101609_SPT_U-M Madness_MRM_
Scientists think Morgan and Morris may have cohabitated in ancient Crisler, and may have even interacted.

Creationists claim Jordan Morgan is less than 4,000 years old. The debate rages as ClearEyesFullHeart presented evidence that a Jordan Morgan-like creature was living in Crisler back when it was still called an arena. What appeared to be advice to competitors was found on cuneiform tablets that match Morgan's particular type of swagger. CEFH also suggested that J-Mo-anthropus may have domesticated dogs, and participated in battles against the ancient Greeks.

How bad can we make it? There is a singularly small type of person who sees a sexual assault expulsion and jumps for joy for the hammer with which he can pound a sports rival program on internet message boards. All fanbases have them, all fanbases are embarrassed by them. The best way to manage them is if the thought leaders, i.e. the journalists, maintain a high level of integrity and investigation, focusing on facts, providing context, and discouraging over-speculation. Good journalism is a thousand times better than good P.R.

If you're wondering why it's Sparties, of all roaches, doing most of the scuttling, it's because their media are 30% trolls themselves, 60% too biased to consider fighting the trolls, and the remainder aren't trying all that hard. I removed, at last count 13, fight-back threads this and last week, because there's nothing to be gained by criticizing the journalistic integrity of Mike Valenti or Graham Couch or Eric Thomas, etc. There's a certain type of person you just remove from the message board; if somebody's given him a broadsheet or a highly trafficked url or a 15,000-watt microphone instead, roll your eyes and ignore it.

The least we could hope for is for those without a dog in the fight to not be lazy with the publically available facts. Like how FERPA works (BiSB's fisk of MLive's attempt to get in on the Daily's glory).troll Or that the Ed Dept.'s involvement began when they used Title IX to tell the university to institute the policy they're reviewing, not last week, and that at last count 24 universities' policies were under investigation, with two more completed and seven more have had recent controversies. Or that a few minutes on the chief complainant's blog raises obvious credibility concerns that he should have to address when interviewed.

The Daily has continued to produce the best reporting on the subject, while the Detroit papers, SI, Huffington Post (to their credit they at least edited their article at the end with suggested corrections), and now Mlive have, while trying to play catch-up on the students, been caught biting at the chum of shock value while burying or ignoring the easy context. Prediction: in 10 years half of the metro-Detroit media will be replaced by former Dailyites and bloggers. Most of those who haven't will cater to Michigan State fans, because roaches are survivors.

Etc. Michigan is 98% to hang a banner. Ron Utah says the position changes are a Hail Mary and this inspires…confidence? Six of eight is a narrative-beater. DCAlum provided his eyewitness account of the MSU lining up fiasco. Goal-by-goal vs. Minnesota was too depressing for me to even read this week. LSA columns on win probability and home versus away stats.

[Jump for the best of the board, and the title reference]

Mailbag: Play It Cool, New Banner, Shane Starting Soon, Lochdoggin' It

Mailbag: Play It Cool, New Banner, Shane Starting Soon, Lochdoggin' It

Submitted by Brian on September 11th, 2012 at 1:50 PM

L_Natalie_Portman_071[1]

play it cool

The professional approach to replays.

Hey Brian,

After watching Michigan slowly walk to the line after the Gardner not-a-catch-not-a-3rd down conversion on Saturday, I screamed at the tv for Michigan to snap the ball and run a play before the official reviewed the play.  My question is why don't coaches have a set of 3-4 plays that they  have their team run whenever they think a big play might be overturned? In this case, even a quick QB sneak that burns a play and starting over at 2nd and 10 is better than punting the ball back to Air Force.  I feel similarly after teams have long passes that change field position or off a turnover.

I was wondering if numbers and percentages support this theory,and if there are coaches (potentially including Hoke) who may have this package of plays already installed.

Go Blue,
Brooks

I have heard your frustrations many times and seen teams hurry to the line after a questionable decision almost as frequently. And it never works. When a team hurries to the line in an attempt to defuse the replay threat, the replay guy stops watching the Golf Channel, gets incensed, and always calls down for a review. Always. Without fail.

It's like running away from a crime scene. It's a rookie move. Would that French dude from The Professional hurry to the line? No. He would play it cool, man. He's got all the time in the world.

In re: having a set of quick plays after a turnover or big change in field position, clearly some teams put an emphasis on that sort of thing. We just saw Air Force go up-tempo whenever they'd pick up 10 or 15 yards. That approach isn't free, though. Michigan is emphasizing other stuff.

New banner.

I noticed this live but immediately forgot about it:

Not sure if you noticed or not, but we finally got the new M Banner out for Air Force.  It's been a 3 year project.  We've made 3 different banners for various reasons, and it finally was approved and used for Air Force. 

It looked great.  With the "maize" much closer to the actual maize and much more matching the uniforms.

mgoblue-banner_250Screen Shot 2012-09-09 at 5.59.33 PM

Here are a couple pictures: The 'orangeish' picture I took from the MGoBlue website.  The 'maize' picture, I took from the front page of MGoBlog. (Eric's slide show.)

Just wanted to close the loop on this god awful long project.  (there was still a problem with the poles, so hopefully that will get handled by UMass)

-Neal

(This will come up because it always comes up: photos make things different colors. Look at the contrast between the banner and the pants in both photos to confirm a very real difference.)

Man. I'm in the cap that thinks maize is not bright-bright yellow, and I'd heard the AD also thought this and was going to move more towards the orangeish yellow color that I thought was the real maize. It's the difference between burnt orange (understated) and Tennessee's goin'-huntin' orange (HEY GUYS I'M ORANGE). I guess that scuppers that. Maize is blinding now. C'est la vie.

Shane starts?

Brian,

I wrote you earlier this summer about whether Shane Morris would be down for a redshirt next year, to which you said, “yeah”.  Well, two games into this season and seeing how the Denard/Borges fusion cuisine is coming, and seeing how Devin Gardner is progressing as a WR, is causing me to rethink that for 2013.  There are a couple things I think Hoke and Borges are concluding right now: 1) DG will not get that fifth year from the NCAA in 2014; 2) they’ve seen enough of DG at QB to think that he won’t work out as a starter in their system in 2013; 3) they are willing to roll the dice with a freshman Morris starting at QB next year, throwing to a mini-Megatron in Devin Gardner (who will still be the #2 QB).   Like I said, three things.

I know the 2012 season has hardly started, but I get the feeling DG’s move to WR is permanent even if he doesn’t know it yet.  I see Borges thinking he’s done with this transition as soon as Denard ends this season and Shane gives him the best bet to do that, potential magical 2017 season be damned.  What do you think?

Pete-rock

I think there's a possibility things work out like you suggest, but not a strong one. Michigan is planning on moving Gardner back to quarterback after the year is over, something that will presumably last through the spring. If Gardner gets beat out, then and only then will he move back. And even then you've got Russell Bellomy with not one but two years of experience under his belt in front of Morris. It's a tall order for any true freshman to beat out experienced scholarship guys in front of him, and Morris seems like a pretty raw kid when it comes to reading coverages since most of his time in high school is spent running for his life.

Let's not do the freshman QB thing. I don't like that thing. If Gardner is Braylon 2.0 the rest of this year, okay maybe. Long way to go on that project.

I do agree that next year you'll see the offense flip into what it's going to be going forward even if Gardner wins the job. The OL will be shifting into more of a manball mode, they'll have plenty of tight ends, and they'll have a collection of strapping downfield targets at WR. The spread is dead at Michigan after this year.

Neutral sites are lame, according to the best announce guys ever.

I know you're a fan of McDonough and Spielman and thought I'd reinforce that.  They're calling the USC "@" Syracuse game from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and have spent a good portion of the 4th quarter talking about how much better this game would be for Syracuse if they were playing it in the Carrier Dome in terms of recruiting and rewarding their fans who have suffered through some lean times and now are starting to get a half decent team again (they're hanging in pretty well, if they could cover a punt they could maybe have a chance).  But instead of having a top five team at home, they have to drive five hours for some ridiculous overpriced tickets.

So kudos to McDonough and Spielman.

Also: the Big Ten sucks, ye gods.

Yes. My thinking flipped on the Alabama game when the ticket prices were announced. At a minimum they were 60% higher than Michigan tickets, and I'd bet the average price was double. A lot of those cost 250 bucks. They had no problem selling those tickets at those prices, so why not move that to a home and home where you get 20k more people in the stadium and aren't cutting Jerry Jones in on the profits?

I don't get the neutral site thing at all. You built your stadium for a reason. Use it. If it's a UConn thing where the stadium they built is actually smaller than the big-game venue, I guess I get that, but even so I'd rather Michigan plays at Rentschler than Yet Another Identical NFL Stadium. That doesn't wow my experience. The opportunity to visit Tuscaloosa for a game does.

In re: Big Ten. Seriously.

A thousand words on branding.

Attached - taken in section 25 before yesterday's Air Force game.

Denard-jerseys-pic

I'm a staunch believer in Brandon but had to admit that this looked ridiculous.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but L to R: 2010-11 away, [some woman], 2012 Sugar Bowl, 2011 UTL, 2012 Cowboys Classic.

"Chief marketing officers and Hunter [Lochmann]’s job description would include building the brand, which is very much about the presentation and the image of the 'Block-M.'  How do we enhance it, how do we expand it, how do we make sure that the image of that brand is consistent with what we want that image to be, how do we present that brand in the most positive light possible?  And this has everything to do with how the brand appears when it's being used — from the uniforms we wear, the branding of our facilities, the branding of our materials, a lot of classic brand management kinds of responsibilities."  - D. Brandon, 4/5/11 (link)

Keep up the good work and Go Blue,

Chris
North Olmsted, OH

At least they're making a tiny amount of extra revenue from those—under a million from the UTL jerseys and who knows how much of that was cannibalized from regular sales—that they're spending on people in the athletic department who plan ways to get incremental revenue so they can hire more people to acquire incremental revenue. Also, the man Michigan hired to build the brand has the twitter handle "Lochdog715." Lochdog should use some of that incremental revenue to polish up his personal brand.

Lochdog. Holy pickles.

On Maize, And Also On Blue A Little

On Maize, And Also On Blue A Little

Submitted by Brian on March 8th, 2012 at 12:51 PM

A while back I posted on an athletic department initiative to reclaim maize from the vast sea of generic (and increasingly bright) yellow that has slowly enveloped everything from t-shirts to the uniforms themselves.

This is the part where very serious people leap in to note the effects of lighting, your monitor, your mood, and your brain on your perception of color. When I asked for an official RGB conversion of the pantone colors the University recognizes as official to deploy here, helpful users came up with a hilariously diverse gamut of possibilities.

Pantonedischord[1]

In response to this I threw up my hands and didn't change anything, because it's not like there's a right answer. The one useful thing we can draw from this is that all of these shades are darker than than the current deployments in basketball and football:

UM_MSU_Gordon-thumb-300x451-91668[1]013011_SPT_UM vs IOWA_MRM

Gordon chosen for maximum soul-offensiveness; I was at that game and that seems like an accurate reproduction. Hardaway uniform an approximate median from the first couple pages of Google Image Search.

Insert usual disclaimers about pictures—the famous Desmond Howard picture I brought out for the original post is almost orange because of things not related to the actual uniform color—but I've been there in person, I've scanned the student section and had the lack of pop from an actually-maize shirt pop out at me: this is correct insofar as these things can be correct.

Argh.

We're never going to get anywhere doing this. I'd like to put aside the hard science of color and play a little feelingsball, if we can. Here's an email I received a couple weeks back after a guy tweeted at me about the differences between the Crisler floor (a darker shade I associate more strongly with maize) and the team's uniforms (YELLOW YELLOW YELLOW):

Brian,

I saw your RT of some guy's tweet referencing the "maize" on the Crisler Center's floor and the "highlighter yellow" of the bball uniforms.  I fall more on the highlighter side of the argument, as I remember as a kid watching teams in the late 70's and early 80's crushing opponents with maize pants that were far closer to the highlighter than the Crisler M border that reminds me of the maize used by t-shirt street vendors.
Bored, I dug around and found this article from 1996. Interesting read, but it seems that the author concludes that the maize we see in the uniform is closer to the 1912 approved colors than the border around the M.  The last two pics are interesting in that the one on the right:

photo of athletic colors

looks more like the bball floor than the approved:

photo of 1912 colors that U-M now recognizes as official

Love the blog.

Regards,

And now the background color of block quotes is really bothering me. We must forge on.

Here is the feelingsball: that strip on the bottom is wrong. It's Second-Great-Awakening-preacher wraoooong, at least as far as athletic teams are concerned. In other contexts I'm sure it's fine. If a Michigan team came out in a blue that light, though, there would be a riot. It would be a genteel Earl Grey kind of riot in which people hop on the internet to demand the email address of Dave Brandon, but it would be a riot nonetheless. I question the validity of applying the yellow from the official colors when the blue is clearly not right.

I bring it up because I've gotten a moderate amount of pushback on the idea that Michigan's current yellow is bad and ahistoric and should be hit with a shovel and buried in an Iowa cornfield. Like the guy above there's a group of Michigan fans out there that sees the lighter shade as the right one. I think they're in the minority, but they exist.

I'm with the darker shades mostly because I find them more aesthetically appealing. They're also more distinct and remind me less of the Seattle Sounders's increasingly neon kits.

Even if you're on the other side of the divide, we can all agree that this

numberdecals_thumb[1]

…is not good. Those are the actual helmet decals Michigan used this year compared to an actual Michigan helmet. MVictors acquired them from Helmet Hut, the manufacturer Michigan uses, and reports that Helmet Hut does have colors that match the helmet but Michigan wanted the darker shade.

Dave Brandon's all about uniformity of branding. This aggression will not stand, and on the thing Michigan could change immediately they went with a darker, maiz-ier color. That's the direction we're headed. When Michigan isn't wearing their commemorative flamenco-inspired jerseys against Notre Dame or their special Save the Marsupials outfits for the Big Ten opener, Michigan will take the field against a MAC team looking more like Rick Leach is piloting things. In this, we can take comfort.

SEE ALSO: Maize 'n' Blue Nation.