This Week's Obsession: A Moment in Endzone

This Week's Obsession: A Moment in Endzone

Submitted by Seth on September 23rd, 2015 at 12:03 PM

The Question:

Now that we have all read it, what for you was the most jaw-dropping moment of Brandon's Lasting Lessons?

The Warning:

We're going to spoiler this. If you haven't read it yet you should go do that.

The Responses:

Brian: There are many jaw-dropping things. The whole book is cause to walk around Ann Arbor drooling, from Lochdogg's inability to parse data to Brandon cutting down the nets to all of the infinite firings. But I was most stunned by this:

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Also the ellipsis.

That's the welcome plaque outside Brandon's house. It is quite something, and then you get to "the Brandon's." WHO DOESN'T CHECK A PLAQUE THAT IS GOING ON THEIR HOUSE CALLED "HAPPILY EVER AFTER"?! Even leaving aside the crazy rich person vibe the whole thing gives off, this is one metal object that Brandon clearly intends for generations to come and marvel at, and it isn't even proofread. Says somethin' about somethin', that.

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Seth: It has to be "Firing Fridays," and the massive turnover inside the athletic department. Throw a football down Granger and chances are it will be caught by someone sitting on the porch of a modest home with an "M" flag. That person probably had many opportunities through the years to take a job somewhere else that would afford a far larger and newer home, probably with a big yard and PVC pipes. So many of these people were pushed out, scared off, or straight-up let go that I even know a few of them.

In some cases, e.g. football coach, directing a money cannon at a proven professional is warranted. But Brandon took this to an extreme, bringing in two six-figure outsiders to replace every longtime $45k family member, then firing the family on the flimsiest of pretenses—often just voicing disagreement with Brandon—at such a rate that "Firing Fridays" was a thing. In a few short years those remnants from the Canham-Schembechler-Martin department were surrounded by a certain archetype of in-it-for-the-money young professional who knows nobody in town, owes everything to Dave Brandon, and knows little about college athletics except not to disagree with the boss.

Reading the quotes from former marketing and event presentation director Ryan Duey was the point when I got so angry at Brandon that even after getting up and stomping around the house for 20 minutes I had to get up and stomp around again like one sentence later. My page 297 is smudged and stained and has water wrinkles because it took me a day and multiple rooms to get through without throwing a tantrum in front of the kid.

The damage from that is irreparable. The people Brandon brought in are hardly worthless—they earned that payday by being excellent at what they do—but it will take 30 or 50 years for the kind of community and institutional knowledge Michigan used to have to grow back. Even talking about it now—three times in writing this response I've had to put down the keyboard and take a stomping tour around the living room. In fact here comes the fourth.

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[After the jump: you may want to make sure there's nothing throwable in reach]

UNVERIFIED VORACITY IS ALL CAPS

UNVERIFIED VORACITY IS ALL CAPS

Submitted by Brian on July 28th, 2014 at 11:05 AM

FIRE EVERYONE! Naw man this ain't relevant to your interests. I but I mean cumong man.

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Cumong woman, I guess. Either way, y'all shouldn't have laid off the common sense editor a couple years back. "Picks Barbour" instead of "Selects Woman" would have fit and passed the "will people be irate on twitter about this?" test.

I WILL LAY A PATH OF DESTRUCTION ACROSS THE LAND. CBS Sports scouts Michigan's upcoming team for the next NFL draft, starting with one Devin Funchess:

He has excellent initial burst off the line to get vertical in a hurry with long, full strides, flashing flexible and easy movement skills rare for a player his size. Funchess tracks well with smooth body control to make natural adjustments on the ball, but has WAY too many drops on his resume and needs to improve his reliability and finishing ability through the catch point. The effort is there for him as a blocker, but his technique needs work as he's often caught off guard with his blocking assignments. Funchess is a mismatch nightmare against linebackers and smaller defensive backs and with improved consistency, he has all the makings of a future first round pick, reminiscent of a younger Jermichael Finley at Texas.

I'm not entirely sure the effort is there as a blocker after watching him opposite Jeremy Gallon, but he should be at least adequate as a wide option. The drops were a bit unfortunate but he's not in the Braylon category, at least not yet, and his ability to reach up and pluck things out of the air with one hand gives him a circus catch upside that few players have.

Also featured are Ryan ("possible top-50 draft pick"), Clark ("One of the more underrated pass rushers for the 2015 class"), Gardner("upper and lower body mechanics are a mess and he often releases while off-balance," thanks Mr. Borges and your hatred of QB coaches), and various others. Special nod to Raymon Taylor for being average at everything:

His size, speed and strength are all considered average, but he has the competitive mentality and awareness needed for the position.

The center of the bell curve, that Raymon Taylor.

OKAY YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION. Patrick Beilein is doing something his old man never did: becoming an assistant coach.

Patrick Beilein is leaving West Virginia Wesleyan to take a job on coach Quin Snyder's staff with the Utah Jazz, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

That is a 29-year-old NBA assistant coach whose dad is John Beilein, just kinda hanging out. At this point it would be an upset if LaVall Jordan didn't get the job when it is time for Beilein to hang it up, but things change and it's nice to have attractive options.

Meanwhile: wait, Quin Snyder is now an NBA coach? Specifically Trey Burke's NBA coach? When do I get a job?

WELL THAT SEEMS REASONABLE. THIS PROBABLY SHOULDN'T BE ALL CAPS. Michigan picked third the East in a poll of 29 media voters that somehow came up with 33 first place votes:

Big Ten East

1. Ohio State, 195 points (23 first-place votes)
2. Michigan State, 180 points (10)
3. Michigan, 136 points
4. Penn State, 105.5 points
5. Maryland, 84 points
6. Indiana, 78.5 points
7. Rutgers, 33 points

That is zero votes that have anything other than Rutgers dead last.

I AM TERRIBLY OLD AND HAVE CHOSEN POORLY. Defensman Kenny Johnson, who I remember wandering around Yost as, like, a zero-year-old, has committed to Michigan. Kenny is of course Jack Johnson's little brother. 

“It wasn’t very hard to make a choice, I’ve always wanted to go there since I was a little kid,” the ’98 birth-year defenseman said. “I went to every game of my brother’s, I was always running around the rink. I guess the hardest part was making the call and going to do it because I couldn’t believe it was real.”

I in fact remember a nine-or-ten year old Kenny wearing a "JMFJ" shirt at the Joe during Jack's sophomore year. I hoped he had no idea why he was wearing that shirt. Now he's KMFJ, which is an amazing abbreviation right there.

Kenny isn't the incredible prospect his brother was—he's more of a stay-at-home guy—but he's no slouch.

While we're talking about hockey recruiting, further evidence that recent commit Mike Pastujov is currently a big deal comes from the recent U15 select camp at which he was named the best forward:

1. Michael Pastujov (#11 Black) 6-0/186 Honeybaked U16 (Michigan) - A strong and powerful skater who committed to the Wolverines along with his brother Nick, a '98, less than a week after the camp ended. He's a flight risk to the OHL, but he's a strong skater who drives the net well. He made plays happen from all over the ice, really dishes the puck well to his linemates and he wins one-on-one battles. He's a complete package offensively.

When you're so far away from matriculating these evaluations are shaky, but there's no better place to start than from the top.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE A TRIP TO BIG RAPIDS. Hockey's released their schedule and it is bizarre. They go to Ferris State to open the season—like before the Canadian exhibition game—and then they have a brutal nonconference road schedule after that test: Lowell, BU, BC, two against Tech. They do get UNH at Yost for what should be an entertaining series.

Unfortunately they again do that bit where they have a ton of home games during the meat of the football schedule and then a massive gap when people really want to go to hockey games. Michigan will go 41 days between home games after a home series against Minnesota on January 10th. The TBA MSU games will be at Munn and the Joe, so the next time you'll have a ticket at Yost is February 21st.

Meanwhile four straight weeks from Friday November 14th to December 5th feature Michigan hockey, and that's after another month-long break, one that features a bye week November 6th and 7th. The planning is not so good. This is the second straight year the second half of the home schedule has been really sparse.

The other thing of note is that there's a bunch of games with "possible" next to them as the Big Ten moves towards Sunday games in an effort to get more of them on the BTN. Hopefully they get that settled before tickets are issued. Moving a game time is one thing; moving entire days is not reasonable.

ENGULFED BY BLACKNESS. A sixth grade girl was at Michigan's football camp, which I guess is cute.

The Detroit News:

Ann Arbor hasn’t seen a burst of speed like this since Denard Robinson wore the Maize and Blue

Ha ha! That's not true.

[reminds self of last year's running game]

Blackness is everything.

[exits slowly]

[fades to nothing made of sadness]

[Death Cab For Cutie writes song about this experience]

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ENTER THE LUMBERG. Man Dave Brandon I really don't want to talk about you constantly but then you're just like

Organizations that have a strong and healthy culture make sure the guiding principles and aspirational vision are integrated into everything that is done -- hiring decisions, communication, recognition, celebration, and the way they create positive energy.

and I'm just like why don't you speak English like a human does and then you're just like

To further our guiding principle of being a "great place to work," an important -- and descriptive -- Smile Committee was created. The committee's job is to draw on the skills and interests of a broad cross-section of the U-M Athletic Department to create activities of fun and importance.

and I'm just like oh that's because you ceased being a part of our species some time ago and you're now homo executivus. Which is fine and all that but I'm just saying that I would go watch RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE EXECUTIVES in a hot second.

"War or war-related activities integral to our aspirational vision… has or have, depending on which antecedent you prefer in the previous phrase, and by "has or have" I mean 'is occurring in a timeframe consistent with that commonly referred to as "now"'… been initiated after consulting with a diverse array of focus groups, consultants, and best-in-class operational specialists including but not limited to—"

/executive shot in face

That's Oscar stuff right there. Hollywood, get on it.

I mean.

To further our guiding principle of being a "great place to work"

I'M ON THE COMMITTEE FORMING COMMITTEE. Instead of just working with the student government, which did great work surveying students and getting the athletic department to change their seating policy to something they would actually enjoy—#MikeProppeforAD—the athletic department is assembling a student advisory committee. We'll see how that works out; I am skeptical it'll be anything nearly as useful as what the unconnected student government managed last year.

Michigan is also confident they'll get past the 100k attendance number, because they just make those up anyway.

"(Some numbers may) potentially be lower than normal in the past, sure," Lochmann said. "I know there's a lot of eyeballs talking about the 100,000 -- we're not going to go below 100,000."

There could be no one in the stadium except the teams and they would announce 102,309. Ask anyone who was at the '95 Purdue doom-weather game if there were 100k in attendance.

Etc.: Stephen A Smith is just in charge of saying things for no reason. Ray Rice's suspension is ridiculous. Terrell Pryor got five games for tatgate! Rice got two for knocking his wife unconscious. Okay.

In lighter news, Detnews really excited about Alex Cook's tweetin'. Bacon on fireworks fireworks. It's probably not a coincidence that right after fireworks fireworks, Brandon gave an interview to Wojo.

ATTENTION TENNESSEE BIGS: stay away from Rome.

Unverified Voracity Has Legal Arguments

Unverified Voracity Has Legal Arguments

Submitted by Brian on June 10th, 2014 at 11:19 AM

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so so fast

Not so fast. Incoming transfer Ty Isaac wants to play next year, and has at least some sort of case to do so. Is it enough? While we are talking about an insane organization that could do anything, the consensus is probably not.

"(The family health issue) has to be a debilitating injury," said John Infante, a former NCAA compliance officer who operates the popular "Bylaw Blog" for AthNet. "It doesn't have to be life-threatening, necessarily, but it would have to be something that prevented her from working or getting around, if it's a surgery for hearing loss, I'm not sure if that'll qualify, but it might."

And then the 100-mile thing kicks in. If Isaac was 109 miles away, you could probably fudge the difference. Michigan's distance from Peoria might be problematic.

From Michigan's perspective, moving Isaac a year behind Smith and Green is better for roster balance… but not so good for this year, when offensive production is critical for the perception of the program.

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O'Bannoning. The O'Bannon trial kicked off yesterday, and there were highlights. The NCAA wanted O'Bannon to know that a man he respected thought college athletes should not be paid.

It was determined that Noted Legal Scholar Bill Walton has a legally binding opinion and the case ended 15 minutes later with a comprehensive NCAA victory. : (

In case the previous sentence is not true, you may want to read about the issues addressed on day one of the trial. The NCAA is trying to show that the college experience is worth something, which I guess sure it is. How that relates to publicity rights and the law is… well, there's a reason Bill Walton is getting brought up.

In related news, the NCAA blinks in the Keller case, settling that for 20 million. They have again asserted that current student-athletes who receive a check for their likeness will not have their eligibility compromised, because that's ridiculous. As long as compensation for your likeness is mandated by a court after the fact, you can profit off of it.

"In no event do we consider this settlement pay for athletics performance."

It's just getting paid for something without having to sue they have problems with. Delightfully, the NCAA is going to try to argue that there is no market for college athlete's images after settling two lawsuits in which 60 million dollars have been issued in compensation for those images. Oh, and EA says they would have paid if they could have.

Also a prime NCAA argument: the ban on compensation is required for a level playing f

“If you’ve got a $6 million athletic budget, you shouldn’t be worrying about what I do,” [Washington president Michael] Young contends. “You’re never going to compete with us. We don’t recruit the same players. We don’t even play on the same field. It just doesn’t matter.”

Hm.

A potential factor. The student section is collapsing this year, and MLive has a potential reason why. Prices:

Ohio State -- $252 for 7 games
Penn State -- $218 for 7 games
Wisconsin -- $188 for 7 games
Iowa -- $175 for 7 games, $165 with future alumni group discount
Michigan State -- $175 for 7 games
Nebraska -- $166 for 7 games
Purdue -- $119 for 7 games
Illinois -- $99 for 7 games
Rutgers -- $99 for 6 games
Minnesota -- $90 for 7 games
Indiana -- $60 for 6 games
Maryland and Northwestern -- tickets free with full tuition and student fee payment

Michigan's is 50 bucks more than Ohio State; unlike Ohio State, Michigan is barely above .500 since 2007. And Ohio State has a big game or two on the schedule. Once again, Michael Proppe sounds like the adult:

"We did a survey for students while we were researching the general admission policy, we told them 'assume the price stayed the same, here's the schedule for next year, even if we went back to reserved seating, how many would renew their tickets?' I think it was about 68 percent who said they'd renew.

"(The drop) was pretty predictable, actually, even with going back to a more attractive ticket policy that a lot of people would drop their seats."

And about 68% renewed. It's kind of amazing that it's the student government that had to survey the students.

Brandon:

"What we want is the students who buy tickets to show up," Brandon said. "If what we've done is lost some of the students that really weren't interested in attending, if you're looking at the projected reduction in tickets, that's almost the equivalent of the no-show average we had (last year)."

The no-show rate is not going to go down much, as the kind of people who no-show games aren't the ones for whom three hundred bucks is kind of a big deal. Michael Proppe for athletic director.

Everybody into the pile. I thought Michigan's hockey roster was going to be crowded this fall. Now it's going to be jammed. Michigan picked up a commitment from Ann Arbor native Niko Porikos a couple days back. Porikos is a '93, which means he'll arrive at 21. Generally this is a sign of a gentleman who is destined to be a healthy scratch for most of his career, and… well, yeah, probably.

In Porikos's favor, defensemen do take time to develop, and given the state of the roster it's not like they need a guy to be a practice body.

Michigan has seven defensemen on the roster, plus incoming freshmen Sam Piazza and Cutler Martin. Porikos is number ten…

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

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Zach Werenski and what appears to be a Swedish ten-year old

Michigan has not quite acquired a commitment from U17 defenseman Zach Werenski. Poke a guy on twitter, or especially Mike Spath—who was way out ahead of the story but has to be careful for the same reasons Sam Webb does—and he'll say Werenski is going to be in Ann Arbor. They'll generally do this with an "ugh" because Werenski is kind of a big deal, a potential top ten draft pick, and they are Boston College fans who thought they were going to get him.

The thing is: he's a potential top ten draft pick in 2015, and Werenski is probably going to be playing for Michigan this fall. IE: dude is skipping his senior year of high school. Thus the "eh, maybe" aspect of this whole thing, where Spath drops hints for months and all the news comes from the BC side of things.

Adding Werenski would put Michigan at a whopping 11 defensemen, and while a few of them are not real threats to play (Spencer Hyman redshirted last year; Mike Szuma didn't get a game after playing most of his freshman year), I thought there was some Title IX-related reason that Michigan couldn't have a really big roster. Maybe not? Title IX compliance comes down to a court saying you are or are not, because the law is written pretty vaguely.

While we're on next year's hockey team, Dylan Larkin is ranked ninth by HockeyProspect.com. That's the highest I've seen, and while he's more likely to go in the 20s than the top ten it does seem at this point that he's likely to go in the first round unlike some of Michigan's recent projected first rounders (Compher, Merrill).

So it's come to this. I assume that Erin Lennon of the Daily has not been around too long, so let me gently suggest that this

…expect Porikos and Michigan’s underclassmen to play key roles in coach Red Berenson’s defensive-minded system.

…is more a product of sad circumstance than intent, and that if you insist on claiming that Red Berenson is some sort of trap aficionado I will become desolately sad.

It was football. Someone remind me next year when the European American Football Championships are on, because when Germany and Austria face off you get reverse passes and squat kickers doing the Manziel:

Turns out the Germans and the Austrians have some bad blood here, and that's all you really need.

Etc.: Graham Glasgow was driving a merry car indeed. The NCAA hasn't even bothered to investigate North Carolina. The NCAA would probably prefer it if Washington's president would stop saying things. Mathlete's Lego stadiums make Yahoo.

Sonny Vaccaro's long feud with the NCAA is culminating in the O'Bannon case. EVEN MORE O'BANNON. Stauskas preps for the draft. This headline sounds inflammatory but it's really not.