Deep In The Night I Heard The Pealing Of Bells

Deep In The Night I Heard The Pealing Of Bells

Submitted by Brian on October 12th, 2015 at 12:24 PM

10/10/2015 – Michigan 38, Northwestern 0 – 5-1, 2-0 Big Ten

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[Bryan Fuller]

It was one fan, maybe two or three, in the south endzone. He or she or they wrote themselves into a corner of Michigan lore with one of the simplest chants in sports. It's the one that gets deconstructed into the letter D and the outline of a fence at NFL stadiums across the country. It is about as unique and special as "Seven Nation Army" at this point, but life is all about timing.

I have been to every Michigan home game in the last 18 years and I have never heard that. It is alien, the kind of thing I recoil from because it represents the melting of our special Michigan snowflake.

And holy shit, man. The little pin-pricks all across your scalp; the tremor in the hands; the flush of sweat; the welling of tears manfully suppressed. I could not participate myself. I was too gob-smacked to do much of anything at that moment. Michigan was up 38-0 with time about to expire. It was 4th and 17. If you had asked me to draw a card from the deck at that moment I couldn't have managed it.

Since the podcast started I've looked at a lot of lyrics from songs I love, and on the page they're flat nothings. This was the inverse of that. Two syllables; one word; and yet, poetry. 

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This is it, already. The building process turned out to be a single offseason of four-hour practices and competition over everything from starting positions to the most elegant mashed potato sculpture at dinner. Brady Hoke may not have been able to point his team in the right direction given two tries, but he could recruit, and the fruits of his labors have been honed molecule-thin by a man who can get hat-displacingly angry up a billion points in the second half.

Michigan fans were dying for this. Barely anyone left until deep into the fourth quarter, and there were still enough people ready to run through a wall with 29 seconds left, enough people to rattle the press box and send electricity up your spine.

The recent Harbaugh-to-NFL flare ups caused Michigan twitter to once again latch on to the pant leg of anybody who dared assert that Harbaugh would ever leave the confines of Ann Arbor (save for road games, of course). In the aftermath, media members got rabies shots and quietly conferred about how Wolverines fans are low key the most annoying on the internet.

They are not wrong. We take after our mascot: outwardly innocuous, secretly vicious bastards with a pipe-crushing grip. Anyone threatening the precious will be verbally berated until they give up in exhaustion. After the last eight years in the wilderness even the thought of a diversion enrages.

I emceed the Alumni Association's tailgate on Saturday, and I heard an awful lot about how things have changed in just a year. Indeed they have. I went back to the game column after game six of 2014, in which I meditate on the mournfulness of the Kids In The Hall's theme song and embed their "Each Day We Work" sketch. This was the entirety of the bit about football:

Football happened, in the usual way.

That described a loss to Rutgers.

In that column I talked about how the most appealing bit of Kids In The Hall was always that theme song, titled "Having An Average Weekend"; I went back and listened to it, and now I think that song is genius. It filled me with a sense of contentment and optimism. That's an average weekend, just a year after things were so bad they spawned the first and only Wolverine Revolutionary Popular Front.

An average weekend ends with a stadium full of people exhorting Michigan to finish burying their opponent, with two syllables ringing through the nation's biggest stadium, once again full to the brim. With belief.

[Fuller]

Let those who would stand in Michigan's way come.

[Note: Alejandro Zuniga clipped the chant first but the sound quality wasn't what I wanted so I reproduced it.]

HIGHLIGHTS

HARBAUGH

Maize and Blue News has the Harbaugh presser and also the players.

AWARDS

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this will end badly for you son [Fuller]

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Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

you're the man now, dog

#1 Jourdan Lewis had a spectacular YOINK pick-six in addition to generally being Jourdan Lewis. Gypsy seems real good with him currently.

#2 Jabrill Peppers annihilated the option several times, had 3 PBUs when tested in coverage (though one of them should have been an INT), laid the final block on Jehu Chesson's kickoff return, got the key block on Lewis's INT return, and fair caught all manner of short punts, saving Michigan dozens of yards of field position.

#3 Jake Rudock was efficient and capable; called into action on the ground he left a Northwestern LB in the dust on a play reminiscent of Tate Forcier's "I Saw Cover Zero" touchdown.

Honorable mention: All DL were excellent but Henry and Glasgow in particular stood out. Jehu Chesson's KO TD was more scheme than magic but dang he is fast and added a few nice plays on O. De'Veon Smith only had eight carries but had the entire Northwestern secondary on his back for one of them. AJ Williams led the team in catches and blocked well.

KFaTAotW Standings.

6: Jourdan Lewis (#1 UNLV, #1 Northwestern)
5: Chris Wormley(#2 Utah, #1 Oregon State)
4: Jabrill Peppers(#2 BYU, #2 Northwestern)
3: Jake Butt (#1 Utah), De'Veon Smith(#2 Oregon State, #3 BYU), Ryan Glasgow (#1 BYU), Desmond Morgan (#1 Maryland),
2: Ty Isaac(#2 UNLV), Jabrill Peppers(#2 BYU), Maurice Hurst (#2 Maryland).
1: Willie Henry (#3 Utah), AJ Williams (#3 Oregon State), Channing Stribling(#3 UNLV), Blake O'Neill(#3 Maryland), Jake Rudock(#3 Northwestern)

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

This week's best thing ever.

Jehu Chesson wins the game in the first 15 seconds.

Honorable mention: Ridiculous Lewis pick-six.

WGIBTUs Past.

Utah: Crazy #buttdown.
Oregon State: #tacopunts.
UNLV: Ty Isaac's 76 yard touchdown.
BYU: De'Veon Smith's illicit teleporter run.
Maryland: Jehu Chesson jet sweeps past you.
Northwestern: Chesson opening KO TD.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

This week's worst thing ever.

USA-Mexico. Seriously, I got nothin' from the actual game.

Honorable mention: Blake O'Neill's second touchback. I guess one of those third and fifteen conversions?

PREVIOUS EDBs

Utah: circle route pick six.
Oregon State: Rudock fumbles after blitz bust.
UNLV: Rudock matches 2014 INT total in game 3.
BYU: BYU manages to get to triple digit yards in the last minutes of the game.
Maryland: Slog extended by deflected interception at Houma.
Northwestern: KLINSMANN OUT

[After THE JUMP: this week's ways in which Harbaugh out-schemed his opponent, Happy Iowa Rudock, John Baxter's first BANG, and more defense defense defense.]

Dear Diary is Like a Kind of Torture

Dear Diary is Like a Kind of Torture

Submitted by Seth on March 14th, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Image0053

Start March.

Bah di-dah di-dah, bah di-dah di-dah, bah di-dah di-dah dah!

Bah di-dah di-dah, bah di-dah di-dah, dah-dah dah-dah-dah-dah [sax]

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muppets-cast-240-bvhepub:It's time to play the music. It's time to light the lights. It's time to get things started on the Muppet Show tonight!

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Michiganman14: It's time to unleash Stauskas.

B-Nut-GoBlue: It's time to seed B1G right.

muppets-cast-240-bvhepub:It's time for photoshopping and Tom Crean memes tonight!

--------------

LSAClassof2000: How did we ever come here? I guess we hit hit field goals!

Jonvalk: Imagine life with Horford, if Morgan chose to go?


muppet-animal

: [buh-dum dum dum-dee-dum-dee-dum dum dum]

--------------

Bah di-dah di-dah, bah di-dah di-dah, bah di-dah di-dah dah!

L'Carpetron Dookmariot: It's time lacrosse got started.

MGoBlueline: When will hockey get started?

muppets-cast-240-bvhepub

:It's time to get things started on the most sensational, invitational,  eliminational, kenpomational…this is what we call the Muppet Show!

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[Jump: a board full of grouchy old hecklers]

muppets-kermit: Yaaayyyyyyy!

Unverified Voracity Requests Drum-Off

Unverified Voracity Requests Drum-Off

Submitted by Brian on October 22nd, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Drumline, go.

I would watch a halftime show that was a you-got-served style drumoff between bands. Yes sir.

It's almost like this was not well thought out. Michigan's three million dollar billboard is an eyesore the city would like to turn off.

Ann Arbor officials are planning to ask the University of Michigan to decommission its new digital billboard outside the Big House.

City Council Member Christopher Taylor, D-3rd Ward, and other council members argue the large marquee on East Stadium Boulevard is too big, too bright and too distracting to drivers with its continually changing messages.

You may be wondering why the city is bringing this up after the thing was installed, they were obviously not consulted and don't have to be. Whateva, the U does what it wants:

The university does not have to follow the city's local ordinances or obey council requests. Nonetheless, the council members behind the resolution are hoping the university will hear the community's concerns and respond.

"It just doesn't seem very appropriate," Higgins said of the billboard. "We talked about the size (as part of the city's sign ordinance), and that just so far exceeded any size that we thought was really feasible within the city limits."

Does anyone ask anyone else about anything before just doing it anymore? If I show up at Michigan Stadium next year and it's upside down, will anyone have a rationale, or at least a document indicating that there was a 15 minute discussion about the pros and cons of such an undertaking? (PRO: rain can't get in so easily. CON: have to invent anti-gravity to play football.)

Foh1SME[1]

SCORCHED EARTH

Well, that was inevitable. Miami gets three scholarships docked for the next three years. No bowl ban, various other minor penalties. After the NCAA screwed up that investigation harder than Nevin Shapiro screwed his ponzi investors, this was always going to be a wrist-slap compromise that wouldn't send Miami to the appeal/sue route, and lo, it is so. QED: the NCAA put together a record-shattering 102-page document to mildly annoy a program they savage as being basically without compliance in the report.

It's worth noting that Miami self-imposed two years of bowl ban, which cost them a berth in last year's ACC Championship game, and a bunch of players were suspended. It did cost them something.

Obligatory: the NCAA is stupid and their rules are unenforceable and pointless and most of those rules should be put in a blender for the benefit of players, society, common sense, and most importantly Michigan, which has an alumni base with gobs of dough and a department that actually has, you know, compliance activities going on.

Ann Arbor Skyline. Finally, the mysterious name of Ann Arbor's newest high school is explained:

Stauskas and Caris LeVert sharing the backcourt is not "out of the realm of possibility," per Jordan.

That is from WTKA's eight-o-clock hour this morning, on which Michigan's basketball assistants appeared and sent every Michigan basketball beat guy scurrying to their twitter to live-tweet it.

If this actually comes to fruition, holy pants that is a huge lineup: LeVert, Stauskas, Robinson, McGary, Morgan/Horford, or stick Irvin somewhere in there. No one under 6'6". It'll be a sideshow with Walton and Spike around, but what a sideshow.

In general, the coaches sounded excited about LeVert in particular, who's up to 185 and apparently showing enough point guard skill to warrant some run at that spot. He is the kind of guy—young, skinny, still growing—who can be a totally different player in year two.

Same as it ever was. Hockey got some pretty horrible officiating in New Hampshire over the weekend, no call worse than a Derek DeBlois stick-lift that was somehow judged a penalty shot. Berenson on that:

A man may dress like a cowboy and smell like a cowboy but he can't ride a horse.

The Big Ten ain't fixing the gibbering pack of maroons that's available to ref games.

Exit. Farewell to Burgeoning Wolverine Star, which hangs up its spurs. Chris of BWS acquired a reputation as something of a downer, but… uh… on many counts he turned out to be right. (See: offensive line.) His play breakdowns were consistently worth arguing about. He'll be missed.

Entrance. If the previous news leaves you feeling sad, here is Fergodsakes, which is ramping up their coverage entertainingly:

Young (Michigan Alum) David Alan Grier?

Pictured: Michigan Offense, rediscovered

First off, this reference to Spielberg's "Hook" (1991), a landmark achievement in Giant Crocodile cinema technology, was not at all random, and will be of use later in this piece.

A possible future. A leaked PDF that was accurate enough to forecast a Michigan/UCLA series in 2022 and 2023 also indicates Michigan may be playing a neutral-site game against Florida in 2017. Neutral probably means Atlanta, which wouldn't be neutral but would at least be easy to get to. If Will Muschamp doesn't kill Orson by then that would be fun.

Other games it may reveal: UCF in 2016, pushing back a Ball State game, Air Force in 2017—ack option football—and SMU in 2018, all home games.

I subscribe to your newspaper. I subscribe it up. Jeff Goodman toured six of the top programs in America a few days back, hitting Kansas, MSU, Indiana, Oklahoma State, Louisville, and another school I can't figure out from the italicized preview bit. The most impressive guy Goodman saw?

Michigan's Glenn Robinson III was the most impressive player of anyone I saw on the trip. GR3 will see more time at his natural position, small forward, this season. The 6-7 Robinson has added weight and become more athletic.

The questions regarding the son of the "Big Dog" were about his perimeter shot and ability to put the ball on the floor. Robinson buried deep jumper after deep jumper and appears far more comfortable at the 3-spot in John Beilein's offense. It's still yet to be determined whether this aspect of his skill set will translate in games, but it's a good sign with Robinson more assertive on the offensive end. If he can gain a consistent jumper to go with his athleticism, he'll almost certainly be a lottery pick.

That would be excellent. Robinson attended the same camps McGary did over the summer; the buzz from them was that McGary was a beast and Robinson tended to fade into the background, as he is wont to do. I've been expecting an incremental leap in GRIII's game with Stauskas and McGary picking up more of the usage slack left by Burke as a result. Any indicator that Little Big Dog is going to eat is an encouraging sign.

On pace. Jeremy Gallon was the fourth-leading receiver in the Big Ten last year with 829 yards. Through seven games this year he's already exceeded that total with 831. To break Braylon Edwards's single-season receiving record of 1330 yards Gallon needs to average 84 yards a game—well within reach, especially if Michigan retains the pass-orientation they showed against Indiana.

Booker not looking too good. Devin Booker took a visit to Missouri over the weekend, and this is maybe not so good:

Booker visited both Kentucky and Michigan State on the weekend of Sept. 6-9 and went to Michigan on Oct. 5. He arrived back in Mississippi Sunday after the first of consecutive trips to Columbia, Mo., with plans to return to this weekend when his father, Melvin, is honored along with the rest of Missouri's 1994 Big 8 championship team.

A couple of Kentucky folk have flipped their predictions to Mizzou on 247, FWIW.

Etc.: Pahokee eating update. Also an update from Maize and Go Blue. Ups and downs of Brady Hoke. This happened forever ago, but my gawd James Murphy. The Ducks are the reason John Gibson never showed up at Michigan. OH SF Javon Bess, a plan B for Michigan as they wait on Booker and Blackmon, commits to MSU. Here is the weird halftime show.

Fourth And Long: The Excerpt

Fourth And Long: The Excerpt

Submitted by Brian on August 23rd, 2013 at 11:53 AM

John Bacon's latest book Fourth and Long is a look at four Big Ten teams in various places as the 2012 season progresses: Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, and Northwestern. While the Penn State stuff is unbelievably compelling, Bacon also touches on the increasing commercialization of the game—a hot button topic here—in multiple sections, including Michigan.

The following is an account of what went down during the Great Band Fiasco Of 2012. If you desire a look at the Northwestern and Ohio State sections, Sippin' On Purple and Eleven Warriors both have excerpts today.

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Cowboy Stadium

On Friday morning, April 20, 2012, while I watched workers set up the stage for the groundbreaking ceremony for Penn State’s $104 million hockey arena the day before their football team’s spring game, I took my weekly call from Ann Arbor’s local sports-talk station, WTKA.

This being six days after Michigan’s spring scrimmage, I assumed the morning hosts would ask me how Michigan’s second-year coaches, who favored a pro-set offense, were meshing with soon-to-be senior Denard Robinson, the consummate spread-offense quarterback. So I was a little surprised when Ira Weintraub and Sam Webb asked me about the Michigan-Alabama game, scheduled more than four months away, on September 1 in Dallas.

It was already being hyped as a clash between two tradition-rich programs, both ranked in the preseason Top 10, and two tradition-rich conferences. But it was bigger than that, because the schools had struck a deal with the Dallas Cowboys’ celebrity owner, Jerry Jones, to play the game in his shiny, new, $1.15 billion, state-of-the-art pleasure dome, nicknamed Jerry World.

They called the game the Cowboy Classic, a four-year-old version of the former Kickoff Classic, and it had come to represent the apotheosis— or nadir, depending on your view—of all that modern college football was becoming: the colossal, professional stadium; the seemingly endless corporate tie-ins; and the orgy of interest in a game between amateur athletes.

Although Michigan did not sell out its allotment of 17,500 tickets for the Sugar Bowl a couple months earlier, the athletic department had no trouble selling all 25,000 tickets for the Cowboy Classic, before they could even offer them to the general public. They were gobbled up entirely by Victors Club members: first to those with the most “priority points” (which they accumulate largely through donations), down to those with just one priority point. Thousands of fans with no priority points got shut out.

It was all the more impressive because the tickets for the Cowboy Classic weren’t cheap: $125 for a seat in the rafters and $285 for one on the 50, plus $80 for parking across the street. Jerry World also offered standing-room-only tickets, which one website packaged with vouchers for a beverage, a hot dog, and a bag of chips for $89—and sold more than twenty-three hundred of them.

“Let’s put it like this,” the ever-quotable Jerry Jones said the week of the game. “I’m going to compare it even to the Super Bowl. They’re two different events—but this is the hottest ticket . . . of any game or any event that we’ve had at that stadium.”

Michigan would net $4.7 million for the Cowboy Classic matchup with Alabama, the highest payout ever for a Kickoff Classic/Cowboy Classic season opener. After the department publicized that fact, fans were surprised to hear athletic director Dave Brandon announce he would not be sending the Michigan Marching Band to the game because the athletic department couldn’t afford the $400,000 travel expense. That decision lit up sports-talk shows across the state.

This seemingly simple decision to leave the band at home raised an equally simple question: How important is the marching band to the fans?

A few weeks before Brandon’s announcement, he sent band director Scott Boerma an RFP, or a “request for proposal,” which is how CEOs ask for a sales pitch. Brandon told Boerma to put together a page of bullet points explaining why Boerma thought it would be better for the band to fly to Dallas for the season opener against Alabama, on September 1.

“We did so,” Boerma told me, “and we turned it in. We never expected Brandon to fly us down, but we hoped. At that point, it was my assumption that we would have a conversation about those bullet points, most likely making compromises on both sides. But a few days later, we heard that the answer was simply no. And that was it.”

Ann Arbor Torch And Pitchfork

Michigan-band-walks-onto-the-field-Jeffrey-McMahon[1]

Boerma and his band were stunned, but not as much as their loyal following, who blasted the decision through just about every medium available. For a week in late April, the band’s fate dominated Ann Arbor sports-talk radio—a first, to be sure. Invective aside, the callers’ main complaint was that if Brandon eliminated a home game or the possibility of an attractive home-and-home against Alabama for the chance to play in Jerry World primarily for the record paycheck, as he stated, then why couldn’t Michigan afford the $400,000 it would cost to take the marching band? After all, the band had to be one of the main attractions of college football Jerry Jones surely expected when he invited two college teams to play in his pleasure dome.

There seem to be a few reasons behind Brandon’s initial decision. A $4.7 million payday sounds like a lot, but according to MGoBlog’s Brian Cook, it was actually about $300,000 less than Michigan would have made if Brandon had scheduled Alabama for a home-and-home series, on the same terms Michigan had with Notre Dame. The deal looks even worse when you take into account the team’s travel costs to Dallas, and the substantial revenue from parking and concessions Michigan would have kept for a home game—not to mention the excitement such a game would generate among season-ticket holders from the day it was announced. Cook concludes, “This supposed financial windfall simply does not exist.” [Ed: the department would later cop to this fact.]

But if you looked at Brandon’s initial decision to leave the band behind purely from a short-term business perspective, it made sense. The band trip would cost real money, coming right off the bottom line, but would not necessarily influence the outcome or ticket sales or TV ratings. Fans would not wait in long lines to buy Michigan Marching Band uniforms—be they classic or “alternative”—and EA Sports was not champing at the bit to put Michigan’s drum major on the cover of its next marching-band video game.

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from "Day 2 Marching Band Not Going To Dallas Rage Thread"

If you bring it back to the simple question of keeping your fans happy, however, Brandon’s decision was as foolhardy as the CEO of Cracker Jack eliminating the prizes at the bottom of the boxes because, hey, you can’t eat them, and those things cost money. If there is one symbol of college football that distinguishes the irrational, romantic notions fans feel for their favorite sport from the streamlined sensibilities of the pro game, the marching band might be the best place to start. When the band plays, the students feel connected to their parents, and their parents feel connected to their past, traveling back in time to their college days.

It is the prize at the bottom of the box.

Shortly after Bill Martin became athletic director in 2000, he commissioned a survey titled “Fans Speak Out on Game Day Experience,” by his good friend, Republican pollster Bob Teeter. The response rate alone told them how passionate Michigan fans were about their team. While most consumer surveys attract a 6 to 8 percent rate of return, fully 64 percent of the three thousand Michigan fans randomly selected responded—or about ten times the average.

When these season-ticket holders were asked to rank the importance of twenty-three aspects of the game-day experience, the survey readers weren’t too shocked to find seat location atop the list, with 88 percent of respondents ranking it “important.” But the marching band finished a close fourth, with 83 percent, two places ahead of the final score, and four ahead of the quality of the opponent. Thus, whether the Wolverines won or lost, or which team they were playing—in other words, the football game—was less important to the fans than seeing the marching band. After all, the band remained undefeated.

Brandon took some hits for his decision from fans, who flooded his e-mail account, but donors soon stepped up to cover half the $400,000 tab, leading some to believe the whole incident was a ruse to get someone else to pay the bill. But UM’s band director at the time, Scott Boerma, wasn’t buying it. “I do not think he planned on the backlash,” Boerma told me, “nor do I think it was some clever way to get donors to pony up for it. Dave was genuinely surprised.”

After Brandon finally capitulated, he told the Detroit Economic Club in August that it was all a “misunderstanding,” akin to a “family squabble.” He said he had agreed from the outset to fund the $100,000 necessary for the band to take buses down to Dallas, allowing them to play concerts along the way."

“The band changed their mind,” Brandon said. “They decided they didn’t want to be in buses and they didn’t want to play their way to Dallas, and they came and said, ‘We’re planning on coming to Dallas, everybody’s planning on coming to Dallas, but we’re not going to ride in buses—we’re going to fly in a jumbo jet and here’s what it’s going to cost.’”

But Boerma recalls the dialogue differently. “I think it’s important for people to know that we never ‘changed our mind.’ We never agreed to busing down and playing gigs along the way. We offered to look into that possibility, but when we did, we determined that it really wouldn’t be best for all concerned, especially because it would be the weekend before classes started, and we would lose several days of our pre-season rehearsals, when we prepare for the entire fall ahead. We never refused to bus down, as Brandon said. We were never given the opportunity to refuse anything, because there was no follow-up conversation.

“When it all hit the fan, I made sure that it wasn’t the band students and staff causing a commotion. We just laid low and waited for it all to work out. If the decision to not take the band down remained intact, we would have been fine with that. It was Brandon’s decision; he was paying the bills, and that’s his business.”

Of course, some fans angered over the decision included big donors, who ultimately stepped up to cover half the cost of the band’s trip.

"The band is coming to Dallas," Brandon told his audience. "And I hope you enjoy every note."

Leaving the band behind for a big game proved not to be an option—at least in 2012.

As the arms race escalates, Brandon does not seem terribly interested in slowing down to ponder it all. He is too busy pressing full steam ahead. “I don’t talk the past,” he said several times in his first year as Michigan’s athletic director. “I create the future.”

He might just be right.

If the future of Penn State was in the hands of its players, and Ohio State in the hands of its new head coach, Michigan’s was in the hands of its new athletic director.

Fourth and Long is available everywhere: 11  bucks on Kindle, 16 for a hardcover. Worth it just for the story about Jay Paterno getting chased out of his own locker room, and there are 200 more pages.

Sports in the Time of Esther McCleery

Sports in the Time of Esther McCleery

Submitted by Seth on August 2nd, 2013 at 10:45 AM

LifeMag1959-1LifeMag1959-2LifeMag1959-4

Dear Diary was going to be in this spot this morning, but the site was 504-ing and I couldn't get at all my precious tabs. So instead you get Esther McCleery.

My good friend Nate is certainly the most interesting person I've ever met. He's one of those diamonds from the middle of nowhere that the University of Michigan goes out of its way to collect, the nowhere in this case being Eastern Kentucky and the middle being a small town called Grayson. I'll save you his list of accomplishments because he'll be famous enough one day for all of them to end up in a book.

In a town like Grayson hoarding is one of the things that register on a list of pastimes. While sorting through one trove Nate found a stack of old copies of Life magazine and brought them with him to our college reunion last weekend. Inside he found and framed enough ads for bourbon to keep Kentucky bars well-tchotchke'd for a decade.

This he was doing at the breakfast table on Saturday morning while another friend and I were trying to justify to our wives why we're blowing what could have been a Europe trip on a few upcoming Saturdays.

That's when Nate serendipitously discovered an article on Homecoming in the November 1959 issue. Hey it's our band:

LifeMag1959-theband

That's the only photo in the article that's pointed at the field. Life's photographer instead spent the 4th quarter with his camera turned toward Class of '34 alumna Esther McCleery. I'll reproduce that for you now:

LifeMag1959-1

HOMECOMING SPIRIT at game is shown in the mobile face of Mrs. Esther McCleery, class of '34 at Michigan. Above Mrs. McCleery screams, "Go, Team, Go, this is it!" as Michigan, behind 16-10 in final quarter, intercepts pass deep in Wisconsin territory. "All right, Blue," Mrs. McCleery bellows. "This is it, we've got 'em now."

But a moment later Michigan fumbles and Mrs. McCleery's face falls (below)

LifeMag1959-2LifeMag1959-3

In the final minutes of the game, she dejectedly watches Wisconsin wrap it up with a field goal. "We've had it but good," she mutters.

LifeMag1959-4

But she brightened. "Next year we'll get 'em," she says.

Everyone ought to see Notre Dame du Paris (NOTE-rruh Dahm) one time in their life just to appreciate the feats of art and engineering that mankind can accomplish when we feel like it. To understand why we'd ever build such things, first you ought to experience something like Notre Dame at Michigan, since there are few other things in the world—other than gaining or losing another human being—that can make you truly appreciate the depths of emotions that make being a human animal quite worthwhile.1375122306_163422_HTTV_Sports

29 days, Esther.

Unverified Voracity Misses Exit Wound Opportunity

Unverified Voracity Misses Exit Wound Opportunity

Submitted by Brian on May 22nd, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Not in Ohio. Via Bo Dever's twitter account, Michigan's footballs have taken to redundancy:

image

I kid, I kid. Ohio is our most special state.

No words. I take that back Plaxico Burress is our most special state.

image

Where are the exit wounds? Are you telling me Burress is going to be a sock magnate and does not have a sock with exit wounds on it? Life! What a waste!

Batten the hatches. So those hockey games against BC and BU that were rumored but unconfirmed? Yeah, they're at Yost. Michigan has dropped the full hockey schedule and it's a doozy. In addition to the home-and-away against all the Big Ten teams, Michigan's signed up for this nonconference schedule:

HOME: BC, BU, Lowell, Michigan Tech (2x), Niagara, Ferris State
AWAY: RIT, UNH(2x), UNO(2x)
NEUTRAL: WMU, Tech or State

If you stopped paying attention to college hockey out of self defense last year, Lowell was a one-seed, BC and UNH twos, Niagara a three. BU was third behind Lowell and BU in HE last year and got squeezed out of the field. UNO was a middling WCHA team, Tech not so good. There are no Bentley-level patsies at all, as both RIT and Niagara have reached the NCAA tourney in recent years.

Combine that with Minnesota/Wisconsin/MSU/OSU/PSU and that is the opposite of football's 2014 schedule. Michigan chose to thin out its fall schedule with the extra two weeks the Big Ten's hockey-spiting playoff system provided, taking a bye the week of the Nebraska game and playing only once the week of the Iowa game.

I'll take it. ESPN's reporting that the Pizza bowl is dead and will be replaced by another event at Ford Field matching a Big Ten team against an ACC team, which everyone is going to hate except M and MSU fans. But I'm one of them so woo.

George Perles isn't phased. I mean, what's better than Detroit in December? Detroit outside in December.

Keep up with the Joneses, plz. One of pleasant surprises from a couple of trips to the SEC has been the presence of both bands at the game even for non-rivalry matchups like (mediocre) Auburn versus LSU. The second time I asked around to see if I had gotten a fluke, and southerners looked at me with horror and pity once they realized Big Ten football usually has one band involved.

Ohio State's going to change that, mostly:

Gordon Gee, Gene Smith and the powers that be at Ohio State got together and determined that the College of Arts and Sciences and athletic department would continue financing the band. But one key change would be the addition of the Development Office of the President. Instead of a miniscule $220,000 operating budget – ninth in the Big Ten – the Buckeyes will have $1 million, which vaults them to first. With it comes more travel.

The band will attend road games at California, Purdue, Illinois and Michigan.

Meanwhile Michigan scrounges for pennies to send the MMB to a game against friggin' Alabama and the Uber Alles subset of the fanbase praises that decision as sly money-grubbing genius instead of a slap in the face to the band and fans. If only this was true:

When Michigan’s band traveled to the Cowboys Classic in Dallas last season for the Wolverines’ game with Alabama, it cost the university an estimated $400,000. The decision to send the band came after heavy criticism when it was announced they would not make the trip. Less than a year later, it appears two of the nation’s premier marching bands have earned a spot near the top of their university’s hierarchy.

The MMB is the same as it ever was. They will travel probably once this year, the free trip to East Lansing. State College, Evanston, Iowa City not so much, let alone UConn.

Pay attention to Mike Hart, plz. Hart on his quick ascension to the top of the depth chart and what Derrick Green can do to replicate that feat:

"The biggest thing I tell my guys is I didn't get all the reps (when I was a freshman), but I made sure I watched every rep," Hart said. "There's freshmen on my team over there talking, and they don't know the playcall or what's going on.

"You can process these things without getting a physical rep. I think that's kind of what helped me transition, is I was only getting a couple reps, but I was really getting 15 reps per period. A new playcall, I was thinking about what I had to do and how I had to do it."

Draft order set, now we can wince at what will happen. SI has Trey Burke going to New Orleans at #6 while the Pistons get the flashing red light that is Shabazz Muhammad. Hardaway does not appear. Glen Rice Jr. does, though, and a year after he got booted from GT's team.

Hated Chad Ford($) has Burke #2 to Orlando, has the Pistons taking walking red flag Anthony Bennett—LOSE GAMES AT THE END OF THE SEASON FOR PANTS SAKE—and puts Hardaway at the tail end of his first round, going to Denver after "one of the best performances of anyone at the combine." He brought "an intensity with him that few players could match"?!?!?

Do we think Mitch McGary and Hardaway pulled a Derrick Rose-SAT-swap here maybe? I do. I think Hardaway convinced Mitch McGary to pretend he was Hardaway at the NBA combine. This is a thing that happened.

UMHoops breaks things down in more detail.

Etc.: Michigan has two Parade All Americans, equalling the rest of the conference combined. MSU has two quarterbacks. Uh oh? Softball ace Sara Driesenga profiled. The News on Patrick Biondi's stellar senior season. Denard Robinson is not exactly a trekkie. Michigan State fans looking for love.

Unverified Voracity Stops At Resistance

Unverified Voracity Stops At Resistance

Submitted by Brian on September 25th, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Scheduling note. I sat down to start UFRing last night and found that I'd actually re-converted the UMass game and hadn't downloaded ND at all. My subconscious is protecting me as best it can, but I now have the thing. UFR will be a day late, which it traditionally is during a bye week anyway.

Denard's night went better than at least one person's. Mmmm Northern Indiana style:

The man on the ground had severe facial and upper body wounds. According to police, both men said they were hit by a car, but police have not confirmed that. Investigators say it's possible that is a story to cover-up a fight.

While police were talking to the men, a woman approached officers and said she'd been hit in the face with a case of Natural Light Beer. The woman had very visible wounds, most profound, her entire bottom row of teeth were missing.

This was at 9 PM, so I assume all of this arose from an argument about whether Borges or Denard was the worst.

The pants! They are motion pants. That's not a Sufjan Stevens song title yet, but I bet it's on his next album. No, it's a reference to some digging done by UMHoops that unearths a piece of basketball's uniforms for next year:

52-89213-F[1]52-89213-1-F[1]

THEY'RE TUBES FOR YOUR LEGS!

The way this works is you put one leg in one tube and the other leg in the other tube and then pull up until you feel resistance. Once you feel resistance, STOP. You will now be wearing your legtubes. You will kind of look like a 12-year-old from 1993. If you did not stop when you felt resistance you will also be in severe pain, but that's your problem. That's what you get for not following instructions.

Nobody at commenting at UMHoops likes these, but they do like Glenn Robinson III.

Uniforms are supposed to be, you know, what's that word… the same. Adidas is still not executing this task, apparently:

8015478800_18ba3c7d75_c[1]

Piping: it's just all over the place man. Also, Washington's missing his block M. If you sent this to me, thanks, but I forget who did.

Bye week activity. WTKA is replaying Ufer's call of the 1979 Michigan State game at noon on Saturday. 1050 on your dial, or on the internets. Here's Keith Jackson doing the same:

Band noise solution? They amplified the band a couple years back to mixed reviews. If you couldn't hear them before it's great. If you could, it sounds horrible as the slightly delayed noise coming out of the speakers conflicts with the band itself. I'm in an area where it sounds horrible.

I thought about this on Saturday at some point in the third quarter when I noticed I could hear the ND band loud and clear despite being about as far away from them as possible, but couldn't hear the Michigan band that was just below our section. I was going to mention this in the game column as depressing commentary on how quiet the MMB, but MVictors pointed out the speaker setup they had on the sideline:

speakers_thumb[1]

Audio people: does this make a difference, having the speakers in the same place the band is? Or am I grasping at straws?

Idiots in charge of stuff. Replacement refs screw up Monday Night Football and the NFL burns its credibility all for a pathetically tiny slice of their enormous revenue pool. In the NHL, Edmonton's ownership laughably threatens to move the Oilers to Seattle; the NHL is bunkered down for another strike less than a decade after an entire season failed to happen.

At some point, it has to be about something other than the pursuit of as much money as you can get right damn now, doesn't it? Maybe, maybe not. They'll have to start to see some erosion before they act, just like college football teams are starting to now that the terrible scheduling practices of the last 20 years are finally resulting in empty seats.

In other news, someone is paying bowtied twit Gordon Gee an exorbitant amount of money and allowing the guy to spend 7.7 million in expenses(!), including $64,000 on bowties(!!!). How's that going?

At the University of Michigan, President Mary Sue Coleman’s travel and entertainment expenses from 2007 through 2010 totaled $410,235. Upkeep and utilities at the university-owned house runs an additional $100,000 a year and if Coleman takes someone to lunch or dinner, she pays the tab out of her own pocket, according to University of Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald.

Coleman’s compensation package is $860,782 a year and includes housing and a car. Her employment contract does not call for first class airline tickets or private jets, as Gee’s does. In Michigan’s last endowment campaign she helped raise $3.2 billion — the most ever by a public university at that time.

There are signs that OSU isn’t keeping pace nationally on the size of its endowment. OSU slipped from 27th in the four years preceding Gee’s return to Columbus to 31st in 2010-11, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Commonfund Institute. The Big 10 universities Northwestern, Minnesota, and Michigan all ranked above Ohio State for the size of their endowment.

Jim Tressel, fire this man.

Come on Tim. Baumgardner on Tim Hardaway entering his junior year:

"I've watched and probably had more interaction with Tim this summer (than ever before)," Beilein said recently. "With him just coming in, sitting in my office, hanging out and feeling very comfortable as a Michigan man.

"Him being more comfortable with everything has allowed him to have a lot of confidence in the intangible area (off the court). And there's a strong correlation between that and how he'll perform on the court."

I hope that's true. Hardaway's three point shooting should bounce back just because 27% is incredibly low, but if Michigan is going to live up to some extremely hefty preseason expectations he'll have to either be more effective creating his own shots or go from terrible to elite from behind the line.

wat. Mac Bennett on the twitter:

The @BeatsPointZero "Deblois is a Bag of Milk" EP will be out later today. Excited about it

I don't know. I've notified Jon Bois about this, though.

A fast one. The Michigan-ND series opened up in South Bend, and if it's ending semi-permanently in 2014, it'll end in South Bend. Not a smooth move to not build an even number of home/away games into the contract, Michigan. This is probably Bill Martin's fault, FWIW.

Chalk. Via Jamie, Michigan's… performance type thing against Notre Dame has finally provided a leader in Big Ten betting whatnot:

MSU now "clear" betting chalk to win Big 10: MSU +220, Braska +250, Wisco +300, UM +400, PU +700. Odds lot less muddled than a week ago

Purdue's down from 20-1 recently. I TOLD YOU JAMIE /ignores Wisconsin

Also, Michigan lines are frightening. Michigan's favored by less than a field goal at Purdue and about a touchdown at Nebraska and Ohio State. This is all an overreaction to something that won't happen again, right guys? Right?

I'm a little surprised things are shaking out like this after last weekend. I mean, MSU-EMU couldn't have moved the needle in favor of the Spartans, could it?

Here's your statistical nutshell. Michigan State snapped the ball 72 times on Saturday with the intention of advancing the ball.

On 46 of those plays, the ball ended up, or was targeted to end up, in the hands of Le'Veon Bell or Dion Sims. The average gain on those plays was 7.8 yards.

On the remaining the 26 plays, the ball was intended to end up in someone else's hands. The average gain on those plays was 2.8 yards.

Yipes.

Etc.: Hockey starts off ranked third. Seems high. Bois fake mailbag about those refs with mini-Packers TWIS. This is not Ace holding his head, but both Ace and I had to check. Kirk Ferentz is unfireable. Which person is Borges and which is me in this XKCD?

Dear Diary, Football is Coming

Dear Diary, Football is Coming

Submitted by Seth on August 24th, 2012 at 10:07 AM

So I'm going to admit this: until kinda recently I didn't know what "Okie" was. I knew it had something to do with bringing a lot of guys to the line and then running the mother of all zone blitzes. Which is what it is, but not very specific. So I drew this out based on a play vs. Illinois last year, and this became the genesis of last week's 'Museday' (name changing), and a companion piece with drawings of various formations Michigan runs. I plan to make that a sticky for the rest of us who could use a reference occasionally, and fix any minor mistakes in the current pics (e.g. the 3-tech is misaligned slightly), so suggestions are welcome.

Turnovers are not random, just the random ones are. There's this disconnect still around these parts and others where the math says that turnovers are random—all coaches have their players drill loose balls and ball security with equal emphasis—and ThomasGordon_EMU-thumb-590x399-88495significant deviation from the mean means you got lucky; and our lizard brains which say "that wasn't luck; that was Thomas Gordon being [high pitch] AWEsome."

So ZooWolverine, who wanted to believe he could find something—anything—to convince his brain it is not a lizard that sounds like a character from Friends, did his own stat study. The result: some skill involved in interceptions, but fumbles will still go 57-43 to the defense, and if you got something else it's luck. Sorry Joey lizard brain.

What do you get for a DUI? Getting behind the wheel of a car (or a golf cart) when intoxicated is really, really stupid. It's also scarily common, and college athletes seem to be particularly bad at this. There are degrees (one drink can put some people over the limit), but there's also enough of a record of coaches' responses to getting caught doing this stupid reckless thing that we have a fairly good idea of a typical DUI suspension. Gulo Gulo Luscus has updated that, and you can see my old list in the comments below. Findings: one game seems to be the going rate unless you play for Jim Tressel, and missing a practice season (spring, fall, etc.) is a little bit under average. Personally, not knowing the specific circumstances, I would want my coach to suspend the player for at least one game, always.

After THE JUMP the Diarist of the Week, the most awesome deck of cards ever, and Carl Grapentine says something that will give you goosebumps.

Band To Dallas, Brandon On Jerryworld Dollars

Band To Dallas, Brandon On Jerryworld Dollars

Submitted by Brian on April 24th, 2012 at 2:03 PM

TorchGang

Ann Arbor Torch and Pitchfork gets it done:

Michigan marching band received a letter today from Dave Brandon informing them that they will be heading to Dallas for the 2012 FB opener

Also some well-heeled donor or six dropping benjamins. Nickel and dime, nickel and dime.

Meanwhile, David Brandon on the financial realities of Jerryworld($):

Brandon acknowledged that the athletic department would have made more money had it just hosted a game at Michigan Stadium. "If it was just about the money," he said, "we would have hosted a game here."

But the exposure, the primetime slot and the opponent will do wonders for the program. Brandon said there was no way he could have gotten Alabama or a similarly high-profile opponent to do a one-off game in Ann Arbor. And with the Wolverines' 2013 schedule already full, a home-and-home series would not have worked, either.

…says an athletic director looking at a 2013 return game with UConn for a game scheduled in 2010, in a department that waited half a decade to get a return game from Oregon.

Whatever. Even if it's a grim idea financially for both the department and Michigan fans it's better than a MAC game until we're down two touchdowns. I'll be extremely disappointed if this sort of thing happens again, though. Price marquee games appropriately and there's no reason Michigan can't make it work financially with home and homes. No more middlemen, sterile NFL arenas, etc.

Speaking of, Brandon mentioned that Michigan is pursuing a home and home with a Pac-12 team that should launch in before the 2017, when the conferences will play annual games against each other. Hopefully that means a home game in 2014, when Nebraska/OSU/Notre Dame are again on the road. (Michigan at least adds Penn State to the home schedule that year.)

If that's the case, possibilities are:

  • Cal. Cal has already scheduled a game at Northwestern, however, and probably wants a couple of bodybag home games to fill things out.
  • Oregon. Home date with MSU in 2014 and on the road in 2015. Probably does not want to double up with the state of Michigan, but the schedule seems to work out.
  • Stanford. Similar issue to Cal's: Already @ ND in 2014.
  • USC. USC ain't scurred of filling up its schedule with BCS teams and has a home game with ND in 2014 plus a game at BC(?!?). They'd probably be willing to take on a challenge since BC is going to roll over and die. Complication: this would be smack in the middle of the period sanctions should bite them and they might want to ease up on the scheduling.
  • Utah. Hasn't scheduled anything.
  • Washington State. Has a home game against Wisconsin in 2014 and a road game against Nevada. Unlikely they'd want to go on the road that year.

Everyone else is full in 2014. Utah or USC seem like the most likely options. A home and home with a Utah team that has twice come out for one-offs in the past decade would be something of a letdown.

BONUS RANDOM NOTE: It looks like the prophesied resurrection of multiple interesting nonconference games is coming to pass. Body-bags guarantees and rising ticket prices have finally created an environment where it makes sense to keep people on the hook with games against actual opponents. At least there's that.

There Is No Jerryworld Pot Of Gold

There Is No Jerryworld Pot Of Gold

Submitted by Brian on April 23rd, 2012 at 9:02 AM

l081013_jonas[1]dave-brandon-press-conference[1]

Dave Brandon, Jerry Jones, and two weird old guys. Unless I've got that wrong.

A lot of people are pretty mad that Michigan's band is not going to Alabama. So many people are mad that there is a backlash against the mad people. The strength of the reaction is a combination of a number of things, amongst them the sudden reversal, how bush-league we look in comparison to Alabama, and the growing feeling that maybe this wasn't such a coup after all.

Remember back when this thing was scheduled and we were assured that the take from this was going to be epic? Back then, I thought it was a good idea because it seemed impossible for Michigan to schedule a real nonconference opponent in any other way. This came paired with rending of garments about that fact, how college football is broken, etc., but the fact remained that 2012 would be the first season in a long time in which two nonconference games would be against truly interesting opponents. It was the only way.

That assumption has steadily eroded as we find out more and more details and observe Big Ten scheduling trends in general. The conference announced a scheduling alliance with the Pac-12 that will force every league member to undertake regular home-and-home matchups against comparable opponents, no neutral site funny stuff (or at least not much). Michigan State jumped the gun on that agreement to schedule Oregon to a home-and-home. The year after that series finishes, the Spartans will take on Alabama in a home-and-home, in years when they also play Notre Dame. It can be done. Michigan just didn't do it.

As for our Alabama game, Michigan's announced take, $4.7 million, is so low it seems impossible it's correct. If that's all Michigan's getting from the game that's at best equivalent to playing a body-bag game at Michigan Stadium. Assuming random one-off opponent cost a million bucks, Michigan would match 4.7 million in gate receipts alone by charging an average of 52 bucks a ticket.

Michigan's 2011 budget shows $41.3 million for last year's eight-game home season in pure ticket costs minus guarantees, $8.7 million in PSDs, and $13 million in premium seating donations. Everything included, the average price paid for a seat at a Michigan game last year was about 72 dollars. Without all the donations, it was $49 last year; ticket prices increased by an average of $4.64 this year. $4.7 million is about 300k less than they'd get from a home game on ticket face value alone.

Add in Michigan's expenses for getting down to Dallas and the ancillary benefits of having a home game (parking and concessions seem to be around 300k per game and there would be some level of increased donations required to get a season ticket) and either $4.7 million is undershooting it by a lot or Dave Brandon sold a home game to Dallas for no financial benefit whatsoever. Meanwhile, tickets for Dallas start at $125. At that price Michigan could easily afford a home and home with a high-quality opponent.

Surely this can't be right. Dave Brandon didn't send Michigan down to Dallas for no reason whatsoever, right? My previous belief was that there was something we were missing in the numbers. But the sudden about-face about the band—and it was an about face given the contract and the conspicuous "Michigan band" sections on seating charts—suggests that the financial picture could be as grim as that: $400k is a significant chunk when you're already getting hosed backwards and forwards.

I finally took a close look at the contract. We are getting hosed backwards and forwards. Check it:

CSLP will … pay $4,700,000 to Michigan. The team acknowledges that the Team Guarantee constitutes the sole financial compensation for the Team for playing the Game, and that no other compensation will be due or owed to the Team under this Agreement in connection with the Game. … The parties acknowledge that the Team may be entitled to compensation from its conference related to broadcast of the game. CSLP … will … retain all other revenues from the game. CSLP and ESPN acknowledge and agree that (a) all rights to telecast of distribute the programs of the Games have been assigned by Michigan to the Big Ten (b) Michigan has no ability to grant to ESPN any rights for telecast or distribution of Games played pursuant to this agreement and c) as between Michigan and ESPN, ESPN is responsible for obtaining such rights from the Big Ten. Notwithstanding the forgoing, if ESPN has the broadcast rights [they can get a title sponsor, etc.]

The TV point is important: my Big Theory for why this makes sense is that the teams would get the TV rights to themselves because the game is outside of their conference footprints. That's not the case. The money Michigan gets from television will be split twelve ways—every extra dollar they make for playing a big time opponent also goes to OSU.

Michigan gets a couple hundred tickets, a couple suites, seating for the band, a field-level "party suite" and right to purchase 500 tickets near it, and 100 parking passes. Cheerleaders get in free. They get one "official retailer" in the stadium that CSLP takes a 22% of the gross of. So that's nothing. An addendum makes it clear that "hotel rooms, and other costs of transportation and lodging, shall be at the cost and expense of the individual institutions." Even the police escorts are at the respective teams' expense.

The only thing that could possibly redeem this is if the Michigan got the revenue from the uber-expensive tickets, but the contract makes it clear they don't:

CSLP shall also provide a minimum of 25,000 tickets for Michgian to re-sell to its fans as specified on the stadium map as an addendum to this document.

Michigan got no more money than they would for an average regular season game and is charging their fans 60% more (at a minimum!) to attend it. There is no way to read the contract other than this: Dave Brandon got ripped off.

So when Dave Ablauf tells AnnArbor.com that they're treating Dallas like "any other road game," it's because they have to. This supposed financial windfall simply does not exist. At best it's a break-even proposition even without the band. They will probably make more against Air Force the next week. Michigan gets a "bowl game experience" in an NFL stadium without its band at "neutral site" Michigan is twice as far away from as Alabama. Meanwhile, Mark Hollis gets Alabama at home. Michigan got owned by Mark "people u is" Hollis.

You can consider the future created, yo.

BONUS: I hope this came from Brandon.

MT @sbell021 Game announced 2 months before Hoke hire. RT @schadjoe Brandon asked Hoke if he'd like to play Alabama and Hoke said "Why not?"