Jim Delany's retiring in 2020, spurring the usual round of kow-towing to a rich guy who was just in charge of things. Since Delany didn't do anything good, these pieces have to talk about how important he is. And when people talk about Jim Delany as a "transformative" or "influential" figure, this is what they're talking about:
obvious thing preceded and followed by eons of nothing [Eric Upchurch]
9/15/2018 – Michigan 45, SMU 20 – 2-1
The sequence that really, truly broke me was in the middle of the second quarter. For some reason, Sonny Dykes thought that if his team was prepared it could stop a Michigan fullback dive. So he called timeout. Then he saw Michigan had cannily lined up in the exact same way they had before the timeout. Sensing a trap, he called timeout again. This became the dreaded Full Media Timeout.
In the stands, I baked. Because Michigan has made no attempt to improve connectivity in the stadium I held up my phone as it told me it could not retrieve tweets. The clock ticked down.
Michigan took the field again and lined up in the exact same way, but Dykes could not respond—he'd used all his timeouts. Ben Mason scored from the one-inch line, extra point... Full Media Timeout.
I baked further. It sucked. It was hot and boring and also hot and also boring.
Because I was so bored I started counting commercial breaks, finally giving up when the number hit a staggering eight in the first 22 minutes of game clock. There are eight commercial breaks in the entirety of a 40-minute basketball game, plus some timeout-induced ones. And that frequently feels excessive; a couple of years ago the problem seemed so severe the NCAA even stripped coaches of one of their precious timeouts. Football is now throwing up timeouts at almost twice the rate of basketball, a sport where the clock only runs if something is actually happening.
This is close to intolerable when it's nice outside. When it is not, and when there is a steady stream of baffling penalties from the part-time refs from a podunk league, and replays to fix some of the baffling issues the part-time refs are creating, and many more stoppages for injuries—one of which takes a long time and then gets a Full Media Timeout appended to the end of it—you wonder why you're doing this instead of sitting at home with air conditioning and connectivity. Several years ago I probably would have yammered about the students leaving early. Now I just envy anyone with the common sense to bail when they are so clearly being told to bail.
Falling attendance is a nationwide problem often blamed on The Youngs for being addicted to their phones, but the folks behind us show up maybe twice a year and sell their other tickets for whatever they can get. There's a noticeable variance in section density between the many garbage games (hi, division-mates Rutgers and Maryland) on the schedule and the actually worthwhile ones, and there are no students where I'm at. When the Wall Street Journal FOIAed actual ticket scans they found that 21%(!) of Michigan's announced attendance was fictional, tickets that sold but did not scan. This is actually pretty good in the wider context of college football, which says somethin' about somethin'.
It says that college football used to be a great bargain. Tickets were relatively inexpensive, games were fun and not largely spent watching people have conferences. Great fanbases sprung up around the teams starting in the 1960s, when Don Canham was packing bands into the stadium so it would be sort of full, and lasted more or less through 2000 without being seriously impinged upon. Ticket prices were absurdly stable. Television was more of a boon than a hindrance because its proliferation allowed you to watch more road games; breaks were relatively rare and tolerable.
Then things got monetized. Ticket prices approximately tripled in 13 years and have kept going up since. The commercial breaks have proliferated madly. Unsatisfied with their massive uplift in revenue, the athletic department has continued to nickel and dime the fanbase even after the departure of Dave Brandon. And for what? For who? For the benefit of ever more absurdly over-compensated coaches, staffers, and especially executives. Every commercial break is Jim Delany—the man who ruined the conference—giving me the middle finger while he dumps another gold brick on the Big Ten's grave.
Delany and his fellow parasites have latched onto the great oilbeds men like Canham laid down and are sucking them dry without regard to what happens after they're done. They don't care. They'll be dead. Michigan will still be playing Rutgers.
I dunno man. This would certainly be more tolerable if Michigan had won some more games over the past ten years. But probably not that much more. There's nothing I can do, really, but I'll tell you one thing: I'm never buying any fucking Rotel again. Until there's a cap on the number of ad breaks, every single college football TV advertiser can die in a fire for all I care. I've had it.
Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week
you're the man now, dog
#1(t) Donovan Peoples-Jones and Zach Gentry. Gentry had a drop but also rescued a ball that would have been an IN if thrown at anyone else. Four catches for 95 yards from a nominal tight end is a thing and if anything Patterson didn't take full advantage of his height to make his other catches indefensible. DPJ scored three touchdowns, completely imploding that stat. Two were relatively simple, sure. The fade was not. DPJ and Gentry get two points each because they're made up and don't matter.
#2 Josh Metellus. INT and weaving TD return were the difference between a relatively comfortable second half and a full on terror-dome. PI on him was iffy; he had another PBU and seven tackles; did get hit a bit on those slants but Kinnel was SMU's preferred target.
#3 Chase Winovich. Ten tackles, three for loss. Had a really impressive track-back on a third and long screen that looked set up for the first down. Also knocked down another screen on third down earlier in the game. Now the subject of a hilarious meme.
Honorable mention: Will Hart added two more 50-yard punts to his collection. Bryan Mone and Carlo Kemp made SMU runs up the middle, which were oddly frequent, entirely futile. Devin Bush exists and is still Devin Bush. Tru Wilson had some more lethal blitz pickups.
4: Chase Winovich (#1 ND, #3 SMU)
3: Karan Higdon (#1 WMU)
2: Ambry Thomas (#2 ND), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU), Donovan Peoples-Jones(T1 SMU), Zach Genty(T1 SMU), Josh Metellus(#2 SMU).
1: Devin Bush(#3 ND), Shea Patterson(#3 WMU)
Who's Got It Better Than Us(?) Of The Week
Metellus's TD return.
Honorable mention: Shea Patterson hits DPJ for TD, Shea Patterson hits DPJ for TD, Shea Patterson hits DPJ for TD.
MARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.
Patterson is intercepted near the goal line to keep the score at 0-0 and seriously threaten One Of Those Games again.
Honorable mention: Almost everything Patterson did prior to that (and nothing afterwards). Coverage mixup gives James Proche an opportunity to score, which he takes.
[After THE JUMP: Tru Wilson has blocked you from seeing this content]
Freaks. Bruce Feldman's annual list of people who should not be that size and be able to dance like that leads off with Rashan Gary. These lists always have combine porn:
The 6-foot-5 Gary is at the same weight he was at this time last year — 287 pounds — and his 40-yard dash time is the same at 4.57 seconds. His 3-cone drill at 6.79 was a touch behind last year’s 6.70, although his time this year still would beat every defensive lineman at this year’s NFL scouting combine. His 4.22 pro agility shuttle time also would top every D-lineman at the combine. Next best was 4.32. Another really impressive feat: his 10-4 broad jump, which was 8 inches better than what he did a year ago.
Incoming freshman Julius Welschof is #37 because he's very flippy. Three different Badgers (Olive Sagapolu, Jonathan Taylor, and D'Cota Dixon) make the list as well. If Hornibrook stops throwing so many picks, could be a breakthrough for the Badgers.
(Probably) nothing to see here. The Big Ten Network is up for renewal on the Comcast, and as is standard practice there is now a dual-sided PR campaign going on. BTN's like "dang!" and Fox is like "I mean cumong," and that's what's going on right now in these streets. Wetzel:
...cable giant Comcast is threatening to pull the Big Ten Network (as well as FS1, which shows league games) off basic cable packages. It already did outside the league footprint on second-tier packages. Now it is saying BTN will no longer be on basic cable in communities in the league area as of September 1.
Hence, Silverman’s alarm.
“BTN is now facing our biggest challenge since the launch of the network,” Silverman said at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. “Our 10-year agreement with Comcast expires at the end of August. A few months ago, BTN was removed from out-of-market cable systems on Comcast, which is the leading cable provider in the country. … It’s extremely concerning.”
This strikes me as much ado about nothing. While Wetzel points out that cable's monopoly is mercifully crumbling and there's pressure to keep bills down, I have a hard time believing Comcast is going to send a significant section of its Big Ten footprint subscribers into a contemplation of cord-cutting. A deal will be reached at the last minute, both sides will claim victory, and the slow bleed of cable subscribers to over the top services will not get a sudden kick in the pants.
[After the JUMP: employees, monkeys... really too long spent talking about monkeys]
Naturally. If Harbaugh can't do camps he's going to do something:
Jim Harbaugh takes on clerk role in Genesee Probate Court
This will result in lawyers dorkin' out:
Flint Attorney Rick Hetherington, who appeared on a child support motion, on the way out asked: "Excuse me judge, but for clarification, I was wondering ... who has it better than us?"
Before the judge could respond, Harbaugh replied,
"I know the answer to that...Nobody!"
There's a 50% chance that guy has a username.
On the Go Blue Guarantee. Michigan has declared that instate students with family incomes of less than 65k a year will no longer pay tuition. This is a good thing. Maybe it's less of a "whoah" moment than it first appears since Michigan was already paying the bulk of costs for students in this income bracket, but taking it to zero means something. It also drops out a bunch of paperwork:
"The 'Go Blue Guarantee' cuts through the complexities of financial aid to help us reach talented students from all communities in our state. I have always believed that talent is ubiquitous in our society, but opportunity most certainly is not. The 'Go Blue Guarantee' helps us ensure wider opportunity."
I have Read The Comments on this, unfortunately, and one of the most common attempted gotchas is weeping for the family making 66k. They're not exactly boned by this move:
Not screwed at all. 120K is next tier, avg cost would be 7K. Scale goes all the way to 180K. pic.twitter.com/0TXjkP2LVO
— Neel (@beigegalaga) June 15, 2017
Tuition slides up gradually as income increases. As it would in any non-insane system. Concerns about families making twice the state median having problems shouldering their burden should be mitigated by the existence of 529 plans, which allow folks who have money to invest—ie, 120k-per-year households—to grow that money tax-free. You have to have a plan, but you can afford to have one at that point.
As state appropriations have shrunk as a portion of Michigan's budget, Michigan has responded by continually increasing costs for the wealthy. They've also tried to up their appeal to that segment of the population. If anything it's worked too well; Michigan's ability to enroll lower-income students has fallen off a cliff. This will help. It is unlikely to have a huge impact since ability to meet admissions standards is highly correlated with family income.
There's not much of a sports angle here unless Michigan starts covering large chunks of living costs as well. Those are estimated at about 15k annually and are covered by an athletic scholarship elsewhere. Since the sort of families covered by the guarantee are also the ones for whom 15k is a huge deal, this does not get Michigan a bunch of free scholarships for instate kids. If Michigan manages to extend this to room and board, then you might see a notably improved class of walk-on. Until then hold your birdman dot gifs about gaming the system.
Athletic budget notes. Michigan continues to live in the black after late Brandon shenanigans, projecting a two million dollar surplus this year. Athletic department budgets being what they are, a tiny profit is all that will ever be allowed. This helps schools cry poor when amateurism is questioned. Michigan can't quite disguise why a good year for the AD is always a 1% profit margin, because the way they make this happen is a PR boon:
Included in the department's projections is an increase in transfers to the university from $3.825 million in FY17 to $7.875 million in FY18.
Does the athletic department need to double the amount of money they transfer back to the general fund? No. Does the general fund need a four million dollar drop in a swimming pool of funding? No.
Michigan's also setting aside four million dollars into its deferred maintenance fund. They need to do this for major renovations—they cannot soak taxpayers by issuing bonds like pro teams—but that is also money that exits that they expensed away with some handwaving. Michigan expects to make at least 14 million dollars profit in 17-18.
That's due in no small part to this:
Conference distributions are projected to increase to $51.1 million in FY18 from $36.3 million in FY17 due mostly to a new conference media rights agreement.
You might be able to pay the players now instead of coming up with increasingly transparent ways of laundering the money.
Get hype for Gary. Peppers kind of talk about Mr. Gary from Don Brown:
Brown was asked Saturday after Michigan’s high school football camps how good Gary, a defensive end, can be.
“Best I’ve ever seen,” Brown said. “Best I’ve ever seen combining speed, strength, change of direction, and the mental curve. He’s unbelievable. The sky is the limit.
“The good thing is I think he understands that there’s a lot on his shoulders.”
It is rare to hear that kind of thing from a coach, and it portends good things.
Other minor roster notes from recent coach availabilities: Grant Perry won't play until his court issue is resolved and Grant Newsome is still expected to redshirt.
It's a contract. The NCPA, an NCAA union with the minor problem of not having any officially-designated employees to unionize, is doing what it can in the current regulatory environment. They've introduced a binding contract that they say is kosher with the NCAA that covers various aspects of the player-school relationship not covered by the LOI. Highlights:
According to the contract document obtained by CBS Sports, the CAP Agreement can be used instead of the National Letter of Intent or with the NLI. Either way, it would cover several areas the letter of intent doesn't. …
A school could be bound to an all-encompassing transfer release for a prospect before enrollment. The document asks if an institution "agrees" or "does not agree" "to comply with any request for transfer" and "to not restrict the ability" of a player to transfer to any other school. …
A school could not "cancel, reduce or fail to renew financial aid … due to injury or athletic performance." …
A player could negotiate the cost of a remaining scholarship to complete a degree at some point in the future should he/she leave early for a professional draft.
These things rarely get off the ground, unfortunately. High level players are deciding between competing under-the-table offers that supersede the relatively minor concerns this contract can cover, especially in basketball.
(Also, since I just rolled my eyes at Dennis Dodd I should point out that this is a good and interesting piece he got first.)
Da Coach D. I forgot that LSU hired Cajun Brady Hoke after running Les Miles out of town, and have been momentarily boggled by this once again. LSU has all the money in the world, and they hired an interim coach whose previous experience was crashing and burning at Ole Miss. Anyway, Orgeron is using the NCAA's new camp rules to shut the rest of the country out of Louisiana. Michigan canceled a scheduled camp of their own, but that pales in comparison to the hoops Texas has been trying to jump through:
This marks the third announced camp in Louisiana that Texas was scheduled to take part in. And it’s the third camp that LSU has worked hard behind the scenes to prevent from happening. In a phone interview earlier on Tuesday, the local high school coach who initially helped facilitate the field for the Baton Rouge camp expressed pessimism about it happening. “We're in LSU's backyard,” said Mike Roach, the coach at Madison Prep in Baton Rouge and the father of Texas player Malcolm Roach. “Louisiana home cooking may have played a part in it.” Roach, who initially tried to help facilitate the camp, declined to go into details on what LSU may have done to attempt to prevent the camp from being held at Memorial Stadium. But his comments proved to be prescient.
After camps affiliated with Texas got canceled at Louisiana College and Southeastern Louisiana in the past few weeks, Mumme acknowledged on Tuesday afternoon there was still a chance LSU or political officials in the state would attempt to thwart Texas’s presence. “Oh yeah,” Mumme said. “But it’s only a day away now. I don’t think there’s a lot they can do. The only thing that can kill it is if it rains.”
He was wrong.
A silly waste of time on their part, and one that does nothing to help anyone. It sucks most of all for the mid-level kids who might catch on at Cornell or Belhaven or wherever if they can just get in front of some coaches; top-level guys don't need and rarely work out at these satellite camps.
But Orgeron's mostly notable for being unintelligible, so that fits.
Somebody did it for me. Many thanks to the Crimson Quarry, which donned its fisking hat in response to this:
Michigan, Ohio State, etc. get $51.1 million next season. Rutgers gets $11.6 million. Highway robbery. Column: https://t.co/63St2XRPod
— Steve Politi (@StevePoliti) June 16, 2017
This saves me a couple hours of brow-furrowed typing. For real:
[Politi:] Big Ten rival Michigan
[CQ]: Ahh of course, that famous Rutger rival Michigan, against whom the games are always close.
This is a thing a person said and was paid for.
I do have assorted comments about the Rutgers thing three years in that will not reference the Politi column:
- The huge uptick in dough raked in by the league is approximately zero percent Rutgers's doing. Rutgers was useful to Delany as he attempted to expand the Big Ten Network's footprint. The 15-million-dollar uplift this year is because of the Big Ten's new national contracts with FOX and ESPN. The Michigan-OSU game, which is on FOX for the first time this year, is a bigger reason for the uplift than every game Rutgers plays in every sport.
- Rutgers is probably worth it in this brief window when they don't get a a full share and cable cutting has not been epidemic, which is all Jim Delany cares about since he's old and will never have any legacy other than dollar bills.
- We should kick Rutgers out the instant they're supposed to get a full share.
Matt Brown addresses the elephant in the room for fans: we get zilch from the Big Ten's constant dollar chasing. We get less than that.
Does the difference between $51 million in conference payouts and $43 million in conference payouts change the fan experience, or even the trajectory of football or basketball programs in a meaningful way? It’s very hard to argue it does, especially if you’re a fan of an already rich program, like say, Ohio State.
Nobody gets a bowl invitation because they got the biggest conference check. There is no trophy for it. It’s a meaningless thing to brag about.
But the addition of Rutgers does impact the fan experience and day to day performance of football and basketball programs. It means fewer games between traditional opponents for your favorite teams. It means an RPI anchor in basketball and baseball. It means an expensive road trip. And it means a lot of unwatchable games.
Again, we should kick 'em out in three years just for the fun of it.
Oh okay. Sympathy for John Calipari is still reading zero:
"They need more inventory for their own network so you just play more league games and then you have more inventory for your network to put on," Calipari said via teleconference Tuesday. "Hopefully in our case in this league (the Southeastern Conference) we stay where we are and if we don't, we'll make it work."
"What you do is, you take away some of those kind of games that have been good to us," Calipari said. "North Carolina, for example: If they go to 20 games we won't have any more series with North Carolina, so I'm not for it."
Calipari cancelled the UK-Indiana rivalry because Indiana refused to play at a neutral site. He can pound rocks.
Some hockey recruiting stuff. Bob MacKenzie's annual poll of NHL scouts and GMs in the run-up to the draft is out. Incoming freshman Josh Norris is a late first round pick at #23; rising sophomore Luke Martin is #69, nicely slotted into the early third round. Michigan also picked up its first new commit of the Pearson era when Phillipe Lapointe jumped on board a couple days ago. Phillipe is former Red Wing Martin Lapointe's son
Etc.: Muckalt hire official. Hooray for (potential) (slight) changes in municipal bonds that would (hypothetically) make it tougher for billionaires to get public money for stadiums. All hail the double team. Second string OSU TE out for season.
Oklahoma State's mascot is stranger than fiction. As college and NFL OL play diverges, busts become more common. Should be sent to all linemen considering M. Paris, London, and Normandy Beach on the docket next year. Obamas invited to be honorary captains. DJ made a good decision.
Jim Hackett gets a job. He's now the CEO of Ford. It is deeply unfortunate that Toys R Us is private, otherwise my mutual fund that just buys Ford and shorts Toys R Us would be a goldmine.
2018 hoops recruiting will start moving in the near future. Per Sam Webb, Michigan has "begun talking timeline" with OH SF Jerome Hunter, with Xavier the main roadblock. If not for Trevon Bluiett I would feel 100% terrific about that; I still feel 90% terrific about it. Webb also asserted that Canadian SF/PF Ignas Brazdeikis and MI SF Brandon Johns were the next most likely. Johns is a surprising name for me just because of his location. Also now I have learned to spell Brazdeikis so he had better come.
Another name at wing is NC SF Hunter Tyson, who is a very Beilein kind of player.
Possessing NBA-caliber 3-point range, Tyson’s work ethic and shooting stroke was never open to any scrutiny. It was his overall scoring acumen and utilizing his height to his advantage as a go-to option once open to question. Tyson heard his fair share of “soft shooter” taunts from the crowd.
He’s steadily silenced his detractors by becoming more adept around the rim and developing a feel for the above the rim game.
I've seen one or two of those before. Tyson claims an offer from Michigan despite not visiting—I assume this is another "if you visit we offer" kind of thing. That won't be long in coming:
I would say I am talking to Michigan the most currently,” Tyson explained. “Coach (John) Beilein and I have a very good relationship. I will be visiting Ann Arbor next on June 30th.
Meanwhile SG Robby Carmody told Rivals he'll decide this fall; Corey Evans thinks Purdue, Michigan, and ND are the frontrunners.
The end? Howard transfer James Daniels III, who Michigan was briefly involved with, chooses Tennessee. This is not Ohio State, another finalist, thus further consigning the Buckeyes to basketball purgatory. This is astounding:
There’s a chance that the Buckeyes could strike out on all graduate transfer or JUCO options, and head into next season with just two true bigs, and maybe even two guards total, depending on what happens with Kam Williams, who has not yet decided if he will return to the program or not.
Rutgers must be licking its chops at the prospect of finishing ahead of someone in league play.
An improved hockey schedule. The hockey schedule has been somewhere between disappointing and offensive for the past few years, with games jammed into football season willy-nilly in a schedule that alternated between exhausting game floods and month-long droughts. Happily it does appear that someone is listening. This year's conference schedule:
Michigan is getting a return visit from Arizona State the week after the second ND series, so they have successfully put together a second-half schedule with 1) no byes and 2) no month-long gaps between home games. (Playing a nonconference foe in the last week of the regular season is lame but it's a seven-team conference; someone is going to draw the short stick annually.) Adding ND, a second school that can do home-and-homes, helps immensely. Also ND is a good team and traditional rival.
Michigan's also done a much better job of avoiding football conflicts. There are only two weekends when both hockey and football will be at home, and one of them is the approaching-traditional OSU series on the weekend of the Game. Michigan knows football is at noon so a direct conflict won't happen.
Unfortunately, the nonconference schedule is still terrible. Michigan goes to Clarkson and SLU for one-offs and gets home series against Vermont, FSU, and Arizona State. Their first game in the GLI is BGSU. Only Vermont was even on the bubble last year, finishing 17th in RPI. Those four games against ND are a major upgrade at least.
Grub grub grub. Minnesota is apparently considering selling naming rights to Mariucci Arena. This would be roughly equivalent to Michigan turning a hypothetical Berenson Ice Arena into the Yum Dot Com Exclamation Point Center. At least when Illinois sold out its basketball arena it was confusingly named the same thing as Indiana's arena; this would be naming malpractice on a scale rarely seen. Here is a good comment(!) on The Daily Gopher:
We take in over $110 million in revenue in a year. Do you know how much we get per year from TCF Bank for their naming rights? 1.4 million dollars. Literally, like, one percent of our our annual revenue. I’d be shocked if we get even close to that for Mariucci.
If you think the drop in the bucket we get from auctioning off our names and traditions is going to make a noticeable difference in the quality of the product on the field, you’re wrong.
There remains no money with which to play the players.
Speaking of naming malpractice. The new Wings/Pistons arena going up in downtown might bring some events of interest to Detroit, including the Big Ten basketball tournament. It's already landed two sets of first-weekend NCAA tournament games and the 2020 Frozen Four. So we've got that going for us even if the iconic downtown arena is undergoing the worst naming transition in history.
Etc.: Football ranked 10th by Athlon. Kiper has Mo Hurst the top senior DT for next year's NFL draft; Khalid Hill is the #2 FB. Guy employed by NFL Network compares Saquon Barkley to… Le'Veon Bell? What? Wilson and Wagner decisions by Wednesday night.
We could do this in the middle of Texas or at home. It's not hard to figure out how neutral site games are viable when home and homes sometimes aren't:
For a regular season game... pic.twitter.com/KVQA4c8JYm
— LG (@LGhail) February 27, 2017
Ticket prices for the Bama game were similar. Throw in a corporate sponsorship and voila: both teams can get close to home game money. We're in a weird place when schools find it necessary to outsource these kind of things. If I was AD I'd ask season ticket holders how much of a surcharge they'd be okay with to get a game like Florida at the Big House. I'm guessing it would cover a lot of the costs of a real game relative to a bodybag game, if not all of them. Michigan doesn't need to cut in a middleman*.
*[Except maybe in this particular case. This game is happening because of the ND cancellation that left Brandon scrambling. This is probably the best alternative to a negotiated agreement. I'll leave it to the reader to decide how much of the situation Michigan found itself in was Brandon.]
Color me unconcerned. Crain's engages some concern-trolling about Michigan's debt load:
The University of Michigan athletic department sits atop $240 million in debt at a time when several major college athletics programs are grappling with enormous and potentially crippling debt loads.
Michigan is not. They make 160 million annually, so their debt load is manageable. Someone making 80k with a 120k mortgage is in fine shape, and unlike a mortgage Michigan's debt load largely exists because Bill Martin built the boxes to increase revenues. A mortgage does not throw off income.
The article itself admits this by way of the bond market:
Unlike some of its cash-strapped peers, Michigan has a packed Big House on fall Saturdays, deep-pocket donors, an elite credit rating, and it expects its share of TV money to keep increasing — a mix the university expects to give it the financial maneuverability to readily pay what it owes and to keep borrowing to build or refurbish its facilities.
This seems to defeat the purpose of this article, which goes on to discuss the slow decline of ESPN and fracturing of the cable unit—none of which has slowed the explosive revenue growth Michigan and the Big Ten has not only seen recently but locked in for the next six years. It also invokes Cal as a potential disaster situation. Cal was 22 million dollars in the red last year and has almost twice Michigan's debt. The situations are not at all similar.
Dave Brandon was a lot of things, but he wasn't Tom Goss.
Interesting twitter exchange. PFF likes Channing Stribling's coverage a lot. His run D, not so much.
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) February 27, 2017
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Stribling noticed this and tweeted about it, leading to a brief, interesting conversation between Stribling and James Ross:
@jross_iii bro i had to fit the C gap...thats harder than settin edge bro
— Channing Stribling (@C_Strib8) February 28, 2017
@jross_iii lol ima get in there but there aint much i can do wit that...thats alllll you lol
— Channing Stribling (@C_Strib8) February 28, 2017
I'm with PFF after some boggling missed tackles but he can fix that, and his coverage was just as good as Lewis's.
This won't be a surprise to Chat Sports aficionados. James Yoder, "CEO" of Chat Sports, tried to buy the Cauldron, another website, for about two million dollars. This naturally resulted in a fraudulent term sheet, a ton of finger-pointing, and ham-handed cover-up attempts. Yoder comes off as completely unhinged in the story:
Yoder says that Jamie O’Grady is a “master of creating fake emails.”
As a demonstration, Yoder sent me, at my work email address, a fake email that made it look like I had emailed Yoder asking for help finding clean urine. Yoder stressed that he faked an email from me strictly to show me what O’Grady does.
After I privately forwarded the email to my editors, Yoder emailed me again asking why his email had been opened multiple times; he had tracked the email. “We track every email we send,” he says. “We use an email tracking service.”
This is because he is totally unhinged. "Spoofing and phishing tactic mastered by the other party." Cumong, man. Even OJ Simpson didn't go around giving stabbing demos.
The article briefly mentions the aspect of Chat Sports most infamous around here, but doesn't quite get it right:
In its early days, Chat Sports posted original content from many different writers—some of those bylines, like Rick Steele or Tipp Smith, have Twitter accounts that have tweeted only one time. Were they fake? Yoder says yes. “Absolutely we had fake writers,” he says. “That’s because we’re a scrappy company. What do you have when you start a company? You have zero traffic, you have zero name brand… So we had a writer program for college-aged kids… and sometimes they had information about things that they didn’t really feel comfortable writing in their own names. Some people think that’s such a terrible thing—‘journalistic integrity!’—that’s called growth hacking.”
The problem with the fake writers was not that they were operating under pseudonyms but that the stories they "reported" were made up. Chat Sports has the same business plan that Macedonian teenagers did during the election: say anything at all shocking or controversial that dullards on the internet propagate because they can't tell the difference between Chat Sports and something with a smidgen of credibility. Buzzfeed has an article about a similar company that spews out near-identical posts for political dullards on both left and right. The parallels go all the way down to the obvious stock photos used for author bios.
The only truly surprising thing in the story is that Yoder was able to find a dupe despite coming off like Borat The Investor. Remember Borat? NOT! Good times.
Anyway, don't post Chat Sports stories here.
Austin Davis: good? Michigan's center situation this year is bogglingly shallow, which naturally makes one wonder how good Austin Davis can possibly be if he's redshirting. Beilein says he's all right, though:
"He's really good, that's all I'm going to tell you," Beilein said today. "I wish, I knew what I know now." ...
"In the middle of January, it all started slowing down," Beilein said. "Guys just throw him the ball and he puts it in. There's no drama, there's no Kardashians. The ball is in. The ball goes in."
I'm not sure how to react to that. If Davis was in fact very good and was doing that well in January, keeping the redshirt on him is an odd decision. OTOH, he might not play even if he is very good. The only thing Beilein hates more than playing a freshman point guard is playing a freshman post. Not even Mitch McGary got much run until really late in the year. (Jordan Morgan took a redshirt before emerging into a starter.) Wagner barely got off the bench last year despite Michigan's center situation being Mark Donnal and a guy with literal narcolepsy.
I do think Davis is going to be a breath of fresh, rebound-y air next year. He's a burly dude, something Michigan hasn't had since McGary.
I very much want to see a Michigan lineup that goes Teske/Davis-Wagner-Wilson-Matthews-Simpson. That will look like the Monstars with Webster at point guard.
Etc.: Spencer's take on Ole Miss is kinder than mind and good. More croot profiles: Andrew Stueber. Goodbye, eggs. Peppers draft stuff. HSR on Wagner. Get The Picture with more Ole Miss fallout. Jim Harbaugh is not sticking to sports. Lewis draft stuff. Harbaugh thinks Grant Newsome will be back this year.
Bad things in East Lansing. This is going to be a bad week for Michigan State.
Tourney sel. chair Mark Hollis has canceled his 2-week CBB road trip due to obligations as Michigan St. AD that require him to be on campus.
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) February 13, 2017
Nothing definitive has been released yet save for MSU's statement that three players and one staffer are under investigation for sexual assault; people seem to be expecting something very bad. Bad enough that point and laugh rivalry stuff is inappropriate.
Solomon aftermath. Georgia fired its DL coach, Tracy Rocker, in the immediate aftermath of Signing Day. A Scout article asserted Rocker got in an argument with Aubrey Solomon's mom in an attempt to offer up an explanation, and recriminations ensued. Jeff Sentrell of Dawgnation* interviewed Sabrina Caldwell to get her side of things, and I have some bad news for Teddy Greenstein:
She said a big reason why Georgia didn’t sign her son centered on coaching decisions and not anything specific in their recruiting relationship.
Caldwell said they were affected by the scholarship that was no longer there for 4-star Texas RB and longtime UGA commit Toneil Carter.
Adding to the confusion: SEC All-Freshman kicker Rodrigo Blankenship was not extended a scholarship offer despite what he did to win games for the Bulldogs last season.
She said that was not her family’s fight but that it was a factor into how they perceived UGA.
“We were concerned with the scholarship issues of those not either receiving (them) or getting it pulled and again (this was) not our fight but it played a factor,” she said.
Michigan won that recruitment in part because it looked like the more stable and straightforward program a year after forcibly decommitting multiple kids late in the cycle. While there was something Michigan needed to get fixed (as I said at the time), fix it they did, and next year's Erik Swenson Is Thriving Despite Being Done Wrong article will have the same impact this year's did: nil.
Caldwell's comments caused some introspection at Georgia-focused Get The Picture. It sounds familiar to anyone who read "Pick Up The Damn Phone" last year:
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the amount of angst that cropped up in the comments following my post about Jeff Sentell’s interview with Aubrey Solomon’s mother. It’s hard to let go of a gauzy, romantic image that you’re invested in, and for many, the ideal of a football program that doesn’t stoop to making business decisions when it comes to roster management is a powerful one. (As powerful as the ideal that student-athletes are already more than fairly compensated for the privilege of playing. But I digress.)
Anyway, whatever else one might say about the Process, romantic it ain’t. Kirby is being paid to win. In his mind that includes pushing roster management aggressively. The issues with Carter and Blankenship arose because Smart was at the edge, numbers-wise, with the 2017 class before the four underclassmen stepped up to announce they were staying. That decision — and would any of us have preferred that they leave for the NFL? — meant that Smart had to do a lot of re-jiggering on the fly.
I’m not defending the way the Carter situation was handled. Smart botched that by not stepping up and telling the kid himself. But he’s being paid to put together the best roster he can and that’s what he’s trying to do.
For what it's worth, I believe that recruits' publicly stated reasons why they chose school X are almost always post-hoc backfilling after a decision has been made. Georgia wasn't the choice but Rodrigo Blankenship isn't the reason why.
Also: GTP mentions that 100% above-board Mark Richt often slogged through SEC seasons with 70-some scholarship players. That's the choice the current system gives you: nobly waste resources or push the envelope with the detrimental effects to the croots. That's a dumb system.
Michigan is navigating it better than they did last year, and Georgia will probably follow suit.
*[Despite the fact that it sounds like a dot blogspot, Dawgnation is an Atlanta Journal-Constitution-owned UGA site roughly equivalent to a single-team Land Of 10, which is also an AJC property. IE: they got the journalisms.]
The haves split from the other haves. Also spotted on GTP is this article from Jon Wilner detailing the coming revenue split even amongst the Power 5 conferences:
Fiscal year 2015 school distributions (all figures confirmed):
SEC: $32.7 million
Big Ten: $32.4 million
Pac-12: $25.1 million
Fiscal year 2016 school distributions
SEC: $40 million (confirmed)
Big Ten: $35 million (approximate)
Pac-12: $27 million (approximate)
That looks bad … that is bad … but it’s about to get much worse for the Pac-12.
Remember: The Big Ten’s new Tier 1 deal begins in 2017-18, and it’s also a whopper, averaging $440 million per year.
Which brings us to …
Fiscal year 2017-18 school distributions …
Big Ten: $45 million (estimate)
SEC: $43 million (estimate)
Pac-12: $31 million (estimate)
This is an even bigger gap than it looks because most SEC athletic departments run close to the bare minimum number of sports to qualify as D-I and Big Ten and Pac-12 schools carry up to 12 additional teams under that revenue umbrella.
Not only is paying the players the correct thing to do from a moral, ethical, and free market standpoint; it is a Very Good Thing for the Big Ten as it tries to be good at football. And there can be absolutely no argument that the money is there. As of 2011 the Big Ten's payout was 23 million. By 2018 there will be 22 million dollars a year that did not exist just a few years ago. Half of that is sufficient to pay the revenue sports athletes 100k a year.
In bubble news. (Not that bubble.) Disney CEO and therefore ESPN CEO Bill Iger:
Disney CEO Bob Iger thinks there are too many ads on TV, and he's exploring whether Disney's ESPN and ABC channels should reduce the amount of commercials.
“In general there is probably too much commercial interruption in television,” Iger said during Disney's quarterly earnings call Tuesday, especially when TV is competing with new digital upstarts like Netflix, some of whom don't have ads at all.
Iger said Disney would evaluate the amount of ads aired within programs for its ESPN and ABC TV channels, though he did not say that any cuts to the so-called ad load were looming.
My eyes pop out of my head when my mother voluntarily turns on cable TV programming with ads in it. (It's always HGTV, and they're always building tiny houses for some damn reason.) Live sports has long been the last bulwark against that kind of thing because there are no alternatives, but my God last year was brutal. The number of three-and-outs both preceded and followed by commercial breaks seemed to go up exponentially. At some point you have to balance out the money you're making now with the money your losing down the road by making your product worse, and it's especially grating when the people actually comprising the product are not even compensated.
In bubble news. (That bubble.) Michigan's moved out of the last four in on Lunardi's bracketology. They are one spot behind... Michigan State? The hell?
I mostly look at Kenpom so that's jarring. There MSU is 54th; Michigan 31st. Metrics that are not margin aware, like RPI, have that ranking inversed. MSU is #41 in RPI; Michigan is 61st. MSU's main accomplishment in the eyes of RPI is to have lost to a bunch of good teams.
Insert general scheduling lament here.
The little details. Good rostering continues:
— Matt Baldeck (@MattBaldeck) February 10, 2017
Michigan picks up another longsnapper, Matt Baldeck. Baldeck is making the Threet transfer: enrolling early and then transferring after his first semester. As a walk-on. Who was at Ole Miss.
Etc.: Freddy Canteen transfers to ND, which will be interesting. I expected him to land at a smaller school. Indiana takes from Quinn and Holdin' The Rope. More croot profiles: Brad Robbins, JaRaymond Hall. Not a banner year in the Big Ten.
So... how did that happen? Ohio State lost to Penn State over the weekend. You may not be aware of this so I will pause for your chortling.
All right. Done? No?
how bout now nvm
Okay. Now we can proceed. While OSU losing to Penn State, a team Michigan beat 49-10, has caused no end of merriment in the Michigan fan base*, there was an awful lot of flukiness in the PSU win. OSU outgained PSU by a wide margin, held them to under 300 yards of offense, and had a 64% win expectancy per S&P+. PSU made up the deficit with two huge special teams plays, the first a blocked punt that set up a field goal to pull them within four, the second a kick-six that turned an potential 7-point OSU lead into the three point deficit they'd lose by.
Normally I'd write those off as flukes not applicable to the Game, but Michigan has already blocked six kicks this year and has Jabrill Peppers sitting back there for any teams who want to get overly concerned about getting the punt off. Advantage: Michigan.
Meanwhile, PFF's evaluation contains some shocking stats about the OSU OL:
...the entire unit struggled in pass protection, surrendering a staggering 34 pressures between them, with RT Isaiah Prince accounting for almost half of those by himself. The spark of Curtis Samuel’s untouched 74-yard touchdown run and Marcus Baugh’s tackle-breaking exploits in the first quarter weren’t repeated in the final 25 minutes of the game.
And it could have been worse for OSU. Star Nittany Lion DE Garrett Sickels sat out the first half. This did not prevent him from racking up 2.5 sacks. A different PFF article has a different pressure number but it's still boggling: 28 pressures on 53 dropbacks. Taco Charlton and Chris Wormley are likely to do similar work. PSU's 28th in adjusted sack rate. Michigan is 4th.
A second major issue was an inability to get to Saquon Barkley near the line of scrimmage:
the Penn State offensive line set up Barkley with 41 of his 99 rushing yards before contact, and Barkley didn’t have to break any tackles while coming up just a yard shy of a 100-yard game. The star on the offensive line for the third straight week was RT Brendan Mahon, who dominated the Ohio State front on the ground, combining particularly well on double teams to blow the Buckeyes’ defensive tackles out of the middle of the play and disrupt the linebackers behind them.
Later in that piece PFF will advocate for OSU's backup DTs to play over the starters after PSU and Wisconsin gashed OSU up the gut repeatedly. I will repeat: PSU—THE Penn State University—gashed Ohio State up the gut. Penn State. That one. That team. The one with Paris Palmer in the starting lineup again. They got 8.2 yards per carry between the tackles. (Why on Earth they only gave Barkley 12 carries is completely inexplic—oh right James Franklin.)
OSU's run D looks fine statistically, but that's largely due to 4 TEAM rushes for a total of –43 yards. Those were three kneels from the gun and a yakety snap over the punter's head. Remove those and Penn State rushed for an even 5 yards a carry without a single broken tackle from Barkley.
Michigan looks like they have a significant advantage on both lines. I can't believe I'm saying that but here we are.
*[My favorite thing is OSU fans saying it was a ROAD NIGHT GAME since Vegas is now offering 40 points for home field advantage.]
In other OSU issues. Land Grant Holy Land notes that OSU doesn't get many explosive plays. It's Curtis Samuel and that's it. In a very James Franklin twist, Samuel had two carries for 71 yards against PSU. And as always, I recommend Ross Fulton's OSU breakdown.
Meanwhile in this week's matchup. It doesn't look good for MSU:
How is Michigan State going to move the football?
I'm not sure how else to headline this bullet point. If you look at the numbers -- what Michigan's done on defense and what Michigan State's done on offense -- you get a pretty simple result. Michigan State will have to completely change the way it runs offense, overnight, and Michigan's defense will have to take a massive step backward for the Spartans to move the ball with consistency.
For the year, 22.2 percent of MSU's offensive possession have reached the red zone (No. 117 nationally). Michigan's defense, meanwhile, has allowed offenses to reach the red zone on just 6.7 percent of their possessions. That's No. 1 nationally. Michigan State also ranks near the bottom nationally in number of possessions per game at 12.6 and near the bottom in average field position. MSU is No. 91 nationally in rush yards per game, Michigan's No. 4 nationally in rush defense. If numbers hold, this could be a great day for Michigan's defense and a long one for MSU's offense.
MSU's gotta hope that some long bombs get completed and LJ Scott can conjure something up himself.
Bill Connelly gets to talk about his numbers too. We've been doing it all year, and he joins the "holy crap, Michigan's defense in S&P+" brigade:
Def. S&P+ is presented in an adjusted points-per-game figure and is created from an opponent-adjusted mix of efficiency, explosiveness, finishing drives, turnover factors, and field position factors. Here are its top five defenses in the country:
5. Wisconsin (12.4 Adj. PPG)
4. Alabama (11.9)
3. Florida (11.3)
2. Clemson (11.0)
1. Michigan (0.8)
Yes, these numbers are adjusted for garbage time, so Jim Harbaugh’s general ruthlessnessisn’t giving the Wolverines an added statistical advantage.
Yes, these numbers are adjusted for opponent, though while Michigan’s schedule was supposedto be awful, it really hasn’t been; among Wolverine victims, Wisconsin is 10th in overall S&P+, Penn State is 16th, and Colorado is 17th.
Jim Harbaugh is crazy part infinity. SBN notes that Harbaugh does things without knowing what the score is. Deadspin gets into Harbaugh's inability to let that fourth-quarter spot go, and I make note of the latter mostly to highlight a couple of comments. One:
When Tomsula wouldn’t let anything go, you called him a hoarder and impounded his car.
He was my daughter’s micro-soccer coach when she and his kid were 4 years old. He couldn’t have been nicer, more mellow, or better liked by the kids. He adapts to every situation to be great at whatever it is.
I almost don't want to believe the latter.
Baumgardner pokes the bear. Cumong man:
No disrespect, Michigan State, but Michigan's focused on bigger things for 2016
That's probably worth a field goal, that headline.
Harbaugh is worth it. Financially, things are going swimmingly:
U-M's overall revenue in spectator admissions increased to $45.1 million during the 2016 fiscal year, compared to $41.9 million in 2015. The $3.2 million increase was primarily due to an increase in football ticket demand, according to the financial analysis, which was approved by the U-M Board of Regents on Thursday, Oct. 20.
In comparison, spectator admissions decreased $8.3 million in 2015 due to a decrease in football, men's basketball and ice hockey admissions.
Overall, the athletic department saw an increase of $7.8 million to its net position for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, which is up from 2015's $1 million overall increase.
He literally pays for himself, and that's before various other application/donation things get factored in.
RIP Drew Sharp, troll. People should memorialize the dead as they knew them. Much of the Detroit media has done so in the case of Drew Sharp, who passed away at 56 this Friday. Those who knew him say he was a great and funny guy whose button-pushing writing shouldn't define the man, and I won't dispute that.
However, much of the memorializing has bothered me because it skips straight over the lasting fact of Drew Sharp's career: he was an unrepentant troll. There is a certain genre of newspaper columnist or radio talking head that is relentlessly negative because that's the only thing he can do that gets a reaction, and Sharp was Detroit's version. (There's one in every city.) He didn't have readers. He had marks.
His cynicism was breathtaking, and this was never more clear than in the immediate aftermath of Michigan signing Demar Dorsey. Sharp correctly diagnosed that circus as desperation on the part of Rich Rodriguez, but for the wrong reason. Dorsey was nowhere close to qualifying and never came close, spending his career at various vagabond stops en route to a brief Arena League career. It's a sad story about kids who come up rough and can't make it out.
Or, if you're Drew Sharp, it's an opportunity to bash a teenager who ended up in trouble:
MATT SHEPARD: "He was timed with a 4.4—"
SHARP: "Avoiding police."
SHEPARD: "That happened when he was 16 and he was acquitted.
SHARP: "I wonder if that was because he was a high profile recruit. Hmm. I wonder. … OJ got acquitted. Being acquitted doesn't mean you're innocent."
That's the only thing he ever did that made me legitimately angry; the rest of it was eye-rolling at his transparent attempts to troll people. I only knew his writing, so I knew him as a man with contempt for everything and an utter lack of empathy.
Meanwhile his writing level and banter was barely above every message board's worst poster. Deadspin got its hands on a couple of his Brandon-esque emails some years back, and since those come through without the benefit of seven layers of editing they're the clearest picture of his talent as a writer.
Does the little baby need a pacifier?
Yeah, Detroit needs writers that makes excuses for the city and simply tell the idiots in this town just want to hear.
They've been doing that for 30 years in this town and that's a big reason why Detroit is swirling down the toilet.
Oh, I'm sorry...that's not a "happy feel good story" is it?
He had none. Drew Sharp's death is a loss to those who knew him. His career is his career, though, and shouldn't be viewed through sepia-tinged glasses. It says something that most of the newspaper obits start with "if you look past the thing he did every day for the last 30 years, he was a great guy." Mmmhmm.
Etc.: Nebraska regent reacts to players' kneeling protest badly. Nobody on the NTDP is a first round lock this year but two Michigan commits are candidates. Hockey also picked up a commit from D Mike Vukojevic, a potential first round OHL draft pick. Brendan Quinn on Xavier Simpson. Kill 'em with kindness. Also your DL.
On who can make the call to change the years Michigan plays MSU on the road:
“It’s a combination of television, and where we have control it falls on the home team and not the visiting team, and that’s usually in conference and non-conference. But most of that now, any game changing assignments, time assignments, is usually done by television through the conference office. We don’t really have a lot of say. They may ask us what we’d like to do, but we now don’t have a say in picking the game times at this point.”
On breaking up the two home, two away format of the schedule and whether that’s something he’s pursuing:
“Conversations are continuing to be had about what we’d like but there’s 13 other schools in the conference. Scheduling, whether you have 10 teams in the league, eight teams in the league, or 14 like we do, is very hard to do. I don’t negate that. Would I love to see Ohio State and Michigan State on different years? Yes. Do I think it’s hard to do given where we are now? Yes. Will I continue to still have the conversations that need to be had to try to see if there’s anything that can be done? Yes. Is it easy? No.”
On whether he plans to present that to the board:
“I plan on having any conversation I need to have to the benefit of Michigan athletics. Listen, I have great colleagues. Jim Delany is a great commissioner. We have a great staff in the Big Ten. I have great colleagues across the conferences. We all have different things, tweaks, that we may like to see. I’m not the sole member that may want tweaks and changes to the schedule. As soon as we can have that conversation with everyone or individually, and conversations I’ve already had and discussion points, I’m working to understand as well as to talk about what I believe is in the best interest of Michigan.”
On whether Michigan will have to wait until the next batch of schedules is released to make a change:
“Probably, yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s not going to change overnight. It’s trying to figure out how we can make any adjustments, and people know that we would like to see an adjustment to that.”
On changing the schedules that are in place:
“Listen, I’m not proposing that what we already have changes immediately, but I do want to have the conversation—I have had some—to understand and…but again, in talking to some of my colleagues, there are some things that other ADs would like to see on their football schedules. So, while we talk about the imbalance of Michigan State and Ohio State, both of them being away or at home, they have other tweaks or changes that they would like to see on their schedule. And once you start putting all that together, now you’ve got a big cauldron of issues that you’ve got to try and figure out, right?
“It’s not as simple as me saying, ‘Well, we want this’ and everybody saying, ‘Okay, we’ll just change it.’ If you start to make the changes—and you guys are very smart—as you start to look at the other schedules you’ll see that there’s more moves than just flipping one to one year and keeping the other on the other year. I mean, there’s more that needs to happen. So, it’s complex enough that the conversations need to be had and I’ll continue to have them when the issue comes up.”
[After THE JUMP: who has input on alternate uniforms, Harbaugh as attention lightning rod, and a bit about Harbaugh’s contract]
What are you doing? As part of their deal with the devil, once a year Notre Dame has to abandon their classic blue and gold for colors that don't even exist:
Nothing is any of those colors except the helmet: urine when you're dehydrated. The helmet comes nowhere near anything else on the uniform. They've got as many design elements as you put on your rad-ass logo the first time you ever opened up your pirated copy of photoshop in seventh grade. Also:
2. "Authentic Irish Pub" in suburban upstate New York lookin' ass font. Guy who has never left his hometown but never shuts up about how Irish he is ass font. This font is so dumb, if you let your eyes lose focus, the letters automatically rearrange into "You know, the Guinness they have in Ireland is different and much better than here in the US."
These are the worst things Under Armour does annually.
I hesitate to suggest that Michigan won't do similar things under Harbaugh because not even he can stand against the tide by himself, but so far so good. Last year's all-white road uniforms were sharp and we haven't had uniformz announced or even rumored. It is possible. Texas, Alabama, and USC have largely or even entirely avoided uniforms that look like a wrestler's entrance video.
Harbaugh uptick. MLive covers how Michigan and MSU spend their money, albeit with poorly-axis'd graphs. The most interesting bit is a clear Harbaugh surge in spending on support staff:
This is spending on guys like Erik Campbell, TJ Weist, Bam Richards, Devin Bush Sr, etc. Michigan almost doubled its spending on support staff in Harbaugh's first year, hitting 2.7 million. The number they landed on doesn't seem like a coincidence:
In its 2013-14 NCAA financial report, Alabama reported spending $2.7 million on football support staff. … Clemson reported spending $2.5 million on football support staff in 2013-14, up from $480,000 about a decade ago.
Harbaugh asked and got the same budget as the two teams who played for the national title this year.
Michigan's recruiting expenses also saw an uptick, but I don't know if these numbers account for Satellite Camp World Tour 1.0 or not; either way the financial impact of those tours is going to be a slight increase in a number best described as "piddling."
Michigan was good at kickoffs. Michigan was 17th nationally in opponent drives following a kickoff that started at the 25 or worse and 16th when they tried to return kickoffs past the 25 themselves. That success rate was only 57% despite ranking in the top 20—so much of the value in a kick return is the 50 yards at the end that almost never happen but sometimes do.
I think they'll be good in both departments this year. Kenny Allen got good hang time and a lot of touchbacks, and whoever Michigan opts for as a returner is going to be fast and mean.
More expansion, hooray. If the Big 12 is going to expand they should just take BYU and Houston and be done with it. Houston doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the same reason Pitt was never seriously considered by the Big Ten—footprint rules everything around me—but when the other options are Cincinnati, Memphis, UConn, and directional Floridas, Houston starts to look mighty appealing anyway. So of course a former president of CBS sports recommends UConn:
For that reason, Pilson advised the Big 12 to take a page from the Big Ten’s playbook. Much as the Big Ten, a traditionally Midwestern league, recently added Rutgers and Maryland to plant its flag near several East Coast population centers, the Big 12, whose members reside in Great Plains states and Texas (and West Virginia), ought to invite Connecticut to join, Pilson said.
“Having Texas and Oklahoma and the other major Big 12 schools playing in the Northeast would create additional revenue opportunities and make it a more attractive conference in terms of new sponsors and a better linear television deal,” Pilson said.
That seems nuts to me. The Big 12 does not have a network and won't have one unless Texas gives the LHN up, which no. If Texas really wants exposure in a different part of the country they'll blow the Big 12 up.
Invite Purdue and Rutgers to join the Big 12 conference.
Yep, you heard me. Purdue University and Rutgers University would be great fits for your fledgling conference, since they really round out and diversify what the conference needs most. And to help you out, I even made a pro/con list for each school and why they'd work in the Big 12. …
- There are no drawbacks to this move whatsoever
A compelling case from the Crimson Quarry.
There is a Big Ten angle here. 247's Bobby Burton notes that the Big 12 has a grant of rights agreement through 2025 and Texas is seriously considering an exit at that point:
The only assurance Texas, or any school for that matter, could truly give to any newcomer is the "grant of rights" to the league that is currently in place. That grant for Texas and all of teams of the Big 12 extends to 2025.
Yet I don't see an extension of the grant of rights occurring based on my discussion with a high-ranking Texas official this morning.
"I do not like any of the choices," the official said. "(I) want to watch to see if there is a move to extend the grant of TV rights. I will fight that tooth and nail."
Per Burton, Texas's president and chancellor both prefer the Big Ten to the Pac-12 or SEC. Oddly, he says "expect Texas to ask for an annual trip to Chicago and to either of the East Coast markets," which almost certainly can't happen without making the division structure insane. Chicago they can manage since the West division in that event is going to be Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Texas, Northwestern, Illinois, and whichever other Big 12 refugee hypothetically comes along.
By the way, at that point you're back down to playing the other division 25% of the time even with nine conference games. Hooray expansion.
Persons profiled. Angelique profiles Mo Hurst…
Hurst has been on the Uber clock this summer, logging miles and earning money, in addition to interning at Blue Lion Fitness in Ann Arbor.
“I’ve just done it for extra cash, pretty much that’s it,” the affable 6-foot-2, 282-pound lineman said. “I definitely like the flexibility. I can work whenever, which helps with my schedule with (football) workouts and working at Blue Lion Fitness.”
Once camp begins Aug. 8, however, Hurst’s Uber days will be over. But he’s enjoyed the experience, especially longer trips to the airport which net $22.
…and Dymonte Thomas:
“Jake [Butt] is a character. We talk trash every day. He likes to get better. He knows in the NFL there are going to be DBs who are quick and fast and strong, kind of like me, who are going to cover him, and he’s going to have to get open. That’s why he likes the competition. He’ll go against the linebacker, but he knows if he can get open on a DB, he can get open on a linebacker, so Jake and I go at it every day.”
Thomas offered a Butt scouting report as well:
“Jake’s going to be probably a first-round pick,” Thomas said. “Jake has got strides. It’s not like he’s super fast, but he has long strides that make him fast. He’s really good with his double moves and he’s really good at sticking, stopping and going. If you don’t slow him down, he will leave you. He’s sneaky fast.”
Etc.: This Harbaugh conspiracy theory is just crazy enough to consider. My take on the new apparel: it's definitely a shirt. Jordan Poole playing well in AAU. Fixing the schedule needs 7 B10 ADs to approve. Hugh Freeze has a future in politics. Moritz Wagner profiled.