There Is Even More Money

There Is Even More Money

Submitted by Brian on April 20th, 2016 at 12:04 PM

The Big Ten will have yet more money with which to not fire Darrell Hazell in the near future:

Fox is close to signing a deal that gives it half of the Big Ten’s available media rights package, according to several sources. Deal terms still are flexible – both in terms of money and rights. However, the two sides have agreed on basic terms that will give Fox the rights to around 25 football games and 50 basketball games that it will carry on both the broadcast channel and FS1 starting in the fall of '17. The deal runs six years and could cost Fox as much as $250M per year, depending on the amount of rights the Big Ten conference puts in its second package.

Let's think some thoughts about this.

First, this is why the TV networks hurl the money. Combine this graph

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…with the relative prosperity of Big Ten folks versus the other section of the country that can't get enough college football and you get a lot of money. When it comes to Jim Delany, this is strictly Bedouins owning the land the oil is on. It's replacement-level performance. You are the reason TV networks are throwing crazy dollars at the Big Ten.

Second, it's a lot of money. Per SBD, the potential 250 million dollar deal is half of a package the Big Ten is currently getting 112 million for from ESPN and CBS. I imagine the total will come in under a half billion dollars a year unless they want to evaporate from ESPN entirely, which they probably don't. It's still a staggering amount of dough.

Third, it's not for very long. A six year term is unusually short when it comes to these kind of contracts, and it puts the Big Ten's rights up at around the same time everybody else sees theirs expire. Six years may be unusually short from the perspective of rights contracts—the BTN has their rights package until 2032(!)—but this is an unusual transition period.

In six years everyone may decide to boot the middleman and make everything more or less WWE Network, except unscripted. Or they may carry on because momentum is a powerful thing and ESPN matters. Meanwhile, networks are already looking at the number of dollars they've committed in a uncertain environment and blanching. SBN reports that ESPN's offer was "not competitive."

The Big Ten wanted a deal that would expire at the same time the BTN deal does and did not get it. Uncertainty reigns.

Fourth, mark your calendars. In six years there will be another tumultuous period of conference expansion. Contracts will be more or less up across the spectrum, grant-of-rights agreements in the ACC will be close to expiring, and it'll be time for another dance of doom.

Fifth, I'm relatively happy about FOX. Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt are both great and we'll be hearing a lot more of them call Michigan games in the future. Gus doing more Michigan basketball is also enticing. FS1 is a wasteland of hot takes delivered by morons, but FOX's actual game coverage has gotten a lot better over the last few years.

Also, adding college football to Fox networks increases the WALL OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL effect on Saturdays this fall. More options for games to watch and less pressure to bump Michigan off of noon windows* gets a thumbs up from me. I kind of want Fox to always put Michigan on at noon on the broadcast network.

*[Noon is the best time for a game if you want to watch the rest of CFB.]

Sixth, just pay some people. The Big Ten now has hundreds of millions of dollars and no additional expenses.

Unverified Voracity Feels The Feels Again

Unverified Voracity Feels The Feels Again

Submitted by Brian on March 29th, 2016 at 1:17 PM

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the world is a vampire [Bryan Fuller]

Exit Spike. This is not fair, to dredge up the sadness that I already went through once when Spike retired:

Bleah. Michigan has Xavier Simpson coming in and is already one over on scholarships after the Tyus Battle recruitment caused Beilein to break bad, so that was more or less inevitable. I would hope that Spike at least avoids Big Ten schools even if Michigan doesn't restrict that. (If they can restrict a grad transfer. It is not clear to me they can.) It'll be interesting to see if he lands at a major program or ends up at a mid-major because of the hips. It'll be fun to root for Spike if he's got 30% usage on a 14-seed. If he's at Indiana not so much.

I'm not hearing any of the many complaints about Beilein's roster management here. Michigan had a plan, and that plan is a good plan. Spike's injury is an event you cannot anticipate, and once it happens you've got a choice between carrying a third point guard for a year and shoving some other dude off the roster. No offense intended to Spike but this was the way to go.

The upcoming Deal. The Big Ten's media rights are coming up for bid in the near future, probably for the last time ever in a cable bundle world. Andy Staples surveys the scene:

If this were 2013, when the cable bundle felt as if it would stay intact for much longer, ESPN could throw money at the Big Ten for two reasons: The rights are valuable, and an exclusive deal for the league's first-tier rights would essentially choke out Fox and ensure that all of the best college games aired on ESPN networks. Under that scenario, the amount of money would extend into the ludicrous, as Fox would counter with a huge amount because it needs those games to attract viewers. …

This mega-bidding war likely won't happen for two reasons. First, networks will be constrained by the economic factors described above. Second, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany may want to split up the rights. He has fought his battles with ESPN, but he also knows the Worldwide Leader can stop talking about a conference that doesn't appear on its air. Meanwhile, Fox owns 51% of the Big Ten Network, so it is a valuable partner. … The Big Ten will still probably double or even triple the previous deal and cement itself as the highest-grossing conference in college sports.

And thus the amateurism model will become even more untenable.

Staples wonders about how long this deal will be; the answer will probably depend on the channels. The Big Ten should take the longest possible deal since by the end of it there's a strong possibility it's a boat anchor for the broadcasters no longer being propped up by little old ladies who just want to watch NCIS.

Please remember this if they go in a submarine again. Baumgardner:

I've seen Michigan's football team practice for a total of 16 hours this spring. Five practices. I haven't been around for 50 years, but it's probably safe to say this month has featured more on-field practice access than those previous 50 years combined. This sort of stuff doesn't happen around here. It really never has.

I only got to see four of those and even so they are quite an antidote to the antics that surround the program. I mean, it's not like it's a surprise that Jim Harbaugh is a football coach who runs football practices, but there are folks who lose the forest for the twitter blasts. In reality those take up about a hundredth of one percent of Harbaugh's time and the football takes up the rest of it, with occasional forays to Peru or Paris mixed in.

Anyway, this period of media openness is likely to end abruptly on Friday; Harbaugh will fill in the rest of the offseason with fluff* and then maybe evaporate for a month. Even so this period of détente with the outside world has been pretty cool.

*[Fluff like 140 characters fired off at Gene Smith that this dude in Cleveland managed to spin into a novella.]

Seth Davis is making easily rebutted points again. Scam-hawking, stat-hating Seth Davis is one of the most unlikeable college basketball media members around so of course he's going to write a long thing about how the NCAA is terrific and amateurism is too:

Yes, the “system” (whatever that means these days) needs to be constantly upgraded to deliver more and more benefits to the student-athletes. But many people are unaware of the extent to which the NCAA has reformed itself over the last two years to do a better job taking care of the players. Thanks to a new governance structure that allows the Power Five conference schools to take the reins, players are now permitted to receive several thousand dollars in stipends in addition to their scholarships to allow them to cover the costs of attending school. There are basically no restrictions on how much food the schools can serve. For the second straight year, schools are permitted (but not required) to pay the travel expenses of players’ families so they can attend NCAA tournament games.

That all sounds great, but Get The Picture points something out:

…all those improvements he cites in his first paragraph there came not voluntarily from the NCAA, but in response to pressure the student-athletes brought in the courts and with the NLRB.  And those kids aren’t so stupid as to avoid noticing that pressure gets results, even with a bunch as stubborn as the schools are.  After all, learning lessons is what students do.

Power 5 autonomy is more or less a panicked response to the lawsuits and NLRB unionization threats designed to hand out an incremental improvement in situations so that revenue athletes don't realize Jim Delany makes how much? and try to get some of that lucre for themselves. Davis says athletes are "feted like kings" like that's a point in the NCAA's favor rather than clear evidence that there's too much money sloshing around in the system because the workers aren't paid.

Hockey exits. No surprises yet. Werenski is out the door already; Downing is likely to be so in the near future. I guess it's good that we haven't heard about Kyle Connor yet—come on expansion draft caution—but I'm not getting the ol' hopes up there.

Hockey changes. Brad Traviolia talked to CHN in the aftermath of the Notre Dame move. One item of note is that this championship tournament model is dead-dead-dead:

Traviolia: The only thing off the table, I think, is the status quo. ... An all-comers, neutral-site format is not the best option for us. We can do better. We're not really leaning one way. We're open to the whole gamut. Whether we do everything on campus, whether we do a hybrid of campus and neutral site, whether we want to stand alone, and whether we want to work with other conferences. I think we want to explore all options.

Well, at least that makes sense as long as they don't go for that goofy super-tournament thing in St. Paul. "Campus sites," he said over and over again until he died.

Traviolia also pointed out that the Big Ten was an 11-team league for 20 years, so folks shouldn't assume they're going to add an eighth team just to add an eighth team. TBH I'd rather have the enforced byes a 7 team league brings than the scheduling compromises an eight-team league imposes… unless the eighth team is a compelling one.

Maybe that hockey eligibility rule isn't so ridiculous. College hockey has always been open to older players, and for the most part that's been a good thing. A higher average age has improved the overall level of play to the point where the NCAA is 30% of the NHL* and kept smaller schools in the hunt for championships in a way they aren't in any other sport.

That said, things are getting kind of ridiculous:

…more than two-thirds of the 2015-16 freshman class reached its 20th birthday before playing a college game.

That is two years after high school. You get one year in all other sports. The Big Ten wants to make that the cap, not three, and while the way they've gone about it is offputting I don't think the move itself is particularly drastic or uncalled for. (A lot of these guys who pan out in a big way will sign "early" with NHL teams… at 22 or 23.)

*[It's not that the old guys are getting to the league, although some do. It's more that the NCAA is more attractive as a developmental route because it's tougher than it would otherwise be.]

Etc.: More RPO is coming, specifically at Penn State. No night game this year. People are way more upset about this than I thought they'd be. Exit Steve Racine, puck magnet. Drew Sharp heal thyself. Exiting hockey seniors advise patience for underclassmen making decisions. Defensive practice takes from Touch The Banner.

The Dodgers have a TV deal that is costing Time Warner nine digits a year because nobody wants to pay the exorbitant fees TW is trying to extract from other providers. An interesting article from a couple years ago about John Beilein and how his players perform in the NBA.

Mailbag: Coaching Turnover, A Ton Of Beilein Feelingsball

Mailbag: Coaching Turnover, A Ton Of Beilein Feelingsball

Submitted by Brian on March 16th, 2016 at 2:08 PM

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[Patrick Barron]

Brian,

Long-time reader, second time emailer. I sent you a fake inspirational poster featuring Tate Forcier when those were still things. You used it. Good times.

I have the following mailbag questions:

1. With the departure of Durkin, Baxter, Jackson, et. al, do you see the revolving door continuing for assistant coaches? I don't have a problem with it because HARBAUGH and it means they are poach worthy. What about Drevno? He seems unlikely to leave anytime soon. I guess my question is: how much of the offense is Harbaugh, and how much is Drevno/Fisch? Would there be a big change if one of the latter left? Butt's comments about not having to learn a new offense this year were nice to hear just for continuity's sake.

This offseason's turnover was a bit extreme. Maryland hiring Durkin after one year as a defensive coordinator actually in charge of his defense—at Florida he was under Will Muschamp—was unexpected. I figured we'd get a 3-5 year run from him before he was established enough to make the jump. Losing Baxter and Jackson is actually more of a worry for me. Baxter went back to California, which is understandable if you're sawft because you've spent your time in that climate. Jackson may have decided he's more of an NFL guy.

Harbaugh seemed to make a conscious decision to reduce staff turnover with his picks for replacements. College DC lifer Don Brown is past the point where he'd be a head coach candidate; Chris Partridge and Brian Smith are young guys moving up who will probably stick around a while before any potential bump to quasi-co-psuedo associate head coach and run defense coordinator. Michigan's defensive assistants should be set for a few years, with a Mattison retirement the next likely swap.

On the other side of the ball it's murkier. It's Harbaugh's offense, of that there is no doubt. Coordinators on the same side of the ball as a heavily involved guru head coach often take a significant amount of seasoning before they are targeted for a move up the ladder. (See: Pat Narduzzi.) Drevno had not been a full OC prior to the Michigan move and has been with Harbaugh for a long time; he doesn't seem like a threat to depart for a few years yet, and when and if he does it'll be because Michigan's offense is shredding opponents.

Meanwhile Fisch is set to negotiate an extension that should bump his salary up significantly after a buyout year when Michigan was more or less paying the Jaguars. He seemed to get on with the staff and clearly had OC-type input in the passing game…

…so I wouldn't expect him to leave for anything short of a full OC spot. That may very well happen—before he was cursed to work in the mines of Jacksonville he had a pretty good run at Miami—but I think he'll be around for a while yet.

The guy to watch for a departure is Tyrone Wheatley, who has ambitions to be a head coach. He has a powerful motivation to stick around for four more years; after that I would not be surprised to see him look for an OC spot no matter where it is.

2. What about Chesson for the #1 jersey? Has that been officially retired? If so, I don't remember hearing much about it. I can't remember a better candidate in recent years than him.

djfakeout

#1 is not retired and shouldn't be. Devin Funchess just wore it, remember? The fact that this guy didn't remember that and I wrote most of this response before remembering that an NFL player wore #1 two years ago is… Brady Hoke, man.

Anyway: no retiring more numbers please. #21 getting retired is kind of a bummer, man, and I can't imagine #1 or #2 goes by the wayside for practical (running out of numbers) and recruiting (here's Charles Woodson's number) reasons. But I don't expect Chesson to take it. He is in a pretty famous WR number (86) already and he doesn't seem like the type of guy to care much either way.

Beilein status, part 1

Hey Brian. I see you trying to walk the line of criticizing U-M basketball while not calling for Beilein's head. Here's the issue to me...

it's easy to compare Beilein to what came before and say look at his improvement. But the "fire Beilein" says "Well, that's not good enough." The better comparison isn't to what came before but to what would come after. What are the odds of replacing Beilein with someone who runs a clean program, fits culturally with the university, and achieves more success on the court? I put it at about 10%. That's not a chance worth taking for someone who may be marginally better. But the only thing that would satisfy these guys is if we were dominating the Big Ten. So then you need to consider the odds of getting the coach who runs a clean program, fits in culturally and consistently out-performs Izzo, Crean, et al. I put those odds under 1%.

So it's a shame that Beilein isn't a slightly better coach than he is, but Michigan's biggest obstacle is that our rivals' programs are just consistently too good.

-Anon

I mean, yeah. I think we're all pretty disappointed where the program is right now but that's largely an artifact of Beilein's insane level of success over the three years from 2012-14, which went

  • Big Ten Title
  • National Championship Game
  • Outright Big Ten Title & Elite Eight

Frankly I didn't expect that level of performance from Beilein when he was hired. I just wanted to make the tournament most of the time and Pittsnogle some higher seeds. Take that expectation and remove the team's star for consecutive years and this is what you get.

That said, the trend here, especially on defense, is alarming. It's not really about the level of the program, it's about the direction of the arrow. If Beilein's projected performance going forward is the average of his Michigan career minus his first year (which I think we can issue a mulligan for given the state of the roster) then yes, it will be very difficult for Michigan to match or exceed that. If it's the last two years, even considering Levert's injury, then the pool of candidates who can expect to match or do better expands considerably.

I don't think that's clear yet. I do think we're going to see an offseason shakeup and hopefully a defensive specialist brought in. I am still resigned to the fact that Beilein's peak is likely to have already passed and that we'll probably be gunning for a Sweet 16 or two before he retires, not a title.

[After THE JUMP: more Beilein feelingsball, PWO pickin', can the Big Ten replicate the Harbaugh model?]

Unverified Voracity Advises Ponchos

Unverified Voracity Advises Ponchos

Submitted by Brian on September 29th, 2015 at 12:08 PM

One year ago. Not quite today. But close:

The beginning of the end and the beginning of the rebirth. The Daily's Jake Lourim takes the opportunity to look at Jim Hackett's tenure:

Schlissel said student backlash went “beyond having a football team that didn’t achieve a record that met people’s expectations.”

“It was part of the issue, why people were anxious, but it wasn’t the main issue,” he told the Daily in September. “I think, what people felt was, football in particular and perhaps the other sports were becoming more distant from the campus. That they were becoming more of an enterprise and less of an activity. I think our non-athlete students … felt estranged — they felt like customers.

“I think we’ve gone a long way in the months since … to reset the way the Athletic Department views its role on the campus,” he added.

Schlissel is in charge of things for a reason.

Save a garbage bag, bring a poncho. The Maryland game is going to be in the vicinity of tropical storm Joaquin. How close is going to mean the difference between a nice night and seeing Jake Rudock hit in the face with a soaked, flying cat. Monday's storm track was looking pretty ominous for the football game; Tuesday's is less so:

The Monday track had the storm right off the coast of DC at 8 PM Saturday. Worth keeping an eye on still. A thunderous downpour would be advantage Maryland in the same way playing checkers instead of chess is advantage Borges:

So they've got that hypothetically going for them.

Whoops. When Vegas put out a Michigan –11.5 line for this game, I thought "that seems low." Maryland fans glumly asked if that was a first-quarter line. And sure enough, that line was pounded until it was pulled off the board and returned at M –14.5. Even now only a couple of books are offering a line at all, and the "consensus" is M –16.

A move that big suggests that Michigan and Maryland combine to break whatever models are used to set lines—possibly because the amount of deviation from preseason expectations for both overwhelmed them.

Mark Messner tribute. From Wolverine Historian:

Keep that anger inside where it can be used to hit people hard. The prospect of getting trash-talked by BYU is appealing. In my experience Mormons have the ability to turn an innocent word into the vilest thing you've ever heard with their intonation. When you don't swear the swears leak into the rest of your language; it's quite a trick. So when I wonder what might have made Jabrill Peppers mad on Saturday

For whatever reason, Michigan's redshirt freshman defensive back found himself on the receiving end of an unusual amount of trash talk Saturday early on against BYU.

He did his best to ignore it, and almost engaged once. But, ultimately, his pads prevailed.

And by the time Peppers wrapped up and, literally, tossed 6-foot-5, 225-pound receiver Terenn Houk out of bounds just before halftime, the talking had officially stopped.

"We play between the whistle, so I'll try to hurt you as much as I can between the whistle," Peppers said Monday. "Especially if you're jawing at me. ... (They were saying) things I can't repeat on camera.

"I just let my pads speak for me, that's how I react to that."

…I hope it's "I welcome this upcoming athletic contest" twisted into a pulsating black sphere of hate.

Also: Harbaugh banning trash talk is 1) amazingly hypocritical and 2) another anger factory. I don't want to hear about how this country "used to make things" when Jim Harbaugh is the world's #1 exporter of harsh feelings.

Happy_fun_ball[1]

Side note. Who taunts Happy Fun Peppers? That seems just amazingly unwise.

It is your destiny. So my Hackett statue concept is that he's wearing the outfit he's got on in that shot of Harbaugh exiting the plane at Detroit Metro and he's got a microphone in one hand that he has just let go.

Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett agreed with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly on Saturday, speaking on Michigan's pregame radio show, saying he'd like to see the Wolverines and Fighting Irish resume their rivalry.

In fact, he believes it's "destined" to happen.

"Nothing has happened in that regard from my desk," Hackett said. "But the way I think about the Notre Dame thing is, that's a rivalry that should be restored and it's destined to have that happen.

"The challenge is making the schedules work. Because of television, because of the Big Ten having 14 teams. We've got to find holes in the schedule."

I think that would be a good statue.

Surprise! Larry Brown got hit by the NCAA with a suspension and SMU was banned from the postseason this year.

It turns out that SMU academic support was doing coursework for the players. Sun round, full of hot bits. Michigan travels to SMU on December 8th.

Five are in a dark black. Eighty are in a slightly darker black. PREPARE THYSELVES

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ANN ARBOR -- Maryland will be sporting its "Black Ops" alternate uniforms when it hosts No. 22 Michigan on Saturday, according to InsideMDSports' Ahmed Ghafir.

Maryland is 0-2 while dressing in tactical garments, having lost by a combined score of 78-29. The Maryland football team is on the verge of seriously pissing off America's most dangerous special forces troops.

Spartan injuries. No information forthcoming:

Conklin is an OR on the most recent depth chart.

Hart profiled. Via the Daily:

“All I knew was, kind of, Michigan,” Hart said. “With Coach English, Lloyd — that’s the only way that we did things. And not bad things. But I needed to open my horizons.”

For Fleck, hiring Hart wasn’t a tough choice. Being Michigan’s all-time leading rusher bought him instant credibility with recruits, and Fleck had already been hearing rave reviews about Hart from prospects.

“(They said), ‘Mike Hart, I love Mike Hart.’ That’s what I continued to hear on the recruiting trail,” Fleck said.

Hurst profiled. Via Brendan Quinn:

But this isn't about who wasn't there and what hasn't been in Maurice Hurst Jr.'s life. This is about what's been there all along.

Nicole Page will board a flight tonight to watch her son play football.

"As long as I can see him a couple of times a month, I'm good," she says. "But it's still tough. I miss him all the time."

Uncharacteristically blunt. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has always come off as one of the smartest guys in college football's administrative class and his recent comments on the unionization drive the NRLB essentially punted on are going to prove prophetic, I bet:

“I’m glad the unionization process has cooled for right now,” Bowlsby said. “But the fact is — and it probably will be in the sport of men’s basketball — there will be a day in the future when the popcorn is popped, the TV cameras are there, the fans are in the stands and the team decides they’re not going to play. Mark my words. We will see that in the years ahead. We saw some of it for other reasons in the ’70s, but I really believe that we aren’t finished with the compensation issue or with the employee-vs.-student issue.”

The right combination of ornery dudes and it will happen. If the Fab Five happened today it would be them, for sure.

Bowlsby still comes from a point of view so blinkered that he's startled when a Big 12 athlete tells him that he feels like an employee, but at least he's able to accept that fact and start communicating why that is the case and what that means in the near future. So many NCAA administrators are busy trying to shore up a dike that's about to bust; Bowlsby is trying to whittle a canoe.

Etc.: Is that bad, Bret Bielema? Basketball depth is deep: how will they use it? This is not at all unreasonable. Harbaugh marriage advice is exactly what you'd expect. Texas fans have gone Falling Down on the reffing in the Oklahoma State game. Wheatley to Rose Bowl hall of fame. Top analytics articles. Mud Bowl on the rocks but apparently still a go.

Gameday with the MMB. Butch Jones is under fire.

Unverified Voracity Smells A Phone

Unverified Voracity Smells A Phone

Submitted by Brian on February 27th, 2015 at 11:28 AM

HELLO. I am back. I was blank yesterday after being in a car for like 14 hours, but here are some links to other things.

KenRequest[1]

According to Wikipedia, I have been to the place where this was conceived.

Things I learned in Iowa. A sampling.

  1. Iowa is not as flat as Nebraska
  2. …but it's close
  3. …and it's really surprisingly large when you have to drive from one corner to the other
  4. Do not smell a pig farmer's phone
  5. …especially if he's presenting it you to like the natives might present Dr. Livingstone an eyeball to consume
  6. …even if he looks stunningly like Dr. Drew
  7. David Foster Wallace was not joking about the omnipresence of the howling mid-American gale that scours pockets from your face when there are shards of ice to fling at you
  8. …this does at least keep the roads clear
  9. You can be relieved and grateful to see a Subway

This is maybe not enough things to justify the time spent but needs must.

Here are all these things and then a school that's like NOPE. As Ace covered this morning, there's another uniform hijink in the near future. (Can hijinks be singular?) The basketball uniforms aren't iconic like football, so the proportional outrage is lower. I'm still bugged by the fact that Adidas is coming up with one design element and applying it to everyone because they want to advertise themselves, with no thought to how they could help Michigan out.

Yeah yeah

Michigan did draw the line at Adidas's Zubaz monstrosities a few years back, so at least there's that.

Still, I'm jealous that Indiana's the uniform in the center going NOPE here:

"We have seen your ideas and find them lacking." –university that employs Tom Crean.

I wish we had the desire to do that. And the desire to go back to the 1989 throwbacks permanently.

B7BKitwCQAAn6p3[1]

"These throwbacks appear to be jerseys Michigan actually used to wear. They just don't get it, do they?" –The Brandon formerly known as athletic director

A seven footer! 2016 C commit Jon Teske was supposed to be growing constantly, as high school people tend to do, and now he's broken through a symbolic threshold:

Jon Teske has grown 1 inch since verbally committing to play basketball at Michigan back in early August.

This would be trivial if not for one fact: When Teske enrolls in 2016, he will officially be U-M's first 7-foot player since Ben Cronin, the first recruit coach John Beilein signed when he arrived in Ann Arbor eight years ago.

Teske is reportedly a shot blocker, something Michigan hasn't had since Beilein arrived.

Other than adding strength and bulk and improving his quickness in the lane, Teske's defensive skills are already at an elite level. He provides Medina with a safety net on the back line and blocks shots with a combination of a pterodactyl's wingspan and sharp instincts. Most impressively, he does so without fouling.

"The number of shots he changes is just unbelievable," Hassinger said. "That's what Michigan will get out of him -- he's such a good rim-protector. ... We can do so much defensively because he just rules the paint."

Yes, please.

Would you go so far as to say he is also strategic? Jedd Fisch gets in on the Jameis Winston praise pile:

Sounds like a man to play Battletech with. Meanwhile, another quote on Harbaugh from Petty:

"Outstanding guy," Petty said. "Just a football dude. That's the best way I can describe it. He just gave us a lot of advice about what to expect here (at the combine), about how to handle everything, especially going in as a rookie into a camp and what he expects as a coach in that scenario, things like that.

"We were tickled to death, anytime you get a chance to meet and talk to a guy who has been in it for four years and had a lot of success in it."

Harbaugh is definitely a Football Dude, as anyone who has watched that QB clinic video and giggled about knuckle placement knows.

Marketing back in the day. Gary Moeller repeats "keeps ticket prices down" three times in about 30 seconds at the end of this clip about marketing from a 1991 edition of Michigan Replay:

The word "brand" does not make an appearance.

We like this better because it doesn't work as well. It's that time of year when NFL guys ding spread QBs because their offenses provide too many open receivers to judge whether the guy can fit it in tight windows:

I think the NFL guy was saying that tight windows are an inevitability in the league rather than pro-style is necessarily better. (Or even a concept that really means much other than Our QB Don't Run. New England is basically Texas Tech with a separate LeGarrette Blount offense stapled to it.)

And stay out? CHL teams are making noises like they would withdraw from Washington if their for-profit enterprises with mid five-digit attendances have to give their players anything other than a per diem and the vague promise of an education package maybe a sixth of them will use:

Silvertips GM Garry Davidson was clearly singing from the same songbook when he told legislators if the state did not exempt the teams from minimum wage laws, “it could negatively impact our ability to operate and would force us to move or not operate in the state.”It’s an age-old tactic used by sports teams and it’s age-old because it so often works. Build us a new arena or we’ll go to a place where they’ll happily build one for us. Give us tax breaks and concessions or we’ll have to pick up our ball and go somewhere else. And in this case, grant us an exemption from laws governing the basic human right to minimum wage or we’ll take our teenagers and have them entertain hockey fans somewhere else.

Oh really? Considering the Everett Silvertips (4,898 average fans per game), Spokane Chiefs (5,570), Seattle Thunderbirds (4,353) and Tri-City Americans (3,976) are attracting decent home crowds, it’s safe to assume the revenue they’re drawing from their regular season gate alone is robust. Probably multi-millions.

A CHL departure from Washington is about as likely as the Big Ten re-implementing freshman eligibility. There aren't enough markets in BC and Alberta that aren't already covered. Meanwhile on the other side of the continent, a QMJHL team just sold for 25 million dollars.

Silver lining: it turns out there is in fact a sports organization that can make the NCAA look good.

Obligatory. Ohio State has a five star recruit incoming.

This is man with a good super power. Michigan Hockey Now pings commit Nick Pastujov about various personal things. He has never gone to a concert, he likes the World Cup, he envisions having a hilarious dinner with Bill Gates, Steve Carrell, and Bob Marley, and he has a very practical approach to super powers: "could do anything." That just about covers it, I'd think.

Etc.: Kentucky fans are terrified of Northwestern.

Unverified Voracity Has List Of Things In It!

Unverified Voracity Has List Of Things In It!

Submitted by Brian on February 12th, 2015 at 1:05 PM

A mea culpa. A couple things on the fight song kerfuffle from yesterday. One: apparently there are people who have escaped Taken memery. (They probably "take walks" and "go outside.") No part of the threat-type substance offered yesterday was serious. I'm not going to poison anyone's search results.

I was just referencing this famous Liam Neeson thing:

As for Weiss, I hopped aboard the outrage express in the manner that the generally loathsome Gawker and Jezebel do for most of their clicks. If I'd thought about this Daily article more I would have realized that this proposal was in no way going anywhere, but I took the cheap, easy route. While the goal of preventing a Michigan version of We Are ND is a laudable one, firing up the internet outragemobile is likely to get out of control and I should know better.

Seriously, though: just stop. Nothing good can come of this quest.

Now, like, call it. One of my top eleven subjects to rant about in recent times has been offenses flinging ineligible guys downfield on pass plays with impunity. Boy does that put a bee up my bonnet. Spielman, too.

It appears the hue and cry has made it to the lawmakers of our sport:

The ineligible downfield rule was shifted from three yards to one yard past the line of scrimmage. National officiating coordinator Rogers Redding said defenses were beginning to read run more frequently because offensive linemen were 3 yards downfield and then the quarterback would pass. “It's going to be easier to officiate,” he said.

Or, like, six yards downfield blocking the people who were supposed to be covering passes. One or three doesn't help much if you're just forgetting to enforce it either way; hopefully this will come with an increased emphasis on calling illegal men downfield.

(One exception: if you're engaged with a guy and just kicking his ass enough to end up downfield that should be let go. Taylor Lewan got a penalty a couple years ago because his pass blocking was too effective.)

Approximate top eleven rant subjects in recent times. Give or take:

  1. Dave Brandon
  2. excessive basketball timeouts
  3. block/charge calls
  4. Big Ten expansion
  5. bubble screens
  6. "but the spread won't work in the Big Ten"
  7. piped in music
  8. ineligible men downfield
  9. waggles
  10. Tom Izzo press conferences
  11. when my wife puts the cheese grater in with the food manipulation devices (tongs, spoons, spatulas, etc) instead of the food reconfiguration devices (juicers, graters, mallets, zesters, etc)

This is not 'Nam, MGoWife.

Nyet. Roquan Smith will announce his decision on Friday, whereupon he won't sign an letter of intent. He'll just sign scholarship papers. Well done, sir. (It seems like it's a foregone conclusion that it's not Michigan, unfortunately.)

Add another to the list? If Justice Hayes goes and rips off 1,500 yards I'm gonna be all like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I'm looking forward to a running backs coach with aspirations.

We would like less football, I guess. It's time once again for a college football person to mutter about changing clock rules For The Fans. Larry Scott's turn, as he advocate running the clock after first downs:

"You'll always get traditionalists who won't change it," Scott said. "I don't find it concerning or daunting that there are some that would oppose it. I think the job for commissioners is to take a step back and look at it holistically. The health and welfare of student-athletes is first and fans are a close second in terms of keeping games appealing. Three-and-a-half hours, to me, is too long."

There will always be traditionalists who are your core customers who know you're not seeing increased costs but still soaking fans with higher prices and ever-longer commercial breaks.

Why might games be longer?

The high-pressure, commercialized world of FBS is playing a much longer game than other NCAA divisions. While FBS games averaged 3:23 in 2014, the Football Championship Subdivision was 2:55, Division II was 2:45 and Division III was 2:41.

I mean:

Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson also favors a running clock after first downs, citing declining attendance. FBS home attendance dropped 4 percent in 2014 for the sport's lowest average since 2000.

"I think our fans are expecting shorter games, and I think when you see attendance is down, we need to address it," Benson said.

Changing the ratio of game to red-hat-on-field the wrong way isn't going to help your attendance, but you don't actually care about that anyway. Just be honest about it. At this point it might be worth looking at some soccer models, which have to deal with an un-interruptible flow of gameplay. I'd rather have a logo next to the score chryon instead of ever-expanding ad time.

Early signing is dumb. Andy Staples addresses it:

I don’t mind an early signing period in theory because the vast majority of recruits know where they want to go, are happy with their decisions and shouldn’t have to wait. But cutting a month off of the process isn’t going to change much. It might be nice if the players who make up their minds really early had a chance to sign before their senior seasons begin, but that isn’t going to happen, either. Athletic directors would hate that since it would make it more difficult to fire a coach if he underperformed. The coach would have the leverage of half a signing class in the barn, and the AD might have to wrestle with double-digit players asking to be released from their National Letters of Intent. This happens all the time in basketball, but it’s different when the coach has 15 players signed instead of three.

Staples advocates a change to the LOI that says "the LOI is a bad thing to sign," so that's not… likely. To reiterate my excellent plan:

The MGo Recruitin' Plan

  1. You can sign a pre-NLI any time.

  2. The pre-NLI guarantees you a scholarship at the school you sign with, allows them to contact you whenever and prohibits other coaches from doing so. You can only take an official visit to the school you sign with.

  3. You can withdraw the pre-NLI at any time.

  4. On Signing Day everyone makes it official.

  5. (Optional but highly desirable) NCAA does away with 85-player cap and allows everyone to sign up to 22-25 players a year, no exceptions. Transfers and JUCOs count.

Changing the cap from a roster limit to a yearly limit instantly does away with any oversigning mutterings since your motivation is to keep players instead of cut them.

(Via Get The Picture.)

Karan Higdon will help you with your homework. Unless you're a fellow athlete, I think that's a violation. Randos welcome though:

"Football comes second to academics and my future after it."

Higdon's a 4.0 student at Riverview. He wants to be an occupational therapist. He's involved in several academic leadership groups at his school, and has been invited to various academic summits, from Washington D.C. to Paris.

If Higdon couldn't run, catch, block or score a touchdown, he'd probably still be headed to college next year with a scholarship in tow.

Academics aren't just part of the deal for Higdon. They're the deal.

I guess he doesn't want an MFA, or he'd be at Iowa. If Fred Jackson was still here he could be a grad transfer and get drafted, maybe.

Etc.: Orson is so fascinated with Tom Crean that he wrote about him. Michigan was the 12th most-watched team in college football last year, which really says something since… uh… you know. NTDP camp thoughts featuring comments on a few Michigan recruits. SBNation has a "Jim Harbaugh is weird" page. Tom Leyden on Bo's passing.

LeVert still projected 15th by DX. Noted Michigan columnist Ramzy Nasrallah on Harbaugh as nemesis.

Unverified Voracity Is A Robot Programmed To Coach Football

Unverified Voracity Is A Robot Programmed To Coach Football

Submitted by Brian on January 14th, 2015 at 11:01 AM

16063001288_610e1b15ec_z

two point buckets are rare as unicorns these days [Bryan Fuller]

That was ugly. I don't have much to say about last night's demolition in Columbus. It's pretty much over as far as an NCAA bid is concerned—even 9-4 the rest of the way leaves Michigan with two horrendous, horrendous losses compared to the rest of the bubble and no real marquee wins.

I don't know what blew up. Obviously losing all three posts from last year is a big factor, as is the almost total lack of production from Kam Chatman (who is shooting an unbelievable 34%/25%). But there's something not right with the guys we thought were going to be the big guns. When your captains are saying you're in "coast mode" after a game that's nasty.

Walton's obvious: he's got turf toe. Irvin and LeVert are both doing okay; neither has become anything approximating a go-to guy. Both are shooting 44% from two with little in the way of free throws; Walton's even worse at 36%. With no one who can create two point shots consistently they've lost the crazy offensive efficiency of the last two years, and the defense hasn't improved nearly enough to keep their heads above water.

The only remaining hopes for the season is that they start getting better, make the NIT, and have a run in there that gives you some confidence.

Mattison back, officially. The latest in a long line of re-re-confirmations:

"Jack Harbaugh will always be one of the most influential coaches I've ever been with," he said. "I had the opportunity to coach with him for five years, just a tremendous football coach who taught me a lot about coaching.

"And I really respect (John Harbaugh), you always knew he'd be successful. ... And there's another Harbaugh (I'm close with), when we had our first child, Lisa, the only person she'd ever let babysit for her was Joanie (Jim's sister). That Harbaugh family, we've known for a long, long time."

Having Mattison around is going to be excellent for recruiting and continuity, and should allow Durkin to gradually adjust to being the man on that side of the ball after coaching under Will Muschamp at Florida.

Early signing may be happening. The Conference Commissioners Association was tasked with looking into an early signing date for football, and the proposal now has a shape:

On Tuesday at the American Football Coaches Association convention in Louisville, Susan Peal, NCAA associate director of operations who serves as a liaison between the collegiate governing body and the commissioners, revealed that the committee is leaning toward recommending a mid-December signing period. Peal said that window would likely coincide with the midyear junior college transfer signing date that occurs in the third week of December.

"Based on all of the feedback -- and there are all kinds of dates out there of what people want -- the most favorable option the committee has seen seems to be for an early signing day in December, something that's in line with the midyear junior college transfer signing date," Peal said.

I'm not a fan of early signing because it does nothing for the players, who get locked in earlier than they do now in exchange for bupkis. But at least that date is much better than the ridiculous August 1st date supported by the ACC, which the Big Ten somehow supported. Signing before official visits are even possible is some kind of dumb.

The darkest alternate timeline. Les Miles lost his excellent defensive coordinator to a conference rival and has now hired former Clemson DC Kevin Steele to replace him. The Kevin Steele whose last act as a DC was this, as Get The Picture points out:

image

Miles is also supposedly bringing in Ed Orgeron, a move that bodes well for local press conferences, Louisiana-set buddy cop movies, and recruiting but maybe not so much organization and the like. If Les farts around again next year I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the boot, because LSU fans have always been way more discontent than you'd think.

The competition to best describe Harbaugh is over. Former Stanford tackle Ben Muth:

"When I first met him, I honestly thought a lot of it was an act, it was like a robot who was programmed as a football coach," says Ben Muth, who played offensive tackle for Harbaugh at Stanford. "It's absurd stuff, but he believes it all. And after a while, so do you. Just the way he talks, his cadence and his deliverance. He talks like a normal football coach, but kicked up 50 percent and he's always on."

Also: hooray spring game fun? As part of Harbaugh's insane competitiveness, he turned Stanford's spring game into a full on draft-win-die thing:

At Stanford, his spring games featured full-scale drafts. The coaching staff was split down the middle into two groups, and inside the team meeting room, every player was drafted to a side for the game.

They weren't just glorified practices, they were full-scale competitions. Nothing was wasted or viewed as insignificant.

If that format's announced and Michigan pushes it back to best roll the dice on the weather that would be guaranteed to be Michigan's best-attended spring game ever.

Why do you hate turkey? I get most of what Oregon's trying to say here.

LXTRAMFKATMVGFC.20150106191504[1]

I'm down with most of it, as well (though tradition generally wears two colors unless you want to count white). But what's with the shot at turkey on Thanksgiving? Surely you would prefer us to eat that instead of duck, right?

Whiskey the dog. In case you were like "WTF" when Brandon brought up Whiskey during his My Personality Is To The Best Of My Ability tour:

Sap and MVictors have more details over there.

Whatever this is. OSU and Michigan are listed 1-2 in "intrinsic value" thanks to improved cash flows:

image

Note that OSU is bringing in 20 million less than Michigan this year, and Michigan is above everyone except Alabama and Texas in revenue. Oregon's 18th. Brandon's relentless focus on dollars above everything else was unnecessary.

Etc.: Michigan is getting a visit from 2015 megaprospect Jaylen Brown.

Mailbag: New Apparel, Manball Metagame, Why NFL Guys Were So Wrong, Best Combos

Mailbag: New Apparel, Manball Metagame, Why NFL Guys Were So Wrong, Best Combos

Submitted by Brian on January 5th, 2015 at 12:28 PM

When can we fire this apparel company?

gr3[1]

What do you think will happen when the Adidas contract runs up? It's no secret around these parts the quality of garments that Adidas has put out have been sub-par to say the least. I know the majority of MGoBlog would prefer to go back to Nike, but there's a faction that would like Under Armour. Where do you see this going? Especially since I would anticipate the Nike contract not being nearly as lucrative as an Under Armour signing or a re-up with Adidas. Does Hackett (assuming he's still around) or a new AD listen to the fans or do you think they go for profit here?

I don't know. Nike isn't willing to spend bucks as huge as Adidas and Under Armor, which was a contributing factor in Miami's recent switch to the only incompetent Germans. Adidas has the four most expensive (FOIAable) contracts in college sports, with Michigan's whopping 8.2 million at the top of the list. That number is double what OSU gets from Nike.

Part of that premium is because Adidas isn't as cool to the whippersnappers and you have to weigh that, but this isn't a few hundred thousand a year Michigan is weighing. Switching to Nike would be a decision that costs Michigan a significant chunk of change.

The ideal situation may be Under Armour stepping in with an on-par offer. UA's done some wacky stuff with Maryland but they've been extremely reserved with Auburn's classic look. (An extensive Googling reveals no alternate uniform horrors.) I'm a huge fan of what they've done with Northwestern, incorporating a historical design element in a unique way.

Trevor Siemian Northwestern v Penn State 1FIeiF0y-4bl[1]

Aside from the excessive logo frippery* that plagues everyone these days, that is a fantastic, distinctive look. Even the font is on point. I'd rather have UA take a swing at—or just, like, sit quietly by and not do anything weird with—Michigan's uniforms than Adidas.

But I don't wear the stuff so I don't know. It seems like the players are gung-ho about Nike and Hackett is listening; plus it seems like there is some real recruiting impact in basketball.

*[The best thing Dave Brandon did with Michigan's brand is render the mandatory Big Ten logo in Crisler as faintly as possible.]

Rate the get

Hey Brian,

How big of a get is Harbaugh compared to Ohio state landing Urban? Obviously OSU's down time was smaller than Michigan's, and Urban won national titles at Florida, but in terms of hires it has to be close to comparable, right? Recruits lining up and all that.

Thanks,
Ben

In terms of difficulty of acquisition it's a much, much bigger get. Meyer was momentarily retired and looking to get back into coaching, and his preferred style of offense makes him unattractive to NFL teams. It probably took the two sides about a half hour to come to an agreement after Tressel got axed. Michigan was in a much more difficult situation with Harbaugh, who could have coached at about 20 NFL teams if he wanted to.

In terms of impact and probable success, it's close. I would still go with Meyer, who had already won two national titles, over Harbaugh. Harbaugh's done kickass things in his tenure as a coach but he hasn't had the kind of sustained run on the mountaintop that Meyer did at Florida. That's splitting hairs in any case.

[After the JUMP: manball an aid? best coaching combos, NFL reporters, Milhouse.]

Unverified Voracity Fought In T-Shirt Stalingrad

Unverified Voracity Fought In T-Shirt Stalingrad

Submitted by Brian on May 22nd, 2014 at 11:55 AM

The T-shirt arms war is being lost. This aggression will not…

BoLGFEmCUAENxXh[1]

…uh. This aggression will be tolerated. Just point that somewhere else, PCP-raging hell-coyote(?).

One dollar this is not a thing. Former Oregon QB Jake Rodrigues is transferring, and Michigan has just been mentioned as a school that has "reached out" by Scout West Coast recruiting guru Greg Biggins. Michigan would have four other available QBs by the time he was again eligible, so it doesn't seem likely he'll be heavily pursued.

The one thing that makes it seem even vaguely possible is the lack of a redshirt on Shane Morris. Rodrigues would have to sit out one year and then would be able to play three, which would restore one-a-year balance to the Morris-Speight-Malzone wave of QBs. Still: doubtful.

FWIW, Michigan did offer his first time around. He went off the board to Oregon in May, so Michigan didn't have much opportunity to make an impact.

I know I said I'd make these separate posts… but there's not enough for a full basketball recruiting post, so I'll just mention it here. CA PF TJ Leaf did visit briefly after playing at an AAU tourney in Indiana before catching his flight back to California:

"Michigan likes to run a point guard, a center and then three players who are versatile and can create," he said. "The coaches have brought up Glenn Robinson to me a couple times before as far as a comparison, but nothing too specific. They say I'm a perfect fit for the offense and I agree. I really like that about Michigan and I also really like the fact that Coach Beilein is under contract there until the 2019-2020 season. I don't have to worry about him not potentially being there if I was to play there."

Glenn Robinson plus about three inches (and minus three inches of vertical) sounds pretty good to me. Sounds like Michigan has sold him on both fit and the fact that Beilein ain't Tom Crean when it comes to legions of fans just waiting for an excuse to pull the lever on his ejector seat.

Michigan would be "at or near" the top with an offer and is looking to decide in January or February.

/waves tiny punt flag. For the Nth consecutive year the Big Ten leads college sports in filthy lucre. I used to think this was terrific until it became clear that the relatively narrow gaps in revenue are meaningless when it comes to competing in the sports that drive all the interest.

Purdue can offer ten million dollars to alum Kevin Sumlin and he's not leaving A&M, and even though SEC outfits have somewhat less money they also run significantly fewer teams than the Big 10 does on average. As the money has spiraled upwards the Big Ten's national reputation has spiraled down. So congratulations, various high-level administrator types who can now afford a third house. Everyone else should shrug.

See also: BTN on basic cable in New York now. That it got done so quickly without terms being disclosed suggests the BTN is coming in at a much lower price than it does elsewhere in the footprint, because obviously. Also the money, it does nossing.

But at least they're working out how to throw less of it away. The Iowa Gazette has a look at bowl ticket guarantees and the changes the Big Ten is finally imposing on them. First a boggling statistic given stubhub exists:

Top-10 teams Ohio State and Clemson rank among the nation’s most devout bowl travelers. However each school absorbed more than 11,100 tickets of their 17,500-ticket requirement to the Orange Bowl. Yet the Orange Bowl posted an attendance of 72,080.

Michigan sold 40.7 percent of its ticket allotment to the Tempe-based Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Wisconsin and Minnesota sold barely one-third of their tickets to the Capital One and Texas bowls, respectively. Among Big Ten schools only Iowa (78.2 percent at the Outback) and Michigan State (94.5 percent at the Rose) sold more than half of their allotted tickets this year.

Despite no running game, no quarterback, a late-night December bowl game, and the high probability the market gets flooded with cheap tickets to a game far from sold out Michigan still sold almost half of their allotment. We love vacations, I guess.

Anyway, all those losses are pooled with the bowl payouts and then everyone gets an equal slice, so any "TEAM X LOST MONEY ON BOWL Y" headlines you read are fictional, at least for the Big Ten.

As for changes:

“We’re paying less money in a guarantee, but there will be years where they’ll make more money,” Outback Bowl President Jim McVay said. “There’s a shared revenue deal where the schools are going to keep all the money over a certain threshold."

The schools are going to get less terrible tickets, and of course it's now the Big Ten in charge of where schools go (for the most part). With the newly diverse slate of bowl locations it's no longer just Florida Florida Florida, so people can go other places for the warm-weather vacations they inexplicably crave.

Paternalism! MLive finds some former Michigan players and asks them about paying guys. They are generally against it*. David Cone:

"I think that (allowance) number should come up a little bit. It should. I came from a middle class family, it couldn't have covered Michigan, but they could help me out if I didn't want to eat what the team was eating, I could eat something else. (But others couldn't, and) that number has to come up.

"But I don't think kids should be paid differently. If they're paid differently, then it's a salary. If it's a salary, then you're an employee. And if you're an employee, you can be fired."

That argument is just so frustrating. It is the opposite of reality. Two BU hockey players just got "fired". It happens to a half-dozen Alabama players annually. Kansas State refuses to release Letitia Romero so she can transfer. Employees can enter into contracts that guarantee X in the event they get fired—Charlie Weis is laughing right now about this fact. There is a ton of law about the rights of employees in this country, and none about the rights of student athletes. Reclassifying them puts them in a position of power.

Cone is in favor of a player having right to his likeness, so at least there's that.

Marcus Ray:

"If we give these kids money, we're opening up a can of worms for a different set of problems," former Michigan safety Marcus Ray said. "Casinos, expenditures on drugs and alcohol, giving them the means to finance some of that stuff."

This kind of thinking bugs me. We are perfectly happy to have baseball and hockey players sign contracts with huge signing bonuses without worrying that they'll end up playing Pai Gow in a den of ill repute. Everyone treats the first round of the NFL draft as a watershed moment where you buy your mom a pink Cadillac, but what happens when you're Denard Robinson instead of Teddy Bridgewater? Maturation is a gradual process that everyone approaches differently, and if there are some guys who will waste whatever's provided them (hello, Allen Iverson) that's unfortunate but it's no reason to prevent the guys who will just send it to mom from benefiting properly from their hard work and talent.

*[This is not a unanimous opinion. At the event we had last year with Chris Perry, Marlin Jackson, and Jerome Jackson all three were in favor of some level of payment. Marlin has a quote in this one on the conservative end of things; the other two guys were more strident, IIRC.]

Dey tik r jebs! Mikey Weber got one of those photoshops from Michigan.

It has been asserted that the photoshoppist* misspelled "All American" as "All Amercian," but I have it on good authority that this is a long game that ends with many hilarious references to the South Park episode "Goobacks" and convinces Mikey Weber that he should attend Michigan because of a cartoon about immigration from the future that probably came out when he was like eight or something.

Also I don't think Weber noticed it.

*[I am less careful about spelling photoshoppist than rappist.]

Interesting. The Eagles are embarking on a draft strategy wherein they draft almost exclusively guys who have graduated. Six of seven draftees this year were college graduates, and that is not a fluke:

Allen, who made the Big Ten Conference's all-academic team while at Wisconsin, is one of six Eagle draftees to be on track to graduate out of the seven players they selected. In today's game, that is unusual: This year, 98 college players went pro after their junior season, a record that marks a 34% increase from 2013 and an 85% increase from 2010. (That total doesn't include players who had playing eligibility left but had already graduated.)

The Eagles' operative theory is based on Patriot and Colt outfits laden with graduates that were successful. They seem to think that football is hard and complicated so smart people are better at it. Also people who go do things even if they are hard.

He told Kelly "the guys with degrees have what you are looking for. They are driven. If it's between two players, a degree might tip the scale. But at the time, I don't think he was even thinking of the NFL."

If there's something behind that it should benefit Michigan, which tends to take the high school equivalent of the guys the Eagles are looking for in the draft. Just as soon as our smart guys are old, anyway.

Welp. Mike Babcock says any rumors about him and Michigan are bunk. All I can say is that the reason I thought it was possible was because guys high up in the Michigan hockey program thought it was likely. Quite high.

Etc.: Composite top 100 2016 IN SG Kyle Guy is coming in for the elite camp, as will fellow 2016 SG Justin Turner. Eric Davis talks offer.

Even more horrifying old Sparties. Recruiting thread turns into pages-long civil war trash talk festival. Name that school. Hooray 14 team conference scheduling.

Dear Diary Needs to Stop Raining

Dear Diary Needs to Stop Raining

Submitted by Seth on May 2nd, 2014 at 5:23 PM

001

dramatization

I've got this dresser I'm painting to go with our bedroom furniture. A few weekends ago I got one coat on it. Then it rained and ruined half the second coat. So I took it out there again but it started to rain on and off and I had to hide it under the garage overhang. Every day I check to see if there will be six good hours of sunlight somewhere to stick the last coat on it, and every time there's a dollop of drizzle here, a sprinkle there, and at least one good pour per day.

It is as hopeless and infuriating as being a Michigan fan. I know we can't complain too hard because there are places like West Lafayette where it just rains all the time, or Champaign where the weatherman predicts sun so you'll be outside when the softball-sized hail comes.

Your April shower was Urban Meyer coming to piss on your attempt to add a grad-year transfer to the OL, and now May flowers with a boatload of puritan crap.

I'm still livid. For a second there it looked like at least one of Michigan's major sports was going to be sustainably great, so of course that's when the most insane decision yet by an organization best known for blithering stupid decisions knocks basketball from a likely 1-seed to something way less than that. McGary's mad too, but the NBA's not a terrible fallback plan. Michigan got screwed the most.

The last guy I could find to get the one-year ban was a role player at UNLV who lost his 5th year to it in 2010. We've been scouring Google to turn up polls and quotes to give you some idea of how ubiquitous pot-smoking is among college athletes. The NCAA's own study came back at 1 in 5:

substanceabuse

I'm suddenly liking lacrosse more

So how is it, even if the draconian rule only applies to the playoffs, that the merciless league can only manage to tag one guy every four years? There's a synthetic version that regular pot-smoking athletes will use during the season to beat the tests. So when they do catch a guy with good ol'fashioned THC in his system, it's usually only because he's a total amateur. No pun intended.

Whence the leapers?

DSC_305213654949674_fe14be7c1a_o13656004973_29ac969567_o

I know Jones is 10, but I keep getting Dukes (83) and York (81) confused.

The 2012 receiver class had a pair of high 4-star types with similar I-saved-my-family-from-a-terrible-place-in-Africa stories. The 2014 class had the guy who rewrote the in-state record books and what already looks like a gem in Freddy Canteen. Lost in the narrative have been the three large-and-leapy 2013 guys. What do we expect from C'sonte, Jaron and Da'Mario? That's a good question.

This year I expect depth. In addition to Gallon we also graduated Dileo and Jackson and Reynolds. If Nussmeier indeed goes 3-wide a lot more as we hope, then at least one of them ought to figure on the two-deep in 2014.

Jones is more "slot-like", i.e. thin, though he's not at all short. I think his upside is Roy Roundtree, and so long as they leave him in the slot that'll be just fine. Dukes and York represent a specific type of receiver who can simply muscle past the type of legal-unless-they-call-it press coverage en vogue these days, and simply out-leap the 5'8 buggers who won't have any trouble staying with them. They're development projects: it takes years to perfect off-the-snap and route techniques to make this work. Unfortunately, Michigan only bothered to get a redshirt on Dukes last year, which, given Mathlete's finding that receiver experience is a big deal, is infuriating. Mo Ways is in this vein too, FWIW.

Etc. Hoops previews of Illinois, Maryland, and…Iowa? Hmm. Prediction for the remainder: Michigan (we should be below Iowa), Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin.  Photos from the Go Blue Bowl. The 2013-'14 cagers' contributions to the season's gifs. Lacrosse potentially could go green…I mean more green.

[After the jump: why 2014 offense isn't 2011 defense, I enter the ranks of MGoBloggers who rant about Brandon]