Unverified Voracity Swats Mosquitoes

Unverified Voracity Swats Mosquitoes

Submitted by Brian on July 3rd, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Hello gents. I've been out the last few days enjoying the natural beauty of and extreme numbers of mosquitoes on North Manitou Island:

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Your move, Ohio

Protips: stay away from the areas of the island in the lee of the wind—surprisingly, the west side—and punch anyone who tells you bug bands work in the face. Then do it again, and ask them if they're wearing their getting-punched-in-the-face bands. They probably are.

Anyway, exodus was half pretty great, half a nine-mile Mosquito Death March and I kind of feel like I need a vacation from the ol' vacation. But here is a computer and here are open tabs so…

Annual bit on camp commits. It's that time in July when an under-the-radar prospect or two has committed after showing up at Michigan's camp and impressing, causing various message board folks to say that was a dumb move when Player X is out there. With the commitments of Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson, Player X is Artavis Scott and/or Montae Nicholson, Parrker Westphal, Adoree Jackson, etc.

Leaving aside the fact that people complaining on message boards haven't seen these players do things, I think it's healthy to have a couple of camp commits a year. It shows that the coaching staff doing so is paying attention to that camp, that there's a reason for people to show out, and that the staff can evaluate guys on their own.

Amongst the Michigan fanbase  camp commits have gotten a bit of a bad rap because late in the Carr regime they started leaning way too heavily on it and had erratic (at best) results. The camp guys from 2005 to 2008:

  • Rocko Khoury: Miss.
  • Mike Cox: Miss, though he did get drafted after transferring to UMass.
  • David Molk. Major hit.
  • Steve Watson. Miss.
  • James Rogers. Miss.
  • Troy Woolfolk. You could give him an injury INC, I guess. Lean towards miss there.
  • David Cone. Miss. Coner.
  • Quintin Patilla. Miss.
  • Mister Simpson. Miss.
  • Christ McLaurin. Miss.
  • Zoltan Mesko. Hit, but, like, a punter.
  • Mesko was the #1 punter in the country that year and can't be declared a camp find. Also, he's a punter. Leaving aside him, the record of camp commits is one indisputably great player in Molk, one contributor in Woolfolk, seven guys who flamed out—a few of whom had no business in D-I, let alone Michigan—and the special case of James Rogers, who did start on the worst Michigan secondary of all time. He managed to do that and suggest that he was also a miss.

    That's a symptom of imperial decline, but it shouldn't necessarily reflect on the coaching acumen of Hoke and his staff. If it helps, the vast majority of the above guys had zero other decent offers. Most had zero other BCS offers, period. Watson and Canteen both had offers from Tennessee and Rutgers. Little different situation.

Dumars. Dead to me. While I actually like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as a selection at #8, the mere fact that Detroit's pick was between 7th and 9th for the fourth straight year is all you need to know about Joe Dumars, post-Rasheed trade. Dumars hasn't been able to put together a team that made the playoffs, but neither has he properly tanked. He signed Ben Gordon to a contract so bad Dumars had to dump a first round pick to get rid of him, he still has No Eyebrows on his bench, he traded Chauncey Billups for the corpse of Allen Iverson while offering Prince and Hamilton extensions, and he is now pursuing Andre Iguodala and Josh Smith in free agency for reasons known only to him, all so the Pistons can end up on the fringe of the lottery or exiting in the first round next year.

So, yeah, I do feel like I can say that passing on Trey Burke is a prime example of why the Pistons suck. This is just offensive:

Dumars said that in discussing the possibility of this decision as the draft progressed, he was reminded of when Indiana Pacers general manager Donnie Walsh drafted Reggie Miller ahead of Indiana University favorite Steve Alford in 1987.

Steve Alford went 15 picks later; Burke was off the board on the very next pick, taken by a team that trade up to get him. If Burke takes off in Utah… argh. Seriously considering attending the Palace for the Pistons-Utah game and rooting my ass off for the Jazz.

Pretty much the GRIII thing. One graph on Glenn Robinson's scoring says it all:

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Couple that with his 13% usage and you have a guy who is… okay… bear with me… Brent Petway with a three point stroke. Robinson clearly has buckets more potential, but that is the profile of a garbageman exclusively. That the NBA would take that guy in the middle of the first round, well, see above on Dumars.

I agree with folks who say if Robinson was looking to maximize his stock he should have left this year. There are lots of reasons other than draft position to do things in your life, obviously, but if his numbers stay like that in year two his stock will drop precipitously. If he gets a lot better at creating his own offense, it'll rise—and Michigan will destroy. Yes please, sir:

I feel like people have only seen one side of my game, cant wait to see the shock on peoples faces when the see the real GRIII. #Excited

Backup plan. Dave Telep on Derrick Walton's game:

I went back and reread my notes from last summer. Some of the buzzwords included “winner,” “set-up man,” “reads defenses” and “thinks pass first.”

Walton is a point guard’s point guard. He’s a player who has a craving to win and will be an extension of his coach. Next year, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary will need the basketball. Walton, if he’s the player I believe him to be, will not only recognize that, but will allow them to be better scorers for the Wolverines.

Walton assist rate will be a stat to watch early in the season.

Hockey guys incoming. A couple of scouting reports on hockey's upcoming, much-needed infusion of talent and desire. JT Compher sounds like the right prescription, and how:

1. JT Compher – F – US NTDP – Michigan Commit

Compher has one of the highest compete levels I’ve ever seen, and while he’s listed between 5-10 to 6’0, we can all agree that Compher plays far bigger than his size. He slams into the tough areas of the ice with abandon and has an excess of offensive prowess not typically found in a player as willing to get his hands dirty. The Team Illinois product is a potential first rounder.

I'd seen Compher take on Michigan with the NTDP and started muttering on WTKA about how he might have to take on a lot of leadership tasks even in year one, and that's why: he goes and gets it every shift, something Michigan seemed to lack. The emergence of Andrew Copp mitigates that need. Still, there aren't a lot of options for second-line center period, let alone guys who bring a two-way energy. I bet he ends up slotting right behind Copp and playing a lot like him.

Meanwhile Tyler Motte is more in the little devious bastard mold:

…he has always been a very strong, agile skater. Motte also added quite a bit of grit to his game this year, showing a great compete level and making up for his lack of size by using his quickness and tenacity to win puck battles. He's also still got some pretty good offensive abilities, finishing second on the U18 team with 26 goals scored on the season.

The other impressive thing about Motte's season is that he seemed to turn in some of his best performances against the toughest competition he faced. He was arguably his team's best skater in a 3-3 tie against Minnesota early in the year, scored a pair of goals in an upset win over his future team, the University of Michigan. He also led the US in scoring at the World U18 championships, with eight points in seven games.

That's very encouraging. TJ Hensick types who are awesome college players without projecting too well to the pros (Hensick never made it in the NHL and just signed in Sweden) are the best guys to have in your recruiting class, and if Motte goes in the third-to-fifth round range he's projected and remains a guy who gets it done at the college level, thumbs up.

Wheeeee. A look at LSU's finances gives some indication as to where athletic departments are stuffing all of the money in a mostly unsuccessful attempt to hide it all:

The major reasons for the ticket price increases are to offset skyrocketing tuition, salary and employee benefit costs, Alleva said.

The athletic department must reimburse the university’s academic side for each scholarship it hands out — even paying the higher, out-of-state rate for non-Louisiana student-athletes. Alleva said tuition costs have been rising about 10 percent per year the past several years.

In addition to ever-rising coach and employee salaries, Alleva said the fringe benefit rate has gone up from about 22 percent five years ago to 39 percent for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

“If someone makes $100,000, we had to pay an additional $22,000 to the university for sick leave, vacation, holidays and their pension,” Alleva said. “Now that rate is going up to 39 percent.”

LSU's budget has gone up about 150% in a decade, but only because skyrocketing costs have forced it blah blah blah. The money  just makes your suit look lumpy and there's a 20 hanging off your sock, LSU.

Etc.: UF assistant Brian White: if you walk into a room and Urban Meyer is going "ding" in a wheelchair, run. 2015 OH SG Luke Kennard was the main attraction at Michigan's team camp. Elite 11 now overrun by men who write business books. The NCAA title belt, a history. Nebraska has a place to play if it wants to add hockey. Endowing the #1 jersey killed it.

Unverified Voracity Gets Huge

Unverified Voracity Gets Huge

Submitted by Brian on June 24th, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Bulking up. Glenn Robinson III posts his offseason workout results to the internet. He is a cyborg:

image

Not bad for under two months. Now, about creating those shots…

In similar news for the ladies, boy does Michigan like taking pictures of itself without a shirt on. Dennis Norfleet may have an eight-pack.

But he has eyebrows and can play basketball. NBADraft.net has joined Chad Ford in projecting Trey Burke to the Pistons; Hardaway also slips into the first round at #29.

There's another interesting name right after Hardaway's: Glen Rice Jr. You may remember Michigan passing over Rice when he was a recruit despite their apparent desire to lock down any NBA kids, Michigan alum or no, they can find. Despite Rice rounding into a potential first-rounder, that seems to have been the right call since for whatever mildly unsavory reason, Rice spent last year tearing up the D-League instead of helping Georgia Tech not be horrible.

Anyway: that rumor out there about how the Pistons would rather grab Cody Zeller than Trey Burke when they've got Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond is so insane that it must be a smokescreen, but Joe Dumars is both the guy who put together the most unlikely championship team in… almost ever, I bet and the one who thought spending most of his cap space on a six-foot shooting guard and a guy without eyebrows was a good idea, traded Chauncey Billups for the ghost of Iverson and then couldn't even tank properly. I'm about fed up with Dumars at this point, and passing on Trey Burke (at eight!) is dead-to-me time.

What would happen if Trey Burke went up against NBA-level defenses? If only there was some way to tell… some way to tell… some way to tell…

5/10 from 2, 4/11 from 3, 10 assists versus Kansas

Dumars is eyeing this kid from Uzbekistan I bet.

Cry me a river of blood and transfers. Your unpaid student-athletes are leaving for better opportunities elsewhere in spite of the fact that you give them no money. You have done the same time and again to arrive where you are, the head coach of a basketball program. This is your hot take on that:

“It’s a bad rule,” Self says.

“It’s totally unfair to programs where they’ve worked with kids for four years,” Weber says.

Yes, that is the Bill Self at Kansas who just took grad transfer Tarik Black from Memphis, and Bruce Weber, the Kansas State coach who took Sam Maniscalco from Bradley. I'd like to say this is a surprising lack of self-awareness, but it's more required than surprised these days.

Elsewhere in the article, 16 players transferring up is an epidemic, with a transfer from Tulsa to Missouri highlighted as a negative ("I felt terrible for Danny [Manning]" says  SIU coach Barry Hinson) after Tulsa fired its head coach. These days new head coaches feel free to cut loose anyone who doesn't fit their systems and these guys still have the gall to complain when players go where they know they're actually wanted. The article does, to its credit, suggest that actually offering those now-legal four-year scholarships would go a ways towards making the complaints something other than laughable.

Until then, lol. How many transfers of the 400+ this year were by choice of the coach, not the player? When that number is less than 16, call me.

Hello California. The Big Ten has called a press conference today with reps from the Holiday and Hunger bowls, which undoubtedly means they'll be affiliating with those folks. The Holiday is slated to get the third pick of teams left over from the big bowls (ie, 4th or 5th, mostly 5th); Hunger will be deposited into the Congrats On Going 6-6 range.

The Holiday is slated to be another one of those annoying play-up blows where the Pac-12 will send its second pick to the thing, not the third. That plus road game is not a good recipe for bowl success even if you aren't an epic pile of ever-growing suck. Remember that one time an Iowa team that went 2-6 in the Big Ten played Texas in Texas? Yeah. That's somewhat mitigated by the Big Ten having a stupid number of teams soon. Silver linings woo.

One hundred and forty two. Beilein talks retirement?

The soon-to-be seventh-year Michigan coach said Thursday he's got an idea of how many more years he'd like to coach before retiring, but isn't ready to announce those numbers publicly just yet.

"I have some numbers out there in my mind," said Beilein, who will turn 61 in February.

Prior to last season, Beilein said he still hadn't given retirement much thought, explaining how he'd just know when it was time to step away from the game. The 2013 season will be his 36th year as a head college basketball coach.

I suppose this is an inevitable thing. Guy will do so at Michigan, that's for sure, and hopefully not for another six or seven years.

Inflation. Lawyers Guns and Money takes a look at inflation-adjusted Michigan ticket prices over time, finding that things bounced around in a narrow range from 27 dollars (2012) to 47 for an entire century before the recent explosion to approximately 130 dollars, depending on how much of your PSL you're writing off.

Also included: why amateurism was basically fine in 1981 and is ludicrous now.

(3) Salary of Michigan’s head football coach, in 2012 dollars:

1969: $131,000

1981: $168,000

2012: $3.25 million

That is all you need to know. Related: 16 million of projects for field hockey, softball, and baseball approved.

Etc.: Michigan gets another walk-on QB. An interview with Shemy Schembechler. Happy Algeria anniversary (yesterday). Denard sees Denard on NCAA Football. Bret Bielema is a sweary meathead.

Unverified Voracity Slugs A Lot

Unverified Voracity Slugs A Lot

Submitted by Brian on May 8th, 2013 at 2:42 PM

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aw hamburgers

Hello, Duke. Michigan draws a game at Cameron Indoor for next year's Big Ten/ACC challenge. Irritatingly, that's Duke's second consecutive home game and Michigan went on the road twice in a row in 2011 and 2010. But, hey, Duke. That likely concludes the big boy section of the nonconference schedule, which now reads:

  • @ Duke
  • @ Iowa State
  • vs Arizona
  • vs Stanford (N)
  • Hypothetical Puerto Rico slate: Auburn, Florida State/VCU, Georgetown/K-State

If Michigan doesn't get knocked into the crappy section of their tournament they'll have six games against quality high-major (or VCU, same thing) competition. Auburn doesn't count, and they may put Michigan with Long Beach State or Charlotte if they think those teams are actually worse than the Tigers.

That is some heavy lifting in the nonconference. It's not quite as heavy as Duke's epic schedule a year ago but as long as Michigan doesn't screw it up by putting a bunch of Binghamtons on the schedule they should have a quality nonconference SOS number.

That's resolved then. Jared Rutledge is officially headed back to the USHL for a year:

Red Berenson: "Rutledge is returning to junior hockey for a year. He will either come back here or transfer to another school."

Hockey is weird in that you can just do that and come back and it's like nothing ever happened. It does count as a redshirt year since his five-year clock started last year, so he will have three years to play three when he returns to college. Will he want to return to a place with two more years of Racine and three of Nagelvoort? I'm a little doubtful about that, but with the way Red is you know the door will be open.

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gone. gone. gone. gone. gone. gone. etc.

Kind of good, part two. Six(!) softball players were named first-team All Big Ten after Michigan roared through the league schedule 20-2. Sierra Romero was both the freshman and player of the year, Carol Hutchins coach of the year, etc.

Here is Romero's Big Ten slugging percentage.

1.125

!!!

Also her on-base percentage was .659. That is nuts.

No Wolverines made the All-Defensive Team, probably because they didn't have to dodge missiles from Romero.

You have destroyed all comers. The current tote board for the EDSBS charity bowl:

Team

Donations

Amount

 

University of Michigan

61

$4,462.88

 

University of Georgia

5

$731.23

 

University of Alabama

5

$671.14

 

Notre Dame

5

$657.98

 

Arizona State University

3

$466.34

 

Michigan State University

6

$423.66

 

Make Spencer Eat Cheese University

7

$414.14

 

Hillsdale College

1

$343.10

 

North Carolina State University

3

$300.42

 

Georgia Institute of Technology

3

$268.07

 

Case Western Reserve

1

$239.54

 

University of Florida

4

$202.36

 

Ohio State

2

$200.00

Our rivals feel decrepitude and shame, except the Notre Dame folk, who immediately start talking about African-American graduation rates because that's what they do after every setback in life. Impotent? But the graduation rates!

Here is a fairer tote board:

MICHIGAN: 4,462.88
REST OF BIG TEN COMBINED: 1009.96

Northwestern does get a point for having one donation for 54.51. /shakes fist

Punting will be just fine. Kyle Meinke saves me the trouble of filtering through Matt Wile's pooch-infested yardage record and coming up with the correct statistical profile we should use going into a season where he's going to be the obvious starter at the spot. Drumroll:

Filtering out pooch punts, Wile has averaged 42.6 yards on his 20 career attempts. That would have ranked 35th nationally last year, and third in the Big Ten behind Hagerup and Michigan State's Mike Sadler.

Wile blasted three Outback punts an average of 49 yards and dropped seven of his nine pooch punts inside the 20. He's mastered that drop-it-funny sky kick that's getting more popular these days.

So, yeah, Michigan will be fine. Given what we saw from Kenny Allen in spring they've even got a backup plan. I'd expect Wile to move over to kicker next year with Brendan Gibbons gone, leaving Allen and Hagerup to battle for the punter job.

Credit where it's due. Michigan's revenue blew up since 2009. Why? Hmm.

Michigan made $52.4 million in ticket sales in 2012, up from $37.5 million at the start of the boom in 2009. That's a 39.7-percent leap.

Going by the budget numbers:

CLUB/SUITE REVENUE, 2009: 0.
CLUB/SUITE REVENUE, 2010: $7.8 million
CLUB/SUITE REVENUE, 2011: $14.8 million

That's almost entirely Bill Martin's doing, along with the usual incremental increases in ticket price. The vast majority of the rest of it is the Big Ten Network, leaving things like The Big Chill being sponsored by Arby's and Let's Present This Basketball To A Middle Manager doing almost nothing other than paying for the salary of the guy Brandon hired to copy things from pro teams.

On the other hand, Brandon doesn't appear to be playing polo on a sailboat at critical junctures, so he's got that going for him. One day we will have an athletic director who has the faintest idea of what it's like to not be filthy rich.

Kameron incoming? A previously tentative suggestion that CA SF Kameron Chatman would visit Michigan is… well, still tentative.

“They said that they have an offer for me, they just want me to get on campus,” Chatman explained. “They don’t really like to offer without you being able to visit the campus and see what they really want. They said once I get on campus, they’ll offer me.

“I think my dad was talking about me going up there for my birthday, June 1st. They have a camp or something like that. I’m not sure right now, but I think I might go up there.”

He seems to have a hazy top three of Michigan, Oregon, and Washington, with Washington rumored a tenuous favorite. He's originally from Portland before he moved to Long Beach. Surprised MSU isn't involved since his AAU team is ICP Elite.

Meanwhile, 2015s won't get offered until June 15th, always the most interesting recruiting day on Michigan basketball's calendar these days. IL PG Hyron Edwards is likely to get one of those offers:

The Illini and Boilermakers have offered and the Wolverines, who won’t offer class of 2015 prospects until June 15, seem to be heading in that direction. He said he hopes to work in an unofficial visit to Bloomington when in town for the adidas May Classic and will be in Ann Arbor on June 1 for Michigan’s elite camp.

“(Assistant) coach (LaVall) Jordan has been talking to me about it,” he said of a potential scholarship offer from Michigan. “If I do get the offer, that would be pretty great.”

Indiana also offered a while ago.

Etc.: Chris Webber! Chris Webber! But I want to hang out with Maurice Taylor, you guyyyys. And Louis Bullock. Vince Edwards still status quo, deciding between Michigan and Purdue. Staples ranks M 16th. Hruby on who exactly is harmed by the McLemore money moving around thing, references Catch-22.

Unverified Voracity Unleashes Charity

Unverified Voracity Unleashes Charity

Submitted by Brian on May 7th, 2013 at 11:45 AM

On my signal, unleash charity. EDSBS's annual fundraiser for Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta is up. Michigan has won this thing back-to-back, crushing all comers, and I'm pretty sure if we win a third straight year we get the right of first refusal on any 7'3" Spiderman shot-blocking centers they might accidentally produce.

Orson suggests commemorating a past football game with your donation. I'm going SUMMER OF TATE!

image

I blame the Big Ten Network for this. And wheel routes, of course. The donation page can be reached directly here. Michigan State is currently leading.

Hagerup gets the Stonum treatment. Michigan has announced that Will Hagerup is reinstated and will be suspended for the entire 2013 season. He'll have one more year of eligibility in 2014 if he can survive the double secret probation period, which of course Stonum could not.

Q: would Michigan announce anything if their own players didn't spill the beans on social media? The timing of all these reports seems to be: "wait for someone on a message board to notice, announce once it starts getting wider attention."

If Hagerup is still on scholarship that would take Michigan's next recruiting class down one.

Kovacs doing his Kovacs thing. The NFL equivalent of a walk-on is the undrafted free agent, and Kovacs is doing his Kovacs things with the Dolphins. But first, awesome lead!

Jordan Kovacs is the rarest kind of three-time all-Big Ten player. The kind that is nearly $100,000 in debt.

That might be a first, actually. Kovacs came in for a profile on the Dolphins' site with this quote in it:

"Those within the Dolphins organization tell me that Kovacs has a legitimate shot," MiamiDolphins.com's Andy Cohen wrote, "that you aren’t as productive as he was at Michigan without having a chance at the next level."

Practice observers are united in stating he is small but impressive nonetheless. One:

Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs was the main guy who caught my attention. At first I noticed he's the runt of the litter, standing all of 5-foot-10, 205 pounds. Most NFL safeties are three inches taller, and maybe 10 pounds heavier.

"Then I noticed Kovacs has a knack for being around the ball," Kelly continued, "and plays with a feisty spirit. He pulled down one of the Friday session's two interceptions and was consistently around the ball. What does that mean? No clue at this point, but flashing is a good thing."

And two:

Former Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs, an undrafted rookie free agent signee, knows how to make an impression. He was a walk-on at Michigan and rose to prominence and had something of a cult following in Ann Arbor. He knows the way to draw attention and that's hit. He did plenty of that, taking some liberties at times in the defensive backfield. He also had an interception. So he's got my attention, at least.

Spiece means all of the scouting reports. There was an immense AAU tournament in Fort Wayne over the weekend that has resulted in an unusually large scouting dump even for the internet. Trevon Bluiett had a great weekend on both ends, filling it up and giving five-star Kevon Looney the business on defense:

Dylan on Bluiett:

We’ve been keeping tabs on Bluiett for a long time now so his offensive exploits don’t come as a big surprise. Bluiett can score the ball against just about anyone. He has a great jumpshot, can use his 6-foot-6 frame to get to the rim and even has a nice mid-range game. But it’s always encouraging when a guy that you’ve been following for a long time shows off something new. We already touched on Bluiett’s defensive exploits against Kevon Looney but his performance was very impressive – mostly because we haven’t seen that out of him. Five threes on the other end didn’t hurt, although this still wasn’t Bluiett’s best offensive game of the tournament, that would have been his 28 point outburst against Team Thad.

He told Rivals($) that Michigan and Butler are recruiting him "most vigorously" at the moment. Everyone who's ventured an opinion thinks Butler has a tentative lead, and time is running down. Bluiett wants to decide before his senior year begins.

UMHoops also put together a scouting reel on Looney. Which… wow. He doesn't have the quickness to drive on guys a lot shorter than him, but he's a 6'9" kid who blocks everything, runs the floor, has three point range, and is aggressive. I say, he might be a good player.

Scout also has extensive, uh, scouting($). Vince Edwards had a little bit of a rough outing as his teammate and OSU commit Jae'Sean Tate went to the basket over and over; everyone's now filing Looney as an "elite face-up power forward."

Oh. ESPN's Paul Biancardi puts Zak Irvin on his class of 2013 "dream team," describing him as an "alpha dog($)":

Every team needs some alpha dogs, and Irvin fits that category. He provides the luxury of having a big-time scorer who can stroke it from deep with excellent size or beat his defender off the bounce, pull up and nail it from the midrange. That scoring versatility is priceless. He also has high-level athleticism, and his frame is strong enough that he can take a hit and finish at the rim. Irvin is a competitor who can play the game up tempo or in the half court. Bottom line, he is a bucket getter who can put up big numbers.

Hardaway++?

Sports in which you attempt to throw a ball past a person with a stick. Softball clinched their sixth straight Big Ten title over the weekend with a narrow 2-1 win over Northwestern, then celebrated by clubbing the Wildcats into a fine paste 16-1 in a game I attended. I was just talking up how Sierra Romero was pretty good when she put one over the fence; later in the game they walked her with a base full. The next day, Northwestern walked her at every opportunity, plunking her the first time. Also she's the shortstop. She might be good.

Softball is the top seed for the Big Ten tourney, which is in… Nebraska. Does that make more or less sense than having the hockey tournament at neutral sites? Advanced math necessary to tell. In any case, it's a big tourney for Michigan, which currently sits on the edge of the top-eight spot that would not only guarantee them a regional but also a home super-regional should they advance.

The softball tourney is a twelve-team single elimination thing; Michigan's Friday opener won't be televised but their hypothetical semi would be at 3 Saturday and the final is 1 Sunday, both on BTN.

Meanwhile, the baseball team is fighting for the last spot in the six-team Big Ten tournament, taking two of three from Iowa over the weekend. They've got six conference games left, a home series against Purdue and a trip to Lincoln. Purdue is about as good as Iowa—not good—and Nebraska is just okay; Michigan has to keep ahead of Illinois for the last spot. They've got a game on the Illini.

Dollar dollar bill y'all. The Big Ten's distribution to its schools pops up over a million dollars to $25.7 million. The BTN is now putting out $7.6 million a year. Makes you wonder how they used to manage with just 15 million a year. Probably ate roof tiles, sat in a hot tub filled with dirt, used old batteries to decorate.

The irony of this bullet. The only good thing about the new flood of articles (YES IT'S A TWO-ARTICLE FLOOD GAWD) about Chris Webber is they're the ones spurred by the dissociation period imposed on him by the NCAA ending. So they should be the last, by God. Has anyone else ever been a subjection of this much discussion 20 years after he left his college team?

Canadian Football. Your names. I don't know what to do. There's a new Ottawa CFL team that just drafted a backup Iowa lineman in the first round because the CFL draft is only for Canadians. In any case, I bring this to your attention mostly because that team is considering the following names:

Wiki says they're choosing between the RedBlacks, the Nationals, the Raftsmen, the Voyageurs, or the Rush. Of course a Canadian team would consider "Rush" an appropriate nickname. Whatever they end up going with, they're always going to be The Fightin' Tom Sawyers to me. But I digress.

Canada. I think "RedBlacks" is actually the goofiest what with its connotations of a distant rollerball future where all things are named according to the colors that comprise them because the gubberment has confiscated nouns.

Knobwatch. When Bret Bielema isn't fighting with Wisconsin fans on twitter—seriously—he's dialing up the doublespeak to its maximum:

Coincidentally, "Transition is a process" is also what the noun-confiscating dystopian gubberment says when it takes your nouns.

One of those guys is a postgrad quarterback everyone will want Michigan to look at who will instead go somewhere he can play.

Barwis talking about Mealer. Via the latest TEDx event at M:

Etc.: Is the body of this article titled "Why B1G has no November night games" just "IT'S COLD"? It should be. Ringer departure official if you missed it yesterday. FWIW, I heard he'd had microfracture surgery a la Greg Oden. Where the O'Bannon case stands and is going in the near future. Ben McLemore stuff just makes me want agents to be cool wit the NCAA. Burke's got a shot at going #1.

Unverified Voracity Catches Downfield

Unverified Voracity Catches Downfield

Submitted by Brian on December 19th, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Running a route. That is the takeaway from the Outback Bowl practice video: a ball thrown downfield to Denard Robinson, who is playing wide receiver.

Hopefully that did not six takes to get right.

Also they took the uniform mannequin to the Outback Steakhouse on Ann Arbor-Saline, because he was getting sick of staring out the window of Schembechler Hall. Good to see him get some air.

Jersey followup. Sap breaks it down at MVictors:

The matte finish is a first for the U-M headgear.  Back in the 70s and 80s there was no gloss finish on the Michigan helmets.  Much like their coach, there was no flashiness to them – they were maize and blue and that was that.  You’d be surprised at how basic and crude those old helmets look compared to the newer ones of today.  From 1977:

1976 helmets

If you wanted the old ones to look shiny, you would have to rub some car wax on them!

The yellows on the new jersey definitely do not match the helmet, which is a very Sparty thing to do.

Tom From AA rounded up reactions on Facebook and found that most people bothering to insert a comment are opposed:

I went through and tallied 665 of the comments. That's not all of them, but after a while the percentages stayed the same, so I'm saying this is a SCIENTIFICALLY SOUND representation of the FB page's population. It took far too long to go through 650+ so I decided not to keep going through the now 3000 comments. Like I said, the percentages started holding pretty strong around n=300, so should be representative. I ignored trolls and unrelated posts.

Like 102 15.3%
Dislike 378 56.8%
Helmets: Yes! Uniforms: No! 154 23.1%
Meh 13 1.9%
Helmets: No! Uniforms: Yes! 18 2.7%

I had other categories as well, such as "Sarcasm" and "slappy." The former of which generally disliked the jerseys, the later of which said "anything Blue wears is good" so I did not include them in the "Like" category.

People in favor seem—how to put this gently—brain damaged.

Representative "Like" Comment

SWAGG! Matt finish to the helmets!! And the jersey is to fly!

You have brain damage and/or are 14, sir. Some responders in the comments here note that incensed people are much more likely to leave a comment than people mildly in favor, and that's true. Whenever a Picture Pages post has 100 comments around here, 80% of them will be complaints. So take it with a grain of salt. Except don't because if you do like the jerseys your brain is probably melting as we speak.

Hmm. Not that it's a surprise, but Taylor Lewan doesn't sound like a guy who's planning on a return:

Even though the Wolverines face replacing a good portion of the offensive line next season, Lewan said he's confident things will work out.

"I don't think Michigan will have a big problem with the offensive line next year," he said.

Maybe that's reading between the lines too finely. No one thinks he'll be back, though.

In other NFL news, Illinois's Akeem Spence declares. Michigan wasn't going to play them next year anyway.

It's gotta go somewhere. The coffers overflow, and the latest beneficiaries:

Clemson’s assistants — at a combined total of more than $4.2 million, including outside income — are the highest-paid group among the 102 public schools for which USA TODAY Sports could obtain 2012 pay information for at least eight of the nine assistants generally allowed by NCAA rules. There are 124 FBS schools.

LSU’s assistants also are collecting more than $4 million. Seven other schools have assistants totaling more than $3 million in compensation: Texas, Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Oregon, Florida State and Oklahoma State.

Last year, six schools had $3 million assistant-coaching staffs. In 2009, there was one: Tennessee’s, at $3.3 million.

I'm surprised Michigan isn't on that list with both coordinators now pushing into the upper six figures.

Also, um.

image 

The pictured coaches are Chad Morris, Clemson's $1.3 million offensive coordinator and… I'm not sure but some guy at USC. This is a very silly graphic.

[HT: Get The Picture.]

A good hire? After some confusion it does appear that Wisconsin's new coach is Gary Andersen, lately of Utah State. Andersen doesn't have massively more experience than the latest fliers the conference has taken on MAC coaches, but in four years he turned Utah State from a national doormat into an 11-2 outfit that lost its two games to Wisconsin by two and BYU by three. They took out a BCS team in Utah and annihilated Toledo for a bowl win. The last two years of Idaho Potato bowls were the first winning seasons in the I-A history of the program. That's a pretty solid resume.

The reaction of his players on twitter is also a good sign—various takes on "The only man I want to play for." You never know, but it seems like this has a decent chance of working out as long as the offensive transition isn't too harsh. Utah State is a spread 'n' shred type outfit.

Despite that, tentative thumbs up for a Big Ten hire. Strange days.

Last night in Big Ten hoops sponsored by Barbasol. Close shaves abounded. Both Michigan State and Ohio State were dead even with BGSU and Winthrop for about 30 minutes before pulling away late, and Nebraska managed to turn a 15 point lead against Jacksonville State with seven minutes left into a tight contest. Close shave, (terrible parts of) America (and Nebraska)!

Here's an MSU fan freakout from the first 30 minutes of last night's game against BGSU. I don't think it should impact how you interpret MSU in the league, unfortunately. By the end, Kenpom was eerily close on the score (it was a road game). It feels better to leap out to that ten point lead early and play most of the game comfortably ahead, but all the possessions are worth the same.

Transition efficiency. Dylan gets some stats from Synergy sports and notes a massive improvement in Michigan's transition offense:

According to statistics from Synergy Sports, Michigan is scoring 1.31 points per transition possession – a dramatic improvement from the 1.09 points per possession that the Wolverines netted on transition possessions last season. That number ranks in the 96th percentile nationally and compares favorably to the rest of the conference.

Team % of Poss. in Transition Points Per Transition Poss.
Minnesota 15.3% 1.35
Michigan 17.2% 1.31
Ohio State 18.2% 1.30
Indiana 20.4% 1.19
Wisconsin 7.0% 1.16
Purdue 11.3% 1.15
Illinois 13.0% 1.01
Michigan State 20.2% 0.98
Iowa 16.6% 0.96
Penn State 13.1% 0.94
Nebraska 8.1% 0.94
Northwestern 8.8% 0.82

Source: Synergy Sports

Good things happen when Michigan pushes the ball in transition. Obviously there are more easy opportunities in transition (the Wolverines average .96 PPP in half court sets – a very good figure in its own right) but the Wolverines have maximized their transition effectiveness.

Northwestern's transition offense is much worse than their half-court sets, which is kind of amazing. Meanwhile, Michigan's boost this year does not appear to be about schedule strength—most teams haven't played a schedule as good as Michigan's.

Dylan credits Burke and that's obviously a big part of it. Another is the fact that if you lose Stauskas in transition he will put a three on your face. In your face. Speaking of, I found this:

NikMichiganCanadian_medium[1]

And now I wonder why it took so long to happen.

Etc.: Missouri safety gets the boot for having a small amount of pot, but really I just want to note that his name is "Ka'ra," which sounds like an ancient Egyptian god from a Saturday morning cartoon. Horford's painful looking injury is a dislocated kneecap, which is a very good thing since he should be able to return in a few weeks. Derrick Walton is doing good things. Quinton Washington profiled by his hometown newspaper.

Unverified Voracity Dances Way Off Team

Unverified Voracity Dances Way Off Team

Submitted by Brian on December 17th, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Goodbye beard. Also the rest of Elliott Mealer at winter graduation:

A-Qsx5TCQAAw6jj[1]

Goodbye to you sir. Michigan suspends Hawthorne, Floyd, and Will Hagerup for the bowl game. A couple people told me this a couple days ago, and they both seemed to think Hagerup would not return. After a dramatically-timed suspension against Ohio State and another for the first four games of 2011, it would be surprising to find out Hagerup had a fourth strike.

But the AD didn't announce Hagerup was gone, so there's probably a last-ditch straight-and-narrow chance he can get back a la Stonum, except hopefully not a la Stonum. Michigan will be fine with Matt Wile for the bowl anyway.

Cornerback, on the other hand… yeah, Floyd spent the year tempting fate but the alternatives there are… uh. Moving Courtney Avery to the outside—probably to field corner since he's a lot smaller than Raymon Taylor—is probably your best one, and then your nickel guy is either Delonte Holowell or Terry Richardson. I'm still not sure that corner environment is any worse than Michigan's options at tailback, but at least the Norfleet-to-corner move makes some sense now. Hopefully it's temporary.

Hawthorne had been limited to special teams this year; his loss isn't impactful.

Now has more time for dancing. MGoVideo caught this oddly-timed dance festival just posted on youtube featuring Floyd:

I rate it an 0.8 Mike Cox.

And so it does not begin. Presenting Michigan's secret weapon in their recruitment of Derrick Green:

Dead period for football begins today and runs through January 3. No on- or off-campus contacts/evals permitted. Calls/email permissible.

Green plans on enrolling early; if he sticks to that plan he should be announcing at the Army game on January 5th, leaving virtually no time for anyone to catch up with announced leader Michigan. Does yoga, is huge.

This trend will probably stop soon. Will Leitch on the way the cable bundling model is going:

Not that many people are going through all the trouble to do this yet, but as cable fees keep going up, and more workarounds can be found (and we haven’t even gotten into pirated feeds), more people will cut the cord. We live in an information-wants-to-be-free age, and we’re still being held down by these media-company gatekeepers. In the real world it’s 2012; in the cable universe, it might as well be 1988. Eventually, this will have to change. It’s too insane and rigged-against-the-consumer for it not to. The problem, of course, is that, like so many capitalists before them, leagues and teams and sports networks are all assuming that it’ll always be like this, that these revenue will keep growing forever and ever, that this golden goose will always keep laying eggs. There are decades upon decades of Darwinian consumer trends that contradict that. In 30 years, we may have all unplugged our cable bundles and be paying a la carte. This is the nightmare situation, but I’m not the first person to suggest we’re living in a cable sports television bubble. Someday it’ll pop. Then, suddenly, we’ll look and think: Why in the world is Maryland in the Big Ten?

Rutgers is even more of an outlier but the point is a good one. At some point the rickety dam keeping all of these channels unnecessarily bundled is going to break, and then having teams that can't fill not-very-big stadiums is not going to be an asset.

Bacon. He considers the PSL increase:

Former Michigan Athletic Director Don Canham sold the experience – and we bought it.  Canham was a great marketer, but what impressed me most was what he would not do for money: solicit donors, put advertising on the uniforms or in the stadium, host night games, charge for tours – or ask for a raise.  He had already made millions in business, and didn’t feel the need to squeeze more from his alma mater.

The current athletic department now aggressively seeks donors and corporate sponsors.  It has brought advertising back to Crisler, in a big way, and has started sneaking advertising into the once-pristine Big House, too.  They now charge to host corporate events, wedding receptions, and even school tours, which had been free since the Big House opened in 1927.  Heck, until a few years ago, they didn’t even lock the gates during the week.

Michigan’s not alone, of course, and they will tell you it’s the cost of doing business – but what business, exactly?  When current Athletic Director Dave Brandon said on “60 Minutes” that the “business model is broken” – what he failed to grasp was that it’s “broken” because it was never intended to be a business in the first place.  After all, what business doesn’t have to pay shareholders, partners, owners, taxes, or the star attractions, the players and the band?

Raise your hand if you're sick of being told you can rent out the Big House for a wedding. That is everyone except the guy who emailed me pictures of his Michigan Stadium wedding over the summer in case I wanted to post them, which seemed like an awfully mean thing to do to a guy.

Brandon clearly sees the lack of advertising in the stadium as an annoyance, and has put it in anyway: just because the blaring thing trying to market something is a wedding or Michigan's facebook page doesn't mean it's not advertising. By pushing the boundaries wherever he can, Brandon indicates where he'd like to take the Big House experience if not faced with a potential fan revolt.

Bacon makes a great point: it's to the point that whenever you're putting down your money you feel like kind of an idiot for spending it. Thus the multiple "I bet I can scalp for cheap" projects on the internet and the regular stories about how you can get into most Michigan State games for two dollars or the Big Ten Championship for ten.

Speaking of: College Football Is This Other Thing post using Wall Street as the other thing is creepily accurate.

The Guys Running The Big Ten are Bain Capital

The Guys Running The Big Ten are Bain Capital

Step 1: Take over asset. Step 2: Exploit that asset with no regard for long-term consequences. Step 3: Laugh, buy a bigger summer house or a dressage horse or something.

In the Big Ten's case the dressage horse is a fancy building for a sport that brings in no revenue.

Yes please return. This will help the floundering hockey team:

Michigan coach Billy Powers on WTKA: "There's a good chance we could see (Merrill) immediately following the holidays."

I'm not holding out much hope for the GLI with Trouba at the World Juniors, and by the time Merrill makes it back Michigan's fate may already be sealed. Michigan is currently 36th in the RPI and would have to win 75% of their remaining games to get into the top 20, where a bid is vaguely possible. Either they rip off a streak for the ages starting right now or it's conference tourney or bust.

Etc.: can Rob Parker please stop existing now? On TV, I mean. He can remain in existence as long as he is not given a platform to express his thought-type-substances to the masses.

Derrick Walton profiled. Brandon gets dollars. Michigan was not fortunate this year. One way in which linear regressions are frequently misapplied. Key plays against West Virginia.

Unverified Voracity Likes The Great Eye

Unverified Voracity Likes The Great Eye

Submitted by Brian on December 13th, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Volleyball final four tonight. 7 PM, ESPN 2.

Probably not important but for God's sake we have to at least try. Go here and vote for anything but "Existing Divisions plus one." I like what I'll be calling the Eye Of Sauron Configuration:

inner-outer3[1]

Ace with the quick photoshop for the win:

mid_west_us_region_nl.eps

You have the two triangles of hate plus Nebraska's desire to make one of them a parallelogram of hate plus everyone else in the other division. The balance is as fair as possible: M-OSU versus everybody. The straight East-West split is a lot less drivable and places the three teams with the most recruiting muscle in the same division.

They will release results for this on Monday at 6:30, FWIW, and then ignore everything so they can create the JUSTICE and BEATIFIC TOLERANCE divisions while introducing the league's new logo, which is a stained glass window of Jim Delany with a halo.

BONUS: "*Actual Division Names TBD"

Line of the week.  From the MZone:

Thankfully, our pal Surrounded in Columbus is always good for a nugget or four from deep behind enemy lines.  Today he sent the picture below with the following email:

Most people would be disappointed to be 12-0 & staying home.  They're not most people.

No word yet on when Tressel Boned Us But We Still Hoisted Him on Our Shoulders Like Morons Lane is going up.

Ohio State hosts a "celebration of perfection against reason" Tuesday during which Galileo will be burned at the stake and the sun declared to revolve around the earth.

Tell me something I don't know. Maurice Clarett:

He was a hard worker in practice and in games. But off the field, he was living a completely different life. "I took golf, fishing, and softball as classes," Clarett says. "Away from class, anything you can think of I did in my 13 months at Ohio State." Drugs and women were two of the things. Cars were another—he owned three of them at a time, including a brand-new Cadillac and Lexus. "I was living the NFL life in college," he says. "I got paid more in college than I do now in the UFL.

Hey, guys who were interested in Marawatch: now is a high-leverage time for some private investigations of OSU.

Scorched-earth bombing of the week. From Patrick Hruby on the insane levels of subsidy thrown out to nonprofit entities like… the NFL.

In the eyes of the IRS, the National Football League is considered a nonprofit outfit. Just like the United Way. Read that again. The NFL -- a league that makes roughly $9 billion in revenue per season and will collected a guaranteed $27 billion in television money over the next decade -- enjoys the same tax breaks as, say, your local chamber of commerce, because both are classified as 501(c)6 organizations. Under federal law, 501(c)6 organizations -- essentially, business leagues -- are defined as associations of persons having some common business interest, the purpose of which is to promote such common interest and not to engage in a regular business of a kind ordinarily carried on for profit. Does that sound like the NFL to you?

It's been said before but the contrast between socialist NFL and the largely capitalist, competition-driven way European leagues are set up is kind of amazing. I envy soccer fans their league structure in which teams at the bottom are punished, not rewarded, and poor performers drop out of existence. Imagine a world in which the Lions are a fourth-division team and some other Michigan outfit is competing in the NFL. Mmmm. Justice.

Instead, William Clay Ford has been allowed to ruin pro football in Detroit for 50 years. Down with antitrust exemptions for sports.

Speaking of, OH MY GOD. This is from Bylaw Blog proprietor John Infante is… bizarre. Probably unworkable. It has a zero point zero percent chance of actually happening. And it was posted in February, at which point I missed it. But it's kind of amazing to think about:

The College Basketball Champions League (CBBCL) would be the premier college basketball competition. It would consist of the following stages:

  • A qualifying stage of up to three rounds;
  • A group stage over six weeks;
  • A knockout stage of four rounds.

The CBBCL as currently configured would consist of 56–58 teams. All bids to the CBBCL would be automatic bids based on winning or finishing high in your conference. A rating or coefficient system would be used on the conference level, and would be based solely on a conference’s performance in the CBBCL.

Basically, throw over the current model in favor of a Euro soccer model, cups and all. Again, never never happen but thinking about it is pretty cool. No more Binghamton games for top teams as they compete in their conference and the Champions League, just wall-to-wall killer games.

Again, never happen in a million years but it's always fun to think of ways to make revenue by increasing the excitement level of the sport instead of just making fans more and more resentful. One way to do that is to add more silverware. Right now most American sports are structured so that there is one thing to strive for and that thing is determined by fairly random playoff at the end of a regular season.

The February NBA game is the quintessential example of the disease this leads to, and while I find complaints that no one cares about college basketball until the tournament to be unconvincing, people are thinking about goosing the rest of the year:

“Once the reforms to the college football postseason are complete, we have a responsibility to think long and hard about how we can improve the basketball regular season,” said Larry Scott, the commissioner of the Pacific-12 Conference. “The game deserves it.”

Here's an idea: play every nonconference game at the same time on the same court. Yeah! /markhollis'd.

Here's a better idea: expand the preseason tourney exemption to move away from one-weekend events played on neutral courts to a mini-me version of a cup competition in which regular season champions from the previous year square off on randomly-drawn home courts until you get to a final four, which is at MSG or bid out. There are 33, so one play-in game, three weeks of Friday night games, and then a Final Four. Silverware that means something and packs out home floors. HOME FLOORS, people.

Consider your travel plans today. Not those travel plans. Joe Lunardi threw out an updated bracket because ten games into the season's as good a time as any. The bracket has Michigan a one seend(!), bringing forth a question and a statement.

The question: what does Joe Lunardi do nine months out of the year?

The statement: for the first time it looks like the NCAA tournament's decision to break everything into pods and try to get as many top seeds close to home will benefit Michigan, as they're slotted into Auburn Hills in this and any other bracket that bothers to list where people will be.

It will be hard for them to exit that territory since top four seeds usually get priority close to home and there aren't many teams projected to make the top four who would prefer to go to the Palace: MSU, obviously, and then Cincinnati, Notre Dame, and maybe Illinois. With Dayton as another outlet for any of those teams, three or four of them would have to pass Michigan to get that Palace spot. So, yeah.

If Michigan makes the Sweet 16, they'd probably get bumped out of Indianapolis unless they finish above the Hoosiers on the S-Curve. That might not be so bad since they're not playing the regional finals at the basketball arena, but rather the Colts' Stadium. While it will be funny to see Indiana basketball outdraw the Big Ten Championship game significantly, most of those seats are going to be terrible.

Aw man, the other travel plans make you feel baaaad. After hemming and hawing about going to the bowl game I finally did get a flight, and now I feel like a jerk for doing so:

8:54PM EST December 11. 2012 - No bowl game in college football pays more money to one person than the Outback Bowl in Tampa Bay.

His name is Jim McVay, the game's president and chief executive officer.

According to tax forms, the bowl paid McVay $753,946 in fiscal year 2010, $693,212 in 2009 and $808,032 in 2008. His pay has nearly doubled since 2002, when he earned $404,253. This year, his game matches Michigan (8-4) and South Carolina (10-2) on Jan. 1.

"He's done a fabulous job," says Mike Schulze, a spokesman for the game. "It's about being fairly compensated based on what the market dictates."

Dammit. This is why I don't go to bowl games.  McVay made more than the CEO of the American Red Cross, which has revenues of $3.5 billion. The Outback Bowl brought in 10 million, of which they are paying this joker 7.5%. Also:

The median salary for the 15 bosses at the non-profit bowls reviewed by USA TODAY Sports is about three times higher than the $132,739 median for a nonprofit chief executive, according to a study of 3,786 mid-to-large charities in 2010 by Charity Navigator, a charity watchdog.

I mean seriously I feel bad for supporting this in any way.

Q for a non-Rose Bowl rookie: should I just scalp in Tampa? I assume that face value is for suckers, right?

Rutgers lollercoaster. The Big Ten is going to threaten cable companies in the newly expanded Big Ten footprint unless they cut the league the same deal the Midwest does, except this time this is their leverage:

The fact that Maryland and Rutgers are joining the Big Ten Conference doesn’t guarantee that their games will be on the Big Ten Network. In fact, several of their games may not be available locally at all — TV or broadband — when they kick off their Big Ten seasons in 2014.

Maryland and Rutgers face the possibility of having at least two football games and at least 15 basketball games go untelevised locally when they join the conference in a year and a half.

That’s because the Big Ten Conference is looking into a strategy that could keep all Maryland and Rutgers games — encompassing all sports — off of the Big Ten Network unless local distributors place the channel on an expanded basic tier. The Big Ten used that strategy successfully in Nebraska last year when the Cornhuskers joined the conference, and the conference is expected to use it again in 2014 when Maryland and Rutgers join.

I think that'll probably work in DC thanks to Maryland's lacrosse and basketball outfits but if it doesn't it is going to be delightful to see Comcast get into a fight because of the team that plays in the Comcast Center. I cannot wait for that standoff to go down.

I find it difficult to believe many—if any—New York area cable companies are going to look at the threat of not getting two Rutgers football games a year and cave; not having Rutgers basketball is probably a selling point. Here's to a decades-long ban on Rutgers content on the BTN.

Etc.: Get out while you can, Catholic schools! form a sensible 10-12 conference from Milwaukee to DC and watch people like it! Maryland gets money up front to leave the ACC. Chesson and Darboh called out as impressive players early in bowl practice, which yes please. Burke declares M elite. Hardaway's recent shooting is the closest thing Michigan has to a concern right now. Surprise Michigan still doesn't run zone.

Unverified Voracity Reprises Northwestern

Unverified Voracity Reprises Northwestern

Submitted by Brian on December 11th, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Jason Avant, you are Jason Avant. Be Jason Avant for us.

avant[1]

"I liked having him around." –everybody

Biannual obvious thing. PSDs go up 75-100 bucks for everyone, effectively raising ticket prices 10-15 bucks depending on the number of home games in any particular year.

At least as more and more of the ticket money gets shifted to annual donations not dependent on beating up small teams the financial window to bring in real opponents goes up. And Stubhub remains a ruthless final word as to pricing. I'm shining it as fast as I can over here, you guys.

Ominously included in the press release is something about Yost:

With the renovations to Yost Ice Arena, the athletic department has expanded offerings for fans interested in premium seats for ice hockey. In addition to the upper level club, the newest offerings are 14 Champions Boxes on the west side and Ice Level Seating in three of the four corners of the rink. There is no PSD for bleacher seating in Yost.

I have been able to walk in and get seats on the blue line twice in the past five years and Michigan has put their miserable early-season schedule up on deal sites the last two, so I don't think the threat is severe. But you never know.

Meanwhile. Attendance is down somewhat across college football, though the Big Ten remains largely immune. As always, announced numbers are thin fictions anyway. Here is a picture of the Orange Bowl as per contractual agreement.

Miami_Crowd_SunLife[1]

Draft bits. Denard's stock will depend on how well he catches—surprise—and could be a second-rounder, while Lewan is in the same place he's been most of the year:

"It's Eric Fisher or Lewan to be the second tackle off the board," Kiper said. "In the Ohio State game, (Lewan) was beaten that one time, but overall he's been pretty solid this year, got better as the year went along."

Fisher goes to CMU, BTW. Michigan's other prospects are late-round sorts. I'd guess that Kenny Demens has the best shot.

Do it. Er, not that. The seven Big East basketball-only schools have finally had enough with the ever-shifting crap fountain that has been the Big East since expansion got underway seriously and are considering a splinter league with these folks and probably a few others:

The group of 7 schools includes: Marquette, St. John’s, Providence, Georgetown, Villanova, DePaul and Seton Hall. Those schools are concerned about the defection of the core of the Big East basketball conference–Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Notre Dame as well as the expansion of the conference in football to 12 teams and the inclusion of schools such as Central Florida, Memphis, SMU, Houston and Temple in basketball.

Or, like, all of the others:

The Atlantic 10 has discussed the possibility of a 21-team basketball league in the event that the changing conference landscape makes high-profile Big East schools available, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com Tuesday.

I guess you could play a 20-game round robin and have a real league champion, but that's just weird. Not as weird as 14 team football conferences, but weird. If I was a Catholic School in this window I'd jump at the prospect of being the A-10 part two, adding Xavier and a couple others to form a solid, stable league instead of messing about with Tulane. The attraction of the Big East exited with the latest round of expansion. But money, etc.

Ratings. Here are all of the ratings for college football on networks. Michigan by weekend:

  • Alabama: 4.8, #1 (#2: GT-VT on Monday, 2.8)
  • Air Force: was a split with USC-Syracuse that averaged 3.3, also #1 but that's not quite fair.
  • UMass: N/A
  • Notre Dame: 4.0, #1 (#2: Clemson-FSU drew a 2.9 at the same time on ABC)
  • Purdue: N/A
  • Illinois: Michigan was in a 3-way window that averaged 3.1 on ABC and picked up 0.7 via reverse mirroring. So no idea. LSU-South Carolina did 3.7 and Stanford-ND 3.3.
  • Michigan State: N/A
  • Nebraska: 1.2, an ESPN2 way off ND-Oklahoma on ABC, a 5.2, and also off ESPN games MSU-Alabama (2.1) and OSU-PSU(2.3) despite the latter game being essentially a nonentity.
  • Minnesota: N/A
  • Northwestern: a 1.8 on ESPN in the noon window.
  • Iowa: also a 1.8 on ESPN in the noon window.
  • OSU: 5.8, noon ABC, #5 game of the year. Let's move it to October or make it a meaningless prelude to a rematch. Erosion, baby.

That Nebraska number is shockingly low. The Huskers drew a 2.8 for a game against Oklahoma, a 2.7 for their first game against Wisconsin, and a 3.1 against OSU. I guess ND-Oklahoma sucked everyone away.

Well yeah. GRIII has been playing at the four for Michigan, obviating preseason concerns about a potentially awkward fit between Michigan's personnel and the offense John Beilein has run in the past.

I don't think that preseason meme was a good one. Since arriving at Michigan, Beilein has ditched the 1-3-1 and an entire coaching staff and incorporated a ton of ball screens into an offense previously devoid of them. If it was a good idea, Beilein would probably do it. Playing two posts has not really been a good idea when you've got a 6'6" guy who can get up and shoot threes at the four, so he hasn't done it. Instead it's Izzo trying to shoehorn Nix and Payne into the same lineups before throwing in the towel on it.

Speaking of the 1-3-1. It doesn't really exist. Seth Davis is catching on you guys:

SI.com: Is it me, or are you not using the 1-3-1 zone as much as you used to?

JB: We've done it in spots, but we haven't done it at length for a while. We used it in the NCAA tournament and that was all people wanted to talk about. One of my assistants calls it Big Foot. Everybody talks about it, but nobody sees it anymore.

But conversation about it will not die thanks to quotes like this:

It's either you use it as a gimmick a couple times, or you either learn it," Beilein said. "We're not trying to be a gimmick team.

"We're trying to learn it."

Baumgardner highlights another portion of that presser in re: Caris LeVert:

"(When we saw that [a turnover] on film), we smiled," Beilein said. "It seems (LeVert's) his arms go forever. His quickness just adds to that. ... You remember in the past even when it was effective, mostly ineffective, Stu Douglass would be (out front) but he's not really long. Zack Novak would be out there.

"When Manny (Harris) played the one year he was more comfortable on the wing. (The front spot) is the most important position. We feel between Nik (Stauskas, at 6-foot-6) and Caris, those two guys are long enough and have the energy to do that."

They're not really there yet despite the success against Pitt—the 1-3-1 has resulted in a lot of open looks and dunks despite the addition of the proverbial length. It's been worth a spin to see; the answer is "not yet."

Andy Glockner sees warning signs in Michigan's defense to date:

Defensively, there's some room for concern, though. Michigan currently is living off a totally unsustainable combination of defensive rebounding rate (currently No. 4 in Division I at 77 percent) and not putting opponents on the line (No. 3 in free throw rate). Even with that combo, the Wolverines are "only" 25th in the country in overall adjusted defensive efficiency. In laymen's terms, that means they're not stopping people all that well on initial shot attempts.

Those numbers will come down a bit, sure, but Michigan outrebounded (in a tempo-free sense) OREB powerhouses Pitt (21st) and KState (5th) already this year. A decline to last year's poor conference DREB does not seem to be in the cards. I do agree that a defense without much shot blocking or forced turnovers has a ceiling on it that is considerably below Michigan's lights-out offense.

Batten down the hatches. Michigan gets to play the GLI without Trouba or Merrill. How do you feel about that, Red?

Losing Jacob Trouba for the GLI is a good problem to have says Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson

“We’ve taken a firm stance as a program that we support the World Juniors program,” Berenson said. “On the flipside, we miss them during the GLI. That’s a big hole on our team, but I’m not going to hold a kid back.”

Not the way the headline implied.

Etc.: Consensus: Taylor Lewan adds AP All-American status to those of Walter Camp, Athlon, ESPN, and CBS. Cincinnati's unsuccessful scramble to exit the Big East. Practices are intense man. Jay Bilas says Trey Burke is the top point guard in the country, does not mention anything about how Michigan should have kept Tommy Amaker. Volleyball makes the final four.

Gasaway pumps up Pitt as hugely underrated($). Hard to tell with their schedule to date. A Lion Eye is… happy?

Unverified Voracity Starts And Ends With Canada

Unverified Voracity Starts And Ends With Canada

Submitted by Brian on December 6th, 2012 at 12:33 PM

IMPORTANT. McGary sings Beiber, endorses Teen Wolf:

IMPORTANT AS WELL. You kind of felt this was on the table when the Big Ten Network put up a survey that asked you whether you knew which division your team was in and you instinctively knew that even if you could figure it out by remembering that Michigan is not in the one mentioned by their fight song, you should put down "no." And then you thought about it and knew everyone else would do the same thing too. So yeah this happened at some conference that is apparently going on today:

Delany says names of Legends and Leaders TBD.

I mean who could question a decision to expand coming from the people who gave us Legends and Leaders? Speaking of:

So I went to a Maryland basketball game last night. They played a MEAC team Kenpom ranked 345th, and played like it. I have seen more people at a basketball game.

rhhsr[1]

I am pretty sure I have seen more people at a softball game.

The arena itself is cool, and amongst the few people around me were some old guys who had clearly been getting seats adjacent to each other since the dawn of time. At one point the cheerleaders held up big cardboard cutout credit cards and asked people to wave theirs around for some sort of prize that was probably FREEEE PIZZAAAA, and I marveled at… that.

I came away with an excellent picture of why Maryland's in such dire financial straights and with an unformed joke about how Northwestern should start calling themselves WASHINGTON'S BIG TEN TEAM™ because the position is most certainly open.

Meanwhile, Maryland forms a commission to consider re-adding some of the seven sports they recently dropped.

Mercenaries for… wait what? Yesterday's Bielema-related bombshell was the revelation that Arkansas offered him a whopping 600k extra to move to a school that has never won an SEC title and is probably never going to. Bielema was forced to say the usual things, added in some nonsense about how his first year he lost to Michigan 27-13 because of a bad call, and said this:

"When I began to have more and more success at Wisconsin, I stayed but a lot of my coaches left," he said. "I just wasn't able to compensate them in the way other coaches were. I know I'm hiring the right guys, because everybody keeps taking them from me."

Bielema lost six assistants last year, and he noted that three of them went from salaries around $225,000 per year to over $400,000 annually. He said that hours after the Badgers won the Big Ten title game last Saturday, three of his assistants told him they'd been contacted by other schools and were offered significant raises. He said he wouldn't have been able to match those offers.

"Wisconsin isn't wired to do that at this point," he said. "With what I wanted to accomplish, I needed to have that ability to do that. I've found that here at Arkansas."

If that's true—and I'm skeptical that people fleeing Wisconsin are not actually fleeing Bielema himself—that's another way in which the money is just not a factor. Wisconsin has that, and they are just choosing not to spend it because…? Because they need to build world-class facilities for non-revenue sports? Is that the answer?

That can't actually be the answer. But Wisconsin was the 8 team in revenue as of 2008 and I find it hard to believe they've dipped much what with the BTN. That year they brought in 30 million more than Arkansas. And yet…

Don't give me recruiting budget stuff either. Wisconsin spent 466k less than Arkansas in 2011, which is a big gap but it is also chump change. I don't know what the problem is, but adding more money to the huge and ever-growing money spigot isn't going to fix it. If it would, it already would have.

The problem is cultural: as Bielema said, we don't want to be like the SEC at all. Probably the best thing Brandon has done is pay the assistants the relative chump change that makes them happy.

The least the Big Ten can do for us as they set every tradition they can find on fire is actually spend the money on the stuff fans care about like "keeping that guy who has gone to three straight Rose Bowls."

BIG TENNNNN. Darrell Hazell is introduced as Purdue's next head coach and the world gets a terrifying glimpse into the reality of being a beat reporter in West Lafayette:

screen_shot_2012-12-06_at_9.48.46_am.0_standard_730.0[1] 

if I could summon the energy to do anything it would be obtain the sweet release of death

Darrell Hazell, by the way, is a wild-ass swing at another MAC coach of exceedingly short tenure (two years) who has shown little other than the ability to inherit a team that floats to the top of the MAC talent hierarchy for reasons unknown. And he'll just fly the coop if he works out anyway. Expanding the league does not fix this. Purdue is still Purdue.

But maybe they can be Purdue in another division! Here we go again:

"There are some advantages to 16 (teams) compared to 14," Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis told ESPN on Wednesday. "Fourteen is clumsy. We're not out looking for two teams, but basically we will continue to survey the landscape."

At this point I endorse all Big Ten expansions in an effort to get to the Bargaining Phase post. With 16 we we can chuck the Indiana teams into the other football division and pretend none of this ever happened.

But it's about academics you guys! No, no it is not. It is not about academics in any way whatsoever.

Professors at the meeting alleged that the Athletic Department did not consult the ABIA on the addition of the Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten Conference.

“I happen to think that the implications of expanding the conference ... are significant academic matters, and I was personally very disappointed when I heard it on the radio,” Political Science Prof. Edie Goldenberg, an ABIA member, said.

If it was about academics, the academics would know about it.

Explaining to do, attempted. Michigan nixed a charity run at the Big House in two steps.

Champions for Charity is a for-profit limited liability company, though Highfield says all of the money a team raises prior to the race goes directly to a charity of the participant’s choice.

"It's just a little mom-and-pop organization," Highfield told AnnArbor.com.

Champions for Charity rented the stadium each previous year for roughly $7,000. Highfield was astonished when the school more than doubled the old rate, charging just under $16,000 for the next annual run.

The next step was just cancelling the thing entirely, because:

Really the decision in the end came down to our external focus," said Ablauf. The department announced last monththat it would begin partnering with the Special Olympics of Michigan for community service efforts. The first event of that partnership is the "Polar Plunge" at Michigan Stadium on Feb. 23, 2013.

That partnership, Ablauf said, has become the department's priority. Ablauf said the run had become "a very challenging event ... to fit into our stadium."

"We have our own private rental program, we're doing stuff with the Special Olympics and we have a lot of things we do now in the stadium," Ablauf offered.

I was waiting to sputter about this until the athletic department had its say, and… that's it? You can't spare the stadium for one day in April and one of the reasons you state for this is because you rent the thing out for profit (and annoy everyone at every football game by constantly repeating that fact)? I'm feeling a sputter comin' on you guys!

Actually, I don't have anything to say on this that I haven't already said a lot. I mean, this is a great thing to have people do from the ol' branding standpoint:

big-house-run-thumb-646x429-128915[1]

someone had a super idea once and people liked it

The thing had a lot of traction and if there was some problem with the organizational nature of the thing that was not organized as a non-profit it doesn't seem to be that hard to work through the issues. But I'm neither surprised or even disappointed that this happened. It's just how things work these days.

Antidote! Hey Charlie Strong seems like a good good dude.

Strong: I was 9-10, and (Jurich) hands me an extension...How do you walk away from someone who trusts and believes in you. …

Strong said his ego had him thinking abt what he coud do in the SEC. "It's not abt that. It's about people and how you affect their lives."

Yes Virginia, there are Bo-like people still around. One of them is Michigan's coach, and that's nice. 

Anti-antidote. Mario Cristobal is fired by FIU after one bad year when he turned down opportunities to move up in the world after he took the fledgling program from an 0-12 national joke to a couple bowl games.

STAUSKAS. As always, Canada bails us out of feeling bad. John Gasaway ranks his top 25 freshmen in college basketball and Stauskas comes in third($):

3. Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan Wolverines
Stauskas is merely Michigan's third option on offense, and you may think being rated the No. 3 freshman in the nation is self-evidently disproportionate for a role player. In the abstract I agree wholeheartedly, but exactly how much tribute do we give to a player who has helped his team's offense to the very limit allowed by the sport itself? Stauskas has an offensive rating (152.8) that's in another zip code entirely from what even the amazing likes of Bennett (127.5) and Adams (122.8) have posted. He is a normal carbon-based player in only one facet of the game: Stauskas inside the arc with the clock running is a mere mortal. But if he's at the line (89 percent) or, heaven help the opponent, outside the arc (64 percent), he's Stauskasesque.

His numbers will correct downward from this point forward, but the larger point is that for a second consecutive season John Beliein has a freshman who arrived in Ann Arbor as a lightly regarded recruit and then promptly began stomping on opponents like Mothra.

Stauskas was a little less lightly-regarded than Burke but yeah I mean seriously the hobbit at NC State was a burger guy. Oh right and that GRIII guy comes in ninth, which probably gives Michigan the best recruiting class in the country as of December what with adding in McGary and LeVert and Albrecht.

Etc.: Annual bowl swag update. Here is a tiny fraction of the money in gift cards because we can't give you cash. Tom Izzo goes full Holtz after MSU beats up on a SWAC team. Bielema fallout. More fallout. UMHoops podcast. David Merritt stops by to suggest his Merit fundraiser. Hockey coaches can now call CCHA reffing a joke in public. Gordon Gee is either lying now or lied to Urban Meyer.

Mailbag: Bolivia, Stauskas Comparables, Nice Places To Put Money

Mailbag: Bolivia, Stauskas Comparables, Nice Places To Put Money

Submitted by Brian on December 5th, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Say hi to McFarlin

Greetings from Bolivia!

image

Kevin

Kevin is in Bolivia, and he wanted to add something to the blog's many ways to say "you are going to Bolivia." This our community.

Stauskas comparables.

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Stoudamire and Korver. I know I broke the rule that white players have to be compared to white players.

Hey Brian,

 

What’s the ceiling for Stauskas?

I had hoped coming in that he could turn into our version of Jon Diebler but if you look at his early numbers, they compare pretty favorably to Diebler’s senior season, especially on a per minute basis.

I’m sure there is some regression this year but coming it’s also not crazy to expect some year to year improvement.  Can we expect him to be a 20ppg scorer by his junior year?  Should we be worried about him leaving early??

Michael

We of course don't know yet after just eight games, only three of which came against tourney-type competition. But I think you're both right and wrong that it's higher than Diebler. The wrong part: Diebler was literally the most efficient offensive player in the country as a senior and he wasn't far off his junior year. Stauskas can't really do better than 50% from three long term, unless he is literally the greatest shooter in the history of college basketball.

The right part: a large part of that stemmed from Diebler's role in the offense as Guy Who Sits In Corner And Rains In Threes Generated By Sullinger Guy. His usage and %shots dipped significantly in his final year, and he took about 80% of his shots from long range. Stauskas is currently at just over 50% and has a free throw rate that ranks.

We've just seen him start running the pick and roll productively, attacking the basket productively, and displaying a crossover Tim Hardaway Jr. envies. Stauskas has shown the potential to generate shots, not just take them. (This doesn't show up in the stats yet, it is an eye thing at the moment.) He's also just a freshman, one playing with Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. Once those guys are in the NBA, his usage should rocket upward, not decline.

Statistically, the guy's long term future may be more like Salim Stoudamire, who did this in 2005 for the Arizona outfit that lost to the Williams/Brown/Head Illinois team in OT for the right to go to the Final Four:

Salim Stoudamire 2005

ORtg %Poss %Shots eFG% AR TOR FTR FTM-FTA 2PM-2PA 3PM-3PA
126.1 22.2 24.6 64.7 13 19.3 32.1 122-134 90-179 120-238

That's 91% from the line, 50% from 2, and 50% from three with a nearly-even split between shots inside the arc+FTs and threes with a high usage rate.

That was good enough to see him go at the top of the second round as a senior, but Stoudamire is 6'1", not 6'6". Also I'd guess Stauskas would have a better assist rate just based on what we've seen so far.

Other bigtime snipers in the Kenpom age are not particularly good fits just because they often come from small schools on which they were far and away the best option, so they take up huge percentages of their teams shots and subsequently fire at a lower percentage. Stephen Curry put up over 30% of his team's shots in his three years and was the #1 guy in usage as a senior with a whopping 38%; he shot "just" 39% from three as a result. Same thing with Jimmer Fredette and JJ Redick.

The exception is Kyle Korver.

Kyle Korver 2003

ORtg %Poss %Shots eFG% AR TOR FTR FTM-FTA 2PM-2PA 3PM-3PA
129.6 N/A 25.2 63.2 17.6 15.8 30.6 109/120 54/122 129/269

Again around 90% from the line, 44% from inside the arc, and 48% from three, but with reasonable shooting rates and a good assist output. At 6'7", Korver is also the closest comparison in terms of height.

That's about the ceiling since Stauskas is going to spend his career with guys like Burke and Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin and GRIII and so forth and so on. Pretty nice ceiling.

As far as the other two questions: it's really hard to be a 20 PPG scorer unless you've got a usage rate in the Redick/Fredette/Curry range and I don't think Stauskas will have to be that guy, so no, and it doesn't seem like any of these snipers save Curry was coveted by the NBA early. Korver and Stoudamire were second round picks; Fredette and Redick went at the tail end of the lottery after four-year careers; Curry was the seventh pick after three years. NBA teams are going to want to see if Stauskas can carry a team and get to the rim before they spend a high draft pick on him, so I'd bet on three or four years.

Brian,

to tie all the coaching changes together, any chance Scott Loeffler ends up back at michigan in some sort of QB coach capacity?

trippwelborneidentity

No. Borges doesn't want to work with a QB coach after he didn't like it in his two years at SDSU, and for whatever reason I've heard that Loeffler is not likely to return in any capacity under Hoke.

Besides, who's leaving to make room? These guys are pretty tight-knit. I would expect the only coaching changes Michigan deals with in the near future are because of retirements from Jackson and Mattison, and there's going to be a war for Jackson's spot between Wheatley and Hart, amongst others.

Brian,

I know one of the negatives of the conference expansion you've personally taken umbrage with is the potential damage that could result from the excess money generated in the years to come by the Big Ten Network and its competitors. They'll run out of things to build, as you say. Corruption is always just around the corner.

Is there some rule against directing profits back to the university, or the endowments of the schools? I seem to remember Bill Martin always gave a million or so back to M at the end of the fiscal year. What would be wrong with that model? Doesn't the athletic department exist for the benefit of the university?

Secondly, and most people will probably not agree with me on this point, but couldn't the breadwinners of the conference more fully share their good fortune with the poorer members? After all, we wouldn't be Michigan if we didn't beat up on Minnesota year after year. Doesn't their participation in the Little Brown Jug count somewhat financially? I'm no socialist, but the better we all do in the B1G, the better for M.
Thanks,

Keith
Class of 2004

Athletic departments are rarely profitable because they don't have to be, and the will expand to fill the available money. Whether it's by adding sports, building new facilities, or increasing the amount of money coaches get paid, there will always be too much money being spent to have any meaningful impact on the rest of the university. We're talking about a few million dollars of surplus; the University of Michigan's 2012-2013 budget projects an operating revenue of six billion dollars.

I mean, on the other side of the coin campuses like Rutgers slap a surcharge on their students of a couple hundred dollars. Compare that to tuition costs. Right: it does not compare.

As far as helping the less fortunate, what's left to share? Every school in the league gets an equal cut of all bowl and TV revenue, even nonconference games. Even the gate revenues are shared to some extent. If any Big Ten team getting a conference cut of 22 million dollars can't stay afloat, they do not deserve to be afloat.

The excessive revenue sharing is actually a problem, IMO: since there is little financial incentive provided by having a more attractive television product, the gate is the thing. Thus many boring games against not good teams.

Brian,

Prior to Brady's arrival, M always seemed to have backs capable of breaking tackles at the LOS or at least pushing the pile forward for an extra 3-4 yards.  Even under the finesse regime of RR, Minor Rage could break through tackles and get extra yardage. In Brady's tenure, when the backs don't have a gaping hole, they are either stopped cold at the LOS or bounce once or twice before being stopped cold. Size does not seem to be an issue since both Fitz and Rawls are way bigger than Mike Hart who was always able to advance the pile a few yards.

Do you think this is an issue with talent, are they being coached differently than before, or is it somehow an OL issue?  Hard to understand since Fred Jackson has been the lone constant over these periods.

Wolverine in Savannah

A combination of talent and OL and possibly some decline in Jackson.

There is a point at which any coach gets too old and cracks start appearing in the foundation as they age. This is clearest with head coaches (SMILE) but it happens with everyone in all walks of life. I'd imagine it's particularly acute in jobs like football that will suck up any and all available time if you let it, which you have to until you're old and institutional like Jackson. Jackson's probably approaching that point where he's a tree that sometimes remembers he's a football coach.

And then there's the talent. Denard has some talent and just set a Michigan record for yards per attempt. It is possible to run long distances still. Rawls and Smith and to a lesser extent Toussaint—who did have a nifty 2011—have never shown similar capabilities. The stable at running back is legitimately thin.

And there is an OL aspect to this as well. When you're trying to dodge or tackle a guy downfield usually you've got some steam and/or some space. You have neither in the backfield, and neither when two guys are converging on you, or one guy is totally unblocked. It's a lot easier to power through a guy standing still or still dealing with a block or coming from an outside angle because he had to. When they're a train running on the same track as you, things get bad.

All of the above! Hopefully two of the three things get fixed soon.