Michigan Museday If the Dudes Get Dinged: D-Line

Michigan Museday If the Dudes Get Dinged: D-Line

Submitted by Seth on July 18th, 2012 at 7:46 AM

BWCNebraska-Heiko2  BarnumRoundtreeRohSpringGame-Heiko

♪ Well a whole season played with the first string guy is usually quite lucky.
And a squad who plays with the second team out can be anything but fussy.
But a team whose seen an important guy down—head concussed, knee on the ground!
If they ain't got depth around, then
all goes to poopie.
To poopie, to poopie, to poopie, but depth is hard to get!
To poopie, to poopie, to poopie, but we can get there yet! /♫


This is a continuation from last week when I went through the expected offensive depth chart and tried to predict what would happen—what's the dropoff? how do we react?—if each starter is injured for an extended time. Now, I'm not here trying to roll into town and stir up trouble, see? I'm a purveyor of portents and hedger of predictions only. What I seek to do is prepare us for any one of these dings, so that if one occurs we can say something intelligent like "it hurts to lose Roh but Black is probably the less replaceable!"

Why not all defense? Things slow down from here because the defense has a lot of intermeshing parts, and because there actually is depth in places to speak of. Mattison's er Michigan's defense has been characterized by interchangeable positions but really each spot is more of a sliding scale from NT to field corner where each one overlaps the things on either side of it. The listed spring/recruiting weights play this out (click e-bigitates):

Roster for HTTV

saturn-puntingzoltanQuickly again. Photos are all by Upchurch unless otherwise noted. Ratings are given in Saturn-punting Zoltans. Think of them like stars except more heavenly. Five is an all-conference-type player (Denard to Kovacs); four is a guy you'd call "solid" (RVB to Demens); three is an average B1G player (Morgan to Hawthorne); two is a guy with a big hole in his game (freshman Kovacs); one is trouble with a capital T, and that rhymes with P, and that stands for Poole.

Nose Tackle (Avengers)

Geeks / O. Ryan Hussain|TheWolverine / 247 Sports

Starter: Will Campbell 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5 ???

Backups: Ondre Pipkins 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o ???, Richard Ash 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5 ???

In case of emergency: I'll be honest; this one is impossible to call straight. The 4-3 under is like the 3-4 in that it leans on the nose to suck up double teams and create mismatches elsewhere. The ideal is a superhero, and for the last few years we've had one of the best (by Ghost of Bo).


Hulk is gone but the franchise must go on, and for now that means we are 100% committed to making Thor work.


If the old 5-star takes up the hammer he's the pivot point of a great defense. If he doesn't then one of two mystery men could be anything from serviceable to disasters, and most things in between.

The upside on all three of Michigan's nose tackles is mighty. Weirdly, we think we know more about the true freshman, Ondre Pipkins, than the redshirt sophomore. Pipkins was a 4 or 5 star whose huge, squat, Tongan frame and jovial, Hoke-impersonating character made him and Michigan's need for nose tackle a cosmic destiny. If he's got the goods we'll see Pipkins early in spells of Campbell. True freshmen (Martin, Gabe Watson) of his caliber have fared well enough in rotational duty. The later this season goes, the more comfortable you can feel about Pipkins when he's called upon. Caveat: until he's called upon you have no idea if he can hack it, and for every huge dude you can name who could play right away (Marcus Thomas, Suh, Ngata, [sigh] Johnathan Hankins, DeQuinta Jones) there's 30 who need to spend a year as Ben Grimm before being The Thing. /metaphor used up.

In case of dire emergency: …break glass on Richard Ash. Nobody knows on this guy, who was recruited by Rodriguez as the last Pahokeeian project for Barwis to tear down and rebuild. The tear-down went unnoticed through 2010 and '11 and we caught a glimpse of possible rebuild when, 20 lbs. svelter, he made a few plays nice in the backfield. Ash could be anything from ahead of Pipkins to Adam Patterson. If that's where we are I could see Quinton Washington sliding down.

Rush Tackle (3-Tech)

6932489716_dcc6100ca6_oIMG_5048 - CopyKenny Wilkins
Right: Dell Callihan|

Starter: Jibreel Black 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5

Backups: Quinton Washington 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5, Ken Wilkins 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, Matt Godin ???, Willie Henry ???, plus nose tackles

In case of emergency: The coaches have made it clear that Jibreel Black can play, and moving him two slots down the size/speed slide chart of defensive positions means they want him on the field, and that they want 5-tech-ish skills at the 3-tech. This being a swing position means the backups could be different things.

Quinton Washington is a big dude who was an offensive guard until he and Will Campbell were swapped for each other in that experiment. He still looks like a guard, and has yet show much at tackle besides easily dismissible coach hokum right after the move in 2010 so it wouldn't look like Rodriguez was throwing substances at surfaces to see what sticks.

Q stuck although the OL he left is now about as leaky as the DL he came to save. That the coaches moved Roh and Black down the line tells you something about their faith that Washington is ready, and going into his redshirt junior year that might mean he'll never be. He's seen time on goal line situations and is likely to again. Early in the year I wouldn't be surprised if he or Ash—whichever wins—is backing up both interior line spots, and that later on we see some Pipkins and Campbell together time.

In case of dire emergency: Ken Wilkins has been absent enough from chatter that people email me asking if he's still on team. Yes he is on the damn team, and he's still just a RS sophomore, but yeah, there's room for true freshmen on the three deep. Those two seem to be Godin and Henry, the lesser heralded of the heralded class, both of whom would benefit from redshirts. Henry is the larger. Chris Wormley, whom I rate at 5-tech, seems a more likely backup.

Strongside End (5-Tech)

IMG_0886-- Chris Wormley

Starter: Craig Roh 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o

Backups: Nate Brink 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, Keith Heitzman 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, Chris Wormley ???, Tom Strobel ???, plus 3-techs.

In case of emergency: Craig Roh has to be the hardest four-year starter to project in history, thanks to many different careers as too-small WDE in a 4-3, a miscast OLB in the 3-3-5, then as the edge rushing WDE in Mattison's 4-3 under. Now he moves to RVB's old spot.

The backup here is almost assuredly Nate Brink, whom the coaches love but the fans hardly know because he's been hurt (he missed Spring because of it). When the coaches talk about the one-time walk-on they make sure to hit all of the Ecksteinian points: "coachable", "hard worker", "toughness", "great technique", "great motor." To that I might add he's 6'5 and 263, which is normal for the position. He's not Heininger (who as a sophomore backed up Brandon Graham), except in that he's some of the things you wrongly thought about Heininger. Then again I remember Brady Hoke making all sorts of guys into effect tech linemen.

If you'd rather see stars, Keith Heitzman is your guy. The beneficiary of the spring time Brink missed, the redshirt fresham was rated higher at tight end out of high school yet apparently good enough at SDE that the coaches moved Jordan Paskorz instead of him. Either this was a promise made at the time of his last-minute recruitment—likely since Tim reacted strongly when I say him and the TE depth chart together—or an endorsement by Hoke that he can play, or both. Best guess is it's both.

In case of dire emergency: Any of the freshmen linemen but Pipkins and Ojemudia are ready built for 5-tech. Of these Chris Wormley was a longtime high school star, which tells me he is probably physically ahead of the other guys right now. Tom Strobel is the other proto-RVB here. One day I expect we'll see the two of them playing next to each other at 3- and 5- respectively.

Weakside End


Starter: Brennan Beyer 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5, or Frank Clark 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5

Backups: Mario Ojemudia ???, plus 5-techs

In case of emergency: Well if one goes down the other starts. Following a trend, both Clark and Beyer were OLBs last season, while this spot was rotated between Black and Roh. Though technically a unit change, the job they did last year—outside rusher—and what they'll be called on to do this year are not all that dissimilar. It speaks well to both that they played as true freshmen ahead of once-touted Cam Gordon. Read less into that, since Gordon was hurt to give them the opening and their skillsets are different from his.

They're also different from each other. Beyer was the more highly regarded and will get called "solid" more often because he's less eventful than Clark. Clark has the greater athleticism (see: interception in Sugar Bowl) though has been convicted of multiple accounts of giving up the edge, a freshman mistake repeated in spring. The rest of the D-line by design is meant to free these guys up for sacks, thus I see both rotating. If one goes down we lose the rotation.

The only other designated WDE is freshman Ojemudia, who is about 200 lbs. right now and would be 2009 Craig Roh'ed by most of the OTs and TEs on our schedule. Far more likely, in the event we lose one of the sophomores, we'll see one of the 5-techs or SLBs move in before the shirt is lifted from Mario. Craig Roh has played WDE more than any other spot, and Brink has the coaches' trust to fill in at 5-tech.

In case of dire emergency: Packaging still covers but there's Ojemudia if you need him. Packaging means in pass situations you just put Jake Ryan here and have Cam Gordon or Brandin Hawthorne or a nickel corner come in; otherwise go "big" (for a certain definition of such) with Roh back to wide and whichever backup DT/SDE in the game instead.

Michigan Museday If the Dudes Get Dinged: Offense

Michigan Museday If the Dudes Get Dinged: Offense

Submitted by Seth on July 11th, 2012 at 7:37 AM


Hobbled Lewan would be very bad: Andy Morrison|Toledo Blade

Any team that remains relatively healthy for an entire season is going to be doggone good, and doggoner lucky. Until the Sugar Bowl, when Heininger went out and Molk would have been sidelined if he was anybody but David Molk in his last game at Michigan, Team 132's most significant injury losses were Odoms, the sum total of various dings that kept Woolfolk from being as T-Wolf-ian as he used to be, and Barnum missing extensive time. All were replaced by more than competent backups, respectively Gallon, T.Gordon, and Schofield. Depth at the positions of ding-itude (and relative health elsewhere) was an understated but important part of the strong second half and thin margin by which Hoke's first team ended up winning a BCS bowl.

If 2012 proves an underwhelming sequel, the most likely culprit will be injuries at certain positions where they can be ill afforded. Since so much of this year's ultimate preview is bound to be extraordinarily rah-rah, here I'll try to temper those expectations a bit by predicting what the drop-off might be if we lose any given starter. If negative hypotheticals tend to make rain clouds appear over your head, well, either you're closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated by the presence of a pool table in your community.

saturn-puntingzoltanQuickly. Photos are all by Upchurch unless otherwise noted. Ratings are given in Saturn-punting Zoltans. Think of them like stars except more heavenly. Five is an all-conference-type player (Denard to Kovacs); four is a guy you'd call "solid" (RVB to Demens); three is an average B1G player (Morgan to Hawthorne); two is a guy with a big hole in his game (freshman Kovacs); one is trouble with a capital T, and that rhymes with P, and that stands for Poole.



Starter (1): Denard Robinson 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o

Backups: Devin Gardner 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5, Russell Bellomy 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o

In case of emergency: Devin Gardner was a 5-star recruit at the most important and most scouted position in football, has played relatively extensively for a backup, and has athletic powers not quite Denard-level but still far beyond mortal Division I signal callers. The drop-off from Denard to the Devin from practice chatter is measurable but not dire; the fall from Denard to the Devin we've seen in limited action so far is precipitous.

If the inconceivable is conceived, the offense could be simplified and lean far more on Toussaint, both to make things easier on Gardner and because if he gets hurt we're down to Bellomy and walk-ons. How unready Gardner is can be overstated; he's either a redshirt sophomore or a junior depending on how recently Gordon Gee bought your NCAA contact a beer, and this is plenty old enough to have a feel for the offense. Then again, when he's been in… Ultimately Michigan can win 8 games with Gardner; with Denard the upside on the season is roses.

In case of dire emergency: Bellomy looked cool in the Spring Game, but I wouldn't expect more than 2008 Threet out of him at this point in his career. Spread outfits like Northwestern and Purdue have made it work with such guys before, so it's not DEATH. It's hard to see him beating the tougher parts of the schedule.

Running Back


Starter (1): Fitzgerald Toussaint 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5

Backups: Vincent Smith 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o (as "the guy"), Thomas Rawls 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, or
Justice Hayes 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o

In case of emergency: The emergence of Fitz last year finally broke Michigan out of a three-year period of carries by broken bits of Minor or guys who could do one thing very well and all other things okay well. Previous the-guys like Hart/Perry/A-Train could get more yards than the defense's execution gave them by having multiple strengths. In Fitz's case those X-factors are Perry-like vision, Carlos Brown-level breakaway speed, plus the Hart-like quality Brian historically refers to as "juking a guy in a phone booth." If he could truck he'd a Heisman candidate. As it is he gives defenses another guy they have to "cheat" around by scheme/alignment/personnel at the cost of weakening something else.

Losing Fitz means going back to a committee of guys who do one or two things well. A passing spread could be just fine with Smith, who's the best blocker among the backs, is dangerous as a screen/catching target, and has some of those Pahokee jackrabbit genes that magnify his effectiveness as space increases. So long as Borges can resist the urge to ISOs with him the offense can still be the best in the conference, if not Oregon-good. Remember 2009 with Brown and Minor? That plus a senior QB. And that wasn't so terrible. Since Smith will get in anyway, the primary beneficiary of an injury to Toussaint is Justice Hayes. Hayes (right) has already outgrown his Breaston-skinny recruiting profile and flashed Toussaint-like skills. In high school he was a good enough receiver that people thought his future was at slot. If he can block too Michigan might have something here.

The Minor in this equation is either Rawls or Hopkins. Rawls we've seen in spring and limited carries last year and seems as advertised: a trunk-legged trucker. All said, the drop from The Guy™ to the guys is a star-and-a-half but the committee is strong enough that the sum difference will probably be one or two of Purdue-Illinois-Northwestern-Iowa getting closer than they would have.

In case of dire emergency: We have two freshmen. If Norfleet isn't returning this year I'd like to see him get the Breaston redshirt to put on some muscle; Drake Johnson could rotate into garbage time now. Hopkins can be dragooned from fullback if we lose Rawls.



Houma: KSL.com

Starter (1): Stephen Hopkins 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5

Backups: Joe Kerridge 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, Sione Houma 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o

In case of emergency: Hopkins seems to have fallen out of the RB conversation since moving to fullback—equal parts Rawls' emergence and fumblitis—but when I look at him I see a young Leroy Hoard, and when I look at the TE depth chart I see plenty of two-RB sets no matter who the feature back is; with Toussaint hurt Hopkins could get Hoard-like usage. There isn't another guy on the roster like Hopkins, but Kerridge is by accounts a decent fullbackian fullback, and if he isn't there's 5th year senior Paul Gyarmati and 3-star fullbackian recruit Sione Houma's redshirt to burn before we run out of noses to stuff into linebackers. I do believe the position will be featured more than in recent memory, but I think if Hopkins goes down it will be less so since he's the only real running threat among the group. So far as I know none of them are the Aaron Shea/Brian Thompson kind of receiving threat; for that Michigan will probably use a U-back, currently Ricardo Miller and Jordan Paskorz.

Tight End


Starter (1-2): Brandon Moore 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5, Ricardo Miller 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o

Backups: AJ Williams 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, Mike Kwiatkowski 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, Chris Eddins 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5, or Jordan Paskorz 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5, or The Funchess ???

In case of emergency: The good news: the fall from Michigan's 5th year returning starter to his backups doesn't look too bad. The bad news: the drop-off from the 2nd team to random walk-ons is barely different. Of the group Moore had a good TE's recruiting profile though he's flashed neither Martell Webb's blocking ability nor Koger's receiving skills. In a typical Hoke year you'll see two TE starters but we're not there yet.

Ricardo Miller is the next guy in, but is a vastly different guy. As a junior in high school Miller was one of the top recruits in Florida, the star of power program Dr. Phillips, a National Honor Society member, and an early commit who gave us dreams of the next #1. His senior year he moved to Ann Arbor and ended up a stiff TE in Pioneer's option offense, pushing his rating to MSU-ish 3-star. There's still three years of eligibility for him to turn into Tim Massaquoi, and that seems like the path he's on, though the dearth of practice hype to that effect and equal reps for so many other guys makes the murmurs deafening. The opposite side of the coin from Miller is A.J. Williams, a true freshman who played OT and can therefore block a defensive end, which makes him useful now at the Y, especially when Michigan goes to (it's not dead yet) tight formations. Anything happens to Moore and Williams/Miller are probably trading off based on situation.

A few more common Spring tea leaves for a position in trouble are a sudden burst of hype for a senior walk-on, and position switchers climbing the depth chart. We have that in Mike Kwiatkowski and Jordan Paskorz. All told my guess is Michigan will play one tight end some of the time, two tight ends rarely, and if injury strikes Moore we'll see Miller and a lot more fullback sets.



Starters (2-3): Roy Roundtree 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, Jeremy Gallon 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, and

Jerald Robinson 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5 ?

Backups: Drew Dileo 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, Jeremy Jackson 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5, Jehu Chesson ???, Amarah Darboh ???

In case of emergency: Like tight end, the backups here are not a huge drop-off but there's simply not enough dudes with experience to fill the depth chart. Unlike tight end there's a lot of talent and reason for hope. While Tree and Gallon are established as what they are, and Jeremy Jackson is probably not much more than a possession change-of-pace, there's some wideout wild cards in Jerald Robinson and two good freshmen, either of whom could be a starter by the start of the conference season.

Borges does prefer to have a prototype split end and flanker (and a slot), but both guys at the top of the depth chart are spread slots. Gallon is best in the slot, and more so than fullback the tight end situation benefits the existence of a third receiver most plays. Roundtree is now at Hemingway's old position, the flanker, which starts in the backfield and gets to run plays designed to get him open. Who wins the split end position out of J-Rob and the freshmen will mean much for how the unit develops. Since there's seven guys for what should be three positions, nobody is really out of the rotation unless one freshman is significantly ahead of the other.

If Gallon gets hurt, Dileo is a similar type of player and can be used in the same role—he should rotate in plenty as it is. If Roundtree is lost for an extensive time, you may get a long look at Jerome Jackson in that role, something that would signify the corps as a whole will have limitations. The hope here is that the receivers won't have to face super-tough coverage while defenses react to Denard and Fitz, but it's hard to call the difference because the starters and the depth are largely different types of players.

In case of dire emergency: A scenario that sees Roundtree and Gallon hurt (and/or somebody getting very serious about damage to parking gates) probably sees Michigan go "big" (think 2001 with Walker) with routes designed to get whoever Denard feels the most comfort with mismatched against smaller DBs.


BarnumRoundtreeRohSpringGame-Heiko-cropped molkmiller-Heiko

Heiko took these. The one at right was accidentally not credited in HTTV.

Starter (1): Ricky Barnum 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5

Backup: Jack Miller 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5

In case of emergency: It's Jack Miller, who has some Molkian qualities about him but is a redshirt freshman, still gaining muscle, and liable to be thrown around like a ragdoll by the Ogbu's of the world as Molk was. The non-feasibility of Miller starting was underlined when Barnum was announced early in Spring as the center. This depleted the guards but at least there's a live body to snap it if Barnum gets hurt.

Spring proved that gap is wider than we thought, as Barnum established himself as clearly the best interior offensive lineman and tailor-made center for the transitional year's offense. Meanwhile we've heard little from Miller. He wasn't highly recruited but centers rarely are, especially spread centers. The caveat for this is until you see them play you have little else to go on. If Barnum gets hurt, the interior line is probably a team weakness, and teams with immobile DTs will probably bog Michigan's offense down by making it tough to run to the interior. But then if he can reach block like Molk it won't matter so much who's taking up space behind the play.

Offensive Tackles


Starters (2): Taylor Lewan 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, and Michael Schofield 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o

Backups: Kyle Kalis 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5, Erik Gunderson 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, Kristian Mateus 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, Ben Braden 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5, Eric Magnuson 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5

In case of emergency: By "emergency" you mean anything happening to the starters, which would almost certainly see a true freshman drawn in. The true freshman in question is a 5-star and the most college-ready linemen we've recruited since that's been something we can qualify, but a freshman nonetheless, and one whose brightest future is probably at guard, possibly immediately since Elliot Mealer and a walk-on seem to be the competition for the left guard spot. Mealer was beaten rather badly by Minnesota on a day Minnesota was doing half of the blocking on Minnesota in his one garbage time moonlight on the outside, and I'd rather never see that happen again. So even if the true freshman wins a starting job this fall, an injury to Lewan or Schofield sees Mealer slide back to guard and Kalis is the guy, despite the fact he probably hasn't even figured out the Tisch-to-Mason cut through yet.

We'll get a tiny feel for just how much of a drop-off this is when the squishy part of the schedule yields opportunity to rotate the starters out and let Kalis get some seasoning, but such situations are doubtful to yield much in the way of passing plays against blitzes and hell-bent rush ends. If the unthinkable happens, however, you'll see an appreciable difference in Michigan's passing game, especially early, as they try to lean on whichever RS junior is left standing. Rollouts, runs to the other side, shorter routes, that sort of thing. One thing he'll have going for him is ends don't want to risk losing contain on Denard, so Kalis would not be forced to block a full-on pass rush very often.

Even as he settles in, this is making a position of strength into a weakness, in the case of Lewan like going from Verlander right now to Jacob Turner (for you baseball fans). I would also guess Schofield slides to left to cover Denard's backside.

In case of dire emergency: If any two of the above-mentioned go down I think Ben Braden is the next of the freshmen closest to being ready to play, even if Magnuson probably has a higher ceiling. It's possible Omameh could shift outside too—he's not big but he's quick enough to be a spread tackle and played there before—if one of the existing interior options proves to be a better option.

In case of really dire emergency: It's Gunderson, who looked exactly awful in the Spring Game even when the defense went to playing soft so that Gardner could do something other than get chased by the guy Gunderson was blocking. Or Magnuson. Or Chaucer. Rabelais. Balzac!

Offensive Guard


Starters (2): Patrick Omameh 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5, and Elliott Mealer 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5

Backups: Joey Burzynski 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5, Chris Bryant 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o.5, Recycling Bin 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, Beer Pong Table We Stole Off East William 4128455980_9d72f36b6b_o, Blake Bars ???

In case of emergency: Burzynski got the start in the Spring Game and looked good for a guy not much bigger than my brother. This bodes unwell for nominal starter Elliott Mealer, the last man standing from Carrs 2008 offensive line recruits now that Khoury has moved on. That Bryant is behind both of them says he still hasn't gotten into playing shape, although the redshirt freshman may be closer to that by fall. Anyway if he's not needed as the only breathing tackle Kyle Kalis has as good a shot as anyone at starting left guard this fall.

Omameh is the O-line's longest tenured starter and was brilliant as a spread guard who gets to the 2nd level, something he didn't get to do much of last year. His upside as Destroyer of Teo's makes the relative value of losing him a variable, but large any way you calculate it. Any of the freshmen named earlier, plus Blake Bars, might be cast into a guard role this year. Fortunately there's a lot of O-line recruits on their way in case we burn a lot of redhsirts in 2012, but a quick glance at the depth chart by class reveals a fist-shaking inattention to the O-line.

I imagine by later this year Bryant is closer to being ready to contribute. He was a planetary object brought into to be stripped apart and rebuilt; enough pieces have been reattached at this point that he managed to show some life in Spring. He's a year away from being a ready asset.

In case of dire emergency: Q-Wash might be moved back in a pinch. Anyway, two injuries anywhere on the O-line and I'm writing a Decimated Offense article. Spoiler: it will say Rodriguez expected to recruit a huge O-line class in 2011 in order to have lots of RS freshmen ready to stand behind the 2012 upperclassmen, but because linemen commit early and prefer stability (remember: usually three years before they see the field) and with much of 2010 was poisoned this plan backfired. None of this will be solace to you if the O-line falls apart this year. I'm more worried now than I was before, and I was really worried before.

All told, this is a thinner offense than it was a year ago. The difference between the starters and their backups is two stars Saturn-Punting Zoltans or more at five positions, six if you think Fitz Toussaint is All Big Ten. Nowhere on the offense is there a ready guy like 2011 Schofield or T.Gordon burning a hole in the depth chart, unless one of the freshman tight ends or receivers move into open starting roles.

Michigan Museday for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Crystal Footballs

Michigan Museday for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Crystal Footballs

Submitted by Seth on July 4th, 2012 at 7:23 AM


In CONGRESS, July 4, 2013

The unanimous Declaration of the five united Conferences of America (and the mid-majors and stuff)

When in the course of football events it becomes necessary for one league to dissolve the postseason selection systems which have bound them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, or field turf, or grass, or whatever-you-know-the-blue-stuff-from-Idaho, a separate and more equal system to which the Laws of Nature and of Walter Camp entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all D-I programs start the season equal, that team sports are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are a postseason which is entertaining, properly rewards regular season achievement, is respectful to the cherished traditions of man and Providence, and above all may declare among the nations an unequivocal champion whose commemorative season review may be included unto mankind's Sports Illustrated subscriptions…

From here Jefferson goes on to excoriate George III for a laundry list of tyrannical acts like dissolving elected champions and repeatedly screwing over Kansas State, but you get the gist: we are free!

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that postseason systems long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that the BCS disposed mankind to suffer by constantly abolishing the forms to which we were accustomed. Having undertaken just such an endeavor, it be our duty to provide new guards for our system's security, seeking out the potential injuries and usurpations within the playoff before we go ahead and pledge to it our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred trophies.


A new playoff thus established, allow me to submit to a candid world the entirety of the BCS era revisited as if it were governed by this gallant new postseason.

Precedents. This is 1998 through 2011 as if determined by the new playoff system as Brian was federally mandated to describe last week. I put together a similar post to check various postseason ideas last December and again in May to check if home or bowl sites would be more compelling, but the system proposed is so radically different than the 4-teamers I was checking it's worth another go-round. Hinton did a four-teamer study for 2006-'11, and Connolly did one too, but both left out the hand-crafted, top-tiered, fat-free, non-playoff bowls, which are the best new idea to come out of these discussions.

The Reason I'm Doing it Again: I'm looking for potential points of controversy that would best be smoothed over or at least anticipated, so we don't have a Whiskey Rebellion.

Articles of Revisitation (the method part you don't have to read unless you're going to comment on the method). This is a seven-game postseason consisting of a four-team playoff whose semifinal round is played within the "Big Six" bowls (the seventh game being the championship). Theoretically the top 12 teams get in but I have a feeling before the money guys affix their John Hancocks there will be plenty of room to put a 14th ranked Michigan in a marquee bowl over a hypothetical 1-loss Won't Sell Out State.

Obviously much of the stuff we’ll run into by going back to 1998 has already been taken care of by realignment and conference championships. However with mega-conferences and uneven divisional splits we have not seen the last of two conference foes and rematches.

A-Train98To fill in the details they're still working out, I added the Cotton and Citrus to the Rose-Orange-Sugar-Fiesta lineup in order to get six. They're the two oldest non-BCS bowls and have the next-highest payouts already. Both SEC affiliates, if they maintain their traditional conference loyalties, the result could create a bias in favor of the SEC and against the ACC and Pac 12. I’ll be watching to see how this works out.

Nobody cares who won a mid-major (sorry Big East) championship. This makes the years before the Miami-VT-BC defection a bit weird-looking. Tougher non-conference schedules and conference championship games should help to clarify the top in years going forward.

Bowl precedence (ie better matchups) is decided by an unwritten understanding of each bowl’s historical importance, and their historical tie-ins. Close or intriguing matchups are preferable to “fair” matchups, and where possible I’ve shown a preference for teams to play close to home because that helps sell tickets. Where possible, Rose gets B1G and Pac champs, Orange gets ACC, Sugar gets SEC, and the Cotton has first dibs on any former Southwestern Conference team. If there’s a mid-major nobody wants, it goes to the Fiesta Bowl because somebody has to, and they're in the NCAA's doghouse at the wrong time. The Semis rotate but the new guys can get pushed aside for the old affiliations.

Numbers in parentheses are AP rankings so don't treat them like they're meaningful. Rematches are avoided if possible, though I did have one because of context. On with the shew!



December 31:
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl: Florida (7) vs. Texas A&M (10)
4:30 pm: Fiesta Bowl: Arizona (5) vs. Tulane (9)
8:00 pm: Sugar Bowl (SEMI): Tennessee (1) vs. Kansas State (4)

January 1:
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Arkansas (11) vs. Michigan (15)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl: UCLA (6) vs. Wisconsin (8)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl (SEMI): Florida State (2) vs. Ohio State (3)

Champs: Ohio State/Wisconsin/Michigan (B1G), FSU (ACC), Kansas St (BXII), UCLA (P12), Tennessee (SEC)

Left out: Georgia Tech (12), Nebraska (13), Virginia (14), Air Force (16), Notre Dame (17), Syracuse (8-3)

The new controversy: Right away we have Michigan getting in despite being ranked (by the AP) below three relatively equal candidates, a 1-loss team (AF), and two teams who beat us. The selection committee is going to take heat every year for picking an 11th and 12th team out of a pile of 9-win major conference teams and 1-loss mid-majors. Schedule strength was the main quality I used to choose here (and supreme bias).



brady-bama-091610_120December 31:
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl: Tennessee (6) vs. Kansas State (7)
4:30 pm: Sugar Bowl: Alabama (5) vs. Michigan (8)
8:00 pm: Fiesta Bowl (SEMI):  Virginia Tech (2) vs. Nebraska (3)

January 1:
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Michigan State (9) vs. Florida (10)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl (SEMI): Florida State (1) vs. Wisconsin (4)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl: Marshall (11) vs. Penn State (13)

Champs: Wisconsin (B1G), Florida State (ACC), Nebraska (BXII), Stanford (P12), Alabama (SEC)

Left out: Minnesota (12), Texas (13), Mississippi St (14), Southern Miss (15), Pac Ten champion Stanford (22).

The new controversy: The Pac Champ isn't even invited? I'm sure a semifinal and the #1 overall Seminoles are enough of a consolation prize for the Rose Bowl. But I have to wonder if the conferences will sign on to something that could possibly leave their 3-loss champion out of it entirely. There are years in packed mega-conferences when a handful of great teams all beat each other up. Do the Big Five get auto-bids then?



December 31:
1:00 pm: Fiesta Bowl:  Nebraska (9) vs. TCU (13)
4:30 pm: Sugar Bowl: Florida (7) vs. Oregon (8)
8:00 pm: Cotton Bowl (SEMI): Oklahoma (1) vs. Washington (4)

January 1:
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Virginia Tech (6) vs. Notre Dame (10)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl: Oregon St (5) vs. Purdue (14)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl (SEMI): Miami (2) vs. Florida State (3)

Champs: Purdue/Michigan/Northwestern (B1G), Florida State (ACC), Oklahoma (BXII), Washington (P12)/Oregon State, Florida (SEC)

Left out: Kansas State (11), Texas (12), Georgia Tech (15).

The new controversy: The rematch or fairness problem arrives. Miami beat FSU, but lost to Washington, who lost to 2-loss Oregon, who lost to Wisconsin and Oregon State, who lost to Washington. With that inbred mess of 1-loss teams, who plays Oklahoma in the first round, then? Do we avoid the rematch or try to rank them?



December 31:
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma (10) vs. Tennessee (8)
4:30 pm: Sugar Bowl: Texas (9) vs. LSU (12)
8:00 pm: Fiesta Bowl (SEMI): Oregon (2) vs. Colorado (3)

January 1:
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Florida (5) vs. Maryland (6)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl: Illinois (7) vs. Stanford (11)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl (SEMI): Miami (1) vs. Nebraska (4)

Champs: Illinois (B1G), Maryland (ACC), Colorado (BXII), Oregon (P12), LSU (SEC)

Left out: Washington State (13), South Carolina (14), Virginia Tech (15).

The new controversy: The question of who gets to die by Hurricane is neatly dispatched, aye, but if the selection committee is supposed to be fair, why are we seeing LSU and Florida and Miami all hosting at (basically) home? Because that guarantees more ticket sales. You knew this would happen when they eschewed home sites so that southerners could go on pretending snow is just a myth; now see it in action.



December 31:
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl : Texas (9) vs. Michigan (12)
4:30 pm: Fiesta Bowl:  USC (5) vs. Oklahoma (8)
8:00 pm: Sugar Bowl (SEMI): Miami (1) vs. Georgia (4)

January 1:
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Penn State (10) vs. Washington St (6)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl (SEMI): Ohio State (2) vs. Iowa (3)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl: Kansas State (6) vs. Notre Dame (11)

Champs: Ohio State/Iowa (B1G), Florida State (ACC),Oklahoma (BXII), Washington St/USC (P12), Georgia (SEC)

Left out: Alabama (13 but ineligible due to NCAA violations), Colorado (14), West Virginia (15), Florida State (16).

The new controversies: The Rose Bowl features a pair of Big Six Bowl-eligible teams from the same conference who didn't play each other in the season, a situation that repeated itself with MSU-OSU in 2010 and with Michigan and Wisconsin in 2011. Can you do that? Does BTN then have first dibs on the friggin' Rose Bowl The second controversy is the inclusion of so many teams from one conference. Indiscernible teams with head-to-head wins tend to get bunched in polls, and selection committees are liable to do the same thing. What happens when on conference has the 10-11-12 and the next the 13-14-15? Here the B1G has four representatives, five if you count ND.



perry greatDecember 31:
1:00 pm: Fiesta Bowl:  Texas (5) vs. Miami-OH (14)
4:30 pm: Sugar Bowl: Georgia (11) vs. Miami-FL (10)
8:00 pm: Cotton Bowl (SEMI):  Oklahoma (2) vs. LSU (3)

January 1:
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Tennessee (6) vs. Ohio State (7)
4:30 pm: Orange Bowl: Kansas St (8) vs. Florida State (9)
8:00 pm: Rose Bowl (SEMI): USC (1) vs. Michigan (4)

Champs: Michigan (B1G), Florida State (ACC), Kansas St (BXII), USC (P12), LSU (SEC)

Left out: Purdue (12), Iowa (13), Washington State (15)

The new controversy: By this point certain bowls are getting to host way more often than others. Should they rotate? Among the old BCS or include Cotton/Citrus in that rotation? The count so far is Rose and Orange 3, Fiesta, Sugar, and Cotton 2, Citrus zero.



December 31:
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl: Texas (6) vs. Georgia (8)
4:30 pm: Fiesta Bowl:  Louisville (7) vs. Boise State (10)
8:00 pm: Sugar Bowl (SEMI): Oklahoma (2) vs. Auburn (3)

January 1:
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Iowa (11) vs. LSU (12)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl:  Cal (5) vs. Michigan (13)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl (SEMI): USC (1) vs. Utah (4)

Champs: Michigan/Iowa (B1G), Virginia Tech (ACC), Oklahoma (BXII), USC (P12), Auburn (SEC)

Left out: Miami (13), Tennessee (14), Wisconsin (15)

The new controversy: Undefeated Utah is given the nod over the warring Texas/Cal factions; undefeated Boise State is (boo hoo) left out. The Fiesta Bowl gets stuck with them and Petrino's 1-loss Louisville (a game previously played at the Liberty Bowl), but this keeps everything else aligned nicely. To make it interesting the Big XII should offer a two-year trial membership to the victor.



December 31:

1:00 pm: Sugar Bowl*: Georgia (8) vs. West Virginia (11)
4:30 pm: Fiesta Bowl: Oregon (6) vs. Auburn (7)
8:00 pm: Cotton Bowl (SEMI): Texas (2) vs. Ohio State (4)

January 1:
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: LSU (10) vs. Virginia Tech (12)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl (SEMI): USC (1) vs. Penn State (3)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl: Notre Dame (5) vs. Miami (9)

Champs: Penn State/Ohio State (B1G), Florida State (ACC), Texas (BXII), USC (P12), Georgia (SEC)

Left out: Alabama (13), TCU (14), Louisville (15)

The new controversy: Man can't we just have Texas play USC? But this is a Rose controversy really, since by nature of winning their head-to-head Penn State is now the 3rd seed and places out of the Rose Bowl. Wait…how can a Big Ten team win its way out of Pasadena? Or do you say the hell with seeds and put the Big Ten champ and the Pac Ten champ in the Rose Bowl. My solution: put OSU against Texas in the Cotton Bowl, and now both undefeated teams are essentially playing home games.

*Note the Sugar Bowl that year was moved to the Georgia Dome for Hurricane Katrina--hindsight says the WVa.-Georgia game was a hit so let’s keep it.



December 31:
1:00 pm: Fiesta Bowl: USC (8) vs. Boise State (9)
4:30 pm: Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma (7) vs. Auburn (10)
8:00 pm: Sugar Bowl (SEMI): Ohio State (1) vs. LSU (4)

January 1:

1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Wisconsin (6) vs. Arkansas (12)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl (SEMI): Michigan (2) vs. Florida (3)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl: Louisville (5) vs. Notre Dame (11)

Champs: Ohio State (B1G), Wake Forest (ACC), Oklahoma (BXII), USC/Cal (P12), Florida (SEC)

Left out: West Virginia (13), Virginia Tech (14), Wake Forest (15)

The new controversy: Notre Dame started the season ranked #2, beat no teams that ended up ranked except #25 Penn State. But what do you do with a 2-loss Notre Dame team? The question is moot so long as they're scheduling like 2012, though many of their regular opponents are very up-and-downy. Also I guess Wisconsin and ND could flip games—the question here is are we honoring the Citrus's affiliation or is that gone now?



Sports Pictures Week 2008 January 7 5uqQjmxkFUzl

Poetry to be replaced by Mizzou

December 31:
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl: Missouri (7) vs. Florida (9)
4:30 pm: Fiesta Bowl: Kansas (8) vs. Hawaii (10)
8:00 pm: Sugar Bowl (SEMI):  LSU (2) vs. Oklahoma (3)

January 1:
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Virginia Tech (5) vs. West Virginia (11)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl: USC (6) vs. Illinois (13)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl (SEMI): Ohio State (1) vs. Georgia (4)

Champs: Ohio State (B1G), Virginia Tech (ACC), Oklahoma (BXII), USC/Arizona State (P12), LSU (SEC)

Left out: Arizona State (12), Boston College (14), Clemson (15)

The new controversy: That 4/5 split can get down to razor thin—do you favor a Pac12 co-champ (relevant now only for Big XII) or a clearly better non-champ and end up with two conference foes in final four?

Selfishly, this robs us of Lloyd's last stand against Tebow.



December 31:
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl: Texas Tech (8) vs. TCU (11)
4:30 pm: Fiesta Bowl: Alabama (4) vs. Utah (7)
8:00 pm: Sugar Bowl (SEMI):  Florida (1) vs. Texas (3)

January 1:
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Ohio State (10) vs. Cincinnati (12)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl (SEMI):  Oklahoma (2) vs. USC (5)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl: Penn State (6) vs. Boise State (9)

Champs: Penn State/Ohio State (B1G), Virginia Tech (ACC), Oklahoma (BXII), USC (P12), Florida (SEC)

Left out: Oklahoma State (13), Georgia Tech (14), Oregon (15), Virginia Tech (22)

The new controversy: Some years simply conspire to ruin any hope of a cut-off. Said Hinton:

Valid Complaints. This was a year of torches and pitchforks under the BCS, and would have been under anything short of at least a six-team field; really, you can make a compelling argument here for at least eight teams, maybe nine. There is no tidy, fair or convincing way to solve that kind of logjam with a four-team bracket.

Undefeated mid-major, or any of a million compelling one-loss top programs? Bama gets left out of the playoff in favor of Pac Ten champ USC (who then gets to play near home—oh the unfairness!) and those two play each other so at least only one can be bitching at the end of the season.



kellen-moore-p1December 31:
1:00 pm: Fiesta Bowl:  Iowa (10) vs. LSU (13)
4:30 pm: Sugar Bowl: Florida (5) vs. Boise State (6)
8:00 pm: Cotton Bowl (SEMI):  Texas (2) vs. TCU (3)

January 1:
1:00 pm: Orange Bowl:  Georgia Tech (9) vs. Penn State (11)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl:  Oregon (7) vs. Ohio State (8)
8:00 pm: Citrus Bowl (SEMI):  Alabama (1) vs. Cincinnati (4)

Champs: Ohio State (B1G), Georgia Tech (ACC), Texas (BXII), Oregon (P12), Alabama (SEC)

Left out: Virginia Tech (12), Miami (14), BYU (15)

The new controversy: Boise State's best season ever just happens to fall at the same time as two other mid-majors' which means they're punched out of the playoffs like LaGarrette Blount (OH SNAP!). After two seasons in a row of this, fans are declaring the new playoff system a disaster and call for an expansion to six teams. NCAA officials declare a six-team playoff would bring ruin to college football, and swear on their souls it will never happen so long as they're in charge.



December 31:
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl: LSU (11) vs. Virginia Tech (12)
4:30 pm: Fiesta Bowl:  Oklahoma (9) vs. Boise State (10)
8:00 pm: Sugar Bowl (SEMI): Auburn (1) vs. TCU (4)

January 1:
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Ohio State (6) vs. Michigan State (7)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl (SEMI): Oregon (2) vs. Wisconsin (3)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl:  Stanford (5) vs. Arkansas (8)

Champs: Ohio State/Michigan State/Wisconsin (B1G), Virginia Tech (ACC), Oklahoma (BXII), Oregon (P12), Auburn (SEC)

Left out: Nevada (13), Missouri (14), Alabama (15)

The new controversy: We get to see that Michigan State/Ohio State game we missed in the Big Ten season in the "Bitching that we're just as deserving as Wisconsin" bowl.




Will the committee try to get the Michigans of the world into prime bowls,
or are they there to prevent that from happening? (Upchurch)

December 31:
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl:  South Carolina (10) vs. Kansas State (11)
4:30 pm: Sugar Bowl: Arkansas (7)  vs. Boise State (8)
8:00 pm: Fiesta Bowl : Alabama (2) vs. Oklahoma State (3)

January 1:
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Michigan (13) vs. Clemson (14)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl:  Stanford (4) vs. Wisconsin (9)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl (SEMI): LSU (1) vs. Oregon (6)

Champs: Wisconsin (B1G), Clemson (ACC), Oklahoma State (BXII), Oregon (P12), LSU (SEC)

Left out:  USC (5 but ineligible), Michigan State (12), Baylor (15)

The new controversy: Michigan State beat Michigan but lost to Wisconsin (their 2nd loss on the season) in the Big Ten Championship and dropped out of the Top 12, thereby no longer being eligible for the…yeah this doesn't get "fixed." A similar argument in reverse is over the Stanford/Oregon thing, where Oregon won their head-to-head and a there-but-for-the-grace Pac12 championship game, but Stanford was ranked several spots higher. However the Citrus Bowl is a more likely destination. The difference is Oregon won their conference; Michigan State won their division because their blowout loss to Notre Dame wasn't counted in the division standings while Michigan's close loss to Iowa counted the same as MSU's blowout loss to Nebraska. N.E.way long story short the Spartans are still korking coupons about the whole biz, even if it's a Citrus Bowl bid now.


Things to discuss at the next Constitutional Convention:

  • Rate the relative importance of SOS, conference champion, head-to-head, total wins.
  • Will proximity to the bowl site be a consideration for the committee's hand-picking?
  • Will the NCAA leave room for them to put major draws in places to up the takings at the risk of favoring those programs?
  • Conference foes who haven't played each other—can they play in bowls?
  • What's more important: a fair seeding system or better/more traditional matchups?
  • Which bowl gets the semi each year? Should they rotate, favor certain ones, function on a system (preferably no—anytime you hamstring the committee you're lessening the good a committee can do)
  • Can it be expanded to six teams? Perhaps this is something to be constantly reviewing and if it proves necessary after, say, 10 years, do it.
  • At least the BCS had a hard number (and pollsters with obvious agendas/incompetency) to blame. How will the committee justify its razor-thin decisions between 4 and 5, and 12 and 13? I vote for lengthy, judge-like written "opinions" made public to publish. Minority can write opinions too.
  • Auto-bids for major conference champions?
  • Backbone? Sparties are gonna Spart, even when they're not justified. Can they agree not to make sweeping changes in response to last year's slights?
  • Billeting troops—this should not be allowed. If any of our lawyers want to create a 4th Amendment case against bowls having power to choose hotels for the schools (aren't they technically billeting government-subsidized "troops?" You can use Kellen Winslow's testimony…) you will win a cookie. Or two cookies if it goes to trial.

Happy 4th of July.

Michigan Museday Wore Red Just This Once

Michigan Museday Wore Red Just This Once

Submitted by Seth on June 27th, 2012 at 8:28 AM


Reminder: Saturday is the HTTV Launch Party at Underground. RSVP by voting yes in the poll thingy.

The highly rated 2012 and 2013 (barring mass decommitments) classes have us all aflutter these days, so much so that we have to keep reminding each other most of these guys won't play a down for several years. Mentally placing them all in starring roles by 2016 is the classic recruiting fan's error—some work out, many end up overrated, plenty don't get to the end of their eligibility. Who knows how many will actually redshirt? I thought I'd try to answer that.

Why We Do It or Don't. Well, the obvious: would you rather have an 18-year-old who joined the team just weeks ago, or a 22-year-old who's been with the team for four years? The biggest reasons for the team not to redshirt a guy is when they think he's likely to be NFL-ready in four seasons, or if he's needed right away.

Then the human element comes in: Kids arrive needing to lose fat, needing to become accustomed to the rules that now govern their lives. Meaning no offense to Brackinses or Sarantii, but sometimes you bring in a guy because he's a good teammate (cough cough … BestIMG_1602of Kelly Baraka) and can help on special teams now but whose ceiling is such you highly doubt you'll renew his 5th. Players who came for the education will plan on moving on after four years. Players who came to play football will grate about being on the bench when they're better than the guy getting playing time (why Urban Meyer is going around pretending like he's the only coach who "plays the best players.") (Upchurch----->)

Coaches with three years to prove themselves will fire every bullet in the chamber to survive the current gunfight, not the one in four years. No coach in the country will hold back Desmond Morgan for just the hope of a 2015 Desmond Morgan, or at least not unless he's got a bunch of 2015 Desmonds on hand already. And there's the rub: the only way to have that luxury later on is to have the luxury already.

Historical Trend. Redshirting is a practice much older than my fan memory can take me. The history of serial redshirting freshmen is hard to track down but it seems to be exactly as old as the five years to play four rule, which was a response to wild old days in the '20s and '30s when teams were stocked with nigh professionals.

WWII screwed everything up as servicemen swapped schools to be at whatever camp their service commanded, then came back from war as 26-year-olds with eligibility. The mess clears out by 1960, which class had four players—quarterback Forest Evashevski, guard John Marcum, center Bill Muir, and tackle John Yanz—make it to a fifth year. None from the class of 1961 were on the '65 roster; five of the '62 freshmen made it to '66. There's your "good old days" baseline. Let's put that against the era I can at least kind of check against memory (big HT to Mike Desimone, whose wheel I have reinvented):

Class Total RS'ed % of Class 5th Yr % of Class
1993 23 17 73.9% 4 17.4%
1994 22 19 86.4% 17 77.3%
1995 19 14 73.7% 10 52.6%
1996 20 14 70.0% 6 30.0%
1997 18 10 55.6% 8 44.4%
1998 19 10 52.6% 9 47.4%
1999 22 19 86.4% 14 63.6%
2000 18 13 72.2% 8 44.4%
2001 21 15 (+1) 71.4% (76.2%) 8 38.1%
2002 20 14 70.0% 12 60.0%
2003 17 9 52.9% 5 29.4%
2004 24 18 75.0% 9 37.5%
2005 24 13 (+2) 54.2% (62.5%) 7 29.2%
2006 21 11 (+1) 52.4% (57.1%) 8 38.1%
2007 23 11 (+3) 47.8% (60.9%) 10 43.5%
2008 25 14 (+1) 56.0% (60.0%) 8 32.0%
2009 23 14 60.9% (10) 43.5%
2010 27 11 40.7% (7) 25.9%
2011 20 10 50.0% (8) 40.0%
AVG 21.4 13.7 63.3% 8.8 41.8%

Those parenthetical +'s are medical hardship redshirts or mid-career transfer years given to players from those classes who weren't redshirted initially, e.g. the three for 2007 are Woolfolk, Hemingway and Threet. In chart form (click embiggens):


The slightly different shade of blue for the 2009-'11 classes are the guys on track to play five years; they won't all. We're still looking at relatively small groups of redshirt seniors for the next few years, as cascades of attrition forced a lot more guys to play early who otherwise wouldn't have.

You can see what I mean about cascades. When Michigan was really humming, only about 30% of the freshmen were playing right away. That became more like 50% in the Late Carr era, and then peaked at 60% during the Year of Whatever Sticks. In the middle of that you can see the '97 and '98 classes were, for their time, anomalies for playing 8 or 9 true freshmen.

Who those freshmen were is instructive:

1997: Demetrius Smith, William Peterson, Pat McCall, Ray Jackson, Mo Williams, James Whitley, Anthony Thomas, and DeWayne Patmon

1998: David Terrell, Drew Henson, Justin Fargas, Marquise Walker, Todd Howard, Larry Foote, Hayden Epstein, Walter Cross, and Evan Coleman

That's three cornerbacks, six running backs, two linebackers, and a lot of guys listed at or near the top for their position coming out of high school.

Positional Redshirting. You don't need me to tell you some positions get more redshirts than others. Positions where weight matters—defensive line, offensive line, tight ends, and linebackers—should be more likely to see redshirts since very few people, even in the early-growth-spurt-athletic-freak category, can safely put on BCS-level muscle by 18. Those that demand a high level of developed knowledge and skills—quarterback, center, safeties, middle linebackers—might be a secondary category. Receivers and cornerbacks have a lot to learn and do need size but those are secondary to physical traits. And then there's running backs, who regress/retire from the NFL before 30, seem to progress little in measureables over the course of their college careers, and therefore usually play early unless blocked. Special teams is another consideration; safety-like objects are desired in abundance while 280-lb. future tackles need not apply. Let's test that against the '93-'11 recruits:

Position Recruited RS'd % RS'ed
Center 14 14 100.00%
Tackle 24 23 95.83%
Guard 31 29 93.55%
Tight End 26 21 80.77%
Kickers/Punters 18 14 77.78%
Defensive End 33 22 66.67%
Linebacker 57 37 64.91%
Quarterback 22 14 63.64%
Wide Receiver 40 23 57.50%
Fullback 16 9 56.25%
Defensive Tackle 27 15 55.56%
Safety 30 16 53.33%
Cornerback 35 15 42.86%
Running Back 33 12 36.36%
Avg/Total 406 264 65.02%

It's twue. Dwamatically so. While I was at it, I thought I'd also use the opportunity to see which positions Michigan favored over this same time period. The "Factor" means how many starting positions you're really recruiting for (TE and WR split one). The question here was whether how often that position is redshirted factors into whether we over-recruit or under-recruit that spot. This may be the most useful table of this article:

Position Factor Rec/Pos Rec/Pos/Yr % RS'ed
Running Back 1 33 1.74 36.36%
Quarterback 1 22 1.16 63.64%
Linebacker 3 19 1.00 64.91%
Cornerback 2 18 0.92 42.86%
Tight End 1.5 17 0.91 80.77%
Defensive End 2 17 0.87 66.67%
Wide Receiver 2.5 16 0.84 57.50%
Fullback 1 16 0.84 56.25%
Off. Guard 2 16 0.82 93.55%
Safety 2 15 0.79 53.33%
Center 1 14 0.74 100.00%
Defensive Tackle 2 14 0.71 55.56%
Off. Tackle 2 12 0.63 95.83%
Kickers/Punters 2 9 0.47 77.78%
Avg/Total 25 16.9 0.89 65.02%

Column C being how many recruits per year we managed to get to fill each starting spot. Okay, forget useful. What you're seeing instead is Michigan recruiting lots and lots of running backs. There was pretty high attrition there in the '90s, but this doesn't even count all the RBs who moved to other positions, something they did a lot of 20 years ago, when every HS team's best player was the running back. DT, OT, and kicker—recent problem areas—show up as dramatically under-recruited. Running these numbers over different time periods would say more but sample sizes are getting tiny as it is.

52 Barnum and 65 Omameh 2 for one but not a great shot

The best of what's left of the 2008 O-Line haul (Upchurch)

Anyway, yes, they're correlated, except safety is sitting in the "need more dudes" region with a less-than-average rate of redshirting. So we didn't have safeties either. On the other hand Michigan had some great tailbacks and quarterbacks come through here.

Going back to the table above, the only one that doesn't exactly fit the paradigm of a mass/experience/athleticism matrix is defensive tackle. For that just see the list of who redshirted versus who didn't:

Redshirted Didn't
Marques Slocum - 6'5/336 Jason Kates - 6'2/339
Richard Ash - 6'3/320 Alan Branch - 6'6/331
Quinton Washington - 6'4/315 William Campbell - 6'5/331
Marques Walton - 6'0/292 Gabriel Watson - 6'4/331
Grant Bowman - 6'3 /289 Terrance Taylor - 6'0/319
Will Johnson - 6'5/285 Larry Harrison - 6'3/313
Norman Heuer - 6'5 /282 Mike Martin - 6'2/299
Will Heininger - 6'6/277 Vince Helmuth - 6'1/291
Alex Ofili - 6'4 /275 Renaldo Sagesse - 6'4/289
Rob Renes - 6'2 /275 James McKinney - 6'2/285
Terry Talbott - 6'3/260 William Carr - 6'2 /276
Josh Williams - 6'4 /260 Paul Sarantos - 6'3/261
Eric Wilson - 6'4 /255 -
Shawn Lazarus - 6'3 /245 -
Ben Huff - 6'4 /232 -

Richard Ash, two guards (one of whom would have played but had eligibility issues), and a bunch of guys less than 290. Among those who played as true freshmen, it's planetary objects, a 20-year-old Canadian, a couple of low-expectation position switchers, and Will Carr. Find a freak athlete over 300 pounds who wants to play right away, you put him at the nose. On the left you're looking at a lot of vintage 3-techs. From this I take it players Michigan recruits for nose are probably more likely to play right away, while a 3-tech should be expected to need more time to develop.

Hyped Players Play Early. The nose tackles also seemed to have come with more hype. Recruiting data doesn't go back beyond 2002 but with that small sample plus the anecdotal evidence above from 1997-'98, we can see a little of how stars affect the likelihood of redshirting:

Rating Recruited Redshirted % RS'ed
5 stars 10 1 10.0%
4 stars 99 52 52.5%
3 stars 95 56 58.9%
2 stars 11 7 63.6%
Not Ranked 9 9 100.0%
Rivals Total 224 125 55.8%
Rating Recruited Redshirted % RS'ed
5 stars 17 4 23.5%
4 stars 87 45 51.7%
3 stars 90 55 61.1%
2 stars 13 7 53.8%
Not Ranked 17 14 82.4%
Scout Total 224 125 55.8%

Everyone else is average; the 5-stars are the ones who seem to overwhelmingly get on the field as freshmen, them being the most likely to be college-ready after high school and expected to be NFL-ready in four years.

2012-2013 and Beyond. We haven't done anything here really except confirm what we pretty much already knew about redshirting. That all said, here's my predictions for the upcoming guys:

[UPDATED: Now with more "Why?"]

Player Pos Pos-RS Stars RS? Why?
Blake Bars OG 93.5% 4 ? A couple of OL injuries and he's in.
Joe Bolden LB 64.9% 4 No Early enrollee, already 2nd on depth chart
Ben Braden OT 95.8% 3 Yes Less ready than Bars/Kalis at this point
Jehu Chesson WR 57.5% 3 No Need receivers. At least one will play
Jeremy Clark S 53.3% 3 Yes Kovacs/M-Rob ahead. Plz don't burn on Special Teams
Amara Darboh WR 57.5% 4 No See Chesson
Devin Funchess TE 80.8% 3 Yes Not ready. Needs to gain size
Allen Gant S 53.3% 3 Yes Depth at SS, more ready than Clark
Matthew Godin DT 55.6% 3 Yes 3-tech development track
Willie Henry DT 55.6% 3 Yes See Godin
Sione Houma FB 56.3% 3 Yes Hopkins and experience ahead of him
Royce Jenkins-Stone LB 64.9% 4 Yes If MLB, EEs are ahead. SLB 2-deep is set
Drake Johnson RB 36.4% 3 No RBs play early – want him ready if Toussaint leaves early.
Kyle Kalis OG 93.5% 5 No Most ready of OL. OL depth is scary thin
Erik Magnuson OT 95.8% 4 Yes High ceiling but not ready for PT yet
Dennis Norfleet RB 36.4% 4 Yes Would like to get separation from other returners.
Mario Ojemudia DE 66.7% 3 Yes Too small to hold edge right now
Ondre Pipkins DT 55.6% 5 No Weak depth chart plus 5-star nose tackles always play early
Terry Richardson CB 42.9% 4 No Is 7th CB, but 3 coming next year and Talbott is the guy to beat at field corner
Kaleb Ringer LB 64.9% 3 Yes Bolden better. Injuries could draw him in
James Ross LB 64.9% 4 Yes Needs to gain muscle, separate from Des
Tom Strobel DE 66.7% 4 Yes RVB-like – needs to grow into 5-tech
A.J. Williams TE 80.8% 3 No Has much to learn but depth here is scary
Jarrod Wilson S 53.3% 4 No EE. If ahead of Furman won't R.S.
Chris Wormley DE 66.7% 3 No Competition to back up Roh is Brink and Heitzman
Player Pos Pos-RS Stars RS? Why?
Jake Butt TE 80.8% 4 No College-ready TE needed immediately
Taco Charlton DE 66.7% 4 Yes Clark/Beyer are JRs – gain size.
Gareon Conley CB 42.9% 3 Yes One boundary will play, but not Conley
David Dawson OT 95.8% 5 Yes Hopefully 2012 OL ready. If not it's true freshman OT hell all over again
Jaron Dukes WR 57.5% 3 Yes 8th/9th receiver
Chris Fox OT 95.8% 4 Yes Tackles are supposed to redshirt
Ben Gedeon LB 64.9% 4 Yes Separation from big 2012 LB class
Khalid Hill TE 80.8% 3 Yes Developing into U-back
Maurice Hurst Jr. DT 55.6% 3 Yes 3-tech track but could draw in for depth
Patrick Kugler OC 100.0% 4 Yes Centers always redshirt
Jourdan Lewis CB 42.9% 4 No One boundary will play. Probably Lewis
Mike McCray LB 64.9% 4 Yes Slotted for SLB: Gordon/Ryan/RJS
Shane Morris QB 63.6% 5 Yes All depends on if Gardner gets his RS
Henry Poggi DT 55.6% 4 ? Highest-rated DT on roster after Pipkins
Wyatt Shallman RB 36.4% 4 Yes Are you *sure* you're a ….
Deveon Smith RB 36.4% 4 No Smith, possibly Toussaint gone. Opportunity knocks.
Channing Stribling CB 42.9% 3 Yes One boundary will play, but not Stribling
Scott Sypniewski LS NA NA Yes Glanda will be a senior
Dymonte Thomas S 53.3% 5 No 7 safeties on roster for 2 spots, none more highly rated, 4 just a year older
Logan Tuley-Tillman OT 95.8% 4 Yes Tackles redshirt.
Csont'e York WR 57.5% 3 Yes See Dukes

Yeah, 15 and 17 redshirts when we've been averaging 7 to 10—what was that I said about the classic fan mistake again? I'm kidding myself about 2012 and the depth on the team currently, but I could see 2013 actually shirting that many guys, provided they're not needed to fill new holes and whiffs from this year. The tight ends, at least, will see the field, and at least a DT will likely be called upon before he's due. It's quite far out to be thinking about not wasting a year of a York here or a season of Shane there, but 2017 will thank us.

Hail to the Victors: The Story, The Stories, and The Sponsors

Hail to the Victors: The Story, The Stories, and The Sponsors

Submitted by Seth on June 19th, 2012 at 7:47 AM

Somewhere in Ohio right now is a printer watching helplessly as thousands of beaming Denards drain their most expensive ink pots. They are Buckeyes, and acted like total Buckeyes at times, probably because to a Buckeye a few months of going to bed with this image on your mind is excruciating:


You are not a Buckeye, and therefore to you it is beautiful. It is Hail to the Victors 2012. It's 8 1/2 inches wide, 10 3/4 inches tall (a good bit larger than HTTVs of yesteryear), and 128 pages long. It is a production of MGoBlog. MGoBlog staffers wrote it, edited it, produced it, published it, and took most of the photos in it. Our regular apparel partner, Underground Printing, is the one distributing it. More importantly, MGoBlog readers supported it through an astoundingly generous response to our KickStarter campaign. There are no ads in it (this time), just a sponsor page at the end to recognize the folks most responsible for this book existing longer than the company that used to publish it.

You can have it. It's $12.50 plus shipping (I think that's $3.00 EDIT: S&H is $4.99 and tax is $1.05, so $18.54 total to get it mailed) and will be put in mailboxes starting June 30. There are plenty to go around. Consume!

Here's how it happened: By about last August last year, frustrated that the old publishers still hadn't paid us or the rest of the contributors for the 2011 book, I approached Brian with the concept of taking HTTV indie. I've been in the publishing business and Brian never lost the contacts that made HTTV a flagship series since 2007. We figured how many copies we sold in years previous, what it would cost to produce it ourselves, and whether we could, at minimum, afford to cover our expenses plus pay back last year's contributors for last year. That concept became deadly serious when it turned out the reason the old publisher wasn't paying anybody was because they were folding.

The Kickstarter was Brian's idea. It took some time for us to come up with a number, finally settling on $20,000, a little less than half of our projected expenses ($44k – which turned out to be close enough), figuring if we have enough to cover up-front expenses we can sell enough to make up the rest; if we raised less, oh well it wasn't going to happen. The kickstart was finally posted in late March. This is when the thing went from omigod I hope our wives are cool with five-figure debt, to omigod you guys! You guys, who committed to your copies so fast if I didn't know better I'd think Mattison was telling you it'll make you a Baltimore Raven. In a day we met our funding goal. In two days we'd doubled it. In a week we had broken even on the whole thing. In the end you did this:

httvkickstarter …!

I'll save you the details of what came next, except to say captioning is like trying to write the great American novel using Twitter, and there was a point when we realized every article was 25% too short because our page size had changed. Also there are two typos that will haunt me forever, and a few Easter eggs for longtime MGoReaders to find.

Here's what you bought yourself, by which I mean here's a preview of what we put in this actual physical book which you can own and put on the coffee table or bathroom rack or read on planes and other places cheap Internet cannot travel:


  • LETTER FROM THE EDITOR by Brian Cook. Non-randomly selected words/phrases from the last sentence of each paragraph: Real Talk, fergodsakes, millennium, dysfunctional, song.
  • THE TEAM, THE TEAM, THE TEAM, by Brian. A 30-page, position-by-position look at the 133rd Michigan Football squad, with depth charts, last year's stats, predictions, and a few record books that might be rewritten this year.
  • RECRUITS TO KNOW, by Brian. Doesn't include some of the guys who made it into the position previews. Ojemudia's laser eyes are tame when compared to those of RJS. It was short on space so if you don't like anything from Ringer to Houma, that was me.
  • THE ENEMY, THE ENEMY, THE ENEMY, by Jerry Hinnen of CBS Sports, and MGoBlog's Ace Anbender (Notre Dame) and Heiko Yang (Ohio State). This is a 24-page, team-by-team preview of the 2012 schedule, with extra pages devoted to rivals (not you, Minnesota) and other big games (not you, Illinois). For OSU I enlisted editing assistance from Ramzy Nasrallah of Eleven Warriors, who set us straight on a few things and was ignored on others. Unfortunately Brian's intro page had to be cut from this so maybe we'll post that later.

those who stood FEATURES:

  • TULIPS, REAL ESTATE … SEASON TICKETS, by Michael Elkon of Braves & Birds looks at Michigan's rising ticket prices and donation demands versus a home spate that sees every directional MAC school more often than Wisconsin or Penn State, and poses the obvious: where does the bubble burst?
  • SOME OF PART OF THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY, SORT OF, by Craig Ross is a response to John Bacon's Three and Out and the closest we'll probably ever come to a Lloyd-angle view of those events.
  • THOSE WHO STOOD, by Seth Fisher, is my saccharine retelling of the careers of Team 132's most prominent seniors while assessing their ultimate place in Michigan history.
  • CONFIDENCE MAN, by Chris Brown of Smart Football and Grantland takes us into the mind of a Mattison to discover how, over the course of one season, he managed to turn Michigan's defense into a Michigan defense (TM), by focusing on playing Michigan's defense.
  • PREDICTING PERFORMACE by The Mathlete of MGoBlog uses the best predictors known to stats to guess at the performance of M's 2012 offense, defense, and overall difficulty of the entire schedule.
  • FOURTH DOWN AND NOWHERE TO GO by jamiemac of Just Cover Blog is a discussion on the astounding level of play Michigan got last year on its 3rd and 4th and short situations, how this was secretly just as important as turnovers in how the season went, and whether it's repeatable for 2012.
  • HARRY WHO AND '32 by Greg Dooley of MVictors takes us back to Gerald Ford's sophomore season, a time when the NCAA made as much sense as the Big Ten's postseason priorities, and an athletic little quarterback named Harry Newman led the Wolverines to a National Championship.
  • THE HUMAN HURRICANE: FIELDING YOST is a long excerpt from John Kryk's next book. The book is on the Point-a-Minute dynasty; the article is the part about how Yost got to be the man who made it.


  • HAIL TO THE ROUNDTABLE between Cook, Fisher, Ross, and Dooley discusses the current staff, the defensive turnaround, breakout players, Hokeisms, fusion cuisine, and 2012 predictions.

Plus the roster that was sent to print before I could confirm Gardner's # change was the real deal, and a cover and back cover and section images designed by MonuMental, and a table of contents that I wrote and sent off before I realized we could add 4 more pages and thus which erroneously says the Sponsors Page is on the inside back cover when it's actually just the last right-side page of the book. And the Sponsor Page. About that…


bending overbackwards

Upchurch | Because they bent over backwards, get it?

The following appear in the back of the book (not on the inside back cover like it says in the table of contents) for going far beyond a pre-order and a t-shirt during the HTTV Kickstarter. If you know any of these folk you should walk up to them at a socially awkward moment and sing Muppets in celebration of them (don't do this):

Temptation Level:

816 Hill ~Class of 2002 Jonathan Giroux Ken Mickey
Andy and Ken Anbender David Glasser Mike Curtis Agency-
Farm Bureau Insurance
Zac Barry John Granger Milty
Alexander Bash Nikki Guglielmo Edward Mitchell
Joe Beaulieu Jason G Heitman Mike O’Byrne
Jeff Becker Kirk Hemmen Paul
Scott Bishop Greg Henchel Pharker
Jonathan Borman Steve Higgs Jeffrey M. Raab, LSA ‘96
Brooks Drew Hill Walt and Connie Reebel
Ben Davis and Peter F. Holland Josh Rockey
Christie Brown Tom Hoover Joshua Ruland
Cory S. Brown Kyle Hubbard Safran Family
David Callahan Nathan Isenberg Brad Schafer
Brian W. Callahan William and Claire L. David Schenk III
Carey Family Johnson Brian Shull
Scott Childers Captain Cory Kastl/
Cadet Garrett Kastl
Damian P. Silver
Michael Cromwell Andrew Kim Frederick Cogswell
Jerry Current Matt Kramer Simmons IV
Matt Duane Donald J. Kunz Malcolm T. Simpson
Eric Dunn Adam Lanseur Bo Snyder
Chris Eagle Kevin “ILL” Legel Hariharan Sundram
Joseph Eichhorn Matt Lenhoff Ben Swihart
Epic Win Apparel Mark Liinamaa Jeff Taepke
A. Espinoza-Diaz, CoE ‘98 The Linn Family Jeff Timberlake
Joseph Fix Lud, LSA ‘05 Jason Tolbert
Dana S. Fletcher Kelly Lytle Trueblueintexas
Will Fluharty Greg Macklem Bill Weiner
Alan M. French Evan Makela Eric M Wilfong
Crew Gary Bob Manza Rahul Yaratha
anonymous Nicholas Marshall  

Hawaiian War Chant Level (they gave more, and thus get quotes):

Arthur: Harbaugh, you owe my brother $25.00.
Jeff Baiocchi: Go Blue!
Michael A Barton: F--- the bigger boat! Get more ice and rye, a lot of rye, Drapers coming over.
Matt Candler: Go Blue!
Dahman Law: Dahman Law, unabashedly supporting the legal and blogging interests of Wolverines all across enemy territory, and soon in Michigan. Check us out at dahmanlaw.com.
Jonathan Gaines: “Dad, is it weird that I pity Sparty more than I hate Ohio?”-teenage daughter after 2011 Big Ten Football Championship game. -WFBlue
Michael Hacker: Hacker Bros. BBQ. You can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning.
Don Hubbard: Go Blue!
Scott Jacobs: S. Jacobs LSA ‘92
Bob Kennedy: Go Blue!
Jerome Lim: Go Blue!
Jamie MacMillian: JustCoverBlog.Com, providing college and pro football commentary, breakdowns and analysis since 2009. Your 2012 football season wont
be the same without us on your reading list
Jonathan McDonald: I firmly believe this publication will equip Michigan fans with an unprecedented decided schematic advantage. Go Blue!
JP: JP Gaztambide... Puerto Rico en la casa. VAMOS BLUE!!!
Steve Reynolds: Keep that UM fandom growing, Angela!!

Some additional names need to be mentioned here. Courtney Fathers of CorkBoards, our art monkey who held out hope of actually sleeping in the month of May way longer than we thought she would. Eric Upchurch, who provided most of the photographs for the book, and who blew most of what we paid him on special equipment he believes can capture the entirety of a Denard smile without the glare. To other contributing photographers in order of appearance: Drew Hoover of Bama's student newspaper, the Crimson White, Communications Specialist 1st Class Chad McNeeley of the U.S. Air Force, the University of Notre Dame Athletics Department, Shotgun Spratling of Neon Tommy, Daryl Quintaig of Illinois student newspaper The Daily Illini, Mark Boomgaard of Spartannation.com, Derek Tam of NU Intel, "Proud Buckeye" James D. DeCamp, and the University of Michigan Bentley Library. And a special thank you to the players, coaches, staff and fans of 133 Michigan football teams for remaining steadfastly worthy of so much ink.

We're going to try again next year, probably with another Kickstarter, wholesale distribution, interior ads, and I expect 1,000% more Devin Gardner.

Michigan Museday Counts de Monet

Michigan Museday Counts de Monet

Submitted by Seth on June 13th, 2012 at 9:04 AM


HT to MFanNE for putting this in a thread: ESPN has begun culling the latest data submitted by member institutions to NCAA on how much money their athletic departments are actually raking and spending. Since ESPN in a fit of awesomeness decided to leave their database for 2008-'11 just lying there for the Excel-ing, I figured I might grab the data and shoot the sheet.

The universities gather these data for their Title IX reports, therefore I am almost positive they reflect the budgets for entire athletic departments, not just football. But football being football you can expect most of the swings were football. Totals from those four years are what is presented and sorted by below.

Note that private schools and public schools in Pennsylvania don't have to report, therefore they haven't on many of these. This applies to BC, Duke, Miami (YTM), Wake Forest, Pitt, Cuse, Northwestern, Penn State, Baylor, Rice, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa, Navy, BYU, Notre Dame, Temple, TCU, Stanford, USC, and Vanderbilt. This will screw with conference overall data.

Tickets Sales:

# University Conf 2011 Ticket Sales '08-11
1 Texas Big XII $61,196,689 $218,023,679
2 Ohio State Big Ten $50,009,395 $168,909,180
3 Michigan Big Ten $41,668,589 $161,183,642
4 Oklahoma Big XII $35,856,411 $140,522,879
5 Tennessee SEC $36,109,495 $133,344,917
6 Louisiana State SEC $35,079,579 $130,770,048
7 Arkansas SEC $35,931,551 $129,398,009
8 Nebraska MWC $31,716,096 $127,763,729
9 Texas A&M Big XII $32,771,997 $125,721,452
10 Alabama SEC $31,712,455 $118,408,270

The ticket sales thing is going to be a bit janky since I don't know where the donations to get tickets count. Minus Penn State and Northwestern, but including Nebraska, the Big Ten is the only conference averaging over $25k/year per school.

Student Fees:

# University Conf Student Fees '08-'11
1 Central Florida C-USA $66,507,930
2 Akron MAC $62,782,188
3 Florida International Sun Belt $60,801,888
4 Miami (NNTM) MAC $54,917,961
5 South Florida Big East $52,288,800
6 Virginia ACC $48,126,961
7 Kent State MAC $42,176,390
8 East Carolina C-USA $41,732,142
9 Toledo MAC $38,813,408
10 Bowling Green MAC $38,370,444

With the exception of Virginia, these schools are drawing from the students way more than they can get from contributions.

University Subsidies:

# University Conf University subsidy '08-'11
1 Rutgers Big East $70,998,359
2 Central Michigan MAC $62,051,172
3 Houston C-USA $56,954,372
4 Western Michigan MAC $55,279,664
5 Eastern Michigan MAC $54,250,931

Two schools trying to build a case to be in BCS conferences, and the directional Michigan schools. When you vote for David Brandon, you vote to end this shameless expenditure on MAC-letics. #BrandonforMichigan2014

More after the jump.

Michigan Museday is Captain Recruiting Hindsight

Michigan Museday is Captain Recruiting Hindsight

Submitted by Seth on June 6th, 2012 at 8:05 AM


Ah, I see you entrusted the future of your defensive backfield to Chris Richards
and Johnny Sears, and offered Carson Butler. You shouldn't have done that.

With the additions of two defensive tackles—the only sore spot really left in the class—the 2013 haul is starting to take shape, and this shape is looking pretty darn shapely. Granted we thought the same last year when thousands of 4-star linebackers and linemen burst out of their Ohio prisons to join the Wolverines, leaving—we thought—the staff several months to chase down a few 5-stars. Those didn't really materialize, and might not again. But it's just NovemberAugust … Early JUNE (!) and there's 20 guys in the next class, and they're mostly blue chips, and unless ESPN has done something drastic to their scores I think an entire legion of superheroes just pledged to my alma mater.

If there's any doubt that Brady and Hokesters (this is a terrible name for our coaching staff) are killin' it on the recruiting trail, consider this is now the second year in a row that a board thread has been started to ask is this the Best Michigan Football Recruiting Class Ever?

michigan-qbsM-Wolverine beat me to it, but the gold standard here is still 1995—in a word: CharlesWoodsonTomBradyeeeeeeeeee. Also Renes, the Williamses, James Hall, Tai Streets, Aaron Shea… That class was the core of the national championship squad and populated NFL rosters for the next decade. (SI Vault--->)

Putting Captain Hindsight on the sidelines for a moment, the anecdotal standard is 1998. That class was sterling at the top, headlined by Drew Henson (who had nine confirmed miracles by October of his senior year). Before pos-bang threads existed, the fanbase-wide giggle session from Henson playing catch with David Terrell in Central Park nearly toppled the young Internet. Marquise Walker (9th best player in the country overall according to Sporting News), Justin Fargas, Cato June, and Hayden Epstein were too considered Parade All Americans. LB/DL Dave Armstrong and LB Victor Hobson were close. Tom Lemming of Prep Football Report and Bobby Burton of the National Recruiting Advisor named Michigan 1st in the land; Allen Wallace of Superprep put us behind UCLA because they had DeShuan Foster.

(Also in 1998, 548-year-old Brooks MacCleod Bollinger beheaded the Kurgan, won the Prize, and signed as a freshman with Wisconsin.)

The 2013 class isn't expected to be so rich at the top, and thus is unlikely to win the same beauty contest, but it's deeper, still naming high-three star types at the point of the list where '98 was tapering off into French Canadians. The ratings are bound to shift—down as do most early commits as more of their classmates are evaluated and placed on the board, and various uncommitted Top 25 recruits leap toward this year's shiniest object—but at this point there's already enough of it to start, you know, thinking about what all that promise actually promises.

Since '98 and other successful classes occurred before humanity shifted its considerable intellect from inventing things and pondering the meaning of our existence so we could figure out how teenagers work, there is no easily accessible written record from that era with which to compare, except the little from DeSimone. Certainly 5-stars and whatnots existed before 2002, but that's where the Rivals and Scout databases begin, so we shall too.

2002 to 2013 to Various Scouting Systems

Again, I'm throwing out hindsight for now because the Class of 2013s are currently 75 percent of their way through high school, an accurate assessment of their actual abilities not available until 2017 or '18. The class before them hasn't stepped on campus yet. Half of the class before that are redshirt freshmen right now. As to the rest, yes, individual players often vastly under- or out-performed their rankings. Insert usual essay about recruiting in the aggregate is legit yo.

You've seen the way I like to represent this before, putting the classes beside each other with heat-colored levels. I'm not sure if I explained why they're lined up that way; the idea is you can see how many blue chips (4-star and higher) on the left side of the mid-line, and assess how many depth guys and fliers (3-star and lower) you're filling in with. The yellow-green guys (5.7 to Rivals, 79 to ESPN) seem to be 40-60 to become solid Big Ten-level starters or better; the ones over the 4-star threshold something more like 55-45, thus I'm trying to represent a kind of mid-point.

Recruiting to RivalsRecruiting to SCOUT

Recruiting to ESPN

Clicking embiggens, but you can see what's causing the excitement already: Scout is very bullish on the recruits Michigan has verbals from already, and ESPN has either dramatically changed their ranking system or somebody slipped them a press release about Shane Morris taking practice shots at Jake Butt. The numbers are on a Googledoc if you can see if/where I went wrong with this.

At this point we allow Captain Hindsight back into the room…

Recruiting to Hindsight

The captain says 2008 is going to be rough.

This is that column on the spreadsheet where I tried to reassign star ratings based on each player's performance. A 5-star is a major-impact player who probably got drafted in the 3rd round or better; a 4-star is an All Big Ten sort—the RVBs of the world, or a player like Kovacs who's a star but has an exploitable hole in his game (yes, Kovacs was added to 2008). A 3-star is a contributor but in a just a guy way, a 2-star someone we didn't want in there (think Savoy or Banks). The "NR"s are mostly injuries or early early attrition but not the later stuff; if we got a good look at what a guy can do I rated him, e.g. Mallett is still in there for 2007, since coaching change losses aren't likely to apply to us any time soon. This isn't supposed to correlate with performance; it's meant to see what recruiting classes yield.

What struck me most is how long we seem to have been going without those 4-star-like dudes, exactly the type of guys these last two classes have been filled with, and which characterized '95. I too hope some of the more epic blue chips we're after sign up, but even if they don't, the 20 guys in this class are already among the better ones signed in the last decade, and it's not out of the question that they may some day be the best.

Michigan Museday and the Next Next-Woodson

Michigan Museday and the Next Next-Woodson

Submitted by Seth on May 30th, 2012 at 8:28 AM

Beginning my freshman year (1998), we started referring to highly touted young cornerbacks for Michigan as the "Next Woodson." The first was James Whitley, a freshman who played semi-extensively in 1997 and looked good when the supporting cast made his job easy. We were quickly disabused of Whitley=Woodson in 1998 when Notre Dame shredded him.

This is of an impossible comparison; players who can reasonably be considered the best at their position ever don't exactly replicate. But we humans get sentimental about things we had and like to envision never losing them (there's some psychological term for this I believe) so we pretend like the new thing is going to grow into the old thing. It didn't hurt that after a few painful years of Whitley we got, if not exactly Next-Woodsons, a string of really good cornerbacks we could call Next-Woodsons:

marlinLeon Hall - IndianaWarren - Purdue2

Archived from MGoBlue.com

They were tall like Woodson, and came with very high recruiting accolades like Woodson. But the first thing we noticed about them was that as freshmen they were tackling kind of like Woodson. With Woodson as a freshman I remember being excited as hell because he really popped almost right away. I don't remember him against Virginia that year, but he was active every game thereafter and a star by the end of that season. We're not going to compare Blake to Woodson because he's not that. The question is whether he might be the next in the line of future NFL-ish dudes we had from Law through Warren.IMG_4837


Since pledging to Michigan in a deep and dark December when everyone figured Rich Rodriguez was unlikely to survive, then giving out quotes attuned to our particular type of arrogance, this was a guy we all liked. Countess, who's about 5'11 now, i.e. average height, started the last six games, and played his best one in the Sugar Bowl, suggesting enticing levels of future ability. (Photo: Upchurch------------->)

I don't think we were expecting such big things right away. Tim wasn't in the Hello: post:

After a redshirt year (or a year spending time almost exclusively on special teams), he'll slowly work his way into the lineup over the course of a couple years. He probably won't have a chance to be one of the starting corners until he's an upperclassman, but there are so many variables between now and then that it's hard to project.

Brian called him Courtney Avery++ and was more positive in the predictions:

Projection: His height will always be a hindrance but if I had to bet he starts for three years and ends up an All Big Ten sort of player. Will not redshirt since he's polished and will probably be better than anyone behind the starters on day one; solid favorite to take over for Woolfolk next year.

Nobody said "would bounce Woolfolk back to safety halfway through his freshman season en route to being Michigan's star field corner in 2012." Blake on Blake:


See if you can guess the freshman corner since 1990 by his basic stats:CountessSDSUPBU-Heiko

Starts Solo Tackles PBUs INT
12 45 55 4 5
11 35 52 5 1
6 35 47 4 3
6 36 46 4 3
6 30 44 6 0
5 22 36 4 2
1 21 26 3 3
0 16 19 3 0

I know, I know: stats do not a cornerback's story tell. A tackle could mean a perfectly defended edge or a deep pass badly defended followed by a defensive back draped over the triumphant receiver. They don't say how often they were targeted or whether he whiffed on a key third down that cost the game. Anyway:

Name Season Starts Solo Tackles PBU INT
Charles Woodson 1995 12 45 55 4 5
Donovan Warren 2007 11 35 52 5 1
Marlin Jackson 2001 6 35 47 4 3
Ty Law 1992 6 36 46 4 3
Blake Countess 2011 6 30 44 6 0
Courtney Avery 2010 5 22 36 4 2
Leon Hall 2003 1 21 26 3 3
James Whitley 1997 0 16 19 3 0

Countess is sized more like Todd Howard than the giants above him on this list, but in case you missed the play of a certain DB of Virginia Tech, corners his size can do just fine in college, even against Big Ten receivers. And in case you missed Blake in that game, he had eight tackles (six solo), so we're hardly talking about a pure cover guy. The stats do seem to tell a story beyond "just a guy playing cornerback," but they should not alone be trusted.


We really only have UFR data from two of these seasons, and since they're separated by four years this too is going to be fraught with inconsistencies. Here's Countess's 2011:

Gm Opponent + - T Notes
12 OSU 2.5 10 -7.5 Could not deal with deep stuff by himself.
11 Nebraska 1 3 -2 Lost leverage on big run.
10 Illinois 3 2 1 Also had a jumped Jenkins PBU.
9 Iowa 4 6 -2 Great day except for the 44 yards that were all on him.
8 Purdue 1 2 -1 No one was really tested back here.
7 MSU 1.5 3 -1.5 Not Woodson yet.
6 NW 2 2 0 Beaten deep once, but also a push.
5 Minn 5 1 4 Think we may have something here.
4 SDSU 6 4 2 Not as rapturous as we thought but still pretty good, full stop.

Not rapturous. Here's Warren, and remember, the 2007 scale is not comparable to the 2011 scale—the comments are probably more informative than the numbers.

Gm Opponent + - T Notes
12 OSU 0 2 -2 Just the one PI.
11 Wisconsin 3 4 -1 Relatively tough day.
10 MSU 2 1 1 Still can't believe that PI call.
9 Minnesota 5 2 3 Minnesota attempted to pick on him all day and mostly came up empty. Already a standout, IMO, and poised to have a huge career.
8 Illinois 2 3 -1 -
7 Purdue 2 2 0 -
6 EMU 5 1 4 Quickly becoming a typical Warren day: three instances of blanket coverage that become incompletions, one badly missed tackle. I'll take it.
5 NW 5 2 3 Big bounce-back day.
4 PSU 1 4 -3 Needs to work on his tackling.
3 ND 3 1 2 Long handoff whiff was disappointing; rest of it was pretty okay.
2 Oregon 1 1 0 (Ok.)
1 Horror 0 0 0 Came in for Sears

Warren got in a few games earlier than did Countess but if Blake was 2nd on a depth chart when Johnny Sears was getting torn up by a I-AA team he'd have gone in as well. Likewise Leon Hall's ability to earn his way onto the field in the apparently strong 2003 backfield itself was an accomplishment. Donovan had some tackling issues in the UFR that I didn't remember; Countess did seem to do better holding the edge. What I'm looking at is Donovan's game against Minnesota, where he was targeted relentlessly and came out of that convincing Brian we had a Next-Woodson on our hands. Put that against Countess's first and second games, when, likewise, we had collective visions of Next Woodsonism when he was targeted by SDSU and Minnesota.

Overall the scant evidence from our eyes and available reviews suggest a guy probably in striking distance of the Next-Woodsons. If I told you this time last year that a guy already on the roster projected at the tail end of a group of Ty Law, Marlin Jackson, Leon Hall, and Donovan Warren, would you take that?

Michigan Museday Meets Michigan Replay, Part 2

Michigan Museday Meets Michigan Replay, Part 2

Submitted by Seth on May 23rd, 2012 at 8:35 AM


Bob Lipson: awesome

Part I of my interview with Michigan Replay producer Bob Lipson be here, and covers the history of the show up to Bo's last year as head coach.

At that time Don Canham had recently stepped down as athletic director and Schembechler had taken over.  For the first 15 seasons of Replay there had been one coach and one athletic director; now would begin a series of new ADs Liposon would have to sell the show all over again. This was no small thing. The show was a considerable side job for the coach, and it needed access to the locker room and players to interview that no other outlet got, and all of this was predicated on the AD's trust of the show's producer. For now, no big deal, right? The new AD was the longtime star of the show, so maybe lose Budweiser as a sponsor and carry on? Not so, as Bo was not as hands-on as AD as he was as football coach, and that wasn't the expectation for him. Bo still made the big decisions, e.g. firing the basketball coach in '89, but behind the scenes, the nuts and bolts of the department at that time were handled by then-senior associate director of athletics Jack Weidenbach.

Canham liked television but was never in love with the show, after 15 years however he had adjusted to it. Weidenbach, who would follow Bo as AD in 1990, maybe liked the show a little less, and wasn't resigned to anything. Jack had been around the program longer than Schembechler, and in that time had controlled everything from OSHA compliance to marketing. He knew the department inside and out, but he didn't know Bob that well.

Twenty Tons of Turf (1989-1994)

For awhile now the show was being taped on Saturdays after the games so it could run on Sunday mornings. "Fourth" network Fox had taken over Channel 2, moving CBS to 62. Feeling bold, they put in a bid to have the NFL's NFC games, and to the astonishment of many (considering the might of the other networks) won it. Fox offered Lipson the 11:30 a.m. spot right before the Lions pre-game show, a perfect lead-in for them, and a perfect place for Michigan Replay to capture more fans as they settled down for Sunday football.

But college football was now leaving the once-hallowed 1:00 p.m. standard. Driving to Detroit and back every Saturday night after a game was trial enough for home games, but on away trips it was torture. It was for Bob as well, who would sit watching games and call in which plays he wanted. If they couldn't get it in before, taping Saturday night increasingly meant waiting until the studio was done with the 9:00 news. Routinely they'd be taping from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. After a game in the dump that Minnesota used to play in (Bob's words for the Metrodome, not the author's) a late taping was a guarantee.

Attributed by Bob to their live background, they would shoot the show straight through, seldom making a mistake and almost never re-shooting something. Occasionally the coach (remember: this is at 3 a.m. after a game day in another city) would refer to "today" instead of "yesterday" but that was about it. "In 33 years we maybe had to stop five times," Bob estimated. Since there were no re-dos, the coaches on the show got a lot of practice at speaking off the cuff for posterity; perhaps this attributed to the rarity of speaking gaffes by Bo or his successors when so many NCAA coaches stumbled over the adjustment to 24-hour television.

This was the routine: taping late at night with Bob and his universally beloved terrier Zipper keeping everyone's spirits high (Michigan wouldn't listen to students' attempts to formalize a mascot but there was no doubt who filled that role for Michigan Replay). 03-1993-16RB-JackMichigan's bleary-eyed head coach would be deposited back in his bed around 5:00 a.m., and the next morning millions would tune in to see what he had to say.

Weidenbach (right/UMHistory) had good reason to wonder if the show was worth it for the '90s. On the other hand, given the positive, semi-national exposure and the increasingly substantial bottom line the show provided, he had good reason to like Bob Lipson. Bob was about to give him another one.

Canham had put turf in the stadium in 1969. That was very cool at the time—the Astrodome opened in 1965—but by 1990 it was falling out of fashion, in part due to the negative effects it was thought to have on players' joints (I've heard suggested on boards, but not substantiated, that other coaches were using it to recruit against Michigan). One of Weidenbach's first moves was to return the Big House to dirt and grass. The turf came up after the '90 football season, was rolled, and put into storage.

Nobody knew what the hell to do with it. On one hand it was 30-year-old Astroturf sitting around being all useless and in the way. On the other hand this was hallowed ground where Bo had beaten Woody's best team in '69 and Anthony Carter had caused Bob Ufer to reference Fielding Yost and Viking folklore in the same sentence.

So Lipson told Weidenbach "You give me the turf and I'll find something to do with it." Bob came up with three items he could cut it into: coasters, picture frames, and floor mats. He used his connections from years of selling ads around the state to find companies who could manufacture these items, used his connections from years of acquiring schlock for the set to make them available to the public, and came back with $800,000 for the athletic department. Today this seems like a drop in the bucket next to department runs a profit up to 20 times that, but this was a serious windfall for the university from something that had been just taking up space. As some of you may have been told on your orientation tour, Weidenbach gave half of that to the library, figuring nobody really donates to the library. The other half went into the improvements the department was making to Michigan's facilities. Bob took home a grand total of $0.00 from the project. It was a magnificent gift to the university that he loved.

Lloyd Protector (1995-'07)

You're awesome. No You're awesome!

In 1995, Lloyd Carr became the head coach of Michigan and Michigan Replay gained a guardian angel. Bo overshadowed anybody you put him in a room with. Mo looked like an uncle trapped at a family event two hours after giving his wife the first "let's go" signal. In reality Moeller was less enthusiastic about the show even than he appeared. Yet the man who succeeded him may have been the most important single personality for Michigan Replay other than Lipson himself. With Lloyd the chemistry with Brandstatter was immediate and palpable. Here were too good buddies, both with evident love for their topic, chatting the same way their viewers had been during the game.

Of the people Bob says nice things about (too many to mention) the kindest words are reserved for Carr. Carr in turn had plenty of nice things to say about Bob's show. Despite more late-night tapings than any of his predecessors due to afternoon games or worse (e.g. flying home after a West Coast game) bl010432Lloyd was the show's biggest fan. What he loved about it was that the high school coaches loved it. Across the country wherever the show was on, athletes' parents and coaches saw Michigan's clean-cut, well-spoken players (and Carr's apparent honesty and affability to anyone not in a press room or a Sun Belt referee uniform), and equated Michigan with this idyllic student-athlete experience. Recruiting regulations at this time were piling up as quickly as coaches could think of new ways to pitch their programs, and then here's this big syndicated program (now at 11:00 a.m.) that's in its way a big Michigan commercial reaching Carr's target audience.

As '97 was the apogee of the Bo era, so was it the last peak of the show. Bo of course wasn't on it anymore, but episodes after the Penn State, Ohio State, and Rose Bowl victories that season were some of the most-watched in its history.

Despite its popularity with fans—mostly an older crowd—some in the athletic department were ready to throw out Replay with the rest of the anachronisms of the Canham era. Bob gave me little in the way of explanation for why a vintage Carr defense was necessary—perhaps he wasn't so sure what the fuss was about either—but he left little doubt there were people in the athletic department who were not fans of the show.

If I have to venture a guess, it was the result of several administrations coming through in quick succession, all with their own goals, versus this independent program they weren't really sure of their affiliation with, and which had gotten by all of these years because Bob Lipson had ingratiated himself with the principals. Gone already were the guys who remembered the turf thing, and gone too were their replacements. Now the athletic director was Tom Goss, a Michigan footballer of the pre-Bo era (he graduated after the '68 season) who had spent years in beverages and merchandising. Goss was determined to make not only the Big House but Crisler into a modern facility, and embarked upon the first of the modern round of renovations. The better known result of this was the stadium halo and what Bob eloquently called the "refrigerator magnet" letters on the stadium my freshman year (1998), the baby of a guy named Shapiro though Goss fell on the sword for it.

How this affected Michigan Replay was that the renovations came with a bigger video board and, importantly, a studio within the complex to take advantage of it. Summoning every ounce of goodwill he had left, Bob went to the athletic department to beg that they use the opportunity to build an honest-to-goodness TV studio, as opposed to the mini-booth they were planning. Perhaps with the intervention of a guardian angel (or guardian legend), this was approved. No more driving back and forth to Detroit, and the two hours out of the coach's game day it lost.

Bo used to sit on a stool, taping live in a Detroit TV station across from that network's (Sparty-inclined) sports anchor, while an intern flipped the reel and made Rick Leach look right-handed; now Lloyd Carr and Jim Brandstatter had leather chaise loungers in a tricked-out, purpose-built modern studio inside the Crisler complex. But Goss wouldn't long survive his expenditures, and while new A.D. Bill Martin didn't feel too strongly one way or another about the show—his job as he saw it was to fix the department's finances—more people in his department wanted to kill the show, and they were less shy about saying something. These people carried weight with Martin, and as the 2000s progressed so too did the seriousness of their opposition. What kept it going was simply Lloyd Carr, who would see Michigan Replay end over his retired body.

In 2007, ten years after his national championship season, Carr retired.

That's All the Time We Have (2008)

"Keep this replay going." –Lloyd Carr

People have come up with a lot of theories to explain the sudden and abrupt conclusion of Michigan Replay after 2007. Many claim Rich Rodriguez didn't want to do the show, either out of sansdeference for the well of Michigan or simply because his tantrumic post-loss regimen probably wouldn't play any better on TV than it did in John Bacon's Three and Out. More savvy Web browsers can discover the athletic department hired a new marketing company around that time, and extrapolate that the new agency shirts didn't think two guys sitting across from each other in lounge chairs and cutting through the mysteries of football were the right thing for the brand. There's even an erroneous reference on Wikipedia to "retiring the show in honor of Lloyd," which is impossible to reconcile with Lloyd's words to Brandy on their last show together.

Doubtless the end of Michigan Replay coinciding with the coaching change for fans created the sense that it was one more unnecessary break from Michigan tradition. Those who didn't like Rich Rod went with the reason that blames him. Those who hated Bill Martin went with that. Nature abhors a vacuum, so the public filled it with whatever fit the narrative of what they thought was going on in the erratic and nonsensical late-term Martin athletic department.

What happened was far more simple: folks in the athletic department wanted to be rid of the show long before, but Lloyd Carr had been holding them off. Said Bob, "When I lost Lloyd, I lost my protector."

mreplayHe made this very clear to me and I'll try to be as clear here: Rich Rodriguez had nothing to do with the show being canceled. He wasn't any more thrilled with the idea of it than Moeller was, and he would only do it Sunday mornings, not Saturday nights (given the amount of late games Michigan now played and his post-loss demeanor, this was smart). The difference was Rich Rod had no idea of its recruiting power, didn't know Brandstatter, and didn't have the sentimental attachment to the show that Lloyd had. Rodriguez upon arrival didn't know the politics inside Martin's department, and certainly had no way of knowing the only thing that could save the show was nothing short of him demanding they keep it in his contract. The sum total of blame on Rodriguez for the end of Michigan Replay is nil.

Minus Lloyd, the elements inside had their way, and the show was canceled. Bob was rightfully sad to see his life's work suddenly ended, but stressed that he wasn't bitter: "There's nothing on television that lasts 33 years!" That's not entirely correct, since of his class of '75 we still have Wheel of Fortune, Saturday Night Live, and Good Morning America. But: Wheel of Fortune, Saturday Night Live, and Good Morning America! Lipson's idea for a chitchat with the local college coach survived exactly as long as Michigan's coinciding bowl streak, and (three channels, remember) was just as impressive.

Last year, under yet another new athletic director, David Brandon (who graduated from Michigan just two years before the show began), Lipson was invited back, this time for the Big Ten Network. However he declined, and also declined to give over the name of his show, hence "Inside Michigan Football." Bob's reasoning had nothing to do with who could control it, or when it would be taped, or anything like that. What had happened over the last three years was that Bob for the first time in his life found what a joy it is to sit on a bench surrounded by his grandchildren inside the Big House, and watch a game of Michigan football. And there's nothing in the world, he says, that's could be better than that.

Q&A and Errata

Seth: What do you think of Brady Hoke and his staff, and how do they compare to the coaches you worked with?

Lipson: I like Brady. I liked him very much during his time as an assistant…the players loved him. I don't know that much has changed now that he is the head man. I choose not to compare!!!

Seth: Something something Dave Brandon and the current state of the program/college football in general?

Lipson: Bo would not be happy. He believed games ought to be played at 1:00 p.m. and wouldn't like the night games and all of the other things. Dave Brandon is the antithesis of Canham in some ways, but that was a different era with different expectations and even though Bo wouldn't like it, there's a lot of things Bo wouldn't like. I think Brandon is doing the right things for Michigan, and that's what he should be doing.

Seth: This is WRONG!!!:

This is RIGHT!!!:

This is a question! ?

Lipson: When I switched songs I received a ton of negative mail and comments saying to go back to the original. After 3 years I did return. Much of the negative comments came from Doug Karsch during his days at WTKA.

Seth: "Whoa cool license plate!"


Lipson: The wife of a couple who sit next to us at the games [had that made for us]. She works at Jackson prison and had the plate made by convicts. We joke and say it was made by Kwame Kilpatrick during his stay there.

Gratitude rendered

To WolverineHistorian for putting up most of the videos I linked to. To D.A. from my office (not sure if he wants his name out there) who provided the contact. To the readers who suggested questions (Bob read them all by the way) and shared their memories on that thread a few weeks ago. And to the incomparable Bob Lipson, for taking the time to humor a blogger with his story. Thank you!

Michigan Museday Meets Michigan Replay, Part 1

Michigan Museday Meets Michigan Replay, Part 1

Submitted by Seth on May 16th, 2012 at 9:51 AM


Bob Lipson, the most interesting man on a blue planet

Through various iterations of music players I have had a Game Day mix that I play on the drive from metro-Detroit to Ann Arbor. It's organized in a specific order to mimic the Michigan experience, beginning with a track imploring that the band take the field, and the whole pre-game concert, plus a bunch of Victors trios, Let's Go Blues, a halftime show, the hospital's string instrumental, and Temptation/Hawaiian WC. It concludes as any rightful Michigan weekend must, with Across 110th Street.

Michigan Replay ran from 1975 through 2008, beginning on Channel 7, moving to 4, and then back to 7 before ending up at Fox. The Sunday show spanned three coaches, two hosts, and six athletic directors. In some ways it was the spiritual predecessor to MGoBlog, in that its calling card was picking apart the plays from a wide angle, and using the latest available medium—television—to bring fans closer to the program than they'd ever been before.

Many people made the show what it was—from the coaches who finished their game days with after-midnight taping sessions an hour's drive away from their wives and beds, to the humble Jim Brandstatter, to the camera guys and crew like Pierre Woods and MGoReader Mike Berens.

But if you narrow Michigan Replay down to one guy, that guy is producer Bob Lipson. I recently had the great pleasure to sit down with Bob and ask him to tell the story of the show that for 33 years became part of the fabric of Michigan football. What follows are Bob's recollections of three wonderful decades, as recreated from notes written by a poor blogger trying to scribble while listening to one of the most fascinating stories in Michigan football, much of it not at all the way you imagined it happened. I know some people will remember things differently. What I have tried to present is the tale as Bob told it to me.


Live from WXYZ Channel 7: 1975-1979

In 1975 there were basically three networks. Michigan was as big as any team but still had its games broadcast about four times a year—when it was the ABC Game of the Week. At this time Bo was doing a Sunday TV show on Channel 4 that the people at Michigan weren't very happy with. Bob Lipson was working for Channel 7, under a general manager who was also head of Michigan State's alumni association (Bob refers to them only as "Sparty").

Lipson, a Michigan fan though not an alum—he's a Wayne State grad—had an idea to across-110th-street-sdtktake over the program with a better format, and got the principals, including Bo and, somewhat reluctantly, athletic director Don Canham, to agree (Lipson spoke with great respect of Canham, even though they butted heads, and later listed him along with Jerry Hanlon and Elvis Grbac as the three people who left the strongest impression on him of all his years with the show). As payment Bo got whatever sponsorships they could sell in the credits scroll. The first host was Larry Adderley, another Sparty, who got the gig by nature of being WXYZ's main sports broadcaster (Larry later became the Tigers' play-by-play man).

The theme from a Blaxploitation flick and its now iconic percussion/horn funk melody was chosen mostly by happenstance: "I was frantic to find a theme song right up to the last minute of the first show back in '75," Bob recalled. "I just stumbled upon it while trying everything in the channel 7 library and settled on it the night before the first show."

The first episode aired after the first game of the '75 season, at snackycake Wisconsin (two traditions we all miss: early season conference games, and Wisconsin being a pushover). From the start it was a ratings success; it helped that Michigan was No. 2 in the country. The myriad Sparties around the network—specifically Jim Osborn who was president of the MSU Alumni Association—wanted, and created, their own show to run after Michigan Replay, however Sparty wasn't much to look at in the '70s so the network was essentially taking a loss to make sure everything stayed square.

Doing the show live had its funky moments. Back then Bob would pick out cuts directly from the coaches' (all-22) film on Saturday nights and have them ready to go for the Sunday filming. One time a crew member put the double-perf (meaning it has holes on both sides, people born after 1990) film into the machine backwards while playing it back during the taping, with the effect that everything was flipped horizontally. As Adderley professionally acted as if nothing was amiss, while breaking down a play Bo decided to point out that despite appearances, quarterback Rick Leach is indeed left-handed.

Here I'd like to mention that Bob shares our distaste for EXTREME CLOSE-UP footage whose analytic value is limited to ENT doctors.

Bob's Show, Bo, Budweiser, and Brandy: The 1980s

What's a Valhalla?

After five years of producing the show for WXYZ, Lipson knew he had a success and wanted to leave Channel 7 and own the show himself. He found a new home at Channel 4, the NBC affiliate. Since Adderley was Channel 7's guy Bob got a new host from Channel 4, that station's number 2 sports guy behind Al Ackerman (and a former player for Bo) Jim Brandstatter. Brandy got the call that he'd be coming on board for Michigan Replay while he was on his honeymoon, and canceled the trip to come back immediately. As you can see above from the early Brandy episodes, the rapport with Bo was an instant fit, as Jim, more so even than Adderley, had the humility to let the coach and the game be the story each week.

Former Eastern Michigan athletic director, Alex Agase, who holds the interesting distinction of being an All-American at two Big Ten schools (Illinois, then Purdue while training for WWII), was by this time a volunteer assistant for Bo. Among his duties were driving the head coach of Michigan to Detroit and back to do the shows. In true Schembechlerian fashion, after spending all day Saturday coaching football, and the hours after each game on Saturday night breaking down football film with his coaches, and the half hour talking about football on TV, what Bo wanted to talk about most on Tom_Slade,_Jim_Brandstatter_and_Fritz_Seyferththose hour-long rides was, of course, football.

The sponsors that Lipson drew were mostly clients from (I'm going to spell this wrong) PR firm Darcy, McManus, & Bowles, who, as was standard practice in advertising for the day, got a few Michigan perks (like Bob's seats) with their deals. In return Bob got three main sponsors: Pontiac, Cadillac, and Budweiser. Bo didn't mind the cars; he hated Bud. Hated it. Hated the very idea of alcohol mixing with his clean-cut Michigan show. Finally Lipson jokingly promised Bo if he could get the Michigan Milk Producers to come on board he'd drop Bud.

In 1984, Lipson moved again, this time back to Channel 7 but with the ability to reach a far greater audience through their network affiliates. Meanwhile the network was pressuring Channel 4 to get rid of Brandstatter, who didn't fit the hip '80s ideal of a program host. It was unrelated but perfect timing that when NBC pulled the plug on Brandstatter, Lipson was packing for Channel 7, and could thus bring his host with him.

Michigan Replay already reached homes across the state and into Toledo (and trebled Sparty's show's viewership in East Lansing) but this got Bob's little show all over the region, perhaps an understated part of how Michigan became one of the first truly national collegiate brands. People were tuning in every Sunday as far away as Tennessee to have Bo break down the latest game. The show was now an integral part of the Michigan football experience, a weekly tradition for more people in the state even than going to the football game, a perfect match for its era. But then came 1989.

End of Part I. Sorry to break this up, but Hail to the Victors is shipping at the end of this week and I have to get back to it. Coming up next week: how Fox changed everything and nothing, tapings at 2 a.m., Mo, Lloyd, the studio in Crisler, what do you do with 10,000 square yards of used stadium turf, and what really happened in 2008.