Unverified Voracity Is Nerding Out

Unverified Voracity Is Nerding Out

Submitted by Brian on January 11th, 2017 at 12:04 PM

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[Bryan Fuller]

Orange Bowl grading. The PFF takes will not surprise you:

Michigan’s offense was completely overmatched against the Seminoles’ dominant front-seven, and the Wolverines earned well below-average grades for team run blocking and team pass protection. All five offensive linemen, fullbacks Khalid Hill and Henry Poggi and tight ends Ian Bunting and Tyrone Wheatley all earned below-average run-blocking grades

Woooooof. It is a good thing that Drevno has a track record that allows him to deflect most of that to the previous regime, but even with that track record I can see a bunch of discontent popping up next year when he's (probably) starting a true freshman again. Why does every departing coach at Michigan have to leave a ticking timebomb on the OL? This is three straight:

  • Lloyd Carr's last team dug Alex Mitchell out of retirement so he could get rolled like everyone else against OSU and gave Rich Rodriguez seven scholarship OL.
  • Rich Rod had a recruiting class with one OL, who was medicaled after a year. The next one saw him bring in an OG who quit football a week into fall camp.
  • Hoke at least tried, but his 6-OL class looks like it's petering out into zero starters and the numbers after that were far from sufficient.

All the evidence you need about Hoke's OL recruiting is the projected number of Hoke-era OL who will be starters in Harbaugh year three: one.

Anyway, the defense was terrific. So hooray.

Draft in or out: mostly out. NFL decisions for 2017 Michigan opponents are rolling in. Gentlemen who are headed for the draft:

  • Florida: LB Alex Anzalone, DT Caleb Brantley, CB Teez Tabor, CB Quincy Wilson
  • OSU: WR Noah Brown(?!), RB/WR Curtis Samuel, CB Gareon Conley, S Malik Hooker, LB Raekwon McMillan
  • PSU: WR Chris Godwin, DE Garrett Sickels, LB Nyeem Wartman-White
  • MSU: DT Malik McDowell, S Montae Nicholson
  • Northwestern: LB Anthony Walker
  • Wisconsin: LB TJ Watt, OT Ryan Ramcyzk
  • Indiana: LB Marcus Oliver(?!), RB Devine Redding(!?!)

JT Barrett, Jason Cabinda, and Josey Jewell have announced returns. Michigan got good news from Mason Cole and Maurice Hurst and less good news from Jabrill Peppers; OSU is also expected to lose CB Marshon Lattimore.

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[Fuller]

Draft stock, meanwhile. Taco Charlton has cracked a couple of first-round mock drafts to pay attention to. PFF has him 29th:

Charlton was having a strong season then took his game to a new level down the stretch, grading as our No. 4 edge defender from Week 9 through the end of the season. He was strong against the run and disruptive as a pass-rusher, picking up eight sacks, 10 hits and 32 hurries on only 251 rushes, and his two-year production is among the best in the nation.

Meanwhile Todd McShay shot him all the way up to 13th:

Charlton finished the season on a tear, compiling 10 sacks in his final 10 games. He has always had the raw ability, but this season, he showed more consistency and refined technique. Charlton has the ability to be an edge defender in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme in the NFL.

He was 26th in late December. Peppers is still 8th to McShay; PFF has him a late first-rounder. Lewis is hanging around the middle of the first round, usually.

Coordinator lockdown. Michigan is going to lose coaches on a regular basis, because Harbaugh. They've set out to lock down their coordinators, though. Don Brown got a five year, $1.5 million deal that is certainly unprecedented for a Michigan assistant coach and may be unprecedented nationwide. I don't think I've ever heard of an assistant getting a five year deal.

Soon after, Tim Drevno got a five year, $1 million deal. Drevno might leave for a head coaching job at some point, but if it's not a P5 gig he'll be taking a paycut.

Rumors that Ty Wheatley might be a candidate at WMU seem to have petered out, FWIW.

Making football more like debate. Nate Silver did things approximately as nerdy as I did in high school, and they even had similar tournament formats:

The solution that debate tournaments devised is something called power-pairing. Power-pairing just means that teams with the same record are paired off against each other, so that a team that starts off the tournament 2-0 will face off against another 2-0 team, for instance. It usually works by drawing the first two rounds of a tournament at random,1 and after that, everything is power-paired.

This turns out to be a surprisingly elegant solution. It helps to make the matchups relatively even, which not only helps students to learn more but also usually tells you more in determining the best teams. Furthermore, the pairings are somewhat self-correcting. Suppose a good team happens to randomly draw very tough opponents in its first two rounds and gets off to an 0-2 start. They’ll receive some compensation by being paired with easier opponents the rest of the way out — an 0-2 team and then a 1-2 team, and so forth. As another bonus to this system, the best teams are put through the gantlet and really earn their keep. A team that finishes its tournament undefeated or with just one loss will have beaten a lot of very good teams along the way.

They also did this at quiz bowl tournaments. Silver proposes a radical reshaping of Big Ten play in which each team gets three rivalry games, a couple early-season games scheduled by the previous year's standings, and then four "flex" matchups based on current standings. He's honed it fairly well:

  • You know whether you're home or away in the flex weeks.
  • Three rivalry weeks is enough to satisfy anyone.
  • The flex matchups make late season games more meaningful.

An example of the latter point:

In our simulated season, Penn State played (and defeated) Wisconsin, Nebraska and Illinois, a decent group of opponents whom they didn’t play in the actual regular season, but skipped games against mediocre Indiana, Purdue and Rutgers, whom they pointlessly faced in real life.

This site has railed against 14-team conferences and plead for dynamic scheduling since their inception. To me the uptick in meaningful games and much more meaningful result is worth disrupting the hallowed season-ending rivalry weekend, but I understand if that's a bridge too far for you. I'm in, though.

BONUS reminder: this is the best way to do Big Ten basketball scheduling:

19 game conference schedule.

PHASE 1: round robin.
PHASE 2: line is drawn between 7th and 8th teams in the league. Mini-leagues subsequently play round-robin.

That would be killer, man.

Oh man... oh man. Here's this!

I'm trying to think of a less appreciated Tennessee assistant football coach than Mike DeBord.

Still thinking.

Still ... OK, I give up.

This is a guy named John Adams. He is a newspaper columnist engaging in such 1990s classics as "talking down to his readers" and "using points and yards per game," so he's a natural DeBord ally. Hell, he's still using 1990s offenses as benchmarks.

In fact, DeBord proved to be one of Jones' best hires. In his first season, he revived UT's running game, which averaged 223.7 yards per game, second in the SEC. This past season, the Vols averaged 36.4 points and 443.7 yards per game.

In 1997, with senior All-American Peyton Manning at quarterback and offensive guru David Cutcliffe calling the shots, the Vols averaged 34.3 points and 482.8 yards per game.

This will be news to Adams, Debord, and Baby Spice, but it's no longer 1997. Tennessee's offense finished 28th in S&P+, which is almost perfectly mediocre in a metric that adjusts for strength of schedule. There is a reason DeBord moved to Indiana and not up the P5 ladder.

Walker is still extant. Kareem Walker had a rough start but seems to have evened things out:

"I got a 3.0 this semester," Walker said with a smile. "At Michigan. That was like 'wow." That felt good. I worked hard for that.

"(Harbaugh) hasn't seen (the report card) yet, but I told him I about a grade I got (a while back). I had to leave practice one day for a paper and I ended up getting a B+ on that. I told him about that grade. He liked it."

There are going to be a ton of early enrollees and even so the most fascinating guy to hear about and see will probably be Walker. He was brought up unprompted by various people during bowl practices as a guy to watch, and he's a talented dude.

What went down at Minnesota. The abortive boycott after ten players were suspended in the wake of a sexual assault investigation looked terrible, and looked worse after the Title IX report was released. Tracy Claeys got fired in its wake. If you're wondering what those guys were thinking, the Pioneer Press has an extensive interview with DE Gaelin Elmore:

PP: But at any point, when Coyle comes in to explain the suspensions, did anyone think, well, he’s the AD, he knows what he’s doing?

GE: No, because his answers made it seem like he had no idea. And it was like, you’re the AD, you did this; how do you not know enough? That’s when a lot of guys were like, ‘This isn’t right.’ We had no idea. (The suspensions) came out of nowhere. If someone just has a conversation with us before (the suspensions) happen, says, “You know what? This is a Title IX, EOAA investigation, it’s really out of our hands; we’re going to suspend the guys until it’s clear,” we’d have been fine. Or even when it was released to the public, at least tell the public the kids were suspended based on the investigation that has been ongoing since Sept. 2. If that’s said, (the boycott) doesn’t happen. But none of that happened, and our team felt we had no other option.

Bad decisions with low information from the team and a Dave Brandon Classic mismanagement of the public relations from the Minnesota AD. I'm a bit surprised that PJ Fleck decided to jump into that business feet-first, but then again he is crazy.

Let's patch holes in this boat that's already on the bottom. What's worse than not enforcing any of your actual rules? Making up new ones to seem virtuous.

One of the buzz words from Tuesday's NCAA recruiting seminar is: IAWP. As part of recruiting reform, the NCAA has proposed during a two-year period before a recruit's anticipated enrollment and a two-year period after the recruit's enrollment, an institution shall not employ individuals associated with a prospect (IAWP) in a non-coaching staff position.

Harbaugh's done this three times, hiring Gwen Bush, Chris Partridge, and Devin Bush Sr. All three of these people are good, and qualified for, the jobs they now have. Meanwhile half the SEC signees are getting paid. What's the point of restricting possibly dubious transactions when you are utterly incapable of enforcing the rules already on the books? Ugh. Amateurism is the worst.

Speaking of, here is a NYT article surveying CFB players on how they spend their stipends:

When the full-cost-of-attendance stipends were approved two years ago, there was worry among some college administrators that athletes would waste the money on frivolous purchases. But Georgia running back Nick Chubb said he saves his money every month, and his teammate Jeb Blazevich said he was surprised to learn how many Bulldogs send the money home to their families as soon as they receive it.

“That blew me away,” said Blazevich, a tight end from Charlotte, N.C. “That’s the thing that got me to love this team so well, just seeing these guys’ heart and sending the stipend home. These guys are good guys, and they want to do well by their family.”

Paternalistic concerns about How The Youth Will Spend Their Money are the worst arguments in favor of the current system. If they waste it all they're no worse off than they are now.

Etc.: What do you have to do to get ejected from a Philly press box? You can find out here. Rumors that Michigan-Florida might get moved to Sunday are unlikely to amount to anything. Spencer on the title game and the Rose Bowl. Smart Football on that power read pitch both teams were running in the championship game.

Unverified Voracity Will Fight You In An IKEA Parking Lot

Unverified Voracity Will Fight You In An IKEA Parking Lot

Submitted by Brian on September 9th, 2016 at 3:56 PM

This man's name is Vince Staples. The younglings on the staff inform me he is a rappist of some renown, and he digs Harbaugh, in NSFW style:

This will help his Q score, as one has. Vince Staples will get us in living rooms across the nation because he is going to fight Urban Meyer in an IKEA parking lot. As one does.

Rolovich is impressed. Hawaii's deadpan coach with some high praise:

"I would be much more afraid to play Michigan again than Florida, the '08 team," Rolovich said. The 2008 Florida team went on to win the national title behind one of the nation's best defenses. "The Gators were good. They won the national title, but there wasn't a weakness on the field (at Michigan). Their coaches deserve credit. Their players deserve credit. That's some big-time football right there."

He said this about a Michigan team that was without two potential first-round draft picks.

The Ringer is hitting its stride. See this excellent article from Katie Baker on the tao of Harbagh…

It’s easy to dismiss Harbaugh as a showman, and there’s no doubt he has a great sense of the impact some of his statements, tweets, or music videos will have. Still, a large part of how he comes across is simply who he is. Some of it is the Harbaugh lineage, though much of it is just him.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to be in that family,” laughed Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison, who in his career has now worked with Harbaughs Jack, John, Jim, and Jay. “When you go to play a pickup basketball game, I got a feeling you gotta be pretty physical.” Indeed, when Harbaugh first met his wife’s large family, he wound up complaining about her sister Amy’s officiating in a 3-on-3 basketball game.

But in contrast to the more reticent John, or the more affable Jack, or the more soft-spoken Jay (whose Twitter bio does include the words: “Relish a good nepotism tweet”; like father, like son), Jim Harbaugh can never just stay put. He points out that he’s the only member of his family taller than 6 feet and ascribes it to a childhood spent downing whole milk and praying for height. Sometimes, it’s overwhelming to think about what it must be like to live inside his brain.

…and the next section, which is our old friend Smart Football. It's not quite Grantland yet but it's not bad except for all the articles in which NFL coaches complain about spread offenses.

They always catch up. Fascinating article by Chris Brown on the decline and fall of Chip Kelly in Philadelphia, which wasn't just based on the imperious personnel decisions and general Jed Yorkery of his term there. Kelly went away from running quarterbacks because the NFL has a salary cap and very few plausible starters at that spot, and teams caught up to his tempo.

Then he started tipping all of his plays and acting like Brady Hoke afterward:

Philadelphia’s opponents seemed to know what was coming throughout 2015, even when he tried to mix in other plays. For example, as long as he’s been in the NFL, whenever Kelly’s opponents have geared up to stop his inside zone play, he has typically gone to his counterpunch, a sweep play in which the guard and center both pull to lead the way. But, tipped off by the alignment of the running back and the tight end, defenses were ready for that, too.

It’s one thing for a team to miss a block or for the play caller to guess wrong, but these are abysmal, totally hopeless plays rarely seen in the NFL. Yet Kelly repeatedly deflected criticism that his offense had become predictable by saying that the issue came down to only one thing: “We need to execute.”

If you stay static, the hyenas download you and take over. Michigan's offense has to move as much as anyone else's—one reason I think the fullback traps might go on vacation this season. They haven't shown anything new so far and won't this weekend. Starting with Colorado the wrinkles will start to work their way in.

Hopefully you run into Scarlett Johansson. Zack Shaw on Gardner and Gallon's Japanese adventure:

Wary of the likelihood tryouts and camp invites actually led to something, Gardner’s agent pitched a new idea to Gardner this spring: Go be a star … in Japan.

“He said he had an interesting idea after someone had given him a call about it,” Gardner said. “It was (pitched as) a chance to see a new place, get back on the field again for some time because I hadn’t played in a while.”

The next day, Gardner was on a flight to Japan. He signed with the Nojima Sagamihara Rise a couple weeks after that, and was asked if he knew of any American players that would also be interested. Though the X-league is competitive, players from the United States typically thrive against less-experienced competition, to the point in which the league put a cap on four Americans per team.

So Gardner had to pick his receiving target wisely, but it wasn’t a hard call to make.

Large profile of interest. We took their Kaiju, only fair we give back.

Wait, what? Apparently basketball coaches are bracing for a transfer free for all?

While the overwhelming belief of the college basketball coaching fraternity is that players being able to transfer without having to sit a year is imminent, NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy told ESPN he isn't ready to go that far.

"I am confident we will be victorious in these cases," Remy told ESPN. "If they win, we wouldn't be able to have the rule anymore.'

I'm very much on the pay-these-men-their money side of things but that sucks. I'd like to draw a line somewhere more conservative than "anything at all that can be construed as a benefit for athletes is what we should do," and both transfer restrictions and the sit-out year are things that I think are reasonable. (To be precise: I don't think teams should be able to restrict players from teams not on their schedule the next year.)

We're already seeing a ton of guys bail on their mid-major teams to go play a year or two at bigger schools, and this would only accelerate that. A separate article by Jeff Goodman goes over the parlous state of incentives in college basketball:

Another mid-major head coach, who lost one of his best players to a BCS school this past offseason, told ESPN he would be "slowing down the graduating process" for his players in order to ensure that he doesn't lose another to the high-major ranks.

When asked to elaborate specifically on what "slowing down the graduating process" would entail, he said instead of enrolling a player into a pair of summer school classes in two sessions, they might not have that particular player take summer school at all -- or take just one class per session. Another prevailing thought is to put players in just the minimum 12 hours of classes each semester.

"What kid is going to argue and want to take more classes?" one mid-major coach said. "There aren't many."

That's bad for the sport since it paves an even easier path to the top for the top schools and reduces the number of upsets that make the NCAA tournament so fun:

A year ago, Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters could have trotted out a starting lineup that included Trey Lewis and Anton Grady. Instead, Lewis spent the season at Louisville. Grady took a grad transfer year at Wichita State and Waters went just 9-23 and will have some pressure on him this season instead of working on a contract extension. Both Lewis and Grady are playing professionally overseas this season.

There's a totally legit competitive balance argument here. And you can't even make that academic argument that is offered up by defenders of the grad transfer rule. Switching schools in the middle of a degree will make things tougher. (Unless you can't do algebra and transfer to MSU.)

If we could just admit that basketball players are majoring in basketball and that this is completely fine a lot of balderdash could be excised from these discussions. Basketball players transfer because of basketball. Therefore it is proper to consider the effects on basketball these transfer rules have.

Unintended consequences. NFL players and owners conspire against players yet to join the league by agreeing to a CBA that pays rookies vastly below market value for four or even five years. Artificially under-valued players thus pile up across the league, forcing veterans out. Coaches then bitch about how young everyone is. If only someone could have seen this coming.

Also in that article, it runs in the family. John Harbaugh might not be the craziest Harbaugh, but he's a Harbaugh:

On March 18, 23-year-old Ravens cornerback Tray Walker died from injuries suffered in a motorbike accident in Miami one day prior. Eight days later, at the funeral in a Baptist church in south Florida, Harbaugh approached the head of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith. “I said the rules have to be adjusted for first-, second-, third-year guys,” Harbaugh said, referring to rules that limit offseason contact between players and coaches. “The rules are built for guys who have families and need time off.”

Smith said the interaction was brief. “One, we were at a funeral,” he said.

Knives out for Les Miles. This Bleacher Report article features several former LSU players expressing their concern with the direction of the program in uncommonly blunt and clear terms:

"There were players running free, and it was from experienced players not adjusting to a blitz," said Hester. "It wasn't a situation where they were doing something tricky or mugging up in the A-gaps and bringing somebody from somewhere else. It was literally linebackers blitzing from depth when the ball was snapped. Those are things that you expect experienced guys to pick up.

Already in the meat of the season there's not a lot that LSU can do, and the bet here is that with Tom Herrmann out there, Miles won't survive any forthcoming misstep. One dollar says LSU gets blown out by Alabama and there's an interim the next day.

Etc.: Remy Hamilton, named after cognac. Identifying pass defenses is damn near impossible in many cases, contra a couple people who are absolutely certain about things they shouldn't be certain about in UFR comments. A highly timely Hawaii recap. Also another one from Holdin' the Rope. Phelps's son will go to Michigan. Luck can read the standings.

Unverified Voracity Slaps Knee

Unverified Voracity Slaps Knee

Submitted by Brian on June 1st, 2016 at 12:46 PM

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Dan Murphy at Bo's grave. A memorial day thing:

The cemetery groundskeepers say that during most weeks there are a few maize and blue trinkets at the foot of Schembechler's grave, but traffic really picks up in football season. On a spring day this year, there were a pile of pennies, a few Canadian dollar coins, a bell, a blue foam football, a couple of rusty "Beat Ohio State" buttons and an egg keeping Bo company. No one is quite sure what the deal is with the egg, but the best guess is that Bo often liked to jab at his guys by calling them "ham-and-eggers" when they weren't being as productive as they should be.

Women's College World Series on deck. A dramatic comeback win in game two of softball's super-regional sends them to Oklahoma City, with #1 seed Florida watching on TV. Michigan gets the late game Thursday (9:30 PM) against LSU; Alabama and Oklahoma are the other half of their bracket. All games are on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Meanwhile Brendan Quinn profiles Carol Hutchins:

Carol came along in 1957 and immediately raised hell. In fifth grade, playing with matches, she set a field behind the family home on fire. Two fire engines arrived to douse the flames. The Lansing fire chief pulled young Hutchins aside to let her know: "You're lucky you didn't burn down the entire southside of Lansing."

When her father arrived home in his blue trooper uniform, Carol ran up and said, "I have to tell you something: I burnt down the field."

She was grounded.

Even more satellite kerfuffle. SEC meetings are happening so there are more opportunities to ask southern college coaches about the scourge of satellite camps. They still don't like them.  The reasons they offer are still a blend of hilarious and infuriating. Nick Saban is the latest, and he followed the script:

"I don't know how much it benefits anybody because all the people that say this is creating opportunities for kids, this is all about recruiting," Saban said. "That's what it's about. Anybody that tells you that. What's amazing to me is somebody didn't stand up and say here's going to be the unintended consequences of what you all are doing."

Again with the SEC's insistence that going around and scouting football players is—gasp—part of a recruiting strategy, again with the yammering about unintended consequences. This is a conference that managed to set off a firestorm of recriminations because their two-sentence rule change unintentionally screwed over small schools nationwide. Now they are complaining because something that was legal remaining legal will have unintended consequences.

A second talking point the SEC keeps hammering is about the influence of "third parties":

"All you're doing is allowing all these other people that we spend all of our time at the NCAA saying, you can't recruit through a third party. You can't be involved with third-party people and that's exactly what you're doing ...

Then hand met podium.

" ... creating all these third parties that are going to get involved with the prospects and all that. And who gets exposed on that? I go to a camp and I'm talking to some guy I don't know from Adam's house cat and he's representing some kid because he put the camp on, and then I'm in trouble for talking to this guy? And who even knows if the guy paid to go to the camp."

Not only is this amazing chutzpah from the League of Extraordinary Bagmen, this argument wants us to believe that allowing college coaches to go to camps and directly interact with players is going to increase the influence of middlemen. Because someone has to give those kids a ride…? I guess?

Harbaugh, as is his wont, ended the internet again with a tweet.

That is the other thing: Alabama is the worst possible cow to have moo about compliance issues. Saban has pushed the envelope for years himself. There's a bump rule named after him. When he was recruiting a couple of five-stars from Dr. Phillips in Orlando he coincidentally had Alabama's bowl practices at that high school, mirroring Michigan's trip to IMG this spring. His huge pile of medical hardships forced the conference to start reviewing all hardship requests. The program itself has been the target of investigation after investigation dating back to the Stone Age. Nobody in the state of Alabama has ever—everrrrrrrr—shown any indication that they give one tenth of a crap about compliance except insofar as sanctions are a drag on wins.

On the one hand, this is knee-slapping stuff. On the other, the construction of vapid arguments that a segment of partisans will lap up veers way too close to politics for comfort. Nonsense delivered in the cynical pursuit of power is best left to trivial things like the nuclear codes.

And all this over what? Over nothing.

“I think that’s probably the unique thing and I can say after observing Harbaugh last year, the vast majority of kids at this camp are probably not Division 1 football players or aren’t likely to make it there. But I thought every one of those kids got the same attention and the same direction from the Michigan coaching staff whether they really showed that potential or not.

"They all walked out of here thinking that was a pretty worthwhile camp and left an awfully nice taste in their mouth about the University of Michigan."

One of these things is not like the other. PFF has a reason for hope for each Big Ten team, many of which are items like "Cornerback Jalen Myrick may be a better player than 2015’s NFL departees" for Minnesota or "The aerial attack is intact" for… uh… Nebraska. Rutgers's reason for hope is a return specialist.

Michigan, on the other hand:

Michigan: The Wolverines could be fielding a historically great defense in 2016

That would be okay. In our ongoing quest to get a read on every player in the PFF database I believe this is the first time they've mentioned where Ryan Glasgow ended up in their system a year ago:

Returning on the defensive line are three of the top 16-graded interior players (Chris Wormley, Maurice Hurst and Glasgow), and DE Taco Charlton, who in 2015 had the highest pass rush productivity of all defensive ends coming back this year.

They've talked a ton about Wormley and Hurst already so I'm guessing Glasgow is their #16 interior DL from last year. At this point I think we've seen or deduced their opinion on every starter from last year save Jeremy Clark.

This is a bad idea. Signing Day is at the right time. It is after the yearly coaching carousel has concluded, giving players and coaches a month or two to find appropriate landing spots after the chaos of December. Allowing players to sign before that will inevitably lead to many more instances where player and school are a poor fit. And yet there seems to be a push to do that very thing:

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has long been an advocate for a rather radical change to the process of signing recruits to letters of intent –eliminating signing periods and instead allowing prospects to sign at any point when they’ve decided they’re ready to end the recruiting process.

Johnson said at the ACC meetings in early May that he thought that the option was gaining in popularity. He may have known what Division I football oversight committee chairman Bob Bowlsby acknowledged in an interview with the AJC last week – that the committee is looking into it.

“I think a case can be made for that,” Bowlsby said. He called it a “large departure from where we’ve been in the past. Maybe it’s time for consideration of that."

The reasons offered up here are somewhat compelling—being able to sign right away resolves questions about how "committable" an offer is and how solid a commitment is—but the downside outweighs them considerably. Whenever this comes up I suggest a more flexible model:

  • Commits can sign a non-binding LOI at any time before Signing Day
  • The school has to offer a full LOI when the time comes.
  • School and prospect have unlimited contact and can arrange an additional official visit.
  • Prospect cannot take an official to another school.
  • Other coaches cannot contact prospect.
  • Prospect can withdraw LOI at any time.

That goes a good distance towards resolving the issues Johnson's proposal resolves without locking players into situations that can change radically by the time they're on campus.

Etc.: Baseball was left out of the tournament after a late slide. MGoFish looks at what's next. Saban also proposed a commissioner, which is never happening. Verne Lundquist to step down as SEC game of the week guy after this year. CFB is losing their best announcers at a disappointing rate. Popular opinion is that Baylor won't get the Penn State treatment from the NCAA.

Satellite Camp Ban Rescinded

Satellite Camp Ban Rescinded

Submitted by Brian on April 28th, 2016 at 1:50 PM

The two-sentence rule change that most SEC coaches didn't understand is no more:

A gold star to whoever's running the Alumni Association's account this fine day:

Once the DOJ rattled its saber, even if gently, you had to know that the chance a lawsuit-besieged NCAA would follow through on the band was nil. Especially since it seems like a number of conferences were in favor of the ban despite being, uh, not in favor of it. Even the conferences who meant to vote for it didn't understand the implications of the change, and thus found it hard to defend in public unless they had a smarm black belt like Greg Sankey.

The camp ban is thus done for this year, but don't be surprised if the SEC and ACC come up with a less draconian version of the rule next year. They might limit camps to 5 or something, which wouldn't impact many schools not coached by high-functioning lunatic workaholics.

Think Of Hugh Freeze's Children

Think Of Hugh Freeze's Children

Submitted by Ace on April 11th, 2016 at 2:48 PM

Sound Mind Sound Body provided exposure for thousands of area players. [Rapai]

The NCAA ban on satellite camps—and coaching at camps away from campus, period—is an ill-considered, haphazard measure that serves the selfish interests of a select few millionaires while hurting the exact people the NCAA is supposed to serve: the student-athletes. That's been the near-universal reaction from current players, recruits, parents, and media members alike in the wake of the ruling.

Khalid Hill, Jourdan Lewis, and Moe Ways, all of whom participated in the Sound Mind Sound Body camp, spoke out against the ban on Twitter over the weekend. Hill had some particularly strong words for the NCAA:

Of greater concern to, say, the SEC coaches who pushed for the legislation, current prospects and their parents are also outraged. Five-star Cass Tech senior Donovan Peoples-Jones wrote a note about how much SMSB helped him and other local prospects, many of whom didn't have the opportunity to attend on-campus camps, get noticed by college coaches:

Recruits and coaches at Bob Jones and Prattville high schools in Alabama, two of the planned stops on Michigan's summer camp tour, also lamented the lost opportunity:

Bob Jones coach Kevin Rose anticipated the camp at his school would draw about 500 players.

"I was really disappointed because, in my opinion, it's a lost opportunity for high school kids and high school coaches, especially that kid that's maybe not quite tall enough to make the measurables," Rose said. "We have a couple of guys that I think in a satellite camp setting could make a case for themselves, and obviously you're not going to drive to Ann Arbor or Michigan from Madison, Alabama. If they come to you, that's a great opportunity for kids and coaches. ... From our perspective, we feel like that was something very positive for high school football in north Alabama."

While the efficacy of change.org petitions is up for debate, it's very notable that one of the most-signed petitions calling for a reversal of the ban was started by Rozlyn Peoples, Donovan Peoples-Jones' mother. It's already surpassed 5000 signatures.

On Friday April 7th The SEC, ACC, PAC12, BIG12, Sunbelt and MWC conferences voted not to allow FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) coaches to work camps at sites away from their campuses.  This new rule will restrict and reduce educational opportunities for high school students and their parents by lowering the opportunities for youth to showcase their athletic talents and earn a college scholarship. If college coaches are only allowed to work camps on their campus there will be far less scholarship offers to high school students in the summer of 2016.  This will in turn have a disproportionate impact on parents in the class of 2017 because:

-1.  The effective immediate date of the NCAA ruling means they will not be able to see multiple college coaches the summer prior to their last year of high school

-2.  The conflicting institutional camp schedule makes it impossible for students to attend multiple camps

3.  The majority of students and parents that this affects come from financially disadvantaged backgrounds.

Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel penned an open letter to the NCAA asking for them to reverse course; they could do so before the end of the month:

On April 28, you will decide whether to approve a proposal passed late last week by the Division-I Council that bans FBS football coaches from conducting or working at camps and clinics outside of their program's regular facilities -- a.k.a. satellite camps. I realize that in most instances your role is primarily to rubber-stamp legislation, but in this instance, I'd urge you to rescind this ill-conceived measure.

It badly fails the one constituency your organization purports to protect -- the athletes themselves.

I wouldn't normally hold my breath for the NCAA to do something right, but the outcry in this instance has been remarkable. In one corner, you have the athletes (current, future, and former), their parents, high school coaches, media members, and a decent chunk of the NCAA's member institutions. In the other corner, you have this:

Hugh Freeze is paid $4.9 million per year to coach football in an area with enough talent that he has little need for satellite camps. He doesn't want to work harder for those $4.9 million, which is fine; that's his prerogative. What's not fine is he doesn't want anyone else to be allowed to provide these opportunities, which would probably cause him to have to work harder to avoid falling behind, and won't someone think of Hugh Freeze's children? Just, uh, while you do so, don't think about all those other children—the thousands trying to earn scholarships to attend college because their parents don't make $4.9 million per year.

At least he admits he's selfish, I guess.

On Banning Satellite Camps

On Banning Satellite Camps

Submitted by Brian on April 8th, 2016 at 2:09 PM

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[Eric Upchurch]

The NCAA has banned satellite camps, because… [404 reason not found]. But it's done:

I have literally not seen a single peep in favor of this ruling anywhere public, from coaches to athletes to media members. A couple of reporters covering the SEC have related the private thoughts of coaches happy they can binge-watch Everybody Loves Raymond again, but ain't nobody coming out and waving the flag in favor of a rule change that literally only benefits people making 300k+.

This isn't going to have a major impact on Michigan, but it rankles because it is so transparently opposite the NCAA's claimed mission. If there's anyone who takes the NCAA's increasingly hilarious self-promotion seriously anymore, this should end that. It's a cartel of self-interested asshats operating under a veneer of virtue, because you can do astounding things as long as you have said veneer.

Meanwhile Jim Delany sits in a corner burbling about cable subscribers and counting his millions of dollars. What a country.

Additional thoughts will be introduced with an innovative bolded in-line title.

Q: SMSB? Over the past ten years, Sound Mind Sound Body has become a very large camp indeed, one featuring dozens of college coaches and four digits worth of athletes. Either the NCAA just bombed that camp hard or maybe there's a loophole. That loophole could be SMSB's charity nature. Coaches have been allowed there because they volunteer their time, IIRC, and the word choice in the ruling is specific:

If SMSB happens as planned then this is a non-ruling easily evaded. Michigan coaches can just go volunteer at the various SMSB-alikes that will proliferate like mushrooms after a rain.

If college coaches disappear then it's game over.

Ugh, work. This is simultaneously frustrating and very good for Michigan:

Harbaugh is still working harder than your coach. Your coaches who are making six- and seven-figure salaries on the backs of unpaid labor. They are going to sit in a circle and go "LOL remember that time we stopped Harbaugh from working" as Harbaugh invents new ways to torture his enemies.

Hooray lawsuits! This is now very relevant. Jack Swarbrick, ND AD and law-talking guy, on the legal defensibility of the ban:

“The NCAA does not have a very good track record of limiting, without losing an antitrust lawsuit, economic opportunities for coaches,” Swarbrick said Tuesday at the College Football Playoff meetings. “So they should be treading very lightly. The perception is these are school opportunities. A lot of these are coach opportunities purely. Imagine a rule that said, as was introduced years ago, coaches couldn't do national televised advertising because it created a recruiting advantage. … I wouldn't want to defend those lawsuits.”

A 1999 lawsuit resulting from an NCAA rule that limited assistant coach salaries to 16k a year(!) was victorious, leading to the free-for-all you see today. It'll be tough to win that lawsuit if it does come. So we've got that going for us when this hypothetical trial wraps up a decade from now.

[HT: Carl Paulus]

This is not a surgical strike. Via Steve Wiltfong, non-Power 5 coaches are of course upset:

The new ruling basically says mid-major programs aren't allowed to participate in camps not held on campus. For instance, MAC schools flock to Big Ten camps as say an Ohio State camp generally only has a handful of kids good enough to play for the Buckeyes but several that could play for Ball State, Kent State, Toledo or Western Michigan.

Two MAC coaches told 247Sports they weren't sure how this rule affects them. One said "shocking."

Given that I wonder how the hell this legislation even passed. All Group of Five schools should be against it. The Big Ten should be against it. Big chunks of the Big 12, Pac 12, and ACC should be against it. Not only is it transparently against the interests of athletes, it's transparently against the interests of most of D-I.

Good lord, Harbaugh. Perhaps the greatest tragedy in all of this is that we didn't have to clone Sam Webb and almost kill both of 'em:

247Sports is told Michigan had 30 camps lined up, they were going to split groups and sometimes do two a day. Stops would have included North Florida, South Florida, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio, Maryland and Connecticut.

Jim Harbaugh is always himself at maximum volume. Gonna be some fun times in the near future, satellite camps or no.

Unverified Voracity Might Bounce

Unverified Voracity Might Bounce

Submitted by Brian on May 6th, 2015 at 12:00 PM

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[Bryan Fuller]

The extra slot. Max Bielfeldt could return next year if Michigan was so inclined. It does not sound like they are rushing to make this happen, though. Bielfeldt:

"I don't even know," the 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward said. "I've just been looking to see what else is out there. If this (situation did come up), I knew I'd have to take it for what it is. If I end up making a decision here in the next week or so and nothing pops up Michigan-wise, then I'll move on.

"(I haven't talked with Beilein about it) since the scholarship opened up."

It might be hard to kiss and make up here with Bielfeldt fielding serious interest from multiple Big 12 schools.

Harbaugh profilin'. Bruce Feldman on the man in khaki:

Most coaches will say they are much better at their jobs than they were a decade ago thanks to experience, but Harbaugh isn't most coaches. "I don't know that I am (a better coach)," he said. "Even though you've proved something before, that's the very nature of football playing or coaching. You could have proved something 1,000 times before. You could prove it again, but now that's all that matters.

"It's irrelevant no matter how many times you prove something. This is the only time that matters."

Well worth a read.

That this is a hard decision is a bad thing. Dylan Larkin is playing at the World Championships for the USA, an impressive accomplishment for any college player. He is still considering signing with the Wings. That would be far from unprecedented, except for the fact that his pro team doesn't seem to be pressing for it at all:

Should Larkin sign with Detroit, he would most likely spend the season in the AHL with Grand Rapids, a team that has consistently been successful recently under the stewardship of coach Jeff Blashill. …

From what I’ve been told, the Red Wings would be happy with Larkin’s decision either way. If he returns to Michigan, he gets to play that big role on a young team (the team had a dearth of juniors this season, so there will only be a handful of seniors next year) and he can learn from mistakes now rather than in a couple years when he’s in the NHL.

If Larkin signs when the Wings are saying "you will play in the AHL"—something they no doubt mean given the guys they've left in Grand Rapids well after they've ripened—that is a devastating commentary on the current state of the program.

Unfortunately, I don't think I would be at all surprised by that. Mike Spath is without question the most plugged-in hockey reporter Michigan has, and when Andrew Copp left he talked to various people in the program and came back with this:

A motivation for Andrew Copp to leave? Apparently his dad didn't like that Copp wasn't the leading scorer the past two seasons and blamed this on Michigan's failure to develop him to be the first-line center he was destined to be.

This is what society has become. Every parent thinks their kid is the next Crosby. Winnipeg apparently told the family he could one day lead their team in points. I like Andrew a lot but that is a crock.

There is only one person who would say this to Spath: Red Berenson. Spath probably should have kept that one under his hat, because it drew a response from Copp's father in which he made it clear that assertions about his character were way off base. A small portion:

Michael it is disappointing that as you have gotten to know Andrew over the last 3 years you should have a gut feeling about how he is as a person. Much has been made about it in the press and by the coaches over the years. Andrew is a very mature young man with character, conviction, and morals. I can tell you that Andrew made the decision to leave completely on his own. We do not parent like micro-managers, we have always raised our two boys to be independent and we support the decisions that they do make. Andrew consulted with our family during the process but never once asked our opinion on what he should do with his life nor did we give it, that is HIS decision. To be honest I don’t know what I would have said, I would have loved to see him play his senior year, see him a couple times a week and every Sunday for family dinner. As a parent you hope you provide your kids with the life skills to make difficult decisions and I am proud of how Andrew has navigated this process.

Red has always been lovably cantankerous about his players leaving before their time. This goes several steps beyond that. Copp was not mentioned at the post-season banquet. When bitterness gets that prominent it starts to seem like a reason for the team's recent underperformance.

Red is going to be back next year, and then he is likely to retire. I'm not particularly optimistic about that final year. That Copp would leave probably doesn't say much about Copp.

For Larkin's part, here's Larkin:

"Not 100 percent," Larkin told The Windsor Star when asked if he's made a decision. "I'm still in between and weighing the options. I wanted to wait until after the tournament to make a decision.

"I'll probably take some time. I mean, I'm not in a rush. The seasons are over. There's really no rush. I really feel like there's not a wrong choice or a bad option. Either way I'm still going to be playing hockey and doing what I love.

"We'll see what's best for me."

I have a bad feel. NCAA muckety-mucks are complaining about the graduate transfer rule, because obviously. They do not have great reasons to do so:

"I don't think it fits the core values of intercollegiate athletics," said Sun Belt Conference commissioner Karl Benson.

When asked for specifics on the conflict with core values, Benson said, "It just doesn't feel right."

The core values of intercollegiate athletics are what exactly? If it's about getting an education, these players have already acquired bachelors' degrees. If it's about a level playing field, that ship sailed, sunk, and turned into barnacles a long time ago. If it's about catering to coaches' whims… we should probably have more timeouts in basketball.

Pat Forde says that if the NCAA is actually concerned about their core values they'd look at the scourge of recruits reclassifying. It's not clear that such a thing is at all common—most kids who reclassify are in fact forgoing a prep year, not accelerating. And the ones who do always have the option of, like, not doing so. It's hard to see what the harm is there. Forde's attempt to conjure one is unconvincing:

A senior year of high school is among the priceless commodities in life. I hope giving that away in part because some coach needs you now is a good decision for Thornton. It certainly seems to be one more example of the coach controlling the athlete more than vice versa.

High school is nice and all but if you told me I could go to prom or start at point guard for Duke I think I might take the latter. Thornton could still pick any school he wants as a class of 2016 player; that Duke presented him with an option he found attractive is not a problem.

Then there are the academic questions. By all accounts, Thornton is a bright young man and he may have been planning his class load with this accelerated graduation in mind. But will he be ready – early – for the classroom challenge at Duke? It's not exactly like going to UNLV.

It is. It is exactly like going to UNLV because every school has easy classes for people not interested in requirement X. I was in some at Michigan. Forde probably doesn't know that college hockey was well ahead of the curve here, with three top-ten NHL picks (Zach Werenski, Noah Hanifin, and Hobey winner Jack Eichel) arriving after accelerating their studies. It seems likely that both Werenski and Hanifin will be back at their respective schools next year, which they could only do if they were coping academically.

Increased flexibility for players is generally a good thing. Let them accelerate cake and graduate transfer cake.

Don't mind if I schadenfreude, thanks. EDSBS's ERASE THIS GAME series strikes upon the USF-Notre Dame game that caused Brian Kelly to turn into Yosemite Sam. Notre Dame's next game was this one:

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If you could get in the college football hall of fame for making fanbases other than your own happy, Rees would be a holy lock.

Now when is #M00N happening EDSBS? For pants' sake.

Scouting centers. Brendan Quinn on Austin Davis and Jon Teske:

Davis: While quiet in-person, he's not shy on the floor.

Davis is aggressive with the ball, while remaining steady and methodical, refusing to rush. He knows how to work offensively on the low blocks, utilizing good hands and a soft touch. Most importantly, Davis looks to score the ball. Points to just come to him -- he shows himself well on post-ups and gets his own points.

Teske: The shot-blocking ability is abundantly apparent. Teske is a natural with instinctual patience and timing. He's does well to go up and block shots in the air instead of lunging to get shots at the point of release. That defensive prowess translates to his movements and awareness on that end of the floor. Teske seems to anticipate without guessing, and looks to make defensive plays without leaving himself susceptible to mistakes.

Interesting that MLive is getting more into the scouting/video stuff for recruits. Davis got a bump to four stars on 247, BTW. It looks like there is going to be a severe difference of opinion between the sites on him. Brian Snow has made it clear that Scout is not going to follow suit.

Etc.: Tyus Battle will visit officially tomorrow; Duke has taken a big lead in the Crystal Ball, and this one doesn't seem like guesswork. Remember when a playoff was going to kill the bowls? Speaking of coach catering. On 2016 combo guard Bruce Brown.

Unverified Voracity Threatens You About Jenga

Unverified Voracity Threatens You About Jenga

Submitted by Brian on March 24th, 2015 at 11:06 AM

Stuff for a good cause. The UM Alumni Club of DC has an annual auction to raise money for the scholarships they endow. It's going on now, and includes things like signed Jake Long and Denard Robinson NFL jerseys, tickets to various games next year, and Michigan jenga. 100% of proceeds help kids go to M. Bid on everything.

Except the jenga. I will cut you if you try to take it from me.

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[Bryan Fuller]

Exit the one thing I liked. I liked the "Legends" jerseys for the most part. Having a QB wearing 98 was unique, and Michigan does not have much recognition of the guys who have had jerseys retired. While yanking numbers around annually was a bit much, I thought it was a nice reminder of those who had gone before. No more?

I understand that we are going to discard many Brady Hoke staples with prejudice. Incessant second and eleven: seeya. Touching your armpits after observing another sack: GTFO. Allowing 400 passing yards to Rutgers: toodleoo. But in this one case I feel we may be throwing the staple out with the staplewater.

Also heavily rumored. Michigan may be rejoining the ranks of the bestickered helmets.

boandjim[1]

I'm in the middle here. I like throwback stuff; I like clean, simple stuff. I would prefer helmet stickers made occasional re-appearances for uniformz games, but that's not really how helmet stickers work.

Swat swat swat swat swat. If you follow me on twitter you know the existence of the UC Irvine Anteaters was killing me as they pushed Louisville to the limit in their first-round tourney outing. Irvine has a 6'8" guy… and two 6'10" guys… and a 7'2" guy… and a 7'6" guy. As someone who has pined for a rim protector ever since it became clear Michigan basketball was going to have a really good offense even if their center's game is limited to finishing around the hoop, I was having tiny little conniption fit about a tiny school that had never been to the tournament grabbing enormous people left and right.

Anyway, long story short Jon Teske is tall and alters shots:

Michigan pledge Jon Teske scored 12 points and blocked six shots in the loss, but had a much greater impact than the numbers might indicate.
Though he was credited for only six blocks, the seven-footer (Rivals.com's No. 96 junion nationally) altered at least a dozen shots near the rim with his ridiculous wingspan and was whistled for two fouls on which it appeared he had all ball.

The first two of those were against Esa Ahmad, a WVU-bound forward who Michigan recruited for a minute several months ago. Teske's currently enduring the usual crazy zone defenses that high school teams deploy when facing someone of his size, and he is a young guy who's still growing. Whatever he's going to be is still a long way off—hopefully that includes college-level rim protection duties.

If it isn't broke but could use some improvement, add gradually. Doesn't have the ring of "if it isn't broke, break it" but has the salutary benefit of applying to Michigan football instead of disruptive "sharing economy" Silicon Valley startups. And it's what DJ Durkin is doing to the defense:

"I wouldn't say we're doing 'most' of either (scheme), if there's a defense that fits a scheme and it exposes something with the offense, we'll play it," senior linebacker Joe Bolden said earlier this spring. "Some plays we'll be in 3-4, another we'll be in 4-3. Just depends on personnel, what the other team runs. The scouting reports in the fall will determine what we play. And, if we're playing a 3-4 better, why would we do a 4-3? And just the same the other way.

"I really don't think it's that hard to grasp, personally."

Michigan's defense won't be exactly the same next season, but it won't be drastically different either. More importantly for Durkin, though, the experience level is high.

And again it's what Michigan is going to try to do with that alignment that matters.

Neither option is good here. Funchess revealed that he had a boo-boo last year:

So either that happened when he was inexplicably playing in garbage time or had already happened by the time he was inexplicably playing in garbage time.

I mean, come on. I'd like to see the NCAA burn as much as the next guy but this is laying it on a little thick:

Khari Harding transferred from Auburn to Tulsa to be closer to his ailing father and maximize his dad’s chances to watch him play live next fall.

Under a new NCAA amendment ratified this week, the latter apparently won’t be possible. The NCAA eliminated immediate eligibility hardship waivers for Football Bowl Subdivision transfers.

The rule change is effective immediately, so it doesn’t matter that Harding — whose father Corie is battling cancer for a second time — has been taking classes at Tulsa for two months before the amendment was ratified.

Surely the ability to go to school for free in immediate proximity to your dad so you can see him all the time is the important thing here, not the fact that your football career is going to be delayed by a year. You could argue that the redshirt is actually a benefit.

Andy Staples disagrees with the above paragraph and proposes one weird trick for transfer rules that would handle cases like this by devolving the responsibility to people a bit less bureaucratic. In bullets:

1. Schools may not prevent athletes from transferring to another school and receiving financial aid.
2. The player must sit out the following season. (With only one possible exception.)
3. The athletic director at the previous school signs a form allowing the transferring player to play immediately.
 

I'd be fine with that. The NCAA couldn't do anything to prevent conference rules from kicking in further restrictions (IIRC the SEC does not allow grad transfers between its institutions; the Big Ten has some restrictions that may or may not apply to Jake Rudock), so if you are concerned about the dread specter of Smotrycz proliferation don't be.

Big Puppy, NBA edition. Just a matter of time before he has his own t-shirts and line of dog food and possibly several different breeds of dog all competing to be renamed McGary:

3. Mitch McGary Running

It’s like the Kramer painting: You can’t look away.

Look at all that churning effort, the weirdly stiff arms and hands, the eager glance backward that says, “Please pass me the ball, I’m open, I’m running really fast, so fast, like the wind, am I going to get the ball?” He’s like a dog looking for a Frisbee.

Jokes aside, big men who run the floor suck in defenders and open up shots for teammates. Good on the rookie for playing out the ball.

Yes, he's a purebred McGary. He generates possessions and feels at an elite level.

NO I WILL NEVER GET OVER IT STOP ASKING. Why has Al Borges never recruited a quarterback who could be considered successful*? Well, it may have something to do with his long-time association with Steve Clarkson, who seems to have fobbed off all his lower-level prospects on mister gullible. This Steve Clarkson as portrayed in Bruce Feldman's "The QB" and reviewed by Spencer Hall:

3. Dilfer's just one of the QB whisperers profiled, a group of guys who all come across with drastically different results. George Whitfield, the man on ESPN chasing guys around with a broom, comes off as half-cracked, but still seemingly legit. The guy who pronounced Tim Tebow's throwing motion to be fixed after three months or so of work, Tom House, might be the biggest beneficiary here: a flaky ex-pitcher with piles of data, a messy office to match, and a stellar roster of clients who quietly swear by him. In contrast, Steve Clarkson, the man who brought Jimmy Clausen to the world, comes off as a money-hoovering huckster prone to announcing any client as "the next [STAR QB GOES HERE]" if given enough cash. Feldman doesn't even have to try, really. You just write down Clarkson's quotes and they do their own work.

Clausen was actually pretty good, if not at all deserving of his hype level. The other guys…

*["successful" is here short for "was the clear starter for his team as an upperclassman."

I only kind of hate Wisconsin basketball. I apologize to that one guy whose entire question to me was a statement about said hatred, but Wisconsin is so fascinated by the NCAA stenographer that Nigel Hayes is answering questions like this:

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I didn't know you had to capitalize xylophone. But that's why I'm not a stenographer.

Anyway, I still hate that they get away with the Wisconsin Chest Bump all the dang time but I have always coveted their bigs and I find them relatively tolerable when Michigan is not playing them. This has been a difficult confession. Share yours in the comments!

Etc.: Yes, please. Stopping taxpayer money from being spent on stadiums should be a bipartisan thing right? Jim Boeheim is just kind of this dude who doesn't like NCAA rules. Gasaway on the SCORING CRISIS. Relevant to our current situation: the rise of the vagabond QB. Congrats to Carol Hutchins on her 1400th win, a 20-0(!) bombing of OSU.

When I weep on national television I only get scorn.

NCAA To End Transfer Waivers

NCAA To End Transfer Waivers

Submitted by Brian on March 18th, 2015 at 11:57 AM

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Isaac tried to avoid the no-pads thing last year without success. Future Isaacs won't wonder about immediate eligibility, because the answer will be "nope." [Bryan Fuller]

I must be the only person on earth paying attention to @umichcompliance. This is normally evidence that the rest of you are sane and hearty individuals, but yesterday they posted what looks like relatively big news nobody else has mentioned yet:

You may remember transfer waivers being a big thing during the Ty Isaac transfer saga. It was thought that Michigan might lose out on him since they were not within the 200-mile radius of Isaac's house the NCAA required for a hardship transfer. He decided on Michigan anyway, applied for his waiver, and was denied.

Why make the change? In recent years more and more players had been trying to get transfer waivers for increasingly dubious reasons. It was getting ridiculous, and threatened to create more of an open market for transfers than there was before. (You may think that's a good idea; the NCAA does not.)

Instead the NCAA will offer a one-year extension of the five year clock* in circumstances that warrant it. IE: if you've already redshirted you can make a hardship transfer without losing a year of competition. This wouldn't have affected Isaac but would remove a barrier to other athletes without the incentive of immediate eligibility.

Unverified Voracity Has Odd Advocates

Unverified Voracity Has Odd Advocates

Submitted by Brian on February 19th, 2015 at 12:28 PM

Do you think we should take both? So Bryce Petty and Jameis Winston stopped by Schembechler yesterday to hang with Mr. Harbaugh.

This is good publicity, and then they brainwash both of 'em to say things that went beyond kind boilerplate into angry-phone-call-from-Jimbo territory. Winston:

"These guys don't know how blessed they are to have this kind of facility. I mean, Florida State, we're a very prestigious school, we have nice stuff, but we don't have this. I'm sorry, I love Florida State. Go 'Noles till the day I die, but they're so much [more] advanced than us."

Petty:

"This is bar none the best one that I've seen. We've got great ones in Waco, you know I love what we had at Baylor, and so it's cool to kind of see other places, and this is definitely by far one of the best I've seen."

Winston again:

"It was a blessing to meet a guy like that. It was an honor to meet him. All of his accomplishments, and the type of coach that he is, I wish I could have played for him."

Petty again:

"If there's anybody that you want to play for as a player, it's a coach like him. Just a fan, energetic guy, passionate about football. From the second he came over here he was sizing up Jameis and wanted to see his grip. He's just a quarterback. And that's the coolest part about playing the position and being coached by somebody that's been there and done that."

Ndamukong Suh showed up today, because why not.

Can't hurt recruiting, that. Unless people think those pants are mandatory.

Doing what needs to be done. Note that this kind of thing did not happen under Hoke, who didn't have twitter at all. Harbaugh's firing off shade tweets at OSU and putting his mug on the internet with NFL stars, to wide publicity.

Michigan is—ugh no way around it—Leveraging Social Media much better than they did under the previous regime, during which they rarely did anything anyone would pay attention. Brandon (or rather his ghost-tweeter) tended to send out the kind of #hashtag tweets that make you sound like a broken robot. Hoke was invisible, and nothing that was interesting enough to pass around was constructed. The Winston/Petty stuff had some viral quality to it. That serves the program well.

Good to see goals other than incremental revenue being advanced these days.

Iggy Pop's biggest musical influence. Via MVictors comes this amazing story about Iggy Pop confusing some guy who met him in a bar:

“You’re Iggy Pop, man.  I love your stuff.  I’m from Michigan too,” I rambled on, sounding as moronic as the Pop is accused of being by some of his critics.

Iggy pointed to my t-shirt with the word Michigan splayed across my chest.  “Meeschigan,” he said, holding his right arm in front of his slight chest in a 90-degree angle.  “Meeschigan.”

After a minute or so of gushing and trying to open up a conversation with the man who’s music, with the Stooges anyway, was the soundtrack to much of my late adolescence and early adulthood, all I could get out of the guy was “Meeschigan.”  As I turned to go back to the boys, I decided Iggy was either too burned out by the adulation of the years and hero worshiping kids like me or the critics were right.  He was so sort of junkie savant.  Either way, I was utterly confused by our meeting. …

Half an hour later, AMC had gone through a series of ballads that failed to alter the weird, contained rage from the mosh pit.  I felt a tug at my shirt and turned around.  I looked down right at Iggy Pop.

“Meeschigan,” he said, his arm cocked at that 90-degree angle.

“Meeschigan,” I answered him, my arm at the same angle.  He turned and walked out with his Ginger look alike on his arm.

Iggy Pop, spreading the Ufer gospel wherever he goes. Confusingly. Demanding that people imbibe the spirit of Ufer before departing with his girlfriend. Following them around.

Adding to the weird. According to a podcast interview with licensed twitter troll Tim Kawakami, Jim Harbaugh's favorite restaurant ever is…

The best restaurant he's ever been to: "Cracker Barrel ... you can't beat the bacon."

Harbaugh then put his twitter where his mouth is.

FWIW, my wife used to work at Cracker Barrel in high school. When I told her this, she expelled a sad, hurt sigh. The kind of sigh you expel when someone has told you something horrible. "Cracker Barrel isn't supposed to be anyone's favorite restaurant," she relates, "but if your main priority is getting out of the restaurant as fast as possible, Cracker Barrel is great at that."

I think we have found a reason.

(Also they make all their stuff from scratch instead of taking it off the SYSCO truck, so there's that.)

Miss you big guy XOXO. Charlie Weis is taking the slow boat to Shoney's:

For the first time since 1978, Weis will spend a football offseason as a bystander and not a coach. And it might very well be for good.

“I think it’s highly doubtful that I will ever coach again,” said the 58-year-old former Notre Dame head coach whose five-year regime in South Bend, punctuated by extremes, launched 10 seasons ago.

"…because I will still be paid to coach until the sun engulfs the earth and would rather follow Bon Jovi around than deal with people who don't understand my schematic genius."

Weis was a bad football coach and a good enemy, and for that I thank him.

(By the way, never go to Shoney's. Never ever.)

The ineligibility gambit. This will never happen but hopefully the NCAA folk pushing it know that and are trying to leverage the NBA:

7. Address the “one and done” phenomenon in men's basketball. If the National Basketball Association and its Players Association are unable to agree on raising the age limit for players, consider restoring the freshman ineligibility rule in men's basketball.

In today's lawsuit-rich environment that would be the equivalent of slapping a "SUE ME" sign on your own back, but anything that fixes one and done is a good idea. Increasing the age limit is the wrong direction, but anything is better than the current system.

Normally I would believe that this is just a leverage play but you never know with the NCAA. Bob Bowlsby, the Big 12 commisioner, makes a somewhat self-contradictory case for it:

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said there is “almost a uniform acknowledgment that there's kids in college that don't have any interest in an education and don't have the proper education to take advantage of an education.” Bowlsby said freshman ineligibility would have a “profoundly positive effect” on football and men's basketball by easing the transition from high school without the distractions of competition.

“I think there's a growing interest in a robust debate, and I think we ought to drag it to the ground and consider it any way we can,” Bowlsby said. “I think it is the one change that could make an absolutely dramatic difference in college athletics.”

Kids who don't have interest in education aren't going to find it because they can't play. I don't think that helps much of anything. Maybe it sends more Mudiay types overseas as they cool their heels. It may help the guys who are behind educationally, but how much when they're participating in all the team activities anyway? They don't have more time. They will be prepped to play just as much as any freshman.

It's impractical for a ton of reasons and won't happen, but go ahead rattle that sword just in case you knock a concession loose. The NBA draft is the worst system out there. The NHL or MLB models would be much preferable.

Des updated. Wolverine Historian has released a revised Desmond Howard tribute video. Up to 20 minutes(!).

Etc.: Lax getting good? Well done, gymnastics. Petty-Winston IM building faceoff! Don't expect Derrick Walton back soon. Maize and Blue Nation advocates blue versus red in The Game. I'm on board.