Unverified Voracity Bangs Nonexistent Pads

Unverified Voracity Bangs Nonexistent Pads

Submitted by Brian on May 16th, 2018 at 3:57 PM

I'd probably ask for this at my wedding, too. It just makes sense.

FIRED UP NOW LET'S HAVE A 45 MINUTE SPEECH FROM THE FATHER OF THE BRIDE

You might have to watch the Nets? Jonathan Givony's post-lottery mock draft includes one Moe Wagner at #29:

The Nets don't have much in the way of shooting in the frontcourt and aren't really committed to any 4s or 5s long term besides promising rookie Jarrett Allen and the dead-weight contract of Timofey Mozgov.

Wagner brings floor spacing and a high-energy style of play. He was one of the breakout players of March, leading Michigan to a Big Ten title and a surprise run to the NCAA championship game.

The Raptors have traded that pick to the Nets, so that would mean Caris Levert, Nik Stauskas, and Wagner were all… uh… Nets. Since mock drafts are deadly accurate, NY-based Michigan grads should buy their season tickets now.

This is not a layup-focused point guard. IA PG DJ Carton's latest highlight video is mostly nasty contested dunks.

Michigan hasn't had a PG who dunked regularly since… Darius Morris? Except he couldn't really get to the rim?

Who needs long twos? Bart Torvik tracks a remarkable drop in non-rim twos over just a few years:

I preferred our previous ignorance about Crisler's scorer, because back in those innocent days I could point out that Michigan's defensive renassaince was in no small part because they were elite at forcing non-rim twos. Now I can only suspect that. Now I know that some part of that is a home scorer who thinks only uncontested dunks or layups are "at the rim."

Well, yeah. A slice of life from All Or Nothing:

One of the more telling sequences from Amazon’s behind-the-scenes look at Michigan’s 2017 season came during the Wolverines’ 42–13 loss at Penn State. After another failed drive, Michigan quarterback John O’Korn came to the sideline. “No blocking,” O’Korn told Harbaugh. “There’s no blocking.”

Andy Staples inserts that into a piece about Shea Patterson's attempt to save Michigan's offense. I do have an issue with Staples citing raw yards per carry numbers from Michigan's less successful outings on the ground:

Last season, they averaged 2.6 yards a carry against Michigan State, 2.5 yards a carry against Penn State, 1.5 yards a carry against Wisconsin, 2.8 yards a carry against Ohio State and 2.2 yards a carry against South Carolina. That places even more pressure on the quarterback, figuratively (because he’s expected to do it all) and literally (because blocking poorly leads to large humans in the quarterback’s face and the lack of a run game means defenses can dedicate more bodies to covering potential targets).

Once you move sacks to the correct bin, Michigan averaged 3.9, 4.3, 2.2, 4.6, and 2.9 YPC in those games, which is not good but is a considerably more accurate evaluation than sack-included numbers for the #117 pass pro team in the country.

And Staples gets the causation backwards in his final hypothetical. To pick one example from many, here's this site's take after Penn State:

Another thing to note on this one is the safety who eventually tackled Evans: he is rotated back by the motion and spends a second or two reading the play out before barreling downfield. That makes for a good gain instead of good blocks and three yards. The difference between that nine yard gain and this three yard one is evident:

PSU safety to top of screen

PSU also got a DT out there on a stunt, but that's just a thing that happened. It's not a trend. The trend is the safeties firing at Michigan's ground game with impunity. PSU's safety froze on the first one because he didn't know what he was looking at. Once he saw the play once he was able to fire because nobody cares about Michigan's passing game. That's a version of what happened to early Rodriguez offenses where the new stuff would work for a bit and then when the defense had seen it they curled up and died, because they could only do one thing.

Michigan's lack of a passing game stifled their run game, not vice versa. Patterson's worst case scenario is a thousand times better than what Michigan got from the spot a year ago. It'll all go to hell if Michigan can't pass protect better, but Patterson really does solve a swath of Michigan's issues just by being a proven P5 quarteback.

Speaking of. If you can stomach it, James Light highlighted a couple of Michigan's many, many missed opportnities against Ohio State:

Patterson certainly would have won that game, for one.

Can anyone catch up? A Jalen Wilson post-visit interview($) is mostly unrevealing, but he does omit UCLA as a contender and say he's going to commit before his school year starts.  Wilson's visit generated a big Michigan run on the crystal ball, with both Steve Lorenz and Josh Henschke joining various others.

Wilson has as-of-yet unscheduled visits he wants to take to Baylor, Marquette, Oklahoma State, and Kansas. Hopefully those remain vague.

Pitino flips! In the media! The Washington Post has an extensive story on new IU recruit Romeo Langford's college decision featuring one Rick Pitino:

In January 2017, Pitino said, two Adidas officials met with him to discuss their efforts to keep Nike and Under Armour from landing Langford, whom Pitino was recruiting. Pitino’s account was supported by text messages he shared with The Washington Post for a previous story.

“The way they phrased it, it was [whichever shoe company] was going to pay the dad’s AAU program the most money, gets it,” Pitino said in a recent phone interview. A few days later, Adidas’s league added a new team: Twenty Two Vision, featuring Romeo Langford on the court and Tim Langford as team director. Shoe company sponsorships can reach $100,000 to $150,000, and team directors who limit expenses can pay themselves salaries from those amounts.

“That’s the way that world works,” Pitino said. “Which is completely legal, by the way.”

This space is in full heighten the contradictions mode about college basketball and welcomes any and all revelations about how ineffectual the NCAA's attempts to prevent money from flowing to folks with marketable skills are. A pissed-off Rick Pitino napalming everyone he can in the Washington Post is a boon for everyone.

Etc.: A Villanova rematch looms.

Unverified Voracity Says Throw-God, No

Unverified Voracity Says Throw-God, No

Submitted by Brian on May 1st, 2018 at 12:29 PM

Recruiting rankings matter, and also have a systemic bias. NFL players versus blue chip recruits, mapped:

image

Blue states have more NFL players than blue chip recruits; red states have fewer. That's part of a thorough Football Study Hall article on recruiting rankings and the draft, and is about as conclusive as possible that the recruiting industry is systematically underrating the Midwest and overrating the south. The south does have more players—only an idiot would dispute that—but the gap isn't as big as the rankings suggest.

UPDATE: Related event:

Barkley was not composite top 100.

"I'm in Paris, better justify my existence." Kyle Rowland of the Blade unearths a cool Michigan story:

image


PARIS — Less than 10 miles from the Michigan football team’s palatial hotel in the heart of Paris sits Stade Olympique de Colombes, the host of the 1924 Olympic Games.

The old stadium, now 111 years old, is rickety and considerably smaller than its heyday when it entertained the world’s best athletes. Inside the concrete walls, DeHart Hubbard, one of the University of Michigan’s greatest sportsmen, became the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event, with a leap of 24 feet, 5 inches in the long jump on his sixth and final jump with a bruised heel.

“When I was a student, I came in 1976, and I looked at the school records because I was a long jumper, and that’s when I found out the first notion of who he was,” said James Henry, now the co-head coach of the UM women’s track and field team. “Then I found out he was the first African-American Olympic gold medalist. I was enthralled by him. He was my role model.

“He was at the University of Michigan at a time in which blacks couldn't do very much anywhere. I just felt that if this man can make it, I can make it. Making a name for myself by beating his records meant everything to me. That was my drive as a student-athlete to participate at a high level.”

Much more at the link. Now Rowland can file that expense report with a clear conscience.

Paging Mitch Leidner to the Department of Inexplicably Overrated Big Ten Quarterbacks. One mock draft was a hilarious oversight by an overworked intern. Two was worrisome. But now that it appears the NFL draft people are unanimous in asserting this person is a first round pick

    The Pick: Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern

    The New York Giants passed on the chance to draft a quarterback of the future with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft, but is that a decision they'll regret? Or will fourth-rounder Kyle Lauletta be the answer?

    If after a season of watching Lauletta and 2017 third-rounder Davis Webb, the Giants feel like the long-term answer at starter isn't on the roster, the team could be in good shape to draft a quarterback in 2019. Northwestern's Clayton Thorson nearly declared for this year's draft before surveying the deep group of passers and deciding to return to school. He has the arm, accuracy and intangibles to be considered a first-rounder one year from now.

…it's time to lay very still and sweat profusely, hoping this is a crazy dream.

Clayton Thorson! Sir, I have seen an unstoppable throw-god in purple. You, sir, are no Trevor Siemian. Thorson averaged 6.6 YPA with a 15-12 TD-INT ratio last year. But he's 6'4" and superficially looks like an NFL quarterback, so on the list he goes.

Making this take even nuttier: Thorson tore his ACL in the bowl game and is questionable for the upcoming season.

Meanwhile, Michigan prospects for 2019. Only two Wolverines show up on Athlon's top 50: #2 Rashan Gary and #22 Shea Patterson. Zach Shaw rounded up all the Way Too Early Mock Drafts and those two are the only guys on any of them. This is odd to me since Michigan's cornerback duo was probably the best in the country, at least in terms of passer rating allowed. You'd think one of the two would be a consideration for the end of the first round.

A flip. A development in the slightly less important FBI investigation:

The director of an amateur Massachusetts basketball team affiliated with Adidas AG agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors investigating an NCAA bribery scandal, according to a copy of the agreement made public Friday.

Thomas "T.J." Gassnola entered the plea on March 30 to federal charges that he made payments to families of high school student-athletes in exchange for their commitment to play for certain universities, according to the filing.

NC State seems to be the main school linked with Gassnola, but, uh… Notre Dame(!) is an Adidas[correction: they switched to UA] school that just picked up two players from Gassnola's AAU team. I will give the FBI one dollar if they sweep the Irish into this. Think of the ND Nation takes.

Wilde take. Quinn Hughes is #5 on this NHL mock draft. Bode Wilde is #17:

17. New Jersey Devils: Bode Wilde, D, U.S. U18 (NTDP)

There are few prospects in this draft who can provide GMs with a skill set as tantalizing as Wilde’s. The big, mobile defender was a minute muncher for a deep NTDP blue line and his explosive first step is drool inducing. You don’t find many 6-2 defensemen with dynamic speed and a blistering shot, which is why GM Ray Shero should add this thoroughbred to his already-dangerous Devils’ attack

He'll be an acid test for the new staff's ability to mold guys, because he's a boom or bust guy on the NHL level because of his tendency to get out of position and cede odd man rushes.

FWIW, Hughes is the only draft-eligible and only college player on this year's IIHF World Championship team.

Etc.: John Infante on the NCAA resurrecting the transfer waiver, which may have been relevant for Patterson. WCBN profiles Hughes. The era in which Orson launches entirely warranted bombs at a Michigan assistant coach is going to be brutal. Wagner and Matthews invited to the draft combine.

Unverified Voracity Is Waiting For The Package

Unverified Voracity Is Waiting For The Package

Submitted by Brian on March 14th, 2018 at 1:51 PM

2016-03-02_2132

Oguine is excellent both ways

Montana scouted. Andrew Kahn interviews the Eastern Washington head coach a couple days after EWU went down in the Big Sky title game:

The Grizzlies won the league with a 16-2 record not just because they're well coached but because of their athleticism, according to Legans. Michael Oguine, a 6-foot-2 guard, was the Defensive Player of the Year in the conference. "He's quick, athletic, and can guard anybody on the perimeter." …

"If you can pull their bigs away from the basket a little bit, then you make them play small and beat them up inside. I see those problems occurring with this game because Michigan's size and skill could hurt them bad."

Oguine combines that DPOY status with excellent offensive efficiency and will be the main guy to watch for the Griz.

Final pre-tourney shot volume. Michigan finishes 13th amongst P5 teams, and coupled with Michigan's stellar transition D this rather validates the approach:

For example, you’ll hear during the tournament that Duke is a swaggering beast of offensive rebounding might, and, sure enough, the Blue Devils do fit that description perfectly. But did you know that, with all those spectacular offensive boards, Mike Krzyzewski is merely equaling what a certain Big Ten coach is already doing with his less eye-catching yet highly effective low-turnover ways?

                         TO%     OR%     SVI
12. Duke                18.3    36.4     98.0
13. Michigan            13.6    24.5     98.0

So, yes, this can be a nifty item at times.

Potential S16 opponent North Carolina, unfortunately, finishes first.

Find me a single-atom violin. Ted Valentine will not be theatrically incorrect on your television sets this weekend:

Well-known NCAA referee Ted Valentine, who officiated the Final Four last season, will not be working NCAA tournament games this year -- and he told ESPN it's because of fallout from the incident in which he turned his back on North Carolina's Joel Berry II during a game in January.

"This is not right, it's just not fair," Valentine told ESPN. "It hit me like a ton of bricks. I'm being punished unjustly."

It is absolutely right, and absolutely fair, for the NCAA to make an example of Valentine after he did the Joel Berry thing. That was the worst breach of ref impartiality I can remember, and it came from a guy who fills out the rest of the top ten personally.

He'll no doubt be back next year unless his repeated public bitching sours the powers-that-be permanently. Any coach who talked about Valentine like Valentine has twice talked about his employers would be fined. Here he is complaining that the Big Ten is not professional enough for Ted Valentine:

Valentine, who had considered retirement after the Berry incident, said he was pulled off a pair of Big Ten games earlier this year because of the episode. Valentine had officiated primarily Big Ten games for 34 years, but said he began doing more ACC games two years ago because he lives in South Carolina and the travel was easier as he approached his 60s.

"It had nothing to do with the Big Ten," Valentine said. "The ACC handled it in the utmost professional manner. It was overblown, and no big deal."

Fire that guy into the sun and never have him work a Big Ten game again.

When the FBI can inject sensibility into your enterprise… The divers alarums and excursions you've been hearing from the direction of NCAA boardrooms has finally resolved itself into that greatest of problem solvers: the Task Force. The Pac-12 put one together; it put together a 51-page PDF that's actually kind of interesting* in that it acknowledges the relative helplessness of the NCAA and then puts forth a collection of proposals that sort of acknowledge this. Large themes:

  • Restrictions on coach-prospect contact should be significantly loosened. This includes allowing prospects to take an additional five official visits as a junior and
  • Agents should be more tolerated. Hockey and baseball have allowed formal contractual relationships with agents recently; the report suggests basketball should do the same. This is vastly overdue for a thousand reasons.
  • Eligibility should be less fragile. The reports specifically reference baseball as a sport where players retain eligibility "after being drafted," and later directly calls for the NBA to adopt the baseball model where you can go pro immediately out of high school but if you don't you're in college for at least three years. Chance NBA adopts this: zero. Maybe draft and follow would be a compromise?

The report also calls for an NCAA enforcement arm separate from the NCAA, which sounds like rearranging deck chairs to me.

The Task Force doesn't go anywhere near something radical but it is a baby step.

*[A sports car races by. I am pelted in the head with a snowball. A bro in a white baseball cap screams "NEEEEEEEEERD" as the car peels out, careening wildly.]

Shea in limbo. Shea Patterson's lawyer is also spearheading five other applications for immediately eligibility and tells CBS that Ole Miss is being rather petulant about all this:

Ole Miss actually received that [waiver-request] package as a courtesy from Michigan. Because it didn't officially come from the NCAA, the 10-day clock did not start ticking.

"So, from a technical rules perspective, despite having all the information for the past two weeks, Old Miss could continue to keep its position on the Shea Patterson waiver request to itself for at least another two weeks," Mars said.

"In the meantime, as everyone knows, the process is at a standstill."

For whatever reason the NCAA has not sent the package to Ole Miss, so it will be at least another two weeks before a determination is made, and probably longer than that.

This is not a Dave Brandon story. Toys R Us is going to liquidate. Whenever there's a Toys R Us story several people send it to me. Please stop doing this. I am aware of goings on at Toys R Us that reach the media. The thing about Toys R Us is that it's not a story about one man's over-arching incompetence setting everything on fire. It's a story about a patsy being installed at a doomed company so he can leech millions of dollars out of it for doing nothing:

In 2005, the Toys R Us board of directors sold the company for $6.6 billion to the private equity firms Bain Capital and KKR and the real estate investment firm Vornado. The firms put up about 20 percent of the total and borrowed the rest.

Toys R Us became a private company with more than $5 billion in debt. And then things went off the rails.

“The beginning of the problems for Toys was that Amazon.com exploded,” said Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s.

During the next five years, sales at Amazon quadrupled to $34 billion.

“Amazon went into the toy sector in a big way,” O’Shea said, and it “added one more big competitor for Toys R Us.”

To compete, Toys R Us would have had to invest significantly in its website and stores. But the retailer was using most of its available cash to pay back its debt. …

The private equity firms’ investors haven’t made money off this deal. But the firms themselves have. It’s unclear where Vornado ended up. But after collecting fees from Toys R Us, Bain and KKR each took home at least $15 million.

Brandon, the chump installed on this sinking ship in 2015, was compensated ridiculously:

Toys ‘R’ Us is seeking bankruptcy court permission to pay Dave Brandon, the company’s chief executive officer since 2015, a cash bonus of as much as $12 million for 2017, on top of a $2.8 million “retention” bonus he received just before the company filed for bankruptcy in September, according to court filings.

Moreover, Mr. Brandon would be entitled to receive 40% of that bonus, or $4.8 million, within the first quarter of 2018.

A Toys “R” Us spokeswoman said that the company’s plan to pay millions of dollars to Mr. Brandon is in line with common practice in restructurings. “This type of plan is standard practice for a company involved in a restructuring and in this case rewards team members at all levels of the company,” she said.

You know this guy is an idiot, and it is crystal clear that nothing he did at a doomed company helped it an iota. But because he's bros with Mitt Romney he gets an eight-digit payday. That is one of many reasons income inequality has skyrocketed. Because it doesn't matter if you'd lose a spelling contest to a mop once you've got cronies high up.

Etc.: Fergus Connolly makes an entrance, also an exit. Shooting talent and FTs. The story of how the FBI got on the trail of college basketball is a typically bizarre one. Daily profiles Cooper Marody. Scrimmage observations.

The FBI Investigation Is Actually Good

The FBI Investigation Is Actually Good

Submitted by Brian on February 27th, 2018 at 1:25 PM

636421200889615111-Pitino03

don't feel bad for these vampires plz

There is a predictable set of bins people fling themselves in whenever it's revealed that someone playing college sports got money to do so.

"DAY OF GREAT SHAME" BIN: A rapidly dwindling category mostly filled by NCAA administrators who are literally paid to misunderstand economics. Also includes revanchist portions of NCAA fanbases, the sizes of which directly correspond to perceived cleanliness. Michigan and Notre Dame have tons of these fans; Memphis not so much.

"BUT THE DETAILS" BIN: A slightly woke-r segment of the populace, this group is hypothetically okay with paying players as long as you have a 100-page congressional bill that covers every last eventuality. Like to bring up Title IX as if that disqualifies the Olympic option. Frequently baffled by capitalism despite participating in it daily. Extremely concerned that some people might get paid more than other people. Like positing the status quo as a potential dystopia. NIMBYs for college sports. They are in favor of buildings, just not this building or that building. Or that other building.

"WHO CARES" BIN: The woke and cynical. See bagmen as folk heroes, more or less. Advocate burning down the system but fight and/or downplay anyone who would talk about the hidden details as a "cop." Sometimes right about this. Hate the status quo. Wish to preserve the status quo, at least as far as the under-the-table aspects go. Doesn't correlate a willingness to ignore mutually-agreed upon rules with, say, screwing around on your wife with every prostitute you can find. Or having a fraudulent department in your university. Or ignoring a rape.

At this late date, the first group is hopeless. The second is irritating and largely arguing in bad faith when they bring up things like "what if boosters gave players a lot of cash?!?!?!" I fell into the Andy Staples hole a few days ago by quote-tweeting these uniquely infuriating  takes on why making the current system more equitable is impossible. I refer you to Twitter if you'd like to relive this dark period.

I'd like to talk to the third group, though. The Who Cares bin frequently overlooks any potential upsides to the underground enterprise coming to light. Deadspin's Barry Petchesky:

What is the purpose of any straight college-scandal reporting, other than shaming players for trying to earn a tiny fraction of the money they’re earning for their schools and the NCAA? (I actually have an answer for this! The only reason fans and readers really care about recruiting scandals is because they’re hoping to see their rivals punished, and to be able to hold it over their heads for all eternity. Everything is fandom.)

That is certainly a reason but it's far from the only one. Without intervention there is no way the NCAA's system changes. Revenues have skyrocketed for twenty years and the only concessions the players have gotten have been either court-enforced or attempts to head off a PR disaster.

Without someone coming in and ripping the top off the anthill* this will continue in perpetuity. And while college basketball players are currently recouping some of their value under the table, it's nowhere near what they would in an open system. Patrick Hruby explains at... uh... Deadspin:

It’s no secret that the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s amateurism rules suppress above-board athlete compensation. Bowen’s supposed price tag shows that players are being shortchanged under the table, too. Let’s do the napkin math. First, compare NCAA basketball to the National Basketball Association—or any major sport where athletes enjoy their full rights and protections under antitrust and labor law, instead of being treated like second-class American citizens. ...

For schools at the highest level of the sport—that is, top 10-caliber programs that need the very best recruits to remain elite both in terms of winning lots of games and reaping the financial rewards that come with winning lots of games—the same NCPA study estimates that the average player is actually worth about $900,000 a year. And even that amount may be selling Bowen short, because if Louisville’s players received 50 percent of their school’s basketball revenues, they’d each be worth $1.72 million annually.

This money is instead going to worthless things like waterfalls and football locker rooms with VR headsets and Jim Delany. It will continue going to these things until such time as it is obvious to all that the NCAA's rules are not only unjust but entirely unenforceable, save the unlikely intervention of a subpoena-bearing organization. It will continue until and unless the NCAA is faced with a choice between its rules and money. An NCAA tournament in which no one gets to see Duke or a half-dozen other blue-bloods lose takes money out of CBS's pockets and therefore the NCAA's pockets. And we know what the NCAA will do: it will bend as much as it needs to maximize the amount of money entering the pockets of its executives.

That is at the very least the restoration of name and image rights to players and the expansion of the Olympic model to all sports, because that doesn't cost the NCAA anything. The FBI's investigation speeds up that day—and if it's big enough it might prompt it directly. Therefore it is good, sports tribalism aside.

*[Or a player strike at a key moment. See my annual plea for a basketball team in the national title game to go on strike for 15 no-commercial minutes at the scheduled tip time.]

So, About Shea Patterson

So, About Shea Patterson

Submitted by Brian on December 4th, 2017 at 12:13 PM

Image uploaded from iOS
LaQuon Treadwell rebate, come on down? [Bryan Fuller]

Yo. Bolded alter-ego. Get in here.

what

So here's this:

Multiple well-placed sources have confirmed to the Ole Miss Spirit today that quarterback Shea Patterson has been granted permission by Ole Miss to talk to other programs about potentially transferring. Patterson and Ole Miss executed what is termed a "permission to contact" form on Friday, according to those sources. ...

Well-placed sources also told the Ole Miss Spirit that Michigan is probably the favorite to land Patterson, if he does execute a transfer from Ole Miss.

FWIW, Patterson's release bars him from SEC schools and other teams on Ole Miss's schedule the next two years.

What?!

Yeah.

I have questions.

Shoot.

I thought Patterson wasn't immediately eligible?

By the letter of the law he's not. The NCAA automatically grants a free transfer to anyone whose eligibility expires before a post-season ban does, but since Ole Miss just got one extra year only their rising seniors are 100% free and clear to leave. Patterson is going to be a junior.

However, it would make zero sense for Patterson to transfer to Michigan if he did have to sit out a year. If Patterson isn't immediately eligible he'd enter 2019 as a redshirt junior at a school with an entrenched starter who's either in the same class (Peters) or younger (McCaffrey). Therefore we have to assume there's a path to immediate eligibility in the world where Patterson does come to Michigan. This section of the NCAA rulebook that comes immediately before the "if your eligibility is covered by a post-season ban you can transfer free" section might be it:

14.8.2.1 Residence Requirement. The one-year residence requirement for student-athletes may be waived under the following conditions or circumstances: (Revised: 7/24/12) ...

For a student-athlete who transfers to a member institution after loss of eligibility due to a violation of the regulation prohibiting pay for participation in intercollegiate athletics (see Bylaw 12.1.4) or a violation of recruiting regulations (see Bylaw 13.01.1), or for a student-athlete who transfers to a Division I institution after loss of eligibility due to involvement in a violation of the freshman or transfer eligibility requirements for financial aid, practice and competition set forth in Bylaws 14.3.1, 14.5.4 and 14.5.5. The Management Council may waive these requirements only upon a determination of the innocence or inadvertent involvement of the student-athlete in the violation.

I'm not sure what a "loss of eligibility" means in this context. It seems clear that this section is designed to let players leave after specific sorts of NCAA violations, as long as they're innocent of them personally. FWIW, in 2003 all Baylor basketball players were eligible to leave immediately after the Bliss scandal. That's... uh... maybe a sui generis kind of thing, but the NCAA only banned Baylor from the postseason for one year.

In this specific case, Ole Miss's desperate attempt to keep the program together might backfire on them. Safety Deontay Anderson sat this year out and is now petitioning for immediate eligibility—he's even using Houston Nutt's lawyer!—because Ole Miss lied to him about the investigation:

According to Mars, Anderson claims that both Freeze and Bjork indicated that the NCAA investigation would not have a negative impact on the football program and that the bulk of the alleged violations pre-dated Freeze’s arrival, which was proven to be false. Those statements were allegedly made both in a group setting during Anderson’s recruiting visit on Jan. 29-31, 2016, and in private meetings with Freeze, including one instance where his father Michael Anderson implored Freeze to tell the truth about the severity of the allegations and potential penalties.

Ole Miss did not publicly release its first Notice of Allegations until May of that year.

According to Mars, Anderson submitted to the NCAA that he would not have signed with Ole Miss had those statements not been made.

“...in that individual meeting with Coach Freeze on Jan. 31 Mr. Anderson very emphatically asked to just tell the truth about the nature of the allegations and what the implications could be.

“Mrs. Anderson vividly remembers that, and so does Deontay and it underscores how important it was to all these student-athletes and their parents to get a full understanding of what the situation was and it underscores how unconscionable it was for them to be told anything less than the truth.”

If—when?—Anderson gets that waiver that should open the floodgates for the entire 2016 class. If Michigan gets Shea Patterson because Hugh Freeze was lying to everyone and people, including purported journalists, believed him, you will hear the deep rumble of my evil mastermind laugh from sea to shining sea.

Uh... is Patterson going to be eligible? I mean, #1 QB in the class of 2016 decides on Ole Miss?

Patterson wasn't implicated in any of the violations. And Ole Miss hired Patterson's brother Sean immediately after Patterson committed. That, rather than some money to keep mom's lights on, was likely the impetus to go play for Hugh Freeze. These days high-end QB recruits are often from affluent families that can afford the camp-trotting and intensive coaching; the Pattersons were probably focused more on the pot of NFL gold at the end of the rainbow than anything up front.

FWIW, like Devin Bush Sr., Sean is a legitimate football coach. He had analyst/QC roles at LSU and Arizona before his move to Ole Miss, and was a three-year starter at Duquesne prior to that. I'd bet a dollar that if Patterson transfers Sean will come along in a similar non-coaching role.

And you're fine with this?

I think players should be paid. I also think people should follow the rules laid out for them, and advocate to change them if they feel the rules are wrong instead of seeking personal advantage by breaking them under the table.

But what about Peters... and McCaffrey?

The major downside of taking Patterson is what it might do to Michigan's already desperately thin collection of QBs not currently in high school. Brandon Peters had a promising start to his career, and might take badly to Harbaugh importing a guy just when the depth chart opened up for him. While Patterson's a big fish, losing Peters would be a blow. I'm not sure maybe one year of Patterson backed up by McCaffrey is preferable to certainly two and maybe three years of Peters.

Any transfer in would be a delicate situation. Michigan's best approach might be emphasizing that Patterson wants to be a one and done; if that's the case than Peters's situation is basically identical to what it was with Speight around: competing for the job and maybe getting blocked for one more year.

McCaffrey's extra year means Patterson won't be as threatening to him; don't think it would impact him much.

Any other dudes we could pirate away? Especially tackle-shaped dudes? Please tell me there's a tackle-shaped dude.

The big fish is of course Greg Little, the former five star who was PFF's third-highest-graded SEC OT as a true sophomore. Little has given no public indication that he's on his way out, has no connection to Michigan, and doesn't have a brother in coaching that helps explain why on Earth he'd go to Oxford. He is in that 2016 class that might be set free, though, and if dude is thinking about heading to the NFL after 2018... I mean. It could happen! Shut up.

We've received some intel that Michigan is interested in one of Ole Miss's wide receivers. Sophomore AJ Brown, PFF's top-rated SEC WR, led the conference with 75 catches for 1200 yards this year and is also in that 2016 class; junior DaMarkus Lodge caught 41 balls for 700 yards and is definitely free and clear to transfer as a rising senior. We think it's Brown but aren't clear on that. (Correction: we think it's Van Jefferson.) While Michigan has a lot of upcoming talent at WR they have maybe one established outside WR in Donovan Peoples-Jones and could not turn up their nose at Brown.

Michigan has no other spots of glaring need and doesn't have a lot of room to play with—this recruiting class is going to be smallish—so it's unlikely they go after anyone who doesn't directly address QB, WR, or OT.

Is this actually happening? These things get talked about all the time and they never ever happen.

This one looks like it's actually happening. Patterson and the WR in question are tentatively scheduled to be on campus this weekend. That's much farther than these rumors usually get.

Unverified Voracity Didn't Call On Your Birthday

Unverified Voracity Didn't Call On Your Birthday

Submitted by Brian on November 7th, 2017 at 11:57 AM

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It's-a me! Chase-io! [Patrick Barron]

Trick or *is sacked.* This is the kind of spectacularly lazy Halloween costume that I can get behind.

"Chase dressed up as himself. So yeah, that probably doesn't surprise any of you guys," Hurst said on Monday, drawing laughs from a group of reporters inside Schembechler Hall.

I once printed out the word "BIRD" on a piece of paper and taped it to myself. For Halloween. Not on a regular Tuesday. Except that one time when I needed to be a bird. On a Tuesday.

Spanellis has words! Stephen Spanellis has been getting a significant amount of run as a bonus OL over the past two weeks, and now people are beginning to discover his vocabulary:

The story in question is offensive coordinator Tim Drevno's tale of perseverance. The story he told reporters earlier this season about his battle with an old outdoor water pump during his days as a groundskeeper in Montana more than 20 years ago.

The lesson: Keep pumping. Eventually, water's going to come.

"(Ben) Bredeson had seen (one of those pumps) before, he's more of a country boy than I am," Spanellis, a redshirt freshman guard said this week. "So, when Ben confirmed that they exist (I believed it).

"Though I have no personal empirical evidence that they do." 

Also:

In addition to his strength, Spanellis’ intelligence has stood out. Last week, Harbaugh also called the sophomore one of the smartest players on the team.

“Football is a cerebral game,” Spanellis said. “You have to be very smart to understand offense and analyze defenses. I think it helps me out because when I go out there I know, generally speaking, what the look is — I don’t have to think about it — I just go out and I see what the front is and then I know exactly what to do.”

Spanellis has done well since emerging into the sixth OL; with Ruiz getting the start minus Onwenu Michigan looks to have a ton of interior linemen who can play now, and next year. About those tackles, though.

Higdon profiled. In the Daily:

When Sarasota, a town in southwestern Florida, was rated America’s meanest city in 2006, Karan Higdon was just a nine-year-old kid who wore size nine-and-a-half shoes. He was a big kid, no doubt, who went to the Boys and Girls Club most days after school and sometimes met his friends for kickball outside in the neighborhood. He played Pee Wee football for the Port Charlotte Bandits, and even back then he was running over every tackler in his path.

Todd Johnson, though, spent that year with the Chicago Bears. Then in his late 20s, the professional defensive back was in his fourth season in the National Football League since getting drafted out of the University of Florida. After games, Johnson would pick up leftover football gloves and shoes from the Bears’ locker room to send back to Sarasota’s Riverview High School, his alma mater.

It was also the year Karan’s mother, Samantha Christian, decided the family should move out of Newtown. On the outskirts of Sarasota’s inner city, Newtown was a tight-knit community where everyone knew everyone, but it was also an area where you didn’t want to make a wrong turn.

Higdon, Johnson and Christian are just three characters in a bigger story of how one boy from Florida did what so many others couldn’t  — get out. Higdon’s story is one of motivation, hard work and commitment. It’s a story about someone who made the right choices when others didn’t and stuck by them against adversity. It’s a story about a protagonist and a supporting cast that never left each other’s side.

This story begins in Sarasota.

Injury updates. Harbaugh was relatively optimistic about getting Grant Perry, Mike Onwenu, Ty Isaac, and Ty Wheatley back this weekend. All missed the Minnesota game. No update on Nico Collins, who went to the locker room late.

Happy birthday to the worst game ever. M00N was three years ago today.

I just went back to check the game column and it is titled "Infamy Is Immortality Too," which is extremely appropriate since we're mentioning a game from the Dead Hoke era on its third anniversary. Also:

When you bring up the M00N game to your buddy you will probably be making a point about the descent into unwatchable dreck that was the last two years of the mercifully short Hoke era.

I would like us to consider the disappointments from this year and compare them to those from 2014, and then sit quietly in contemplation.

Should we go to the playoff, Other Barry? Yes, Barry. Barry Alvarez on rumbles that Wisconsin would be left out of the playoff if they go undefeated:

“I think that would be very difficult to do,” said Alvarez, whose term with the committee expired in 2017. “There’s no part of me that says if you go undefeated as a Power 5 and win your conference championship, and you’re not going to be in the final four? I don’t see that. That would shock me.”

Well, Barry, you play in the Big Ten West, which is bad, and your nonconference schedule is three horrible teams. If, say, Georgia runs the table and loses to Alabama in the SEC Championship game, why shouldn't their win over Notre Dame be considered as much as Wisconsin's still-hypothetical win in the Big Ten championship game? "Undefeated" is a crap metric and it's good the committee has seen through Wisconsin's thin claim to being a top team this year.

Other fall sports doing work. Field hockey got the #3 overall seed in the NCAA tournament:

Ranked No. 11 at the beginning of the season, the Michigan field hockey team has proven that ranking was far too low. The Wolverines rattled off 16 wins in a row with 13 shutouts to finish off their season. Then, Michigan dispatched Ohio State, No. 9 Northwestern and No. 5 Penn State to win the Big Ten Tournament, securing an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

They host Syracuse on Saturday in the opening round.

And soccer won its first-round game in the Big Ten tournament with a 4-1 win over Northwestern.

They move on to the semifinal versus five seed Wisconsin. For Reasons the semi is Somewhere In Indiana; it's noon on BTN with a potential final Sunday at noon.

Representation in the first round should continue. It will be a less spectacular draft for Michigan this year, but that's a good thing because they're only losing five starters. One will be a first rounder for certain: Mo Hurst. PFF has been raving about him about as long as I have and have not stopped. He's in the top ten of their first mock draft of the year:

8. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
DI Maurice Hurst, Michigan

The nation’s top-graded defensive player at 95.5 overall, Hurst is disruptive against the run and as a pass-rusher. He’s built in the mold of current Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, but it can’t hurt to have two disruptors up front, especially in the age of multiple defensive fronts and high subpackage usage. Hurst has been dominant in his 1,233 career snaps and an interior havoc-creator is coveted in today’s NFL.

Mason Cole, the only other guy who is vaguely in the mix as a first rounder, isn't listed. He's probably a second day pick.

More feathers for the camel. The NCAA is about to be shocked, shocked that the dude who took over for Calipari at Memphis has been accused of working with a bagman type guy, by the guy. The numbers here are not spectacular...

According to the school, Jackson accepted benefits totaling less than $525 while Okogie accepted benefits totaling less than $750. ...

But Bell insists they do not tell the full story.

He said he also spent "about $500" on groceries for the players when they stayed at his house from May 9-13, and he provided photo evidence of Okogie and Jackson in his swimming pool. The NCAA should also be considering, he said, a 220-mile roundtrip ride from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to Bell's house in Tucson, which Bell said he provided for both players, as an impermissible benefit.

...but every little bit helps the general untenability of the NCAA's rules become more widely known.

Meanwhile this Bell guy is arguing that he's offered further impermissible benefits like he's looking to wring six more dollars out of his tax return, because he's mad at Pastner for whatever reason. Never piss off the bagman. Also never have a bagman who is a delicate flower.

Why would Bell turn on Pastner -- the man he once described as a brother, the man he many times said saved his life -- in such a vindictive and public way? Asked that question several times, Bell explained it in a variety of ways. He said he feels Pastner has failed to compensate him properly for the "work" he's done. He said Pastner didn't call him on his birthday this year, which is something he interpreted as disrespectful.

I have now added "will forget to call bagmen on their birthdays" to the infinitely long list of reasons why I would be a bad college basketball coach. It's just below "refuses to call timeouts on principle" and just above "does not know how to coach basketball."

Etc.: Norris vs Norris last weekend at Yost. Michigan favored by 14 over Maryland. Longform piece on autograph fraud in SI is just so weird. I can't imagine paying for a signature of any variety. Jordan Poole learning when to shoot. The Rams' punter is good?

Unverified Voracity Is Cajun Brady Hoke

Unverified Voracity Is Cajun Brady Hoke

Submitted by Brian on October 3rd, 2017 at 12:48 PM

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no idea

A challenger appears. LSU's Joe Alleva offered this contract to an interim coach nobody else would hire who was 10-25 at Ole Miss in his first tenure as a head coach:

If Orgeron is fired “without cause” (namely for losing too much rather than NCAA violations or legal issues) prior to Nov. 28 of each year, then he is owed $12 million this year, $8.5 million next, $6 million in 2019, $4.5 million in 2020 and $1 million in 2021. Those numbers are “minus compensation paid during the terminating year.” So subtract $3.5 million pro-rated at however many months he’s worked that year.

This is worse than Brady Hoke's contract, which started off with an 8 million dollar buyout despite the fact that he, too, had zero other suitors. And despite his many, many flaws it should be apparent that Brady Hoke is a better coach than Ed Orgeron.

Also I don't know how you don't walk away from the deal as soon as you see the name of this LLC:

LSU’s contract is actually with “O” The Rosy Finch Boyz, LLC, which was incorporated last January when he got the job.

You gave a five year, eight figure deal to a guy who put an unironic Z in his LLC, which sounds a gang comprised of private-school sixth-graders. Coulda had Jeff Brohm, but no, had to go with the carnival barker. People are just in charge of things for no reason, man.

Reasons that Cajun Brady Hoke is losing games. Yahoo has an article with some Tiller-level anonymous quotes on LSU:

“It wasn’t what you expect,” said one assistant coach. “You expect guys ready to kick your ass. There wasn’t any fire. Genetically they weren’t as good. On film, they weren’t as good. But these guys, I don’t know. These guys, I don’t even know what to say. I can’t believe they play the way they do. They’re soft. Soft. It doesn’t make sense.”

Added another personnel executive: “When everything got super tough against Mississippi State, they tapped out. State was giving it to them and they didn’t want any piece of it. They were tapping out the entire game.”

We've seen what happens when you believe your coach is incompetent first hand. I'm sure people called Devin Funchess soft after his indifferent final year in Ann Arbor; he doesn't seem soft in the NFL. When your leadership sucks you don't give it your best, because what does it matter?

Speaking of Tiller level. RIP to former Purdue coach Joe Tiller, who still defines Purdue football to this day. Tiller brought basketball on grass to the Big Ten, won a bunch of games, and was probably the source of a bunch of harsh-but-true things in those anonymous coach quote articles. Their spiciness level dropped off a cliff after Tiller retired.

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Tiller's mustache game was fierce and he made the Big Ten a more interesting place. RIP. SBNation has assembled a collection of remembrances for those so inclined.

FBI fallout of the week. Many articles saying "pay the players" have come out, because obviously. If the NCAA can't touch 90% of the malfeasance going on without the involvement of the FBI—which can hardly be counted on going forward—you have a choice between the current system, where shady characters run riot and you've got a choice between your eligibility and reporting your income, and something that makes any sense.

We'll see if any of that sticks. This guy in the WaPo doesn't think so and he's got history on his side:

In 1915, the University of Chicago Daily Maroon upended the college football community by pushing the matter further. Given that the editor of the college newspaper and the tuba player in the marching band received compensation from the university, the Maroon argued, why not the college athletes? “They work hard for the university organization known as the football team, which is a money making enterprise, the receipts from football being something like $20,000 [roughly $478,000 today] more than expenditures for the sport. Why not give the players a share of the profits accruing from their hard and faithful labors?”

The University of Chicago was only one year removed from a national championship in football; its voice on the subject mattered.

102 years later we're still all like "man... these dudes have accrued with hard and faithful labors."

Hockey recruiting item. SBN's Jeff Cox had one main takeaway from the USHL Fall Classic camp:

Green Bay Gamblers left defenseman Michael Vukojevic was the best pro prospect on the ice Wednesday, but the ‘01 isn’t eligible until the 2019 NHL Draft. The Oakville, Ontario native was selected by Green Bay in the first round, eighth overall, of the 2017 USHL Phase I Draft.

A Michigan commit, Vukojevic has the size and skating ability to be an elite defenseman. He plays older, communicates well and makes plays in both ends. He’s still adjusting to junior hockey and rushed a couple of breakout passes, but he’s a big time prospect. Kitchener holds his OHL rights.

Kitchener is one of the OHL teams with the resources to woo committed prospects but at the moment Vukojevic seems committed to the college route. For one, he's at USHL camps. If Michigan does manage to get all their committed defensemen to campus they are going to be more loaded on D than they have been since I've been paying attention. Vukojevic, Quinn Hughes, Bode Wilde, and Mattias Sameulsson aren't just potential first round picks but potential top ten picks.

Chances are at least one gets picked off or leaves in a flash, but even so Michigan's blue line is going to be stacked.

On Hughes. Adam Herman breaks down what makes Quinn Hughes an elite prospect:

He has immaculate skating ability, both in terms of straight-line speed as well as agility. Furthermore, he reads plays from the back-end similarly to how an elite football quarterback might survey the field.

In the age of analytics, the ability to make clean entries into the offensive zone with possession has been highlighted as an effective first step towards creating threatening shifts. Hughes’ previously highlighted abilities plus his fearlessness when dealing with the opposition’s forecheck make him elite in creating these types of shifts. ...

He is adept at walking the blue line and creating time and space for himself to set up a play. He takes on defenders, makes crisp passes to open players in dangerous spots, and can get the puck off his stick quickly to surprise goaltenders with a hard shot.

Hughes's PPG pace in 26 USHL games with the U18s is unprecedented for a player two years away from the draft, although in Hughes's case he only missed this year's edition by three weeks—he's several months older than Werenski was when he accelerated and joined Michigan a year early.

Those who exited. Michigan's transfers are surveyed at MLive. Still sucks that Keith Washington bolted; he's got 2 INTs and 4 PBUs already for his JUCO. Also of note: Ross Douglas, RB/CB at Michigan, is starting for Rutgers. At linebacker. Spacebacker, to be sure, but yikes. Rutgers might not be good.

THE FOUG CONSPIRACY. Bruce Feldman collects some data on James "Doug" Foug:

Jim Harbaugh has quite a weapon in kickoff man James Foug. Purdue special teams coordinator Tony Levine told me that in 15 years as a coach he’s never seen a kickoff guy get the kind of hang time Foug gets. Most of his kickoffs end up as touchbacks. The ones that are returned end up with the opponent’s average starting field position at their 17.

Levine says anything over four seconds of hang time on a kickoff is exceptional; Foug’s kicks consistently come in around 4.5. Usually when the returner catches the kick, you want the coverage guys to be inside the 35-yard line; Levine says that by the time Michigan’s opponents receive the ball, the Wolverines’ coverage team is typically inside the 25.

Michigan is definitely trying to keep the ball just short of the endzone so they can pick up that 5-10 yards of field position. Weird that Harbaugh told the media that Seychel would kick off when they've got this dude hammering them.

Also, Troy Calhoun on what he faced down:

Two weeks ago, the Wolverines held Air Force to 232 yards of total offense, its lowest output since 2012. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun told me this was one of the best defenses he’s ever faced. The guy who really caught his eye was linebacker Devin Bush Jr. “He doesn’t look like much, he’s maybe 5'10", but he’s so quick and tough. He just unloads and knocks the heck out of people.”

Whenever people talk about Bush I'm reminded of this Ringer article about the evolution of the NFL linebacker. He's a modern linebacker all the way.

Etc.: Some good news, at least. Contains this quote: "“We can get them dead, but they’ve got to go someplace." Hidden gems of Washtenaw County foods. Talkin' Ben Mason. Harbaugh on kneeling. Gasaway on FBI. Drum major Kevin Zhang profiled.

Unverified Voracity Searches For Snakehole

Unverified Voracity Searches For Snakehole

Submitted by Brian on September 26th, 2017 at 3:29 PM

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Mark Emmert (left) and FBI investigator Burt Macklin

CHEESE IT! THE FEDS! The FBI probably has better things to do than this, but they're doing this anyway:

The worst-kept secret in college basketball is how coaches, sneaker executives, sports agents, travel-team coaches and financial advisers, often through under-the-table payments, steer top high school talent first to NCAA programs and later to apparel brands and professional representation once they enter the NBA.

Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York blew this shadowy world open in ways that have never before been seen, indicting 10 men, including active assistant basketball coaches at Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and USC, plus an executive for adidas, in a widespread case that is sure to rock college basketball to its core.

While only four schools are currently involved, the complaints will provide a treasure map for NCAA investigators as it tells stories of endless payouts and kickbacks in the recruitment of numerous top prospects over the past three years.

Apparently this is illegal because of... bribery and stuff? Because NCAA coaches get federal funding and therefore... unlicensed amphibious rodent... city limits? I don't know.

What I suspect is that everyone named in this investigation is going to flip immediately, because their careers are done either way and ain't nobody going to jail for Rick Pitino. This will spread, and the allegations are seismic for at least one school:

The NCAA has said it will never use the death penalty again, Pat Forde says do it anyway. We're about to find out how far they're willing to go in 2017. This brazenness will not stand:

Unless it does. But probably not!

Don't expect anything immediate, as the FBI has not interacted with the NCAA yet. The wheels of (sort of) justice grind slowly.

Is this actually good if you want players paid? In the short term, no. But the more naked the system is, the more clear it is that shoe companies run five-star basketball recruiting, the less tenable the NCAA's position is. Maybe this won't force the schools to offer their own money, but surely at some point the fact that a large majority of the top players are bought has to open the doors to above-the-table third party payments.

"But then boosters and shoe companies will own college basketball," hypothetical argument guy says before realizing that is the status quo.

It was not a dream. PFF All Big Ten teams from last week feature one John O'Korn:

So it wasn't just you. People not desperately invested in the hope John O'Korn provided during the last three quarters of that game also thought he was pretty dang good. Though not as good as Saquon Barkley, which got dang son.

Bush, Hurst, Winovich, and Hill all made the defensive team, FWIW.

Poor Damn DJ Durkin. Maryland QB Kasim Hill is out for the season, following on the heels of Piggy Pigrome getting knocked out in the Texas game. Caleb Henderson is still out with some sort of foot thing, so fourth-stringer Max Bortenschlager played most of the game against UCF, which was a terrible defeat. Incredibly, this is not the first time Durkin has had to turn to a fourth-stringer who sounds like a shot you'd order at Rick's*. Bortenschlager started the Nebraska game last year, a 28-7 loss.

Things were even worse in 2012—when Maryland lost five QBs, one to transfer and four to injury, eventually moving a freshmnan LB to the spot—and 2015, when four different guys played, one of whom subsequently became a linebacker.

This one sucks more than those because Durkin had just racked up a statement win at Texas and the Terrapins looked like they were on their way to... 8-4? Now they're going to be scratching out bowl eligibility. But at least they've got this going for them:

I say that in all sincerity.

*[I imagine? I never went, and when I tell people this 50% of them say I am very smart and 50% say I am very dumb. Anyway, a MAX BORTENSCHLAGER is 1/3rd Everclear, 1/3 Goldschlager, and 1/3 BORT, which is... Swedish port? Yeah.

I think I just invented the world's worst drink.]

Taking those bullets for us. Michigan had three head-to-head recruiting battles with Texas for 2016 kids that they lost: Jordan Elliott, Jean Delance, and Chris Daniels. With Daniels's just-announced departure, all three of those guys have left Austin in just over a year. Michigan filled in the DT slot with Mike Dwumfour, who's emerging into a rotation piece on a top-five defense in year two.

They filled the OT slot with... nobody. This was the class that saw Swenson forcibly decommitted and Devery Hamilton flip; Michigan added Stephen Spanellis, a guard, late.

Harbaugh joins the cause. Harbaugh on punting:

Speaking Tuesday on "Attack Each Day: The Harbaugh's Podcast," the Michigan football coach suggested the NCAA implement a rule similar to the NFL when it comes to punt returns.

"There's only two eligible players that are allowed to leave in the pro game before the ball is punted," Harbaugh said."In college, anybody can leave before the ball is punted. It's a player-safety (issue), to have 10 players converging on a punt returner. A defenseless player is not what we want in our game."

That change has long been advocated here, not for player safety issues but boring thing issues. NFL rules would create more returns and fewer fair catches.

Graham Glasgow, still Graham Glasgow. Ain't no party like a Glasgow party because everyone's standing next to the wall nursing a drink and making ham-fisted attempts at a flicker of human interaction before retreating into a shell of fear and self-loathing WOOOO:

The receivers have sworn to get him involved next time, but Glasgow knows deep in his heart that is a lie and no one will ask him to prom ever.

Baumgardner on Bush. He does many things:

When watching defenders, it's important not to get completely caught up in box score stats. A great example of this came three years ago, when Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa finished his final college season with modest sack totals, but constantly graded out as one of the most impact-making defenders in the country due to his presence on the field and what he was able to force.

Impact plays. For a player like Bush, this can mean many things. A sack, a pass break-up, a forced fumble, an interception, a quarterback pressure, an effort play that results in a zero rush or tackle for loss. Against Purdue on Saturday, I counted 13 impact plays for Michigan's inside linebacker.

Thirteen.

I'd like to see a few more stats get standardized, like QB hits and hurries, to better quantify those results.

Etc.: Many UF felonies. Bright side: nobody will say "oh, Michigan beat Florida without all those players." OSU depth DT Malik Barrow tears ACL. Iowa wavin' at stuff. Five stages of Purdue loss. Grant Newsome got some unspecified good news from his doctor; hopefully he remains on path for a recovery. Trashin' on the NFL, sure I'll link that. Twice, even. Jim and Don, a love story. Wisconsin fans stunned at how nice BYU fans are.

Unverified Voracity Flew To South Bend

Unverified Voracity Flew To South Bend

Submitted by Brian on September 12th, 2017 at 12:36 PM

Sea of red. Georgia played Notre Dame last weekend and this is what it looked like:

image

Old friend of the blog Braves and Birds has an article about this remarkable screenshot, pointing out that this was literally a once in a lifetime opportunity for Georgia fans and they reacted accordingly. Somewhat similar scenes might play out if other fanbases were afforded an opportunity to go see a college football cathedral instead of a sterile NFL stadium that still smelled of Phil Simms:

...the reaction of Dawg fans to the chance to travel to South Bend is a reminder that there is huge, untapped demand among big college football fan bases to see their teams play other elite programs on the road and not at NFL stadiums.

One way to illustrate this point is to look at how the most popular programs have never visited one another. Here are the top 10 in attendance from 2016: Michigan, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Penn State, Texas, Georgia, and Nebraska. There are 90 potential home-and-home combinations among those teams. In over a century of football, 33 of these matchups have never happened. That’s a bevy of road trips that big fan bases have never gotten to take.

I say "somewhat" because Notre Dame is especially vulnerable to this kind of takeover because of the nature of their fanbase and ticketing. Large chunks of the fanbase merely put their names in a lottery for certain games annually. The proportion of season ticket holders is (probably) much lower than other schools due to the national nature of ND's fanbase. Also these fans have a lot to pay attention to, what with the Yankees, Duke, and Manchester United all existing. With Notre Dame at a low ebb it might make sense for a frontrunner in NYC to sell his tickets in a way that it doesn't for someone who shows up to every game every year.

Unfortunately irrelevant. Oklahoma took OSU to the woodshed in their own building on Saturday. This was fun, but as I was watching it I was struck by how irrelevant it was for Michigan's chances down the road. Oklahoma's offense is built to neutralize defensive line advantages by using a metric ton of misdirection and the threat of the QB's legs. Ian Boyd has a breakdown of what happened, nearly all of which is unreplicable by Michigan—at least as they stand now.

Boyd accidentally twists the knife a bit at the end:

It pays to have a senior QB going on four years of starting, with a knack for playmaking off the cuff, when you are trying to get after a top-five opponent on the road.

Michigan can't get their QB to the OSU game healthy about half the time and never when he's a senior.

If it doesn't make sense it's probably not true. Basic advice for basic columnists, but apparently necessary:

SB Nation did a fine job reporting the contents of Lewis' testimony to the NCAA a couple of weeks ago, but it may have buried the lead.

Within the piece, Lewis' mother Tina Henderson told a former Ole Miss assistant that LSU had offered $650,000 for the services of her son.

If even close to the truth, that amount of money changes everything we know about cheating in college athletics. If even close to the truth, this case isn't so much about Ole Miss cheating but the lengths any wrongdoer would be willing to go.

And there is reason to believe $650,000 is close to the truth. I checked with the story's author, Steven Godfrey, and he said confirmed the figure wasn't a typo on his part or the person transcribing the testimony.

Instead we are supposed to believe that Leo Lewis took barely more than 10% of that to play for Mississippi State. The inclusion of the LSU number throws that whole article into doubt, because it makes it look like Godfrey is just repeating what people tell him without sanity checking anything. IE, Godfrey is being Steven Godfrey.

If LSU genuinely offered over a half-million dollars for Leo Lewis, 1) he'd be at LSU and 2) LSU's hypothetical budget for their #5 2015 class is... what, ten million dollars? Of private money? Cumong man.

Some Speight numbers. Tom VanHaaren has some bins to put Speight throws in

Facing blitzes, Speight completed just over 33 percent of his throws, as opposed to completing 61.1 percent with no pressure. On the season, he's completing just over 51.9 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. ...

Through two games when Speight is passing in the middle of the field between the numbers, he has completed 76.4 percent of his passes for 396 yards. Outside the numbers on the left and right side of the field, when out of the pocket, Speight only has completed 10 percent of his passes for 6 yards.

The first paragraph above does help paint a picture of a guy who gets sped up and loses his mechanics; that latter bin is almost all last resort scramble drill stuff, I'd imagine. Also I see "10 percent" in a paragraph with "76.4 percent" and assume that's exactly ten throws. Still very limited data there.

Out. Donovan Jeter will miss the season with an injury. Jeter had bulked up to 290 and was pushing for time at three tech—3-3-5 nose 50% of the time now, I guess. That was the one spot on the front that could sustain a hit with Dwumfour and Marshall providing additional, non-true-freshman depth.

I guess it was the gunners after all. Harbaugh on the DPJ punt follies:

"We got some things fixed there," Harbaugh said. "It wasn't Donovan Peoples -- when we watched the film, these gunners got out too fast. And then they're making their block next to Donovan."

He didn't have an opportunity to field a couple of those punts because of his own teammates. The last one he had an opportunity on was very very bad and on him since there was no teammate in the area; in the stands we speculated that he'd lost it in the sun.

Harbaugh says DPJ will be back out there because he is not a "mistake repeater."

Another pronunciation note. I am bad at pronouncing things, but I can't be held responsible for "McCune" when it's not spelled like that. I am coping. Thank you for your cards and letters. Similarly, Tyree Kinnel:

"It's Kinn-ill," Kinnel said Monday night on the "Inside Michigan Football" radio show. "A lot of people say Ka-nell. It's been like that all of my life, so I'm used to it."

Life is a struggle, and never more so than when you're saying something out loud that you've mostly—or only—read before. Or trying to say Rod Gilmore's name more than once.

Etc.: The Power Rank on randomness. Harbaugh, decorous. Study Hall stat profiles up. Exit 2019 hockey commit Alec Regula to the OHL. He was a midround pick maybe, so not a disaster. Indiana's OL, on the other hand, is a disaster. Mason Cole on his decision to return. If you want some more fun OU-OSU numbers. Booing: for jerks. This isn't an NFL game, jerks!

Jim Delany is absolutely shameless and obviously published this during football season because I'm too busy to eviscerate this jackalope.

Unverified Voracity Talks Batnipple

Unverified Voracity Talks Batnipple

Submitted by Brian on July 25th, 2017 at 4:06 PM

Nov 21, 2015; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Marcell Harris (26) reacts against the Florida Atlantic Owls during the second quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Exit these guys. Florida took a couple of hits in the secondary, one more important than the other. The important gent is returning starter Marcell Harris, who will miss the 2017 season with a torn ACL. That knocks Florida down to 3 returning starters on D—sounds familiar—and robs them of their best safety. Florida has talented guys waiting to step up but they're green:

Sophomore Jeawon Taylor and freshman Quincy Lenton, who were injured this spring, could be options to step in for Harris, but new defensive coordinator Randy Shannon could get creative with his roster.

Starter Duke Dawson is slated to be the next big thing at cornerback, but he has played safety and nickel during the first three years of his Gators career. Like Harris, he's a veteran leader who understands the position and has proven versatility that could prove valuable considering the circumstances.

In that same light, sophomore Chauncey Gardner was solid last year. He played in all 13 games, starting three at safety with 36 tackles and three interceptions -- one of which was returned for a touchdown. He's slated to start along side Dawson at corner but is certainly an option to move around if Shannon chooses.

The other hit is Chris Williamson, a second-year 3.5* cornerback. He's transferring. That removes an option in the UF secondary.

Another recruiting hire. A second former member of the SS Rodriguez jumps aboard:

Rick Neuheisel, proto-Harbaugh. This is terrific story from Rick Neuheisel in an excellent Jon Solomon article on coach paranoia in the aftermath of Wakeyleaks:

One year at the Pac-12 coaches’ meetings, Neuheisel wanted to increase the conference’s travel-squad numbers (60 players per team) closer to the Big Ten and SEC limits (70 players).

But Neuheisel knew he was toxic, especially in a room with so many big egos, such as Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh and USC’s Carroll. So Neuheisel had then-

Oregon State coach Mike Riley pitch the idea.

“Mike is the nicest guy in the world, so he pitched it to the ADs and we got 70,” Neuheisel says. “Had Rick Neuheisel pitched it, we’d still be at 60. No one looked at Mike Riley and ever thought there was a hidden ball trick going on.”

Harbaugh now faces this same paranoia at Michigan. He maneuvers through the NCAA rule book, such as taking the Wolverines to spring practice in Florida and Italy and holding summer satellite camps around the country to look for players.

“He’ll never get any legislation passed he wants,” Neuheisel said. “But if you go get Mike Riley from Nebraska, you’ve got a hell of a chance to get it done.

Keep an eye out for any Mike Riley pronouncements about the correct milk to drink.

Hockey commits. A couple of significant hockey commits in the past week. 2019 F Jack Beecher committed to Michigan over BU, BC, and OHL interest, and hoo boy this guy has some potential:

Other takes from hockey scouting twitter include "elite skater who drives play … lethal shot," "size, soft hands, and rocket shot" and "dominant tools." He's a 6'4" guy who has plenty of room to fill out and plenty of skill when he does. SBN's Jeff Cox:

Johnny Beecher, Elmira, NY, Salisbury School, Left Shot, 6’4”/210 - He’s a big time pro prospect with good size. He has decent to above average hands for a player his size. His stride and ability to protect the puck are both assets. He has that reach that you just can’t teach. He can put a puck out there, pull it back and rip a wrist shot on net. He drives the net and does a good job using his size down low and along the boards. He’s got that extra gear to win a battle along the wall and just separate himself from the defender to get to the slot and get a hard shot on net.

In January Hockey Prospect Dot Com ranked him 3rd in their OHL draft rankings; he fell to 85th because of his NTDP commitment.

Beecher is the first truly big-time recruiting win for Mel Pearson; he'll spend the next two years with the NTDP before arriving in Ann Arbor. Michigan no doubt hopes to latch on to fellow 2019 NTDPer Jack Hughes, a potential top 5 NHL draft pick and brother of incoming freshman Quinn.

The other commit is D Cole McWard, who Chris Heisenberg lists as a 2020. Less out there on him, but here's this tweet:

He's about 6-foot now and will grow.

The worst Freeze since the guy in the batnipple movie. I'm enjoying Dan Wolken unloading both barrels on Hugh Freeze, as it's something it seems like he's been waiting years to do. Now it can be told:

Whatever Freeze was doing to make enemies across the Southeast, it was often hard to distinguish what rival coaches saw as the greater transgression — the program’s loose relationship with the NCAA rulebook or his in-your-face piety.

Coaches who recruited against Freeze didn’t merely roll their eyes at him, and they certainly didn’t laugh, except when it came to the nickname a few called him behind his back: Jimmy Swag.

I could have been calling him Jimmy Swag for years if I had only known this. Alas. Wolken followed that up with another brutal missive:

There’s no reason to be coy here: Whispers about Freeze’s personal behavior have followed him since long before he became a college head coach. But at every stop along the way, it was difficult to do much with those rumors because so many people who were around him on coaching staffs and in athletic departments spoke so highly of him. His public embrace of Christianity, and the genuinely good charitable work he did, provided good cover and an easy narrative for all those glowing national newspaper profiles. Those who doubted his genuineness were written off as jealous or agenda-driven.

Sad thing about Freeze's behavior is it works. Once people believe a thing it takes an unbelievable amount of evidence to change their mind, and usually even that doesn't work.

Meanwhile Mark Schablach has a bonkers story on the sibling knife fight that is the Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry:

Robertson had been butting heads with Ole Miss officials for the past several months, since they denied his open records request for an unredacted version of the notice of allegations the Rebels received from the NCAA in January 2016. Robertson wanted the names of the Ole Miss boosters who are accused of providing improper benefits to recruits, and university officials wouldn't release them.

When Mars advised Tyner about the call Freeze made to the escort service, he told him that he'd shared the phone records with Robertson.

"Steve is obsessed," Mars said Tyner told him.

"Had anybody in this state done their job, I wouldn't have had to do it," Robertson said. "It got to the point where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of it. I was willing to pass the baton to someone, but no one was willing to take it."

Robertson filed a complaint with the Mississippi Ethics Commission, which ruled in his favor earlier this month.

This random fan has been FOIAing Ole Miss for months so he can write a book named "Flim Flam," which is being published out of state. This is a hatred to respect.

Etc.: Michigan-Rutgers features in the Blowout Matrix. Entertainingly goofy early signing complaints from the expected corners. SUH THE DESTROYER.