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.

The NCAA Hockey Tournament Could Be Better

The NCAA Hockey Tournament Could Be Better

Submitted by NastyIsland on March 28th, 2017 at 12:23 PM

[Ed-S: NastyIsland=David Nasternak=our hockey beat guy and general doer of things.]

(Patrick Barron) It might look decently filled in, but the entire upper ring is tarped off

Did you watch any of the NCAA Hockey Tournament last weekend?  Maybe.  Probably not.  Did you attend one of the Regionals?  Hahaha.  Did anyone? [see above picture] This seems…less than ideal. College hockey is fun!  Local arenas and atmospheres are intense and intimidating.  Couldn’t this sport tap into this energy and utilize one of the main positives that differentiates collegiate athletics from professional sports?  I think so.

-------------------------------

WHO GOES? 16 NCAA hockey teams.

The number of teams should stay the same.  Does more than 25% of all of college hockey making the NCAA Tournament seem a little high?  Sure, but the numbers work well and one of the repeatedly mentioned goals is to increase the growth and visibility of the sport, in general. So, 16 it is.  Continue using the same selection method: Pairwise Rankings and Conference Tournament winners.  Avoid conference matchups in the First Round, obviously.

-------------------------------

WHY CHANGE? There are a few well-known issues with the current set-up:

Poor Attendance: A couple Regionals have better attendance than others.  Generally, those in the northeast tend to do better because the distance between schools and sites is not as far.  Sites with a participating host team also do a little better because there is a rooting interest.  However, the random Midwest Regional in an AHL/NHL arena is usually…sparse.  I have been to a few of these and it is not entertaining.

No Reward for Dominance: If a team has had a good season and managed to secure a #1 seed, there is no guarantee that their matchup or playoff site is to their advantage.  The committee will try to place higher seeds closer to home, but…sometimes, teams are sent to Minneapolis and get paired with Minnesota in the first/second round.  Or one of the schools from Boston.  That seems like punishment.  There have been countless debates about whether it’s better to be in a certain location or be a certain seed.  This should never happen!  Being a higher seed should always mean receiving a reward!

[Hit THE JUMP for David's elegant solution to the worst postseason in sports]

Unverified Voracity Spoofs Emails

Unverified Voracity Spoofs Emails

Submitted by Brian on March 2nd, 2017 at 12:37 PM

We could do this in the middle of Texas or at home. It's not hard to figure out how neutral site games are viable when home and homes sometimes aren't:

Ticket prices for the Bama game were similar. Throw in a corporate sponsorship and voila: both teams can get close to home game money. We're in a weird place when schools find it necessary to outsource these kind of things. If I was AD I'd ask season ticket holders how much of a surcharge they'd be okay with to get a game like Florida at the Big House. I'm guessing it would cover a lot of the costs of a real game relative to a bodybag game, if not all of them. Michigan doesn't need to cut in a middleman*.

*[Except maybe in this particular case. This game is happening because of the ND cancellation that left Brandon scrambling. This is probably the best alternative to a negotiated agreement. I'll leave it to the reader to decide how much of the situation Michigan found itself in was Brandon.]

Color me unconcerned. Crain's engages some concern-trolling about Michigan's debt load:

The University of Michigan athletic department sits atop $240 million in debt at a time when several major college athletics programs are grappling with enormous and potentially crippling debt loads.

Michigan is not. They make 160 million annually, so their debt load is manageable. Someone making 80k with a 120k mortgage is in fine shape, and unlike a mortgage Michigan's debt load largely exists because Bill Martin built the boxes to increase revenues. A mortgage does not throw off income.

The article itself admits this by way of the bond market:

Unlike some of its cash-strapped peers, Michigan has a packed Big House on fall Saturdays, deep-pocket donors, an elite credit rating, and it expects its share of TV money to keep increasing — a mix the university expects to give it the financial maneuverability to readily pay what it owes and to keep borrowing to build or refurbish its facilities.

This seems to defeat the purpose of this article, which goes on to discuss the slow decline of ESPN and fracturing of the cable unit—none of which has slowed the explosive revenue growth Michigan and the Big Ten has not only seen recently but locked in for the next six years. It also invokes Cal as a potential disaster situation. Cal was 22 million dollars in the red last year and has almost twice Michigan's debt. The situations are not at all similar.

Dave Brandon was a lot of things, but he wasn't Tom Goss.

Interesting twitter exchange. PFF likes Channing Stribling's coverage a lot. His run D, not so much.

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Stribling noticed this and tweeted about it, leading to a brief, interesting conversation between Stribling and James Ross:

I'm with PFF after some boggling missed tackles but he can fix that, and his coverage was just as good as Lewis's.

This won't be a surprise to Chat Sports aficionados. James Yoder, "CEO" of Chat Sports, tried to buy the Cauldron, another website, for about two million dollars. This naturally resulted in a fraudulent term sheet, a ton of finger-pointing, and ham-handed cover-up attempts. Yoder comes off as completely unhinged in the story:

Yoder says that Jamie O’Grady is a “master of creating fake emails.”

As a demonstration, Yoder sent me, at my work email address, a fake email that made it look like I had emailed Yoder asking for help finding clean urine. Yoder stressed that he faked an email from me strictly to show me what O’Grady does.

c1ad015de7f656fb4debcc1c1c4f0db6 (1)

After I privately forwarded the email to my editors, Yoder emailed me again asking why his email had been opened multiple times; he had tracked the email. “We track every email we send,” he says. “We use an email tracking service.”

This is because he is totally unhinged. "Spoofing and phishing tactic mastered by the other party." Cumong, man. Even OJ Simpson didn't go around giving stabbing demos.

The article briefly mentions the aspect of Chat Sports most infamous around here, but doesn't quite get it right:

In its early days, Chat Sports posted original content from many different writers—some of those bylines, like Rick Steele or Tipp Smith, have Twitter accounts that have tweeted only one time. Were they fake? Yoder says yes. “Absolutely we had fake writers,” he says. “That’s because we’re a scrappy company. What do you have when you start a company? You have zero traffic, you have zero name brand… So we had a writer program for college-aged kids… and sometimes they had information about things that they didn’t really feel comfortable writing in their own names. Some people think that’s such a terrible thing—‘journalistic integrity!’—that’s called growth hacking.”

The problem with the fake writers was not that they were operating under pseudonyms but that the stories they "reported" were made up. Chat Sports has the same business plan that Macedonian teenagers did during the election: say anything at all shocking or controversial that dullards on the internet propagate because they can't tell the difference between Chat Sports and something with a smidgen of credibility. Buzzfeed has an article about a similar company that spews out near-identical posts for political dullards on both left and right. The parallels go all the way down to the obvious stock photos used for author bios. 

The only truly surprising thing in the story is that Yoder was able to find a dupe despite coming off like Borat The Investor. Remember Borat? NOT! Good times.

Anyway, don't post Chat Sports stories here.

Austin Davis: good? Michigan's center situation this year is bogglingly shallow, which naturally makes one wonder how good Austin Davis can possibly be if he's redshirting. Beilein says he's all right, though:

"He's really good, that's all I'm going to tell you," Beilein said today. "I wish, I knew what I know now." ...

"In the middle of January, it all started slowing down," Beilein said. "Guys just throw him the ball and he puts it in. There's no drama, there's no Kardashians. The ball is in. The ball goes in."

I'm not sure how to react to that. If Davis was in fact very good and was doing that well in January, keeping the redshirt on him is an odd decision. OTOH, he might not play even if he is very good. The only thing Beilein hates more than playing a freshman point guard is playing a freshman post. Not even Mitch McGary got much run until really late in the year. (Jordan Morgan took a redshirt before emerging into a starter.) Wagner barely got off the bench last year despite Michigan's center situation being Mark Donnal and a guy with literal narcolepsy.

I do think Davis is going to be a breath of fresh, rebound-y air next year. He's a burly dude, something Michigan hasn't had since McGary.

I very much want to see a Michigan lineup that goes Teske/Davis-Wagner-Wilson-Matthews-Simpson. That will look like the Monstars with Webster at point guard.

Etc.: Spencer's take on Ole Miss is kinder than mind and good. More croot profiles: Andrew Stueber. Goodbye, eggs. Peppers draft stuff. HSR on Wagner. Get The Picture with more Ole Miss fallout. Jim Harbaugh is not sticking to sports. Lewis draft stuff. Harbaugh thinks Grant Newsome will be back this year.

Unverified Voracity Guards Seven Layer Dip

Unverified Voracity Guards Seven Layer Dip

Submitted by Brian on May 23rd, 2016 at 2:39 PM

26515964625_b1dbe01ca4_z

[Bryan Fuller]

Again. Congrats to softball, which won their umpteenth consecutive regional. Their super-regional against Missouri is this upcoming weekend. Wolverine Devotee has assembled the relevant information:

2 Michigan will host 15 Missouri in the NCAA Ann Arbor Super Regional next weekend on May 28-29.

  • Game 1- Saturday, May 28 (3pm/ESPN)
  • Game 2- Sunday, May 29 (Noon/ESPN)
  • Game 3 (if nec.)- Sunday, May 29 (3pm/ESPN)

Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 8:30am for season ticket holders and to the general public on Tuesday at 8:30am.

You will not get tickets if you don’t already have them.

Awww yeah. Jane takes the 1986 Hawaii game and adores it:

10. When people tell you they want to see "Schembechler-style" football they mean they want to see a football game that looks sort of like the Battle of Verdun. Typically, the people telling you this will have a carefully-guarded recipe for seven-layer dip. I have no problem with any of this.

11. 27-10 is the score of a game in which one team is much better than the other team but doesn't really want anyone to know it. Like, you score 3 touchdowns but then, "whoa, let's not get cocky."

12. 27-10 is kind of the most Michigan score of all.

Expectations. Many people are expecting a good season from Michigan this year but this might be a tad much:

7 to 1 are the second best odds on the board behind Alabama at 6 to 1. This is not a power poll, many of which have Michigan around #5. Like this one from PFF:

5. Michigan

It’s all about the defense at Michigan, as they’re poised to be one of the nation’s best. They return the nation’s top-graded cornerback in Jourdan Lewis as well as two of the top three graded interior defensive linemen in Chris Wormley and Maurice Hurst. It will be on the offense to find a way to score points, but the majority of the offense returns and the results of their wide-open quarterback race – led by Wilton Speight – will determine just how far this Michigan team will go.

That’s a power poll. The betting lines aren’t. Those take Michigan’s iffy schedule into account. They’re also a collection of sucker bets that has less predictive power than a weekly line that sharps mostly control. (It also emphasizes how incredibly unlikely Leicester City was: you can bet on Navy or Air Force to win the national title at 1000 to 1. Leicester was infamously 5000 to 1.) But the expectations: they are out there.

About that defense. PFF details why they expect Michigan to have one of the best ones in the country again:

2. Their pass rush should be excellent…

As good as Henry was for Michigan last season, he was only the fourth-most efficient rusher on the Wolverines’ defense. Chris Wormley and Maurice Hurst formed the most efficient interior pass-rushing duo in the nation, with Wormley ranking first among defensive tackles in pass-rush productivity (45 total QB pressures, including seven sacks) and Hurst ranking third (30, including three). Hurst only saw 418 snaps last season, so the ability of both he and Wormley to stay productive and on the field will be critical to the Wolverines’ defensive success.

On the edge, Taco Charlton ranked sixth among 4-3 defensive ends in pass-rush productivity, generating 41 total pressures including six sacks.

Charlton did that in relatively scanty playing time as for much of the season he was splitting SDE snaps with Wormley. Only in the last few games did he end up starting at WDE. He could break out in a huge way with incremental improvement and a clear starting role.

PFF also offered up a couple of glimpses into their database that I don’t think we’d seen before, since usually the only hard numbers we get are from the top end. On Michigan’s departures:

The Wolverines only had one player drafted at all – defensive lineman Willie Henry, who went to the Ravens in the fourth round. That’s not to say they don’t have to replace some very productive players. Henry was PFF’s No. 34 interior lineman, LBs Desmond Morgan and Royce Jenkins-Stone both produced at a high level (linebacker in general is a bit of a question-mark position for Michigan), and SS Jarrod Wilson ranked No. 29 at his position after grading well in both run and pass defense.

I didn’t think RJS was that productive—not bad, but not great, either. And Wilson’s ranking is very boring, as is appropriate. A couple departures are omitted, one due to injury early in the year, the other… not due to injury.

Why does there have to be a seamy underbelly? Waco police and Baylor have conspired to keep a series of serious crimes by Baylor players out of the public eye. One of many:

In one case from 2011, an assault at an off-campus event in Waco ended with three football players being charged and Baylor and Waco police discussing the incident. Waco police, according to documents, took extraordinary steps to keep it from the public view "given the potential high-profile nature of the incident." According to a police report obtained by Outside the Lines, Waco's investigating officer asked a commander that "the case be pulled from the computer system so that only persons who had a reason to inquire about the report would be able to access it." The report was placed in a locked office.

This is bigger than the football program. The Title IX “Dear Colleague” letter that we became familiar with when Brendan Gibbons was belatedly expelled from the university is very much in effect at Baylor despite its private status, and there are a pile of accusations that the university has been operating like it’s still 1950 in this department. That could lead to serious repercussions for Baylor as a whole.

Via GTP, Chip Brown is reporting that Art Briles may be safe despite the fact that his teams seem to have a ton of bad behavior going on:

Multiple sources connected to Baylor told HornsDigest.com football coach Art Briles has a better chance of keeping his job after the school’s rape scandal than BU president and chancellor Ken Starr.

The sources said Starr will probably be reassigned to a position in BU’s law school as a result of the failed leadership displayed after multiple rape claims made by female Baylor students against five BU football players all but went ignored…

Briles, who has taken an irrelevant football program to two Big 12 titles in the last three years (including a bunch of new athletics facilities),  is sometimes referred to by Baylor brass as “Moses.”

Brown titles this piece “Starr—Not Briles—Will Be BU’s Fall Guy,” which is wrong. A fall guy is someone who takes the hit for something that wasn’t his fault. Scott Shafer was a fall guy for Rich Rodriguez. Here, Ken Starr is certainly responsible for massive failures and should be booted. You could make an argument either way for Briles, but it’s indisputable that Title IX stuff is above his paygrade.  (Uh… figuratively.)

That’s not to say that Briles isn’t under a lot of heat:

"If you don't (release the findings), it's going to look like you're hiding something given all of these allegations that are now out there," he said. "There's just been so much of it. All of that (Shawn) Oakman stuff. Now this."

And this is a salient point:

"These guys kept playing?" the coach said. "The message you're sending is, 'This isn't a big deal.'" … "This is a guy (Briles) who prides himself in being a players' coach and coaching his team like a high school team. It's really hard to believe that he didn't know about any of this stuff."

Michigan would still have Logan Tuley-Tillman on the roster if they acted like Baylor evidently has. The goings-on in Waco make Michigan’s participation in Baylor’s camp a dubious proposition. We’ll see if it continues as scheduled—Sam Webb mentioned there was some discussion of it but they still planned to go forward with it.

Still, this is more a story about Waco police corruption at the behest of Baylor’s administration more than it is a football coach. Someone’s head has to roll and unusually it look like the—or at least a—correct one will. Whether or not Baylor actually changes as a result is very much in question.

Praise to a sensible thing. More details on Big Ten hockey’s revamped playoff format have emerged, and they are equally devoid of neutral sites:

The tournament would be played over the course of three weekends and feature three best-of-three quarterfinal round series, two single-game semifinals, and one championship game. All games will be hosted on campus of the highest seed.

I assume they meant “higher” seed, not “highest” seed, FWIW. While I’d prefer best two-of-three to continue throughout the tournament, that change is close enough to what I’ve been advocating since Big Ten hockey started existing that I’ll take it. It’s more hockey, and a much much better environment for it. I assume the single game semis and finals are for TV purposes—the league can say we have these three games at this time and televise it without having to worry about if-necessary games. There would seem to be no other reason to have the above format.

While the story linked above seems to assume that the Big Ten will stay at 7, the format will obviously accommodate an eighth team without much disruption. Arizona State’s announcement they will join the NCHC means that particular bad idea is off the table, so the options are 1) swing for the North Dakota fences, 2) wait for a Big Ten school to add hockey or 3) take Miami, I guess.

BTW the comments here are 90% Minnesota fans bitching about Big Ten hockey…

Wow, it's been 24 hours since I thanked the Big 10 for ruining college hockey.  Thanks Big Ten!!!!

…and one North Dakota fan trolling. My favorite is the guy that imagines Minnesota has leverage:

Cleaning up this mess is Coyle's first priority as AD.  We need to force ourselves out of this debacle and back into regionalized hockey as soon as possible. He needs to play hardball like Alvarez played hardball in forcing Minnesota to accept this terrible idea.

They’re gonna make Minnesota hockey great again by playing hardball. That’s the ticket.

Etc.: Manuel on scheduling. Manuel on Harbaugh. Ian Boyd on how teams protect their matchup nightmare TE when he’s not a killer blocker. Relevant to our interests. Conference distribution numbers show the SEC and Big Ten on par, at least temporarily. Billy Donlon, defensive coordinator.

Everything Fast, Everything Precise

Everything Fast, Everything Precise

Submitted by Brian on March 21st, 2016 at 12:49 PM

3/18/16 – Michigan 7, Penn State 2 – 23-7-5, 12-5-3 Big Ten
3/19/16 – Michigan 5, Minnesota 3 – 24-7-5, 12-5-3 Big Ten, Big Ten Tourney champions

25867322856_b2dd9d3c06_z

[Patrick Barron]

It takes me a while to grasp what a hockey player is like. Part of that is just the game: most of the time even the best players are on the bench, and then there are ten guys trying to control a puck that bounces around. It takes time for a player new to college to establish what he's going to be, and then further time for me to figure it out. Like, I thought Dylan Larkin was a good player. I couldn't describe his game like I could describe Zach Hyman's. Hyman, a senior, was excellent in the corners and capable of bursting from the boards to the net-front with little warning. Once there he had a deft touch at the net front. Larkin… scored a lot.

Like Larkin the year before, Kyle Connor has put up points in buckets without having a distinct on-ice personality for much of this year. That has gradually changed as the season progressed and Connor kept scoring on one-timers from absurd angles, kept dropping saucer passes directly on his teammates' sticks. A debate about which Michigan player should be their primary Hobey candidate went from wide open to probably Connor.

In the aftermath of a Big Ten Tournament in which Connor scored a natural hat trick in nine minutes and left Eric Schierhorn in a heap of self-loathing with this…

…both the Hobey and personality issues have been resolved. Connor for Hobey, because he is an all-around offensive dynamo.

He is fast. Everything is fast. His skating is fast. His shot gets out fast and travels fast. He is precise. Everything is precise. His ability to hit the water bottle from one knee on a one timer is something I've never seen from a Michigan player, even Hilbert or Tambellini. Seemingly every game now sees a saucer pass that elevates itself a good foot off the ice and then lands perfectly flat on a teammate's stick.

On Michigan's rampant power play he calmly checked options high and across before sliding the puck to Motte at the side of the goal. The pass was not remarkable in itself, but the process by which Connor moved the defense around with his posture and the fact that at any moment he might do something Kyle-Connor-esque opened up an opportunity. This was the weekend when Connor went from a guy on an awesome line to the guy on the awesome line, and that's no slight to Motte or Compher. I mean, go back to that Vine and check the pass that got Connor the opportunity and who it's from. JT Compher is awesome. He's not the guy.

-----------------------------

And so Michigan grabs a banner. As banners go it's not exactly a monumental achievement—it's on par with the GLI in games played. But it goes up in the Yost rafters anyway. More importantly, Michigan got another week further away from the alarming Ohio State meltdown. I'll take two even-strength goals allowed on a weekend. Two goals is more or less a shutout for this team.

Even when Minnesota scored three consecutive goals to take the lead on Saturday those felt like things that will happen in hockey games, and not an endless parade of unchecked opponents in the slot. Sorting out the signal from the noise in hockey requires a lot of feelingsball, and my feeling is that the team has responded to the OSU debacle with four of their most defensively responsible games of the season.

Extending that streak of games that don't make fans want to pull their hair out was more important than the actual trophy; mission accomplished. Having Kyle Connor definitively stamp his name on this season, nationwide, is a bonus.

Michigan enters the most bowel-rending postseason known to man firing on at least most of their many, many cylinders. It could all blow up in a second, because hockey. It could all blow up because this hockey team has many guns, some of which point at their own feet. It could blow up because the universe hates you. There are many ways in which doom comes in single-elimination playoff hockey. But if you squint and forget about two weeks ago…

Bullets

On the opposition. I haven't seen any Notre Dame hockey this year but at a glance they look like a typical Jeff Jackson team: fast, disciplined, slightly D-oriented. They score just over 3 goals a game (good for 15th)* and give up just over two (14th). They are reasonably good at everything and not great at any one thing. They're good-ish on the PP and good-ish on the PK. They spread their scoring out. Nobody's got more than 13 goals but six guys are in double digits.

As far as common opponents go, ND split with Penn State, Minnesota, and BU. They're just 19-10-7 but KRACH ranks their schedule difficulty 10th; Michigan languishes in 32nd. Both KRACH and RPI have this a game between #7 and #12, so Michigan got a slight break there—emphasis, however, is on slight. ND is a whisker behind Yale and Harvard.

Should be an exciting game. ND has a lot of draft picks and gets in your face on the forecheck.

*[Yes, the #15 O in the country is almost two goals a game worse than Michigan.]

Welp. Downing picked up a game misconduct for a crosscheck to the head delivered to a player who was on the opposite side of the ice from the puck and not even looking at him. That was his third of the season and brought with it a mandatory suspension from the title game; given his track record I wouldn't have been surprised to see another game added on for an incident that was pure violence without even the whisper of a legit hockey play.

At least that incident seems like a relapse by now. Downing got chippy late in those Ohio State games but so did a lot of Michigan players; when faced with games that were not inexplicable three or four goal deficits Downing's been even keel for the last couple months.

In his absence… Sam Piazza stepped in and Michigan didn't skip a beat. They even inserted Piazza next to De Jong on the nominal top pairing, which speaks both to Michigan's confidence in their D one through six and their confidence in Piazza—who also absorbed Downing's PP minutes—himself. And he's repaid that confidence, with a 1-5-6 line, a +7 rating, and zero penalties in 16 games. That is an incredible luxury to have as your seventh defenseman.

Getting more active. Both De Jong and Boka have been much more noticeable presences near the opposition's goal over the past few weeks. Michigan is doing a lot more rotation between forwards and D, which goes a long way towards making your cycle unpredictable enough to generate 5x5 chances. I still remember a vintage Minnesota team from a while back—the one on which Jordan Leopold, a defenseman, won the Hobey—that was terrifying specifically because they were the best at using their defensemen to generate 5x5 scoring chances. Michigan is not that, but I think they'll be in good shape next year as those two guys get older.

Good lord, the power play. Yes, I expect to score on every power play now. Michigan was 6/9 this weekend. (Nice.) They had excellent chances on two of the three they did not manage to convert; it is a machine unlike any I've seen at M. They lead the country, converting at 32%(!), and are 17/29(!!!) over their last six games.

25287021473_741427b6a0_z

[Patrick Barron]

Mandatory attendance rant. There was nobody at this tournament even when Minnesota was there. It's embarrassing, and it's unnecessary. Michigan and Penn State averaged 97% of capacity this year and played in front of a few hundred people. A best two out of three series at Yost ends up with 40-60 times the attendance of this neutral-site farce.

There is no fixing this. Nobody but Minnesota fans and the odd Wisconsin fan will show in St. Paul. Nobody but Michigan fans will show in Detroit. The geographic realities of the Big Ten demand a return to home sites if anyone is ever going to show.

College hockey refuses to acknowledge this. Just yesterday the WCHA commissioner unveiled the "Big Idea". Prepare to be underwhelmed:

While the logistics, of which there would be many, still need to be worked out, the basic idea is to host all three conference tournaments for the WCHA, Big Ten, and NCHC in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area on the same weekend, and stagger the start times as much as possible to allow fans the opportunity to see as many games as possible. While not mentioned in the article, one rumor suggested all three conference tournament finals then being played on the final day of the season at the XCel Energy Center. The idea is to turn the weekend into a festival of college hockey for the city.

That's great for St. Paul, I guess. It's terrible for everyone in the Big Ten other than Minnesota and should be a non-starter. The idea that people who aren't interested in going to their own conference tournament will be convinced because teams they don't play against are also having a tournament is fanciful, and that permanently shuts out every Big Ten fanbase other than the Gophers. It's an idiotic idea. So of course:

The Big Ten seems the most interested at the moment, with B1G deputy commissioner and most hated man in college hockey Brad Traviolia admitting that is one of many potential options they will discuss and consider for the future, saying "We recognize that the attendance hasn’t been what we had hoped" under the current set-up.

College hockey is not big enough for neutral site playoffs other than the Frozen Four, period. I will never understand why they keep trying.

Unverified Voracity Isn't Saying That It's Zombie Apocalypse Time, But…

Unverified Voracity Isn't Saying That It's Zombie Apocalypse Time, But…

Submitted by Brian on February 17th, 2016 at 4:13 PM

Football Booklet Cover

IT'S MADE OF PAPER UNKNOWN TO MANKIND. The Daily has a book that compiles all their Harbaugh stuff, Harbaugh-related stuff, and Harbaugh-tangential stuff from the past year. You can order it for $5 plus shipping, or skip the shipping and pick it up from the Student Publications building on Maynard. Proceeds help the Daily keep running so they can continue to pump out epic features. Someone's got to write COLUMNS that don't make you want to die.

If this is the start of the zombie apocalypse I'm going to be upset. Gotta give me at least five years of Harbaugh before the end of the world.

Apparently most of the swimming and diving team is sick and they're checking the pool for something that turns you into a flesh-eating, non-verbal lumbering horror. Sounds like they should check the press box, not the pool.

Marge_vs._the_Monorail_(promo_card)monorailcolorWATER-410x600

Also please not before the MONORAIL. True story: one of the first Every Three Weekly articles ever was about an outlandish plan to join Central Campus to North Campus with a monorail. (In it, Tom Goss projected it would make money thanks to monorailgoblue.com, because Michigan had just launched mgoblue.com. Also it was on paper. I am old.) Well, IT'S HAPPENING DOT MONORAIL:

Schlissel, city envision monorail to unite North and Central campuses

Tuesday, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel reintroduced the idea of creating a rapid transit system between Central and North Campuses, a project that has essentially been dormant since 2013.

Would I ride this just to ride it? Definitely. Let's put our town on the map.

Yes, thank you sane person. Man, has it been hard to keep the fisk in the garage after the latest and dumbest hot take explosion about Harbaugh. The main reason I haven't opened both barrels is indecision about whether I should go after Mitch Albom, Drew Sharp, or Tony Barnhart, all of whom put the literary equivalent of Skyline chili on the internet in response to Harbaugh's plan to visit IMG. Nothing has been as dumb as this, though:

image

I mean… I can't put it past a guy whose version of the "Art of the Deal" will be titled "Chasing Rutgers," but cumong man. Put down the Confederate flag bong and sober up.

I may break down pretty soon here and call someone horseface, but for now Andy Staples is keeping me sane:

The Power Five leagues, including Sankey's SEC, got autonomy legislation passed so they could loosen some restrictions that other Division I schools wanted to keep tight. The new attitude in major college sports was supposed to be this: If you want to do it, do it. If you don't, don't. That lasted until several millionaire coaches got mad at another millionaire coach trying to mitigate their competitive advantage.

I'm so so done with being Meatloaf The Football Program: I'll do anything to win but I won't do that. Staples does mention that Harbaugh getting up in his players' spring break might come up during the infinite lawsuits the NCAA is fighting, but since a bunch of spring sports already do that it's likely a moot point. And as I always point out, Michigan fans should be hoping amateurism dies swiftly and comprehensively for the same reason the Yankees don't want a salary cap. I don't think Harbaugh is consciously attempting to point out the hypocrisy, but I'd support him if he was.

Meanwhile in attempts to negative recruit based on the above. Michael Dwumfour opens up about his recruitment process, detailing an ill-fated Penn State trip:

The Penn State coaching staff knew the competition it was up against. According to Dwumfour, the Lions poked fun at Jim Harbaugh’s recruiting techniques.

That didn’t sit well.

“When I was at Penn State, I heard jokes about Harbaugh and stuff like that,” Dwumfour said. “In the back of my head, I’m thinking ‘What he’s doing is working, obviously. Instead of criticizing him, you might want to take some of his techniques to try and help yourself out and get some recruits.’”

The prospect of Penn State coaches making fun of Harbaugh's sleepovers boggles the mind, but I put nothing that is bogglingly dumb past James Franklin.

Status of Bush the elder. Devin Bush Sr was long rumored to be on the verge of a Michigan job, something that he was openly hoping for in an interview with Brandon Brown:

“For me, if I was to get an opportunity, because I would love to coach at the next level, I never wanted to put it out there because I didn’t want to move my kids while they were in high school. If you get into that world you could be moving every eight to ten months. Once my son graduated, now I would be open for an opportunity because I don’t have to worry about moving kids, it’s just my wife and I.”

That sounds like a guy who is waiting for the Ts to get crossed and Is dotted. And now that Michigan's down Greg Jackson they might look at him for that job as well; Bush's profile isn't that far away from Jackson's: former NFL safety, little high-level experience. Harbaugh grabbed Jackson when he was an assistant DBs coach with Wisconsin.

Who doesn't these days? Tom Brady's agent wants to blow up the NCAA, and he's likely correct about how the edifice comes tumbling down:

This is the promise of [Don] Yee's advocacy. He is a football insider with firsthand knowledge of how a business works and the credibility to make people listen. He is exhausted, he says, by talk without much action and has reached the point of arguing for revolution: Blow up the system. Start over. Build anew. "This generation of players has more tools at its disposal than any other to be heard and to organize," he says. "If they adopted a Twitter hashtag of #disruptthefinalfour for the NCAA tournament, they would at least start a discussion. And significant change typically happens through some discussion that is too large to ignore."

All it would take is two basketball teams deciding to delay a Final Four game and amateurism is all over but the shouting. They don't even have to refuse to play. All they have to do is agree to start the game 15 minutes late, and there will be no illusions as to where the power actually resides. Yee:

"Nothing will change for the players unless they take the responsibility of becoming something more than willing victims to this system," Yee says. "At some point, you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself, 'Who am I? What am I doing? What's going on, and what am I doing about it?' These players, they have all the power -- they simply don't realize it."

That is correct. Someone's going to be the NCAA's Curt Flood, and pretty soon. Related: Sonny Vaccaro talks to the NYT, says the same things Vaccaro usually does.

I guess he's a Walverine. Michigan fans have this odd conversation about whether it's okay to be a Michigan fan without having attended the school. They do this largely because MSU fans are livid that nobody who doesn't go to MSU gives a damn about the Spartans and project this anger all around them. Meanwhile 95% of Alabamans are either Auburn or Alabama fans, and… uh… let's just stipulate that more than 5% of Alabamans do not have a degree from either institution. (Ace, at home, just screamed "BAN BOOKLARNIN'" again.)

It is good to have Michigan fans scattered about with no other connection to the school. One of them just joined the recruiting class:

“Honestly I’ve been a Michigan fan since I was little,” [Dylan] McCaffrey said. “My grandma is a big Michigan fan. She has a house about 40 minutes away [from Ann Arbor], so I don’t know why, but I just ended up loving them. I could’ve always seen myself going there, and in the end I just went back to how I felt about Michigan as a kid.”

Another person who was a Michigan fan for no particular reason: Jabrill Peppers. Let all who want to root for winged helmets do so irrespective of their degrees, and let MSU fans stew about it.

More on "floor seats". Everyone hated it. Especially people who have televisions. ESPN trotted out some poor damn spokesperson, who immediately torpedoed any sympathy I might have for her with a statement so inane it bordered on Dave Brandon Hire:

ESPN was built on trying new things and taking risks, and tonight is just another example of that.

ESPN was built on showing people athletics contests, not utterly failing to do so.

12552955_10154043291659610_3015410978315126092_n

[Eric Upchurch]

Austin Davis is looking rather different these days. Many people thought taking Davis was questionable at best when Michigan did, and it is going to be strange next year when Michigan has up to six post players on the roster (Doyle, Donnal, Wagner, Wilson, Davis, and Jon Teske). But Davis has done everything he can to prep himself:

635908046831956828-AUSTIN-020816-KD-12[1]While he was 6-10 a year ago, he was also 265 pounds. Today he is a svelte 235 and his game has benefited immeasurably.

“The big thing is I changed my diet around; I changed it pretty drastically,” he said. “And then I got on a new weight program.” …

A year ago, Davis was more of a plodder as he moved up and down the court. His teammates often had to wait for him to join them before they could run their offense.

That, more than anything, is why no major college offered him a scholarship — and U-M coach John Beilein made Davis aware of that fact.

“We had a directive,” said Eric Davis, Austin’s dad. “Coach Beilein really wanted to see him start moving better and running the court better.”

He has, and he now looks like a college post. Whether he'll still look like one in college is unknown; his 79% shooting percentage is indicative of both his talent and his competition level.

Who runs Big Ten hockey? The equivalent of Tom Anastos. Tom Anastos, hockey coach, not Tom Anastos, CCHA commissioner. Because Anastos was all right at the latter before being thrust into a role he had no frame of reference for. Ditto the folks running Big Ten hockey:

“Coming from a non-hockey background, it’s kind of hard for me to imagine a fan in the state of Minnesota who wouldn’t be excited to see a Michigan or a Michigan State come in to play,” he said. “I recognize and acknowledge that significant rivalries developed over the years in the previous leagues, and that’s fine."

Minnesota fans did not like this interview with Brad Traviolia, not one bit. I'm not much of a fan either. Nobody comes to the Big Ten hockey tournament because most fans are very far away from said tournament no matter where it is.

There is no possible solution to this problem. A neutral site Big Ten tournament is never going to draw. I have had season tickets for a decade now and I have no plans to ever go to a neutral site Big Ten Tournament, because that product sucks. It sucks being in a big empty building where hockey is going on. I am barely willing to put up with it for an NCAA tournament game. A Big Ten tourney where everyone makes it in doesn't even come close to moving the needle.

The only solution is to go to series on home ice, which four of the six schools should support since they have dedicated rinks. If Wisconsin or Ohio State don't want to host because of high school sports, they don't have to. Quit letting two schools that clearly don't care about hockey dictate to the 3.5 that do.

Hockey tourney status: don't collapse. Jim Dahl's excellent Pairwise projection site is reaching peak utility as hockey comes down the stretch here. Michigan is in barring a spectacular collapse:

michigan

Even 2-5 likely sees them sitting in a pretty secure at-large spot, though they'd definitely want to win a game in the Big Ten tournament. Three wins and they would be all but a lock going into that tourney unless results elsewhere conspired against them; 4-3 and they're 100% in.

A one seed would require Michigan to absolutely sprint down the stretch; even a 6-1 finish most likely sees them still a 2 going into the BTT.

I have no idea how good this goalie is. The Daily's Jason Rubinstein on Michigan's poor, bombarded goalie:

After three and a half years, Racine is playing the best hockey he ever has in a Michigan uniform. Berenson named him the team’s bona fide starter more than three months ago. For his last six games, he boasts a .931 save percentage, a career high for any stretch over five games that he has played.

And this past weekend, he was the only reason Michigan managed to escape Madison with five points, rather than three. In Saturday’s contest against Wisconsin, the Wolverines won in a shootout, despite surrendering four goals.

“You should’ve seen him at Wisconsin,” Berenson said. “He stood on his head, and we had no business winning the game based on the chances we gave up.

“That was his best game of the year.”

This has got to be the strangest year for hockey since I've been paying attention. They give up four goals to a very bad Wisconsin team only because their goalie stands on his head; they are on pace for a two-seed.

Etc.: Barry Alvarez apologizes for saying innocuous, accurate thing about UW hockey. Bob Miller on incoming goalie Jack LaFontaine. Jim Harbaugh adopts a kitten. PWO Anthony Kay profiled. Incoming hockeyist Nick Pastujov also profiled.

Unverified Voracity Bites The Bullet

Unverified Voracity Bites The Bullet

Submitted by Brian on July 1st, 2015 at 1:17 PM

I listen to Colin Cowherd for you. Jim Harbaugh tried out his best Jim Tomsula impression on Colin Cowherd's show this morning:

I dunno man. I wonder if Harbaugh, a high-functioning lunatic, has points at which his function isn't so high. There is a general antipathy for press conference questions… a lot of the time. There is a general antipathy for lazy questions… some of the time. The questions Cowherd fired off were typical Cowherd: somewhat off-putting but nothing that an average person would get his dander up at, and Harbaugh is immediately in I Don't Know mode.

There are ways I think you can rescue it when he gets in that mode. Number one is talking about his players. Harbaugh loves talking about guys he has coached. But I don't think Cowherd really did anything. Harbaugh just wasn't in the mood from the drop. Steve Lorenz accurately describes it as "troll on troll crime."

Happy first-ish day of work at your new Harbaugh-wranglin' job, Zach Eisendrath! It's a very good idea to have a specific person whose only job is to wrangle Harbaugh, but I worry about the men who try to bridge the gap between beast and overman. I await the day the relentlessly upbeat Eisendrath turns his twitter feed into the SID equivalent of Nihlist Arby's.

I am surprised that I have not already been followed by thirty different "parody" accounts called Nihilist Harby's.

Colin should have read the operating manual though. When this Sacramento Bee story came out we all had a laugh about it and forgot. And then…

Your Harbaugh does not function like other head coaches. An innocuous query about the weather, for instance, could trigger a florid quote from Admiral William Halsey. And yet a routine question about a running back’s knee injury may cause your Harbaugh to wince, pause and grimace as if a malodorous scent has wafted into the room. Your Harbaugh’s default in this instance is: “We don’t really talk about that here” or “I can’t get inside his body” or “He’s working through something.” This is a design flaw our technicians in California have not yet worked out.

Also:

Your Harbaugh will be enormously affectionate one day and cold and distant the next. This is normal.

After Eisendrath starts wearing eyeliner and listening to My Chemical Romance 24 hours a day, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee has a job waiting for him. A job he should not take. Yes, even if he works for a print newspaper.

Brock Mealer wants to help other people walk. You won't know that you've missed Mike Barwis's gravel truck of a voice until about ten seconds into this:

They are raising money at charity funding site Crowd Rise; you can also grab a shirt on Barwis's site.

Whyyyyyyyy. SBNation's Steven Godfrey has a piece on why there are so many neutral-site games and they continue to increase:

College football's neutral-site games are gaining in popularity because they make a lot of money for the companies and institutions involved.

But demand is even higher among schools suddenly looking to schedule tougher opponents. Consider it knee-jerk hysteria in the wake of Baylor's exclusion from the College Football Playoff, a move often explained as a product of weak non-conference scheduling.

"If you can break your $600,000 [deal for a game against] Akron to go cash $1.2 million from Allstate ... well, there's no catch any more," the agency rep said. "TCU not getting in [the Playoff despite being] at No. 3 the week before scared every athletic director shitless."

Now, you might be thinking to yourself "why would a neutral site game make more money than a home game?" There are three main reasons:

  • You can get away with more sponsor stuff at a neutral site. The Blank And Blank Classic, etc.
  • You can jack up ticket prices. When Michigan played Alabama at Jerryworld, the minimum price to get in the door was $125, with non-suite tickets ranging up to $245 face. It sold out because it was Michigan against Alabama. Neither school dropped their PSDs a cent.
  • The neutral site (sometimes) controls the TV revenue. Most conferences have stipulations that TV revenue  is shared, even nonconference TV revenue. This goes for "neutral site" games in the geographical footprint of the conference, but generally does not extend past that. That's why Washington State played Notre Dame in Texas several years back—ND wanted to control that revenue and could not do so in the Pac-12 footprint. That was not the case for Michigan-Alabama, however.

Now, even with all those advantages a neutral site game could only come up with 4.7 million for Michigan—less than they would have gotten for beating up on a cupcake. For a team like TCU, though, the financial equation is much different.

Michigan's got another one coming up because they had a terrible contract against Notre Dame and got left in the lurch; after 2017 against Florida they should never play a neutral site game again. In this, at least, Jim Delany is an aid:

In 2013, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany issued a memo requiring any Big Ten school playing off-campus games to be designated the home team in at least half of the matchups, and that half of the games take place in the Big Ten's footprint. The two-game series between LSU and Wisconsin in Houston and Green Bay is the example.

Never say Jim Delany didn't do one thing right in his whole life.

Instead of having a neutral site game with those ticket advantages, you should ask your fans if it's okay to have big prices for a big game, and when they say YES YES YES then do it.

YOU WERE. There was a time in the 90s when Ohio State would roll in to The Game with a shiny record and national championship aspirations and a 7-4 Michigan team would destroy them. It wasn't exactly halcyon since, uh, 7-4, but there was a grim satisfaction in dragging those bastards into the pit with us. This happened so often that I can't remember which of these games featured this exchange between myself and an Ohio State fan deep into the third quarter:

"You guys are pathetic! You're 7-4! We are national championship contenders!"
"You WERE national championship contenders."
/merriment

Better that than the recent stuff, I guess. Anyway, ERASE THIS GAME—which still hasn't tackled #M00N—features the 1993 version of La Brea Tar Stadium, in which Tyrone Wheatley* did this:

y3r9Mg[1]

And Ohio State did this:

Ohio State:

- never crosses into the Michigan red zone
- goes two of twelve on third down
- averages two yards per carry compared to Michigan's five
- gets shut out by the Wolverines for the first time since 1976
- misses going to the Rose Bowl after Wisconsin beats Michigan State in Tokyo because the tiebreaker at the time eliminated the most recent Rose Bowl invitee
- seriously, that was a way the Big Ten decided who got to go to the Rose Bowl, and it's basically "aw heck you're due"

I would prefer that we keep this game, and possibly bronze it.

*[Whenever I watch Wheatley run these days I think that Brandon Minor was born 20 years too late to be a somewhat disappointing first round NFL draft pick.]

Etc.: Harbaugh throws out first pitch, talks to media personably afterwards. This is normal. An oral history of Barry Alvarez making Wisconsin into Wisconsin. You should probably read it. Harbaugh on the Tigers.

Unverified Voracity Has Words For One Word

Unverified Voracity Has Words For One Word

Submitted by Brian on August 22nd, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Scrimmage video. Fan-based, so wobbly.

Perverse incentives create perverse results. It is of course completely nuts for Michigan to play Florida in Dallas. The stadium is smaller, the fanbases are far away, and the pageantry of college football is largely replaced with sterile NFL lawyer spaceship accoutrements. But people do it because they get the money.

After Wisconsin scheduled LSU in a goofy neutral-and-neutral situation, Jim Delany issued a memo that the Cedar Times Gazette has unearthed:

Delany’s letter, which was obtained by The Gazette, highlighted the league’s support for neutral sites provided at least half of the series occur within the Big Ten footprint and under the league’s television agreements. Delany wrote an arrangement would be “disapproved” if a Big Ten game was not designated as the home squad in at least half the games or if it was a one-game event that took place outside the league’s television umbrella. …

“We applaud and very much appreciate your efforts in doing so, as this should create value for your teams and fans as well as for our television partners and, therefore, for all Conference members. But please keep in mind the above policies that are important to all of us as we share collectively in the revenue generated by our televised games."

I'm not sure what "disapproved" means here. Could be "we will not let you do this"; could be "we will raise our mighty eyebrow at you but take no other action."

In any case the memo indirectly indicates why neutral site games are popular: the two teams participating can split the TV money between themselves instead of between themselves and Indiana and Purdue and a bunch of other teams that are not in fact playing. When there's a Jerryworld game, ESPN and Jerryworld get the rights and then give home-team-sized slices to both participants. The Big Ten doesn't like that.

The Big Ten can pound sand. Scheduling real games would be so much easier if the teams in them actually saw the benefits without having to leave campus. There is zero reason that a Michigan-Florida home and home should be less lucrative than a neutral site game for the people involved.

Thankfully it sounds like Michigan's trip to Jerryworld in 2017 will be their last, by league decree. It's for the wrong reason, but these days that's all you can hope for.

Hatch things. Good Morning America had him on:

I am going to judge you on your word. Big Ten coaches given one word to describe their teams!

Illinois’ Tim Beckman: Family

"Can you help me find them? I'm not supposed to be out after 7 PM."

Indiana’s Kevin Wilson: Cusp

That's not an adjective. The Hoosiers are not seeming particularly cusp this morn.

Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz: Developmental

Neither is this unless it's followed by "-ly disabled," but I like that Ferentz managed to be even more boring than boring. He's probably in a band called White Toast and that's one of their songs.

Maryland’s Randy Edsall: Hungry

Boring, and not in a fun Ferentz way. Boring in a boring way. Randy Edsall is in a band and their one song is "this is not a band it is just a boring man telling you to eat your vegetables."

Michigan’s Brady Hoke: Together

…now that our first round left tackle is gone

Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio: Committed

…pass interference and still weren't found out

Minnesota’s Jerry Kill: Hungry

This would be boring except for this video of Jerry Kill eating a tiny burrito:

Awwww.

Nebraska’s Bo Pelini: Exciting

Accurate. Nebraska is not great but they are a cat explosion waiting to happen.

Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald: Focused

…until the fourth quarter.

Ohio State’s Urban Meyer: Fast

Accurate, in fact tells you something about desired composition of team, relatively un-boring.

Penn State’s James Franklin: Perseverance

Again with the non-adjectives.

Purdue’s Darrell Hazell: Hungry

Would be boring but in this case I think Darrell Hazell may be saying that his players are literally hungry because they can't figure out which hole to put the food in. "NOT THAT ONE," Darrell Hazell screams for the third time today, "THAT ONE ISN'T EVEN A PART OF YOUR BODY."

Rutgers’ Kyle Flood: Hungry

wait why is this guy even listed

Wisconsin’s Gary Andersen: Youthful

Well… yeah. Joe Namath ain't walking through that door.

Meanwhile, Spurrier said "decent" because hail Spurrier. Mark Richt said "wow" for some reason. I ain't saying that Dave Brandon goes around wearing Mark Richt's skin. But I ain't saying otherwise, neither.

Would you say that your decisions are film and evidence-based? Hoke:

"The evidence for making decisions is on the film," Hoke said Saturday night after the team's public scrimmage. "It's evidence-based. Based on film."

No word on the moisture status of his upper lip.

Another "students are gone" article. This one from USA Today is standard-issue. It never ceases to amaze that athletic directors can say this…

"I don't think it's a targeted demographic problem; I think it's more of a (high-definition) TV, living room, leather couch problem and we have to give the people a reason to come to our live product," Washington athletics director Scott Woodward said. "It is something we're going to have to address and deal with."

…and then marvel at the fact that it's tough to sell tickets that have spiraled upward relative to inflation, nearly tripling since 2000. Surely there is an athletic director out there who can figure out why they might be having attendance problems. Take 2, and then take this other 2, and somehow we have to reach 4.

The article has another pile of lukewarm solutions that aren't going to fix much of anything. One thing that could help: stop treating students like enemies. Michigan gets the vapors when a student says the word "sucks" and tries to drown it out; the ushers in the student section are constantly harassing anyone who does anything that looks even slightly like liability. You've got a choice here: loosen things up and accept the fact that you're going to have slightly higher insurance premiums, or continue to turn off your future customers with adversarial relationships between students and your main point of contact with them.

[Via Get The Picture.]

Italy stuff. The entire first game is available on the tubes. UMHoops has highlights of game #3.

Etc.: MSU WR MacGarrett Kings doesn't even get standard-issue one game DUI suspension. Notre Dame previewed by Paul Myerberg. An overview of where the various NCAA lawsuits stand. The Kessler suit is The Big One. I'm in a sidebar of this ESPN story on the state of Michigan. NOPE.

MVictors interviews Dan Dierdorf. Genuinely Sarcastic comes back for a post about Michigan football that naturally includes a section on Stalingrad. Notre Dame scandal is always a good opportunity to rip Notre Dame.

Unverified Voracity Finds Worst Headline

Unverified Voracity Finds Worst Headline

Submitted by Brian on October 19th, 2012 at 3:44 PM

michigan-football-wallpaper-2012-michigan-state-thumb[1]

Monumental

Not the Onion. News headline:

MSU challenges officials to take control of game vs. Michigan

Are you man enough to call another 100 yards in personal fouls on Michigan State, refs?

Also, Tyler Hoover is supposed to return to the lineup at DT. Not sure how much impact that will have.

Also not the Onion. This is where the rivalry is at the moment:

Michigan prepping for a 'figurative fist fight' in physical tilt vs. Michigan State

More like LITERAL KNIFE FIGHT AMIRITE.

Also also not the Onion. We have a formidable secondary?

Michigan's formidable secondary 'looking to get after it' against MSU

I'm going to go away and hope this is true forever.

YOU DON'T KNOW HOW THINGS ARE CAUSED. Winner?

Former Michigan star Mike Hart's infamous comment sparked Michigan State's resurgence in series

Worst article is easy. Matt Charboneau's flufftastic puff piece on Gholston, which does the same thing all attempts to defend Gholston do: focus on the meaningless punch that brought a suspension while ignoring the Denard helmet twist and the Lewan arm bar. No one cares about hitting a guy in a helmet with your fist in the heat of whatever. It's unfortunate that the Big Ten focused on that instead of the truly dirty stuff.

He's just misunderstood, you see, and he has kid, so he must be an awesome dude. They don't just hand out kids to anyone. You have to be licensed.

Maybe he just went crazy that one time but if you're going to write an article about it at least have the honesty to detail the things that happened.

Uniformz? A photo of a chrome-tastic MSU helmet is floating around the internets and the rumor is they will be deployed Saturday:

1555u7q[1]

Hopefully Michigan doesn't respond in kind as they did last year, if this is actually a thing that is being worn. I worry that someone somewhere is saying "we have to bridge the chrome gap!" and not being shot.

MSU scouting bits. Highly recommended are Ross Fulton's breakdowns of what Ohio State did against MSU. The MSU defense:

MICHIGAN STATE: LOADED FOR BEAR

As expected, Michigan State adopted an aggressive style that focused upon attacking Ohio State's inside zone read. Michigan State generally operated from their 40 over defense with their Will linebacker walked over the slot receiver.

The Spartan Will linebacker's role was not to cover the slot receiver, however. Instead, he was tasked with accounting for Braxton Miller on the zone read, allowing the defensive end to crash the zone play. In essence, the Spartans ran a constant scrape exchange.

In response, OSU shot their H-back outside the defensive end and hit the edge or used him to block the crashing DE and read the slot-oriented LB, or they used outside runs that used the aggression of that DE to open up the corner. Expect Michigan's inside zone to be a maintenance play that picks up a few yards, allowing other runs to bust for larger gains.

Tremendous also has a breakdown, one that focuses on the defensive tackles—who are not good, thus the Kittredge switch this week. Included are many amazing displays of Spartan DTs put on skates by the OSU OL. I'm with Mr. Larson: block Gholston, option someone else, screw rollouts, especially naked ones.

Fulton's item on the MSU offense vs the OSU defense is a little less relevant because Michigan is mostly a one-high cover three defense and OSU is transitioning to cover four.  Hankins did clobberate the MSU run game as a three tech—Will Campbell pad level versus bad guard play come on down?

BONUS: Fulton breaks down what the hell happened to OSU's defense against Indiana.

OH BOY. Hopefully this is Brandon not ruling out anything when someone brings up the idea of a neutral site game in a Q&A and not actually wanting to continue college football's worst trend:

But he did say Wednesday that he remains open to all possibilities for the newly-created void on the Wolverines' schedule beginning in 2015.

Whether it's a home-and-home with a big-name opponent, or another possible neutral site game, similar to this year's Cowboys Classic against Alabama in Arlington, Texas.

"We're looking at both," Brandon said. "The key thing for us is to try and make sure we're playing in a venue that gives our fans access, and economically, provides us the best opportunity that justifies going on the road.

"We put 110 or 112,000 people every game in our venue, it's hard to go play in front of 35,000 people."

Ugh, ugh, ugh. A neutral site game gives fans less access than a home and home because it's a game in the middle of nowhere in a smaller stadium. No more neutral site games—we renovated the stadium for a reason, I assume, and not "so Slippery Rock can play there."

This isn't that hard: see MSU and OSU, currently loading up with quality nonconference home and homes not against opponents with 35k seat stadiums… because those don't exist in BCS conferences. Brandon must wake up at night tossing and turning at the agony of having to go to UConn next year. We get it. We also don't care. No more neutral sites.

Oh, man. Don't listen to them, Dylan Larkin.

While perusing my Twitter feed, I came across this tweet from U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team goalie Thatcher Demko and reply by Michigan commit Evan Allen:

@thatcher_hockey: Larkin is Screetch” hahahha omg he IS screetch

Larkin-Screech[1]

via Michigan Hockey Net

Kids in high school still know who Screech is?

Mac Bennett stepping up. If Michigan can ever ice their full-strength defensive corps it will be a thing to behold($):

"Our guys liked his poise out there, his ability to handle and move the puck," said Trevor Timmins, Montreal's Director of Amateur Scouting. "He's a gifted skater. That's the one thing that he can rely on to get him to the NHL. He's not a big guy so he's had to add some size and strength, but he's in a great situation at Michigan, with some outstanding coaching, and we're seeing that development there.

"Similarly to Greg Pateryn last season, this season Mac is being leaned on to log a lot of ice time, and to play in all situations - be a leader on the team - and that provides Mac with greater confidence in his ability."

That's still some time away, unfortunately. Here's a Bentley preview from Michigan Hockey Net.

Wojo zings. Wojo zings:

This annual clash has turned into a nasty affair, which can happen when brothers scrap and egos fray. It wouldn't be this way if the Spartans had quietly gone about their business, winning two or three times a decade. But then Mark Dantonio showed up with his deep playbook of scowls, much deeper than his offense's playbook, and started ticking people off.

The Wolverines don't appreciate the Spartans' audacity to physically manhandle them. And the Spartans don't appreciate the Wolverines' continuing attempt to pretend their Ohio-based rival is more important.

Common Michigan State plea: "Heeyyyy, we're right heeeeere! Try to beat us! At least look at us!"

Etc.: Dave Brandon turns down no opportunity to crap on the plebes. Stubhub season ticket quest takes a hit on the MSU game. The Daily on Willis Ward.

Penn State's "fourth down bravery" may have something to do with the fact they have the worst punting and kicking in the country. The Bylaw Blog advocates athletics majors. The new NHL CBA might be better for college programs than the old one. Still waiting on the massive imbalance in AHL eligibility to get sorted out. Genuinely Sarcastic back from the grave. DIAMOND STONE is visiting this weekend. He's a five-star 2015 basketball post.

Mailbag: Play It Cool, New Banner, Shane Starting Soon, Lochdoggin' It

Mailbag: Play It Cool, New Banner, Shane Starting Soon, Lochdoggin' It

Submitted by Brian on September 11th, 2012 at 1:50 PM

L_Natalie_Portman_071[1]

play it cool

The professional approach to replays.

Hey Brian,

After watching Michigan slowly walk to the line after the Gardner not-a-catch-not-a-3rd down conversion on Saturday, I screamed at the tv for Michigan to snap the ball and run a play before the official reviewed the play.  My question is why don't coaches have a set of 3-4 plays that they  have their team run whenever they think a big play might be overturned? In this case, even a quick QB sneak that burns a play and starting over at 2nd and 10 is better than punting the ball back to Air Force.  I feel similarly after teams have long passes that change field position or off a turnover.

I was wondering if numbers and percentages support this theory,and if there are coaches (potentially including Hoke) who may have this package of plays already installed.

Go Blue,
Brooks

I have heard your frustrations many times and seen teams hurry to the line after a questionable decision almost as frequently. And it never works. When a team hurries to the line in an attempt to defuse the replay threat, the replay guy stops watching the Golf Channel, gets incensed, and always calls down for a review. Always. Without fail.

It's like running away from a crime scene. It's a rookie move. Would that French dude from The Professional hurry to the line? No. He would play it cool, man. He's got all the time in the world.

In re: having a set of quick plays after a turnover or big change in field position, clearly some teams put an emphasis on that sort of thing. We just saw Air Force go up-tempo whenever they'd pick up 10 or 15 yards. That approach isn't free, though. Michigan is emphasizing other stuff.

New banner.

I noticed this live but immediately forgot about it:

Not sure if you noticed or not, but we finally got the new M Banner out for Air Force.  It's been a 3 year project.  We've made 3 different banners for various reasons, and it finally was approved and used for Air Force. 

It looked great.  With the "maize" much closer to the actual maize and much more matching the uniforms.

mgoblue-banner_250Screen Shot 2012-09-09 at 5.59.33 PM

Here are a couple pictures: The 'orangeish' picture I took from the MGoBlue website.  The 'maize' picture, I took from the front page of MGoBlog. (Eric's slide show.)

Just wanted to close the loop on this god awful long project.  (there was still a problem with the poles, so hopefully that will get handled by UMass)

-Neal

(This will come up because it always comes up: photos make things different colors. Look at the contrast between the banner and the pants in both photos to confirm a very real difference.)

Man. I'm in the cap that thinks maize is not bright-bright yellow, and I'd heard the AD also thought this and was going to move more towards the orangeish yellow color that I thought was the real maize. It's the difference between burnt orange (understated) and Tennessee's goin'-huntin' orange (HEY GUYS I'M ORANGE). I guess that scuppers that. Maize is blinding now. C'est la vie.

Shane starts?

Brian,

I wrote you earlier this summer about whether Shane Morris would be down for a redshirt next year, to which you said, “yeah”.  Well, two games into this season and seeing how the Denard/Borges fusion cuisine is coming, and seeing how Devin Gardner is progressing as a WR, is causing me to rethink that for 2013.  There are a couple things I think Hoke and Borges are concluding right now: 1) DG will not get that fifth year from the NCAA in 2014; 2) they’ve seen enough of DG at QB to think that he won’t work out as a starter in their system in 2013; 3) they are willing to roll the dice with a freshman Morris starting at QB next year, throwing to a mini-Megatron in Devin Gardner (who will still be the #2 QB).   Like I said, three things.

I know the 2012 season has hardly started, but I get the feeling DG’s move to WR is permanent even if he doesn’t know it yet.  I see Borges thinking he’s done with this transition as soon as Denard ends this season and Shane gives him the best bet to do that, potential magical 2017 season be damned.  What do you think?

Pete-rock

I think there's a possibility things work out like you suggest, but not a strong one. Michigan is planning on moving Gardner back to quarterback after the year is over, something that will presumably last through the spring. If Gardner gets beat out, then and only then will he move back. And even then you've got Russell Bellomy with not one but two years of experience under his belt in front of Morris. It's a tall order for any true freshman to beat out experienced scholarship guys in front of him, and Morris seems like a pretty raw kid when it comes to reading coverages since most of his time in high school is spent running for his life.

Let's not do the freshman QB thing. I don't like that thing. If Gardner is Braylon 2.0 the rest of this year, okay maybe. Long way to go on that project.

I do agree that next year you'll see the offense flip into what it's going to be going forward even if Gardner wins the job. The OL will be shifting into more of a manball mode, they'll have plenty of tight ends, and they'll have a collection of strapping downfield targets at WR. The spread is dead at Michigan after this year.

Neutral sites are lame, according to the best announce guys ever.

I know you're a fan of McDonough and Spielman and thought I'd reinforce that.  They're calling the USC "@" Syracuse game from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and have spent a good portion of the 4th quarter talking about how much better this game would be for Syracuse if they were playing it in the Carrier Dome in terms of recruiting and rewarding their fans who have suffered through some lean times and now are starting to get a half decent team again (they're hanging in pretty well, if they could cover a punt they could maybe have a chance).  But instead of having a top five team at home, they have to drive five hours for some ridiculous overpriced tickets.

So kudos to McDonough and Spielman.

Also: the Big Ten sucks, ye gods.

Yes. My thinking flipped on the Alabama game when the ticket prices were announced. At a minimum they were 60% higher than Michigan tickets, and I'd bet the average price was double. A lot of those cost 250 bucks. They had no problem selling those tickets at those prices, so why not move that to a home and home where you get 20k more people in the stadium and aren't cutting Jerry Jones in on the profits?

I don't get the neutral site thing at all. You built your stadium for a reason. Use it. If it's a UConn thing where the stadium they built is actually smaller than the big-game venue, I guess I get that, but even so I'd rather Michigan plays at Rentschler than Yet Another Identical NFL Stadium. That doesn't wow my experience. The opportunity to visit Tuscaloosa for a game does.

In re: Big Ten. Seriously.

A thousand words on branding.

Attached - taken in section 25 before yesterday's Air Force game.

Denard-jerseys-pic

I'm a staunch believer in Brandon but had to admit that this looked ridiculous.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but L to R: 2010-11 away, [some woman], 2012 Sugar Bowl, 2011 UTL, 2012 Cowboys Classic.

"Chief marketing officers and Hunter [Lochmann]’s job description would include building the brand, which is very much about the presentation and the image of the 'Block-M.'  How do we enhance it, how do we expand it, how do we make sure that the image of that brand is consistent with what we want that image to be, how do we present that brand in the most positive light possible?  And this has everything to do with how the brand appears when it's being used — from the uniforms we wear, the branding of our facilities, the branding of our materials, a lot of classic brand management kinds of responsibilities."  - D. Brandon, 4/5/11 (link)

Keep up the good work and Go Blue,

Chris
North Olmsted, OH

At least they're making a tiny amount of extra revenue from those—under a million from the UTL jerseys and who knows how much of that was cannibalized from regular sales—that they're spending on people in the athletic department who plan ways to get incremental revenue so they can hire more people to acquire incremental revenue. Also, the man Michigan hired to build the brand has the twitter handle "Lochdog715." Lochdog should use some of that incremental revenue to polish up his personal brand.

Lochdog. Holy pickles.