Mailbag: Mostly About Uniforms

Mailbag: Mostly About Uniforms

Submitted by Brian on July 15th, 2015 at 10:58 AM

Design elements

Brian,

Adding to the list of Adidas wrongs. What really irks me is that the only word appearing on the front of the current Michigan football uniform is Adidas. Unlike most schools, U-M jerseys were famously clean of any identifying words- the signature maize & blue color scheme was all that was needed. The simplistic Nike swoosh, though an identifying trademark, is far less noticeable.

Ed McArdle

Saginw, MI

Hoarding disease is a problem with a lot of uniforms these days. In an effort to brand brand brand everything they've cluttered the front of the jerseys with a series of logos: Adidas's clunky stripes, the Big Ten logo, legends patches, bowl patches, a block M or three. There is too much stuff on these uniforms:

fbl-082713_640[1]

They're probably dropping the Legends patches and replacing the Adidas Triangle Of Tiny Text with the swoosh will help; they can ease back on the block Ms.

The Big Ten logo is going to remain a grating presence until the end of time. Because you need to be reminded who is in the Big Ten these days. And that Michigan—surprise!—is in it. But some guy gave a presentation where he muttered something about brand equity, so we're stuck with it. The best they could do is something like they did at Crisler:

Michigan-Basketball-6s

Michigan technically complies with the league mandate to have the Big Ten logo on the floor… very technically. If Michigan could get away with a blue-on-blue Big Ten logo that would improve things. I bet some clever person in the league office has already put in a regulation against it, unfortunately. 

Maybe a step too far.

Hello,

Am I crazy for thinking that this is the best look for the away uniform?? Obviously the jersey will be Nike but I love the simple all white jersey and blue numbers. There is enough maize on the helmet and the pants. Maybe put the Block M or number each shoulder pad. I just think simple is better and this jersey is sharp.

unnamed

I like simple. That might be a bit too simple even for me. It gives off too much of a generic vibe. Is that a Michigan jersey or a random high school from 1950? I do not know.

The above does avoid the clutter mentioned above. It even avoids the many, many iterations of maize trim that have never really come off:

Fitzgerald Toussaint Michigan v Illinois c7ygQmG73Mql

I am so done with maize piping, and maize outlines on the numbers, and maize maize maize on a white road jersey. But the above suggestion needs something to distinguish it. The correct number of design elements isn't a jiggityzillion but it's not zero unless you're Penn State.

Maybe the stripes from the Sugar Bowl jersey:

Denard Robinson Allstate Sugar Bowl Michigan Cqw4NgM20BTl[1]

That everyone liked those is indicative of how low our expectations are these days. I thought they were fine and they have the chest clutter—this partially self-inflicted with a superfluous block M—and weird thin numbers that kind of make it look like everyone is wearing a kids' size. But they weren't a collaboration between a six year old with a glitter gun and the first guy cut on every season of Project Runway so we liked 'em.

[After the JUMP: Bo Xs and Os, and moar Nike.]

This Week's Obsession: Best of the Swoosh

This Week's Obsession: Best of the Swoosh

Submitted by Seth on July 13th, 2015 at 11:29 AM

Legg is drawing a swoosh, see?

The Question:

Seth: What piece of Nike gear are you hoping to see return?

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

The Responses:

Woodson-original
The maize wars settled on a hue more like the official color, but washed out so that it keeps the yellow (not gold) look from the '97 uniforms.

Adam: The thing I most want to see again is Nike's version of Michigan's home uniform, specifically the jersey. Their 2006 version is my all-time favorite. (I know they wore it from 2005-'07 but 2006, man.) The numbers are a tolerable, maize-ish maize and stitched onto solid material, while mesh covers the lower abdomen and extends up the back to the collar. The swoosh is small and unobtrusively placed, and the solid material prevents the shoulder pads from showing. I loved those design elements, and I hope something similar (and, in other areas, generally less stripey) returns. I know this is hair-splitting of the highest order, and I blame my crazy attachment to this jersey on nostalgia for what Michigan wore while I was in undergrad. At least it frees up the script-front hockey jersey for someone else to choose.

Is the return of a past jersey design realistic? Eh, maybe. Nike seems to be in love with what they've termed the flywire collar, which means there's a good chance the swoosh will be moved to the front shoulder and the collar will look like lacquered phoenix wings. (A fun game: read sentences from Nike's press release to friends and ask whether they're about luxury cars or clothes.) Then again, there's a precedent for opting out of certain "innovations;" the Packers and Raiders are a couple of the teams that decided not to use the new collar when the NFL switched to Nike. Realistically the design will change and I'll be fine with it as long as someone on the design team at Nike reads what Seth wrote.

[After the jump: don't get cute, aerodynamic fezzes]

Unverified Voracity Discusses Swoosh Stuff

Unverified Voracity Discusses Swoosh Stuff

Submitted by Brian on July 8th, 2015 at 12:42 PM

Nike-Michigan-Lockup_native_1600

I don't get it. I mean, I get it: when Seth said he wanted to do a post about what Adidas inflicted on us I was like YES THAT. A combination of incompetent Germans and a weak or nuts AD was literally not a pretty sight over the past few years. I don't get the WOO NIKE half of that:

"We certainly heard it from fans a fair amount, 'when's Nike coming back?' " says Scott Hirth, co-owner of the M Den, Michigan's official athletic retailer. "There's no two ways around it, and there's no way to sugar coat it. Adidas and football success didn't go hand in hand, and we can't dispute that.

"I think for a lot of fans, it's a feeling of 'Michigan's the best, Nike's the best, Michigan should be with Nike.' "

A shirt's a shirt to me. A jersey is a jersey until it becomes two halves of a jersey flopping in the wind. Nike is no stranger to fashion disasters itself. A lot of people are super happy about this because they owe brand loyalty* to a company that probably makes much of its stuff in literally the same buildings other apparel companies do. So it's a bit weird.

*[I reserve brand loyalties for places they really matter: tortillas. Mission forever. If you bring Azteca into my home I will bludgeon you with them and then kick you out.]

But whatever man, I'm happy you're happy. For athletes it's a different story, of course: the gear is important, especially shoes. And Nike seems to have reputation there that is worth something.

If it makes them happy and a bunch of other people happy, that is a good thing to do even if it does not grow the bottom line as much as possible. The athletic department isn't a profit-driven enterprise, so what should it drive to? Making its stakeholders happy. This appears to do that.

And it might not even leave money on the table. I wonder what metrics Hackett is using when he says this:

Jim Hackett has no problem saying that Michigan's new apparel deal is the largest in the country, topping any other collegiate apparel contract.

Hackett, speaking with a handful of reporters on campus Tuesday, said Michigan would have netted the country's largest apparel deal from Nike, Under Armour or Adidas, but ultimately opted to return to the swoosh.

I wonder because of that reportedly bonkers Under Armour offer to Texas, and reports that Nike was coming in under the other two companies. If other company X is willing to offer more to Michigan they will probably offer more to someone else as well. Not because they're worth more than Michigan. Because it's worth more to company X to have something approximating Michigan.

We'll find out soon enough, and I bet he's right in some way or another since they're going to release numbers next week. I mean, you'd think so. It's common sense. I am going to apply that now.

He's got an average of being excellent. Last April a mailbag post contained a rundown of the various negotiations Michigan executed during the Brandon era. The results there were not pretty:

  • Brady Hoke was hired and then paid top ten numbers,
  • Michigan was stuck in a different division than OSU (with a crossover game),
  • Michigan got an unpleasant home/road split in the 14-team league,
  • Notre Dame punked Michigan when they ended the contract,
  • Mitch McGary did not have his suspension reduced despite the NCAA changing their rules about pot tests
  • Al Borges was offered a 300k raise.

Since Hackett has arrived he has hired Jim Harbaugh for far less than he would get from an NFL team and locked down a Nike contract that can be plausibly called the biggest in the country. What do you think about THAT, Bastian Schweinsteiger?

not-bad

I agree: not bad at all.

Maize. Maize is not blinding yellow. It is not regular yellow. It is an orangey yellow. It is like the image that leads this post. If Michigan actually starts wearing maize that would be nice.

A jumping man. Nike's Jordan thingy is part of their deal with Michigan. I made an offhanded comment about it in the news post about the deal and got several "NO, SERIOUSLY" replies in the comments and on twitter about it. More detail is available at MLive:

According to a Nike spokesperson, Michigan basketball will become the fifth program outfitted by Jordan Brand. The Jordan Brand currently outfits North Carolina, Georgetown, California and Marquette in men's basketball and North Carolina and Georgetown in women's basketball.

That is a weird—but exclusive!—grouping of teams to join. It includes a team that just locked down Jaylen Brown, who repeatedly said he'd play at an Adidas school. Good job, good effort, Adidas.

Anyway. If any logo on a thing can get recruits to sign up for something it appears to be this logo. I think cold, hard cash works better, though.

GAMBLING! ESTABLISHMENT! AND SO FORTH! Ole Miss is being investigated for hijinks in the recruitment of Laremy Tunsil, a five-star OL who walked right into their starting OL. Tunsil was just arrested for domestic assault against his stepfather, who apparently took whatever cash was on offer from TMZ for photos.

His stepfather says the incident happened because "Tunsil exploded on him for voicing his displeasure about the college star hanging out with sports agents," a story so implausible Michigan could have come up with it in the immediate aftermath of the Shane Morris incident. Dollars to donuts the stepfather has flipped on the kid after gently guiding his recruitment.

Minnesota, 1988. Via Wolverine Historian:

The weather was un-good.

Well, when you lay it out like that… MLive has a slideshow of Brady Hoke's old coaches and where they ended up. I'm sure we've addressed it before, but yikes man:

  • OKAY: Greg Mattison stuck in Ann Arbor as the DL coach. Roy Manning is at Washington State. Doug Nussmeier is Florida's OC.
  • IS THAT A REAL PLACE? Dan Ferrigno is at San Jose State with Al Borges. Darrell Funk is at Akron. Jeff Hecklinski is at Colorado State-Pueblo. Doug Mallory is at Wyoming. Mark Smith is at Florida Tech. Fred Jackson hasn't landed yet, if he's going to stay in coaching.

Hoke's coaching tree is comparable to Lloyd Carr's minus Brady Hoke. Woof.

I am in favor of this. Former Oregon State AD Bob De Carolis retired a year ago and has been brought in as a "senior adviser" at Michigan. We are just Joe Parker and Bruce Madej away from The Expendables: Athletic Department Edition.

De Carolis brought in Hutch and was well-loved at Oregon State, FWIW.

Another guy. Former UConn OC TJ Weist has been hired at Michigan as an "analyst," which probably means he'll break down tape and help with gameplanning:

Weist is not a Michigan assistant, which means he's not an active recruiter and his coaching duties will be limited by NCAA rules.

"T.J. has a wealth of coaching experience and will be an excellent addition to our staff," Harbaugh said in a statement. "He has shown the ability to develop countless NFL caliber wide receivers over his career and has immense knowledge of the collegiate game. He will be a great asset to our program."

Weist is a former Jack Harbaugh guy and Michigan native, so this is an obvious fit. Michigan appears to be spending its money on having a good football program instead of… not that. This will help happiness, and help make more money.

Etc.: MI/WV SF Miles Bridges says he wants to visit Michigan again. Kentucky though. More decals with Sap. OSU LB talks trash on Twitter. "Split zone" from James Light. Also this is a really cool and sneaky coverage in which a corner plays man press for about ten yards before bailing on his WR in an effort to trap the QB into a bad throw.

Michigan Signs With Nike

Michigan Signs With Nike

Submitted by Brian on July 6th, 2015 at 4:12 PM

This has been a fait accompli for a few weeks now; it is now official:

Also press release.

Creepy divorce metaphor aside, this is likely to please everyone. We have a Best Of Adidas post being assembled and it's a doozy. Around here we started calling them the Only Incompetent Germans after Glenn Robinson's jersey exploded in a cloud of fibers for the third or fourth time.

Nike's not perfect—in fact the only Nike tag we have on the blog is "nike would like you to wear this aerodynamic fez"—but the athletes really wanted Nike according to internal surveys. A lot of the fans really wanted Nike according to Sam Webb, who would know. Even those who were pretty indifferent to the brand of clothing they're wearing scoffed at the many and diverse fashion crimes perpetrated on the best uniforms in sports. And so the department acquiesced even though there were reports that the Adidas offer was worth significantly more.

Yes: the athletic department made a decision based on something other than making revenue go up. Even if you don't really care what symbol is on Michigan's jerseys, that has to feel good.

No numbers yet. Those will be announced next week. Current details:

  • Contract runs to 2027 with a Michigan option to extend to 2031.
  • Contract starts August 1st of next year.
  • Michigan can use "Jumpman" apparel for their basketball teams—apparently this is a big deal.
  • The Daily's Zach Shaw reports that employees were told that Michigan will be Nike's "top deal." I think they say that to all the girls.

I don't think uniformz are off the table unless the AD says they're off the table; that will be the next thing to watch for.

Unverified Voracity Says Goodbye Toks

Unverified Voracity Says Goodbye Toks

Submitted by Brian on June 22nd, 2015 at 2:24 PM

Harbaugh of the day.

The man knows his rappists.

Also, Harbaugh interviewed during the 1992 Northwestern game:

Battle stuff. Tyus Battle has not committed to Syracuse as of this instant. There's been no news from his visit as the Battles go radio silent:

"Ty and I are not making any comments until we figure things out," Gary Battle wrote in a text message.

Insider chatter holds that Battle will also visit UConn and that distance is apparently a problem. Publicly stated reasons are rarely the actual reasons, so take that with a grain of salt.

Michigan is not sitting on its hands. Four-star OH SG Jarron Cumberland, #62 on the 247 composite, is on campus right now. He will likely get an offer, and may drop immediately. Steve Lorenz put in a Crystal Ball for Cumberland at 8 AM today. (Josh Langford is off the board after he committed to—sigh—Michigan State.) Michigan clearly does not think this Battle decommit is a momentary dalliance.

At least he's still in the vaguely-affiliated other Big Ten conference. Potential name of the year running back Toks Akinribade has committed to Iowa. Michigan wasn't in the market for another tailback after taking Kingston Davis and Matt Falcon (and athletes Chris Evans and Kiante Enis), I know, but shades of LEVITICUS PAYNE here and it still hurts.

There is another, though.

More Steve Patterson stuff. Texas blog Barking Carnival is terrific, so I wanted to check in on what they were saying about the Chip Brown article on Longhorn AD Steve Patterson. Sound familiar?

Aloof and petty aren't a good combination.

The I’m smarter than everyone in the room vibe only works when you demonstrably are.

His decision-making is being driven by considerations that appear to be more about self-elevation (my running joke is that he badly wants to land a TED Talk) rather than balancing the considerations (or illusions) that make college fans unique from pro fans. I have zero interest in attending a Texas football game in person any time soon and it has little to do with the product. I sat patiently through some real dogshit in the 80s and 90s.

The current game day environment demonstrably sucks. At least for anyone with my disposition. It’s counterfeit. It’s false. And the season ticket holders we’re losing are some of the very best fans who are just tired of seeing their love of their school being exploited at every turn. Patterson wants to replace them with corporates and local transplants. Good luck with that, buddy.

Bottom line: he’s creating a situation where he will sink or swim entirely on his hires. He doesn’t have any good will banked.

That's a comment from Scipio Tex, one of the main authors at BC and one of the most incisive writers on the college football internet.

It is both sad and reassuring that Michigan isn't the only school having these problems as the old guard of school-oriented athletic directors gets invaded by a wave of spreadsheet people. (FWIW, Hackett doesn't fall in that category for me: a guy who is CEO at the same place for 20 years is not just looking to make a spreadsheet look nice and cash out.) If and when Hackett decides to go back into retirement, it's imperative that Michigan actually taps the network of high-profile athletic department employees they've seeded across the country.

Not so much, Boilers. 1985 Purdue-Michigan was a slaughter:

Apparel contract decision soon. Hackett:

"We're on our target to make our decision this summer and look for an answer soon," Hackett told gathered media after Thursday's regularly scheduled Regents meeting, adding, "We're still in the middle of that discussion."

Most rumblings indicate that Adidas is in a bad spot and is unlikely to retain the contract. Sam Webb has plenty of details($) at Scout; the upshot is that it's likely to be Nike. I had a mild preference for Under Armour, but it seems like most of the athletes have a strong one for the swoosh so whatever. The gap between the offers—reported to be significant—has apparently come down somewhat, so may as well "spend" some of the oodles of cash you bring in on making people happy.

My main reservation with going back to Nike is their tendency towards uniformz. They've been at least as demanding in that department as Adidas, and they also run the play where a bunch of their schools all have the same dubious design element at the same time. I do think a strong AD can push back against those kind of things—see Indiana basketball, Penn State, Alabama, Texas, etc.—and hopefully we've got one of those now.

A potential replacement. I haven't seen anything about this officially, but Chris Dilks is pretty plugged in and he notes that Michigan hockey does have an option to fill the holes in the roster created by early NHL departures:

[Cooper] Marody was on the edge between returning to Sioux Falls for another season of junior hockey and enrolling at the University of Michigan, but with Dylan Larkin deciding to sign with the Detroit Red Wings and opening up a spot on Michigan's roster, it looks like Marody will be playing for the Wolverines next season.

Marody had a 22-36-58 line in 52 games and should go off the board in the third or fourth round of the draft. He won't be Larkin; he should be a solid player as a freshman.

Etc.: Gasaway on shot clock overreactions. Maize and Blue Nation on how nice it is that Harbaugh is around. More budget stuff. Hyman to Toronto after forcing a trade away from the Panthers. Toronto's doing a lot of smart stuff lately. Tickets are moving like hotcakes. Mitch McGary is SNAKE GOD. Daily alum Ryan Kartje on satellite camps.

Unverified Voracity Finds A Delightful Tag

Unverified Voracity Finds A Delightful Tag

Submitted by Brian on January 5th, 2012 at 2:06 PM

File under "Phil Knight is an immature wheel of cheese." Since you are not related to someone on West Virginia's football team you did not see the Orange Bowl postgame—or the second half—and thus could not boggle at Nike's latest foray into puns a six-year-old thinks are played out:

buffettjpg[1]

I'm just like… man. Man. Democracy is over. When can we be ruled by machines? Is it soon? I hope it's soon.

The mind further reels at the notion that there's another one of these things left and Nike has already used their finest Def Leppard reference. What's left? "SHOW ME YOUR TITTLES" is left. Search your heart. You know it to be true.

BONUS: how about that dynamic offense in Morgantown winning a BCS game? We should hire that Holgorsen chap, I think. What could go wrong?

Just one more time, six more times. Hinton's sworn off shooting the rapidly cooling corpse of the BCS but can't help pointing out that no matter the outcome of the game I probably won't bother to watch, Alabama cannot have a better season than LSU:

With a win in the title game, the Crimson Tide will finish the year 12-1 with two wins over teams ranked in the final polls, none of them from outside of the SEC. With a loss, LSU will finish 13-1 with four or five wins over teams ranked in the final polls (give or take West Virginia [ED: that would be take]), four of them coming outside of Baton Rouge and two of them coming against fellow conference champions (West Virginia and Oregon) who are also playing in BCS bowls. The Tigers and Tide would be be 1-1 against one another, with LSU's win coming at Alabama. LSU will still be the champion of the division and the conference.

In a system that continues to defer to polls and resumés, there is virtually nothing Alabama can do short of ritually sacrificing the Tigers to the sun that can make its season better than LSU's season.

Every game counts except the national title game. Whenever you think the BCS has reached its maximum cockup level, just wait two years. I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store. Possibilities:

  • Alabama versus LSU
  • LSU versus Alabama
  • Alabama versus Alabama
  • Alabama versus the entire Pac-12 with assault rifles
  • Alabama versus crippling ennui
  • The Los Angeles Angels of Alabama versus Giant Catfish
  • Tiny Alabama versus Ditka
  • The 1996 Olympics' rhythmic gymnastics competition versus the Large Hadron Collider
  • Just, like, Harvey Updyke wanking it for three hours

I have Updyke –3 over the Higgs Boson. Elsewhere in controversy needlessly barged into, Jacobi wonders what's to be done about "rogue" AP voters in an article with one of those jarring in-post links to another column. This is from Doyel:

Splitting BCS national championship 'stupidest idea ever'

That's settled. AP voters who will not vote for Alabama under any circumstances are to be given a cookie and a certificate vouching for their cognitive abilities. This is essentially Jacobi's conclusion as well.

Flantastic. Darryl Stonum, this is not so good:

Michigan wide receiver Darryl Stonum… was ticketed this morning in Ann Arbor for driving on a revoked license, 15th District Court records show.

Stonum, 21, was stopped by Ann Arbor police after he checked in with probation at 7:03 a.m., said Steve Hill, Stonum's probation officer. Hill said Stonum was not taken into custody.

A probation violation form is being completed, but so far Stonum has not been charged with violating probation.

Reading between the lines it seems like the court is not hugely peeved by this, but thin ice and all that. I don't think this should have an impact on his availability next year as long as he successfully jumps through all his hoops. This probably adds another half-dozen. Stonum needs an understanding brunette to wake up at 6 with him.

Turnover in Madison. Bielema got raided pretty good this month:

Wisconsin lost two assistant coaches Wednesday -- wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander and linebackers coach Dave Huxtable -- bringing the total number of departures to four. Huxtable will join former Badgers aides Paul Chryst and Bob Bostad in Pittsburgh as the Panthers' defensive coordinator. Chryst is Pitt's new head coach, while Bostad will serve as his offensive coordinator. Alexander is joining Arizona State's staff.
Bielema initially thought Bostad would be the only assistant joining Chryst at Pitt. It appears as though Huxtable will be the last departure.

It'll be interesting to see how Wisconsin copes. Their offense went from decent to lethal with Chryst's arrival. Losing him is kind of a deal. The hot name right now is Oklahoma "co-OC" Jay Norvell, which sounds like a good idea. Why does Wisconsin consistently have good ideas that no one else in the Big Ten does?

Longhorn fail. A major opportunity for ESPN to strongarm the Longhorn Network onto someone, anyone's cable has come and gone:

Comcast and the Walt Disney Company announced a 10-year, multiplatform distribution deal Wednesday that brings the “TV Everywhere” concept one step closer to reality. The Longhorn Network however, is not a part of the ESPN channels included in the agreement.

I'm rooting for the LHN to be an ignominious failure for many reasons: irritation at Texas for being one of two main parties that screwed up the structure of college football, a desire for the Big Ten's model to remain cromulent, etc. If the LHN doesn't get on cable by this fall it probably won't ever. At least it got a commenter on the above article to call Texas "the Ted DiBiase of college football."

No, not so much. From a Daily article on Molk:

“How we came in and how my first four seasons went, I thought we were the stain on Michigan tradition,” Molk said, walking slowly toward the winner’s podium on the turf. “But the reality is that we came back from everything and we’re back to where Michigan is.”

This is why people like Michael Wienreb don't Get It. Also the HSR referenced small-caps DEATH, which is an autolink.

A big game. Basketball takes on Indiana tonight in Bloomington. Vegas and Kenpom both have them 8 point underdogs against the resurgent Hoosiers, which makes this a gravy outing. Win and that's a major bonus; lose and eh, we're okay.

Rumors be rumoring. There was some recent chatter from the OSU side of the rivalry that moving The Game was inevitable and had a good chance of happening when the new set of schedules came out. Dave Brandon says this is not so:

"That's just Internet rumor that has no factual basis," he said. "It's not going to happen."

Good.

Etc.: more postgame react from the Key Play. Getting a bit ornery (justifiably in cases that are not the overturned TD) as the shock fades. Shakin' the Southland reacts to the Orange Bowl fallout. Via On The Banks, a NYT report on Penn State documents unveiled by FOIA requests shows the institutional reaction to the media firestorm. I'm surprised the NYT can manage this since Pennsylvania has somehow exempted Penn State from transparency laws.

Wallpaper from the MZone.

Unverified Voracity Has No Opinion On Mosques

Unverified Voracity Has No Opinion On Mosques

Submitted by Brian on August 20th, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Tuesday: In Your City, If It's New York. I'll be in NYC Tuesday to talk about the team and sheepishly admit what I thought the past two years. The event is supposed to be somewhere around this page, but I can't find it without a login. Details:

3rd Annual Football Season Kick-off Party with MGoBlog's Brian Cook
Date: Tuesday, August 24
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Brother Jimmy's, 116 East 16th Street (between Irving & Park)
Cost: FREE for pre-registered AAUM members, and $20 for all others online through Tuesday, August 18. Day-of door pricing will be $25 for everyone. Register at http://alumni.umich.edu/event/?2262bf16-8fbe-4d22-befa-563be5d594ae
InformationDue to popular demand, the alumni club has once again invited sports blogger Brian Cook to return to NYC to spread his knowledge of all-things Michigan football and preview the 2010 season. Come out to meet and mix with your fellow Maize and Blue football fans!
Contact: Alex Trambitas, [email protected]

Yeah, I wouldn't pay 20 bucks to hear me talk either. Hope you're in the alumni club.

I find it sad*. I wish this didn't have an incongruous backing track—I actually checked my tabs in case some highlight reel was going in another—but here's Bo blowing up during the '89 Illinois game:

Woo ha! Michigan would win 24-10 en route to the Rose Bowl.

*(TIC.)

They're back except they're different and probably uglier. OSU will again wear wack Nike uniforms for The Game. Ohio State fans are suitably appalled:

Do you hate things that are good? Great, me too! We have so much in common. In fact, our friends at Nike have taken it upon themselves to market to folks just like us, people with (or without!) disposable income who enjoy kitsch, tasteless things.

As such, the university announced Tuesday that for a second straight year, the slow and steady commercialization of The Game will evidently proceed accordingly. This season, Ohio State is widely expected to take the field in a scarlet variety of the same faux-throwback-to-the-future-OMGboomstyle-backs the team rocked in conquering the rebel occupied forest moon of Endor Ann-Arbor last November.

By 2015 The Game will be Rollerball. It will star LL Cool J, and TV people will love it.

But hey, at least that effort to have a terrible phone company be a title sponsor was swiftly demolished when fans revolted. I'm not sure why the same hasn't happened with this—think of what it will look like in Getty Images in 20 years!—but if there was any ever debate about which team had the more iconic uniforms, it's over now. If Michigan tried to wear anything other than the home blues they've worn since 1565, you'd find whoever made that decision strapped to a donkey with a sock in his mouth and GPS directions to Columbus the next day.

That is only a silver lining to a dark cloud of stupidity, though. Anyone who is still angry that Michigan decided to take way more money from Adidas: you are nuts.

Acceptable? Wha? Penn State fans have been complaining up a storm about the idea they'd get swapped into the Essentially West division of the Big Ten; I've been doing the same about the idea of getting Ohio State as a cross-divisional rival. Will we ever get along? Maybe. Slow States may have put together a division setup that works for everyone:

Division A: Penn State, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Purdue, Northwestern

Division B: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois

This necessitates the cross-division rivals, which bleah, but I look at it and think "not horrible," as do Penn State fans. The only problem is breaking up the Wisconsin-Iowa game (Iowa-Minnesota is the protected game) but they do get Nebraska instead. I don't think anyone would have a major problem with this arrangement except "TV people," who can go jump in a lake since their idea of thinking long term is next week.

Remain calm! Skepticism about Kevin Newsome is totally rooted in jealousy and bitterness instead of "repeating what Penn State sources say":

A source close to the program told The Patriot-News earlier in the week that Bolden, the true freshman from Michigan, is clearly the most talented of PSU's four quarterbacks.

Joe Paterno may still settle on former walk-on Matt McGloin as his starter for the Sept. 4 opener against Youngstown State because of McGloin's familiarity with the offense.

So that's a true freshman and a walk-on in front of Newsome, who "has not performed well" to date. It'll be interesting to see how Bolden does on multiple levels, since Michigan chose to pursue Gardner over him and Tim saw him a lot in high school and was resoundingly unimpressed.

They grow moohaha. Check out this bizarre hockey rink:

nhl-development-campThat's from the NHL's development camp, where they're testing out all kinds of weird stuff including giant cyclopean faceoff circles and—tingle—super-thick blue lines. Most comments about the latter (which I've been advocating for years in my oversigning-level campaign against hockey offsides) center on the expansion of the offensive zone:

Wider blue lines to increase the size of offensive zone -- I've always liked this idea. In widening the lines, there's more room to keep the puck in the zone when it goes out to the line, but the zone itself remains the same size and the neutral zone doesn't shrink. It's an idea whose time has come, but only if the linesmen is vigilant in getting into position to make the close calls.

This is a benefit, but it's an ancillary one. The major asset of XXL blue lines is a serious reduction in those nothing offsides calls where one team is trying to rush the puck into the zone and a guy is three inches off. A thicker blue line increases the demilitarized zone and should reduce the number of interesting rushes killed off in favor of a neutral-ice faceoff and inevitable dump-and-chase.

The guy above gives that rule change a slim chance of passing because it's "too radical," unfortunately.

ATTENTION CHRIS HALL OF BIRMINGHAM BROTHER RICE. Your school hasn't banned Tom Hammond shirts, have they?

Etc.: You can now mic bands. Will this matter? Probably not since last year's whinefest featured a bunch of audio engineers who described how difficult this was in detail. MATW fills in another "of the decade" blank with the top games.