Unverified Voracity Gets Misty

Unverified Voracity Gets Misty

Submitted by Brian on August 14th, 2014 at 1:54 PM

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Bryan Fuller

On Csont'e York. It was inevitable that once the York video was released there were going to be a lot of strong reactions to it. I deleted a number of things that were over the line, and expected to.

I left up a bunch more that weren't quite delete-worthy but did make me feel uncomfortable. Most of those were uncomfortable because they weren't sad. Many called him a coward, others were almost gleeful in their eagerness to ship the guy out. Those threads don't reflect well on our community here.

While I think that York's second chance has to come somewhere else given the severity of what he did, I would appreciate it if everyone would keep in mind that even a kid who did a dumbass thing remains a person. There's an unfortunately paywalled profile of York from his time as a recruit up on ESPN. Chantel Jennings:

In August, he'll enroll at the University of Michigan and become the first person in his family to attend college. He has made it through the death of his mother, a number of family moves, and out of Detroit with a positive attitude. And through all of this, what he keeps closest to his heart is his family.

"My little brothers and sisters, I think about them," York said. "It has always been in my head that I have to do this for them. This isn't just for me. It's for my family. That's all I think of."

The reason York did what he did started with the people around him as he grew up and the primary emotion should be sadness that a kid couldn't keep it together. Once we're on to third chances I can see the disdain begin to creep in legitimately. Now, though, I just think of the times when I've been on the verge of a bad decision and struggled not to make it.

Kleenex at the ready. Austin Hatch and John Beilein profiled:

Three years ago, lying in a hospital bed in Traverse City fighting for his life, Austin Hatch's relationship with John Beilein went beyond a player-coach situation.

Nine days after pledging his verbal commitment to Michigan in June of 2011, Hatch was involved in a tragic plane crash that took the lives of both his father and stepmother and left him in a medically-induced coma.

At that point, no one was concerned about Hatch's basketball career. The main focus was saving his life.

And, unknown to Hatch at the time, one of those people standing at his bedside -- fighting along with him -- was Beilein.

Huge, they say. Michigan is apparently set to announce two home and home series:

Michigan football is set to announce two huge home and home opponents this week.

Terry Foster and Mike Stone met with Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon today and that’s when Brandon dropped the news that this announcement will happen later this week.

FWIW, apparently there was a connected guy on the Rivals board saying the opponents were Stanford and Duke in a since-deleted post. No idea if that's accurate or not; obviously only one of those teams would even sort of qualify as "huge." And with Stanford there's always the possibility that they return to historical norms by the time the game rolls around. I kind of doubt that's accurate anyway—tough to see Stanford taking on Michigan when they've got a nine-game conference schedule plus their now-annual game against Notre Dame. But anyway, stay tuned.

By the way, that post has a poll asking who you'd like to see Michigan play that includes Nebraska and Wisconsin, which was momentarily absurd until it wasn't. Marshall, another option, remains so.

WELP? Prepare for the Colening.

Everybody get up. But especially you. Aubrey Dawkins can get up, yo.

When Michigan took MAAR and then still went after Dawkins that was an indication they liked him more than his rating would imply, and In Beilein We Trust.

That shot came from an open practice Michigan held before their Italy trip during which Kam Chatman impressed:

Michigan’s most highly touted freshman is multifaceted and college-ready. The general consensus among the scribes perched up on the observation deck was that Chatman will be a day-one starter, barring anything unforeseen.

The 6-foot-7 wing drilled smooth left-handed 3-pointers as a standstill shooter and off the dribble. He looked comfortable and capable making decisions with the ball. He finished in traffic.

Quinn's colleague Nick Baumgardner concurred:

First thing that struck me was Chatman. High-level shooter, can handle, finish, isn't skinny. He'll start right away.

Both Chatman and Dawkins spent time doing post drills as they prepare to play Novak/GRIII undersized 4. DJ Wilson is also going to be a 4 of the not-undersized variety but is still being held out with his pinky injury.

Unfortunately, Michigan won't be streaming any of the Italy games.

Brutal departure/injury spree. Unlike Nebraska's, this one actually matters for Michigan: Northwestern tailback Venric Mark will transfer; leading wide receiver Christian Jones is out for the year with a knee injury.

Mark, of course, tortured Michigan two years ago with his quickness. Jones is less of a loss since Northwestern tends to plug and play at WR but he was still their best guy in yards per target by some distance. Looks like it's Prater time? Naw, man, it's never Prater time. Until it is. But probably not. Because a Rutgers transfer is the guy Inside NU is promoting for the job.

A man familiar with the situation. Michigan doesn't get much mention in CBS Sportsline's group preview of the Big Ten except for incessant Jabrill Peppers talk in the "best newcomer" category, but the one guy who singled out Michigan as an underrated team is an interesting one: Auburn fan Jerry Hinnen, who's seen both Al Borges and Doug Nussmeier up close and personal. His take on M:

Most underrated team: Michigan. The Wolverines have to visit both Michigan State and Ohio State, keeping their odds of winning the East low, but they might still be the third-best team in the league. A healthy Jake Ryan and a loaded secondary should give Greg Mattison his best defense yet, and going from Al Borges to Doug Nussmeier might be the biggest offensive coaching upgrade in the FBS. If the offensive line has a pulse, 10 wins will be in play.

That is Michigan's great hope.

Looking pretty good down the road. More high praise for a hockey commit:

Unfortunately, that is an addendum to an article running down the top prospects the OHL's Kitchener Rangers have. Luce checks in third after being drafted in the fifth round despite his NTDP commitment. Details:

Steady, instinctive blueliner with great size and poise. Textbook hitter and defender backed by solid positional sense. … Thrives in the dirty pockets of the ice, using his size and strength advantages to win battles and gain possession. Excellent one on one defender, keeps an active stick, extremely efficient at getting sticks on pucks. Difficult to drive the net or gain an outside lane on, manages gaps efficiently and takes advantage of his massive wingspan. … Projects as a tough, physical, stay at home defender who can contribute at both ends of the ice. …  Would be a top paring defender if he ever comes to the league.

Sounds like the kind of shutdown D Michigan hasn't had in a long time. I mean, Trouba, but Trouba was here and gone in a flash.

Kitchener does manage to snipe guys frequently, but in Luce's case Michigan should be okay. He's headed to NTDP and not currently projected to be a pick so high that he would get signed immediately and then reassigned. Also, his dad is the Panthers' director of scouting and played in the OHL himself—when they chose college it was an informed decision.

This is going to be a problem. The NCAA has just been hit with an injunction that says it cannot cap scholarship values below the federal government's full cost of attendance, so eventually those numbers are going to have to come up. The issue: those gaps vary widely between schools:

Michigan: $2,204
Ohio State: $3,346
Penn State: $4,000

Somehow it's more expensive to live in the middle of nowhere than an actual city or in Ann Arbor's notoriously expensive student housing market. Meanwhile, Tennessee has the biggest gap in the power five at 5,666.

It doesn't seem likely that Michigan's going to stand for a system where a kid going to Penn State gets 7k more over his four years, and there's no way in hell Georgia (1.8k) is going to go for a system where half the SEC is offering 10k+ more. So then what?

The power conferences have one way to normalize cost of attendance across all 65 schools: let every school go up to the highest cost of attendance figure, which in this case is Tennessee’s $5,666.

But that has its own set of problems. First, many schools would then be permitted to exceed cost of attendance, some by thousands of dollars. Not only is that philosophically troubling for the NCAA, it also complicates matters with financial aid offices. If a portion of an athletic scholarship exceeds cost of attendance and is not paid through the financial aid office, what is but payment for services rendered?

The shakiest part of the O'Bannon decision is definitely the proposed remedy, which forces the NCAA into a choice they don't want to make.

Etc.: You can see the Lego Movie at Michigan Stadium if you're a season ticket holder. The Pac-12 wants you to know it schedules hard and should be rewarded for it. Gopher blog predicts 31-13 M win over Minnesota. Fresno State tries to keep up with the Joneses.

Unverified Voracity Rides The Rails

Unverified Voracity Rides The Rails

Submitted by Brian on August 7th, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Old timey. Railroads were efficient back in the day.

That's less time than it takes by car, isn't it?

Don't hit ladies. But the shirt. Greg Oden was arrested for battery. The mugshot:

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JMFJ available for hockey type activties. If you're not doing anything tomorrow, Yost is hosting a charity event featuring Jack Johnson:

Come out and play with (or against!) NHL Star, Olympic Silver Medalist, and U of M alum Jack Johnson as he and Justin Spiro renew their on-ice rivalry in Johnson's collegiate barn, the world famous Yost Ice Arena!!!

The game formerly known as the "Spiro/Johnson Ice Bowl" has been renamed to honor the memory of Andrew Michael Singler. The two squads will compete for the inaugural and already very prestigious Singler Cup.

ALL ages and skill levels are welcome, as this "fierce" exhibition has seen men as old as 65 and boys as young as 10 scoring key goals. Spiro is commonly regarded as the worst skater on the planet, so don't be shy!

Cost is $20 per player, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Andrew Singler Stay Strong Foundation (http://singlerstaystrongfoundation.com/).

You should try to check him and then you'll have a story about how you broke your neck doing something stupid.

One good, one not so much. Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin participated in the Adidas Nations thing recently. Walton looks ready to step forward and become a primary option:

- Derrick Walton Jr. had a good day running the show for his team.

On Friday Walton was very good with regards to distributing the basketball, making sound decisions in the pick-and-roll game and getting his teammates the ball where they were best positioned to enjoy success. One of the beneficiaries was teammate Zak Irvin, who knocked down multiple jump shots on the tail end of those Walton passes. With an eye towards next season, this weekend will be good for the two Wolverines as they (along with Caris LeVert) are the ones best positioned for a breakout 2014-15.

But over the course of the camp, Irvin didn't show that his game had expanded much:

Zak Irvin (Michigan):  …didn’t appear to be much better than when I last saw him in Indianapolis during the Sweet 16/Elite Eight weekend. Irvin can still perform as a catch-and-shoot player, but after losing Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary, Irvin needs to step up this season and do more off-the-bounce. That didn’t happen at adidas Nations. Irvin struggled with two-dribble pull-ups and was stripped multiple times while trying to drive to the basket. Still plenty of time before November, but Irvin doesn’t look much better than last season. (SP)

He was not much of a slasher even in high school, preferring to take those midrange pull-ups when he wasn't taking threes. And as we've mentioned several times before, Irvin was far more in the Just A Shooter category than Stauskas was during their respective freshman years. He should diversify a bit; he is still going to be a guy who mostly has shots created for him. With Walton and LeVert around that shouldn't be a huge problem. I might even prefer it if Irvin focused more on his defense, which has the potential to be really good, than expanding his offensive game. Michigan could use a lockdown perimeter defender more than they need another guy to get to the basket.

This should be more fun. I forgot to put this in the last one:

"Acurate" is not a good word to misspell, but inserting an unnecessary and incorrect "whereas" is the hallmark of someone who learned to write by expanding a one page paper to five by inserting meaningless jibberish endlessly.

Yes, yes, MSU fans, scoreboard. Just don't say anything other than "oh no, not again" when Duncan Robinson signs on here rather soon. Then we are good.

All of the other ESPNs are full of Tebow. The lineup of basketball's nonconference tourney has been announced, and one thing in particular jumps off the page:

VCU vs. Villanova, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

Michigan vs. Oregon, 9 p.m. (ESPN3)

ESPN3? You have an early-season matchup between an Elite 8 team and an outfit that got to the second round of last year's tourney and that doesn't even warrant placement on ESPNU? I'm not mad, I'm impressed, actually I'm a little mad.

Michigan's "opening round" opponents will be Bucknell and Detroit; both are middling mid-majors. Bucknell was 11-7 in the Patriot league last year, Detroit 6-10 in the Horizon. These are the kind of teams Michigan should be scheduling instead of New Jersey Tech or whatever: respectable, beatable.

As a bonus, Detroit has a couple of interesting names. Juwan Howard Jr is Yes That Juwan Howard's son; Carlton Brundidge spent a year at Michigan before looking for a place he was more likely to play. He got about 20 minutes a game last year for the Titans, shooting 67/44/28.

A couple of hockey departures. Defensemen Spencer Hyman and Mike Szuma are no longer with the team. Hyman will play at Toronto. Szuma is still enrolled. Both were walk-ons; Szuma got 30 games two years ago as Michigan tried to fill some big holes on their blue line but did not play last year.

With Werenski's early entry there are still ten(!) defensemen on the roster, so impact should be minimal. I mean, you can fill out a line chart like so:

  • Werenski-Downing
  • Lohan-De Jong
  • Sinelli-Serville

And you've still got Cutler Martin, Sam Piazza, Mike Chiasson, and Niko Porikos scratched. I don't think I've ever seen a hockey roster with this many dudes on it.

Yup. The current student government president on the athletic department's advisory council:

While this advisory council is a big step forward, it also takes a leap back. These twenty students are handpicked by the Athletic Department based off one's class standing, twitter handle (optional), and the answer to two questions. The questions are: "Why do you want to be a part of the Football Student Advisory Council" and "What is your favorite Michigan Athletics memory?". Oh, and you have to be a season ticket holder. This is problematic for two reasons. The first is that this puts a price on a students' ability to give feedback and make a change. The second is that while students are given more of a voice, it is the AD that is picking the students, not the students themselves. This means that the AD could very easily pick a group of "yes men", take a policy to this group and then say they consulted the students on a policy change.

That is almost certainly going to happen given the way the department has been run the last few years. CYA CYA CYA.

Is this a good thing for you? One of the more laughable quotes from Big Ten Media Days came from Pat Fitzgerald:

"You've got to go win," Fitzgerald said Tuesday. "Finally! You've got to go win. No longer can you have a traditional name behind you and four coaches with statues in front of the stadium and 90,000 people every week and you're automatically going to be ranked ... in the top 20.

"That football side now matters."

Even if the first bit was accurate, the Big Ten was and is the major beneficiary of that tendency. SEC teams win and the other conferences don't have the same lucrative fanbases. And then there's the fact that the first bit is not accurate. The football side "now matters." Okay. Alabama's just around because of statues.

If he's talking about Northwestern specifically, the only team even vaguely eligible for BCS consideration since the Wildcats went to the Rose Bowl was 2012, when Northwestern went 9-3 in the regular season without beating a ranked opponent or even playing one ranked higher than #24 by year's end. The system made the correct call to dump NW into the Gator Bowl.

Etc.: DJ Wilson will not play on Michigan's Italian trip after surgery on a finger, should be fine by the time the season rolls around. Matt Hinton lands at Grantland. I'm not even going to talk about Brandon's radio appearance today. Yeah!

Mike Hart, coach, profiled. NYT on autonomy. Why is Kansas State any good? Countess switches to #2, blogger grumbles uselessly about kids these days.

This Week's Obsession: On the Road

This Week's Obsession: On the Road

Submitted by Seth on July 23rd, 2014 at 12:14 PM

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The question: Of those (if any) you've visited, what's your favorite road venue for a college football Saturday? I don't just mean the stadium but the whole package--the city, the burger, the rival fans, the drive, etc. Or which would you want to do first?

Ace: I'm back from Florida and have way too much nothing planned for the next couple days, so I might as well answer the question...

Between my time at school and this job, I've managed to make it to six road venues, one of which doesn't really count because it shouldn't have ever been a college football venue: Spartan Stadium (2007, '09, '13), Camp Randall ('07), Beaver Stadium ('08, '13), Notre Dame ('08, '13), Cowboys Stadium* ('12), and Ohio Stadium ('13). If you looked at that list and said I should never attend a road game again, you're quite astute, and trust me when I say I've considered it.

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Movie night, or perhaps annoying white guy tryouts.

My favorite, despite the particular game I chose to attend, is Camp Randall. Madison is a gorgeous college town with a phenomenal bar scene—we wandered around so much the night before the game that I can't give a recommendation besides "just go to Madison already"—and while I've heard less-than-complimentary things about their fans, we were treated well despite being a crew of intoxicated students with a couple guys who didn't shy away from stirring the pot. As is the case in Ann Arbor, the campus and stadium are conveniently intertwined with the town, so getting to and from the game isn't a pain like it is in, say, South Bend, where off-campus housing tends to be a very long, boring walk away from the stadium. While the drive to and from Ann Arbor isn't a short one, having Chicago as a stopgap is a major bonus; I'll deal with some extra traffic if it gives me the chance to visit a great city with no shortage of transplanted Ann Arborites and Michigan grads.

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it's impossible to take a bad picture inside Camp Randall

Since I'm not the type to be offended by profanity, I love the in-game atmosphere, as well. Our seats in the visitors' section were at the top corner of the upper deck, where visitors' sections ought to be, and feeling the mass of red-adorned fans below literally shake the stadium during "Jump Around" was outrageously cool, albeit a bit unnerving. Despite our high perch, the sight lines for viewing the game were great, thanks to the steep incline of the seats. They don't play the same two songs over and over and over again, giving Camp Randall a decided edge over Beaver Stadium, and they don't play in front of 100,000 Ohio State fans, giving it a decided edge over Ohio Stadium. Even if the drive is a bit long, the tailgating and viewing experiences alone are worth the trip.

As for my least favorite, it's Spartan Stadium, since I won't pretend that Jerryworld is a legitimate answer here. East Lansing is one of the least charming college towns I've visited, parking there is a nightmare, the stadium is a shrine to concrete insipidity, and an all-too-large portion of the fans don't grasp that trash talking shenanigans are supposed to be cheeky and fun, not cruel and tragic. It's the only place I've been where a total stranger has attempted to forcefully remove me from the sidewalk—I did nothing to provoke this aside from wearing maize—and that occurred even though I was accompanied by a green-clad Spartan grad. At least I went there last year, so I'll get a respite this seas—DAMMIT, POWERS THAT BE, YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.

*The aforementioned "doesn't really count" venue, in case that wasn't painfully obvious.

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After the jump: more things Delaney thinks we'd like to see less than New Jersey.

Draftageddon: In Which Rutgers OL Are Given Dissertation-Length Discussions

Draftageddon: In Which Rutgers OL Are Given Dissertation-Length Discussions

Submitted by Brian on June 4th, 2014 at 11:44 AM

The goal: to put together a team of Big Ten players that seems like a better team than your competitors. Incidentally we'll learn a surprising amount about the league and where Michigan might fit in.

PREVIOUSLY ON DRAFTAGEDDON

  1. Everyone not grabbing dual-threat senior QBs grabs defensive linemen
  2. Seth takes Venric Mark in front of just about everyone
  3. Nothing terribly remarkable happens
  4. BISB takes all the guys I want

WHERE WE'RE AT PRESENTLY

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ROUND 9 – Pick 1: Theiren Cockran, DE, Minnesota

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looks hurty

O: QB Braxton Miller (OSU), RB Melvin Gordon (UW), WR Stefon Diggs (MD), OT Rob Havenstein(WI)

D: DE Frank Clark(MI), DE Theiren Cockran (MN), DT Darius Hamilton(RU), DT Carl Davis(IA), CB Trae Waynes (MSU)

BRIAN: I'll complete my DL with Cockran, who is another one of those Minnesota linemen that enter school as a 6'6" basketball player and take some time to pack on the weight. In Cockran's case he arrived at 210 pounds(!) and needed about a year and a half to get up to anything resembling plausible. When he did that, he popped into a starting job and immediately produced. Cockran matched the sack numbers of Bosa, Calhoun, and Spence without getting any of them by running over Fitz Toussaint.  He made second-team All Big Ten as a result.

Cockran did that at 245 and with plenty more space on his 6'6" frame he should add another 20 or so pounds this year to become more of an all-around force. A still-raw true sophomore, he's about to Hageman your asses.

Also, while you guys were falling all over yourselves to pick piles of near-identical DEs I picked up the league's best QB, RB, CB, WR, and run-blocking tackle. Meanwhile I only got a first round DT, two second-team All Big Ten performers from a year ago, and a five star recruit with double digit TFLs as a true sophomore. Whatever shall we do?

ROUND 9 - PICK 2: Darius Kilgo, NT, Maryland

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more like Darius KILLGO

O: RB Ameer Abdullah (NE), WR Devin Funchess (U-M), TE Maxx Williams (MN), LT Brandon Scherff (IA)

D: DE Shilique Calhoun (MSU), DE/DT Andre Monroe (MD), NT Darius Kilgo (MD), LB Chi Chi Ariguzo (NW), CB Desmond King (IA)

ST: KR/PR Ameer Adbullah (NE)

ACE: You never should've assigned me both FFFF duties and the HTTV opponent previews, Brian. The student is becoming the master.

/sees Hamilton pick

Aw, hamburgers.

Regardless, you haven't snarked at one of my picks since Round 4, which has to be some sort of record. I've got legitimate arguments for best RB, WR, and TE, I definitely have the best OT, and on defense I can lay claim to best all-around WLB and 3-tech/SDE/whatever I decide to do with Monroe. Also, beg to differ on the whole "best run-blocking tackle in the B1G" thing:

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Yes, I made that GIF just to prove a point. What of it?

Anyway, it looks like we're poised for a run on defensive tackles, so I'll make my move here and once again grab an overlooked Maryland lineman. I probably shouldn't have to tell you anything other than "is a 310-pound redshirt senior named DARIUS KILGO" but I'll do so anyway.

While Brian drafted Carl Davis way back in the second round, Kilgo isn't too far off from Davis on 2015 NFL Draft rankings—or, in this case, ranked above him—especially when you separate the nose tackles from the three-techs. I discussed Maryland's strong defensive line when nabbing Andre Monroe; Bill Connelly is a fan, and the first name out of his mouth after Monroe's when discussing the Terp front seven was Kilgo's:

Darius Kilgo proved an agile, interesting force at nose tackle.

Kilgo's ascension to starting nose tackle in 2012 coincided with Maryland's rush defense shaving over a full yard per carry off their opponent average, from 4.7 down to 3.5. He tallied five TFLs and two sacks that season, and followed it up with 6.5 TFLs and another pair of sacks in 2013. For a 3-4 nose facing consistent double-teams, those are impressive numbers; he holds up against multiple blockers and still finds a way to occasionally knife into the backfield.

As for that "interesting, agile force" bit... yeah. Great jump, violent hands, scary closing speed on the QB ... I'm impressed, and again, that's my nose tackle. This defensive line is going to bring the noise and the funk. Also the pain. Definitely the pain.

So, uh, should we start worrying about the Maryland game yet? Because I'm definitely doing that.

[AFTER THE JUMP: really, just far far too much discussion about a single Rutgers OL.]

Draftageddon: It Continues To Continue

Draftageddon: It Continues To Continue

Submitted by Brian on May 27th, 2014 at 11:29 AM

PREVIOUSLY ON DRAFTAGEDDON: Many defensive linemen went off the board early, and then there was a big run on tailbacks inexplicably kicked off by Venric Mark. Trash was talked about Shilique Calhoun, because that's how we do this business. Trash was not talked about MSU in general because obviously.

ROUND 5 - PICK 1: Trae Waynes, CB, MSU

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O: QB Braxton Miller (OSU), RB Melvin Gordon (UW), WR Stefon Diggs (MD)
D: DT Carl Davis(IA), CB Trae Waynes (MSU)

BRIAN: To kick off the fifth, I'll grab the last member available from last year's lights-out MSU secondary: Trae Waynes. I trashed Calhoun, and I think justly, so let me explain how MSU is so good on defense: their secondary is impeccable. The safeties are super aggressive, often forced into man coverage as BISB mentioned. This means that the corners are on an island constantly. Waynes was opposite future first-rounder Darqueze Dennard and more than coped, with three INTs and very few derp moments. You have to be good to be in island man coverage all damn day and be part of the #2 secondary in the country when it came to YPA. 

The NFL is also itching to get their hands on Waynes. Fox's Peter Schrager likes him better than Dennard and projects him 11th. Pete Prisco says he might be better and has him 26th. And why not? He's 6'1" and his fake 40 is so so fake at 4.3. Even if Ace was betting on a tailback dropping to him, NW LB versus MSU DB should be no contest.

ROUND 5 - PICK 2: Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska

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O: RB Ameer Abdullah(NEB), WR Devin Funchess (M), LT Brandon Scherff (Iowa)
D: DE Shilique Calhoun (MSU), LB Chi Chi Ariguzo (NW)
ST: KR/PR Ameer Adbullah

ACE: Dammit, Brian. Waynes was the other guy I was considering with my last pick—my decision came down to the respective depth at linebacker and cornerback—but you have a point here about Waynes' pure talent level. I might've over-thought that one.

Thankfully, Seth Millen either really under- or over-thought the Mark selection, so I still get to mock somebody and get one of the best backs in the country. Abdullah led the conference in rushing yards and averaged over six yards per carry last season even though his quarterback was either Taylor Martinez playing through turf toe so bad he failed an NFL physical eight months later, Tommy Armstrong Jr., Ron Kellogg III, or—for one glorious five-yard completion—something called a Ryker Fyfe.

In addition to being a superlative runner, Abdullah's a solid receiver out of the backfield; he cracked 100 yards of offense in all 13 games, and hit the century mark on the ground alone in all but two of them. If you've got a little time to kill, here are 14 minutes of Abdullah highlights from 2013 set to a quality selection of hip hop instrumentals—you won't be bored:

Mark's 2013 highlights, meanwhile, come in JPG form:

Oh, I almost forgot: Abdullah's also a really dangerous return man, averaging 26.1 yards with a TD on 47 career kickoff returns and 10.2 yards with another TD on 31 punt returns. Nebraska didn't utilize him as a returner last year because of his workload at running back, but there are no such limitations in hypothetical MGoB1G fantasyland.

RB/KR/PR Ameer Adbullah it is. Hello, Heisman candidate in the fifth round.

[AFTER THE JUMP: HAAAAAAAAAIIIRRRRRR, Seth drafts more Northwestern skill players for some reason.]

Draftageddon 2014: It Continues

Draftageddon 2014: It Continues

Submitted by Brian on May 22nd, 2014 at 3:41 PM

LAST TIME ON DRAFTAGEDDON: I saw a pale horse ridden by a guy who thinks Shilique Calhoun is a first round NFL draft pick.

ROUND 3 - PICK 1: Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland

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O: QB Braxton Miller (OSU), WR Stefon Diggs (MD)
D: DT Carl Davis(IA)

BRIAN: Stefon Diggs is recovering from a broken leg that snuffed out his year 7 games in, but we've already got plenty of evidence that Diggs is the most explosive WR in the Big Ten. A five-star recruit with offers from everyone, Diggs put up 848 yards as a freshman and was on pace for 1090 before the injury last year. He made the All-ACC team as a freshman and is being projected as a first rounder a few places despite the leg and the uncertainty about whether he'll come out. 

I'm not particularly worried about that injury. Diggs returned to drills and 7-on-7 in early April, and broken bones are not the kind of thing you might worry about long term. He says he's faster than he was before despite being only 90%, and even if that's not true... I'll live with it.

The main issue with Diggs is that his production is dependent on his quarterback and his quarterback plays at Maryland and therefore will die six ways and be replaced by a linebacker midseason. Probable starter Caleb Rowe had 131 attempts last year and completed fewer than half of them. But in terms of my team, he's a perfect fit. Miller's good over the top and commands so much attention that WR screens feature one on one matchups. He's a guy who would be able to get a ton of free yards paired with Miller. Dana Holgorsen called him a "Tavon Austin clone"... except like four inches taller. As a bonus, he had two KR TDs as a freshman.

ROUND 3 - PICK 2: Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan

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[Bryan Fuller]

O: WR Devin Funchess (U-M), LT Brandon Scherff (Iowa)
D: DE Shilique Calhoun (MSU)

ACE: I could drag out all the stats on how Funchess blew up once Michigan realized he's a wide receiver, period. I could tell you how awesome it is to have a 6'5", 230-pound living matchup nightmare on the outside. I could discuss in exacting detail how Funchess, just a true junior, should have by far his best season in 2014. I could mention the (terrifying) possibility that he'll be a first-round NFL Draft pick at this time next year.

But you know all that. So let's just admire the freaky athletic ability for a little bit:

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Is this a homer pick? I won't say no, though Funchess is the leading returning receiver in the entire conference.

Do I feel bad about it whatsoever? Noooooope.

INTERLUDE

BRIAN: That's no homer pick, man. Funchess is also getting first-round hype and with good reason. Not the reasons that the people picking Funchess in the first round have, like "is a tight end," but Funchess was the other guy before a big dip in available talent at WR.

ACE: Yeah, I mostly just wanted to set up that Archer reference. I would've taken Funchess here even if he played for Rutgers. Okay, maybe not Rutgers, but literally anyone else.

BISB: Anyone else? I'm picturing Funchess catching passes from Danny Etling, which would be a "Denard as pocket passer"-level crime against man-panda.

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sorry, I heard "crimes BY man-panda" –ed

ACE: I stand by my original statement.

Also, I am now dead.

[AFTER THE JUMP: additional man-panda crimes! Seth Dumars!]

Unverified Voracity Sows Chaos, Reaps The Wildcat

Unverified Voracity Sows Chaos, Reaps The Wildcat

Submitted by Brian on January 30th, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Important (not important). This is a frog.

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I have been exhorted to call this MGoFrog and make it a thing. I'm afraid that by doing so I will give Adidas an idea for a Michigan uniform, unfortunately.

Important (important). Will Heininger features in an Outside The Lines article on mental health issues for athletes:

"I had emotional pain that was overwhelming; I would wake up, and from morning until I feel asleep -- when I was able sleep -- I had troubling thoughts that were utterly consuming," said the 2011 Michigan honors graduate. "Not a minute would go by in a day, without my depression on my mind … this, this felt impossible."

One of the things CAPA is fighting for is better treatment for these sorts of issues; read the whole thing. Both of the whole things.

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"Please enjoy this punch in the nuts." –DJ Newbill

CHAOS! Did you happen to watch the rote blowouts in the Big Ten last night? You did not, because Ohio State and Wisconsin lost to Penn State and Northwestern, respectively. At home. As our own BISB said:

Yes. They're trying to push each other into the lava, but yes. Or Adam Jacobi:

The Big Ten Is Full of Blood and Spiders

Jacboi has a nice table that indicates the upcoming "no days off in the Big Ten"/"this conference is so deep" announcer memes are in fact on point:

Year Conf. Rating Rank Avg. B1G Worst Team Rating
2003 .7688 5 No. 56 Penn State 210
2004 .7520 5 No. 62 Penn State 218
2005 .7862 3 No. 47 Penn State 215
2006 .7831 4 No. 54 Purdue 152
2007 .8058 4 No. 51 Minnesota 170
2008 .7625 5 No. 65 Northwestern 192
2009 .8144 5 No. 46 Indiana 209
2010 .7851 4 No. 60 Indiana 198
2011 .8527 1 No. 31 Iowa 92
2012 .8263 1 No. 32 Nebraska 150
2013 .8459 1 No. 34 Penn State 148
2014 .8310 1 No. 42 Northwestern 118

The closest thing to an easy out is the Northwestern team that is a half-game out of a first round bye in the Big Ten tourney; there's not even a last year's Penn State to kick around. There's a last year's Penn State plus Tim Frazier. See cliff above.

This is good and bad for Michigan. In the Kenpom world it's good since Michigan's beaten PSU handily and has yet to play OSU, but in the NCAA seeding world you get more credit for beating 6-seed OSU and terrible PSU than you get for beating 10-seed OSU and mediocre PSU. Neither of these effects are huge, so the correct reaction is probably just to point and laugh*. (And fume at how bad Big Ten refs are.)

*[But probably not at Aaron Craft. He got crossed over for the game winner, which was Newbill rushing a wrist-flick shot because Craft was coming. Meanwhile, Tim Frazier's statline: 8 points on 9 shot attempts, 7 assists, 6 TO. No offense to Derrick Walton, but put Craft on this Michigan team and they are a juggernaut. I shouldn't have mentioned this.]

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Bill Carmody: gone, but not forgotten

The Wildcat conundrum. Meanwhile, we've been talking about how fascinating Northwestern is on the podcast for the last couple weeks. And boy, aren't they? Last year they were extremely bad, around 140th on both sides of the ball. The Wildcats then:

  • fired Bill Carmody
  • hired Chris Collins
  • graduated two low-usage, mediocre efficiency seniors
  • graduated a high usage, low efficiency senior
  • got Drew Crawford back
  • added a pretty terrible offensive player in freshman Sanjay Lumpkin, who they play starter's minutes

For some reason, the result is a massively unbalanced version of the team they were last year. Northwestern is 11th(!!!) in defensive efficiency on Kenpom for no discernable reason whatsoever. They have plummeted to 320th on offense. Their games are incredibly watchable for unwatchable games, because you're always trying to unravel the mystery of why the Wildcats are elite on defense. It makes no sense. No sense at all. Here's John Gasaway trying to figure it out.

Meanwhile, Northwestern is a half-game out of a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament and that gets BIG TENNNN, right? I think that's a BIG TENNNN.

By the way. Michigan shot 63% from two against the Wildcats and averaged 1.21 points per possession, and Alex Olah—Gasaway's best guess as to why NW is playing so much better D—was on the court for 30 minutes.

Recruiting battles past. OSU has a couple of guys on their team that Michigan pursued, and it's interesting to see their development. Or lack thereof, as the case may be.

Michigan stopped recruiting Amadeo Della Valle so they could go after Caris LeVert, who was right under OSU's nose. OSU grabs ADV; Michigan gets LeVert. In year two, Della Valle is a very poor man's LeVert: a skinny shooting guard with some ability to drive, but one who's only getting 30% of OSU's minutes as they struggle to generate anything on offense. LeVert generates a lot of assists; ADV is generating few. Hell, LeVert has replaced about 95% of Tim Hardaway's production a year after Michigan was trying to redshirt him.

The context of the team is important, but it seems like that Michigan made the right choice on that one.

The other guy on the OSU roster Michigan was involved with is Amir Williams, OSU's mercurial center. Williams has oven mitts for hands and gets pulled on the regular despite OSU's near total lack of post players to replace him with; he has seemingly not improved one whit from the absentminded freshman I remember from two years ago. Michigan was never really a consideration for Williams, but it's kind of amazing that OSU would probably trade him for Jordan Morgan without blinking.

Either way. In yesterday's post on Northwestern's prospective union I mentioned that the NLRB had flipped back and forth on the issue of student-employees being able to organize based on assertions from a 2006 paper. In that paper the most recent ruling had gone against the students trying to organize. Well, that has again flipped:

“There’s case law for the NLRB involving teaching assistants which supports their position,” Baum said. “There have been different decisions both ways. What they’re saying is that this really is a form of litigation to bring about change because they’re asking for something very similar.”

In December 2013, the American Arbitration Association announced that graduate teaching and research assistants at New York University had officially unionized. The group is the only graduate assistants’ union at a private university in the U.S.

Demonstrating the volatility of the NLRB, graduate assistants at NYU were granted the ability to negotiate a union contract and both improved health benefits and increased stipends in 2000. But in 2005 the ruling was switched following a case involving Brown graduate assistants in which the NLRB ruled that graduate assistants are students, not employees, and therefore cannot unionize.

The recent overturn of the 2005 ruling, though, is an encouraging sign for the newly formed CAPA.

One gets the sense that the NLRB tends to blow whichever way the White House does. In CAPA's case there seems to be no way to put the cat back in the bag if Northwestern does indeed get certified, so now is as good a time to strike as any.

Typical. FERPA means whatever Universities want it to mean, so the university says they will not release any details about Brendan Gibbons. This is in line with the university's general stance on releasing information—don't do it, because we have to cover our ass. Suspicious in most cases, here it verges on appalling given the fact that FERPA specifically states this:

The text of FERPA notes that the law shouldn’t “be construed to prohibit an institution of postsecondary education from disclosing the final results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by such institution against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence … or a nonforcible sex offense, if the institution determines as a result of that disciplinary proceeding that the student committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense.”

With lurid conspiracy theories flying back and forth, everyone would be better off if Michigan came forth and showed everyone exactly what happened to expel a student four years after the incident that got him expelled transpired. This is not an athletic department thing, but rather a larger pattern of CYA secrecy that's beneath the university. Or at least should be.

Etc.: Spilly's quest for balls. Death to the neutral site game. Penn State is discounting season tickets for recent grads. Men's basketball standings. Michigan gets a 2016 D commit.