Unverified Voracity Shows Off Ab-Type Substances

Unverified Voracity Shows Off Ab-Type Substances

Submitted by Brian on July 30th, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Will Campbell perpetual shirt malfunction. Tim Sullivan headed out to the Cass Tech alumni 7-on-7 game last weekend and got this shot of Will Campbell doing, well, this:

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He's (relatively) thin. This will make him an excellent football player. Lewan:

"The most dramatic change I've seen in a body on our team is Will Campbell," said left tackle Taylor Lewan. "His body is transformed. He was a sloppy 350 and now he's a toned down 308 kind of guy. He looks real good. His conditioning shows it. You should see him run. He's like a gazelle. It's unreal. I think Will is going to do some special things this year."

Come on, baby.

Haters. I just don't know, man. People deploy "haters" to flip criticism to the critic but surely

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From Garry Gilliam™ twitter feed with the comment

"Just in case the haters thought otherwise"

…nope. There is nothing in this world bad enough to prevent "haters" from being deployed. Yeah, Penn State football player, it's jealousy at the root of all of this.

UNC stuff. A "special faculty committee" at North Carolina has called for "an independent commission of outside experts" to review the relationship between athletics and academics at the university. If this happens expect the outside experts to exhale a slow, sliding whistle at the car wreck:

The report, released Thursday, also states staffers in the school's Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes referred players to classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM). In May, the university outlined fraud and poor oversight in 54 AFAM classes between 2007 and 2011, including classes that met irregularly if at all.

That included a class last summer with 18 current football players and one former player.

"It seems likely that someone in the (AFAM) department called athletics counselors … to tell them that certain courses would be available," the report states, "it is less clear whether staff … actually contacted departments to ask about the availability of classes."

So there's that. There's playing Hakeem Nicks in 2008 when he was ineligible, and there was Butch Davis employing an assistant coach literally acting as a "street agent." UNC got a one-year bowl ban and some minor scholarship losses.

Why didn't UNC get hammered? They've subverted nearly as much to the drive of the football program as Penn State did, albeit with far less odious results. If the NCAA is ever going to get a handle on these things, plausible deniability needs to be tossed out the window.

Leave Jordan alone. It's bad enough that Roy Roundtree is 21 and Devin Gardner is 12 and I'm going to be confused but come on man let's not take a bomb to our roster:

In May, Michigan announced that Roundtree would wear the No. 21 jersey of "Michigan Football Legend" Desmond Howard next season. Shortly thereafter, the school announced it would be un-retiring and recirculating Ron Kramer's No. 87, Gerald Ford's No. 48 and Bennie Oosterbaan's No. 47 beginning this fall.

Who might those players be? Will they be announced this season? When will Hoke decide it all?

"Sometime," he said with a grin. "In the future.

"We'll see."

Come on man let's not do this. Let's give the numbers to players who have not yet established themselves as starters. Let's do this: not doing this. Come on man.

This one not so close. In other non-WH games on youtube, here's almost all of the 1991 Florida State game. Advantages: Desmond Howard and Keith Jackson. Disadvantages: Michigan loses by 20. Tread carefully:

If that doesn't tempt, 100 random Michigan touchdowns may:

Angry Iowa running back hating God is having its Exodus moment. Or it just released "Blood on the Tracks" or something. What I am getting at is: wow, that got out of hand.

holygrail049[1]

YOUR RUNNING BACKS. I WILL DESTROY THEM, IOWA.

Sophomore De'Andre Johnson got a ticket for "maintaining a disorderly house" because the cops didn't appreciate walking up a never-ending staircase* and then drove very fast away from police*, drawing the usual indefinite suspension. This is the fifth(!) tailback hewed down by AIRBHG this offseason alone, though incoming freshman Greg Garmon got away with a drug paraphernalia charge without a suspension.

*[allegedly!]

The new QC assistant. The NCAA made a move to formalize and limit quality control staffers, albeit one that got tabled. Your move, college football coaches:

Alabama coach Nick Saban’s support staff has expanded to nine “analysts.” That’s up from six in 2011, three in 2010 and none before then.

The money has to go somewhere.

We will fare less well on this list next year. Orson charts fun/good from the perspective of his Orsonbrain. The Big Ten:

Screen_shot_2012-07-29_at_11.15.44_PM[1]

This is because Denard. Next year… well, it'll probably be Gardner and if early returns are any indication that will be fun to the Orsonbrain as well because it will occasionally result in passes thrown ten yards past the line of scrimmage or thirty yards behind it. Our brains will probably not interpret this as "fun."

I think Northwestern gets a raw deal here since they are liable to do anything at any time no matter how big their lead is.

Goodbye, Bolden. Rob Bolden's inevitable, slow-motion transfer process seems to have come to a conclusion with an LSU visit and the notable omission of Bolden from the Penn State roster. How he'll improve LSU's football team is unclear. Tulane, maybe.

In any case, the highly-touted in-state QB recruiting class is down to Devin Gardner's one or two years at the helm at Michigan. Joe Boisture discovered he wasn't actually good at football and lasted less than a year at MSU, Bolden lost his job to a walk-on, and Gardner's been stuck behind Denard.

Um. Nebraska's going to wear alternate uniforms for their game against Wisconsin that look slightly familiar, and not just because they give off the faint air of Rollerball.

image

this is just a picture. don't click on it.

Ad some shoulder stripes and that's Michigan's outfit from last year's ND game. Hopefully Adidas was too busy making jerseys that don't have to be switched out at halftime to innovate this summer.

Derrick Walton doing this work business. He led his AAU team to a championship in Vegas last weekend, garnering MVP honors in the process:

Walton is aggressively moving up the 2013 recruiting ranks, and continued to impress coaches and recruiting gurus with his performance this week in Las Vegas. Before the game, Dave Telep, ESPN.com’s top recruiting analyst, tweeted that Walton is being considered as a McDonald’s All-American after his strong performance.

TELEP: Sprinkle that Derrick Walton name in for McDonalds consideration.

The Mustangs, who boast four Division 1-bound players, cruised through the tournament going 9-0, outscoring opponents by 17 points per game in super pool play.

Walton had 16 points, 13 assists, and one turnover in the final.

Media days stuff. ESPN has a transcript of his speech. Denard:

And Denard:

And Lewan:

And Kovacs:

Etc.: USA water polo goalie Betsey Armstrong will become a Michigan assistant this fall. Advice: try not to get kicked by her. Not that she's in the habit of kicking random passersby. Annual MVictors JDRF donation drive is live. GRITTY GRIT GIRT. SOCKS. WOLVERINE CONSERVATION THROUGH CITIZEN SCIENCE FUNDRAISING.

Unverified Voracity Invites You To His Lawn

Unverified Voracity Invites You To His Lawn

Submitted by Brian on July 27th, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Programming note/briefly. No Friday Recruitin' today since Ace is in Chicago covering Big Ten media days. Here's an abbreviated version:

Ohio State dropped VA RB Derrick Green, who is either the top back in his class (Rivals) or like #5 or so and a guy you can line up in the I-form—mixed feelings ho—and pound away with. So he's changed his plans to spend more time at Michigan instead of hitting up OSU's Friday Night Lights camp. With Clemson also out of the picture since they filled up at running back, Green is now looking like far more of a possibility than he was just a couple weeks ago.

IL WR LaQuon Treadwell: still visiting Oklahoma State. Still probably thinking about officials. Trieu: "I still think Michigan is very much in the lead with him."

FL S Leon McQuay's dad clarified that the younger McQuay had not dropped Michigan but confirmed that Florida State had replaced M in his top three.

No one else exists.

Bo talks Joe. WH posts the Big Ten Ticket segment from before the '98 PSU game:

Hey, kids! Get on my lawn! Jump up and down and smoke the pot! Have a woodstock! Northwestern just debuted new uniforms that are unique and awesome:

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These aren't alternates, either, they're the thing they're going to wear all the time now. I'm not sure about the brickwork frippery on the numbers when you get real close but if you can't see it at all in the above shots it's probably not too bad.

Why do I like these when Michigan's parade of changes are annoying at best and horrifying at worst?

  1. This is a new overall identity for Northwestern, one in which the "Northwestern stripe" is being reclaimed for all their sports. It is not a one-off flibbertyjibber that only confuses things.
  2. It is a One Big Idea jersey minus the fooferrah that made Remember Bo's parody of the direction Michigan is headed in the thing I front-paged hardest last year. I front-paged that so hard. Michigan keeps adding block Ms all over the place and patches and numbers and all this stuff when they have already acquired the One Big Idea—the winged helmet.
  3. They are unique across college football and give you the start of a tradition. I feel like I should have a ridiculous carnival noun in here.

Anyway. Steve Spurrier needs to be involved with this.

mgotrivia: named primary Rock Band band "OBC and the Click Clacks"

BONUS: Man, Under Armor likes misters.

Meanwhile, more detail on our bit. The Alabama jerseys in a 30 second video:

Those gloves will come in handy if any of those guys ever have a test on what the lyrics to the fight song are.

I know you're literally coming off the worst scandal in the history of college athletics, but doesn't this seem extreme? Penn State is considering something drastic:

An issue that generated just as much buzz Thursday was the possibility that coach Bill O'Brien plans to change Penn State's traditional, basic blue and white uniforms. The coach mentioned that possibility during a conference call with players' parents Wednesday night, according to the Reading Eagle.

O'Brien has had discussions with Nike about changing the uniforms, which he has said repeatedly that he would not do since taking the PSU job in January.

"I reserve the right to change my mind," O'Brien said Thursday when asked what led to his decision.

Neither O'Brien nor the Penn State players would give any indication as to what the uniform changes might include, but there has been widespread speculation that it would be names on the jerseys.

The fans are already lying on the ground after a thorough kicking so I guess now's the time to do this. I suggest taking everyone's mind off the terrible things that happened by changing the school's mascot to a rainbow unicorn.

rainbow-unicorn[1]

Try to be sad now! Pretty hard, right?

Also in lack of sadness. PSU adds an unrated 2012 LB named Brennan Franklin who had been ticketed for Eastern Arizona Junior College. Had "interest" from Toledo. Franklin on his commitment: "If I went to New Mexico or New Mexico State or Indiana, they wouldn’t be going to a bowl game anyway."

Oy. I'm not happy about this at all. I can only imagine what it's like to be a Penn State fan. What's the Michigan equivalent of this? Bo helped plan 9/11 and the Rodriguez era lasts 15 years. I would not wish the equivalent on my worst enemy*.

*[False. I would wish it on many people, but only bad ones. Like the people who came up with the Buffalo Wild Wings commercials.]

Boooooooooo. Boooooooo. Booooooooo. PEOPLE ARE JERKS AND STUFF:

Don't expect to see a nine-game Big Ten schedule any time soon.

Commissioner Jim Delany said at Big Ten media days Thursday that league schools are "of a unanimous mind to stay at eight games" in the conference schedule.

Guh. The Pac-12 is already there, the Big 12 and ACC are going to nine, and it's only the teams with the sappiest saps sticking with four nonconference games: the Big Ten and the SEC. And maybe the Big East, but no one bothers mentioning them any more.

This is especially bad for Michigan since its primary foes for the division title play Indiana, Penn State, and Purdue on an annual basis while Michigan gets Ohio State. Anything that softened that disparity helps. Hopefully it won't matter much if Hoke keeps the recruiting train going like he is, but the least the league could have done was make the conference record of your crossover opponents the first tiebreaker. If two teams finish tied at 7-1 and one of them took on OSU and UW while the other didn't, head to head can get bent.

Rebranded. Fan day is now Youth Day, for whatever reason. It's August 12th at 2. Anyone over 19 trying to enter the stadium will be chased through a cornfield by a giant red-eyed monster and eaten.

Yes. Michael Weinreb should take over PR for the Paterno family, because he's able to express the tricky concepts about moving forward as a Penn State fan in a way that sounds right:

There is no way to make up for what has been lost. All we can do is start over again. If it takes Penn State fielding a team full of walk-ons and castaways in the years to come, if it takes losses to Temple and to the dregs of the Mid-American Conference to reinforce the horror of what took place, then I will accept that. What I want now is for my alma mater to become what we’d always imagined it to be, an agent of change in a sport that desperately seeks it. If failure equals success, the punishment will be justified.

I don't know about you, but next year's game in Happy Valley has become a must-attend for me. Not to gloat, just to see what it's like and maybe stare at a place a statue used to stand and think about what is or is not pretty much the same band of RV-possessing friendly people I experienced in 2006.

And so it came to pass that Wisconsin fans bought all the tickets. The Big Ten has added this "TeamTix" system in which you gamble ten bucks on your team making the title game and then can buy a face value ticket if your team gets there. Which may be a hideously overpriced one if it's, say, Michigan State-Wisconsin. Events with Michigan in them may be another matter but I'd probably want to see how the secondary market shapes up this year. You might be able to get a suite for ten bucks.

Walton stuff. UMHoops talks to his AAU coach:

Can you talk about the progression in his game, especially within the last few months?
“He’s gotten tremendously better. He works hard every day, getting his shots up, working on his step back, working on how to finish in the mid-range because he knows that he’s going to run into 7-footers, and 6-foot-9 and so forth, so we try to make sure he’s got a little floater coming and a higher arching jump shot. So he knows what’s to come.”

Taken by the will of the wisp. Will Campbell gets probation, has to pay fines and court costs and restitution, etc. The judge gets it, man:

Judge Chris Easthope said he believed Campbell didn’t have any kind of malicious intent and was rather “caught up in the moment.”

Chris Easthope has been there, man. On the hood of a car at two AM.

Etc.: Brian Phillips on rhythmic gymnastics. Anthony Zettel stays put. Jordan Morgan expectations. Gasaway on the Emmert penalty shotgun. He's in favor. Suspended Wolverines' are called team cancers by teammates. Alabama's NT benches 600 pounds. Yay.

NCAA Gets PSU Sanctions Right, But For Wrong Reasons

NCAA Gets PSU Sanctions Right, But For Wrong Reasons

Submitted by Ace on July 24th, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Leave it to the NCAA to get the Penn State sanctions right, yet still find a way to screw it up.

The debate surrounding the—wait for it—unprecedented penalties handed down to the PSU football program has largely hinged on whether or not the NCAA had any jurisdiction at all over this issue, one that at face value went so far beyond football that it seemed inappropriate and insensitive to make it a football issue.* Criminal matters should be handled by criminal courts, so what basis does the governing body of college sports have to essentially decimate PSU football?

Yesterday, Mark Emmert decided to justify his swift and forceful actions by indicting the very culture that funnels billions into the pockets on his organization:

"The fundamental message here, the gut-check message is, do we have the right balance in our culture?" he said. "Do we have, first and foremost, the academic values of integrity and honesty and responsibility as the drivers of our university? Or are we in a position where hero worship and winning at all costs has subordinated those core values?"

In doing so, Emmert opened up the NCAA to—very fair—criticism about the sheer hypocrisy of the above statement, and that criticism extends to the penalties themselves**. Slamming "hero worship" when the NCAA extravagantly profits from—to take one small example—NCAA Football video games that advertise "a deeper game for a deeper devotion," is remarkably tone-deaf. The NCAA doesn't make their money from "academic values", but from fanatics (it's called March Madness, for chrissakes) who sanctify figures like JoePa and Coach K and Woody and Bo and the athletes upon whose backs this empire is built. The NCAA asking us to suddenly find perspective is like TMZ chastising their readers for caring too much about the lives of people they don't actually know; it's a nice sentiment coming from precisely the wrong source.

What I find more remarkable, however, is that the NCAA had the proper basis to levy these sanctions sitting right in front of them, and instead they took the hypocrisy route. It's simple: Penn State gained a massive, long-term competitive advantage by keeping Sandusky's heinous crimes quiet.

Why did Joe Paterno, when confronted with clear-cut evidence of Sandusky's sexual abuse of Victim 2, decide against alerting the Department of Child Welfare? It wasn't to cover for a friend; it's been well-documented that Paterno and Sandusky weren't exactly close off the field. No, this was a football decision, one that kept up Paterno and Penn State's untarnished image while avoiding a scandal that—even if Paterno did the right thing and reported Sandusky—would bring an enormous amount of negative attention to the program and potentially threaten Paterno's job status.

In March of 2002, when Mike McQueary reported what he had seen in the Penn State locker room to Paterno, Penn State was coming off back-to-back five-win seasons. Paterno was 75 years old, reaching the point where questions abound about his ability to run a successful football program, if he could retire with dignity before PSU would be forced to push him out the door. I can't claim to know the motivation behind the cover-up, but the timing of the 2002 allegations could not have been worse for Paterno from a football perspective.

Instead of facing the situation head-on, Paterno and Penn State kept quiet, and Penn State's program turned around; from 2002-2011, the Nittany Lions went 83-43 with two shared conference titles and two BCS bowl appearances. I have a hard time imagining that Penn State would have compiled such a lofty record while dealing with sexual abuse charges against their former defensive coordinator. I'm guessing JoePa thought much the same.

When looking at the issue from that perspective, the NCAA had little choice but to bring the hammer down on a Penn State program that gained an enormous, decade-long competitive advantage by covering up crimes of a most despicable nature. The scope of the penalties, which almost certainly doom PSU to a decade or more at the bottom of the college football barrel, are just given the severity of the crimes committed*** and their on-field consequences. While I commend the NCAA and Mark Emmert for coming through with these penalties, I have no earthly idea why they decided to base them on hypocrisy when there was such an obvious and justifiable alternative.

------------------
*The other point of contention was the potentially disconcerting precedent set by Emmert. To that, I'll say this: when do you expect something remotely close to the PSU situation to arise again? And, if we're unfortunate enough that something similar does occur, would it not merit the same level of action? I don't believe Emmert will exercise this executive power even for cheating as severe as Miami's or UNC's.
**Spencer Hall and Drew Magary, most notably, fell on the "scathing" end of the spectrum.
*** I'm referring to the cover-up, not Sandusky.

Unverified Voracity Roots For Ties

Unverified Voracity Roots For Ties

Submitted by Brian on July 24th, 2012 at 12:14 PM

[Programming note: Ace is at a Big Day Prep Showdown event today and will be reporting from that. Recruiting roundup will be tomorrow.]

Jamie Morris breaks the record. Via WH, the 1987 Minnesota game:

Also Michigan gives up a 98-yard touchdown run.

FOOTBAW. Also from WH, the 1998 shutout of Penn State. Try to watch the first minute of this without punching something and thinking about FOOTBAW:

Keith Jackson, man.

UPDATE/BONUS: Fumble recoveries, man.

image

Luck be a lady tonight.

Your tears are so yummy, Scott. Run, don't walk, to ND Nation and imbibe the thread "An emo rant: I'm still not over the Michigan loss" if the suffering of other tribes stirs even the barest tremors of pleasure in you. You will not be disappointed:

I was there...
by mg73

and the worst part for me was the 45 min it took to wade through 100,000 rabid fans screaming and singing the entire time.

I had perfect seats right under the press box on the west side with my best friend who's a UM fan. There were so many head-banging letdowns during that game: The last drive, Denard continually throwing the ball up for grabs the entire game and having UM come down with it every time, Denard fumbling and then picking it up and running it in for a TD vs Rees having the ball just fall out of his hands in the Red Zone...

Fortunately my friend was very gracious in victory, as I would have been had we won. But it still makes me ill when I think about it.

My brother's response after the game summed it up perfectly
by jameszuro

"I don't know where to start cleaning up. Firs I sh*t myself I was so happy. Then I threw up all over the carpet."

Oh, man. I have to sit down after that.

He came with the power of LAW and gave unto newspaper reporters. Are you wondering what the only lawyer in America thinks about the Penn State sanctions? Wonder no longer:

On Sunday, Buckner filed a blog entry (read it here) stating that he is "extremely concerned about the possible NCAA sanctions and urge the organization to comply with its existing processes and procedures to address the Penn State sexual abuse scandal."

Further, he wrote that sanctions could "potentially violate federal and state notions of due and fair process" because, among other reasons, Penn State did not violate an existing NCAA rule, and the NCAA is not following existing procedures available to other schools.

He's got a blog now. Batten down the law-hatches.

Even more PENN STATE~! So the thing about the sanctions that is truly painful is that the roster restriction doesn't start for two years. The bowl ban is now, the scholarship reductions are now, but the roster cap of 65 does not come into effect until 2014. But since it's open season on PSU players and what's left of their 2012 recruiting class, PSU is likely to be way, way below their hypothetical maximum this fall, and then they've only got 15 slots to try to bring that up to par next year, and that's when the roster cap kicks in. Penn State has six years of extreme restrictions. Which… wow.

Q: assuming academic-fraud-laden and booster-runner-employing North Carolina gets charged with LOIC can Mark Emmert level a similar punishment? I think that's the test case for those theorizing about the New Era Of Enforcement. What went down at UNC seems as egregious a violation of NCAA principles as what happened at Penn State, though not the principles of basic human decency. If Emmert agitates for a similarly harsh, long-term punishment of the Tarheels, then I'll believe in the new era.

I'm on the fence as it is. Emmert is clearly trying to repair some of the things that suck about the NCAA. Under his watch they jammed through the ability to offer multi-year scholarships (barely) and were only thwarted by the Indiana States of the world when they tried to offer an additional stipend to the athletes. IIRC, both of these pieces of legislation took some arcane-but-direct route that got them through the legislative process without exposing it to votes involving the Indiana States until their only resort was the override process. That required a supermajority of 5/8ths to knock down the legislation and that is the only reason (THE OPTION TO OFFER!) multi-year scholarships got through. A majority was against it.

So, yeah, rail on the NCAA because you're Drew Magary or Charlie Pierce and railin' is your speciality, but really what we're railing at is the rickety structure trying to accommodate schools that spend millions of dollars annually on a bonfire called college athletics with the major schools that can build thousand-foot tall statues of Charles Woodson intercepting that pass against MSU*. When the big players try to lurch slowly towards a more equitable distribution of their massive revenues, the small schools cry "level playing field" with a straight face and knock it down. That's the real issue, and the only solution is to hack big football schools away from Indiana State.

Anyway, Emmert seems to be ramming things through the NCAA without regard to anything except how he can Get Things Done, and the things that he wants to get done are good changes. He can't help it that he's not a dictator.

*[Just sayin']

Paterno statue position paper. Should have left it up, but removed the "educator, coach, humanitarian" text under his name. Just let people look at as they would.

We've got a poll. The writers have taken it upon themselves to replicate the preseason polls the milquetoasty Big Ten has done away with. Results:

Leaders Division
1. Wisconsin (19 first-place votes)
2. Ohio State (5)
3. Purdue
4. Illinois
5. Penn State
6. Indiana

Legends Division
1. Michigan (16 first-place votes)
2. Michigan State (7)
3. Nebraska (1)
4. Iowa
5. Northwestern
6. Minnesota

Michigan wins the championship game on 11 out of 24 ballots. If only it was slightly under 50% for the Rose Bowl this year. The inexplicable Will Gholston Hype Train continues, as he's the pick for defensive player of the year. Kawaan Short and John Simon are like "WTF I have beaten many blocks in my career page me when Gholston does yes I still have a pager also Tamagotchi."

The Elite 11 is a ridiculous thing now. You may not be following this closely, but there are now 25(!) quarterbacks at the Elite 11, which is, like, too many quarterbacks. Not only is your name silly but it results in events like this:

The third day of 7v7 began at the Elite 11 in which each quarterback takes eight throws. The duration of the day spread across a seven hour time frame makes for some strikingly different conditions. The early afternoon groups contend with a stiff ocean breeze that typically dies down late afternoon and into the evening.

Even more ridiculous was a redzone event where the QBs threw four times. Take all Elite 11 rankings with a grain of salt, as they represent little data made big. Shane Morris did well according to all observers, but did not make the camp coaches' Elite 11 list.

Isn't he doing this whenever he walks down a street? Will Campbell's Dukes of Hazzard fail magically transmogrifies into

Michigan senior defensive tackle Will Campbell accepted responsibility for a civil infraction of blocking a sidewalk Monday morning in the 15th District Court in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Be narrower or pay $300 in fines or court costs. Campbell also has a sentencing hearing for misdemeanor destruction of property coming up. My punishment spidey-sense suggests this is a stairs-type offense that shouldn't impact his availability for football games.

Nevermind. The "Valley of the Sun Bowl" is no more. In its place:

The bastard child of the Fiesta Bowl, the Insight Bowl, will now shed its technocratic shell and become known as the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Please insert immediately obvious jokes about a field rigged with sprinklers and booby traps designed to take games into overtime here.

I hope other people are driven as insane by the idea people would go to a sports bar and cheer for a tie, or that someone could be watching the Detroit Randoms try a last-ditch Hail Mary down a touchdown and say "the only thing that could make this better is… OVERTIME" instead of "the only thing that could make this better is winning 68-0 and being at a place where the food comes on, you know, plates." I hate the fake BWW people so, so much.

Yessssssss. EA has agreed to give up NCAA licensing exclusivity as part of an anti-trust class-action lawsuit. The contract lapses in 2014. Bizarrely, it stipulates that EA won't re-acquire an exclusive license for "at least five years." If your position now is so crappy you're paying out a class action lawsuit settlement why would it be better in five years? I don't know.

Anyway, this opens the door for football games from other people that may not suck and may get EA to actually fix its product. A lot of folks in the comment thread were skeptical about the economics of just putting out a college football game, but I figure someone's got to take a swing. Also one guy put out a call for a CFB game akin to Football Manager. Working title: "Brian was never heard from again."

Etc.: Bonus news that will depress Penn State fans: top basketball recruit Brandon Austin decommits. UNC stuff gets incrementally worse. Luke Winn on transferring up in college basketball. Former Penn State player twitter roundup. Penn State punishment comment fallout. BHGP podcast w/ the original BSD mafia (Chris Grovich, Kevin… uh… I don't know his last name) on the Penn State stuff. The city of Grambling is saucy, yo.

Poaching Penn State: A Probably Pointless Primer

Poaching Penn State: A Probably Pointless Primer

Submitted by Brian on July 23rd, 2012 at 1:10 PM

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last time: irrelevant. this time: apt metaphor

The bomb. Mark Emmert dropped it, and dropped it with unprecedented speed. The actual penalties are harsh but along the same lines as they usually are: bowl bans, scholarship reductions, and fines. Penn State's ban is four years, their scholarship reductions are 10 a year for four years, their roster limit is 65, and their fine is staggering. Penn State also vacates all its wins from 1998 to 2011, erasing Paterno's name from many record books.

This is all very terrible, and let's think of the victims.

Now let's think about football with our reptile brains.

Can we poach Penn State dudes? Like specifically defensive linemen? A standard corollary to any bowl ban is to waive transfer restrictions on players whose eligibility expires before the ban does. This makes the entire Penn State roster fair game. Furthermore, John Infante says the NCAA is "considering waiving [the] scholarship limit" for schools that accept PSU transfers, something they have officially declared now. The catch is they'd have to pay that scholarship back the next year. In any case, that doesn't apply to Michigan, which is still trying to get up to a full complement of 85 after the Rodriguez attrition fiesta. Right now they've got 78 on scholarship.

The last remaining catch is the Big Ten's intra-conference transfer rule, which was recently nerfed from not being able to offer a scholarship at all to this: 

The Big Ten altered its transfer rule within the conference, starting with the 2011-12 season. The new rule allows transfers to receive a grant-in-aid from their new school, but reduces their remaining athletic eligibility by a year. That penalty could have been waived if Wisconsin did not block him [Jared Uthoff]  from Big Ten schools.

Penn State has lost the power to block transfers at all, so it may be a free for all not only for various Big East schools but also Michigan itself. Delany has taken some time out from crushing coaches' heads, Kids in the Hall style, to mention the Big Ten is likely to throw the floodgates open:

Both current Penn State players and incoming recruits will be able to transfer and be eligible immediately. Although a transfer within the Big Ten could result in some penalties, league commissioner Jim Delany said Monday that the Big Ten’s presidents and chancellors are leaning toward allowing such transfers with no penalties.

The answer here appears to be "yes."

Would we even want to poach any Penn State dudes? Like specifically defensive linemen? And maybe a tight end? A quick glance at the roster reveals a few guys who could shore up weak spots: DT Jordan Hill was honorable mention All Big Ten and Michigan could really use him at either NT or 3-tech. Anthony Zettel is a touted recruit from Michigan coming off a redshirt… but taking Zettel complicates Michigan's efforts to get 24 guys into its 2013 class since his eligibility does not expire after this year. In general, Michigan's looking for the equivalent of fifth-year transfers in basketball. Guys who might be of interest:

  • Hill!
  • WR Justin Brown, a senior who was PSU's second-leading receiver with 35 catches last year.
  • DT James Terry, Devon Still's backup last year and a guy who will probably move into the starting lineup if he doesn't flee the blast radius.
  • DT DaQuan Jones, another backup last year. He's entering his junior season and would require taking the 2013 class down to 23.
  • Maybe some tight end but it's tough to say who. PSU's most experienced returner is Kevin Haplea, who had three catches last year and is listed at 248 pounds.
  • While it's hypothetically possible an OL could transfer, no one's coming in to play backup tackle, so what's the point?

PSU's very good LBs are seniors but with Michigan returning three starters and grooming an army of youngsters behind them it's doubtful M is the most attractive place should any of them want to transfer.

Would any of these guys even want to leave? When this happened to USC, the Trojans suffered a half-dozen transfers, but the guys who left were universally backups. (That link also includes Seantrel Henderson, but he was a recruit let out of his LOI, so that's maybe not the best example.) It's doubtful any of the PSU seniors will abandon a sure starting gig for uncertainty elsewhere with coaches who haven't thought about you since you were a recruit. They're weighing certainty and loyalty over a one-year cameo somewhere else. Anyone expecting PSU's starting 22 to defect en masse is going to be surprised.

The carnage will be greater with younger kids, who haven't had as much time to develop a fondness for PSU and State College and are staring down the prospect of never going to a bowl again. This doesn't help Michigan much since they want a quick-fix quasi JUCO thing that won't force a player out of the next recruiting class. Few of the players PSU has brought in over the past few years seem worthy of sacrificing that spot. Maybe Zettel, maybe CJ Olaniyan. Past that you're looking at a legion of three-stars and two-stars, guys who don't fit Michigan's positional needs, etc.

Would Michigan even pursue these guys? Probably not. Brady Hoke was recruiting in California or the MAC when these guys were on the market. It would be a surprise if any were on his radar. They might also feel icky about raiding PSU, and they are very confident in their recruiting and evaluation.

On the other hand, you've got an honorable mention All Big Ten DL out there who might enjoy a Rose Bowl…

What about poaching guys who haven't showed up on campus yet? PSU's 2012 LOIs have been invalidated but Urban Meyer already picked PSU's bones clean before signing day. PSU's got one Rivals 250 guy, WR Eugene Lewis. Do you want him or LaQuon Treadwell? Right.

Meanwhile, PSU's 2013 class has the nation's top TE, but Adam Breneman just blew out his ACL. They've also got a touted SDE type in Garrett Sickels who briefly listed Michigan before committing to PSU. Michigan is not the team who will take advantage of the explosion.

The upshot

Michigan is unlikely to go after anyone who would have eligibility after 2012 but could be interested in one-and-done transfers. Their most obvious needs are WR, TE, and DL, and Penn State has one third-WR type and a couple of starting-ish DTs available. Michigan may look into acquiring Jordan Hill or James Terry. More likely is that the trail of refugees heads to Big East schools.

Unverified Voracity Found This Watch At A Vintage Store

Unverified Voracity Found This Watch At A Vintage Store

Submitted by Brian on July 19th, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Screen_shot_2012-07-18_at_12.37.46_PM_medium[1]

Remember the plan. Orson is at SEC media days talking about Gene Chizik's enormous head and how John L Smith should always be employed at a BCS ("contract conference" now, I guess) school, because he absolutely should:

John L. Smith is …  an animated scarecrow loaded with bootleg fireworks tossed into a shed full of flammable talent, even more volatile politics, and, like, a shitload of M-80s and old, sweaty sticks of poorly packaged Chinese dynamite. The glow will be seen for miles when it all goes up, and when we all run to the site we might find the limp figures of decimated opponents, or the scorched foundations of Arkansas football itself. Either way no one in this room wants John L. Smith to go anywhere, ever, especially as long as he's barreling into press conferences like so many bulls through the streets of Pamplona. (He gored Joe Schad on the way out! It was awesome! They're totally bros now!)

The plan: every year one BCS-or-contract-conference school selected at random that has fired its coach will be required to hire JLS on a one-year interim basis. This was a good idea before Orson implicitly promised to follow him around to whatever media day he ends up at, drawing pictures of him as a duck with his hair on fire screaming inanities he actually tells his players.

Goodbye, Braylonfest. User Drill points out another rule change that I'd missed. Along with nerfing most kickoff returns, the safety-conscious/paranoid rules committee may have all but eliminated onside kicks:

After a kickoff hits the ground — specifically on a one-hop onside kick — the receiving team gets an opportunity to fair catch that ball. "A lot of our coaches," Shaw said, "have said that will almost take that one-hop (onside) kick out of the game."

That is insane. Dealing with kickoffs is marginally acceptable as an ineffective fig-leaf designed to show people you are Thinking About The Children, but eliminating onside kicks, which happen maybe once a game, is sacrificing that small element of what if that goes through your head and sometimes comes to spectacular fruition so that a maximum of twelve plays a year are marginally less dangerous.

This is another negative side effect of not paying the players anything: constant rule adjustments for safety in excess of reason to reduce the ammo of dissidents.

Tom Luginbill was into Shane Morris before he got popular. Ace will tackle the recruiting content contained in this tomorrow (probably, anyway), but this space is for ridiculous things and Tom Luginbill's best Hipster Runoff impression counts:

image

"Tyrone Swoopes's hot streak was fueled by self-loathing and self-aggrandizement, the equal and opposite manifestations of a whopping ego."

"Amongst the towering riffs that comprise the heart of JT Barrett is a lurking discontent with the state of modern society."

"Shane Morris's lefthandedness is a breath of fresh air at an event dominated by a hegemony of right-handed conformists. Take that, late capitalism!"

BONUS: guess which one of these was lifted directly from the front page of Pitchfork for a prize.

ANSWER: the first, which was teaser text on a review of the Smashing Pumpkins' Pisces Iscariot reissue.

PRIZE: Hey, that's Ian Cohen of Sexy Results!

Do you have weird stuff? Weird old stuff? Inspired by this War Eagle Reader post featuring old media games and other Auburn miscellanea old enough to be cool and a touch insane…

1971-Media-Guide[1]

…instead of deeply embarrassing, I am considering a new sort of mailbag post in which you send me images of stuff you've collected, which I then post on the internet. I should kick things off by finally scanning in the relevant portions of the very old Michigan yearbook I acquired a couple years back.

So, like, if you've got some weird old stuff scan it and send it in. Especially if it's the Ann Arbor version of the 1973 Delta Chi Miss Hot Pants Pageant. Strictly for its historic interest, of course.

Great success. The Classical stops in at Detroit City FC and finds a ludicrous amount of success for a first-year minor league soccer outfit that plays at Cass Tech. Former Wolverine Knox Cameron is a prominent starter and credits the club with reviving his interest in the beautiful game:

Knox Cameron, a former youth national team player and University of Michigan star, described himself as “pretty much over soccer” by the time his MLS career ended in 2006. But his experience with Detroit City FC has rekindled his old feelings for the game. The “big thing,” he said, “is it’s really united the residents. To know that the sport that you love is making an impact…that is really, really gratifying.”

He said that his experience playing with Detroit City FC has been one of the greatest of his career. “This would be right there, just below playing in an Under-20 World Cup or a Major League Soccer game. Just because of what the ownership is trying to accomplish. To be able to bring this level of joy and camaraderie to the citizens of Detroit, that ranks up there.”

Their inaugural season just came to a close at .500 overall.

Whoah. I've been getting questions about the Big Ten's reaction to this whole Paterno thing, questions I have no ability to answer since I'm not privy to the discussions going on and it's not like there's any precedent for this sort of thing. But people are at least talking about the nuclear option:

The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting Big Ten leaders are weighing a series of proposals in an 18-page plan prompted by the current situation at Penn State. Among the ideas being thrown around include removing the university from the conference($).

The Big Ten handbook requires at least a 60 percent vote from the league's Council of Presidents and Chancellors to expel a member, although a Big Ten spokesperson told the Chronicle that number will rise to 70 percent for 2012-13.

The league is also talking about empowering the commissioner to fire coaches and administrators, which seems beside the point since anything that would trigger this sort of penalty would be a firing offense. On the other hand, as long as anyone who gets fired under this statute has to be replaced by John L Smith I'm on board.

This time, with taste. I hope, then check. The last time we tried this it didn't go so well:

One of the interesting touches to the new concourse will be the lyrics to the fight song "The Victors" etched into the floor and wrapping throughout the concourse. A new brick exterior also blends Crisler with Michigan Stadium, which also had a recent facelift.

"Crisler is probably an 80-percent finished product right now. There's a completely new facade and the outside is all brick and it's beautiful," Beilein said Wednesday in an interview on WDFN. "There's a new entryway to Crisler that's going to knock you out. There's a big block 'M' and the escalators and big glass entry. All of the concourses are wide open with food courts, lighting and windows. It is going to be something really special."

Survey says

image

We're good. There are a bunch more exiting pictures of construction at that link.

image

CONCREEEEEETE

A loss on youtube. A rarity, but here's the narrow 1988 loss to Miami narrated by Keith Jackson. Like… all of it. No idea why; the other things this guy has thrown up include a 1991 edition of the Ryder Cup and a Borg vs McEnroe match.

Mikulak profile. Sam Mikulak hits AA.com:

"There have been many times in the past where I'd have had my parents make that call for me," Mikulak said. "When I was a kid in California, I'd want to go on a snowboarding trip or something with friends and they'd tell me 'no,' tell me I can't go because the season's coming up and I can't get hurt.

"But now, I kind of tend to make those decisions on my own. I guess I'm kind of maturing."

Correct. Red on Carrick's disappearance:

“I think he talked to Coach Wiseman. I never got a call from him. I just think it’s a huge mistake. The sad thing is, we make a commitment to a kid two years ago and we sit on that scholarship and we honor that commitment and right up until the draft, and then he takes the draft and decides now he’s going to go in a different direction? What kind of integrity is that? That’s just terrible. That’s one of the things that bothers me about college coaching. Some of these families and kids don’t keep their word. I hate to put integrity on the line, but let’s face it. This is a commitment you make and this is your word and what are you doing?”

You can use the excuse that Carrick is 17 or whatever, but his parents aren't. Here's to not improving your 10% shot at the league by playing against younger, poorer competition.

Etc.: Nick Saban says Michigan is terrible and Alabama will beat them by 20 points. Long fluffy hype on Beilein from the News. Indianapolis won't bid on the first round of NCAA title games.

Unverified Voracity Has Opinion On Long Twos

Unverified Voracity Has Opinion On Long Twos

Submitted by Brian on July 18th, 2012 at 12:14 PM

emmert.640x360[1]

I really wish you hadn't asked me about that thing, you know, that
I know let's talk about bunnies
I like bunnies they are fun
sometimes I call them funnies

But what will actually happen to Penn State? This space has talked at length about what should happen to Penn State, but what actually will is an open question. NCAA president Mark Emmert certainly made it sound like something is coming down the pipe in an interview with PBS, because, yeah, PBS!

"This is completely different than an impermissible benefits scandal like (what) happened at SMU, or anything else we've dealt with," Emmert told Smiley. "This is as systemic a cultural problem as it is a football problem. There have been people that said this wasn't a football scandal.

"Well, it was more than a football scandal, much more than a football scandal. It was that but much more. And we'll have to figure out exactly what the right penalties are. I don't know that past precedent makes particularly good sense in this case, because it's really an unprecedented problem."

He said that after refusing to dismiss the application of the death penalty out of hand. So… there will be some sort of action. Michael Buckner has been quoted

"Even though there's no authority under the [NCAA manual], I could see President Emmert still proposing to do something," said Michael Buckner, a Florida-based attorney who specializes in sports law. "I could see some kind of sanctions, and Penn State would be hard-pressed to fight it. Imagine Penn State trying to argue that the NCAA doesn't have the authority in the realm of public pressure?"

…stuff is going down.

The Bylaw Blog points out that the NCAA is in a lose-lose situation here, what with New York Times columnists blasting it and demanding Penn State's head on a platter, an advocacy group for athletes has announced it would like Penn State players to be able to transfer without penalty—which everyone learned was automatic when postseason bans got handed down in the USC case—and people of Facebook are not sane.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!

IBfRK[1]

You will now think "ERMAHGERD" whenever Denard does a Denard thing this fall.

Via EDSBS and /r/cfb. Explanation.

Michigan hockey summer: the funnest summer. I think we thought we were out of the woods after losing Chris Brown to Phoenix and Connor Carrick to a bout of insanity, but it seems like Merrill is not 100% to return based on this NHL.com article:

"I'm happy with the way my game has developed," Merrill said. "Everything they do at Michigan, I stand by, and have no complaints. If I go back to school, I can develop in a great university and if I leave, I'm in a great organization like New Jersey; so it's a win-win."

Michigan coach Red Berenson, who left Michigan after his junior year to play with the Montreal Canadiens, has traditionally encouraged players to remain in school rather than signing minor-league contracts. The Devils don't seem to be pressing Merrill on the issue.

"It's undecided right now," Lamoriello said. "He's here for the week and we'll sit down at the end of the week."

It does sound like all parties are leaning towards Merrill's return, but Michigan hockey + summer  == doom.

Berenson exit imminent. Not like, imminent-imminent, but Red said he's probably not going to have another contract after this one:

“I mean let’s face it, I’ll be 76 when this contract is over. So I would say it’s the last contract,” Berenson said. “In theory, you would say this will be the last contract. I would be surprised if there would be another one after this.”

…“The way I look at it, I’m not picking a goal or a situation to retire. The thing I’m looking at is what’s good for our program, are we moving forward, are we competitive, are we living up to the expectations of Michigan and are we one of the dominant players in college hockey?” Berenson said.

When Red does retire I think it's time to put his name on the building. Something, anyway.

"More?" An Alabama legend called out Auburn for its dirty recruiting tactics after GA LB Rueben Foster ostentatiously flipped from 'Bama to AU recently. He might want to pick his words better:

“Because Reuben was paid more (by Auburn) than Alabama was willing to pay him. We got boosters out there that weren’t willing to pay Reuben Foster and boosters willing to pay him in Auburn.”

Where rebounds go. An analytics company has found out and put together a cool flash application so you can see where rebounds go off NBA shots.

reboundsc4-1024x675[1]

Morals of the story:

  • They mostly go long.
  • Boy, people try a lot of layups.
  • Offensive rebounds are far more common on those layup attempts than anything else.
  • Long twos are horrible, horrible shots: there are a couple zones beyond the arc near the corners. Threes from the corners go in at a 36.6% rate. Step inside the line and it's a 37.6 rate for one less point. The differences are greater from what I'll call the Aarghaway zone but still very slim: long twos around the top of the key go in at just under 39%; threes from the top going at around 33%. These are NBA numbers and can't be directly transported to the college game but since the main difference is that a chunk of the long two space in the NBA is worth three in college I'd guess those shooting percentages are even more compressed.

Long twos are horrible! Long twos are hoooooorrrrrrible! Long twos with 25 seconds on the shot clock are grounds for a civil lawsuit based on pain and suffering!

I dislike long twos.

[Via @kjonthebanks]

And nevermind all that also. Nevermind all the thats. Raising the bowl eligibility threshold to 7-5 has seemed like a thing that would happen for a while now, but now the Big Ten is backing off of that, too:

Delany said he has “heard from friends in different parts of the country, some of the major conferences, that they are in favor of (keeping it at) six. I suggested that maybe there’s middle ground. If a program hasn’t been to a bowl in five years … it’s an exciting thing.”

As long as the bowls at the bottom are prevented from acting as parasites on college football, whatever. The existence of the Illinois-UCLA Fight Hunger Bowl is at worst an opportunity to launch zingers… as long as those two schools aren't forking over 500k for tickets they know they can't sell.

Additional doo-dad. It must be fun being a Big Ten athletic director these days. Every year the conference is like "whoops, forgot to give you these three million dollars," the Rose Bowl is suddenly worth triple what it was, the Big Ten Network is steadily increasing in value, and maybe the guy before you built a giant cash factory on top of the football stadium. MSU doesn't even have the last item in that list (or at least hasn't added it recently) and they've been dumping money into football. An ESPN article recently boggled at the money Indiana is flat-out burning in a futile attempt to keep up with the meekest and most humble of the Joneses by way of noting that everyone in college football is building everything.

One of many results at Michigan:

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon is putting forward a proposal to the school's Board of Regents on Thursday asking for $2.8 million for an "informational marquee" that can be viewed from Stadium Boulevard. The plan is to use "visual and audio technology" for information on upcoming events and welcoming guests to the facilities.

I'm a little leery about audio being included in this thing but whatever. It'll be a big billboard type thing on Stadium that will announce things. It costs money, and it is being done because it can be.

Etc.: Red signs three-year extension, as expected. Syracuse fans are sad about leaving the Big East. CHN on the Kitchener nuisance lawsuit. M seems to lead for 2015 IN G Chandler White. Obviously a long way out there. Scouting the Adidas Invitational. Zak Irvin scouting video.

Mailbag: Fumble Rates (Again), Leave Penn State Alone, Can't Happen Here(?)

Mailbag: Fumble Rates (Again), Leave Penn State Alone, Can't Happen Here(?)

Submitted by Brian on July 17th, 2012 at 12:18 PM

On fumble recovery rates (again).

Hi Brian,

A sentence in Blue Seoul's recent Nebraska recap led me to re-visit
your claims that fumble recoveries are random. I got data from
teamrankings.com and drew a graph that you may (or may not) find
useful (see attached for 2012 opponents).

In addition, I estimated a simple linear model using fumble recovery
rate in year t to predict fumble recovery rate in year t+1. The model
also controls for the baseline recovery rate of each team by allowing
intercept shifts. Two things stand out. First, past recovery rates
explain relatively little variation in current recovery rates
(R-squared=0.13 in a model with lagged DV and team fixed effects).

Second, the relationship between recovery rates last year and recovery
rates this year is *negative* and statistically significant. If this
general pattern holds true in the case of Michigan this year, we
should expect the team to recover fumbles at a slightly lower rate
than its baseline for the 2002-2012 period (i.e. 61.57%). Obviously,
this is a ridiculously simple model, but it reinforces whatever
evidence you were basing your previous comments on.

fumble_recovery

The oft-repeated claim here that Michigan's fumble recovery rate in 2011 was a gift from the fickle gods of chance is not one that has gone down smoothly with many readers. The above lays out the numbers case. The previous year's fumble recover rate has very little effect on next year's and what relationship there is tends to take the rate back towards average.

But numbers don't seem like enough for whatever reason. I think I may have given doubters ammunition when I came back from the Glazier clinic reporting that Mattison told a room full of dudes that Michigan emphasizes turnover recovery:

Bonus: For those looking for a reason other than blind luck that Michigan recovered 80% of opponent fumbles this year, in practice all incompletions are live balls. Mattison credited this practice for getting players moving towards the ball at all times and being in position to scoop up live balls in actual play.

I thought this was not that convincing; several commenters seized upon it as a workable rationale why Michigan would be able to continue their fumble-procuring ways, Michigan's coaching does help them recover loose balls, but every other program in the country does something similar. Just because you work at it doesn't mean the results are predictable.

Blue Seoul points out RVB hustle that lead to a fumble recovery against Nebraska…

demensjakeFF4

Ryan slaps the ball out. Check out how far away from the ball Van Bergen is. But he's got his head up, he's disengaged from his blocker, and he's pursuing the ball.

demensjakeFF5

One funny bounce later and it's in RVB's hands. Brian keeps saying that fumble recoveries are just luck and 50-50 propositions. I would disagree and say the fumble recovery percentage is more of a function of the number of each team's players near the ball when the fumble happens. In this case, we were a little lucky because Nebraska had more guys near the ball. But if RVB isn't hustling and getting off his blocker, our chances of getting that ball go from slim to none. So yes, luck plays a part, but I don't believe it's JUST luck or that it will always regress to the mean..

…and Mattison did spend a slice of time describing his deep-seated hatred of "loafs." But so did the tweaked-out LB coach from Illinois who spoke in ALL CAPS. The tweaked-out LB coach from Illinois bellowed his distaste of loafs to three rooms, only one of which he was occupying, for about twenty minutes. The differences there are not great. They're certainly overwhelmed by the fact that these fumble recovery rates are across a sample of 15 or 20.

Here's a last stab. Look at those Alabama numbers, which stretch back to a time when they were run by incompetents. Now they're run by Nick Saban, collector of all first round draft picks and ruthless destroyer of offense. Saban's arrival has coincided with Alabama's fumble recovery rate going… nowhere, maybe getting a tiny bit worse. If coaching had a significant impact on fumble recovery rates, wouldn't Alabama be a perfect case study?*

I think that coaches think they have an impact here, but the things they do are all the same things: run to the ball and be alert. There's no technique and no strategy, so the impact they can have in this department is limited. Therefore Michigan's recovery rate last year was an anomaly and we should not expect it to repeat, or even expect it to be significantly above the 50.3% national rate.

Of course, I said the same stuff about this during the Rodriguez era and the thing stubbornly failed to turn around. If the universe is determined to make me look stupid at least this time I'm hedged properly.

*[I know one team's rate is a hopelessly small sample size but this argument is addressed to people who aren't going to take the numbers to heart.]

I'm not answering this guy's PSU question.

Brian

We're all tired of the Penn State tragedy that has been occupying the headlines since the fall. Some are talking about the conference removing the school as a member. While we've heard such an idea echo throughout the sports world, no one has actually talked about the criteria for the Big Ten actually removing a member. We've also been inundated with schools switching conferences over the past few years and the procedures for making such departures. So, by now, most of us can recite the hoops a school needs to jump through in order to swap conferences. My question is, what is the Big Ten's procedure for removing a member from its ranks?

Thanks,
Chris

I don't know if they even have one but I assume it's something along the lines of getting everyone together to vote on stuff, and then giving them a bunch of money for breach or just to prevent the inevitable lawsuit.

But… seriously? We're talking about removing a university with 40k people involved with it because of one very, very tragic event? I get that the Penn State athletic department had warped itself into a place where common human decency took a back seat to covering your ass, but the people responsible will be held accountable and the culture of the place will change radically. The unique situation PSU found itself in will not repeat. As long as they take the proper steps to assure that, let's just grimly recalibrate how we feel when we look at the Paterno statue and move on. A start: apply the same FOIA laws to Penn State that apply to public universities everywhere.

Annihilating the PSU program is pointless. Maybe I can see hobbling it for a bit, but when we start talking about booting universities from conferences or cancelling their nonconference games and forcing them to play on the road for two years or the death penalty or the NCAA fate worse than death, you lose me. While I've been pretty uncompromising in re: JoePa himself, at some point you have to think of the town, the university, and the program as things that aren't just JoePa. There's a massively damaged community out there whose only crime was to believe in Joe Paterno. They've been getting the 2009 Illinois treatment for going on a year now. At least give them the escape of a crisp fall day against Wisconsin, conflicted though it must be.

I'm all for the symbolic eviscerating of Paterno's record, and if you want to slap some other sanctions that erase the "one of two schools never to have been hit with a major violation" claim, fine. Burning down the program doesn't affect any of the perpetrators more than jail and death does.

It can't happen here?

Brian:

What nags at me about Penn State is this: How far is the "Grand Experiment" away from "This is Michigan"? Obviously, I don't mean, "Do you suppose we've ever aided and abetted a predatory pedophile?" But let's face it: We've seen "the good of the program" used to defend some behavior we wouldn't countenance in another context.

I think in this case what allowed the culture to develop was the cloistered nature of Penn State, culturally and geographically. The main reason this most likely couldn't happen in Ann Arbor is there are a lot of people in and around Ann Arbor who couldn't care less about football. "This is Michigan" on an optic-yellow T-shirt might mean Bo or Desmond or Yost or Man-Ball. But "Michigan" means JFK and the Peace Corps on the steps of the Union, the polio vaccine, and Space, Bitches, Space. I'm not saying everyone in State College loved football; I'm not saying everyone affiliated with the Michigan football program "just lugs the damn refrigerator" as quietly as they should. I am saying enough people of non-athletic consequence pass through Ann Arbor for one reason or another that a sports coach who spends too much time saying "look at me" is going to get his comeuppance before a jury is hearing 48 counts of criminal sexual conduct against one of his assistants.

No one who puts any stock into the importance of "the program" is immune from having his perspective skewed a bit, of course; the Florida A&M band was big enough that they could initiate newcomers however it wanted -- until one of them got killed. But I feel like a cosmopolitan locale -- be it a state capital or a cultural center -- provides a deterrent on any one entity getting TOO big. In State College, there was no adequate deterrent. The Sandusky scandal was likely a perfect storm for which the ingredients will never again exist: Among other things, we've likely seen the last of the 40-plus year football coaching tenures. But I think the next time we're walking toward Stadium and Main on a Saturday afternoon and we pass someone walking in the opposite direction -- toward some library or lab or city hall -- hauling some figurative fridge we'd never care to bother with, it's worth thinking gratefully, "This is Michigan."

Best,
Matt

Mostly I just posted this so people could read it. Comment follows out of obligation.

Michael Weinreb described the strangeness of this event after growing up in State College beautifully for Grantland*. His piece tends to confirm your hypothesis. I believe that if we were to transport Bo into an anachronistic Whole Foods at the height of his popularity, at least half the people in there would wonder who the jerk making fun of the meat was. Any sports fan who spends a lot of time in Ann Arbor has had the sort of mutually jaw-dropping conversation with someone from the opposite pole of sports/art.

Meanwhile, the university itself is sometimes kind of sort of at war with the athletic department in a way common across the country. Rodriguez fought with the admissions department, sure, but so did Lloyd Carr. Lloyd Carr! And he lost from time to time. The local media is all up in Michigan's business. Carr (Lloyd Carr!) had to deal with the local paper bombing Michigan's practice of giving athletes easy classes, soon followed by the Free Press stretching the most minor of major violations into a leathery program condemnation. Unlike Penn State, Michigan is subject to open records requests. So, yeah, It can't happen here.

But it is an extreme outlier. It's easy to feel good about not having that be possible. Maybe we should take this as an opportunity to learn from what went on at Penn State and adapt to prevent things in the 1-5%-as-horrific range from happening here. Michigan complies with FOIA requests but charges outrageous prices to do so, blocking certain investigations. When the Daily asked for 400k employee purchasing card records they were quoted a price of "unspecified thousands of dollars"—the same records cost $200 from MSU, $181 from Iowa, and were free from Illinois and Ohio State. That is a pale shadow of the PSU secrecy that should be dispelled.

Other than that concrete suggestion, I'm not sure what actions Michigan could take, or even what the problem might be given that Michigan's coach has been around one year and probably won't make it past 15 before retiring.

*[Yes, he was sour about Michigan's team at some point over the last year. Let's get over it.]

Unverified Voracity Coins A Nickname

Unverified Voracity Coins A Nickname

Submitted by Brian on July 13th, 2012 at 1:39 PM

PATERNO 3 0102 JRH

in his Rat Pack phase

In other Paterno chiseling. I've read more than my fair share of outraged reactions to the Freeh Report and recommend those of Dan Wetzel, Scipio Tex, and Paul Campos. Wetzel has a passage at the end about the Grand Experiment that captures how ridiculous the very idea was from the start:

Paterno did help his football players. Those men, however, were heavily recruited, talented and often highly motivated people. If they hadn't gone to Penn State they would've gone to Michigan or Virginia or Notre Dame.

For decades he found a way to take top-line kids and maximize what they could do, usually by motivating them to excel at a sport they already loved. They were subject to mass adulation and had the potential to become millionaires at the professional level.

He wasn't taking illiterate Third World children and getting them to Harvard. Almost every person Paterno positively impacted through football would have fared similarly had Penn State not even fielded a team. They just would have played elsewhere. Bo Schembechler or Lou Holtz or Bobby Bowden would've coached them up in football and life, just like Paterno did.

That's always bugged me about the sanctimony of a certain section of the ND fanbase. Congratulations: you took kids from Catholic schools with solid families and didn't turn them into the Joker. Well done.

Campos touches on the refrigerator thing without having to cross the Atlantic for a metaphor:

A man who breaks some rules in order to win a few more football games is likely to understand himself to be nothing more exalted than a hustler on the make. By contrast, a man who talks himself into believing that he is running a uniquely virtuous Grand Experiment, rather than just another successful college football program that mostly avoids the most egregious forms of cheating, is far more likely to develop the delusion that he’s some sort of role model for his peers, or even a quasi-spiritual leader of our youth.

And Scipio Tex bombs the one moment of regret Paterno expressed:

Before his death, Joe Paterno remarked that "With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."

The measured banality of that phraseology, the suggestion that hindsight is the necessary ingredient when confronted with the most simple matters of immediate moral action, reveals his own disconnection and concern for reputation right up until his last moments.

Let's be clear: Those boys wish you'd done anything at all, Joe.

That closes the door on Brian's opinion of Joe Paterno story time. Wait, one more: Grantland's Michael Weinreb, a State College native with Penn State ties that run as deep as they can, declares the experiment "failed." 

NCAA matters. The Paterno debate closes as another one re-opens: should the NCAA step in and hammer Penn State for the above? I'm on the "no" side. The NCAA has an enforcement mechanism to maintain its own set of rules for things that the legal system has nothing to say about. Here, the perpetrators are going to jail. That is an appropriate punishment and effective deterrent. The NCAA stepping in is redundant, and the hammer would fall on a completely unrelated set of people. The legal system has a laser-aimed bazooka; the NCAA would be deploying a wonky BB gun with a misaligned sight. Meanwhile, the Department of Education could look into Penn State essentially ignoring the Clery act and PSU is about to be flooded with civil lawsuits that insurance probably won't cover. Deterrence: check.

That said, if the NCAA were to vacate Paterno's victories after the 2001 incident* and instate Bobby Bowden as the all-time victories leader I would clap like a seal. (Or Les Miles.) Paterno's maniacal pursuit of that goal long after he'd ceased to be capable of anything other than muttering in the press box seems like a symptom of the broader disease.

*[Ideally they'd deploy some sort of double standard so the Big Ten wouldn't have to go back and pretend that a decade of games didn't happen. Just nix them from Paterno's record, not the program's.]

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rejected nicknames included "the super seven," "excellent thirty-six," and "adjective-free e to the x"

A rain of thunder from the FABULOUS FIVE. I just came up with that nickname for Michigan's incoming basketball recruiting class. You see, there are five of them, and they seem very good at basketball collectively. Thus I have decided to call them the FABULOUS FIVE. I may decide have a few of those letters lower-cased in the future. It's a work in progress.

No? You're saying something about how that's ridiculous, fraught with historical significance, and derivative. Well, you are a hater.

Anyway, the FABULOu5 FIvE are on campus and taking it to the veterans!

"They got us two out of three games. I don't think they got the better of us, but they looked really good. They came in and they're willing to learn and that's a good sign for freshmen. We should be really good with their help this year," sophomore Trey Burke said. "I remember there were a couple times they beat us … that doesn't surprise me because that's the type of players they are.

"They're really good, they have size and they know their roles — they can play."

Said Tim Hardaway Jr.: "The first two or three games, they destroyed us. I think they were very excited. (In) games to 11, they're beating us 11-6, 11-7."

Caveats:

"(Jordan Morgan) and I looked at each other and said we have to show them what Big Ten basketball is about and we beat them 11-1, 11-2, so they got their time, but it won't happen again."

Also, Burke and Hardaway are revealed to be on separate teams when this is going on, meaning 1) walk-ons are filling out the veteran five-man rosters, and 2) Burke and Hardaway are not playing together. You may have not needed the second bullet point there.

Anyway, I predict Mitch Albom thinks none of these guys are taking 600k from a Detroit numbers runner. This time, he will be correct. Also the basketball team will be good at basketball.

BONUS: Caris Levert is "built like small Kevin Durant," which means he can be used as a kite should the situation call for it.

Nevermind the good nonconference scheduling business. The Pac-12/Big Ten scheduling pact that was like conference expansion except brillianter, that was a historic way to something something with synergy, the thing that promised Wisconsin would finally have to play an opponent with zero confused Albanians in the secondary… it's dead.

The two leagues announced Friday that their pact, which initially called for 12 football games per year, has been called off. The reason: at least four Pac-12 schools were unwilling to agree to mandatory scheduling, ESPN.com has learned. A key sticking point is that Pac-12 teams play nine conference games, while Big Ten teams play only eight. Adding in traditional non-league series like USC-Notre Dame, Stanford-Notre Dame and Utah-BYU, and it makes the scheduling situation tougher for those in the Pac-12.

So much for that. The silver lining is that the Big Ten will look at going to a nine-game conference schedule in 2017, like they had announced they were going to do before the stars aligned with the Pac-12. I preferred a nine-game conference schedule anyway. From Michigan's perspective anything that helps balance the crossover-rival playing field is beneficial, and I hate going four years without playing Wisconsin, etc.

Libel lawsuit business. Prediction: Kitchener's lawsuit will have no effect on the Daily. As Tyler Dellow points out, the US passed an act that prohibits libel tourism and what they're accused of—paying an employee—is only debatably defamatory. Meanwhile, OHL restrictions on compensation may not be legal since the players have not collectively bargained for their contracts. Given the state of the law the play for the Daily may be to ignore the lawsuit:

In any event, it seems to me that one consequence of the SPEECH Act is that, if your assets are in America and you’ve received advice that a foreign defamation action against you could not succeed in America, you’d never bother to defend it. Let the plaintiff have his default judgment and then who cares. This is, of course, more true of corporations then it is of individuals – a judgment against him personally would kind of limit the career opportunities of Matt Slovin, the reporter in question, because the judgment could be enforced against him if he ever moved to Canada and acquired some assets.

The fact of the individual journalist apparently being named in the litigation is the one thing that might make it sensible to fight the thing here. Here’s hoping the case goes all the way to trial – a trip through the sausage factory of junior hockey could be a considerable amount of fun.

The Daily is standing by its story. Kitchener's playing a game of chicken here—it seems like their business model is based on not having anyone look too closely at why their players aren't employees.

Pressed for time. Michael of Braves and Birds also writes for the Atlanta SBN site and has a post on ESPN's suddenly great coverage of international soccer and how they could improve their coverage of college football:

Whereas ESPN starts off Euro matches in the studio with a discussion of the lineup choices made by the managers, they start off college football games with Mark May and Lou Holtz getting into contrived fights or Jesse Palmer looking pretty. Whereas ESPN includes the pre-match pomp and circumstance when covering Euro matches, they ignore it almost entirely in college football. Instead, the approach is for the play-by-play and color guys to drum through the story lines for the game - story lines that they will stick to regardless of how the game actually plays out - and then maybe the viewer gets a five-second shot of Michigan players touching the banner or Clemson players rubbing Howard's Rock. Whereas ESPN shows the starting lineups for both teams in formation at the outset of each Euro match, they cannot be bothered to even list the starting lineups for college football teams anymore, instead showing only the "Impact Players," as if every word coming out of Matt Millen's mouth is so critical that he does not have time to list 44 starters.

In short, ESPN feeds both the mind and the heart in the first 15 minutes of covering a Euro match, while it does neither in the first 15 minutes of covering a college football game. If ESPN started Georgia-South Carolina by covering the entire rendition of Also Sprach Zarathustra* and then discussed the teams' starting lineups and how they would match up against one another, both in terms of styles and in terms of individual matchups, then I would be a very happy camper and I suspect that most college football fans would be, as well.

The asterisk notes that yes, that's ESPN coverage, but if you watch that youtube clip it is remarkable because Mike Patrick just gets out of the way and lets you have your moment with the fans. I'd love it if every word spoken by Mark May was replaced by the PBP announcer pointedly not saying anything as the pageantry of the pregame played out.

Newspapers still struggling. An extensive Nieman Lab article on the situation of the Detroit papers is full of doom, gloom, and happy faces put on crappy situations by Paul Anger:

“Very soon, sooner than most people expect, we’ll only publish on Sunday,” Elrick, the Pulitzer winner, told me. “We’re still losing money. I think they were smart to do a lot of research. I think they were smart to communicate to people what they were doing and why. But there’s no question that they did this because there was no better alternative. To my mind, this was cutting off your arm so you can get out from under the boulder. This was not, ‘I’ll be so much faster and lighter with one arm.’ Anybody who’s telling you that is full of baloney.”

Anger insists that the delivery change has been “extremely successful,” but that doesn’t mean things are bright. Weekday circulation continues to drop — nearly 6 percent between March 2011 and March 2012.

Even the director of the Knight-Wallace Fellowship is dismissing papers out of hand:

Charles Eisendrath, director of the Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan, puts it bluntly: “They do not matter,” he told me. “They’ve been fading for a long time. The decision to get rid of half of your [delivery] schedule accelerated the rate by two. What advertisers think is, ‘This isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t carry any influence.’ What readers think is, ‘There’s nothing in this.’”

The Free Press just announced they would "sizably reduce" its newsroom again. Section 1 opens up a bottle of champagne.

Etc.: Lloyd Carr thinks the playoff will expand. He seems to like it all the same. Behind the Call Me Maybe holdouts. Denard gets you a plaque. The Detroit metro has the third highest effective income in the country. We can probably stop bemoaning the implosion of the state. Rothstein on Michigan's influx of SYF Players.

Off Tackle Empire's quest to determine the worst Big Ten team of "all-time" goes back to 1996. GopherQuest scorns you.

Paterno And The Mini-Fridge

Paterno And The Mini-Fridge

Submitted by Brian on July 12th, 2012 at 3:06 PM

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Paterno, fridge, Paterno

This might be off-topic, I don't know, but the release of the Freeh Report on what happened at Penn State does seem like something that I would like to address, especially a day after a letter purportedly from Joe Paterno was released by his family. The passage that jumped out at me was this one:

For over 40 years young men have come to Penn State with the idea that they were going to do something different — they were coming to a place where they would be expected to compete at the highest levels of college football and challenged to get a degree. And they succeeded — during the last 45 years NO ONE has won more games while graduating more players. The men who made that commitment and who gave of themselves to help build the national reputation of what was once a regional school deserve better than to have their hard work and sacrifice dismissed as part of a “football factory,” all in the interests of expediency.

This is what Paterno himself called the "Grand Experiment" over and over, and it reminds me of a guy lugging a refrigerator around Ireland.

His name is Tony Hawks, and he's an English dude who got drunk one night, accepted a bar bet, and proceeded to hitchhike around the circumference of Ireland with a mini-fridge. He wrote a popular book detailing his experiences afterwards, which I read.

His story gets latched onto by a Dublin radio station, which plans a triumphal march to the city center upon Hawks's arrival. This ends up being a sad anti-climax consisting of three people and a confused bagpiper; Hawks goes to a hotel and watches an Irish political debate afterwards. The next day he gets lunch with the radio folk, and what happens when he exits the restaurant has been an oddly persistent thing in my memory:

As I walked out of that restaurant pulling my fridge behind me for the final time, everyone on Gerry's table began applauding politely. Astonishingly, some people on a few of the other tables started to join in. Others looked up to see what was going on, and when they saw me and a fridge, they too joined in, possibly thinking it was somehow expected of them. Soon everyone in the restaurant was applauding, with cheers, whistles, and laughter thrown in for good measure.

I felt great. The anti-climax of yesterday didn't matter anymore. I understood now. Yesterday had been phoney, this was real. Yesterday I had been saying 'Look at me." It hadn't been right and it hadn't really worked, and I should have known that …. Now it was working, and it was working because I was walking humbly out of a restaurant with no airs and graces, affectations or histrionics. The restaurant's diners picked up on this and were offering their spontaneous and unaffected appreciation of someone for whom they had a peculiar nagging respect.

Just lug the damn refrigerator. Stop telling everyone how great of a job you're doing of pulling the refrigerator. Maybe someone will notice, maybe not, but once you start talking about it yourself your self-regard starts chipping away at the core.

If Penn State had not been posited as a Grand Experiment, it's possible that one of the four adult-type substances who could have put Sandusky's second career to a stop a decade before it did would have had more regard for the possibility children would be raped* than for what people would think about them. It's too late for all of them, perpetrator and victims alike, now. But to me the lesson is to shut up about yourself and get on with it. It will help you not make terrible mistakes because you are trying to preserve what people think about you in the face of what you really are.

*[!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

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BONUS AMAZING IRONY SECTION: I've been reading various Penn State boards, which are now riven with debate over how much proofy proof there actually is at this juncture. Quite a lot of people have given up the ghost—a BWI poll about taking down the Paterno statue is running 80-20 in favor—but a few continue to soldier on. Here's an exchange from BSD that is, well…

Just finished the report top to bottom minus all the parts about the Clery act and university and state codes.

I think the 98 investigation heavily, heavily influenced future actions. I think that investigation established to everyone involved that Jerry was not a child molester but rather a man who had boundary issues, the police reports even backed that when they describe his behavior as not that of a predator. Every action they took after that appears to have been normal actions taken with a prestigious former employee, whether it was 2nd Mile support, access to facilities, emeritus status etc, they seemed to feel there was no reason Sandusky should be a liability.

I think that that investigation clouded their judgement of 2001. It seems that there was some telephone affect in place as well but the lack of reconciliation between Paterno/Mike and Schultz/Curley’s statements makes that cloudy. At this point Jerry had been established as a man with boundary issues, not molestation issues and I think in their minds when they heard of another shower incident, they just related it to the same level of importance they thought of the 1998 incident, not a serious one.

by Rogue Nine on Jul 12, 2012 12:22 PM EDT reply   2 recs

Yep, I agree wholeheartedly

It’s called priming. Once we have a preconceived idea about something or someone in our head, it’s nearly impossible to get it out.

A good book that get into this and all sorts of other cool issues is Jonah Lehrer’s book, How We Decide. Most of our decisions are not based on rationality or reasoning, but rather imbedded emotional responses. That can be both good and bad. In this situation, it was obviously bad.

by Echoplexed on Jul 12, 2012 12:28 PM EDT up reply

…it's demanding some self-reflexiveness. Yes. Since I cannot shake 20% of the Penn State fanbase individually, screaming "SNAP OUT OF IT, MAN," I think I will go with "demanding some self-reflexiveness."

SIDE NOTE TO IRONY: One of the more useful ways to cleave the world into halves is to split people into a group A that is suspicious of their own brain and a group B that is not. I'm in the former group, thus all the numbers and systematization and so on. You could add a third group of people who are suspicious of other people's brains but not their own, but they seem like a subset of group B with particularly frustrating arguments. Apparently this is a post in which I dispense personal philosophy unrelated to its relevance.

FINAL PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY STATEMENT WITH BASICALLY NO RELEVANCE TO ANYTHING ON THIS BLOG: Port Salut is the most underrated cheese of all time.

ALSO: Boiled Sports takes this topic on as well, albeit with less references to underrated cheese.