Unverified Voracity Drops The Hammer?

Unverified Voracity Drops The Hammer?

Submitted by Brian on June 4th, 2015 at 1:32 PM

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[Patrick Barron]

Max out. Max Bielfeldt heads to Indiana unless he gets cut before the season starts, which is about 50/50 given Tom Crean's roster ADHD.

It'll be interesting to see how that works out for both teams: Michigan knows exactly what went down in practice and did not ask Bielfeldt back even after it became clear they had an open scholarship slot. Since Bielfeldt was out-performing Donnal late last year (Doyle was almost always the first option when he was not sick as a dog), the confidence expressed by that decision seems to be about newly-strapping DJ Wilson. Wilson is certainly going to be more of a defensive presence than the ground-bound Bielfeldt.

Rebounding? Eh… leave it to Walton. I may actually be serious about that. In any case, rebounding is the most replaceable skill.

Why Michigan was willing to let him go. UMHoops has an item on Michigan's pick and roll offense that highlights the production of their big men when they get the ball on the roll:

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That is a frequently-injured, pre-Sanderson, freshman Doyle outperforming everything with reasonable sample size except senior Jordan Morgan. (Donnal's numbers should be taken in context: there were a half-dozen roll attempts last year that looked good on which Donnal didn't even attempt a shot, kicking back to the perimeter instead of opting for what should be one of the most efficient shots in basketball.) Bielfeld had 12 pick-and-pop possessions, FWIW—on actual rolls to the basket he was at 23 points on 21 buckets. That's 1.09 PPP.

Doyle was on par or better than Bielfeldt at just about everything you can do on a court other than grab defensive rebounds. He should improve a great deal as he ages, and then you've got Wilson and Donnal… minutes are going to be scarce.

Speaking of Walton. Any fears you may have had that his foot thing was going to be a problem this fall should be put to rest:

Walton joins a Camp Sanderson field that includes almost the entire team plus guys like Nik Stauskas and Tim Hardaway Jr. Word is that one of the most impressive guys there is… Aubrey Dawkins. Going to be a good year.

Meanwhile, Spike's projected return:

Beilein also offered an update on Albrecht on Monday, saying that both of the guard's offseason hip surgeries were successful. Albrecht is still on crutches, but projects to a having a full return by the fall.

"In September, yeah, there's no question," Beilein said.

He should be ready for the season no problem.

A smart guy. Beilein on what the rules changes might mean:

Most focus on the offensive impact of the shot clock change, but the reverberation will reach the other end of the floor. Beilein noted that defenses will likely be more prone to shift from man-to-man to zone defense late in shot clocks.

"I think you'll see more teams flipping stuff and going zone later on because the ballscreen becomes so prevalent at that time," he said.

That would be interesting.

A litmus test. The NCAA just about gave up on serious punishments for anything short of child rape negligence after they threw the book at USC. OSU took a bowl ban and had to get rid of Jim Tressel after Tressel repeatedly lied to the NCAA, but they were spared the kind of scholarship restrictions that put a serious long-term dent in a program. Other than that it's been a series of wrist-slaps.

If anything is going to upset the current "do whatever it's fine" state of affairs, it is the situation at North Carolina. The NCAA at first decided to ignore it, but when forced to revisit the issue they seem to have done so with force. The notice of allegations has just been released, and it contains five separate "severe" violations, most of which are backed up by assertions of dozens of different incidents they encompass.

This will be the first truly major case since the NCAA moved away from calling everything from SMU to stretchgate "major" violations and implemented a four-level system. North Carolina is likely to admit lots and lots of "severe breach of conduct." The penalty guidelines for level 1 violations include:

  • 1-2 years of postseason ban
  • loss of 12.5% to 25% of scholarships
  • up to a half-year ban on a head coach

If the violations are deemed to have induced "aggravation" those penalties can double, and if they stack… hoo boy. The NCAA would be well within its rights to bomb UNC's major sports into the stone age.

Will they? I doubt it.

I'm not really paying attention to this any more. Phil Steele's All Big Ten teams are… well, there's a lot of them. They don't seem that accurate:

The Wolverines did have a few All-Big Ten honorees, however, led by senior linebacker Joe Bolden. Bolden, who broke the 100-tackle mark last season, is a second-team All-Big Ten pick, per Steele.

Linebacker Desmond Morgan (third), offensive guard Kyle Kalis (third), wide receiver Amara Darboh (fourth), defensive back Jabrill Peppers (fourth) and punter Blake O'Neill (fourth) also received mention.

Just from a Michigan perspective, no Jourdan Lewis, no Jarrod Wilson, and Kalis over Glasgow make me wonder if Steele does much more than look at stats and recruiting rankings and guess. (He also does the irritating thing where he throws corners and safeties into the same bucket of defensive backs.)

Ratings up. If softball seems like a bigger deal than it did a few years ago, you aren't alone:

ESPN saw record viewership for the 2015 Women’s College World Series, notching its top two most-viewed Women’s College World Series bracket round games ever this past weekend. LSU/Michigan on Sunday averaged 1,950,000 viewers for the company while UCLA/Auburn on Saturday drew 1,612,000 viewers. Overall, the 2015 Women’s College World Series bracket round (May 28-31) averaged 1,055,000 viewers. Meanwhile, the 2015 Women’s College World Series Championship Finals Game 1 on Monday drew a 1.0 overnight rating, which is tied for the highest-rated WCWS Championship Finals Game 1 on record (since 2007) and a 43% increase (0.7 overnight) from 2014 WCWS Championship Finals Game 1.

The final two games may have beat that admittedly short-lived record.

Bracing? ISS has its final draft rankings out:

Hopefully neither of those guys ends up in the wrong place. IE: The Kings or a like organization that doesn't want their guys to play college.

Etc.: In expected news, JT Compher is your hockey captain. Incoming forward Brendan Warren profiled. I could describe a great deal of commentators as "continual boofheads." AFC Ann Arbor origin story. You can chat with Stauskas and Beilein, get autographs and the like, for #chadtough.

This Week's Obsession: Steal Ur Dude

This Week's Obsession: Steal Ur Dude

Submitted by Seth on June 4th, 2015 at 10:46 AM

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The question:

Ace: Inspired by the spirited Twitter debate over Phil Steele's preseason All-Big Ten teams: If you could take one player from another Big Ten program's roster and put him on Michigan for 2015, who would you choose?

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

The responses:

Seth: J—

Ace: [immediately claims Joey Bosa.]

Seth: Shi—

Adam: There goes my first choice. I'll take Shilique Calhoun and write it up later.

Seth: Dangit you guys…

BiSB: Are you allowed to do that?

Alex: I'll take my brother Connor. Mostly because it would hurt State a lot.

BiSB: Connor C—

Alex: Too late!

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

Dave: While taking an Ohio State QB/anything is probably the right answer, this is a hipster blog which prides itself in bucking conventional wisdom!

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The book on Carroo was he would go off on teams without a pass defense and get shut down by those who had one. Then Rutgers joined the Big Ten. [MyCentralNJ.com]

Let's say that Jake Rudock is not only competent but was held back by the Iowan offensive coaching ineptitude. Let's also say that Tim Drevno finally unlocks Ben Braden's mammoth-sized potential. Now, perhaps Michigan finally has a plausible running game! (Wooooo, I kinda like this game!) Now, who would benefit Ru-Baugh and Co the most? Why, its Leonte Carroo, of course! 

Carroo is a senior WR for Rutgers who interestingly chose one more year in Piscataway over trying his luck in the NFL. As long as he stays healthy -and Rutgers finds someone to consistely get him the ball- Leonte has a grand opportunity to be All-Big Ten.  At 6'1" 205, he definitely has the size. He's also been clocked between 4.4-4.5 in the 40, which suggests he has enough speed. Last season, Carroo tallied 1,086 yards on 55 catches for 10 TDs.

The biggest thing that Leonte Carroo would bring to Michigan—aside from being one the Big Ten's top returning WRs- is that he would provide a playmaker opposite of Amara Darboh. While we all hope for Darboh to make a Hemingway-like leap, he probably is best fit as a possession-like, Avant-molded, second banana. Carroo and Darboh—with Butt moved around in various schemes—would allow Harbaugh to attack defenses with multiple proven passing targets...not to mention giving Rudock one more game-changer to take him from competent to explosive.

Sure, sure...a Heisman-contending QB is an ok choice, I guess. Or a first round, unblockable DE is fine, too. But don't sleep on what Leonte Carroo...can do...for you!

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

Seth: Aaaand there's the Rutgers content. Looks like the Internet is burning after all Ace.

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

Ace:

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[After the jump: Picks, snark, more Simpsons references, I swear this is totally NOT Draftageddon]

Unverified Voracity Has Ur Email

Unverified Voracity Has Ur Email

Submitted by Brian on January 5th, 2015 at 4:43 PM

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SEEMS LEGIT

DIRECTORY STALKING IS THE NEW REAL ESTATE STALKING (WHICH WAS THE NEW FLIGHT AWARE). A couple of gentlemen with names matching prospective assistant coaches and no marker to indicate they're students, alumni, or faculty have popped up in the UMich directory: Tim Drevno and DJ Durkin. John Morton is also being kicked around, but if you log in it shows he's not that John Morton. It would be a bit of coincidence if the first two gentlemen were not football coaches, though. Not gospel, Bayesian estimate move, etc.

Fred Jackson, meanwhile, is listed as a retiree, disappointing many who had hoped he would be retained as Michigan's Director Of Reasonable Comparisons. Oh, and Brian Cole and Alex Malzone are on the thing now.

Remember when bloggers were the only people scouring the directory? Now who's in the basement? I don't even have a basement.

GALLON DOCUMENTARY. A full half hour:

Returning starters: we got 'em. Phil Steele compiles returning starters in the Big Ten:

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Michigan has a 17th coming back in Desmond Morgan as well. Find a QB and some guys who can rush the passer and you're in business.

OUT AND FRUSTRATED. John Chavis left LSU for a DC spot at Texas A&M, and the reason is the same reason it's tough to watch LSU play most of the time:

The sources said the contract negotiations, the Aggies offered $340,000 more annually, were a non-issue in his decision to leave LSU and that Chavis simply felt it was time to go.

Chavis' frustrations reached a crescendo this season when LSU finished first in the SEC in total defense, No. 8 in the nation and second in scoring defense. LSU was 11th in total offense and last in passing offense in the SEC, resulting in an 8-5 record, tied for the worst in coach Les Miles' 10 seasons.

In the past four seasons, Chavis' LSU defenses finished no worse than No. 15.

"(Chavis) threw his hands up and felt he'd done all he could do," one source said. "They made zero progress offensively and it became a sore point, not that he was pointing fingers, but it led to some uncomfortable feelings.

LSU has a lot of returning starters, but I would not be surprised if this was the beginning of the Les Miles death spiral. Better in Baton Rouge than here.

THE NEW OC. Nick Baumgardner tracks down old Tim Drevno charges and asks them about Michigan's new man:

"When you're going through a coach Drevno individual period, you're going to be tough, or you're going to be looking to transfer," says Ben Muth, a former offensive tackle at Stanford during the early part of the Harbaugh era. "You're going to bang heads and there aren't a lot of blocking dummies used. You're going up against other guys, guys who get the hell beat out of them early in their careers.

"It's live. It's intense. And you're going to hit people with him."

Even if Michigan hires a separate OL coach expect Drevno to be heavily involved. Stanford split its coaching between interior line and OT/TE… I would expect something similar.

CHAIT ON HARBAUGH. On his return:

From Harbaugh’s standpoint, if you think of college football as nothing more than a business, it is an act of professional irrationality. The only possible way to make sense of his choice is to consider the possibility that he actually believes what he said in 2004: that he believes he did not merely provide free labor in return for skill development but belonged to a community; that this community stands in his mind for something larger than the self-interest of its component parts; that all this talk about turning boys into men is not just hokum.

UH-OH. Dish announces a small package of channels they'll sell over the internet for twenty bucks. Two of those channels: ESPN and ESPN2. I've been complaining about the shortsightedness of adding Rutgers and Maryland for a lot of reasons, most of them much more important than the amount of money the league makes.

But since the amount of money the league makes is the only possible argument in favor of the expansion, I do take pains to point out that the era of stealing a dollar from New Jersey grannies who don't even know what Rutgers is was always an ephemeral one. Once the cable monopoly shatters in the face of the internet, the only people paying for your content are the people interested, and the fanbases of Maryland and Rutgers are not going to carry the freight. For a momentary bump in revenue the Big Ten galloped towards the nonsense that is a 14-team collegiate conference, but Jim Delany will be retired by then so he DGAF.

WE CAN ACCESS ABOUT ONE OF THESE GUYS. Texas may be in the market for a grad QB after Tyrone Swoopes fell flat this year. Barking Carnival runs down their options, many of whom are JUCOs Michigan isn't likely to acquire. They do mention Kevin Hogan as well:

While he hasn't yet announced formally for transfer, the Stanford graduate clashed withDavid Shaw over his conservative offense and had the unenviable task of replacingAndrew Luck - arguably the most gifted QB walking the planet.  The rumor mill is running hard and fast that he wants out and would like a show case for his wares. While imperfect - and possessing a slow release that Shaun Watson could help him with - Hogan is a proven competitor with good athletic ability and a live arm.  He has 48 touchdowns to 21 career interceptions, won a Rose Bowl, started 30+ games and has a career QB rating around 145.  Yet people treat him as if he's chopped liver.  He's not.  He's also a sneaky running threat who isn't afraid of contact.  He's an upgrade and wouldn't be particularly terrified taking a snap from under center in South Bend next year.  He's roughly comparable to a sophomore David Ash, but with veteran experience.  That's a significant upgrade from Swoopes.  He could help us.  Now forward him this post immediately and get the illegal contacts started.

FAREWELL. Lake The Posts is closing effective January 15th. Always sad when one of the originals hangs it up.

ETC.: If you were vaguely worried that Lavall Jordan would end up at Butler after their coach had to take medical leave, the Bulldogs have taken the interim title off of Chris Holtmann. Stephon Diggs heads to the draft. MVictors has entertaining Harbaugh/Yost trivia and old-timey player intros. Dylan Larkin had an awesome WJC.

Unverified, Flagrant, Defiant Voracity

Unverified, Flagrant, Defiant Voracity

Submitted by Brian on May 24th, 2012 at 1:04 PM

To watch tonight. If you're starving for something in maize and blue to root on—and you probably are—softball's super regional matchup against Alabama will be on the TV. Game one is tonight(!) on ESPN2 at 8. Games two and three (if necessary) are Friday, with game two at 4:30 on ESPNU and hypothetical game 3 on ESPN2 at 7.

The full Jackie Chiles. I've accused a couple of lawyers who have entered our lives of being Seinfeld Cochran-parody Jackie Chiles, but Jalen Rose just won the title for all time:

"I think it was unnecessary. Flagrant. Defiant."

Rose goes on to say "it"—Mary Sue Coleman saying they won't be putting the banners up again for games that still never happened—is…

"…honest, and I respect that. If they choose not to embrace the Fab Five era, if they choose not to embrace us individually or as a team or the things we brought to the table, I really have no bitterness. I'm not mad at it.

"What's going to happen, though? … When you turn your back directly or indirectly on something that was so good to you, you're never going to get the true foundation of a program to build upon."

"I'm not bitter" is kind of like "I'm not racist, but…" in that it's only said when you're about to be bitter or racist. I can get Rose's frustration and appreciate that he cares enough about his time at Michigan that it bothers him, but the games are vacated. It's over, man.

Well, here they are. Everyone loves them some Phil Steele but whenever he releases these All Conference teams I look at the Big Ten and get suspicious about how closely he's paying attention. This year's edition:

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Just amongst Michigan players, the inclusion of Omameh over Schofield, the total omission of Jake Ryan despite 16 linebackers featuring, and Roy Roundtree featuring on the first team raise eyebrows. Also there's no Countess, Kenny Demens is not better than Michael Mauti, and the next time Will Gholston beats a block it will be his… well, his second time. He did it in MSU's bowl game.

The text is really tiny and weird, though. This is Steele's secret weapon.

Hail Mallory. Is JT Floyd too high as well? Yeah, probably. But it's not ridiculous to have him on there. Gibson minus all of the points.

Imaginary depth chart revamp. Based on some things I'd heard I assumed that in the event Michigan needed to fish for a second replacement tackle it would be Ben Braden despite his relative lack of recruiting hype. This tea leaf from Borges suggests otherwise:

Offensive coordinator Al Borges said last week freshmen could compete at any spot this fall, but named Kyle Kalis and Erik Magnuson as leaders to see the field because of the Wolverines' woefully thin offensive line depth.

“Kalis is a good player and he’s going to get a chance, just like Erik Magnuson,” he said.

Meinke goes on to state that Kalis is expected to compete for the left guard job but may move to tackle in the future, which is inverted from my assumption. That assumption: left guard will be okay, but the horrifying lack of depth at tackle means this college-ready five star needs to be prepped there in case someone gets hurt playing football.

All of this will be torn up and revamped when fall camp hits. Finding out who the #3 tackle is and if the freshmen receiver can play immediately will be priorities.

On fire. With three goals in three games, Justin Meram is officially on fire in MLS JAM. The latest is at about 1:20 here:

That cross came from a man named "Dilly Duka."

Side note: parallels between Meram and Zach Putnam exist. Both brought about a renaissance in a non-revenue sport with potential and a pro league to continue to, both programs collapsed after they left, the absence of both saw their longtime program stewards terminated after about a decade in charge. Whenever I see either I think of some fun times that I thought were sustainable but ended up not being so.

He's on top of it! OSU reported 46 secondary violations a few days back. These were more comedy than crime. Adding to the comedy is Gene Smith as Towlie:

Smith told The Lantern Tuesday the athletic department has 12 pending NCAA violations, and he doesn’t know if they will be deemed primary or secondary violations.

“We’ve got 12 pending,” Smith said. “It may turn out to be secondary. It may not.”

OSU spokesman Dan Wallenberg said in a Wednesday email to The Lantern, that there were actually less than 12 pending violations. Wallenberg did confirm that the additional violations are being “processed,” although he did not “know the status of each situation” in regards to whether it was being processed by the university or the NCAA.

I have no idea what's going on, you guys.

Chances anything serious comes out of this asymptotically approach zero until Charles Robinson arrives on the scene in a superhero costume, but it's good to get further confirmation that the man in charge of Ohio State athletics is maybe not so good at his job. [UPDATE: Smith clarifies that Charles Robinson is not on campus.]

Support the troops. Dave Brandon's opposed to having anything in the Midwest ever, and if you aren't you are pissing on our student-athletes:

"The one thing that kind of gets left out of this discussion that maybe ought to get some weight are the kids," he said Friday during WTKA's Mott Takeover. "Now, I know a lot of people don't really care about that part, but I do, and if you polled our players and said, 'If you played a really tough, successful, long regular season, the award you're going to get is to travel to Ford Field or Lucas Oil Stadium,' they would look at you and say, 'Huh?'

"They love going to warm weather. They love going to some of these locations they, in some cases, have never visited."

…TO PLAY FOR A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME ON SOMETHING APPROXIMATING A HOME FIELD AAAAARGH. I shouldn't even bother repeating the things. They are just infuriating. Next week there will be a sudden reversal and Brandon will talk about how he doesn't consider on-campus sites to be on campus. It's not really a home field advantage, you see, because something something something pasta in a bread bowl.

We made money! Besides, Michigan made bank on the Sugar Bowl:

While the Big Ten conference received $6.1 million for an at-large BCS team and gave Michigan $2.05 million for travel and other expenses for its participation in the game, that was not Michigan's profit on the game.

After expenses were taken out and the Big Ten absorbed the cost of the university's unsold tickets, Michigan brought in $78,916 in profit from its trip to New Orleans, according to records received by WolverineNation as part of a Freedom of Information request.

It's not quite as bad as that. Michigan still has a couple million coming from the league. It seems like the travel and expenses budget is designed to approximately break even. The Big Ten ate about 400k in unsold tickets from the Sugar.

Etc.: ESPN's putting together a "hate week" that seems incompatible with their corporate goals, but if you're writing about Fielding Yost's irrational hatred for something I'll read it.

Derrick Walton still tearing up AAU. Michigan Hockey Net interviews Michael Downing. Troy Woolfolk on stuff. Glick fluff from Michigan Today. I kind of wish it wasn't smack dab in the middle of State Street, since that forced soccer to relocate off campus.

Commits ho? Sleuthing out bits of Michigan's hockey schedule.

Unverified Voracity Is Suddenly Rabid

Unverified Voracity Is Suddenly Rabid

Submitted by Brian on June 7th, 2011 at 1:01 PM

[Ed: light day. Going to Gold Cup game(s). Also is June.]

If reporters looked like this the world would be a different, stranger place. College Football Live called up a local Morgantown reporter to discuss what Doctor Saturday has dubbed "As The Couch Burns." They immediately improved said reporters self-image:

barwis-haunting

If Mike Casazza woke up today with wolves and a fridge full of chocolate milk this is why.

While we're on ATCB, yes, it has been broached: bring back Rich Rodriguez.

"Mentor." The Dispatch FOIAs Tressel's communications with one Ted Sarniak and comes up with a heavily redacted set of information that invites questions as to who is mentoring who, exactly:

After Tressel received an April 2, 2010, email from a former player warning him of potential NCAA violations, the coach exchanged 77 calls and text messages with and spent a total of 4 1/2 hours talking on the phone with Ted Sarniak, the hometown mentor of quarterback Terrelle Pryor in Jeannette, Pa.

Their longest phone conversation - 18 minutes - happened on Dec. 21, two days before OSU announced Pryor and five others would be suspended for part of the 2011 season for violations.

The two also spoke for three minutes immediately after the Dec. 23 news conference benching Pryor, Daniel Herron, DeVier Posey, Solomon Thomas and Mike Adams for five games and Jordan Whiting for one game.

Tressel and Sarniak exchanged text messages on March 8, the day OSU announced that Tressel had known about the violations for months.

Sarniak will now offer tearful testimony about how Jim Tressel made him into a man. There's still a bunch of stuff that's redacted with OSU claiming it's "personal," but OSU also tried to withhold Chris Cicero's name and a bunch of other things besides that they had no legal ground to do so. That doesn't much matter since the NCAA can ask to see them on pain of pain. (I think, anyway. Lawyer me in the comments if I'm wrong).

"Mistake." Again with the "mistake" language, this time from bow-tie wearing university president and fool Gordon Gee:

"Any time that there is a mistake, or any time that there is an issue that flares up, and we go back through and scrub everything very, very carefully," he said. "We want to make certain that we're asking all the right questions."

It is not a mistake to engage in a months-long cover-up, just like it's not a mistake to give Jim Tressel a gentle massage when you find out he's violated a very serious NCAA bylaw. Nor is it a "mistake" to ignore two separate warnings that you are barely checking on your athlete's cars, or a "mistake" to talk with Terrelle Pryor's shady handler for four and a half hours.

Meanwhile, that article has another insight into OSU's compliance department:

The university's compliance department, however, did warn another university about a former Buckeyes player who has been linked to the NCAA scandal.

In January, former Ohio State running back Jermil Martin enrolled at Ashland University, an NCAA Division II school midway between Columbus and Cleveland.

As required by NCAA rules, Ohio State notified Ashland of problems with Martin's eligibility, Ashland athletic director Bill Goldring said.

Martin was cited in the SI article as a guy with a close relationship with Rife, so the eligibility issues they reported to the DII school should have led to an investigation and so forth and so on. Instead it was all like "whoops, third string fullback, you did bad and have to go and It Is Fortunate you are the only one."

On the other hand, OSU has just updated (in April) its compliance procedures to the satisfaction of the auditing committee. Close that barn door, baby.

Steelebits. Via Get The Picture, Michigan returns a higher percentage of its yards on offense than almost anyone—they're tenth at 93%. And they only graduate one starter on the line. The offense was going to take a step back in terms of FEI and other advanced metrics just by regressing to the mean, but trying to parse out how much of that is going on versus how much the offensive transition is hurting things is going to be difficult.

Actually, it might not be if they just can't run (or throw) out of the I. That'll be something tracked in UFRs. Because it's interesting, not because I am full of hate. Hoke Uber Alles.

Offtopic but wow. Haven't bashed a local columnist in a while and while it's probably not nice to make fun of someone obviously suffering from late-state syphillis… wow:

Pistons need tough leader like Isiah Thomas as coach

If only we had known about this before a dollar of penicillin could have prevented this tragedy. Isaiah Thomas will sexually harass the players, yo, and then he will do what he's done to every NBA team he's ever come in contact with: make them so much worse than you ever thought possible.

Etc.: Mike Hamilton resigns. With OSU on the Volunteer path that means Gene Smith has a couple months before he does the same.

Unverified Voracity Dares To Dispute Steele

Unverified Voracity Dares To Dispute Steele

Submitted by Brian on June 7th, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Jon Bills update. Fullback/linebacker Mark Moundros, his brother Kirk, and fellow-walk on Jon Bills were in a serious car accident over the weekend, and while the Moundros brothers are "fine" according to their mother, Bills is set to undergo surgery today. According to a source close to the situation, the surgery will be an effort to repair a damaged vertebra. The situation is "very serious" but Bills has escaped worst-case scenarios to date. If you are of the praying inclination, keep Bills in your thoughts.

Alcohol didn't have anything to do with the crash, FWIW.

They've evolved. Surely this is not paint.

DeathRoh2

User TR Saunders is "still debating whether or not to add a scythe," and also claims the above is actually paint, which is… like… whoah. He uses source pictures; even so I fear him.

Steeleinfo, corrected. Phil Steel lists Michigan 72nd nationally in terms of experience on the two deep via a system in which senior starters are worth 3 points, backups 2.5, junior starters 2, backups 1.5, etc etc etc. That is not as disturbing as you might think. Michigan is tied with Penn State and West Virginia, teams that are going into the year hoping for something a little sexier than the Insight Bowl.

Yay? Nay. The reason Michigan's numbers are not hugely terrifying is that Steele's numbers are wrong. He mentions that two-deep changes since publication are not accounted for but swapping Lewan in for Dorrestein doesn't account for the differences, as he credits Michigan with six senior starters and six backups. That's not accurate:

  • Senior starters: Schilling, Ezeh, Mouton, Woolfolk, Banks (for now)
  • Senior backups: Sagesse, Webb, Dorrestein, Rogers.

He's not counting redshirt juniors as seniors because if that's the case he'd add Hemingway, Molk, Huyge, and RVB in and come out with eight senior-ish starters.

By my count, Michigan's numbers* this year:

  Starters Backups
SR 5 4
JR 8 2
SO 6 11
FR 3 5

In Steele's system this comes out to 50 points. This is good for 118th nationally, better than only New Mexico and BYU. There might be some systemic overestimation going on, but probably not enough to get Michigan back towards the middle of the pack. You may resume rocking back and forth about the safety depth chart.

Somewhat more encouraging: my off the cuff calculations see Michigan rise to 70 points next year, which is 1) probably optimistic since there is always some level of attrition and 2) would be good for 37th this year.

*(Note: I used Shaw and Smith as the two deep at RB, which is the maximum experience you can wrangle out of it. You could pick up another point or two by putting Fitzgerald on the two-deep instead of Demens or Mike Jones and trying to count Adam Patterson somehow, but since guys like Rogers and Floyd Simmons should fall out once the freshmen arrive, this is actually a more experienced two deep than we are likely to see against UConn. Most schools can say that right now, so we won't use projections. The point: this is not finagled.)

Elsewhere in Steeleology, Jamiemac has assembled a JAMPACKED Big Ten overview. Steele's projections are more optimistic than many to date, although that might be because he has significantly underestimated how young they are. This would be a positive step if it came true:

Regarding the Wolverines, he has them tying with the Spartans for fifth place in the league. Generally speaking, he’s optimistic about their chances and Rodriguez doing enough to keep his job. He doesn't have a whole lot of Michigan players on any of his top-4 All Big 10 teams. But however he manages his predictions, it must like the sum of Michigan’s parts. On his Big 10 page, he mentions that three of his nine ratings call for a 6-2 Big 10 season. More revealing is that on page 22 where he lists Michigan among his top-12 likely surprise teams for the year, he writes a stunning admission: “One of my nine sets of power rating has them going 11-0 before the Ohio State game.”  I want those power ratings. I want to roll them up in joints and smoke them all summer long. More realistically might be 4-4 or 5-3 in the league for the Wolverines, but I’m going to dream about those ratings anyway.

Jamie then asks if Michigan fans want Notre Dame to be good. The answer to that is "no." That goes double for this year.

Indecision for the win. AnnArbor.com picks up on a polling website that's answered the question I get asked all the time about the general opinion of the fanbase towards Rodriguez. It's mostly "ask again later":

Of those polled, Rodriguez had a 20 percent favorable rating, 26 percent unfavorable rating with 54 percent undecided.

However, when those same people were asked if they'd like to see Rodriguez replaced as Michigan's coach, 51 percent said they'd like to see him continue. 20 percent wanted him replaced and 29 percent were undecided.

54% saying "eh, don't know yet" seems like an impressively high number given the last two years.

Some of the breakouts in the full report are bizarre and fascinating. Self described liberal voters have a 9% favorability rating for Rodriguez; conservatives are at 13%. Rodriguez pulls the vast majority of his support from moderates, who are 33%-22% in favor.

Meanwhile, my pet theory that Rodriguez drew most of his support from the younger graduates and was totally hated by old Bo folks—which I have told a dozen podcasts—is completely wrong. The rate at which people think Rodriguez deserves another year increases monotonically as people age:

  Favorable Unfavorable Not sure   Keep Dump Not sure
18 to 29 23 39 37   35 39 26
30 to 45 11 27 62   38 22 40
46 to 65 18 29 53   51 18 31
Over 65 30 19 51   65 17 18

I have no clever explanations for that. Later today I'll put up the same questions on the blog to see what this place thinks; results should be interesting.

[UPDATE: An emailer points out that the breakouts by age here are beyond insignificant: of the 890 respondents, 20 were Michigan fans under 30. Nevermind this last bit.]

Jackson goodbye. The departure of assistant coach Mike Jackson for Purdue has apparently moved from rumor-in-name-only to actual news now that folk like Angelique Chengelis are mentioning it on the twitters. This has caused a great deal of alarm on the premium sites, but from people who know Jackson personally and use him for information. Proclamations of doom… eh… whatever. If Carlton Brundidge sticks around, which it seems like he will, the impact will be minimal.  Proclamations of Jackson's recruiting skillz fail to mention that Michigan hasn't landed a single recruit that had major offers from other programs—Smotrcyz blew up after he committed.

Is it going to get worse with someone new?

Well, he can do that thing. Widely unregarded WR recruit DJ Williamson is one of Michigan's least-heralded recruits, a guy with two stars on Scout and not much more in the way of praise elsewhere. However, he is real fast. He won the state championship in the 100 M dash as a junior and doubled that feat over the weekend by winning the 100 and 200. His 10.64 100 could have been better if he didn't pull up for some Usain Bolt action at the end:

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Williamson pulled out a W, presumably to rep Warren Harding. With three receivers from this class already on campus, Williamson is a holy lock to be redshirted but if he can develop some that speed promises something better than his recruiting rankings do.

Etc.: Annual Izzo-to-NBA mild panic begins, this time starting MSU alum and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert as the guy angling for Izzo. Way uncool. Izzo, for his part, texts a swear back at a local reporter asking for comment. Jamiemac comes in for the Six Zero profiling.

Unverified Voracity Says Yes, Yes, Yes

Unverified Voracity Says Yes, Yes, Yes

Submitted by Brian on July 28th, 2009 at 10:45 AM

The point of the diaries! Leading off: a fantastic diary from MCalibur on the increased vulnerability of spread option quarterbacks, or, apparently, the lack thereof. "Do spread quarterbacks get injured more?" is a question I've abdicated on before, citing the lack of a reliable injury database that could provide a comprehensive answer without good old fashioned grunt work. MCalibur grunted his way to a money graf after splitting quarterbacks into four quartiles based on run/pass ratio, with group 3 your Pat White sorts and group 0* your John Navarre sorts:

On a percentage basis the only group that suffered an out of norm injury percentage were level 2 QBs which I think of as QBs that are used like running backs (Juice Williams) or QBs that are too slow to be running in the first place (Steven Threet). All other groups suffered injuries at about a 23% clip. Meaning about 1 out of every 4 QBs in a given category lost playing time due to injury in 2008.

Though I don't agree with totally dismissing the increased injury rate of "group 2" QBs, the numbers here are small enough that it seems like an outlier. The Pat Whites got injured at at the same rate as groups 1 and 2, and group one was by far the hardest hit in terms of man-games lost. There is definitely no clear correlation between lots of runs and injury.

Caveat: as noted, the sample size here is small. The numbers are suggestive but not definitive. It's not impossible a larger study would show a better correlation between runs and injury. It is, however, pretty unlikely. Outstanding work; I have bestowed a bonus 100 (meaningless!) points. Misopogon also picked up the bonus for the numbers post front-paged last night. At some point these will be useful, I swear.

*(Dollars to donuts this means MCalibur is a coder. He's zero-indexing his arrays.)

Meanwhile on the roster. Michigan applied for three medical redshirts last year and news reports had confirmed that two of them—Adam Patterson, now a redshirt junior, and Junior Hemingway, now a redshirt sophomore—had been approved. The third was Kenny Demens, who the roster now lists as a redshirt freshman. Obviously inference: Demens, too, got his redshirt.

The whole enchilada from Rich Rodriguez's appearance at Big Ten media days:

Transcript here if you don't want to bother with the video. I read it and decided against it; there is zero of value in there. There is also creepy dark cell-phone video from The Big Ten Network talking to Mark Ortmann and Stevie Brown:

Mesko doesn't talk, he just saves the planet. There is also more of Rodriguez talking.

Can we get in on that? Yankee Stadium is poised to host outstandingly competitive games between Notre Dame and Army—why do you hate America, Notre Dame?—starting in 2010. This has caused Army to sign up a half-dozen future Yankee Stadium games against other East Coast schools and Yankee Stadium to start thinking bigger and possibly more competitive:

The Daily News has learned that there have been discussions between the NCAA and high-ranking Yankee officials, including managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, about the possibility of establishing a postseason bowl game at Yankee Stadium, beginning in 2011.

And… hey… can we get in on that? And in a meaningful way, not a goofy Motor City Bowl sort of way? I would love the opportunity to watch some other Big Ten team freeze its ass off in New York against some warm-weather team and caveman their way to astounding victories. Hell, if Michigan ended up in it I might even go depending on just how Christmas-impinging the thing is. Why don't we boot the Alamo Bowl to the curb—cold or not, there is no comparison between San Antonio and New York—and take on any comers in the frozen northlands?

(HT: Doctor Saturday.)

Erm? I've never had the Erin Andrews-level obsession that much of the rest of the college football blogosphere has with stat ninja Phil Steele, but I do respect his research-mad ways and how he eschews the sort of punditry that can best be summed up with the word "Cowherd."

So, um, Phil, what?

7. Rich Rodriguez, Michigan – The Wolverines could be an underdog in as many as 7 games this year and they really must have a winning season. I think Rodriguez will get them to a decent bowl and make major strides just like he did in his 2nd year at West Virginia. Amazingly there are a lot of Michigan alumni who think Rodriguez runs a pass-happy spread offense! In his last 6 years at West Virginia his teams averaged 270 ypg rushing the football (148 ypg pass) while Michigan in that same span had 229 ypg PASSING and just 163 ypg rush.

Not only does that "7" represent Phil Steele's placement of Rich Rodriguez on his top 13 "hot seat" list—ahead of Charlie Freakin' Weis!—but I would like to meet the Michigan fan not in a coma that believes Rich Rodriguez piloted a pass-happy spread offense featuring Pat White.

Never fear, though. Sensing a threat to their hard-earned possession of 2009's Dumbest Statement About Michigan Football, CFN strikes back:

2009 Preseason All-Big Ten Defense

DB - Stevie Brown, Sr., Michigan
DB - Kurt Coleman, Sr., Ohio State
DB - Donsay Hardeman, Sr., Illinois
DB - Torri Williams, Sr., Purdue

That's right. Stevie Brown, who isn't a defensive back anymore, and oh by the way was mindbogglingly awful last year, is first-team All Big Ten. You win, CFN, you win.

(CFN HT: MattC87 around these parts. What, you think I read it?)

More scheduling bits. I have no idea about the veracity of any of these rumors, but the following five schools have been kicked about the internet in the wake of Rodriguez's announcement that Michigan would likely find a BCS school to have a home-and-home with. In ascending order of plausibility:

5. Duke. In a word: no. Michigan could get a Duke-level opponent without a return game, and has in the recent past when they scheduled Vandy. Duke's existence in the list of four teams batted about (all listed save UConn) reduces the plausibility of the rest of them.

4. UConn. UConn isn't Duke but they aren't a ton better from a program perspective. (They're obviously better on the field.) It's hard to envision Michigan playing at 40,000 seat Rentschler field. And it's hard to envision UConn agreeing to another neutral site game after their sellout series with Notre Dame was met with resistance from the state legislature and brokered down to six games from the original ten with a provision that the Huskies play at least six true home games each year. Also, they'd have to move or cancel a game with Northeastern. Also also, the recruiting exposure would be nil.

3. Pitt. This was addressed yesterday: in 2010 Pitt already has Miami and Notre Dame scheduled, with ND on the road. Even though they've got an extra nonconference game because they're in the Big East, that would be a foolishly challenging setup for either Wannstedt battling for his job or the new guy looking to get off on the right foot.

2. Oregon State. Oregon State is a plausible opponent, but they'd have to accept a nonconference schedule of @ M, Louisville, and @ Boise State to go with their nine-game conference schedule. Has any college football team not named USC (or Troy, I guess) been that ballsy since the adoption of the 12th game?

1. Virginia. Virginia is a plausible opponent and was #3 on my list from yesterday.

As far as Cal goes, one of the guys from Cal Golden Blogs emailed me to remind me about the latest update on a potential series from their perspective:

An attempt to schedule Michigan "fell through."  Not sure if that would have been for this year, and that's why we had to scramble to get Eastern Washington.  Tedford did say that he doesn't want to play too many good teams and prefers A, B, C scheduling.  He stressed he always wants a home-home series, and that they're "not interested" in playing somebody without a return game.  In regards to a suggestion that we play Notre Dame, Sandy Barbour, who used to work for Notre Dame, added, "The Irish are afraid."

Downgrade Cal in your betting pools.

Blunt. I was taken aback by a Rittenberg headline that read "Rodriguez sees chemistry built, entitlement vanish," but did indeed Rodriguez drop "entitlement" more than once:

"Are you hungry to prove yourself and not have a sense of entitlement? We talked quite a bit about not having the sense of entitlement," Rodriguez said. "It's good to have pride, but when that pride becomes too much, you're going to get humbled pretty quick. I think, in a sense, that happened to us."  

There have been gigabytes spilled about this very topic on Michigan message boards from one end of the internet to the other: had Michigan fallen into complacency as Carr aged and the spittle ceased to fleck? What is this program, who does it belong to, and what is "being Michigan"? At what point do people start to kick ass again? And by "people" we mean "us"? That's not a question.

Right: This is Barwis culture shock in a couple sentences from the head man, and speaks to the difficulty Rodriguez had adapting Carr's culture to his. This has to be better now; anyone who hasn't transferred should be in for the long haul.

Etc.: Three people emailed me this so it must be important: Kirk Herbstreit had someone burn down his house for a tax break. It was the fire department. It didn't work. AAU remains so far beyond sketchy it strains believability.

Unverified Voracity Faces Death Midgets

Unverified Voracity Faces Death Midgets

Submitted by Brian on June 24th, 2009 at 1:32 PM

Light day today due to Spain-USA. May we die with honor. Braves and Birds previews it for you.

Times and dates. A press release containing every exciting Big Ten matchup against Towson has been C&Ped into the diaries. Michigan games listed:

  • Western Michigan at MICHIGAN, ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Notre Dame at Michigan, ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Eastern Michigan at MICHIGAN, Big Ten Network, Noon ET
  • MICHIGAN at ILLINOIS, ABC, 2:30 p.m. CT

Yes, Western Michigan at Michigan is a 3:30 ABC game. Woo! It's not like there's anything else going on but Jebus. If the rest of the schedule wasn't dire enough to get WMU @ M on ABC I'd put in my usual complaint about a home 3:30 start really impinging on my ability to see games around the country.

Also: was it widely known that the Illinois game would be a 3:30 ABC affair?

We were good except for the eighty yard touchdown we gave up six times. I couldn't dig up a specific instance of this concept in the archives, but I'm pretty sure at various times last year I described the defense as doing pretty well except for the four long touchdowns. Michigan wasn't a team you drove the field on, it was a team you mostly failed against until someone in the secondary or one of the linebackers screwed up and then you ran for a long time and got seven points. Sometimes this happened most of the day (Illinois), sometimes it didn't.

It turns out there are numbers to support this idea:

The most interesting name on this list is Michigan. They were seventh in Success Rates+ but 62nd in PPP+ [Points Per Play]. That suggests that they played pretty efficient defense overall, not giving up consistent gains, but the breakdowns they did suffer were large ones, and they gave up far too many big plays.

There aren't any helpful glossary links that explain exactly what goes into these metrics, unfortunately, so I can't tell you if they attempt to account for the terrible field position Michigan found itself in time and again, but even that can't explain all of this discrepancy.

So: the stats point a finger squarely at last year's safeties, with some bonus points accruing to the sloppy linebacking.

More metrics for good. The Free Press summarizes Steele's metrics on Michigan, all of which point in the right direction. Many of them will be familiar to readers of this blog:

  • Teams coming off extremely negative turnover years improve 80% of the time.
  • Teams who lose three or more close games than they win improve basically 80% of the time.
  • Michigan returns many starters.
  • And holy hell the offense has to be way better.

Upshot:

Steele predicts an improved season for the Wolverines, the fourth-most improved season nationally, trailing only Illinois, Ohio and UCLA. He also sees them in the Champs Sports Bowl against Miami (Fla.).

Raise your hand if you'd take that right now. That appears to be everyone.

Another bullet in the head. Man, this coaches poll thing… eh… not so good:

the Coaches poll is a different story. Only 5 of the 18 non-BCS teams have a positive average, meaning that the overwhelming majority of non-BCS teams drop further in the Coaches poll after a loss than the average team does. (It’s true that in general, the Coaches drop teams further for a loss than the AP, but not by that much – it’s a difference of 0.2 spots.) In fact, the Coaches dropped non-BCS teams more than the average in nearly 2/3’s of their losses. Looking at it one final way, all of the BCS teams combine for the average 0.0 in the Coaches poll – non-BCS teams combine for a -1.6 average, losing a spot and a half more per game than BCS teams.

(HT: Blutarsky.)

And Carson went forth amongst the Hittites, and slew many, and gloried in the destruction, whereupon he was released from the football team to the annoyance of his high school coach. Minor PR fire at Detroit Renaissance arising from an interview with its head coach. First, the facts: Ren's Antonio Watts is being interviewed by "Hondo," who's a Spartan-slanted (and apparently unemployed now) TV guy the RCMB mocks.

First he references Carson Butler—"now with the Green Bay Packers"—as one of the major athletes in Renaissance's past, at which point Hondo asks why everyone loves Dantonio, at which point Watts says, in effect, "Dantonio shows up."

Then there's some garbled ungrammatical stuff from Hondo about the current Ren kids at State; Watts launches into this apropos of nothing—Hondo never mentions Michigan:

"I had two kids who went to the University of Michigan with Lloyd Carr and when Rodriguez took over last year, in my opinion they weren't done well. They weren't treated well. Carson had to leave early… to the NFL, and Andre Criswell, who's still up there, he's a graduate assistant who's not doing anything. And that hurt my heart. And I have a kid at West Virginia who's not very happy there. And I feel that."

Well, then. One: don't expect anyone out of Ren to go to Michigan in the near future. But let's not confuse this coach's slant with reality. Criswell is a great guy but he was the last guy in his recruiting class, a guy Carr offered on signing day because he had an extra scholarship. He came in as a fullback, never played under Carr in three years, and never played under Rodriguez. As mentioned, he's currently a grad assistant. I'm finding it difficult to see how that can be spun as anything negative. I'm even assuming his withdrawal from the program was entirely his decision: Michigan has extra scholarships this year. So what the hell?

And Carson Butler… well. Carson Butler is the most embarrassing program alum in the last decade. He punched a Notre Dame player last year. The year before that he participated in the St. Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre, was kicked off the team by Carr, and only let back on after he managed to evade legal consequences. At the time it seemed clear that Carr would have rather washed his hands of him then and there but couldn't justify it since he was acquitted. On the field the guy was a false-start prone headcase whose interest in blocking was nil.

And the stories that have hit my inbox about him have been either hilarious or disturbing, or both. There's a typical Carson Butler story in that thread linked above; I've heard three or four others of similar vintage. Unless this is an amazing hoax, the guy is a sociopath who got far more consideration than he deserved from Michigan.

So over it. A couple of weeks ago, Rich Rodriguez called up a couple of guys in West Virginia in an attempt to bury the hatchet. Here's how that went:

My wife is not a sports fan. 

Recently, though, she read the front page article by the Daily Mail's Jake Stump about Rich Rodriguez, the one where the former West Virginia University coach said how much he loved West Virginia and hoped the tension between him and hard-core Mountaineer football fans was fading.

Her observation after reading the article was, "Who is this man? What a pitiful, whiny, self-serving creature."

You, sir, have a very dramatic wife. Who likes adjectives.

Teeny tinies are the trend. Some of the roiling sea of consternation about Michigan's future is about the tiny wide receivers and their unsuitability for the NFL and that sort of thing. Maybe this helps?

Though there were no wide receivers taken in the first round in 2008, 10 went in Round 2, and a quick look at their first-year statistics paints an interesting picture. The success among the smaller guys was led by 5-10, 182-pound Eddie Royal of Denver, who embarrassed then-Oakland cornerback DeAngelo Hall in the season opener on Monday Night Football to the tune of nine catches for 146 yards and a touchdown. That was just the opening salvo in a season that saw Royal finish with 91 catches for 980 yards in 15 games.

Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson is another example of a small receiver having a big impact as a rookie. At 5-10, 175, he finished with 62 catches for 912 yards, but only two touchdowns. Even the surprise first receiver taken in 2008, 5-11, 184-pound Donnie Avery of St. Louis, had a stellar debut. He had 53 catches for 674 yards and three touchdowns, not too shabby for a 'rook.'

Meanwhile, all the big guys from that draft haven't done anything. Now, none of these guys are 5'2" or whatever Jeremy Gallon is, but they are in the range that of a Je'Ron Stokes. And if you're one of these guys you're probably going to go to the school that can best deploy your tiny windmilling legs, right?

NHL draft bits. McKenzie has released his annual, accurate list of the top prospects in the draft. It finds Mac Bennett and Chris Brown in the second round, with Kevin Lynch an "honorable mention."