Goth James Franklin Eats Some Arby's

Goth James Franklin Eats Some Arby's

Submitted by Brian on September 26th, 2016 at 12:47 PM

9/24/2016 – Michigan 49, Penn State 10 – 4-0, 1-0 Big Ten

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[Bryan Fuller]

Two years ago this game featured Dennis Norfleet dancing, a lot of bad football, and a series of increasingly boggling in-game decisions. Brady Hoke and James Franklin engaged in bad decision tennis, lobbing ever more ludicrous balls over the net and daring the opposition to top it. There was no winner—there is never a winner in bad decision tennis—but Michigan did not lose. They won the game, and the tennis match was called on account of forgetting to breathe sometimes.

Fast forward two years and things are a little different for one of these teams. Jim Harbaugh's taking timeout in case Jabrill Peppers can get a punt return in and asking to review a legitimately dodgy fourth-down spot despite being up a gorillion; James Franklin sees a fourth and goal from the two down 28-0 and decides on a field goal... wait, no, he's taking a timeout because he realizes that is a terrible decision. And now he's sending out...

Still the field goal team.

...

So this is a dumb fake—nope they kicked it.

Now they are down four scores, which is a notable improvement from being down four scores. James Franklin has lobbed this one good and high. This is an Eschaton-worthy parabola.

After they kicked it the camera cut to Jim Harbaugh on the sidelines, looking equal parts perplexed and offended on behalf of the game of football:

I had a similar look on my face. This is not good hard friendly competition. This was turtling. Signaled by their coach, Penn State promptly laid down. According to Wilton Speight, Michigan ran the same play eight consecutive times at one point Saturday. While that doesn't seem 100% accurate—there was a sweep in there—the bit in the box score where Penn State lays itself on the altar and hands the squiggly knife to Harbaugh is obvious:

image

Franklin told them to quit and they quit. I'm not surprised. One year ago this column was all about how pleasant it was to watch a Penn State game and not be stupefied by the things occurring in front of my face, and Penn State's held up its end of the bargain in that department over the last few years.

But I am also kind of surprised that James Franklin, who made Vanderbilt decent, would just roll over and die. You'd think that the kind of person who could stare the history of Vandy football in the face and make the Commodores one of the feistiest teams in the country would at least spit in his executioner's eye, for what little that would help him. Not today, and thus Michigan entered to the "win with cruelty" portion of the proceedings.

And, lo, it was cruel. Michigan acquired 13 tackles for loss and six sacks; they ran for over 300 yards with a carousel of running backs. Michigan threw to Eddie McDoom with less than half the fourth quarter to go, because a rep is a rep is a rep. It's not that Michigan was trying to embarrass or humiliate Penn State; it's just that they didn't care if that happened. Lo, it did. Meanwhile across the country in Autzen Stadium, a Colorado quarterback who was 0/7 with –4 rushing yards last week was spearheading a stunning upset by accounting for 500 yards of offense by himself.

Remember spinning around in circles about this defense last week? You should continue doing that, but for the opposite reason. Lost in the piles of viscera that are all that remain of the Penn State offense: PSU was an efficient, prolific offensive team headed into this game, with 39 and 34 points the last two weeks. It was even one seemingly well-suited to mitigate Michigan's advantages, with Trace McSorley throwing a ton of passes close to the line of scrimmage and completing 80% of them.

It didn't matter. Nothing mattered. James Franklin woke up this morning in a Cure shirt and eyeliner, because halfway through a game against Michigan he decided life wasn't worth living anymore. Just, like, whatever, man. Three points, seven points. It all leads to one place: the grave. First, Arby's. Then the grave. 

HIGHIGHTS

Parkinggod:

MGoVideo has some other highlight reels if you don't have time for the above.

AWARDS

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[Fuller]

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Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

you're the man now, dog

It was this kind of game:

#1 (tie) Chris Wormley, Maurice Hurst, and Taco Charlton nose ahead of everyone else on a defensive line that set the tone early and never let up, racking up six sacks and a trajillion TFLs. Hurst turned in the most impressive individual play of the day when he came from a nose tackle spot all the way around a guard and got in McSorley's business for a sack; Wormley was the most consistent entrant into the backfield, and Charlton's return helped seal the rush lanes that UCF exploited shut. Also he got a sack and a half. Welcome back.

#2 (tie) De'Veon Smith and Ty Isaac and Karan Higdon and Chris Evans were all between good an excellent as they combined for 40 carries for 318 yards, with seemingly nobody getting consecutive carries. Each guy ripped off a 20+ yard run; each guy made big chunks of yards for himself with good vision or broken tackles. Easy sledding but Michigan maximized their opportunities in ways that had not always been the case early this year.

#3 Ben Gedeon was the closest thing to a one on one matchup Michigan had with Saquon Barkley and that went all right. Gedeon tracked PSU RBs in space repeatedly, had a couple of impressive sideline-to-sideline tackles, and got in the backfield for 1.5 TFLs amongst his 11 total tackles. Barkley got his yards mostly on screens and shovels and the like, a couple of them on Gedeon. This was still a win against one of the top backs in the country.

Honorable mention: The right side of the offensive line was the main area Michigan attacked on the ground. Khalid Hill had another solid all-round FB performance. Channing Stribling and Jourdan Lewis helped shut down the PSU receivers on the rare occasions PSU managed to target them.

KFaTAotW Standings.

5: Jabrill Peppers(T2, Hawaii; #3 UCF, #1 Colorado).
3: Mike McCray(#1, Hawaii), Wilton Speight (#1 UCF).
2: Ryan Glasgow(#2 UCF), Jake Butt(#2 Colorado), Ben Gedeon(#3 Colorado, #3 PSU).
1: Delano Hill (T2, Hawaii), Chris Evans (T3, Hawaii, four-way T2, PSU), Chris Wormley (three-way T1, PSU), Maurice Hurst (three-way T1, PSU), Taco Charlton(three-way T1, PSU).
0.5: Mason Cole(T3, Hawaii), De'Veon Smith (four-way T2, PSU), Ty Isaac (four-way T2, PSU), Karan Higdon(four-way T2, PSU).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

This week's best thing ever.

Taco Charlton and Chris Worley combine to sack Trace McSorley on the third play from scrimmage:

That set up the ensuing Peppers punt return and was an emphatic declaration of the way the game was going to go.

Honorable mention: Karan Higdon rips off an offset draw touchdown; Peppers decoy sends Smith into the secondary, where he goes stomp. Any one of Michigan's 12(!!!) other TFLs. Peppers returns a punt and windmills down to the nine.

WGIBTUs Past.

Hawaii: Laughter-inducing Peppers punt return.
UCF: Speight opens his Rex Grossman account.
Colorado: Peppers cashes it in.
PSU: Wormley's sack establishes a theme.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

This week's worst thing ever.

Jeremy Clark ends a kickoff return on the ground, writhing, and is almost certainly lost for the year.

Honorable mention: Michigan fails to gain every yard available to them when Jehu Chesson drops a ball on fourth and two.

PREVIOUS EPIC DOUBLE BIRDs

Hawaii: Not Mone again.
UCF: Uh, Dymonte, you may want to either tackle or at least lightly brush that guy.
Colorado: Speight blindsided.
PSU: Clark's noncontact ACL injury.

[After THE JUMP: Speight is still on his fourth-down scramble.]

Jim Harbaugh Is Not A Food Critic

Jim Harbaugh Is Not A Food Critic

Submitted by Ace on August 30th, 2016 at 3:28 PM


[Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog]

Jim Harbaugh is the first person to admit he's obsessed with football. Everything else is secondary. This is a man who traveled to Paris with his wife, went to a Mexican restaurant that appears to be decent but by no means world-renowned, and declared it the best restaurant while also boiling down his personality into a damn near perfect tweet.

Harbaugh is a blunt instrument. He doesn't get sick. He doesn't take holidays. He's a jackhammer. We know this.

Harbaugh also has strong ties to the military. One of his oldest, closest friends is retired Marine colonel Jim Minick, who now serves at Michigan's director of football operations. He has a well-documented history of bringing in military officers to speak to his teams. He stops by Omaha Beach while on vacation. He welcomes servicemen into his office and genuinely looks more excited to take a photo with them than vice versa.

Which brings us to yesterday. Harbaugh emerged from the fall camp submarine—his term; he's also referred to it as a "bunker"—to address the media for the first game-week press conference of the season. Harbaugh is well-known for his unpredictable, off-the-cuff answers in pressers (not to mention on Twitter). We have a "jim harbaugh says things he probably shouldn't" tag, and the proprietor of this site has described him as "being himself at maximum volume at all times" on multiple occasions.

The odds that Harbaugh had the time or inclination to seriously ponder Colin Kaepernick's protest of the national anthem before the press conference are exceedingly low. This is a football coach known for being way more football-obsessed than even the average football-obsessed football coach. He's briefly emerging from three weeks of fall camp and its four-hour practices and endless film study to talk about the Hawaii game. He's probably aware of the basic details of Kaepernick's protest, but that's not anywhere close to his primary focus. He's thinking about his team, preparing for Hawaii, and not letting on anything about the ongoing quarterback competition.

[Hit THE JUMP.]

Unverified Voracity Demands To See The Cheesekeeper

Unverified Voracity Demands To See The Cheesekeeper

Submitted by Brian on November 10th, 2015 at 12:15 PM

Same as it ever was. Nothing changes.

The king stay the king. Harbaugh twitter will always be delightful.

If you do not listen to this song, this whole song, he will find you.

The equivalent Harbaugh story here is doing pushups with mom at 3 AM. De'Veon Smith was on Inside Michigan Football last night, and said things that make you… uh… notice a contrast between recent Michigan coaching staffs. For one:

"Coach Hoke was a great coach, he meant a lot to me," Smith said. "He came over to my house one day and literally just fell asleep on the couch."

I hope this was unannounced. De'Veon Smith comes home finds that one of his windows is broken. Inside, Brady Hoke is splayed out on the couch covered in cheeto dust and pinecones. Smith ventures a poke in an attempt to wake Hoke up; Hoke mutters "I am the cheesemaster" and rolls over, inert. There he stays for the winter. When he awakes he demands to see the "cheesekeeper" and runs into the forest.

For two:

"I guess until this year I wasn't really taught properly how to pass protect and what are my keys exactly," Smith said. "And (running backs) coach (Tyrone) Wheatley is instilling that into in all the running backs.

"In previous years, we tried to cut-block somebody. We weren't aiming at the right spot to cut down somebody and now coach Wheatley has taught us to get up on them and get low on them whenever we have to cut them. All the coaching points are definitely the main difference from this offense and last year's offense."

Smith has been excellent in pass protection this year. Michigan ran a couple of smash combos in the Rutgers game in which he was tasked with cutting an unblocked DE and did it with aplomb.

Mizzou chaos. Mizzou's president resigned, their chancellor also got booted, and because the football team decided they'd join the protest several people are poking me to talk about it. So here we go. Hold on to your butts.

  • If you don't understand what's going on, Bill Connelly's explainer is the best that I've found. I still fail to grasp why a few unrelated racial incidents—one of which saw the perpetrator expelled—blew up like it has, but the impression given off by the Connelly piece is that the upper echelons of Mizzou were taken over by Brandon types with an eye on the bottom line and the incorrect assumption that they had infinite political power. Yanking grad student (read: teacher) health insurance the day before classes is a Total Brandon Move. The inciting incidents here were a spark in a dry forest, to borrow Mark Bernstein's analogy.
  • The football team joining the protest promises to be a watershed moment. The president was likely on his way out anyway, but for the axe to fall so quickly after the football team announced a boycott indicates the latent power athletes have. Mizzou was about to get hit very hard financially because the football team simply decide to not do stuff. That is power.
  • This is still far away from the dread strike-for-money that will happen in the next decade, probably at the Final Four. The climate on the Mizzou campus during a campus-wide protest the aftermath of Ferguson is going to be a lot different than the climate if a team says it simply wants a piece of the pie. Whatever team does that is going to get it from both barrels nationwide. Mizzou's football team has largely been praised by non-ideological* media.
  • Gary Pinkel trying to walk it back afterwards by saying it was about nothing other than the health and well-being of the student on a hunger strike is disappointing. If you're going to do it, do it. That's some phony PR right there.

The merits of the protest, its interpretation of what the First Amendment means,  and the larger campus climate nationwide are outside the scope of this blog until such time as Michigan gets stuck in a similar morass. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

*[yes yes all media is ideological especially that newspaper or that website here's a cookie]

Okay, Bill Plaschke. I'd link Drew Sharp if he was talking to Keith Jackson.

It is a voice still so memorable, people still call his home and hang up just to hear his greeting.

"If you're calling the Jacksons, you have succeeded," the voice says. "Help yourself."

I don't think that's how it works. The idea of a medical redshirt for Mario Ojemudia came up again:

Elsewhere, Harbaugh said Monday that the team is still in the process of appealing for an extra year of eligibility for injured senior buck linebacker Mario Ojemudia. The 6-foot-2, 252-pounder suffered season-ending Achilles tendon injury during the second half of the team's fifth game of the year -- a 28-0 win at Maryland.

Per the NCAA rulebook, medical hardship waivers (also known as medical redshirt years) can only be obtained (in a team sport) if three separate conditions are met. The injury must occur during one of the player's four seasons of eligibility, the injury has to have taken place prior to the second half of the player's season and the player has not participated in more than three contests (or 30 percent) of his or her season.

Ojemudia appeared in five games, which is obviously more than three/30 percent. Still, Harbaugh said the process of an appeal is still ongoing.

"There's an appeal process," Harbaugh said. "It's a process."

I assume this will get shot down because the NCAA has been very strict about keeping that rule intact, especially since they moved from 25% to 30% a few years back. I'd be really surprised if Michigan wins here.

Kickering, evaluated. SBN Auburn blog College & Magnolia piles field goal attempts from the last decade into a couple of graphs in an effort to evaluate kickers by the worth of their kickery. Average point value by distance:

Points_per_FG.0[1]

Surprised a 50 yarder is a 50/50 proposition but I guess they don't throw you out there if you obviously can't make it.

Gets choppy at the end there for obvious reasons. C&M assigns points relative to expectation for the nation's kickers and finds Kenny Allen in a tie for 40th. That's about right since he's mostly hit mostly short field goals.

There are a couple of problems with this approach, It tends to give guys who don't have a big leg a pass for not attempting long field goals and it might underrate guys who end up with a lot of limited-upside chip shots relative to equivalent kickers who get more valuable attempts.

But it's a good first approximation, and Allen is about what we've seen: above average and not outstanding. FWIW, OSU currently is 116th. Jack Willoughby is 7/11 on the year and hasn't hit one from 40+. Just something to keep an eye on.

Smart Football back. Chris Brown has revived his blog until such time as someone else snaps him up. He talks packaged plays and how defenses are adapting to them:

In the below clip, Mariota is reading the backside inside linebacker — who is unblocked as the backside tackle is blocking out on the defensive end — to decide whether to hand off on an inside run or throw a slant into what should be a vacated area.

counter

Yet even though the linebacker steps up for the run — and thus Mariota’s read takes him to the slant — the nickel defensive back had been reading Mariota’s eyes the entire time and he simply steps in front of the slant for a too-easy pick-six.

Does this mean defenses have figured these plays out? Not even close; one of the many reasons Whisenhunt got fired was because he had only superficially begun integrating these plays into his offense, rather than truly understanding how they fit together. But I’ve seen other examples of plays like this so far this year, and it’s evidence that defenses are catching up. That, of course, shouldn’t be a surprise. In football, nothing stays easy for long.

The Borges-Denard parallels are obvious.

Michigan hasn't had a ton of trouble with packaged plays this year since they tend to play a lot of man, FWIW.

Etc.: List of top uniforms has Michigan #1, Oregon #2, which is kind of an amazing list. Leaders have leadership. Dedicating Yost Field House. The Slippery Rock story. The dumbest game theory decision ever. Probably literally. LeMoyne things. Harbaugh's got it all.

I'm Endorsing Mike Behm For Regent

I'm Endorsing Mike Behm For Regent

Submitted by Brian on October 21st, 2014 at 3:04 PM

So I'm about to break the no politics rule. I regret this, but…

1. If I'm going to run for regent that has to happen anyway.

2. I am only going to do this for Michigan regent.

3. I don't think regent is a particularly partisan position—see the lack of transparency as to how they operate and the lack of "no" votes.

4. I am not a registered anything. I don't like politics for the same reason I don't like coachspeak. I would strongly prefer regent elections to be nonpartisan, but they're not. This is life.

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All right, that said: when the regents' candidate forum was canceled on October 8th (it is now Friday at 4 PM, be there or be square) for scheduling issues, one guy still came into town because he was planning to do so anyway. He did a number of previously-scheduled in-person interviews, then emailed me. We got a couple beers at Ashley's, and we talked about the state of the regents, what was wrong about the current setup, and how to fix it. That guy is Mike Behm, and I'm endorsing him for regent.

This is not because he uses MGoBehm.com for his web presence. Mostly not.

Behm is a lawyer who graduated from Michigan in '89 with a BA in English with deep Michigan roots—his dad played football and ran track in the 50s. He went to the Rose Bowl in '89 as a student, and he reads the blog. I asked him to boil down his philosophy and goals into a few hundred words, and he's done so.

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

Q: What is the most important issue facing the University right now?

A: Affordability and accessibility. Over the past four decades, the State of Michigan has drastically reduced its financial support of the University. Thirty-five years ago, the State of Michigan covered 70% of U of M's costs, with the other 30% being paid for by tuition and endowment. Today, only 30% of the costs are covered by the State. I would like to see the State of Michigan invest in one of its most valuable assets, and increase its funding for U of M. But because of today's economic environment, I don't believe there is going to be a drastic increase of state funding. This being the case, I believe it is very important to examine the present cost structure of the University and cut and reduce unnecessary costs at all levels, including administration and operations.

Next, I would like to investigate ways to lower interest rates on student loans. Presently, banks borrow money at a rate that is nine times less than the average student loan. New legislation that has been introduced recently (Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act) that would help to lower student loan rates. If the government is not successful in reducing student loan interest rates, I would act to direct U of M's newest endowment program (Victors for Michigan) to provide low interest loans to our students.

Q: What are your thoughts regarding U of M's compliance with the open meetings act?

A: While I understand the need to protect individual's rights of privacy when it comes to limited circumstances such as some personnel issues. I am a firm believer that the Board of Regents would benefit from seriously listening to the concerns of the public. In addition to having Regents meetings where decisions are made with public comment and public interaction, I would use other ways for the Regents to gather information. For example, while the composition of the Board of Regents cannot be changed without involving the State of Michigan Constitution, I would propose forming advisory committees. I am in favor of forming small separate committees of students, faculty members, and supporters of the Athletic Department so that they can meet with and advise the Board of Regents when it comes to making important decisions.

In addition to being an attorney, I serve as Chairperson of Business Forward Michigan, an organization that helps local business leaders from Michigan advise Washington on how to create jobs and accelerate our economic recovery. The present Board of Regents seems to conduct business like politicians in Washington, in an isolated and deaf manner. Like what I do with Business Forward, I will work to help the Regents make decisions with the help of many informed and concerned voices.

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

While the above issues are obviously more important than the athletic department, we talked about that, too, and he'd support a change at the top there.

The above language is a little stiff, I know, but in talking to him it was clear he deeply cared about the university and was basically just a guy who wanted to help out. He's not much interested in serious political office; the opportunity to help the U out was a different matter. I think you should vote for him, no matter your political affiliation.

-Brian

Dear Diary Lights the Tires and Kicks the Fires

Dear Diary Lights the Tires and Kicks the Fires

Submitted by Seth on September 26th, 2014 at 1:56 PM

top-gun-maverick-iceman-goose-slider-tom-cruise-val-kilmer-anthony-edwards

Devin, I'm sorry about Funchess. Everybody liked him. I'm sorry.

Red or Blue. A week after a program-shattering loss turns fandom into an election year, with wins taking the place of electoral votes. This year's ballot has close races in quarterback, head coach, and AD, as well as referendums on blocking style, tempo, and punt formations.

On Saturday night those races appeared decided when everybody departed with eight minutes left of a two-score game against an opponent Michigan was outgaining. They'd seen the jewel of Rich Rodriguez's recruiting wasting an NCAA gift of a senior year in a new offense that still treated him like Tom Brady, so shell-shocked by years of abuse that any peripheral motion triggered desperation.

Then Shane, and the interception came, followed by the rain, and you could count the Hoke supporters by picking out the few hundred dots of blue or yellow between the blob of red. Everybody else looked at the scoreboard, looked at the radar, and recalled Michigan huddling—huddling!!!!—and calculated the obvious move. The 98,000 empty seats were a consensus: Hoke probably has to go, and Dave Brandon absolutely has to go first. The moment was stark, but it couldn't last, because stupid hope and the will to support your team is stronger than your brain's ability to store information it doesn't want.

The fanbase needs to have this conversation, and the diaries did just that. ST3 posted a curtailed Inside the Boxscore wherein his kid's quotes provided the subheads:

"Another huddle? Really?"
* Seriously, my son actually said that. I don't think he reads MGoBlog, and I hadn't said anything about tempo or huddling. So if a 9-year old can watch Utah succeeding with pace, watch Michigan plodding along, and gets exasperated at the huddling, why can't Brady figure this out?

Jhackney got home and thought about spiritual cleansings and what kind of coach doesn't wear a headset:

Dave Brandon is a whiz at marketing and salesmanship and Hoke is a whiz at clapping his hands while keeping his ears the same color tan of his face and running a clean program. There needs to be a coach that is involved in at least one side of the ball. Saban would mutilate your skull with his championship rings if you tried taking his head set away.

Every coach has inherent flaws—Nick Saban is an offensive dinosaur and doesn't care about his players beyond what they can do for him. It's whether the good things overcome those flaws. Hoke makes his program worse by willfully ignoring fundamental developments like the spread offense, tempo, the shield punt, and game theory. He and Mattison make it better by running it clean, recruiting excellent players and people, and building a strong defense. Like with political candidates, everybody's flawed; it's whether their angels or demons will come out ahead.

Best and Worst saw the fruit of Hoke's demonic seeds:

No, what killed my optimism about this team and this staff, about this program as it is currently stumbling through another shitty year, is how absolutely true-to-form it is to the dreams of the men in charge.

[…lights out on the Titanic.gif]

Ron Utah made the obvious comparison: we are experiencing a reverse Rich Rod. I'll add Bill Martin reversed to Dave Brandon and liken it to the classic two-party problem. Martin and Rodriguez alienated the crucial top of the fan pyramid with their Whiggish football ways, an inability to commit to a defensive faith resulting in total bedlam. Brandon went the other way; his Tory pandering alienated the students (SaddestTailgateEver on another little hoarded thing) and entitled alumni (dnak438 on his noodle exchange with Brandon) while Hoke's offense and special teams have repeatedly been derailed by dogma trumping sense.

Given most of the week to calm down, jmdblue wrote that he'd rather give Brady one more term to work things out while the upstarts drown themselves in their own corruptions. Unless someone can convince Colin Powell to run.

Etc. Alum96 reviewed the 2012 recruiting class to see if there was a development issue. If you don't compare against other schools though it means nothing, since most recruits don't play to their star rankings. Average size of each B1G team's offensive line starters. GIF about punting. Regular stats make M look good (see: outgained ND and Utah).

Dear Diary Feels Like Football Season

Dear Diary Feels Like Football Season

Submitted by Seth on August 15th, 2014 at 3:13 PM

DSC_3627

There are five…SIX principle benchmarks of a quarterback. The secret is surprise, surprise and fear, fear and a fanatical devotion to protection… [Fuller]

Diarist of the Week MCalibur was bumped this morning. Scroll, or continue. Some Meta things to get into first.

East Coast Trip. The New York and Philly alumni associations have invited Brian to come do his spiel. Details:

  • Monday, 8/18: New York, New York (We're in New York!) Brian will be at Professor Thom's on 2nd Ave between 13th & 14th, 7pm to 8:30, for their annual kickoff event, along with Paul Myerberg of USA Today. There's a thread up to put your questions in, and for any other signup details.
  • Tuesday, 8/19: Philadelphia, PA. 6:30 to 9pm at the Fox and Hound on 15th and Spruce with the Philly alumni association. Thread for questions. They have tickets on sale and details here. Hot appetizers provided.

Yes Brian will have a stack of HTTVs there. About that…

draftkingsrotator

Check your mailbox right now. The bulk of the Kickstarter books should arrive today. These were supposed to go direct from the printer two weeks ago; instead they arrived a week ago in Ann Arbor, whence we got them to a mailing house and out as quickly as possible.

The t-shirt orders and signed books are coming. The books are now on sale. If you haven't gotten one yet, a reminder that book sponsor Draft Kings is still offering a free copy for a  $15 deposit—that's the least expensive method of acquisition. If that's not your bag, "pre-sale" has moved to "on sale" on the MGoStore. It also comes in digital. And if you know any Penn State fans, we made a version for them too (digital edition).

Ticket Center. We're shopping for a new ticket vendor where MGoBloggers will be able to exchange with each other for free and find better 16478122820130311412deals on tix, since this year's secondary market will be pretty alive this year. If you have preferences (not Stubhub—they haven't offered) let them be known in the comments; number one priority is what you'll want to use.

The Venn of Brandon. This by 4roses is a Venn of Brandon's responsibilities:

lyOmKZr

Do you need the entire key? I'm kind of confused on the methodology; I think the idea is the circle is whether it's a priority for the AD? Are we placing different ideas here, so like Slippery Rock is B3? How do we separate complaints about marketing in general from being bad at it?

[After the jump: recruiting's secret sauce, hoops practice, Darboh's arms, and political things]

In Soviet Dear Diary Players Pay Calipari

In Soviet Dear Diary Players Pay Calipari

Submitted by Seth on April 11th, 2014 at 12:08 PM

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Just so we're all on the same page, this llama (via) is dressed as Batman, because Horford is transferring from a team that graduates Jordan Morgan for reasons of playing time. Farewell, and good luck, Al Llama Batman Sartre Horford; our time together was too short to understand each other, but I shall ne'er forget the awesome.

Let's start with that because things are about to get even weirder and less relevant (e.g. Michigan's spring game). But first: VICTORS:

User Day 3 Points Prize
rgfmich 177.25 Design an MGoShirt
814EastU 171.75 ANOTHER MGoShirt
vussmoney 166.50 a shirt
montandj 161.50 a shirt
cgoldner 160.00 a shirt

If you're like "what?" that was the final standings among MGoBloggers in the Draftstreet 40k TourneyDraftstreet 40k Tourney a few weeks ago. Thank to our fantasy partners again for sponsoring the Day 1 and Sweet 16 liveblogs and everything; if anybody else wants to see how much fun it can be to give me money, jump in on the 100k MLB tourney for $22, or place in the top 5 of one of the $1 satellite leagues to win an entry.

It's a bit early for early returns, no? The Diarist of the Week™ (sorry I've been lapsing on that) is alum96 for his double feature (offense, defense) that looked at the various Übermenschen from Hoke's first uber-class as they enter their junior and redshirt sophomore season. I chart:

Offense Defense
Player Was Is   Player Was Is
Kalis 5*, Hutchinson 2.0 Not that   Pipkins 5* Hoke impersonator

On tra..
dammit!!!

Magnusson 4* Schofield 2.0 On track   Henry 3* Afterthought A gem
Braden High 3*, Wisc OT On track   Wormley High 3* DL On track
Bars High 3* project Too soon   Strobel Low 4* lolOSU Too soon
Funchess 3* receivy TE Great WR   Godin 3* local DL Useful
Chesson High 3* skinny On track   Ross High 4* prodigy On track?
Darboh Low 4* possWR On track   RJS 4* hitter On track
A.J.Williams 3* blocky TE Not-good   Bolden High 4* natural On track?
Houma 3* runnyblocky On track   Ringer 3* might be Foote Wasn't
D. Johnson Low 3* local Gem?/inj.   Gant 3* S/LB tweener Too soon
NORFLEET 4* god of Smurfs Hi.   Wilson 4* Jamar Adams 2.0 On track
[No Quarterback] Richardson 4* Cass mite Cassmite
Clark 3* Shazorite On track

That's actually way better than I thought. Injuries set back some of them, and half of those who don't look like they'll turn out to be Big Ten-caliber players have been getting a lot of playing time regardlesss. More amazing, only Kaleb Ringer is gone.

Speaking of Morgan:

jmo_teampic

David Merritt is doing a signing event with J-Mo this afternoon at his store on South U.

Basketball diaries/etc.: Padog is now into the better-than-Indiana part of his worst-to-first conference preview of next year's Big Ten basketball teams, with Penn State, and Minnesota. Final stats on the shooty 2013-'14 season by LSA.

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