Mailbag: Absent Talent, Ferret Pushback, Lyons Impact, BASEBALL?, Clark Eval

Mailbag: Absent Talent, Ferret Pushback, Lyons Impact, BASEBALL?, Clark Eval Comment Count

Brian May 12th, 2015 at 1:13 PM


skill position recruiting under Brady Hoke

Where is the talent?


Hoke's recruiting classes were consistently highly ranked, bringing in 4 and 5 star athletes coveted by other reputable football programs, yet I keep reading that we lag many Big Ten teams in talent. I find it hard to believe Hoke is this bad at talent evaluation and missed on this many athletes. What do you think of the innate talent on the roster? Is this a pure development issue, or was Hoke that unlucky or bad at identifying talent?

Peter from Horsham, PA

It could be there, but concealed by the Hoke chaos.

Last year's D was 14th in yards per play and returns eight or nine starters, depending on how you define the term. The only personnel losses were Raymon Taylor, Frank Clark, Jake Ryan, and Brennen Beyer; Michigan gets Desmond Morgan off an injury redshirt and adds Wayne Lyons.

It didn't feel like that good of a defense, though. Part of that was the quality of competition. Michigan is 41st in FEI despite having shiny regular stats. (MSU is one spot ahead of them in 40th.) Part of that was the offense putting the D out there so often in bad situations that they were going to crack eventually. Many, many games over the past two years have had a similar pattern. The defense scratches and claws to keep Michigan in it and then they collapse in the fourth quarter because they're out of juice.

The other part of that was Michigan going to a man press defense their team simply could not hack. Blake Countess was exposed for half the season before they went back to their old ways. Is that "talent"? In some ways. But Hoke took an All Big Ten sophomore and destroyed him because he couldn't see that he was being put in a terrible situation for his skill set.

Meanwhile on offense… I got nothing. With the exception of projected TE Devin Funchess, Michigan recruited horribly at QB and WR under Hoke. The Chesson/Darboh class was all right, but they appear to have missed on all three guys they took the next year and the jury is very much out on last year's class. QB… I want to throw a rock in Hoke's general direction every time I think about it.

Recruiting very badly at QB is a way to have your recruiting rankings far outstrip your ability to play football. It's only one spot. Michigan's piles of OL are five. Michigan has nothing to show from the Hoke era other than a three star they took early with little competition and Shane Morris, who it is now clear was wildly overrated by the services. Morris is the kind of boom-or-bust guy you can take happily in a Harbaugh context where the roster has five or six or seven QBs on it; he is a disaster waiting to happen if the two guys in front of him are Russell Bellomy and air and the guy behind him is a middling three star. Harbaugh set about fixing that, at least.

Meanwhile the places Hoke did best—the lines—are the ones where you have to wait the longest to get a return on your investment. OL are particularly unpredictable.

And, yes, I do think Hoke was pretty bad at IDing talent. Look at the Dukes/Jones/York WR class, or the performance of the tailbacks he brought in, or the Wangler/Ferns/Furbush/Winovich LB class. Do not get me started on the tailbacks. Look at the decision to move to press man.

Defensive line is an obvious exception, where Michigan's turned two three-star Glenville projects into real players, but that just re-confirms that Hoke was a pretty good DL coach who ended up in way over his head.

Uppity so-and-sos with their thesauri

Excuse me while I correct your nerdom with my (apparently) superior nerdom.  Ferret Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson would not be the correct name.  What you are looking for is Ferret Super Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson.  In the first Tecmo Bowl, Bo Jackson was just a man.  It is in Super Tecmo Bowl that he became an unstoppable run-circles-around-the-cpu-god.  Surely you did not mean to name the ferret after the lesser of the two Bo Jacksons.


Bro. I said I would brook no criticism about my asymptotically perfect ferret names, and yet here you are, brooking your ass off. Well, BEN, clearly "Ferret Super Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson" is clunky and unwieldy and stupid, as any six-year-old child could see. It is obvious to any Tecmo Bowl connoisseur that we are talking about the destroyer of worlds Bo Jackson, "Super" or not. Humor, prose, and lovemaking are all about omitting unnecessary flourishes. So too are ferret names.

[After the JUMP: Ben gets commuppanced hrrrrrd]


Tu Quoque, Dear Diary

Tu Quoque, Dear Diary Comment Count

Seth February 6th, 2015 at 11:11 AM

On Wednesday morning, under pressure to do so in time to headline a Signing Day ceremony at his school, Cass Tech running back Mike Weber decided on Ohio State over Michigan by the slimmest of margins. On Thursday, Weber's position coach and lead recruiter for Ohio State left for the Chicago Bears. Weber:


He also removed all references to Ohio State from his profile.

Michigan fans jumped on this because it's in our interest that every recruit and coach of a recruit and parent of a recruit believe Urban Meyer a slimy salesman (he's not). Ohio State fans jumped to defend it by characterizing Drayton's departure as a surprise to everyone including Drayton, and equating it with signing a junior transfer quarterback after Gentry's LOI was in.

When Ohio State does something shady (or not shady but treated as such in the weird morality of college sports), Ohio State fans will be the first to tell you that everybody does it. They're right to a degree, but the degree is the difference between how much heat the Earth radiates into space, and the Sun. Regardless of whether Urban knew Stan Drayton was leaving beforehand, or if Drayton knew he'd get the job until then, what's clear is they didn't let Weber know the coach he was committing to was likely to walk away as soon as they had his signature on the dotted line.

Purposely fraudulent or unbelievably unfortunate timing, the real lesson here is that coaches are free to make the best decision for themselves, and players are manipulated into signing away that liberty.

And for nothing. Signing Day, really, is only the first day of a period that stretches through April that schools may receive official commitments, in the form of a "Letter of Intent." That letter is merely a non-compete agreement in which the school the player signs with provides nothing in return. The scholarship offer is a completely separate deal.

Since Weber already sent in his LOI, his choices are to stay at Ohio State, wait a year for the LOI to expire then transfer and wait another year, or ask Ohio State to release him, in which case he still has to wait out a year under NCAA transfer rules CORRECTION: would be free to choose any school. Ohio State can hold him to the LOI, or release him only to schools they choose. They can also rip away his scholarship for just about any reason.

The recruits are finally starting to get wise. Roquan Smith is still unlikely to end up at "Michigan University," but he was moments from sending in his LOI when news (that reporters meant to embargo until after Signing Day) broke that his coaches might not be there. Because he waited, he can now take another week to consider his options.

A Florida commit's father yesterday explained why his son is holding off too, tweeting "…Florida making too many coaching changes this is not a game it's my son's life." He followed up in response to angry idiot-who-tweet-at-recruits fans with the central moral question:


It's not, except in the warped morality of the NCAA and its apologists who think "amateurism" means players shouldn't be entitled to the same rights as every other citizen.

Signing Day is a total boondoggle. Recruits who have any sort of leverage should never sign a LOI, and should never feel pressured to commit on Signing Day. They should ask to sign a financial aid agreement only.

Meanwhile the NCAA should look at allowing players to transfer and play immediately if their head coach or primary recruiter leaves the school. It would prevent players from getting bait and switched, give coaches more job security, and ultimately plateau coaching salaries as schools come to value longevity instead of flashiness in their hiring of them.

How Karan Came. Michigan did get a highly rated running back in the class. Brian already linked to it in yesterday's recruiting post but if you missed it, Karan Higdon's coach is a MUST READ for anyone interested in how this process plays out:

I immediately called the Michigan football office and spoke with a secretary.  I told her that there was a running back in Sarasota that may be worth a late look and she advised me to send and email with his profile.  I sent his recruit profile and his HUDL highlights.  I was contacted almost immediately afterwards and spoke with Chris Singletary.  The first thing he asked was what type of kid is Karan and what his grades were.

Meta: Cumong! Brian's eye dialect for "come on!" has an origin. That diary is way more investigative and thorough than you thought it was when you saw it floating on the sidebar all week.

It also got me thinking about just how old this site is, and some of the other characters from Brian's section to be immortalized in these pages. Like "UNACCEPTABLE!" guy. And the narratively adorable moppet from the first great MGoBlog game column. That kid is probably in an English lecture right now. Which reminds me: happy 10th birthday, MGoBlog, belatedly (it was December 4).

Softball is Fun and Has a Woodson.


Sierra's gloves are purely hypothetical by now. Photo: The Californian

Softball has been initialized. This year's team will have to overcome the graduation of a great class, but returns shortstop Sierra Romero and three candidates for best pitcher in the nation. South Bend Wolverine has your full preview, to which I'd like to add my take.

A great pitcher pretty much owns in softball, and Michigan is filthy rich in them. The lefty/righty combo of Haylie Wagner and Sara Driesenga could easily be the best duo in the country if both seniors regain their forms after somewhat disappointing (for them) 2014s. Sophomore Megan Betsa is due for a season on par with the best of the Wagner/Driesenga era. They also added the top pitching prospect in the nation in Tera Blanco out of California. Like Driesenga, Blanco is as dangerous at the plate as on the mound.

And there's Romero. As a sophomore, Sierra was one of three finalists for softball's version of the Heisman. Most of that is her Cabreraian bat, which is already bopping out national records. My favorite of those: Career Grand Slams—the NCAA record is nine; half-way through her Michigan career Romero already has seven (tied for third all time with 2005-'08 Wolverine Samantha Findlay).

Last year Sierra also finished tied for seventh all time for walks in a season with 67, 20 of which were intentional (the most you get is about 250 plate appearances so that's quite a lot of walking). Since Michigan graduated her protection and two top-of-the-order bats, we could end up seeing that number skyrocket if Coach Hutch doesn't find some hitters to fill the bases ahead of Romero and clear 'em behind her. If she does, this is a national championship team.

A Special Hell for Terrible Michigan Coaches

There is a place where they man-block with Patrick Omameh, run Denard Robinson under center, and never use counters. In this place they run a 3-3-5 defense that only ever rushes three and tells its middle linebacker to line up a foot in front of the guard whose job it is to put the middle linebacker in that spot. When they punt, and they punt quite often, they only use two gunners, because that's what NFL rules say.

No, this place isn't some nightmare mashup of the worst parts of the last six years of Michigan. It is called San Jose State.

  • Offensive coordinator: Al Borges
  • Defensive coordinator: Greg Robinson
  • Special Teams coordinator: Dan Ferrigno

I know I shouldn't watch. But I have to.

Etc. The first quadralingual med student to play for Michigan. We're gonna press.

Your Moment of Zen:


Dear Diary Watches Scoreboard

Dear Diary Watches Scoreboard Comment Count

Seth March 28th, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Site note: Be here for the Liveblog tonight. Mods to your stations at 6:45; we'll get started at 7.


jonvalk (1/2)

I'll make this one quick.

Things to know about basketball

1. The defense has maybe taken a small step forward, and other observations about how basketball is like pro wrestling, from who else?

2. Michigan's offensive deviation isn't very large says LSA; they generally manage to keep their pace and score with relatively stable frequency. Score one against "defense wins championships because it's more consistent."

3. John Beilein is good at coaching it, whether he has 4-7 days to prepare for you, or you have only a couple of days to prep for him, via Mercury Hayes.

4. Purdue and Rutgers are not going to be good at it next year. Padog has begun a preview series for next year's conference teams, starting from the bottom. Northwestern is probably next followed by Penn State, but I'm looking forward to an Indiana preview sooner rather than later.

Best of the Board


For those not still hitting snooze on football right now, BlueMooner went to the private dinner last week with Nussmeier and came back with generalities that amount to Gardner/Morris/Speight are who we thought they were. Also this:

Audience members posed questions about the comparison of recruiting in the SEC versus the B1G; Coach Saban compared to Hoke; and his intent to stay at UM over the long haul.  He adroitly dodged those with a splendid sense of humor.  The crowd was really enthusiastic about Coach Nussmeier in control of our offense.

You are welcome to read this as "Nussmeier wants to be a head coach someday" and "the SEC cheats more in recruiting." This too is known.



There are 394 items on licensed from Michigan Wolverines and 369 for Michigan State Spartans. This should be a thing.

This is more of a link but Bacon addressed "Walmart Wolverines" on his blog this week. If you are an alumnus who has a problem with non-alumni rooting for your alma mater then you should read it.

My sense is that is next to none of you, and "Walverines" is a thing mostly generated by Sparties who don't like how people who didn't get into MSU bring up Michigan's marginal academic superiority. So Bacon is addressing the wrong crowd; on the other hand I'm not sure I want to advocate speaking sense to Spartans, because that totally works.


The CAPA decision touched off heated debate on the board, so heated that a second thread was warranted to exclude the money part that the Northwestern players aren't talking about. The debate came down to "better helmets and covering medical expenses down the road for athletes is good" versus "but schools that pretend to be D-I won't be able to live that way."


Congrats are due to Justin Dickens, the guy who granted Heiko that interview with Borges and oversaw a dramatic shift in how bloggers are treated relative to other football media. He's not only an MGoBlog reader; he's now Director of Football Operations. This site's had a lot of criticism for Fort Schembechler but I have zero for Justin, who was given the impossible job of keeping both Dave Brandon and Brian Cook happy, and who despite that always made protecting the players his highest priority. I expect he'll succeed; I'm more anxious about who will succeed him.

Your Moment of Zen:



Dear Diary Needs More Words for Pain

Dear Diary Needs More Words for Pain Comment Count

Seth December 20th, 2013 at 12:09 PM


Argh on you, club_med. Yes, I am flattered that you were inspired by my annual FEI-based bowl game watchability article, and I think it's great that you added Sagarin to it. Except now I actually have to find something else to write next Tuesday. Perhaps I'll do senior haikus.

Cam Gordon
I still can't believe
They pegged you as a safety
Here is your meat: raw.

Sorry Brian. You can do the next USCHO/RPI/Standings poll update from Center Ice. And he can take over LSA's weekly stat wrap, and LSA can take Best & Worst after the bowl game from bronxblue, who can do Inside the Box Score instead of ST3, and we'll send him to cover the press conference, and that'll be how we replace Heiko.

Season of Infinite Pain, Reviewed. "The Year of Infinite Pain" (glossary) was a name Brian came up with for 2005, before he knew what 2008 or 2009 or 2010 or 2013 could be like. Now diary giant Ron Utah is using "The Season of Infinite Pain" to describe this one. Not saying things won't improve, but, you know, that's just a might set up against two rivals who are peaking in a tough division, and a national competitive environment in which a lot of teams wantonly break the rules and ours doesn't. So just in case we need some more names:

  • The Autumn of Infinite Pain
  • The Time of Infinite Pain
  • The Annum of Infinite Pain
  • The Age of Infinite Pain
  • The Span of Infinite Pain
  • The Fiscal Year of Infinite Pain

If we are actually living in the last, here's guessing I don't make it past the 2014 Notre Dame game. If Dantonio and Urban get to 10 wins apiece against us there are several synonyms for "infinite" (eternal, interminable, perpetual, everlasting, boundless, incalculable, supertemporal) that may be substituted in various combinations.

Anyway Ron's wrap starts with the defensive line, which he gave a C+, but I think he's too high on Clark's season, too hard on Washington's (he was injured), and there needs to be more analysis of the heavy (ha!) rotational guys like Henry, Beyer, Ojemudia, Wormley, Heitzman and Pipkins.

Not on the Pistons, that's where. AC1997 is tracking Michigan guys in the NBA, as well as the transfers and dudes playing abroad. I'd love for this to be a regular monthly update for each season in action (so have a hockey one, and a baseball one, and football from August (free agent movement) through the Superbowl.

Etc. A quick statistical preview of Stanford, whom Michigan must beat lest they end the nonconference season without a signature win.

[Jump for Best of the Board and zen.]


Hokepoints is Legit, Maybe Not Legit. Yo.

Hokepoints is Legit, Maybe Not Legit. Yo. Comment Count

Seth December 17th, 2013 at 2:28 PM

george and jab

Moe (1) and Jabrill (2), via.

In last week's roundtable on the state of the conference I pulled out this table grading the new Big Ten's teams on their 2013 seasons (by Fremeau Efficiency Index) and their futures (by composite 247 score for the 2012-'14 classes):

West | East
School FEI Grade Rcrt | School FEI 2013 Rcrt
Wisconsin 13th A C+ | OSU 8th A A+
Iowa 30th B C | MSU 9th A B
Minnesota 49th C D+ | Michigan 29th B A+
Nebraska 51st C B | Indiana 62nd D+ C
NW'ern 60th C- C | PSU 65th D+ B
Illinois 75th D C- | Maryland 74th D C+
Purdue 114th F C- | Rutgers 98th E- B-
AVG 56th 2.0 2.0 | AVG 49th 2.1 3.0

That's about how I feel: A conference baseline of "C" (ie ranked around 50th) teams with one division recruiting at a "B" level and the other "getting the most out of" C level recruiting.

This I pulled from a spreadsheet of FEI and recruiting data that I'd like to mine further, because if you're looking at a chart it still counts as doing work.

Recruiting = legit, yo/maybe not so legit. So here's a new look at the old stand-by: recruiting on the Y-axis, performance on the X-axis, and a nice, heavy trend line with an R-squared of 0.46 to show an inconvenient-for-narratives correlation. Performance is FEI expressed as a percentile. The composite ranking is a bit more complex: the 2009 (5th year seniors) is weighted at 0.5 the 2010 and 2011 classes at full, the 2012 class at 0.40 and the 2013 at 0.10, which are arbitrary values I assigned based on expectations of how much a class contributes to a given team.


Blicking on it makes it cig.

It says they're correlated, but doesn't necessarily mean one is causing the other. FWIW the r-squared of the Rivals composite determined the same way was .4135; I haven't done Scout or ESPN yet. Look at how the correlation of recruiting %-ile of each class and 2013 performance %-ile changes by year:

Class 247 R-Squared Rivals R-Squared
2009 (5th yrs) 0.3681 0.3204
2010 (Jr/Sr) 0.3696 0.3776
2011 (So/Jr) 0.4596 0.3848
2012 (Fr/So) 0.4143 0.4134
2013 (RS/Fr) 0.4724 0.4076
2014 (recruits) 0.4417 0.4098

The highest correlation is to the freshman class, and the 3rd-highest is to the class that's not even on campus yet. There's a strong echo effect going on here, wherein the teams that are good today are getting the highest-ranked recruits. The diminishing returns from seniors, I would posit, are because they're the classes hit hardest by attrition, and most likely to have been recruited by a different coach or to a program in very different circumstances.

The other thing that immediately jumped out at me about that chart is look at all the color on top of the black trend line. Those gray dots are mid-major programs, who are largely outperforming expectations from recruiting, versus only one SEC team managing to do so. I bet that's a system bias in the recruiting rankings: there's little to parse between an under-the-radar guy who commits to Purdue versus one going to NIU except one of those is a Big Ten school.



Unverified Voracity Ranks Most Buckeye

Unverified Voracity Ranks Most Buckeye Comment Count

Brian July 11th, 2013 at 1:16 PM

The most Buckeye. What is the most Ohio State thing? Is it chasing off a touted linebacker recruit with your tilty-head child porn whatnots?


That's pretty Buckeye. Is it getting caught pleasuring yourself in the library by Carl Monday? Is it punching an opposing player because you're mad?

I think the kid who named his tumor "Michigan" is the most Ohio State thing.

Grant Reed is only 12, but the young Ohio State fan has scored a major victory over “Michigan.”

It’s what he named his brain tumor.

According to a report by NBC affiliate WCMH, Reed was recently released from Nationwide Children’s hospital in Columbus, Ohio, after completing chemotherapy in a two-year fight with the brain tumor. Doctors give him a good prognosis.

Congratulations, kid. You are both alive and the most Buckeye, at least until a guy wearing an Andy Katzenmoyer jersey poops on Desmond Howard live on Gameday, then punches out Herbstreit for being a "fake Buckeye."


  1. Naming brain tumor "Michigan"
  2. "Everybody kills"
  3. Committing insurance fraud with the vehicle some booster provided you
  4. Tilty-head child-porn selfie fetish that chases away Alex Anzalone
  5. Library jackin'
  6. Dymonte Thomas is totally gonna flip you guys

McGary smash. GRIII and Mitch McGary are at the LeBron Skills academy with about a zillion other dudes both in college and high school, and it sounds like McGary is following up his breakout tournament with consistent, varied production. Sam Webb($):

Mitch McGary – “The Monster” looks like a million bucks – figuratively and literally.  The sophomore power forward checked in at a toned 6-10.5, 266-lbs. with an 83.5-inch wingspan.  His activity level stayed consistently high at times he seemed to catch his opponents off guard with better than expected lateral agility bounce.  …  While his overall activity level on both ends continued to stand out, his 11-point barrage over a couple of minutes was the true highlight.  The run started off with a pick& roll clinic.  On three occasions McGary lost Wilson after setting a solid screen and diving to the basket for a bucket.  When Wilson finally decided to stay with him, McGary stuck a three.  A couple of possessions later he caught the ball on the right elbow, pivoted to face the rim, then calmly stuck a jumper over Wilson’s outstretched arm.

I be like dang.


The only bad mark on McGary’s report card came when he attempted a heat check three toward the end of the game. The big fella dribbled into a jumper a full step beyond the three-point line.  It was an air-ball, but after everything else he did in the game, you’ll give him that one.

Yup. Ride the lion, buddy.

For his part, GRIII wasn't standing out like McGary. Low usage from the guy in a camp setting is no surprise since he's so deferential; hopefully in a more regimented team setting he can step up.

The least committed. Rivals article on ever-accelerating pace of non-binding verbal commitments "raises issues," but is mostly notable for the best redefinition of commitment ever. Shea Patterson is a 2016 dual threat QB who just moved to Louisiana, and he is in some sort of relationship with Arizona:

"Right now I am committed to Arizona, and if I don't hear anything from any other school for the next three years I will be happy to go to Arizona, but since we moved things have been different," he said.

Shea Patterson's commitment status is "it's complicated." Tulane, get that letter in the mail and he's yours.

FWIW, decommitments are not actually a problem worth solving. Delaying Signing Day until after coach firing season prevents a lot of guys from being locked into LOIs they don't want to honor, and gives everyone time to find the best place for them to be. Moving up those timelines does nothing but create worse matches between players and programs.

If you do want to help this non-problem be less of an issue to raise, two things: allow earlier official visits, so that more kids can get the lay of the land earlier, and create a non-binding pre-LOI that prevents other coaches from contacting anyone who signs up for it but can be withdrawn at any time by the player.

The dynamic pricing thing. A long time coming and I don't really have an issue with it since it allows Michigan to recoup some money that was otherwise being left on the table without increasing season ticket or student prices. I mean:

“They (the consumers) are going to pay more anyways,” Lawrence said. “It’s just a question of who’s making the money? Is it the school or is it the broker?”

As far as ways to increase revenue go, this one is much better than annoying me with max volume exhortations to rent Michigan Stadium for a wedding. Also, it increases the feasibility of interesting nonconference home and homes because the more attractive the opponent the more ticket revenue acquired.

This, on the other hand…

On Monday, Purdue University announced that it too would use dynamic pricing for football season.

…will result in Purdue tickets being exchanged for pogs.

Etc.: Devin Funchess is on the Mackey watch list. Also on the Mackey watch list: you. I only talk about coaches who coach for Michigan but Rich Rodriguez in a nutshell: "Well, I hear a lot of times people say 'Oh, we gotta have a guy that's a game manager,' and I don't know what that is."

NCAA promises not to send its goons after a current player who joins the O'Bannon lawsuit, because its goons all left to work at Auburn anyway. Both of these teams should be named "Northwestern." Michigan picks up a 2015 forward commit, seems like a second or third liner. Excellent take on the O'Bannon case. Hanging with Trey Burke at the draft. Say bye to Nebraska.


Hokepoints: The Big Ten Has a Problem

Hokepoints: The Big Ten Has a Problem Comment Count

Seth February 12th, 2013 at 9:08 AM

It is a day after National Signing Day and the Big Ten has inked yet another lackluster group of mostly 3-star recruits. Fearing a further drift toward mediocrity, representatives from each relevant school have secretly gathered together. Their goal:  rescuing the competitive future of their once mighty conference!

A prayer is offered to AIRBHG and thanks given unto BHGP for allowing me to rip off their format.


Scene: A little-used back room of the Palmer House in Chicago, its walls lined with trophies honoring the conference's academic achievements, and tasteful sweaters. A group of men and a duck mill about, most huddled around a smartphone showing walrus porn. One is eyeing the gilded stand lamps, apparently wondering if they're bolted down. They are watched by a shadowy figure in a ski mask. JIM DELANEY enters…

delany: The Big Ten Emergency Meeting on Recruiting Top Talent to the Midwest will now come to order. B1G T3N Divisions, ROLL CALL:

urbzangrypsuzelleraduck: Leaders!

hokebraypelinimsufatpitzkillferentzconsin: Legends!

delany: Dammit Barry.

consin: Leaders!

delany: I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce our two newest members, Notre Dame and Texas.

knight: Hark, fair commissariat, thou speakest in error, for surely thou didst mean mineself and mine good compatriot of Mary's land.

terppppp: I can get my parking validated right?

delany: Unh, right. Good afternoon.

terpppppknight: Good afternoon.

hokebray: Championships!

terppppp: What's he saying?

delany: It's the…no, Brady we're not doing the thing.


knight: Undoubtedly the stout knave is expecting some manner of riposte.

[More. Oh so much more, after the JUMP!]


Hokepoints: Troll Back, Recruits of the Future!

Hokepoints: Troll Back, Recruits of the Future! Comment Count

Seth January 22nd, 2013 at 10:45 AM


Ostensibly because they simply don't have the resources to keep Lane Kiffin from tweeting recruits every five nanoseconds, the NCAA this week announced they're getting rid of those limits altogether. They're also planning to let schools send as much mail as they want.

If you're a big school like Michigan who can afford to pay a guy to do nothing but send mail and text people wonderful Michigan facts, this is horray. But if you're a young football player upon whose skills rests the future employment of a hundred highly motivated collegiate coaches, prepare for the USC Legion of Owls…

What can you do to fight back? Well it's not like recruits don't have options, and I'm not just talking about picking a hat. You, young sirs, are for this brief window the sole source of information for a voracious, massive, and more than a little creepy information vacuum. Collegiate hopefuls of America's high school, I tell you today you can approach the recruiting process with poise, intelligence, humility, and maturity, or you could wield that which has ever been the tool of your kind—troll them.

Now some of you have tried this before—demanding your program have a good medical school to sound academically inclined, making up fake visits to Notre Dame, making up fake dead girlfriends, even committing to big schools sight-unseen to drum up internet interest *cough*DeQuinta Jones*cough*—I call such sad attempts sophomoric. Inspired in part by DeAnthonthy Arnett, in part by a conversation with Ace when Michael Ferns announced, and with help from Brian Cook, here follows a handy list of ways the nonpareil prospect can pique the system, discomfit the coaches, and have a little fun at the expense of all those strangers hanging on the bell.

==Idiot disclaimer: I am not actually advocating any of this.==

Remedies for the Coach With the Iron iPhone:

You are a running back whose backflip hurdle over a defender hit YouTube and now Bob Stoops is waiting at your car after the game: "Hello." But wait, now Mark Stoops climbs out of your back seat: "Hello." And now here's Urban Meyer's helicopter landing in the middle of the parking lot with a Corvette and dealer plates: "Hello." Suddenly your lower body trembles and a purple thing emerges, its face reconstituting into that of Brian Kelly: "Hello." Lane Kiffin taps you on the shoulder. "Hello." Lane Kiffin has surgically implanted himself into your shoulder. "Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello." What do you do?

1. Hold "hair ceremony" instead of hat ceremony. Display toupees modeled after your finalist coaches.

2. Skype video invite to Brian Kelly, Les Miles, and Urban Meyer so they all think you're calling to commit to them, then do hat dance between three schools and "lose connection" to video. Repeat following week. (Please record this)

3. Flip to your former chosen school's most hated rival, and in so doing read the same exact statement a guy going the other way did last year.

4. Tell him you'll commit, but only because you believe the rumors saying he'll be replaced with Ron Zook in a month.

5. Insist on being called "future major violations case."

6. Claim you're a package deal with your team's kicker, provide name and phone # of least athletic person you know (it's not like anybody ever gets film on a kicker).

7. Invite coach for an in-home visit; once he's seated ask if he'll watch your baby sister while you run out real quick.

8. Demand your final two schools prove they will know how best to deploy your talents by playing each other on NCAA using created teams made up entirely of you.

9. Suggest to Ole Miss that they text your dad to "work out a deal." Provide phone number of friend/co-conspirator/NCAA enforcement agent.


Remedies for the Reprobate Recruiting Reporters

So many sites today promise subscribers instant information on the latest whims of recruits considering their schools. Mention interest in a visit and you'll instantly have seven dudes from seven services camped out in your shower. Here's how you flush 'em:

1. Call recruiting services and continually ask them if they have a top five list. Refuse to offer any information unless the reporter announces his favorite schools. Follow-up: If reporter changes those schools, tell him he's dishonest and drop him.

2. Announce you will only talk to recruiting reporters under 16.

3. Only answer recruiting questions with boilerplate quotes that have strong sexual double-entendre.

4. Pick recruiting service. Respond to all inquiries from recruiting service with quotes from "Baby Got Back". Pick different recruiting service. Respond to all inquiries from recruiting service with quotes from Robert Frost. Pick third recruiting service. Respond to all inquiries from recruiting service with obfuscated C programs that print "Baby Got Back"/Robert Frost mashup quotes.

Describe the recruiting process for you so far? "I'm tired of magazines."

Is distance a major factor for you? "Like men we look too near."

How did you feel when you got that Ohio State offer? "You say you wanna get in my Benz?"

Would you consider other offers if your coach takes that NFL job? "My homeboys try to warn me, but I have promises to keep."

Bonus: "Take the average black man and ask him that" as a reply to most recruiting questions will make an interviewer really uncomfortable until they figure out what you're doing.

5. Insist that your name is Lee Fucking Corso.

6. Insist that people call you Lee Fucking Corso even though they know that's not your real name.

7. Hold hat ceremonies every Tuesday. One of the hats is "Decision Next Tuesday." Eventually you'll call it Walt, so every press conference ends with you pickin' ol' Walt.

8. Commitment ceremony has five hats. Each hat reveals a different cheese. Describe your favorite cheeses. Pause. Say "but I'm going to have to go with.... PORT SALUT!!!!!!!!" and eat 10 oz in one bite. When done, stare at assembled crowd. Pause again. Say... "what, I like cheese."

9. Game of Thrones gambit: Tell five different journalists, in confidence, that you're silently committed to a different school, wait and see which one gets leaked. Follow-up: Announce you are committing to the Lannisters.

Remedies for the Message Board Morans

Who us? We're annoying?

1. Go on message boards to solicit video testimonies from fans as to why you should go to their school of choice. Publish the best of them.

2. Announce press conference for "big announcement," where you play Catlab dubbed over with french noveau vague and film noir soundtracks, occasionally turn back to audience and explain "You see? You get where I'm going yet?"

3. On your announcement day, proclaim you have buried your decision in a box you've geocached based on some obscure statistic, but which coordinates are actually in the middle of the hippo pen at your local zoo.

4. Find some annoying person on the fan site for the top team you didn't commit to, claim it was that person's posts that made you choose the other school, watch that person get devoured.

5. Do the same with whatever the last protest was at that school. "I was going to commit to Michigan but then I saw they were protesting to save the whales, and I hate whales."

6. At your hat ceremony, stick a large wad of cash under one hat you were about to discard. Act surprised, try to cover it, then say you're canceling the ceremony while you think things over a bit longer.

7. Hold your hat ceremony in a hat store.

8. Answer all questions as if you were being asked about your NCAA dynasty.

(Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments)


Hokepoints: When Will the O-Line Be Ready?

Hokepoints: When Will the O-Line Be Ready? Comment Count

Seth January 15th, 2013 at 8:12 AM


This week Michigan pulled in a commitment from another offensive lineman. That makes six for the 2013 class, with the possibility of a seventh, on top of four in 2012, on top of…well that's the point isn't it?

It's easy to point fingers […in the general direction of Tucson] for the dilapidation of M's o-line depth. Rodriguez did knowingly and willfully get too picky with his 2009 and 2010 recruiting, perhaps figuring the massive 2008 haul would tide him over until he was winning championships and could offer playing time and non-ridiculous uniforms to Oregon targets. The result was two great tackles in '09, just a center in 2010, and then much striking out in what was supposed to be the year of many Hobbis and Yruretagoyenas, the wanton whiffing exacerbated five times over by [the bad timing of…] The Process.™

A man cannot be faulted for the circumstances of his creation, and certainly Brady Hoke and co. have since done a bang-up job of finding large and talented young gentlemen willing to stand between us and the ill-begotten creatures that plague Big Ten defenses. That's not to say they'll be any good at it…yet. Like a basement full of wedding gifts without a house to fit them all, our future of wealth and comfort is all but promised but we wonder how long must we wait?

Answer: some time yet, sorry. I hate to bury the lede, so here's a great big spoiler. We're gonna have a little history lesson, and then you're going to find this:

Michigan O-Linemen
Classes of 1993-2011

Year in Program:

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th


All-B1G+ 0 0 1 9 13
Solid Starter 1 6 13 13 12
Liability Starter 0 3 7 10 6
Backup 0 47 30 17 8
Redshirting 65 0 0 0 0
Injured 0 6 2 2 0
Playing defense 2 1 1 0 0
Not on team 1 6 13 16 28


% Available 95.7% 88.9% 78.5% 75.4% 58.2%
% Solid + 1.4% 9.5% 21.5% 33.8% 37.3%
% All-B1G+ 0.0% 0.0% 1.5% 13.8% 19.4%

What the hell this is: It's me tracking the development of Michigan offensive linemen over the last 20 years based on how many years each has been in the program. It is subjective on the top and a bit accusatory in the middle and perhaps only a little bit useful on the bottom where I show things like just 1 in 5 of all the great centers and guards and tackles in two decades of Michigan recruiting end up ever becoming All Big Ten-level players. It seems to say that there's a lot that can go wrong between the gathering of the linemen and the deployment of the linemen.

It also says it takes time: in 20 years of OL recruiting just seven guys (Lewan, Molk, Long, Backus, Hutchinson, Jansen and Boren) were even ready to be okay starters by their second years in the program. If one guy from the 2012 class starts this year and is proficient, that's beating the odds; the chances of the 2012-'13 classes forming a proficient unit by 2014 are the chances of finding five NFL linemen in ten recruits.


A History of Michigan OL Recruiting, 1993-2011

I wanted to go back far enough to get a relatively large enough sample of Michigan offensive linemen and some idea of how a class of recruits matures into a line. Because this involved a lot of memory and subjectivity, I included my written impressions of all of these linemen below. That information was put into chart form to produce the above money chart.

For the years before Rivals-Scout these are general senses gleaned from Lemming, Prep Football Report, and one blogger's admittedly bad memory. They should not be trusted. From 2002 on it's an average of star rankings from Rivals, Scout, and after 2006, ESPN – positional rankings are composites of those available.

Also I'm going to ignore dudes who were defensive linemen for the majority and end of their careers because there's no way to say how good they would have turned out. They are: Will Campbell, Marques Slocum, Alan Branch, and Quinton Washington.

1993: Damon Denson (★★★★★) was Maurice Williams before it was cool, riding in on a wave of hype then wasting effectively two years (including burned redshirt) playing 399041_display_imagedefensive line, having his eligibility run out just as soon as he was getting really good at donkey abuse. Unlike Williams he had a short and uneventful pro career. Zach Adami (★★★½) was a smallish three-year starter you could plug in anywhere who came in for one of those "your team won, here's some extra all-conference pins for your longtime starters" awards his senior year in '97. John Partchenko (★★★), and Joe Ries (★★½) never saw the field that I recall and neither made it to 5th years.

1994: Jon Jansen (right) (★★★★ as a TE) was also a great linebacker for Clawson. That athleticism plus his massiveness led to three years of starting, two All-B1G selections, and a long and productive NFL career. Noah Parker (★★★) was a small Floridian career backup at guard.

1995: Steve Frazier (★★★½) and Chris Ziemann (★★★★) were constant presences as injury starters on the '97 to '99 lines, both ending up okay-ish (Frazier's infamous snap over Brady's head in the '99 Illinois game notwithstanding) as 5th year seniors. Eric Moltane (★★★★) was an early medical loss, Jeff Potts (★★★) was buried on the depth chart.

[Pics of different dudes wearing 77, after THE JUMP…]


Unverified Voracity Roots For Ties

Unverified Voracity Roots For Ties Comment Count

Brian 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.


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.