2017 Power Five Preview: 57-64

2017 Power Five Preview: 57-64

Submitted by Alex Cook on August 1st, 2017 at 11:48 AM

For 2017, instead of previewing conferences division-by-division, I decided to rank the 64 Power Five teams and count down from the bottom.

I created a ranking system based heavily off of Bill Connelly’s S&P+ rankings: half of the ranking comes from the S&P rankings from the past five seasons among Power Five teams (1/3 of that number is 2016’s ranking; 1/3 is the average from 2014-2016, 1/3 is the average from 2012-2016); half comes from two component parts of his 2017 S&P+ projections, weighed evenly – recruiting impact and returning production – and ranked 1 through 64. The ranking itself skews towards emphasizing where the teams were according the 2016 S&P+. I think it serves as a decent way to sequence these previews.

Here we go:

64. PURDUEpur17

#7B1G West, #14 B1G

3-9 (1-8) in 2016

After Joe Tiller retired following the 2008 season, Purdue gave Danny Hope and Darrell Hazell four years each as the head coach before firing them: Hope’s mediocre 22-28 record looks pretty decent in comparison to Hazell’s 9-33 mark in West Lafayette (he was let go following a loss to Iowa last October). The Boilermakers have finished last in all three seasons of the Big Ten West’s existence; they’ve beaten Illinois twice and upset 6-7 Nebraska for their only three wins in that span. Over the four-year Hazell era, only Kansas was comparably bad among Power Five programs.

Purdue lured Jeff Brohm from Western Kentucky this past offseason, and it was a great hire. Brohm has geographically proximate roots, won double digit games in his last two seasons with the Hilltoppers, and his WKU offenses lit up the scoreboard with fireworks in the passing game. From a stylistic standpoint, he’s far more Tiller than Hazell. Staid Big Ten cavemanball was an approach that failed miserably with the last regime, so the Boilermakers went back to their turn-of-the-century roots, in a sense, with Brohm.

The short-term future is bleak. WKU had a great foundation when he stepped in… Purdue does not. David Blough showed flashes of promise from the quarterback spot, but led the country in interceptions last season. The defense returns eight starters (including Glenn Robinson III’s younger brother, DT Gelen), but conceded 38.3 points per game last season and lost their best player, DT Jake Replogle.

Brohm was a great choice, but the degree of difficulty for his first Power Five gig is very high. Perhaps he’ll bring success to West Lafayette eventually – 2017 will be rough.

63. RUTGERSrut17

#7 B1G East, #13 B1G

2-10 (0-9) in 2016

It’s a minor upset that Rutgers didn’t finish last in these rankings, but the Scarlet Knights staked a credible claim as the worst Power Five team in the country last season (they were, according to S&P+). They went winless in Big Ten play and somehow managed to get shut out by Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State, tallying an aggregate 224-0 margin of defeat against those four teams. Of course, the 78-0 bloodletting at the hands of Michigan in Piscataway will endure as the definitive memory of the 2016 Rutgers football team.

It’s difficult to even mention Rutgers in the context of this preview without making mention of the Big Ten’s horrible decision to promote them to the Power Five in the first place; a scarlet and black ball-and-chain will remain on the ankle of the league long after the cable subscriber revenue stream (which was Rutgers’s main draw in the first place) dries up. They weren’t that bad of a program at the time they were added – mostly due to Greg Schiano – but the hilariously inept mismanagement of Kyle Flood dragged Rutgers back down to their historical norm.

Chris Ash, former Urban Meyer DC and branch of the Bret Bielema coaching tree, had an awful offense in his first season as head coach; he hired former Minnesota HC Jerry Kill as the offensive coordinator to right the ship. Kill – whose well-documented health issues forced him to leave Minnesota – will have to choose between a half-dozen uninspiring options at quarterback. At least electric scatback Janarion Grant returns from injury. Rutgers draws Illinois and Purdue from the West so they could improve on their 2-10 record, but will be one of the worst Power Five teams again.

[57-62 after the JUMP]

Unverified Voracity Remembers Cajun Brady Hoke

Unverified Voracity Remembers Cajun Brady Hoke

Submitted by Brian on June 20th, 2017 at 2:42 PM

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[Bryan Fuller]

Naturally. If Harbaugh can't do camps he's going to do something:

Jim Harbaugh takes on clerk role in Genesee Probate Court

This will result in lawyers dorkin' out:

Flint Attorney Rick Hetherington, who appeared on a child support motion, on the way out asked: "Excuse me judge, but for clarification, I was wondering ... who has it better than us?"

Before the judge could respond, Harbaugh replied,

"I know the answer to that...Nobody!"

There's a 50% chance that guy has a username.

On the Go Blue Guarantee. Michigan has declared that instate students with family incomes of less than 65k a year will no longer pay tuition. This is a good thing. Maybe it's less of a "whoah" moment than it first appears since Michigan was already paying the bulk of costs for students in this income bracket, but taking it to zero means something. It also drops out a bunch of paperwork:

"The 'Go Blue Guarantee' cuts through the complexities of financial aid to help us reach talented students from all communities in our state. I have always believed that talent is ubiquitous in our society, but opportunity most certainly is not. The 'Go Blue Guarantee' helps us ensure wider opportunity."

I have Read The Comments on this, unfortunately, and one of the most common attempted gotchas is weeping for the family making 66k. They're not exactly boned by this move:

Tuition slides up gradually as income increases. As it would in any non-insane system. Concerns about families making twice the state median having problems shouldering their burden should be mitigated by the existence of 529 plans, which allow folks who have money to invest—ie, 120k-per-year households—to grow that money tax-free. You have to have a plan, but you can afford to have one at that point.

As state appropriations have shrunk as a portion of Michigan's budget, Michigan has responded by continually increasing costs for the wealthy. They've also tried to up their appeal to that segment of the population. If anything it's worked too well; Michigan's ability to enroll lower-income students has fallen off a cliff. This will help. It is unlikely to have a huge impact since ability to meet admissions standards is highly correlated with family income.

There's not much of a sports angle here unless Michigan starts covering large chunks of living costs as well. Those are estimated at about 15k annually and are covered by an athletic scholarship elsewhere. Since the sort of families covered by the guarantee are also the ones for whom 15k is a huge deal, this does not get Michigan a bunch of free scholarships for instate kids. If Michigan manages to extend this to room and board, then you might see a notably improved class of walk-on. Until then hold your birdman dot gifs about gaming the system.

Athletic budget notes. Michigan continues to live in the black after late Brandon shenanigans, projecting a two million dollar surplus this year. Athletic department budgets being what they are, a tiny profit is all that will ever be allowed. This helps schools cry poor when amateurism is questioned. Michigan can't quite disguise why a good year for the AD is always a 1% profit margin, because the way they make this happen is a PR boon:

Included in the department's projections is an increase in transfers to the university from $3.825 million in FY17 to $7.875 million in FY18.

Does the athletic department need to double the amount of money they transfer back to the general fund? No. Does the general fund need a four million dollar drop in a swimming pool of funding? No.

Michigan's also setting aside four million dollars into its deferred maintenance fund. They need to do this for major renovations—they cannot soak taxpayers by issuing bonds like pro teams—but that is also money that exits that they expensed away with some handwaving. Michigan expects to make at least 14 million dollars profit in 17-18.

That's due in no small part to this:

Conference distributions are projected to increase to $51.1 million in FY18 from $36.3 million in FY17 due mostly to a new conference media rights agreement.

You might be able to pay the players now instead of coming up with increasingly transparent ways of laundering the money.

Get hype for Gary. Peppers kind of talk about Mr. Gary from Don Brown:

Brown was asked Saturday after Michigan’s high school football camps how good Gary, a defensive end, can be.

“Best I’ve ever seen,” Brown said. “Best I’ve ever seen combining speed, strength, change of direction, and the mental curve. He’s unbelievable. The sky is the limit.

“The good thing is I think he understands that there’s a lot on his shoulders.”

It is rare to hear that kind of thing from a coach, and it portends good things.

Other minor roster notes from recent coach availabilities: Grant Perry won't play until his court issue is resolved and Grant Newsome is still expected to redshirt.

It's a contract. The NCPA, an NCAA union with the minor problem of not having any officially-designated employees to unionize, is doing what it can in the current regulatory environment. They've introduced a binding contract that they say is kosher with the NCAA that covers various aspects of the player-school relationship not covered by the LOI. Highlights:

According to the contract document obtained by CBS Sports, the CAP Agreement can be used instead of the National Letter of Intent or with the NLI. Either way, it would cover several areas the letter of intent doesn't. …

A school could be bound to an all-encompassing transfer release for a prospect before enrollment. The document asks if an institution "agrees"  or "does not agree" "to comply with any request for transfer" and "to not restrict the ability" of a player to transfer to any other school. …

A school could not "cancel, reduce or fail to renew financial aid … due to injury or athletic performance." …

A player could negotiate the cost of a remaining scholarship to complete a degree at some point in the future should he/she leave early for a professional draft.

These things rarely get off the ground, unfortunately. High level players are deciding between competing under-the-table offers that supersede the relatively minor concerns this contract can cover, especially in basketball.

(Also, since I just rolled my eyes at Dennis Dodd I should point out that this is a good and interesting piece he got first.)

Da Coach D. I forgot that LSU hired Cajun Brady Hoke after running Les Miles out of town, and have been momentarily boggled by this once again. LSU has all the money in the world, and they hired an interim coach whose previous experience was crashing and burning at Ole Miss. Anyway, Orgeron is using the NCAA's new camp rules to shut the rest of the country out of Louisiana. Michigan canceled a scheduled camp of their own, but that pales in comparison to the hoops Texas has been trying to jump through:

This marks the third announced camp in Louisiana that Texas was scheduled to take part in. And it’s the third camp that LSU has worked hard behind the scenes to prevent from happening. In a phone interview earlier on Tuesday, the local high school coach who initially helped facilitate the field for the Baton Rouge camp expressed pessimism about it happening. “We're in LSU's backyard,” said Mike Roach, the coach at Madison Prep in Baton Rouge and the father of Texas player Malcolm Roach. “Louisiana home cooking may have played a part in it.”​ Roach, who initially tried to help facilitate the camp, declined to go into details on what LSU may have done to attempt to prevent the camp from being held at Memorial Stadium. But his comments proved to be prescient.

After camps affiliated with Texas got canceled at Louisiana College and Southeastern Louisiana in the past few weeks, Mumme acknowledged on Tuesday afternoon there was still a chance LSU or political officials in the state would attempt to thwart Texas’s presence. “Oh yeah,” Mumme said. “But it’s only a day away now. I don’t think there’s a lot they can do. The only thing that can kill it is if it rains.”

He was wrong.

A silly waste of time on their part, and one that does nothing to help anyone. It sucks most of all for the mid-level kids who might catch on at Cornell or Belhaven or wherever if they can just get in front of some coaches; top-level guys don't need and rarely work out at these satellite camps.

But Orgeron's mostly notable for being unintelligible, so that fits.

Somebody did it for me. Many thanks to the Crimson Quarry, which donned its fisking hat in response to this:

This saves me a couple hours of brow-furrowed typing. For real:

[Politi:] Big Ten rival Michigan

[CQ]: Ahh of course, that famous Rutger rival Michigan, against whom the games are always close.

This is a thing a person said and was paid for.

I do have assorted comments about the Rutgers thing three years in that will not reference the Politi column:

  • The huge uptick in dough raked in by the league is approximately zero percent Rutgers's doing. Rutgers was useful to Delany as he attempted to expand the Big Ten Network's footprint. The 15-million-dollar uplift this year is because of the Big Ten's new national contracts with FOX and ESPN. The Michigan-OSU game, which is on FOX for the first time this year, is a bigger reason for the uplift than every game Rutgers plays in every sport.
  • Rutgers is probably worth it in this brief window when they don't get a a full share and cable cutting has not been epidemic, which is all Jim Delany cares about since he's old and will never have any legacy other than dollar bills.
  • We should kick Rutgers out the instant they're supposed to get a full share.

Matt Brown addresses the elephant in the room for fans: we get zilch from the Big Ten's constant dollar chasing. We get less than that.

Does the difference between $51 million in conference payouts and $43 million in conference payouts change the fan experience, or even the trajectory of football or basketball programs in a meaningful way? It’s very hard to argue it does, especially if you’re a fan of an already rich program, like say, Ohio State.

Nobody gets a bowl invitation because they got the biggest conference check. There is no trophy for it. It’s a meaningless thing to brag about.

But the addition of Rutgers does impact the fan experience and day to day performance of football and basketball programs. It means fewer games between traditional opponents for your favorite teams. It means an RPI anchor in basketball and baseball. It means an expensive road trip. And it means a lot of unwatchable games.

Again, we should kick 'em out in three years just for the fun of it.

Oh okay. Sympathy for John Calipari is still reading zero:

"They need more inventory for their own network so you just play more league games and then you have more inventory for your network to put on," Calipari said via teleconference Tuesday. "Hopefully in our case in this league (the Southeastern Conference) we stay where we are and if we don't, we'll make it work."

"What you do is, you take away some of those kind of games that have been good to us," Calipari said. "North Carolina, for example: If they go to 20 games we won't have any more series with North Carolina, so I'm not for it."

Calipari cancelled the UK-Indiana rivalry because Indiana refused to play at a neutral site. He can pound rocks.

Some hockey recruiting stuff. Bob MacKenzie's annual poll of NHL scouts and GMs in the run-up to the draft is out. Incoming freshman Josh Norris is a late first round pick at #23; rising sophomore Luke Martin is #69, nicely slotted into the early third round. Michigan also picked up its first new commit of the Pearson era when Phillipe Lapointe jumped on board a couple days ago. Phillipe is former Red Wing Martin Lapointe's son

Etc.: Muckalt hire official. Hooray for (potential) (slight) changes in municipal bonds that would (hypothetically) make it tougher for billionaires to get public money for stadiums. All hail the double team.  Second string OSU TE out for season.

Oklahoma State's mascot is stranger than fiction. As college and NFL OL play diverges, busts become more common. Should be sent to all linemen considering M. Paris, London, and Normandy Beach on the docket next year. Obamas invited to be honorary captains. DJ made a good decision.

Unverified Voracity Is Headed For The Green Room

Unverified Voracity Is Headed For The Green Room

Submitted by Brian on August 23rd, 2016 at 12:44 PM

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[Bryan Fuller]

Lot of talent, lot of talent. CBS draft analyst Dane Brugler:

Per NFL scouts, Butt and Charlton(!) could be high first round picks:

Juniors will pile in, of course, but if that holds to draft day both those guys would go in the top 15. I can't imagine it would—QBs and various other players at positions the NFL drafts higher than TE will emerge—but I be like dang anyway.

Todd McShay has Michigan third on his list of teams with the most NFL talent, and while having no idea what happened in the draft last year…

Last year, QB Jake Rudock (sixth round) was the lone Wolverine selected

…is not a great look for a draft analyst, ESPN currently projects seven players to be off the board by the end of the third round:

  • #31 Jake Butt: "Has very good natural combination of size and speed to create mismatches. Adept at playing in-line (Y), flexed out (F) and split out wide. Very fluid for his size. … Gets overmatched physically at the point of attack by bigger defensive linemen."
  • #33 Jabrill Peppers: "Good cover skills for a safety. Has lots of experience playing man-coverage both in the slot and on perimeter. At his best in man-coverage. Lacks elite fluidity in hips, but has quick feet and good burst. … Willing but could also be more aggressive at times. [ed: ?!?!?]"
  • #39 Jourdan Lewis: "was in the hip pocket of Michigan State WR Aaron Burbridge (6th round pick, 49ers) hip pocket the entire 2015 game (stats are deceiving). Displays excellent body control and balance. Shows good deep speed on tape."
  • #46 Jehu Chesson: "Very good speed for size and can threaten vertically. Gets from 0-to-60 miles per hour in a hurry. Has length and tracking ability to create matchup problems for average-to-smaller cornerbacks on 50-50 balls…. Excellent effort as a blocker. … Love watching this guy play the game."
  • #56 Chris Wormley: "Excellent size and good overall strength. Shows snap in his hands and flashes ability to press offensive linemen into their backfield. … Tied for team-lead with 6.5 sacks in 2015 but 4.5 of those sacks came versus marginal offensive lines (Oregon State, Penn State and Rutgers) and his sack versus Michigan State was a protection breakdown."
  • #69 Taco Charlton: "Power-based bass rusher that does a good job of using his long arms and explosive power to get into offensive linemen's pads, and then grinds through contact. … Good but not elite first-step quickness. Solid lateral agility and redirect skills for size."
  • #77 Mason Cole: "Better suited for pass pro inside. … Takes good angles and has very good range. At his best as a run blocker when on the move. Has the feet to consistently win battle for initial positioning. Lacks heavy hands and is erratic with hand placement."

In addition, De'Veon Smith and Kyle Kalis(!) are ranked as fifth-rounders. Smith has no scouting and Kalis's ("Good angles. Knows assignments. Solid job locating assignments in space.") appears to be about a different person.

You'll note the omission of Amara Darboh and Maurice Hurst from these rankings. Both those guys will be draftable by the end of the year. I'd be another member or two of the secondary get there as well.

Drake Johnson is the guy you should hit with a forklift. I mean, if it's absolutely necessary. Please don't run Drake Johnson over. Or anyone, really. Do not run people over with forklifts. Yes, fine, Hitler. In that unusual case where a zombie nazi is threatening children or whatever, go ahead. Even in that situation, are we really calling a reanimated corpse "people"? I think that's not people.

Sorry, no politics.

Anyway:

"The world could be falling apart, and doomsday could be happening, and I'd be like, oh, look, there's a nice flower on the ground," he says.

If it were anyone other than Johnson, such positivity would feel contrived and feigned. But then Johnson waves his arms, talking with his hands like a grand raconteur, and says something like, "There's always something good in every situation," and, dammit, you've got to believe him.

If I was Drake Johnson I would get business cards with "Grand Raconteur" on them posthaste, while looking very carefully for lurking forklifts. 

Around the league. Things happening in opponent camps:

  • Penn State seems set to replace Carl Nassib with a couple of older guys who had 1.5 sacks between them a year ago. You'd think that would be a dropoff, but Nassib came out of nowhere a year ago.
  • PSU is considering starting true freshman Michael Menet, a five star guard type.
  • Rutgers QB Chris Laviano "edged" a grad transfer brought in to compete with him. I mostly mention this because I had no idea this went down last year: "Laviano will have a chance to win over Rutgers fans who had no love for him last season when he went five straight games without a touchdown pass and lost his cool by blasting them on social media after interpreting boos meant for then-coach Kyle Flood at his own show of toughness in the middle of a career-best game."
  • MSU has five "co-starters" on the DL. One of them is a 275-pound DT who grad-transferred from Nebraska, a second is a redshirt freshman, and a third is a senior DE with eight career tackles. If that doesn't presage a major dropoff despite the presence of Malik McDowell I'm going to throw a shoe.
  • Per Urban Meyer, H-back Curtis Samuel is OSU's "number one playmaker on offense." Mike Weber is "close" to being named the starting RB; after Brionte Dunn was booted his competition is "nah" and "???."  Malik Hooker and Damon Webb are leading to start at safety; sounds like Webb is still a little combustible.
  • OSU may start true freshman Michael Jordan at guard. Jordan was a well regarded recruit but not so well regarded that you shouldn't expect Michigan to wreck that dude.

Etc.: What to expect from Ibi Watson. More Jabrill Peppers three-way-spreading-across-college-football stuff. Jarrod Bunch has a podcast. Brady Hoke in Oregon is going to be fascinating.

Unverified Voracity Has Always Been At War With Piscataway

Unverified Voracity Has Always Been At War With Piscataway

Submitted by Brian on May 9th, 2016 at 1:46 PM

Gambling in this establishment. There has never been a more slam-dunk bolded header than the one you just read:

"I was shocked like everyone else living it out in real time," Freeze said of Tunsil's draft night comments. "But I'm confident our administration is going to find the facts and then give us a good report on it."

Good luck with that.

War. War never changes. Because one side is Grenada. You may remember NJ.com columnist Steve Politi from such hits as "Kyle Flood is real, man" and "Paramus asking Harbaugh to commencement is disgusting." He is an old-school pugnacious columnist who covers Rutgers. He's trying to build skyscrapers out of mud here.

But these were just warmups before his magnum opus:

Harbaugh's N.J. satellite camps are an act of war on Rutgers

You're probably thinking that authors don't write headlines and this is a junior intern clickbaiting you into a more reasonable article. Nope!

Harbaugh, long ago, stopped caring about any conference ethics about pitching his tent just miles from a Big Ten rival. You wonder: What does a New Jersey high school have to gain from offering its territory to an out-of-state recruiter? A number of state colleges and high schools have said no, in deference to Rutgers, but Harbaugh has found his landing spots.

A lot to unpack there:

  • The last time we made up fictional "conference ethics" I think we were talking about Roy Roundtree decommitting from Purdue. That's a blast from the past right there.
  • Again with the insane idea that coaches should be more loyal to state borders than their players.
  • Rutgers is the 13th Big Ten school to declare itself a rival of Michigan, and the most incorrect about that.
  • "In deference to Rutgers" has never, ever happened. Ever.

In response, baseball and softball leveled Piscataway, ending the brief but memorable War On Rutgers.

Speaking of softball. The tournament beckons. Michigan is coming off a ninth straight Big Ten title, and everything is more or less as it's been for a decade:

For those just getting caught up, here's how things look: Hutchins' team is ranked No. 2 in the country and on a 17-game winning streak. It closed the regular season on Sunday with an 8-0 win, improving to 44-4 overall and 21-2 in the Big Ten, and will now head to the Big Ten tournament next weekend at Penn State.

After that, a trip to the NCAA Tournament will feature NCAA Regional and Super Regional games likely hosted in Ann Arbor, as long as U-M keeps winning.

The overriding storyline will, once again, be Michigan's hunt for a second national championship under Hutchins.

If this sounds familiar it's because it is. The Wolverines ended last season with 17 straight wins to cap a 48-6 regular-season record. They sent that above storyline into a frenzy by charging to a national championship showdown against Florida, but lost in a best-of-three matchup.

#1 Florida, which actually run-ruled Michigan in the third game of the season, again looms at the end of the road.

On Paterno stuff. Buried in a legal document created as PSU and its insurer fight over which entity will have to pay for PSU enabling Jerry Sandusky is a bombshell:

Judge Glazer referenced several victims’ depositions, which are sworn testimonies, made out of court, that are recorded and/or transcribed. According to Judge Glazer, those depositions reveal that in 1976, “a child allegedly reported to PSU’s Head Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky” and that in 1987 and 1988 an assistant coach witnessed Sandusky committing sexual acts or having inappropriate contact with a child. Judge Glazer reasoned that while Paterno and the unnamed assistant coaches might have known about Sandusky’s acts, available evidence did not indicate that any Penn State officers, trustees or shareholders had such knowledge. As a consequence, Judge Glazer determined that Penn State is eligible to seek certain types of coverage payments from PMA (Judge Glazer also found that Penn State is not eligible for other types of coverage payments).

This is not a thing a court decided. It is a document produced by the insurer arguing its case. Twitter lawyer @Ugarles had a brief and useful explainer of what the court claim in fact was. For those allergic to links, the upshot:

A judge has not declared that Joe Paterno knew. Several people have told the court, under penalty of perjury, that Paterno was repeatedly told Sandusky was molesting boys going back some 40 years. This is in addition to the Mike McQueary incident, for which the best defense mounted was that Paterno was a confused old man. That defense won't fly for incidents from the 70s and 80s, leaving us choosing between two possibilities: several people are lying in depositions or Joe Paterno enabled Sandusky for decades. What's the Vegas line here? I know the latter is a serious underdog.

This isn't actually relevant to sports anymore since Penn State is not going to have their sanctions re-examined, but just wow man. People who run around spouting off about "success with honor" and the like are far more likely to be secret monsters than dudes like John Calipari. Calipari isn't trying to pass himself off as a Leader of Men. He's just a guy who coaches basketball and doesn't care much for NCAA rules. There's a nobility in not pretending to be noble, and a darkness in people who have to signal their virtue. (Anyone on Twitter's run across the latter all day every day.)

Anyway.

Photograph conveniently located. The NYT profiles Jamie Horowitz, the FS1 executive who's importing all the worst people in sports punditry, and this is a serendipitous virtual signaling example right here:

image

You may know me as a lizard person who offered Stephen A Smith a platform to excuse any and all woman-beating he may come across, but I also have children. It is a mere coincidence that I have framed this picture so that I am literally surrounded by them.

Etc.: "The incident is not the first between the clubs at a wheelchair basketball match." Mitch Leidner projected as first round pick by Todd McShay. McShay roundly mocked by Minnesota fans. Minnesota blog defends Leidner by linking video in which half the throws are wounded ducks and one is the "back-shoulder corner" throw against Jeremy Clark. Urban Meyer doesn't know some of his recruits' names.

Unverified Voracity Commemorates Brady Hoke

Unverified Voracity Commemorates Brady Hoke

Submitted by Brian on April 19th, 2016 at 1:20 PM

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last year we made Spencer get a Brady Hoke tattoo

I feel superfluous. EDSBS's annual charity drive is going on and this is the moment in time when I point the money cannon…

…who pointed the money cannon already? I was all set to point the thing, maybe give it a burnish, polish sort of thing, calibrate it, stencil a shirtless Harbaugh on it, you know, prep it. I see someone has already done all of that. Well… fine. I'm going to point it anyway: you can give here to further increase Michigan's dominance in this event. Meanwhile at the bottom:

Trump University $10.02
Michigan State     $10.00

Didn't even commemorate the… bad thing. Donate now. Continue donating. No mercy.

No nevermind no. We've been mentioning it obliquely more or less since Harbaugh was hired, and now seems like the time to just say it since they've once again caused a panic about a potential transfer: The Wolverine is utterly unreliable at this point. Their most recent "Inside The Fort" asserted that an unnamed quarterback easily deduced to be Brandon Peters was homesick and a transfer candidate. This contradicts both information that 247's Isaiah Hole got from Peters's dad at the spring game, and this morning on WTKA Sam Webb shot that down emphatically:

This is more or less our agreed-upon breaking point as a staff. They're putting out supposedly insider stuff that is balderdash way too frequently. Earlier this spring Rivals asserted that Michigan was going to straight-up cut returning starter and fifth year senior Kyle Kalis, which was and remains ludicrous for a dozen reasons. They claimed that Ian Bunting was doing terribly in practice and was headed towards being a bust; they backtracked on that immediately since various coaching staff members started effusing about him. That in fact directly contradicted what we were hearing from other reporters, who were talking to Michigan coaches.

Tim and Brandon are of course MGoBlog alums and do yeoman work holding things together over there but this is happening way too often to let is pass without mention. I know who Scout and 247 talk to: football coaches, players, and the families of the latter. I don't know who Rivals talks to but it's not them. I'm not saying that they're wrong all the time, but I wouldn't take anything bizarre that they say at face value until confirmed by someone else.

What does it take to get booted from a Dantonio team? MSU has lost DE Montez Sweat and DT Craig Evans to "personal issues." Those must be weighty indeed for the two to depart from a team that has repeatedly driven guys from jail to practice, especially since Evans looked very good last year as a rotation player. If MSU doesn't get a sixth year for Damon Knox their defensive line could be a lot weaker than it's been recently.

Why MSU thinks they'll get sixth years for Knox, LB Ed Davis, and OL Brandon Clemons is unknown. The article above says they haven't even applied yet…

Knox is one of three MSU players who has yet to submit his appeal to the NCAA to gain another year of eligibility via medical waiver. Knox, along with offensive lineman Brandon Clemons and linebacker Ed Davis, is still gathering the information to send in.

…but that almost has to be incorrect, right? These things shouldn't take that long, and if there's doubt—and there is serious doubt—MSU is doing those players a disservice by preventing them from entering the draft.

About that doubt: the NCAA is very strict with sixth years* and it certainly appears that all of those players took voluntary redshirts. Knox's bio notes that he was scout team player of the week before the OSU and Iowa games in 2011; those were the 5th and 10th games of the season so it beggars belief that he wasn't healthy enough to play. Ditto Davis, who got the same honor before the 4th and 9th games the same year. Clemons doesn't have sufficient evidence to disqualify him from a sixth year literally in his MSU bio but is an OL who redshirted because all OL redshirt.

*[If you are healthy enough to play for a few games that counts as a voluntary redshirt. The NCAA shoots down a ton of kids. A fifth year is way easier.]

Do it. Do it now. Sorry, A Lion Eye, but you gotta do it now:

How to repeal the camp ban posthaste. NCAA executive Oliver Luck says that the membership will "revisit" the satellite camp ban. Tom Van Haaren details what needs to happen:

One of the options Harbaugh and Manuel have is trying to get a 66.7 percent of the majority of 128 FBS programs to request that the ruling be rescinded within a 60-day override period. Since the original vote only received 66.6 percent approval, well below the required 85 percent, the programs that disagree with the ruling can still get the ban relinquished.

The original vote to ban the camps was done by conference representatives, whereas a reversal would require individual votes from programs. Getting roughly 85 programs to request the repeal might be difficult, but there are a growing number of coaches speaking out against the ban.

I'm not sure it will be that difficult if reports from the Pac-12 and the Sun Belt are accurate. Reports from both conferences hold that the coaches are almost unanimously opposed to the ban. The Sun Belt thing is wild. They sent Texas State's AD to vote in favor of the ban. Here's Texas State's football coach:

The Sun Belt is of course the conference whose commissioner answered questions about why on earth the Sun Belt would shoot themselves in the foot with his best Perd Hapley impression. Nobody knows why this dude voted the way he did.

Except one man. One pirate man. Mike Leach continues on the path of the righteous:

"I can't help but wonder if there was some manipulation with this thing, because that doesn't make any sense," Leach said. "I don't know what ivory tower or what cliff these people flew to vote, but this is something out of 'James Bond,' where they got together and voted and plotted taking control of the world. Wherever it was, some lair in the mountains with ice and machinery, a cold Dr. Evil environment where these guys voted on this thing then, at the end, they all put their hands together and did a really weird laugh, because soon they'll be conquering the world."

I love Mike Leach and hope nothing but good things happen to him forever. Mike Leach may have no connection at all to the university, but he is the best thing about Penn State.

You keep using that word. Rutgers got a commitment from NJ RB/slot Bo Melton a few days ago. Melton had a Michigan offer of some variety and of course you know all about New Jersey and Michigan recruiting, so it's unsurprising that Harbaugh is living rent-free in the collective Rutgers head:

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Just one problem with "I don't follow, I lead": Melton is a Rutgers legacy. How you doin'? (Also whoever put this together left out the A in "garden.")

Clemson Dan. Sooooooo Sam Webb played me this voice mail a few months back, and it is creepy as hell:

“If you’re coming down here, you gotta do just like the KKK and be serious about your football. Clemson and the KKK, the two things we love the most,” the caller said.

The target of the voice mail, which came at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 28, was Paramus Catholic star Rashan Gary. It was made the day before the defensive lineman took an official visit to Clemson.

The man who left the message identified himself twice during the 58-second voice mail only as “Clemson Dan.”

Clemson fans and apparently coaches claimed this was a false flag operation, and they might be right. But what if it's a DOUBLE false flag? Did you think about that? Yeah. Anyway, all Clemson fans are in the KKK. That's my takeaway.

Etc.: No, Penn State. No. NCAA will now pay for parents to attend official visits. Graham Glasgow projected as a third-rounder. Cardale Jones was not at OSU to play school, but mostly because he (correctly) didn't care about it. Man talking about Harbaugh sick of people talking about Harbaugh.

Unverified Voracity Discusses Robot Bloopers

Unverified Voracity Discusses Robot Bloopers

Submitted by Brian on December 8th, 2015 at 2:17 PM

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[Bryan Fuller]

Early entry tea leaves. In a welcome change, Michigan has a number of underclassmen good enough to consider entering the NFL draft. This, unfortunately, brings with it the possibility that some of these folks will actually enter said draft. A brief rundown:

  • Jake Butt said he would definitely come back if he wasn't projected to go in the top three rounds. Mel Kiper has him the second tight end available and NFL Draft Scout just posted a mock in which he is a third rounder, which seems low. Butt told reporters that "it's 50/50" yesterday. More encouragingly, he listed many reasons for a return and a desire to talk to Harbaugh about what he should do. [UPDATE: Butt tweeted he'd be back.]
  • After a confusing interval in which Chris Wormley deflected questions about not returning for a fifth year, he apparently told reporters he would "definitely" be back.
  • Jourdan Lewis offered up another tweet indicating he would return next year. He is doing his homework. QED. And another after some radio person urged him to go—said radio person, Mike Sullivan, is the producer of Michigan's IMG pregame show. Excellent career move, Mike.
  • Willie Henry has not been heard from on this front. He is currently under the radar to NFL draft sites but if he wants to go he will get drafted at some point. There have been some rumblings that he would look to go if he met a certain threshold in his draft projections.

Michigan has several other draft-eligible players with remaining eligibility but none seem like serious threats to leave. The O/U on departures is set at 1.

In other Jourdan Lewis news. He is a first-team All-American to USA Today, which I now like better than the Thorpe committee until the next time I have to evaluate my relative preference for things based on my pre-existing opinions.

We are hungry for things. Michigan sold out its bowl allotment in hours.

This is why they always get the top spot they could possibly get picked for. Michigan also implemented a system where fans could reserve bowl tickets for specific games and not others earlier this year, so they probably had a big head start on moving through those tickets. Even so… dang. I didn't know that was even a possibility any more.

Let's check in on Rutgers. The New York Times notices that Rutgers exists for a brief moment:

With the coach went the university’s athletic director, who never entirely recovered from suspicions that Rutgers had failed to vet her hiring two years ago. That was to replace the previous athletic director, who was fired along with the basketball coach after a video, looped repeatedly on national television, backed up allegations that the coach verbally and physically abused players — and that Rutgers had known about it.

And the bad news may not be over: The university is investigating whether the athletic department ignored its own policy requiring the dismissal of players who fail drug tests, as one told prosecutors after his arrest.

What a good organization to admit to the Big Ten. Rutgers doesn't get a full cut until 2021, which will be just in time for the league to kick them out in a world where the cable bundle has evaporated into countless disparate streams. Is there another article about that now?

No amount of wishing upon a star at the Disney offices in Burbank or the ESPN offices in Bristol, Connecticut, can hold back the forces of consumer choice that the Internet has unleashed. As a cable industry executive put it to Sports Business Daily recently, “The cost of goods is going up and sales are going down…that’s not a good trend.”

Every participant in the sports economy—franchise owners, athletes, programming networks, cable companies, and even the fans themselves—have benefitted from this broadband version of the hide-the-ball trick. That big fat $100 average household cable bill that everyone pays has served as a siphoning conduit of cash forcibly flowing from fan and uninterested non-fan alike.

The brazen economics of modern sports are being revealed and dismantled by the Internet, and the coming fumble-pile of desperate industry participants should make for some great viewing. That’ll be bad news for $30 million-a-year over-the-hill third basemen, the greater fools who pay them, and the unknowingly subsidized superfans who love them.

Yes.

This is probably a good joke. I don't understand econ jargon, but those of you who do may enjoy this tweet.

I hope this was a good tweet.

I was going to put this in the mailbag but it took so long to read this that I had to go have a lie down. A reader asked for an opinion on a very long meditation on "access" going the way of the passenger pigeon by John Herrmann of the Awl.

If you're unfamiliar with Herrmann, I mostly come across him when he writes exhaustingly nihilist pieces about the changes the internet is forcing on content providers. (He recognizes this: "The Content Wars is an occasional column intended to keep a majority of Content coverage in one easily avoidable place.") They are full of bloopers from robotics competitions repurposed into depressing metaphor gifs. Each accurately diagnoses something going on and collapses, like the robots, into a pile of loathing at the end. This one is no exception.

But, yes, access. It's difficult to find the summarizing quote to pull in a piece that's seemingly UFR length. I guess here's this bit on sports:

A world in which the NFL doesn’t need TV would be a world in which the NFL really doesn’t need a traditional outside press corps. To that end, perhaps, ACE is a new media company created by the NFL Players’ Association that hopes to succeed by “leveraging… exclusive group player rights and access to more than 1,800 active players to produce compelling sports-lifestyle content focused on athletes.” This month, a player for the Jets is suggesting to reporters, apropos of not very much, that reporters have too much access to players in the NFL, which is arguably the most restrictive league in professional sports. Also this month, when Kobe Bryant announced his retirement, he didn’t give an exclusive to a reporter who had covered him for years, or to Sports Illustrated, or to anyone. He published it as a personal post on the Player’s Tribune, a first-person platform for athletes founded by Derek Jeter and open to all major sports. (NASCAR? Sure!) The rest of the sports media, again, wrote its stories anyway.

A lot of the handwringing over loss of access strikes me as ludicrous. What's being removed is not really access but "access," that fiction in which a person of interest pretends to give something so a writer can pretend to critically evaluate the thing the person of interest said. When Rasheed Wallace blew that fiction up a lot of people got really mad:

And I guess if your job consists of surrounding the things that other people said with some sentences to link them together that would be a… actually, wait. "Both teams played hard" makes your job easy. Getting mad at that is not about whether your ability to do your job has been compromised, it's getting mad at Rasheed Wallace for yanking away the curtain on the City Animals presser you've been having for decades.

Back when MGoBlog stuck its toe into the access pool it felt like a trap. It still feels like a trap, because if someone gives you something they can take it away. Relying on access is like relying on Twitter's API—you can make the best third-party client in the world but Twitter's going to pick a winner and then you're going to die if you're not that winner. Then Twitter's going to buy that winner because if they're picking a winner, Twitter seems like a pretty good one.

So we have access, but we don't rely on it. Of late Adam's gotten some one on one time at media availabilities and used it to get some interesting stuff. We'd miss it if it was gone. But it wouldn't kill us.

If you are in business with someone who can kill you with no repercussions to themselves, you are on death row. Some people figure this out and go become lawyers. Some don't.

Michigan, and colleges in general, are less likely to cut people off like the NFL is definitely, definitely going to do in the near future. They are (mostly) public institutions with a point of view on press freedoms (sort of) subject to FOIA. But that doesn't change the fundamental law content in the internet age: be the quote, not the quoter.

Etc.: A list of all the weird and unfortunate things that happened while Cody Kessler was at USC is a very long list. Chad Catt looked pretty good in the second half of the Saturday Wisconsin game. Doyle is sweaty.