This Week’s Obsession: Unicorn Games

This Week’s Obsession: Unicorn Games

Submitted by Seth on January 18th, 2017 at 1:42 PM

Ron Bellamy Day. From WH. Part II is here.

THE QUESTION:

Remember that one time an otherwise obscure/disappointing player was a superstar for a day?

Ace: image

Full game is on the youtubes.

BiSB: If we're talking image games: Spiiiiiiiike!

Smoothitron: I went through his game log not that long ago praying that wasn't his career high, and it's not, but it's close.

image 

The pinnacle stretch of Spike's career was tragically unfun.

[Do NOT hit THE JUMP if you prefer to fondly remember erstwhile highly hyped Michigan scatbacks]

The Million Dollar Draft Gonna Tate

The Million Dollar Draft Gonna Tate

Submitted by Seth on October 16th, 2014 at 5:03 PM

[Note: Jamie's got the week off, you don't]

taters

In honor of Roundtree naming a Tate as his favorite football delivery boy (said stamp of approval given this past weekend at Marlin's event) I am going to take my shot at…

1milliondollars

by taking all the Tates this week in our fantasy partner's Millionaire Maker pool. Golden Tate because in a Calvin-less world the Lions have to throw to somebody, and the TEs are banged up. Ben Tate because I believe he'll be back and his price tag apparently doesn't. Brandon Tate comes super cheap and is getting more targets while A.J. Green's dealing with a toe issue. It's a gamble, but when you're trying to go home with…

1milliondollars

…it takes some Tate-level swagger.

Details:

- $2,200,000 prize pool.

- First place wins $1,000,000

- $27 entry fee.

- Top 15,500 are paid.​

- Starts on Sunday, October, 19th at 1:00 EST.

- Salary Cap Style Drafting. $50,000 to select 9 spots. 8 players and 1 defense.

- Roster Format: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 Defense.

- First time depositors at DraftKings receive a 100% bonus up to $600

- You have to go to class.

Recruits In Retrospect: 2009 Quarterbacks

Recruits In Retrospect: 2009 Quarterbacks

Submitted by Ace on June 16th, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Note: With roundups of last weekend's Sound Mind Sound Body camp still being published, as well as various visit reactions from prospects currently on campus for Michigan's technique camp, I'm pushing back the recruiting roundup to tomorrow. Breathing into a paper bag in preparation for USA-Ghana may also have played a role here. Thankfully, I started writing this post last week.

Melanie Maxwell/MLive

Previously: 2008 Offense, 2008 Defense, 2009 Defense

I started writing up the 2009 offensive recruits as a whole, but I couldn't get past the first paragraph of Tate Forcier's profile before realizing the two quarterbacks in the class needed their own post. Hell, I couldn't get past the first sentence [emphasis mine]:

Tate Forcier is the one who didn't get away, the one who was planning on committing even when Kevin Newsome and Shavodrick Beaver hadn't twirled their mustaches in dastardly fashion and tied Michigan football's hopes to the train tracks before effecting their getaways. His brother is my favorite Michigan player of all time who never played. He is a relentlessly trained quarterback prodigy ready to step in on day one—which was a month ago—and challenge Steven Threet for the starting job. God help us if he flames out.

When this post was written, Forcier had already enrolled at Michigan and subsequently dominated the Spring Game—back when it actually resembled real football—in a fashion that caused junior-in-college me to make this video, and I'll admit it was no small thrill to see my name on this here site:

Then, of course, came spring:

I just watched that thing again and it's pure sport porn; I sort of wish Ace had left in Forcier's three incompletions—one bad read, one Stonum drop, and one overthrown screen—so it wasn't a just a possibly-misleading highlight reel but was instead the whole spring performance. My favorite part is that little swing pass to Moundros on the rollout: Forcier's getting pressure from a defender, calmly positions himself, and puts a perfectly-led ball right in Moundros' arms, allowing him to turn upfield against the chasing linebacker. That is the sort of precision Michigan's offense was lacking last year.

After a season of the Threetsheridammit offense, the fawning over Forcier's readily apparent potential was more than understandable. His accuracy and YPA for a high school quarterback were off the charts, as evidenced by... a (chart?) chart:

Year Comp-Att Yards Pct YPA YPC TD-INT
So 157 / 221 1637 71.0% 7.4 10.4 17-4
Jr 164 / 213 2387 77.0% 11.2 14.6 21-5
Sr 208 / 326 3424 63.8% 10.5 16.5 23-15

The disconcerting rise in interceptions and drop in completion percentage as a senior was chalked up to a heavily increased workload and a sieve-like offensive line, the latter quite apparent to those who watched him play that season. This brought forth a foreboding aspect to Brian's eerily on-the-money comparison to former Iowa QB Drew Tate:

Forcier was often reduced to scrambling around and chucking it hopefully, which obviously led to the interceptions. Here's another piece of the Drew Tate comparison I've been beating into the ground for months now: Tate (Iowa Version) also saw a senior-year spike in interceptions as Iowa's offensive line regressed (they gave up an extra half-sack per game when Tate was a senior) and Tate took matters into his own hands more often. This tendency can be either wildly good or wildly bad, and threatens to do so on consecutive plays this fall. Only experience will teach Forcier what he can and cannot do at this level.

As it turned out, we'd never learn if added experience would've reduced the considerable "no no no YES"/"no no no AAAAAARRRGGHHHHH" aspect of Forcier's game. As we all well know, he left school after being ruled academically ineligible for the 2010 Gator Bowl, by which time he'd lost his starting gig to Denard Robinson. A certain aspect of Forcier's schooling, at the time noted as a positive—his home-school setup enabled him to work with QB guru Marv Marinovich for hours upon hours—was probably not so positive:

On Fridays in the fall, Tate Forcier doesn't feel like going to school. The night's game is on his mind, and the quarterback for Scripps Ranch High in San Diego can't imagine studying a textbook rather than studying a defense.

No big deal.

"I'll tell my teacher, 'I have a game today,'" Forcier said. "He'll say, 'That's fine; you don't have to come.' And I'll go to my football school and watch film all day."

Ability to shred a cover zero or no, this doesn't really fly at U-M.

I swear I'll get to Denard soon, but first a couple more blockquotes. Marinovich's scouting report of his pupil was so oddly poetic Brian turned it into actual poetry:

"Tate springs off his feet. He bounds from side-to-side to avoid the rush and then accelerates. His peripheral vision is key allowing him stay focused and scan downfield. But really, his mental attitude toward the position along with quick feet and hand-eye coordination blended together is ridiculous."

A haiku version of this:

Tate springs off his feet 
He bounds from side to side, and 
Then accelerates

Finally, Brian makes a most unfortunate typo:

Why Drew Tate? That's my go-to comparison and I'm sticking to it. Forcier is about 6', maybe 6'1". He's nimble and though he took off frequently in high school, in college he won't have as much of an athletic advantage and will mostly use his feet to buy time to throw downfield. He has the proverbial moxie, which occasionally gets him into trouble. The Tate comparison is eerily accurate, except maybe Forcier is better school and will be more accurate than the occasionally-erratic Tate.

Welp.

With that out of the way, DENARD ROBINSON HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS AHOY:

Huh.

Oddly, Denard's otherworldly running abilty wasn't nearly as prominent in those clips as you'd expect. There isn't so much as a hint of a run until nearly the two-minute mark. In fact, there are only a couple plays in the whole reel that really show off what he was capable of doing, probably because his offensive coordinator ripped the "OBVIOUS ROLLOUTS" page from the Al Borges playbook and left the rest. Denard's highlights are way better in theory than they are in reality.

I'm not sure there's better evidence of how much football offense has evolved even in the last half-decade than Denard Effin' Robinson running every play on his high school highlight tape from under center. In 2008, this may have gone unquestioned. In 2014, there'd be a federal investigation.

Denard's passing stats fell well short of Forcier's, as would be expected. Less expected were the rushing stats:

Oddly, Robinson's rushing yards weren't spectacular. He had only 538, which was fewer than Forcier had, though Forcier wasn't going up against big schools in Florida at Scripps Ranch. Does this indicate a Drew Tate Forcier-like tendency to run around in the backfield and then launch it deep? A couple of throws above and that yards per completion number indicate "yes", but he also breaks contain several times and takes off and those are just highlights so maybe he got sacked a lot for ridiculous yardage after running around like a headless chicken and I guess what I'm trying to say is we just don't know, dude.

We just have to go on the universal heavy panting about this guy's ability to outrun a cheetah in a Porsche strapped to a jet engine and dropped out of a plane. Which, like, okay.

I'd say the first bit is explained by the highlight tape. About that last bit: Both the "cheetah in a Porsche..." and "Denard Robinson is made of dilithium" tags were fixtures on this site before Robinson ever got to campus. Even before he proved Mike Patrick's "broken plays are very dangerous" mantra in real time, this was totally justified.

Deerfield Beach's Denard Robinson got the near-perfect start he needed, motored down the straightaway and won the 100 meters in a personal-best 10.44 seconds at the BCAA Track Championships at Coral Springs on Saturday.

Robinson's personal-best … is the second-fastest high school time in the nation, according to Dyestat Elite 100 rankings.

Denard's reaction was even better:

''I was kind of disappointed in myself to run a 10.44, but I will accept that,'' Robinson said.

It comes as little surprise that a bolt of lightning recruited to play quarterback for Rich Rodriguez received comparisons to Pat White from everyone, Brian included. The excitement to see this athlete in that offense managed to rival the avalanche of Forcier hype even though Robinson didn't get the benefit of an early enrollment. Surely the blogger who set Sam McGuffie's general excitement level at "AAAAIIEEEE!" saw the nearly unlimited potential that would soon be realized in arguably the greatest QB rushing season ever:

General Excitement Level: Slightly under high.

We're no longer on speaking terms, boss.

One Frame At A Time: Notre Dame Past

One Frame At A Time: Notre Dame Past

Submitted by Ace on September 7th, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Hey, Butch Woolfolk, are you excited for the game tonight?

Agreed, Butch. How do you feel about it being the last Michigan-Notre Dame home game for the foreseeable future?

We're on the same wavelength, Butch.

[If you're wondering "why?" those are from the intros to the '81 ND game. For many more GIFs from Notre Dame games of the past, hit THE JUMP.]

Unverified Voracity Consoles The Bereaved

Unverified Voracity Consoles The Bereaved

Submitted by Brian on December 21st, 2012 at 3:58 PM

I'm sure you do. Youtube search feed scouring turned up something better than ads for illegal internet streams today:

Tate Forcier highlights set to Hell's Bells! Posted by… TateForcierHighlight (1 video). TateForcierHighlight thinks this about Tate Forcier:

Highlight complication of Tate Forciers 2 year career with the University of Michigan wolverines football team. He is in my opinion a under looked quarterback that is yet to prove him self.

ARGH TATE WHY DIDN'T YOU GO TO CLASS.

You are psychic, guy on facebook. The "representative comment" for the anti-Outback-uniformz faction mentioned in a previous UV asked "what's next a dubstep Victors?" Uh. Dammit, guy. Prepare for this next year:

[ED: DO NOT CLICK PLAY MGOBLOG CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY CARPETS, PETS, OR GRANDMOTHERS WRETCHED UPON AS A RESULT OF CLICKING PLAY]

nimnim2500, your evil is galaxy-spanning.

[HT: Stephen Nesbitt.]

The bereaved. Michigan State did not acquire one year of services from Jabari Parker, yesterday. Some guy at the LSJ hit "publish" on the wrong story, though, leading to the internet producing this:

A-paOiLCIAATccR[1]

source unknown

Parker is kind of a big deal—the #1 recruit in the 2013 class—and MSU is currently without a 2013 recruiting class despite having two open spots after missing on a variety of other targets. So it's not good. But is it worthy of having a sleepover and reassuring Izzo that people really actually like him?

RT @intrpdtrvlr: People are trying to organize a gesture of support for Coach tomorrow. Let's make it happen. #StandingOforIzzo

Let us come together in this time of trial when Tom Izzo only projects to have four McDonald's All-Americans on his 2013-2014 roster who kind of underperform expectations and are regarded by the NBA as poison.

This is ridiculous for a few reasons. Patrick Hruby details the extent to which Ohio State is monitoring their players now that Pryorgate has dropped:

In the wake of a tattoos-for-memorabilia scandal that violated National Collegiate Athletic Association amateurism rules and left this year’s undefeated Buckeyes squad bowl-season ineligible, the school has increased its annual athletic department compliance budget to more than $1 million and upped the size of its corresponding department to 14 full-time employees -- four more people than are on the football squad’s coaching staff. Where are the money and manpower going? Toward background checks on the 4,000-some people who receive free game tickets from football players, the better to sniff out agents and other undesirables. Toward investigating license plate numbers jotted down during regular surveillance walks through the players’ parking lot. And toward hiring a former NCAA investigator whose job, according to the New York Times, is to “educate local businesses -- like barbershops, nightclubs and tattoo parlors -- on NCAA rules.”

Rule No.1? Apparently, it’s start snitchin’.

At least all this has made the flow of money from booster to Buckeye a more annoying process. Slightly, anyway. As with most OSU waves towards legitimacy, it's designed to look good without actually doing anything. Until this thing called cash is banned, it'll still happen, but don't worry, the NCAA is working on this:

Michigan Compliance@umichcompliance

Awards received by student-athletes from a bowl game may not be sold, exchanged or assigned for another item of value.

Most bowls give out the equivalent of cash by deploying gift cards, because if they actually gave out cash they would have to stamp "NOT LEGAL TENDER" on it, and I don't think that's legal. BAN CASH.

That's one half of the brain—this is basically an unsolvable problem. The other half is: why is this a problem? Man with lots of money would like to give some of it to man without money. Man without money sees that his activities are so popular that he is overseen by man with lots and lots of money. I'd like people to follow the rules, but mostly because Michigan does, and level playing field and all this nonsense.

Aside from all the fairness reasons, your selfish Michigan fan reason to want NCAA amateurism to die in a fire is because it'll let Michigan do what plenty of other schools already do and collectively cannot stop doing.

Aw man. Kovacs's NFL prospects are not shiny:

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. said recently that Kovacs has a shot to become a late-round pick in April's draft. But it could be a long one.

ESPN slots Kovacs as the No. 29 safety and projects him to go undrafted. Sixteen safeties were selected last year

CBSSports.com is higher on Kovacs, projecting him as a sixth- or seventh-round selection. He's ranked the 214th player overall, and the No. 6 strong safety.

I get it. I also think there's a decent chance he carves out a role for himself anyway.

HEY HEY HEY HEY HEY HEY HEY WHAT IS GOING ON. I both agree with and dread the implications of this statement from Mitch McGary:

"I just think I need to slow down a little bit, I'm moving too fast," McGary said. "A couple games here and there, I knew what I was doing, but my body was just moving too fast."

Also!

"Coming in here, I had never really lifted a weight," McGary said. "Being as big as I am, I'm still just trying to transition into the college format. I'm just learning the offense, learning all the footwork."

He's at least a couple years from being an NBA type player but in the long term, it's probably better for Michigan that he's the #20-ish guy instead of #2.

What I am talking about. The instachuck three from Stauskas is #2:

That is contested but it's up so quick and even falling away a little that it does not matter. [Via Five Key Plays at UMHoops.] If you can do that at 6'6" you are unguardable even without the handle.

Etc.: EDSBS on the uniformz. Why Illinois won't implode this time. (My reason Illinois won't implode this time: that was a –3 STDEV event.) Roundtree fluff. RIP Bob Derleth. Beard bullets. From Rod Beard, not about Elliott Mealer. Don't play CODBLOPS drunk. Michigan showing interest in a 6'7" wing from Shane Morris's school. Trey Burke annihilating WVU.

Three And Out: An Excerpt

Three And Out: An Excerpt

Submitted by Brian on October 28th, 2011 at 11:25 AM

imageStrong language contained herein. Three and Out is a book about the short, tumultuous reign of Rich Rodriguez at Michigan.

[star wars text scrolling]

The week after Michigan collapsed against Illinois in 2009, they prepare to take on Purdue.

A weary Rodriguez wearily surveys his weary troops, because he has to or the media will write about other things…

[/star wars text scrolling]

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

The Friday night before the Purdue game, Rodriguez dug at his meal like a hungry prisoner who was sick of eating the same gray food every night. When I told him I was surprised that the guys seemed loose, like they were still having fun and staying positive, he stared at his food, paused, and said, “I don’t care.

“I don’t care anymore about trying to analyze the psychology of these guys, especially for the press. I just want them to freakin’ play. I’m sick of it.”

Sick of what?

“Everything. I’m sick of the situation I’m in. I’m sick of the crap I’ve got to deal with every week. I’m sick of people not taking responsibility.” A case could be made that all happiness is feeling like you have possibilities. When someone wins the lottery, he’s happy not because he won the lottery but because he suddenly has dozens of options he didn’t have the day before.

But the corollary is also true: All unhappiness is feeling like your options are shrinking and the world is closing in on you. That you’re trapped. Rich Rodriguez’s options were shrinking. By the time he arrived in Ann Arbor, it was clear he could not go back the way he had come. But after only twenty-one games at Michigan, it had become just as clear there would be only one way he could stay: winning football games. And fast.

--------

Every Friday night, between the dinner and the movie, the offense and defense met separately with their coaches to go over the scouting report one last time. But this week, instead of reviewing the opponent, they reviewed a tape of their practices that week. The message was simple: The Illini didn’t beat the Wolverines. The Wolverines beat the Wolverines.

Job 1: Hold on to the damn ball. There was a reason John Heisman famously showed his players a football and said, “Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble this football.”

But John Heisman never met Tate Forcier. On one play Rodriguez showed that night, Forcier held the ball like an oversized sponge and swung it around like he was washing his windows with it. Sure enough, the defense soon forced a fumble.

“High and tight, high and tight, high and tight,” Rodriguez said with relative calm. “Anything else is selfish. It shows disrespect for your teammates, and I know you’re not selfish, and I know you don’t want to disrespect your teammates.”

Here he was, going into the tenth game of the season, reviewing something they had covered on the first day of spring ball, the first day of summer practice, and just about every day since. It was pretty clear Rodriguez was tired of that, too.

But he knew it came with coaching young players, and he usually enjoyed the teaching process. But they were repeating the same lessons too often, which became especially aggravating when he had no idea how many lessons they would get.

Job 2: In the spread option offense, the quarterback has to take three steps and throw it. Not four steps. Not five steps. And no hitches, either. Three and throw. Three and throw. The timing was simple but exact—and it was everything. Any freelancing and incompletes, sacks, and interceptions soon followed.

And that’s exactly what Rodriguez saw next on the practice tape: Forcier taking three steps (an improvement), seeing his receiver open— but then hitching, which allowed the linebacker to cover the receiver. Rodriguez was calm but firm. “I’m sure I will not have to see on Monday any tape of any Michigan quarterback taking three steps and a hitch when he should be taking three steps and throwing.”

Next play, same thing, but this time Forcier threw it behind the receiver. The linebacker just missed making the interception.

“That one’s late. Why? Three and hitch instead of three and throw. I’ve been doing this for twenty years! I didn’t just wake up and come up with this thing. We have refined this over time. We know what works. We’re not guessing! Three steps and throw! THROW! You’ve got to trust the timing!”

But it was really more than that. The quarterbacks had to trust the system—and the coaches who had created it.

The flipside was just as simple: The coaches had to remember that Forcier was still a freshman. And even though Rodriguez’s quarterbacks on every team he’d coached eventually won Conference Player of the Year, not one of them did it his first season.

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

If the Illinois game could be reduced to Michigan’s four tries from the 1-yard line, Michigan’s season likewise boiled down to four great chances to win just one game to secure a bowl bid: Michigan State, which ended in overtime; Iowa, which ended one pass short of a winning field goal attempt; Illinois, which broke on the 1-yard line; and Purdue, which looked like an eminently winnable game. But like the fourth-and- 1 play against Illinois, the pressure mounted with each failed attempt. This was Rodriguez’s last best chance at match point.

Blow it against the Boilermakers, and the odds would only get taller against Wisconsin, and taller still against Ohio State, still in the hunt for a national title. Collars were tight in Ann Arbor.

The quarterbacks didn’t think Purdue would be a pushover, either. “They’re good, they play hard,” Sheridan said later that night in his hotel room. “Much harder than Illinois.” And then, unable to let Illinois go: “I still can’t believe we lost to those guys.”

“Don’t let ’em beat you twice,” Forcier said, as a half- joking warning they’d all heard a hundred times. “Man, we just got to win again. That’s been driving me fucking nuts. We just got to win again.”

Unverified Voracity Wears Silly Things

Unverified Voracity Wears Silly Things

Submitted by Tim on July 21st, 2011 at 2:16 PM

I, for one, welcome our Nike overlords. After two straight years of using The Game to prove even Ohio State can look more ridiculous, Nike will strike again this fall, outfitting Michigan State in their Pro Combat line of jerseys for the October 15th tilt against the Wolverines. (Yeah yeah, those in glass houses and whatnot).

In fairness, going to Pro Combat might be an improvement from the OMG MODERN FONT look straight out of Any Given Sunday that Michigan State switched to last year:

MSU-ugly.jpg

...as opposed to going away from the classic look of Ohio State's traditional jerseys (/immediately feels dirty, showers).

We live in an age where the apparel companies are going to do what they do in search of the almighty dollar. Methinks it's best to just to just accept it and move along. It certainly doesn't hurt that I'm not nearly as "get off my lawn" about Michigan's night game jerseys as is Brian. We'll see if Adidas plans to make frequent use of cash-grab alternates, like Nike is doing.

[Ed-M: As Michigan fans, however many headaches we've had to suffer thanks to Adidas's neon-ish idea of "maize" is made worth it when we see our rivals come to school looking like their colorblind mothers got lost in the kids section at Target.

For those wondering why they don't just go with the classic 1960s thing, MSU's official site rules out the obvious Duffy-era look because they rocked that for ND in 2006 -- not that anyone noticed. You can't really do too much damage with MSU since they've had 9 significant uniform changes since 1993, but they already have a home alternate, so either they're scrapping that, or State will play just three games all year in their "home" jerseys. Oregon indeed.

Futzing with Ohio State's classic helmet disco ball covered in bird poop for Michigan week is the kind of thing that can make the football gods remove their favors.]

Speaking of ill-advised Spartan doings. Justin Abdelkader jokes that he wishes to bomb Michigan Stadium:

This is INCONTROVERTIBLE PROOF that all Spartans are terrorists. Look it up.

Barbecue snobs are certain to clarify this is merely a "cookout." As you've likely noticed, Wednesday Recruitin' has been a little calm over the past two weeks, after a whirlwind late spring/early summer parade of commitments to Ann Arbor. A slow period should transition immediately into another action-packed (though not necessarily commitment-packed) period coming up soon, with next weekend's "Barbecue at the Big House" recruiting event.

Much more about it in next week's Recruitin' post, but if you need your fix now, Tom has an ever-evolving list of visitors up in the Diary section. Those not already committed to Michigan are of the greatest interest to us because, you know, they could commit. All this and MUCH MORE next Wednesday (they call that a tease, kids).

Why would anyone want to leave that state? Also regarding the barbecue, Eleven Warriors calls Kyle Kalis and Tom Strobel "Ann Arbor's new favorite couple," but it is not supposed to be a gay joke - except there's no other way for it to realistically be intended. They could be Purdue commits for all I care, but what century are we living in where "hurr hurr u r gay" is still an OK insult?

If you Google "Kyle Kalis ACL," the first infinity results are of Ohio State message boarders wishing injury on a 16-17 year-old kid. Kalis has gone into (mostly) radio silence since his commitment, for fear of backlash. Ohio State fans bashing him for "poor morals" because he decommitted from a school that's about to get hammered for lying to the NCAA? Irony reading: high.

I'm not trying to pick a fight with Eleven Warriors here, but come on dudes, hold yourselves to a higher standard - which, to be fair, they usually do.

Godzillatron will be ours. Updates on the scoreboards? Updates on the scoreboards. Pictures can be seen at Michigan Stadium Aerials (also with updated photos of the hoops Player Development Center), and if you're into the "paint drying" thing, you can watch the assembly live on the internet at MGoBlue.  

OK, so it's not quite as impressive as the mega-boards at places like Texas and... Minnesota... but it's certainly an upgrade over the recent past.

The QB my friends, is blowin' in the wind. Tate Forcier was told "thanks but no thanks" by Hawaii, of all schools, because his transcript is really that bad. The official mgoblog position is "hope he gets his life in order," but uh, is anyone still second-guessing David Brandon's alleged refusal to schedule a meeting with QB5?:

"I needed a certain amount of credits. The incompletes, I took care of those. Dave Brandon still wouldn't let me stay. He refused to even meet with us."

If Hawaii isn't even going to meet with you, Dave Brandon proooooobably wasn't in the wrong here. It sounds like you have more than "a few incompletes" to take care of.

Etc. The Big Ten goes in the wrong direction by going from 3 to zero teams on its preseason media ballot. Men's lacrosse picks up a top offensive coordinator - and tons of solid 2012 commits - including a football teammate of Erik Magnuson. Big Ten schools gettin' that paper, yo. Rest in peace, Jimmy Maddock.

Unverified Voracity Is A Prettyman

Unverified Voracity Is A Prettyman

Submitted by Brian on May 20th, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Slick. You have to give Dave Brandon this: when he says he's going to "create the future," he's not kidding. The future is very, very corporate, which means that while we have to deal with retro-futuristic horror gimmicks we also get a Crisler Arena that isn't a dank cave:

crisler-concourse

That's the key artist's rendering from the just-approved $52 million renovation of Crisler: a concourse that looks… like… nice. There's a bunch of other stills you can check out at UMHoops; the overall result should be an arena on par with the rest of the Big Ten. The program is already headed that way without recruits being able to talk into the swanky new digs.

While hiring Brady Hoke seemed questionable, it was nowhere near the level of bumbling required to give Brian Ellerbe the job or let the department fall into a situation where compliance reports simply weren't being generated. Hopefully that's part of the past even if Brandon continually refers to the Michigan athletic department as "I".

BONUS: MVictors caught a very naughty old Block M in one of the renderings.

Reverse lockout. I was trying to will Darius Morris back to campus next year and therefore thought his decision to go this year wasn't a good one. In retrospect that's obviously wrong. Morris's strong pre-draft workouts have him solidly in the first round and even if that wasn't the case now was the time to strike with a lottery-scaring lockout keeping a half-dozen kids obviously in front of him in school:

Even though many felt another year at Michigan would improve his stock, Morris took the leap when players such North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes and Ohio State forward/center Jared Sullinger decided to stay in school.

That upped Morris' stock.

"That definitely played a part in my decision," Morris said.

Morris could get a lot better and not see his stock increase in a post-lockout draft featuring 1.5 years of lottery picks.

Of course, Morris could be having strong pre-draft workouts and still have the option to come back if the NCAA hadn't done away with that to make coaches feel better, or something. If Morris's strong pre-draft workouts were in fact crappy pre-draft workouts that locked him into the second round, boy would we be shaking our fists at the sky even harder now.

Also. Not that anyone who needs to be told this is amongst the people who can be reasoned with, but:

Once Morris declared, though, he experienced some backlash from fans who felt Michigan was primed to take a huge leap in 2011-12. But, he felt he was prepared for the criticism. He saw it happen with former teammate Manny Harris, who left last year after his junior season.

"It didn't get to me, I experienced it all my life," Morris said. "You do think about it, when your biggest fans instantly turn on you. It comes with the territory with the Michigan fan base."

That's probably not the best reputation for the school to acquire. I'm talking to you, 14-year-olds on twitter.

1889! Doctor Saturday was wandering along the Bentley's pages looking for anything that could conceivably be a precedent for Michigan's throwback-type uniforms when he discovered the raw sex that is Michigan 1889:

1889

The dude in the middle claims to be a Ben Boutwell but is obviously time-travelling Devandra Barnhart. Also the guy on the bottom right is supposedly named "Horace Prettyman," which come on.

Nine games. BHGP has an excellent post on the pros and cons of the move to a nine-game conference schedule. One objection:

It still wouldn't eliminate the bodybag games.  For all the lip service that's been paid to the notion that adding a ninth conference game would eliminate the games against the likes of Bumblefuck Tech that everyone hates -- no one has yet been able to offer up any clear examples of just how they would make the new system work.  They want nine conference games AND seven home games (which is a non-negotiable point, according to multiple sources) AND they want to reduce the number of cupcake opponents that (most) teams play from two to one. 

One man's objection to that objection via The Sporting News:

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the Big Ten’s best attempt yet at following the SEC: Of 48 possible nonconference games, the Big Ten has 14 games against BCS schools — only five of which are road games (10 total road games among the 48). And we’re not done yet.

Most teams play three bodybag games right now. The Big Ten averages of just over one BCS opponent per team. Are those going to go away if a nonconference game is removed? Maybe somewhat but probably not much. Several of the games are perennials, anyone aiming for a national title is going to have to have a reasonable nonconference opponent just for the look of things, and these days the financial advantages of body-bag games and lower-tier bowls are nonexistent for teams on the bottom of the totem pole. The overall number of games worth caring about will increase. Maybe not on a 1:1 ratio, but significantly.

Machiavellian. Jim Delany sort of offhandedly mentioned he'd like to give football and basketball players—maybe even more than that—scholarships that cover the full "cost of attendance," which apparently they don't at the moment. Eyebrow Mount Doom speaks:

"Forty years ago, you had a scholarship plus $15 a month laundry money," Delany said. "Today, you have the same scholarship, but not with the $15 laundry money.

"How do we get back more toward the collegiate model and a regulatory system that is based more on student-athlete welfare than it is on a level playing field, where everything is about a cost issue and whether or not everybody can afford to do everything everybody else can do?" Delany asked.

That's estimated to be another 2-5k per year per scholarship, which you can ballpark around 300k. That's chump change for big schools and a big problem for smaller ones. The usual hue and cry about a "level playing field" has been anticipated and argued with even though no one takes it seriously. (Right? I mean, find me a recruit who picked Conference USA over the SEC or the MAC over the Big Ten*.) This would no more upset the balance of power than having teams that pack 100k fans into a stadium play South Alabama.

Meanwhile, at big schools that's money that's going to coaches right now instead of guys putting their future health at risk (at least to some extent). They should totally do it, not because it's good for power conferences—it's exactly the same for power conferences—but because it's Justice(!).

*[Yes, I know some guys ended up at UCF or something. When the percentage of guys who end up at smaller conferences with legit options at a BCS conferences creeps over 1% then you can badger me. Imaginary pedant is so into pedantry.]

This is fun when it's not happening to you. Yes, it is.

Mag_Busted_web

Etc.: Mets Maize asks "is that my boner or yours?" about Brady Hoke's recruiting spree. Zach Hyman says he wants to stay four years, which everyone says. He was headed to Princeton, though, so maybe take that a bit more seriously than you would otherwise.

Unverified Voracity Heads For The Wall Of Shame

Unverified Voracity Heads For The Wall Of Shame

Submitted by Brian on February 17th, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Rock Mocked. Are you up for some uncomfortable fun made at Tate Forcier's expense?

That's the hockey team's Mock Rock thing. The marching band won with the football team in second, says AnnArbor.com's Jeff Arnold in an article that emits the faint whiff of sarcasm. Selected highlights:

The band registered a string of six perfect 10.0 scores following a flawlessly choreographed routine … The two top finishes pulled away from the pack of other performances that ranged from the ridiculously creative Pokemon (men's and women's lacrosse) to the wildly entertaining "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (men's swimming); an act that ended in a speedo-inspired tribute to Michael Jackson.

Generic overwritten newspaperese or bitterness at drawing the short straw? We'll never know. I have no idea if the thing was actually entertaining or not since I was watching the basketball game.

In related news, here's an autotuned David Moosman snorting his phone.

Morris benching explained. You were probably saying something along the lines of "aaargh where Morris" with nine minutes left in the game. Even if he had done something wrong he was sitting on seven assists and one turnover at the time—he wasn't exactly a loose cannon. In the aftermath both Beilein and  Morris are saying it was nothing except fatigue:

“I caught my breath,” Morris said. “They did a good job of pressuring the ball, and I was guarding McCamey as well. The coaches noticed I got a little bit tired and then when they took me out, we got on a little run before they separated again, but I felt rejuvenated when I came back in the game.

“It was the most rest I’ve gotten.”

Nothing to see here. /barbrady

Draft incoherence. The rejuvenated Bylaw Blog is admirably willing to say certain NCAA regulations don't make any sense, whether it's the NLI or the NCAA's willingness to let drafted kids play as long as they're not basketball (or I guess football) pplayers:

it is a violation to go through a draft if you decided you want to be in it. But it isn’t a violation in some cases if you are drafted and then attempt to negotiate the greatest possible compensation for your athletic skills. And it isn’t a violation to attempt that negotiation in order to enter the draft.

The fact that this is unfair to some student-athletes is secondary. Most important is that entering a professional draft is not sufficient evidence that you want to give up your collegiate eligibility. Entering a draft and deciding any contract offered would not be worth leaving college is no more or less an indication of a student-athlete’s intent to professionalize themselves than deciding a contract offer is not sufficient to leave college and enter the draft in the first place.

I'm not sure what harm would be done by allowing NBA teams to draft underclassmen, work them out at camps and whatnot, have them play summer league, and then send them back to school. Players wouldn't have a do-or-die decision to go pro or not and talented players might stick around another year or two. You'd also get some extra interest from NBA fans tracking their prospects.

That post also contains a discussion about NCAA president Mark Emmert's recent "over my dead body" statement about paying players. These things kind of go hand-in-hand. If paying players is a bridge too far I don't see why the NCAA can't allow players to sign with an agent or take some non-ludicrous amount of money from a pro team that's drafted them. Right now a major source of NCAA corruption comes from agents funneling money to players in the hopes of signing them; allowing kids to sign and take a bit of money wouldn't increase the amount of compensation they're getting.

Amateurism is all well and good if you can actually enforce it. If you can't—and it seems pretty clear that's the case—you should probably repeal Prohibition, make some reasonable concessions, and make your setup a little bit less hypocritical without actually spending any money yourself.

Morons on the loose, except no longer loose. You have probably heard that someone poisoned Auburn's trees at Toomer's Corner, then called into the Finebaum show to brag about it. The Auburn folk I follow on twitter and in my RSS feed spent yesterday pointedly not advocating the wholesale destruction of Tuscaloosa, which proves they're better people than I am. I'd be on the warpath. Here he is:

alabama-man

He was rapidly arrested because he is named "Harvey Almorn Updike" and lives in Dadeville—a town of approximately four people I drove through once en route to the Auburn-LSU game I attended—and told the radio he was "Al from Dadeville." This goes here.

Unfortunately, it's too late for this incident to remove his genes from the pool—he's got kids named "Bear" and "Crimson."

Q: is this literally the worst possible thing a single fan could do to a rival fanbase? I think so. I can't think of another tradition that's so treasured and so vulnerable. You could cut off Bear Bryant's head* and they'd just put a new one on. It's metal. You could kill Uga, but Uga dies every year and they just keep making new ones. The trees are unique: iconic symbols of the university that can expire but don't do it on the regular.

The worst thing is it's not even clever. Boo, Alabama man. Boo.

*[the statue!]

Etc.: Grant Wahl is running for FIFA president. He's got my nonexistent unimportant vote. More on the first of the 30-for-30 style documentaries about Michigan football. Hockey's senior day is Saturday—a rare opportunity for students to be there. Yost fluff.

Unverified Voracity Is Basically Tom Brady

Unverified Voracity Is Basically Tom Brady

Submitted by Brian on January 20th, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Brady Interview Football 
soak it in

This week in limited concessions to SEO. So it turns out Esquire googled AJ Daulerio and found this site's bluntly titled piece on him in the aftermath of the ESPN sex tantrum that outed some woman no one had ever heard of for dating some guy no one had ever heard of. They quoted me, so score. That makes me essentially Tom Brady. If I was not getting married in five months this might have had some utility.

I unsubscribed from Deadspin's feed a while ago when they removed full feeds because there was too much junk to wade through just to get to "Dead Wrestler of the Week" or Tommy Craggs writing something long, so I've lost track of what's going on with athlete dongs. Apparently this is:

The topic turned to a video Deadspin had posted of a drunk girl having sex in a bathroom stall at a sports bar in Bloomington, Indiana.  After a few days of trading emails with the girl, who was begging to have the video taken down, he refused to take it down.  Then the girl's father contacted Daulerio to let him know "You gotta understand, I've just been dealing with watching my daughter get f---ed in a pile of piss for the past two days."

So, awesome. We've moved beyond the thin veneer of "making ESPN acknowledge its sexism" or "Josh Hamilton is a hypocrite" or "Brett Favre is someone you've heard of" and we're just randomly holding up unfortunate young women not connected to sports in any way for internet leers. At least no one's pretending anymore. Except of course Daulerio is, so here's Tom Fornelli ripping him for it.

We'll always have Notre Dame. Tate Forcier transferred, completing his destiny. He used Twitter to make his announcement. It's sad and obviously omits "class" when it talks about the various places he worked hard. In retrospect it's all just so obvious. Homeschooling, yo. It either turns you into Tim Tebow or… not Tim Tebow.

This was cosmically ordained. Now Tate Forcier is the avatar of the Rodriguez era: high expectations, fun here and there, eventual letdown, premature termination. I'll miss the moxie. In memoriam:

 

BONUS INCEST SPECULATION: I wonder if he'll end up at San Diego State? He's from San Diego. He has a redshirt year, and SDSU's QB graduates after 2011. Those Montana rumors from earlier now have a lot of credence, but if he's willing to sit out a year home seems like an attractive option.

This is hard, veteran fluff. Mattison is saying some awfully nice things about Brady Hoke:

"When Brady got the job (at Michigan last Tuesday), I said to myself, 'If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this with Brady,'" Mattison said. "I wouldn't have gone to any other college team. I wouldn't have changed what I was doing for anybody but Brady.

And you can't have a defensive coordinator hire without the magic word:

"You put the best front and the best coverage out there, and the intention is to be aggressive," Mattison said.

Jarrett Irons also says Mattison is a "helluva" recruiter.

Speaking of recruiting, not to be, like, you know but… Michigan has eight coaches. Seven are white and one is Fred Jackson. Most are old, and even the young-ish ones look like old white guys spiritually. This 1) is bad, 2) looks bad, and 3) can be offset if the last two guys are "energetic recruiters" in the same way Zack Novak is "heady."

If Vincent Smith is having problems I'm not sure he's got anyone he can talk to with any clue what it's like to be a poor black kid:

jeff-hecklinskimark-smithal-borges-headshotdarrell-funk
I am sorry to hear your troubles. In these times I always turn to the advice of Robert Goulet.

The only thing separating this staff from your local realtor is Mark Smith's terror at being photographed. For a lot of reasons, we need some people on staff who know who Waka Flocka Flame is. (No points awarded for knowing of the existence of a "Small Wayne.")

I've heard the last two assistants are likely to be guys without ties to Michigan but there's a guy out there who seems like a natural fit: Corwin Brown. He's a secondary coach, and Michigan needs a secondary coach. He's currently with the Patriots but his role one of those assistant (to the) position coach roles the NFL invented to give anyone who gets fired a job. He's probably not making an exorbitant amount of money.

Brown wasn't a good defensive coordinator but ND defensive backs developed pretty well under his guidance and he was a monster recruiter for them. Since I have mentioned him as a plausible candidate there's no way he gets hired, but the fit seems obvious.

The DL coach, meanwhile, can barely know what a defensive line is since Hoke and Mattison are on staff and should only touch down in Ann Arbor to drop off signed LOIs. Beyonce for DL coach?

[Side note on yesterday's post on Mattison: the 12.1 PPG number I cited isn't right. It was around 17 points per game. Oddly, I got this erroneous info from M's own database, which said opponents scored 157 points in '95.]

All tapes have not been erased. If you're wondering, there will not be a Gator Bowl UFR because what's the point? I do have the Utah-SDSU game from this year and I'll do the offense from that game after Signing Day. I might pull some Picture Pages from the defense if I can find something that illuminates the difference between Greg Robinson running a 3-3-5 he doesn't understand and Rocky Long running the D he invented, too.

But anyway someone did bother to look at the tape of Michigan's bowl demolition. Here's Craig Roh playing DT on first and goal:

msu-td

This would be a seven-yard touchdown up the gut. Surprise. That play features errors by Mouton, Demens, and Kovacs and is yet another item to add to the pile of reasons Greg Robinson was a bad idea.

Not a feature. I'm arrogant. I know this for a lot of reasons but there's a statistic to back it up: the Michigan version of quiz bowl (a dynasty, BTW) held intramural tournaments occasionally and my first couple years in college I played in them. They kept extensive stats, and I was in the top five in correct answers. I was number one by a mile in incorrect answers*. Arrogance is not a feature, it's a bug.

There's a response to my post about Will Smith and robots and Michigan's hidebound image of itself on Maize 'n' Brew that "loves" the arrogance of Michigan fandom that I can't disagree more with. Arrogant fans are above all unpleasant to be around, no matter if they're on your side or not. When I was in Chicago for Blogs With Balls there was barhopping wherein I hung out with various Chicago based bloggers. One was Brian Stouffer of House Rock Built. I'm not sure who the other was. Stouffer's a really nice guy. The other guy was ND Nation in the flesh, a guy who actually brought up the African-American grad rate canard in a conversation with a stranger he'd just met. That sort of clueless insecurity is arrogance.

Also, this:

We are an arrogant program, and I am an arrogant fan.  I don't argue with Brian's awareness of the arrogance, but I think there's more to it than that.  He's right - "certain outsiders" can't really teach me, or many of us, anything.  Yes, many of the things rivals say about Michigan are true.  And yes, our bowl game opponents and OOC opponents will say Michigan just "lines up and comes after you" because that's what Michigan does.  Sure, we haven't won a majority of those games (even in the past thirty or so years, Michigan's bowl record isn't fantastic) but the formula works.

Is this:

lemon-of-troy Ned Flanders: Pardon me, neighbourinos. Some of our boys are lost in your town. You wouldn't have happened to see them, by any chance?
Shelbyville Guy #1: Sounds like Springfield's got a discipline problem.
Shelbyville Guy #2: Maybe that's why we beat them at football nearly half the time.

The post is neatly summarized by Shelbyville Guy #2. This is not so good.

*(Which cost five points if offered before the question was over.)

Etc.: Kellen Jones reconfirms commitment, if you missed it in yesterday's recruiting post. Oversigning picks up steam as a media concept. JMFJ on JMFJ. Holdin' the Rope on the early days of Hoke—boy, is that blog name going to be one to explain in a few years.