This Week's Obsession: How Long Till Harbaugh?

This Week's Obsession: How Long Till Harbaugh?

Submitted by Seth on February 18th, 2015 at 1:22 PM

15527796004_71c56a7464_k

Fuller

The Question:

Ace: When do you expect Michigan to get on level footing with Michigan State and Ohio State? Do you expect them to, in the latter case?

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

The Answers:

Dave Nasternak: Well, those are 2 different levels, especially after the last year.

As far as reaching Michigan State's level, I'm thinking (hoping?) Harbaugh will get them to that level in the next 2-3 years.  I actually think that the talent differential is not huge, outside of a couple of obvious positions.  The coaching differential, however...has been quite large.  One of the interesting things about Michigan State has been their recruiting.  They have not had stand-out, elite level recruiting during their stretch of dominance over Michigan (and kinda the Big Ten).  But they have developed their roster as well as anyone has...which is coaching.  It has also not hurt Michigan State that Michigan and Penn State have not been at program expectations over the past 5+ years.  However, with Harbaugh in Ann Arbor, now -and a competitively talented roster to work with- I think that gap has already shrunk a bit...and will presumably do so in the next couple of years.

6411555271_837bbc90c6_b
You will NOT take away the year of Fickell. [Upchurch]

Since the end of the 2004 season, Ohio State is 110-21.  104-14 if you take away the Year of Fickell.  That's...uh...I don't even know.  I definitely think this past 10 or so years has not been the Big Ten's best -definitely some under-performing teams and questionable hiring decisions by a few of the schools- but...yikes, man.  There were a few years where its felt like Michigan has lost 14 games...just in that year, alone!  I'm not sure anyone is going to THAT level, any time soon.  If anyone can give Michigan a chance to do so, it would be Jim Harbaugh, though.  Anyway...my next point, haha.  One of the things that Ohio State has that has eluded most of the Big Ten teams (at least lately) is a game-changer.  And they have had many.  Going back to Troy Smith, Terrelle Pryor and now Miller/Barrett/Jones and Elliott.  These are guys that can score every time they touch the ball...and always seem to make a play to keep a drive alive or score when OSU needs points.  They are Heisman trophy winners...or at least candidates.  That is level of recruit AND development that Michigan is going to need in order to compete at the OSU level.  Can and will Harbaugh take Michigan there?  I think he can.  I hope he will.  When?  It will be years before he will be able to make a mark like OSU has been able to over the last decade or so.  But I do think that once Harbaugh gets Top 100/300/whatever recruits flowing into his system, Michigan will be able to go toe-to-toe with Ohio State and at least beat them at a competitive rate...instead of the 1(Fickell) and 10 it has been over the past 11 years.

[After the jump: projections on a sophomore roster]

Wednesday Presser 11-26-14: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser 11-26-14: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 26th, 2014 at 4:50 PM

hoke 9-15

file

Opening remarks:

"This week, and we talked about it earlier on Monday, is always a different week. We had two very good sessions. You always start early it seems like for this game, but in preparation we were outside yesterday. Had a really good practice. Team’s working hard with the preparation. We got a lot that we've got to correct from a week ago but there's a lot to build off from a week ago also. The big thing is you always, listening to coach Schembechler and coach Moeller and coach Carr throughout the years, you want to play your best at the end of November. That's what we're trying to do, have our best performance on Saturday. Great rivalry. We've talked about it and it’s special. Unless you've coached in it and played in it I think sometimes it's hard to explain, but the intensity in this game is like no other you'll play."

Do you bring in special speakers? You mentioned Mo and those guys. Do you bring those guys in? I know Mo’s around here a lot. Does he come in and talk?
"At times you do. We have in the past. It hasn't been every year but yeah, we've had people come in. We do a lot of that in August during camp because you've got those days and you’ve got each other so you refer back to some of those if you're not bringing somebody in."

Bo was famous for every practice they did something for Ohio State. Is that how you handle that?
"Not every practice. We talk about it. It's visually up here in this building all the time [the countdown clock], and we talk about it weekly if not daily about the rivalry and the extent of it."
But you don't do something specific and practice for Ohio State every week?
"Not every week."

For a player like Mason Cole or Bryan Mone, what is this first experience like? How do you bring them into the rivalry and what is it like for them to go into it?
"I think a couple things. Number one, you bring up those two true freshmen. Playing at South Bend this year and then at Michigan State and now going to Columbus, which we've never done that, and we've never done that with those two teams [on the road] in the same year so playing in those venues, and Michigan State playing a night game on national television – er, Notre Dame, I think that's part of it. I think the passion in Spartan Stadium is hopefully something they can refer to but as I said earlier this is even a louder environment. It'll be a test but they've been playing football a long time and that's, at the end of the day, what it is is playing football."
[After THE JUMP: So about last year…]

Vicious Electronic Questioning: 11W's Ross Fulton

Vicious Electronic Questioning: 11W's Ross Fulton

Submitted by Ace on November 27th, 2013 at 2:29 PM

I hope you're all familiar with Ross Fulton of Eleven Warriors, who does an excellent job of breaking down the X's and O's for Ohio State and their opponents week in and week out. Ross was kind enough to answer a few scheme-centric questions about The Game, and he did so in more detail than I could've possibly asked for—his take on Michigan's offense alone is well worth your time.

Michigan's defense was surprisingly successful against OSU last year, give or take some pounding runs by Carlos Hyde and the bomb to Devin Smith. How do you see the Buckeyes attacking Michigan on Saturday, and do you expect to see any new wrinkles in the offense that we didn't see last year?

First, thanks for the opportunity to collaborate with MGoBlog, a site I have long read and enjoyed.

As to your question, Ohio State was able to gain yards against Michigan last season (the Buckeyes had nearly 400) but Michigan did a really nice job holding the Buckeyes to field goals in the red zone.

The new “wrinkles” you will see Saturday are the primary difference between the Ohio State offense of 2012 and 2013. Last season Braxton Miller was inconsistent as a passer and a decision maker on read/packaged games. As a result, the offense would devolve at times to the Miller and Carlos Hyde run show, even when defenses were cheating slot defenders or safeties against the run.

Fast forward to this year. Miller and Hyde are still Urban Meyer and Tom Herman’s primary weapons. But Ohio State is far more effective at constraining the defense with the screen and pass game. This reflects Miller’s development, as well as the improvement in the wide receiver corps, led by Corey Brown.

Meyer and Herman’s preferred method of operating is coming out in the First Quarter and hitting the edge with screens and packaged hitches to Devin Smith (above), and then taking downfield shots off play action. For instance, one play I expect to see Saturday (and one that will probably get under Michigan fans’ craw) is a deep crossing route off inverted veer. It is very difficult for the play side safety to stay home when they see a pulling guard and the possibility of Miller or Hyde running the football. Also look for Ohio State to use Dontre Wilson as a decoy in the flat to open vertical routes.

Then, once they establish a lead Meyer and Herman like to return to the base run game. Assuming the weather cooperates, I would expect some variation of that formula Saturday.

Are there any personnel matchups when OSU is on offense that particularly delight/concern you?

To me, there is one schematic and one personnel matchup that will be interesting to watch. The first is between Meyer and Greg Mattison in the wide side flat. Against spread teams, Mattison generally walks his Sam linebacker out to the field and plays him in the gray area inside the slot receiver.

Meyer and Herman love attacking the wide side field when a team does this. They will do so not only with wide receiver screens, but also the outside run game. For instance, one method they use is to run jet sweep away from the play side blocking. Miller will read that backside linebacker and if he bites down, Miller gives on the jet sweep. The Buckeyes’ slot receiver simply has to seal the linebacker inside and the Buckeyes can get easy yards, either with Hyde or Wilson.

As a result, playing that role is a lot to ask of any defender, but I was very impressed with how Jake Ryan handled it last fall. But this is a chess match I will be watching.

In terms of personnel, I think that Ohio State has an advantage inside against Michigan’s undersized interior. The strongest part of the Buckeyes as a team is their offensive line. Look for Ohio State to run inside zone and power at the 3-technique bubble.

[Hit THE JUMP to read how Ross thinks OSU will attack Michigan defensively, his thoughts on what plagues the Michigan offense, and his prediction for The Game.]

Hokepoints Reviews Fourth and Long

Hokepoints Reviews Fourth and Long

Submitted by Seth on November 5th, 2013 at 10:59 AM

fourth-and-long

Previously in this space: The excerpt. Bacon Q&A with Brian and readers.

So there was a new Bacon book this year. We need to review this book. I'm going to do this with the expectation that you have either read it already or are going to. You should. It is a Bacon book. You are reading MGoBlog; either you are a person who appreciates Bacon or else a visiting Sparty looking for more trolling fodder, in which case help yourself to the board where I promise you there's plenty. Or better yet, read some Bacon—you're in the Big Ten; this concerns you too. And he says the Red Cedar is nice.9040891

This is not a negative review, even though I have a tendency to focus on the "needs work" aspects—I'm the guy who walked out of The Return of the King after five years of unmitigated Peter Jackson man-crushing and complained that there were too many endings. So apologies to John U., who's higher in my esteem than Mr. Jackson and just about everyone whose quotes aren't emblazoned on a wall somewhere, for the plurality of minuses below.

The book is available wherever they sell books these days. Amazon links: Kindle, Hardcover. I bought it on Kindle.

More Bacon. Ever since Bo's Lasting Lessons, the chance to devour a new Bacon book has been somewhat of an event around these parts. As a Michigan fan it would be tough to follow the unparalleled access and insight into the Rich Rod program accomplished with Three and Out, specifically because that unvarnished snapshot was so starkly antithetical to Dave Brandon's meticulous staging of his Michigan show: You knew at the time that no true journalist would be allowed to see behind the bunting again, so it should only come as a mild disappointment that there is little about the Michigan program in this book that you didn't already know.

Fourth and Long: the Fight for the Soul of College Football is four unequal looks at four 2012 Big Ten programs, or four and a half if you count a mini-treatment that Michigan State and Mark Hollis receive as host of an Ohio State road game. In order of detail:

IMG_2803
The Kindle X-ray. The next 20 keywords, in order, are Mike Zordich, Ohio State Buckeyes, Dave Brandon, Matt McGloin, Pat Fitzgerald, NFL, Joe Paterno, Nebraska, Wolverines, head coach, Wisconsin, Ohio, Rich Mauti, Jordan Hill, Denard Robinson, Chicago, Spider Caldwell, and Dave Joyner.
  1. Penn State from the point of view of its players, former players, coaches, and equipment managers as they find themselves taking the brunt of the Penn State Awful Thing, and the NCAA's and PSU brass's callow responses to it.
    ======HUGE GAP======
  2. Michigan from Bacon's own point of view of its fans, as those fans interact with Brandon's corporate-itude.
  3. Ohio State from the P.O.V. of Urban Meyer as he goes from win to win trying to get Zach Boren to like him, and
  4. Northwestern as the paragon of virtue.

Bacon set out, as is evident from the title and made clear throughout the book, to examine these four schools from different points of view (players, AD, head coach, and president, respectively), and use the findings to determine if any of the Big Ten's current models for college football are sustainable for college football in general. In it he consistently finds players and fans who "get it" while the people in control seek new and better ways to milk it.

But he could only use what he got from each school. With Ohio State the access was mostly restricted to Urban on game days. He brushes against tatgate but doesn't get into the cars or any other "everybody knows, nobody can prove" things—you have to appreciate that Bacon will never accuse somebody without proof (especially considering he's an avowed Michigan fan talking about Ohio State) but it's really hard to talk about college sports and the competitive problems therein without admitting there are relative bad guys. The Gee quote—"I hope he doesn't fire me!"—is in there in reference to the bloated role of college football head coach in America. The closest he comes to pointing out OSU's exceptionalism in this regard is when addressing the carrying off of Tressel after last year's Game:

"The Buckeyes do not run a renegade program, but they once again demonstrated they don't seem to care if their actions make others think they do."

This isn't a complaint; Bacon handled a sticky situation about as well as he could. With Northwestern he got some key interviews, particularly with Pat Fitzgerald, but no warts (this could be because they don't have any).

With Michigan Bacon was outside looking in, so he used some of the Bacon-usual suspects—Carty, the dueling barbershops, the public comments of James Duderstadt and Don Canham, Brian Cook of MGoBlog, etc. There's also an inside look at the Mud Bowl, and most interestingly, a candid interview with Michigan's band director about Send-the-Band-to-Dallas-gate. I was more intrigued by the comments made by Bill Martin on the corporatization of NCAA football, which I'll come back to. The whole Notre Dame saga is covered. Except for the band's comments most of this is old news to you.

The result is a book that's 52% about Penn State trying to survive 2012, with a bunch of stuff thrown in about some other schools and corporations to underscore a point made clear without leaving Happy Valley.

[After the jump: it's just, like, my opinion man.]

Unverified Voracity Abandons The Field

Unverified Voracity Abandons The Field

Submitted by Brian on July 18th, 2013 at 1:16 PM

image

sometimes google image search is art

We are not worried about this frivolous lawsuit. NCAA Football is dead, you guys:

NCAA will not renew EA Sports contract

The NCAA has made the decision not to enter a new contract for the license of its name and logo for the EA Sports NCAA Football video game. The current contract expires in June 2014, but our timing is based on the need to provide EA notice for future planning. As a result, the NCAA Football 2014 video game will be the last to include the NCAA’s name and logo. We are confident in our legal position regarding the use of our trademarks in video games. But given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA.

Paired with the credit-rating downgrade the NCAA just received, that sounds like a team of lawyers running around in circles shouting "THINK OF SOMETHING" to each other. Most favored bomb-thrower Patrick Hruby:

What gives is lawyer-ese. The NCAA is never going to publicly say that the O’Bannon case has them scared, because that would imply they’ve done something wrong and therefore have reason to be afraid of adjudication. However, the current facts of the case don’t look good for it: O’Bannon’s claim is rooted allegations that the NCAA and co-defendants EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company colluded to profit from the unauthorized use of former players’ NILs – price-fixing their value at zero – and documents uncovered by the plaintiffs’ lawyers during discovery strongly support said allegatioons.

The other tell? Check out the rest of the NCAA’s brief statement, which says that “given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA.” (Bold added.) In this case, current business climate and costs of litigation are lawyer-ese for ruh-roh.

Individual schools and conference can still license their trademarks to EA. Will they? I'm guessing yes, as Kotaku explains that most of the licensing is through the CLC, making the NCAA's decision "nearly a technicality."

If not get ready for EA Sports Football Type Substance And Incredibly Easy To Edit Thing 2015. Back in the day when I was playing the college version of Front Office Football I had to download a file to turn "South Bend" into "Notre Dame," and such, but it's a lot harder to import winged helmets than change names.

Shots fired. Will Muschamp is pretty cheesed off at Urbs, you guys. SEC Media days are ongoing, and Muschamp's turn at the tiller included this gem:

Muschamp, who succeeded Meyer as the Gators' coach, is even borrowing a page from Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who won't even call Ohio State by its full name.

"That's really a dead issue with me," Muschamp said Tuesday at SEC media days. "In both situations, we were turned in by Ohio. We didn't do anything wrong. The University of Florida didn't do anything wrong. And so we appreciated our friends from Ohio making sure we're compliant with NCAA rules. They certainly know a little bit about that subject."

That zing was followed up by a personal shot at Urban Meyer for fostering a murderer he is responsible for. No, seriously:

"You can’t expect a coach to know where all 125 players are all the time," Muschamp said. "But you also can’t stick your head in the sand and think everything is OK. You're 100 percent responsible."

Arrest Urban Meyer! Unless that would help his recruiting, which it might. Arrest Urban Meyer or take a picture of him checking out a Justin Beiber concert?

I hope you guys are better at real defense than computer defense. Ondre Pipkins played Dymonte Thomas in NCAA and came out with a screenshot that is just all kinds of wrong:

image

Are these 30 minute quarters? Why are you taking Ohio State? Why has Ohio State scored if that was the case? What is going on? IS URBS GOING TO FLIP DYMONTE?

Slive pushing. Self-interest, sure, but self interest in the name of providing a fig leaf of player compensation is better than the alternative:

"The NCAA has not been successful in meeting the full cost of attendance of our student athletes, whether through the so-called miscellaneous expense allowance or some other model that provides broad access to additional funds," said Slive, about to begin his 12th year as commissioner.

The issue, in a nutshell, is that some schools can afford to pay the stipend and some can't. Those that can't are able to keep the idea bottled up. Those that can, like schools in the SEC, are getting tired of it.

"Conferences and their member institutions must be allowed to meet the needs of their student-athletes," Slive said.

Slive followed up by saying that in meetings with other conference commissioners "there appears to be a willingness" to go through with a cost of attendance adjustment, at least until individual schools submarine it through the override process.

Mitch staying. SI spotlights Mitch McGary in a manner that'll get your salivary glands going:

When he submitted his name to the NBA's draft advisory board, McGary was told what he already suspected: He was a surefire first-round pick, and very possibly a lottery pick. The vast majority of college players would have jumped at that opportunity, but McGary defied convention and announced he would stay in school. "I want to prove to people that my potential is much greater than what I showed," McGary explained. "The way I look at it is, so far I've only cracked the glass. Next year I'm trying to break through it."

McGary is down to around 255 after starting last season twenty pounds heavier—too heavy—and you could see the increased stamina and athleticism late. That was the #2 recruit in the country, and Michigan figures to get that this year.

TSN's Mike DeCourcy, meanwhile, says McGary is still a load even at the lighter weight:

4. Jadeveon Clowney was a big topic of conversation at SEC Media Days. What current college hoops player could take your head off if he played football?

DeCourcy: Michigan’s Mitch McGary. Not messing with that dude. If Mitch had been the Wolverine in possession of that football instead of Vincent Smith back in the Outback Bowl, it might have been Clowney whose helmet went flying.

So much for that. If you were hoping that Fox Sports 1 would be an alternative to ESPN, it will, but not in the way you want:

…to differentiate FS1, to lend it personality and create a distinct brand, Fox is going with a concept that David Hill, chief executive officer of Fox Sports, calls “jockularity.” The plan is for FS1 to be the funny, irreverent, less serious sports channel.

Among other things, that involves hiring a couple of Canadian pranksters to anchor the network’s flagship program and building another show around Regis Philbin.

So much for that unless the Canadian is Norm Macdonald.

Never say die. The Big Ten has created a new bowl at Ford Field, but the Pizza Bowl guys won't let it die:

Ken Hoffman feels there’s no reason Ford Field can’t handle playing host to two bowl games starting in 2014.

Hoffman’s Little Caesars Pizza Bowl was on the outside looking in following the news Wednesday the Detroit Lions bowl game was official, starting Dec. 30, 2014, with a Big Ten team going up against a team from another power conference.

Guys. It's over.

Etc.: Eleven Warriors' guide to visiting Ann Arbor is seemingly designed to get you to dislike Ann Arbor, but I guess it's aimed at guys who get ATV catalogs. Pro sports attendance beginning to suffer in baseball and basketball. Average Boston Red Sox ticket cost: 88 dollars! FIFA can't sell the World Cup to pay-TV in the UK.

Music City Bowl will pit an SEC team versus an ACC/B10 team for the next five years. A la carte ESPN projected cost: 30 bucks. Thanks, people who don't care about sports but pay for ESPN anyway. Old man yells at cloud. Potential VCU rematch in the second round of Puerto Rico.

Unverified Voracity Breathes Relief

Unverified Voracity Breathes Relief

Submitted by Brian on July 8th, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Minor crisis averted. Butler went with the other guy, not Lavall Jordan. Why is unclear—comfort level I guess since Jordan hasn't been at Butler in a while. And I don't care. Guy who molded Darius Morris and Trey Burke and is going to be a head coach someday soon is still at Michigan. Keep these guys together a couple more years and this thing is established big-time. After that happens I'd actually be in favor of some current assistants heading out to establish themselves an obvious pick when Beilein retires.

Meanwhile, the critical 2014 recruiting class (in which Michigan is actually slugging out high-profile recruitments instead of acquiring stars like Burke, GRIII, and Zak Irvin who were either under the radar or snatched so quickly no one else could get involved) may get a bump from the turnover in Indy.

Butler was widely assumed to be the leader for Indianapolis SF Trevon Bluiett, a top-50-ish player who's been tearing up the AAU circuit this summer. Scout's Brian Snow recently told GBW that he'd be "beyond shocked" if Bluiett didn't end up at Michigan or Butler, and there were a couple of different reports that the Bulldogs had been dropped. Immediately refuted reports

Scout.com, Rivals.com and the Indianapolis Star all reported that Bluiett had not dropped Butler from his list, contrary to reports.

Scout's Sam Webb, citing Bluiett's father -- Reynardo -- said his son had yet to speak with Miller, claiming Butler was still a player for his son.

…but I'd rather be the team that reports are not being refuted about.

I want one. The Michigan version is… uh… Bo punching out a tree? Fielding Yost riding roughshod over the Vatican? Whatever it is, Brady Hoke should get on the phone with Kliff Kingsbury and get an equivalent in Schembechler Hall:

large[1]

BUT DOES IT COME IN VELVET

Now I'm envisioning a whole lineup of offensive murals, Pawnee City Hall style. The possibilities. The possibilities.

(Yes, that's Texas trying to Man Up Crab in the background.)

CAP HIM NOW. Messi's doing some sort of thing where he goes around playing charity matches. The most recent was in Chicago, had a Northwestern alum—their all-time leading scorer—on the other team, and, well:

That guy works in finance now. IE: he is not a professional. He's probably just happy he's not playing with a howling wind coming directly off Lake Michigan.

For health and other such items. Taboos now != taboos then.

HashCutDuo[1]

NUKE URBAN MEYER. I'm a little unclear what's going on with this Aaron Hernandez thing but from what I can make out, Hernandez arrived at Florida straight from an ESPN laboratory in their hometown of Bristol, massive and unformed. After three years at Florida he was a combination of Dexter and Jeffery Dahmer, because Urban Meyer. Therefore Urban Meyer is basically Skynet creating the Terminator and should be bombed from space?

I think I have this straight. It fuzzy, though, because my brain keeps trying to drown itself when it tackles sentences like these:

At Florida, Meyer was the best in the business at winning.

At all costs.

Sadly, though, Aaron Hernandez now stands alongside Tim Tebow as a symbol of his UF program.

At Florida, Tebow was not only a great Gator.

He was Urban Meyer's greatest fumi-Gator.

Can the FCC force Mike Bianchi to change his twitter handle from @BianchiWrites to something that is not a flat-out lie? No? What about the elusive and abstract concept of justice?

If you want a fisk of this abomination, it has been fisked.

On the two for one. Kenpom looks at an array of statistics and concludes that yes, a two-for-one is generally the right move, but I should probably stop shouting "two for one!" at the end of the first half:

The two-for-one is a complicated issue, and it generally doesn’t provide as much benefit as one might think. Like the fouling-up-3 conundrum, if the strategy is executed perfectly, a large benefit is likely. But players aren’t robots, and all of the imperfect acts that can disrupt the strategy eat away at the potential benefit. Assuming the average gain is a fifth of a point, that’s worth slightly less than one percent in terms of win probability at the end of a half. A coach implementing this strategy will win one extra game out of 100 - and that’s out of 100 games where a two-for-one opportunity exists!

I will try to remember to never bring this up again as something that is important. Contrast that effect with the assertion Romer made about going for it on fourth down: you'd win an extra game every other year. Much larger effect there.

Never played the game. As you might imagine, I'm rather sensitive to assertions that you have to have Been In The Arena to comment on sports. This doesn't happen much these days, but a few months I checked my twitter mentions to find a dozen-tweet-long conversation between two BITA meatheads taunting me for not being an athlete and laughing at my assertion that Jordan Kovacs was a better safety than Ernest Shazor. I'm not sure what part of Being In The Arena makes you incapable of watching things and coming to obvious conclusions…

REMEMBER WHEN THIS ISH HAPPENED ALL THE TIME

…but this isn't rocket science, it's just paying attention systematically. Being In The Arena doesn't mean you do that. I mean. Matt Millen.

So yes I found Bill Barnwell's takedown of the player-generated NFL 100 list, which purports to be a ranking of the best guys in the game, delightful:

Only nerds and losers care about statistics, right? If anyone should know about the impact that the league's mauling guards and run-stuffing nose tackles have on the game, it's the guys who play alongside them in the trenches. You win from the lines out!

And yet, somehow, despite there being about three times as many offensive linemen on NFL rosters as there are running backs, there are 12 running backs against just six offensive linemen in the Top 100 Players list. Put it this way: 37.5 percent of the starting running backs in football are considered to be one of the top 100 players in football. That's better than one out of every three. Only 3.75 percent of the starting offensive linemen in football are considered to be one of the top 100 players in football.

That is just one of many, many problems that arise when you ask people unprepared to do something to do it. The Been In The Arena argument is 90% a request to take your thoughtless blather uncritically. NOPE

Etc.: Excellent Bryan Curtis piece on former Michigan baseballer Mike Cervenak, who is in his 15th year(!) in the minors with Toledo. Michigan voted the best uniforms in the Big Ten, which duh. Presumably this is a ranking of the actual uniforms, not the ghost unis from the bowl game. Burke in Utah, is betting favorite to be Rookie of the Year.

Meanwhile in Joe Dumars, signs power forward who can't shoot to play small forward, duplicating strengths, ignoring weaknesses, and setting the Pistons up as—at best—an easy first-round victim. DBB's Mike Payne brings a flamethrower; do not get him mad at you.

Unverified Voracity Lifts Kicking Mules

Unverified Voracity Lifts Kicking Mules

Submitted by Brian on June 10th, 2013 at 3:24 PM

The new logos are here! The new logos are maize! The new logo's maize will have nothing to do with the color of the athletic uniforms! The logo:

ru_130605_blockm[1]

Modification of this in any way is punishable by death. They also invented a new font for this, which is called "Steve." Steve the font.

Watch it before the NSA T3Media finds you. 50 interceptions:

Entrance of the Lambs. Good news for the baseball team, as Jackson Lamb (P/Civil War general) has reportedly turned down a third-round offer from MLB and will matriculate this fall. Lamb eventually went in the 20th round to Texas, so unless Texas ends up with a ton of extra money by not signing their top picks—baseball got serious about their slotting regulations recently—Lamb will anchor Erik Bakich's first recruiting class.

Over the weekend, Lamb led his Bedford team to a regional title. I'll let Ryan Autullo take it from here:

In exhausting both his pitch count and a mouthy opposing lineup, Jackson Lamb lifted the Kicking Mules to a 3-1 regional semifinal win over Taylor Kennedy. …

Lamb encountered control issues for the second game in a row, walking six batters and wracking up a whopping 146 pitches — exactly twice as many as Kuhr’s 73. Nevertheless, he didn’t allow a run until the bottom of the seventh, at which time Bedford was in front 3-0. An antagonistic Kennedy dugout made a point early and often to try to rattle Michigan’s Gatorade player of the year, mocking Lamb’s failure to locate his fastball and breaking into vociferous chatter typically seen in softball.

Well, I never.

Three more recruits went late and shouldn't be a threat to sign, but junior Michael O'Neill (Yes That O'Neill) got drafted by the Yankees in the third and is probably out the door.

If you get in, you see this. Despite featuring lot of non-regulation Ms, this business tugged a heart string or two:

Bring a fan to orientation. Trust me.

This changes nothing. Indiana made the College World Series, marking the first time since Michigan did it that a Big Ten team has made it to Omaha. This is what a cell phone looked like back then:

CellPhone1984[1]

on the left, probably

It was 1984.

Meanwhile it has been perfect baseball weather in Ann Arbor for much of the past month, and Fisher sits empty when it could be selling me hot dogs and giving the BTN something other than Bret Bielema fishing tips to televise. The history of NCAA baseball has been Southern teams flipping the northern bits of the country off, and since that's never going to change the Big Ten should just play their own game with 25 scholarships and wood bats. Cheese 'em off real good, that would.

I mean, they could use the money cannon for something cool for once.

Ana-what-now? Apparently Trey Burke's pending, minor draft fall is being driven by data-conscious NBA teams:

"Sources say a number of teams that rely heavily on analytics have Carter-Williams rated higher than Burke," Ford wrote. "While both players look good in the various analytical approaches teams employ, Carter-Williams is coming up at No. 1 and No. 2 overall on several teams' reports. For teams that value analytics, that's a big deal.

"Finally, teams are always looking for upside in the lottery. Carter-Williams has extraordinary size for his position. He is a terrific athlete. He sees the floor as well as any point guard in the draft. His weaknesses -- primarily his shaky jumper -- are the only thing holding him back from being a top-5 pick right now."

Those numbers must be pretty advanced to be able to rank Carter-Williams over Burke, who finished second in the kPOY rankings because he was a huge-usage, huge-assist-rate, low-TO, high-eFG guard. IE: he did everything you could do well. Carter-Williams didn't even finish in the top 500(!) in ORtg because there aren't any barns in upstate New York he hasn't flung a ball past, shooting 44%/29% despite putting up only 20% of Syracuse shots while he's on the court.

Can any defensive ability top that massive gap? I get the upside thing—if MCW learns to shoot he will probably be a better NBA player than Burke despite their college numbers—but isn't that a huge leap to make? How many rhetorical questions can I stuff in a single paragraph? Four?

Trey is just like well, like, that's your opinion, man.

Old school, and OLD SCHOOL. Dooley catches up with a guy who uses "aught-three" to mean 1903:

“My dad played football at [M.A.C.] in the class of aught three,” Drake told me.   “It wasn’t intercollegiate football; it was class team football.  They beat each other up without headgear on the banks of the Red Cedar.”

Yeah, he went to State, but he was in town over the weekend for the Fantasy Camp. Here's Gerald Drake meeting Hoke:

1Hoke_thumb1[1]

Okay, Bleacher Report, okay. Even though you still pop up an exhortation for me to subscribe to your newsletter on literally every misbegotten visit to your website, I will link you for this from Miami commit KC McDermott:

AK: What's the Urban Meyer story?

KM: The Urban Meyer thing was just funny to me. He came to my school a week after I told his assistant that I wasn't even interested in them. I told him no to his face, and it's got to be one of the top five reactions of someone ever. His facial expression was just so funny. My coach was tearing up and had to go in his office to laugh.

AK: Talk more about coach Meyer's face when you told him no. Was he mad, upset?

KM: More like the state of shock where the guy has literally never been told no in his life. It literally looked like a kid the first time you tell him 'no, you can't do something.' It looked like he was a baby about to cry. It was so funny.

If you find a recruit willing to describe Dantonio as "about as personable as a rock, and not a shiny rock you'd find in a river, but like, a boring rock, like some limestone or something" I will link you again, Bleacher Report.

Etc.: My mom would get along with Laura Hoke. The sad status quo for ND-M. Michigan is a dog versus both MSU and OSU early. What Johns Hopkins means for B10 lax. Hype video. Surprise: the Big Ten won't go DIII if O'Bannon wins. Goodbye, Denard.

Unverified Voracity Is Probably Named Pappy

Unverified Voracity Is Probably Named Pappy

Submitted by Brian on May 17th, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Brace yourself. LSUFreek spent yesterday swapping rival coaches' hair. Paul Chryst/Dana Holgorsen:

hairswapholgochryst_medium[1]

Aaand our local rivals:

hairswaphokeurban_medium[1]

As Orson says, that makes Hoke look like a senator straight out of O Brother Where Art Thou.

Point Gene Smith. OSU's AD on the possibility of playing The Game at night.

"Are you crazy? What's wrong with you? It'll be noon. I have to be open to 3:30, but noon is my favorite time for that one."

Grudging respect meter: incremented.

Oh come on man. I'm gonna need some more detail on this($), Wyatt Shallman, before I agree this is a thing that actually happened:

In elementary school, he once caught a 10-pound bass using nothing more than a Spiderman fishing rod and a Lifesaver candy.

I wasn't born yesterday, Wyatt Shallman.

Goodbye, stupid o'clock bowl. The Big Ten has (likely) dumped the Insight.Chicken bowl in Arizona, not that Michigan ever showed up in it since any vaguely bowl-eligible Michigan program got snapped up as soon as the Big Ten bylaws allowed it and they were too far down the pecking order. I mean, that 7-5 outfit a couple of years ago got snapped up by the Outback.

For people looking for more variety in their bowl destinations, it's still grimly central Florida in the consolation prize area:

The Gator Bowl and Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl previously had rotated the No. 3 Big Ten selection after the Rose Bowl. The Holiday Bowl is expected to get the No. 3 Big Ten pick, after Capital One and Outback. The next Big Ten team could go to the Gator Bowl or Music City Bowl, depending on the year.

They've only managed to insert the Holiday in there and lessen the big ten presence in the Gator Bowl. Meh. The Pinstripe and Please Change The Name Of The Bowl In San Francisco are likely to be added, but again so far down the pecking order that it's unlikely Michigan is around when those bowls are picking. Also slightly alleviating the central Florida malaise is the Orange Bowl, which will get a Big Ten team at least three times over the next twelve years. In those years the ACC will send a team to the Citrus. Miami, while inconvenient to get to, is essentially its own insane tinpot country that is at least interesting.

More helpful than the bowl switch up is the Big Ten taking back some of their autonomy as far as who goes where:

"We'll probably be somewhere in between (a bowl committee) selection and a conference placement," Delany said after the league's athletic director meetings in Chicago. "So what we'll do is give a lot of conditions to each bowl, and they will have to get conference approval for the selection that they choose.

"The goal is going to be that we keep these games fresh and also that the bowls create the best possible lineup. I think there's been some fatigue."

So if fanbase X that's been to central Florida six straight years ends up in a big pile of approximately equal teams they'd probably ship 'em to the Holiday or Music City.

Also in annoying things, the Holiday will feature the #2 Pac-12 team against the #3 Big Ten team. The Big Ten has a couple extra teams, yeah, but with the road-ish nature of that game that should be an even 2-for-2 or 3-for-3 if it's going to be even in the long run. The Big Ten doesn't help perception of itself much when its quest for maximum dollars continually puts them at a disadvantage in bowl matchups.

Weird thing I just thought of in relation to all this: if we do get a Ten Year War II going on the Rose Bowl is going to be the consolation prize for the loser of The Game. Ew.

Are we dumping the only incompetent Germans? This is admittedly a bit of a stretch that Drake Harris would be the one guy who knows what Michigan's plans are in re: their apparel contract, but he's tweeted out "when we got back to Nike, I hope we get [appalling uniforms that prove seventeen year olds are blind and/or insane]" and responded to a guy asking him about it that he thinks it'll go down in two more years. That's not accurate according to Angelique Chengelis, though the door is going to be open:

Brandon on WTKA says 3.5 years left on Adidas contact. Will honor contract. And then....negotiations begin

It is possible that they're telling recruits they plan to switch in an effort to assure them they won't end up having to play skins in a critical conference game. There are many, many reasons to do this, from Adidas's uniformly (ha!) appalling alternates to the labor kerfuffle to the fact that the only incompetent Germans can't supply Michigan with non-tearaway uniforms or replacements for the tearaway ones.

Well, yeah. Brandon says the 2014 Penn State game will likely be at night:

"That's a good hunch," Brandon said when asked the likelihood of a Michigan-Penn State night game at Michigan Stadium. "I would expect that Penn State game would be a terrific game in early October to have as a night game against a Big Ten opponent."

…because the other three are Maryland, Indiana, and Minnesota. Dave sounds a little defensive, must be getting a lot of heat for the Worst Home Schedule Ever. At least he acknowledges it's a problem:

"Football can be pretty boring in September if you've got all your teams playing down to competition," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said. "It's boring for the fans at the stadium and it's boring on television. We don't want to be boring, so we want to strengthen the schedule."

Also in October and November when you're playing Rutgers and Maryland every week. My mind is still struggling to interpret those as football games instead of extra byes.

Chrome it up! Death comes for us all. YOLO. Synergy. Brandon:

Michigan ended last season by making a rare alteration to its winged helmet, adding a matte finish for the Outback Bowl. That theoretically could open the door for more changes, including a chrome helmet, which many teams already employ for their alternate looks.

The idea surely would ruffle feathers in some corners of the fan base. But Michigan has also shown a willingness to push the envelop during the Brandon era.

So, would he do it?

Brandon said he is reluctant to alter the helmet so drastically -- but added, "never say never."

He cites "some polling done," which… I mean it's already locked in your brain or it's not. Also he calls college football "the platform" at some point. I hope MBA programs know they're killing the language.

/buys even more Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork stock.

I'm with Dave here though. The MSA president, still as useless as ever:

"The students are upset to say the least, they feel that the athletic department broke its long-held social contract with the students," said Michael Proppe, Central Student Government president for the 2013-14 academic year.

Oh I see they've changed the name to something more evocative of Stalin to emphasize their extreme lack of power. Anyway. Ahem.

YOU broke the "long-held social contract," Michael Proppe, by not showing up. You and lots of other people. The deal was: you get cheap tickets, show up, and be loud. You have altered the deal. Pray Dave Brandon doesn't alter it any further.

Etc.: Oh goody: "dead is a strong word" for expansion. Big Ten ADs want seven wins to be the minimum for bowl eligibility. Rutgers' new AD was on the wrong end of a lawsuit about discriminating against pregnant women. Kicker: is a woman.

Yes please can we ignore the twitter losers with five followers who rant at players? Rick Reilly, world's most overpaid man. Hawaii goes back to "Rainbow Warriors." Thumbs up.

Sports On Earth's Matt Brown demolishes MSU. Ugh protected basketball rivalries, ugh. Denard profiled. Single plays suck in a 14 team conference.

Dear Diary Isn't Up to Urban's Standards

Dear Diary Isn't Up to Urban's Standards

Submitted by Seth on February 15th, 2013 at 10:35 AM

photo

Why yes there is a story behind this photo:

"I took this picture at the pre-Super Bowl NFL Tailgate Party last week of my brother and Urban Meyer. My brother's hat was backwards but he twisted it around as I set up for the pic. Thought you might enjoy."

--Jared of Sports Power Weekends

As you may have heard on National Signing Day Urban Meyer inked a lot of five-stars (and poached as many three-stars from his conference rivals), then rounded on the rest of the B1G for not faring so well. MaizeNBlueInDC took to the Scout rankings to confirm, compiling the recruits by state to demonstrate how each conference was doing versus its footprint. He starts with a chart that seems to suggest the Big Ten recruited just like every other major conference except the SEC which I graph:

Scoutrecruitingconfs

The parts I faded are the top two teams from each conference according to Scout's team rankings, respectively Bama/Texas A&M, UCLA/Wash(!), Mich/OSU, Okla/Texas, Clemson/FSU, and Rutgers/Cincy. That's what Urbz is whining about; he and we finished with the 1 and 2 teams to Scout, and the fourth Big Ten team doesn't appear until two spots above Kentucky. Course I'm not sure what Meyer expects to say at the coaches meeting except "Stop being MAC coaches promoted to your Peter Principle limit." For QED purposes, a reminder of Big Ten coaching hires since 2007:

  • 2007: Saban/Tressel acolyte who turned Cincy into a BCS team, LSU's DC, Mack Brown's recruiting guy, Indiana's OC who coached Ball State before Hoke.
  • 2008: WVU's head coach who invented the spread 'n shred
  • 2009: Eastern Kentucky's head coach (hired in '08 under grooming plan)
  • 2010: Bob Stoop's longtime OC
  • 2011: SDSU's head coach, NIU's head coach
  • 2012: Two-time national championship winner at Florida, Toledo's head coach (CBs under Tressel), a Belichick assistant
  • 2013: Utah State's head coach, Kent State's head coach (WRs under Tressel)

Recently the SEC has taken to hiring rising star high school coaches who spend a year at Arkansas State, but they've also pilfered Bielema and hired a string of successful coordinators and guys who turned mid-majors into Top 10 teams, and, you know, former national championship winners who tried the NFL because their NCAA dynasties were no longer challenging.

Returning to the Diary of the Week at hand, the rest of the charts use the state data to show things like the SEC has a third of the nation's talent while Big Ten states accounted for a sixth—every other conference is less than us. In the comments turd furguson charted where the schools line up in ranking vs avg prospect rank to see if they're just hauling in more kids period. That also makes for easy graphing and general usefulness so:

scoutconfbyrank

In other takes on meeting Meyer's standards, here's EGD with a list of Urban-approved, non-"Don't be a Peters'd MAC coach" tips for Big Ten coaches heading out on the recruiting trail.

Basketball, the What's Leftening: Two of the three remaining tough games for basketball were just played. Our Big Ten opponents all have enough rough stuff still to play that everyone's expected to end up 14-4.

Etc. A better-late-than-never wrap-up of things Brian said on the D.C. trip—if you ask your local alumni chapter nicely (and you don't live in a crappy, unvisitable place like Dallas) you too can get a visit. The weekly LSAClassof2000 stats thing is a Geographic survey of freshmen in the Bentley database that's mostly useless if you don't take out the walk-ons—I had a hell of a time with that same problem when I did the historical team makeup from Ohio (the yellow part) graph for 2011 HTTV. Free throw attempts = EFFORT (and refs but mostly EFFORT!) A made-up backstory for rapture guy (the guy who reached ecstasy in that one gif); the real story will be on these pages soon courtesy of Ace. Lacrosse opponents primer. Please give details. Blockhams was pretty funny.

Requested: A diary on Michigan's ski team, which is club but I'm told is pretty good this year and has Bob Thomas's son on it (and competes in a division called "Michigan Men").

[After the jump: the winner of last week's "Find me a Game…Stauskus lookalike from the Fab Five" contest, and some stuff from the board.]

Fee Fi Foe Film: Ohio State

Fee Fi Foe Film: Ohio State

Submitted by Ace on November 21st, 2012 at 2:13 PM


Keep better contain than this, plz

In Columbus, Michigan faces their toughest test since the season opener against Alabama. An undefeated Ohio State squad awaits—can Michigan spoil their hopes for the Big Ten title BCS championship AP national title? After watching the Buckeyes struggle to put up points on Wisconsin, ultimately winning 21-14 in overtime, I think they've got a good shot. Let's go to the breakdown:

OFFENSE

Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread, of course. Urban Meyer's run-heavy offense operates pretty much exclusively from the shotgun.

Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? OSU's rush offense is mostly zone-predicated though they'll throw in some gap blocking wrinkles, including one I'll cover in the play breakdown.

Hurry it up or grind it out? The Buckeyes rarely huddle, though they don't quite run Oregon pace either; you'll see the offense get to the line and then look over to the sideline for a playcall, much like Michigan did under Rich Rodriguez.

Quarterback Dilithium Level (Scale: 1 [Navarre] to 10 [Denard]): I probably don't need to tell you about Braxton Miller, who leads the Buckeyes with 1214 rushing yards on 207 carries and is second to Carlos Hyde (15) with 13 rushing TDs. While he doesn't have the straight-ahead speed of Denard or Taylor Martinez, he's got more power than either of those two and shows impressive vision. He gets a 9, with a bullet.

Dangerman: Yeah, it's Miller. The offense is based around the threat of his legs, especially on the edge, which opens up room both for the running backs on the interior and the downfield passing game.

Zook Factor: Urban Meyer didn't make any egregiously bad decisions in this game, so I'll note that Bret Bielema punted from the Ohio State 30-yard line(!!!) in the first half instead of kicking a 47-yard field goal or throwing on 4th-and-12. The punt, of course, went for a touchback, netting a whopping ten yards.

HenneChart: I'm making the tweak that Brian is strongly considering for next season and counting scrambles as a positive when calculating Downfield Success Rate; with Braxton Miller, it's certainly appropriate. Even with that adjustment, Miller did not have a great performance against Wisconsin:

Opponent DO CA MA IN BR TA BA PR SCR DSR
Wisconsin -- 7 (2) 2 2 3 2 1 4 3 45%

A quick sanity check against Miller's final numbers: 10/18, 97 yards. With a couple throws by Miller that easily could've been intercepted, that sounds about right. Most of his throws came either off play-action or on designed rollouts, and most of the routes were of the short or intermediate variety. There were a couple attempted deep shots—again, off play-action—but nothing that connected.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]