MGoPodcast 8.22: The 8th Grader Fight of the Century

MGoPodcast 8.22: The 8th Grader Fight of the Century



REMINDER: HTTV Kickstarter ends in 48 hours! We sold out last year so if you want to make sure you get a book this is the way to get it. If you want to know how the Billy Taylor Touchdown was specifically designed to beat what Ohio State showed, you can go to the Alumni Association’s annual golf outing next year and get Jerry Hanlon a beer, or you can just pick up a copy of our book and you’ll see the play in Bo’s playbook while everyone who touched the ball recounts how they did it. Also it’s probably going to be the only opportunity to get a boot shirt:


We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other

This extra episode was recorded at the Junge Center at the behest of our friends at the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, at their Greater Detroit Club's annual meeting and golf outing, hence all the background chatter. We probably should have mentioned those speeches you hear in the background later are Bo’s top lieutenant Jerry Hanlon, and Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel.

This podcast is presented by the Bo Store and UGP. Rishi and Ryan have been here since the beginning—shopping with them supports us and supports good dudes.

Our sponsors also make this possible so please support them: They are the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, Ann Arbor Elder Law, Deo Bookkeeping, Michigan Law Grad, and Peak Wealth Management.


1. Football Items

Starts at 0:55

Position switches: Ben Mason to fullback is obvious, Drake Harris to cornerback and Brad Hawkins to safety says nice things about the receivers. You too can be Richard Sherman.

Grant Perry: Reinstatement means nothing—trial date is July 17th which is before practices start—and probably means they know what the deal is going to be at this point. Three-game suspension seems in the realm of reasonable.

Sunny Odogwu: Injury means he’s going to be playing catch-up but a great use of an open scholarship and could work out very well.

NCAA rule changes: SEC upset about early signing period in late December and visits in summer because it’s good for northern schools, kids, and honest dealers. Early signing resolves Swenson situations in time. The can’t-hire-a-coach rule is stupid.

Michigan State reeling: Not taking pleasure in this. Investigations finally out, three prominent players out with every other pretty good player you can think of either trying to get out or questionably committed. Outlook: 2016 class is hemorrhaging, 2017 class bottomed out, 2018 class is under a cloud, and Dantonio’s build was all about lack-of-attrition so this program could be coming completely off the tracks. Team chemistry a mess. If you’re Pat Narduzzi, would you leave Pitt for this?

2. Gimmicky Top Five: Stupid Things We Are Proud Of, wsg Bruce Madej

Starts at 34:27

We welcome in “Michigan Man Classic” Bruce Madej, the godfather of SID’ing and currently a special advisor to the athletic department. Ace goes first, which means the MGoBlog guys got exactly one good one in before Bruce blows this away. At least Brian and Ace kept the rest of theirs short so we could get to the next Madej thing. If not for Madej you might be impressed that Beilein’s sons were very happy about “We Had Subs It Was Crazy” because that’s exactly how dad their dad is.

3. Bill Wenzel on AAUM’s Golf Outing

Starts at 1:00:37

Why are we here?

4. Hoops & Ace’s Hockey Podcast

Starts at 1:06:49

D.J. Wilson to NBA is depressing but would have been more depressing to lose Wagner because it’s right before he becomes a murderer. Wilson probably promised he’d go in the 1st round.

Simmons: would you trade him for D.J.? Not sure because solving the PG situation is a huge deal for this team. Charles Mathews is the biggest X factor this program has had in years.

Mel: When the floor is this guy you’re getting a really good floor, but adding Bill Muckalt to the staff and retaining Wiseman means this is closer to a ceiling hire. Might be good immediately, probably not great again for a few years.



  • “The Man Comes Around”—Johnny Cash
  • “Play It Right”—Sylvan Esso
  • “I Went Outside Today”—Open Eagle Mike, Paul White
  • “Across 110th Street”


One Frame At A Time: Big Ten Tournament

One Frame At A Time: Big Ten Tournament Comment Count

Ace March 18th, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Thank you, Dustin Johnston, for lobbing this softball over the heart of the plate. It's remarkable, not to mention hilarious and captivating, that Jon Horford coexists peacefully on a team with these two hooligans:

Note John Beilein's futile effort to wave Andrew Dakich and Mitch McGary back to the bench. You cannot stop their enthusiasm. You can only hope to contain-- no, that seems impossible, too.

[Hit THE JUMP for Aaron Craft's greatest contribution to the Aaron Craft debate, Nik Stauskas making absurd layups, various moments of Illinois failure, the bench mob takeover, and more.]


Dear Diary Has Moved on to Appreciation

Dear Diary Has Moved on to Appreciation Comment Count

Seth November 15th, 2013 at 9:00 AM


This isn't a stage of grief but it is a stage of life: at some point during the long process of disintegrating into a grotesque version of yourself, you stop asking rhetorically when the kids will visit, stop being horrified at the exponential indignities, stop trying to convince everybody you're still just as capable as ever, and just decide to be tickled to death at anything good. You're past caring what ol' so-and-so thinks, and save your opinion that Alabama is something to be ashamed of, not commit to, for the people at your bridge game.* When the doorbell rings you expect it to be Death; if it's the grandkids, we'll order subs and won't that just be grand!

MGoBlog, you've reached the Appreciation stage. Right now on the board you can see a thread for appreciation of Jabrill Peppers, and  appreciation itself, and one for Al Borges, and I even made one for you, dear readers. Where are the rest? Where did they come from? I'll allow you this peek behind the curtain:


Poor Ace. We'll put that one with Treadwell's and Levenberry's. And Armani Reeves and Sam Grant and Josh Garnett and Bri'onte Dunn and Anthony Standifer (the second time) and all of Tim's 2011 opponent previews, and some weirdness Brian puts up every once in awhile. Okay ONE example:

<)   )> ooohh 
  /   \

I don't know. But that's your user content this week: people admitting our program feels every year of 134. Next time we have Ohio State over let's wear our ratty sweatpants and make fun of their latest girlfriend. What is she 25? Really.

* [The Big Ten is analogously a bridge game.]


The Diary to Read if You Still Care is the one about how experience seems to matter a lot on the interior of the offensive line but not so much on the exterior. Get ready for Michigan and Purdue to be extreme examples of a gentle trend:


Having two 5th year senior tackles don't seem to matter at all. Having an average of 1 year in the program among the three interior guys is not good, but it's not death either: the second star to the left over Michigan is UCLA. Gandalf the Maize, you are the Diarist of the Week. Also I like your wizard hat.

Gandalf the Maize's picture

You probably already saw the incredibly detailed one by Space Coyote where he disagrees with Brian over whether Kerridge should be able to make that one block. I have a unifying theory: the part of the brain that has the ability to release the enzymes with which to formulate excuses is often destroyed in the process of playing or coaching football. Ask a coach sometime about the Alabama game last year; he'll probably tell you that was on execution too.

The Other Diary to Read if You Still Care is by a former D3 fullback who went over three complaints we've had about the offensive coaching:

  • Don't know their personnel/strengths
  • Stubbornly sticking to an offense their players can't run.
  • Tipping calls

The anecdotal approach both addresses where our expectations are too high (they can't run simple stuff AND not be predictable) but mostly confirms the general complaints about stubbornness and misusing the personnel.

Etc. I think Brian linked to the weeklies in previous posts, but if you missed it here's parallels between Michigan and the Soviet Space Program. Dragonchild wants to bring helpful signs for the other team that say "WE'RE RUNNING" or "WE'RE PASSING" that our fans can use to prove just how predictable they're being. Has nobody considered what would happen if Borges just starts calling whatever's on the signs?


I was right about where they'd put the new jug scores:


There are five lines up here, and room for six under each M—seven if they don't have header rows beneath. So that's maybe 26 years before we have to worry about how to fit more scores on the jug gain. How did we beat them 42-13 this year?

ETC. Victors5 broke down the offense by play and formation from UFRs. Rakefight's trying to boycott the preferred seat donation.

Your Moment of Zen:

Sedate me fast 'cause I don't want to think about this. /beats Alabama


Opponent Watch: Week 9

Opponent Watch: Week 9 Comment Count

BiSB October 31st, 2013 at 12:03 PM

About last week:


No one played football. John Beilein ate subs. Crazy. (H/T Bagelz McDerman)

Upcoming Opponents:

Michigan State (7-1, 4-0 B1G)

MIchigan State dominated this game. Obviously.

Last game: Michigan State 42, Illinois 3 (W)

Recap: This game did not start off well for State. Sparty’s offense continued its offensive funk from the Purdue game into this one, moving the ball only 63 yards on Illinois’ not-quite-Indiana-bad-but-still-pretty-damn-bad defense through the first quarter and a half, and Illinois faced a 3rd and goal from the 1 yard line to take a 10-7 lead. Two stuffed and a 99 yard touchdown drive, which was capped by… this… on 3rd and 25, and this one was basically over. Sparty proceeded to rip off four consecutive touchdown drives to open the second half to put this one in the ‘laugher’ column.

So, we have 8 games of data on Michigan State’s offense. And I contend that we still don’t have a clue what the hell they are. I can’t mentally combine all of the data we have into a single coherent theory.  With Michigan’s maddeningly inconsistent offense, we can at least point to a few obvious causal factors directly correlated with their struggles. I feel like the “keys to victory graphic” will say, “MICHIGAN: minimize turnovers, avoid negative plays on early downs,” and “MICHIGAN STATE: use Good Connor Cook, don’t use Bad Connor Cook.”

Michigan State’s offensive line has been surprisingly consistent these last few games, especially in the interior (grumble grumble), and they have been opening some decent creases and some large cutback lanes for Jeremy Langford and Delton Williams. But the key to the MSU O vs. Michigan D remains Connor Cook vs. himself, an there’s no predicting which Connor Cook will show up.

Defensively, I now believe there is enough on tape from State’s last few opponents such that a skilled tactician could plausibly develop an effective way to attack Narduzzi’s murder-death-kill machine. It’s like getting a single extra letter on the final round of Wheel of Fortune. You’ve gotta sound it out, but it’s there. Notre Dame had success going over top of the MSU corners to the outside. Purdue had some success throwing underneath those corners when they had slightly softer zones. Illinois and Iowa had some success down the seams. I have no earthly clue how to beat this defense, but the pieces are there for some mad genius. I know this “OMG BORGESSSSS” thing is getting old, but this really will be a gigantic test of his ability to put together a game-plan.

One thing that WON’T work against this defense? The zone stretch. So I cannot be accused of second-guessing anyone, I’m putting my marker down here: Michigan won’t average better than a yard a carry on stretches in this game.

I also have to give a quick note on Illinois. Before the season started, we all assumed Illinois would be the worst team in the Big Ten. But a couple of early season signs of life led people to opine, “gee, maybe they aren’t so bad,” and we turned our attention to BoilerQuest. But while Purdue may have the worst numbers, Illinois remains the worst team in the Big Ten. They make 2009-10 Michigan look like paragons of fortitude and resilience.  A couple of small things went wrong, and the team seemed to declare with one loud, resolute voice, “welp.” This team is a collapse waiting for a trigger, and they’re not very patient.

This team is as frightening as: In honor of Halloween, we’re going with scary movies as our theme. For Sparty, that movie is 28 Days Later.  You know they’re going to attack head on at high speed, and if you make one mistake you’re doomed. Also… East Lansing on game day == post-apocalyptic London, but without the dry wit. Fear level = 8

Michigan should worry about: Mike Sadler. Michigan State WILL fake a punt in this game. It WILL work. There is nothing you can do about that. Just try to keep it to a minimal gain beyond the sticks.

Michigan can sleep soundly about: Michigan State runs the exact kind of offense that Michigan should be able to stop, both in terms of scheme and quality. They remain not good, and they’re predicated on staying ahead of the sticks by running the football in a traditional manner, with an occasional jet sweep mixed in for texture.

When they play Michigan: Michigan should just camp 7 guys in a straight line along the first down line on 3rd down and medium. A crossing pattern is coming. Consider yourselves warned.

Next game: /checks schedule… It says here “vs. Michigan”

[AFTER THE JUMP: Things you won’t care about until next week]



Lore Comment Count

Brian March 30th, 2013 at 12:51 PM

3/29/2013 – Michigan 87, Kansas 85 (OT) – 29-7, Elite Eight


Every year.

Every year from now until the country collapses into warring fiefdoms because of peak oil or some other nonsense, Trey Burke rising up from 30 feet over a 6'8" guy will make an appearance on someone's reel of insane NCAA tournament moments. Even after the collapse, if things go badly for you and you are captured anywhere from Topeka to Kansas City you can escape by just uttering the words "Trey Burke" and watching your captors seize helplessly. Collect their weapons and go. Once recovered they will be in a foul mood.

It's going to go in every time. You won't have that sickening lurch in your stomach as the bottom drops out of your hopes and then slowly tick-tick-ticks up the rollercoaster as the improbable trajectory seems true. Josh Bartlestein is way ahead of you on this, and you'll see Bartlestein start celebrating two beats before anyone else in the arena can figure out if they're going to live or die. This time, it'll go down. This time, every time.

Michigan wouldn't have been in this position if the rim had been kind at Ohio State, or at Wisconsin, or at home against Indiana. They'd have popped up a seed or two and avoided a team like the Jayhawks, maybe even gotten the gilded path the Buckeyes got and are determined to make look like the Bataan Death March. Thanks to a delirious two and a half minutes no one has been able to figure out yet, and probably never will, Michigan erased a ten-point deficit, and then that happened, and then Trey Burke did that twice more in overtime and Michigan's where they thought they might be when they walked into Assembly Hall the #1 team in the nation: playing a three seed for the right to go to the Final Four.

At this point I'm not sure that even matters that much. I mean, yeah, obviously it matters. But that shot is going in, over and over, for everyone, forever. It is written on cuneiform tablets found in ancient Sumeria, and a tatoo on Charles Barkley's forehead.


via @ggoodness56

I'll Probably Embed This On The Next Four Posts

Also a little more of the end of the game:

And Burke talking to Sager:

Because Twitter Will Kill Me If We Don't

There is a "WE HAD SUBS IT WAS CRAZY" shirt.


Mystify your friends.


imageIma let you block five shots Jeff Withey, but Mitch McGary is the greatest post of all time in this game. Wait, first Withey: the guy blocked a Trey Burke floater on a pick and roll, despite being a good five feet from the shooter. Boggle. Trey agrees:

He kind of surprised me the first half, once I got to the free throw line and shot.  He had a piece of it.  I think he was deep in the paint and he still got a piece of it.

Michigan shot 56% from two against him, boggle.

Okay, Mitch. First, inhale.


12/17 from the floor against Jeff Withey with 5 offensive rebounds and 9 defensive rebounds. Three steals. An assist. One turnover. One blocked shot and a second that was so clean in this world of "you can do anything as long as your arms aren't fouling a dude" that the sound of the whistle made me leap from my seat and cry "noooooo," Vader-style.

McGary spearheaded another blowout on the boards against Kansas, with Michigan doubling up the Jayhawks in offensive rebounds and winning the tempo-free battle 33% to 23%. He put up 25 points on 19 shot equivalents and generated at least eight extra possessions for M. He didn't pick up a foul until deep into the second half. I think we've just seen the best game of his career.

McGary has definitively arrived now. It's one thing to beat up on Juvonte Reddic and the four dwarves, entirely another to leave scattered bits of Jayhawk in your wake. The finer points of defense still elude him; that's the difference between McGary being pretty dang good next year or All American. That and free throws.

Now that we're used to the hugeness and the energy, the striking thing about McGary is how skilled he is. He hit an elbow jumper in this one and followed that up with a late turnaround from the short corner that was some Duncan business. His bunnies go down at a huge rate because he can slam them down when appropriate but also has excellent body control and the ability to shoot with both hands. Most of McGary's makes don't even touch the rim.

['shop via Ace.]

Relatedly. At halftime I made a comment about how I missed the version of Kansas that shot itself in the foot until it ran out of feet and just kept shooting, and more than one person said something about how they missed Burke. I was a little confused by this, and then the TV put up some chyron stating that he had zero points. Oh.

I didn't really feel that. Michigan had over a point per possession at halftime largely thanks to Burke getting the offense set up, and if he missed shots they often drew so much attention that GRIII or Mitch McGary was able to get a putback. Faced with the prospect of taking on Withey, he mostly got his teammates involved. Five assists is a lot of assists in a half.

I was frustrated by a thirty-foot bomb that came early in the shot clock and set up a break the other way. It felt selfish. Even that turned out to be necessary range-finding as Trey unleashed his inner Jimmer in the second half.

Win graph. Per reader request, the win graph from Kenpom:


Michigan's win probability dipped to 0.6 with 2:33 left, down ten. That was one in a hundred—one in two hundred. Trey's shot took Michigan from 10% to just over 30%.

Jordan Morgan, scrapping. Morgan only got five minutes, about which more later. This bullet is a feel-good bullet about Morgan dusting himself off and turning in two huge plays:

  • scrapping to the ground after Hardaway's missed three pointer and eventually getting the ball to GRIII for his acrobatic layup.
  • forcing Nutpunch Johnson to orbit so far around the corner that by the time he realized Hardaway wasn't leaving McLemore, anything he threw up was going off he side of the backboard.

His boxscore contributions were thin (though I guess three rebounds in five minutes is pretty good), but Michigan did need him and he did come through. Beilein lifted McGary for him on that final possession; it's hard to see McGary pushing Johnson as far outside as Morgan ended up doing. Also, Morgan eventually decided to do nothing:

"I was going to go up with (Johnson) and I saw he was looking to pass. I backed off a little bit but the angle he had wasn't necessarily the best," Morgan said. "He didn't have a good angle to put it off the backboard, so he got caught too far under and if it had been a floater, that would have been tougher than putting it off the glass."

That zen decision is not something McGary specializes in.

Karma is going to punch you in the nuts. Speaking of ol' Nutpunch Johnson, he picked up an obvious charge shortly after being assessed the flagrant one, sat, came back, picked up a cheap one on an out of bounds play, and sat yet more time. He ended up getting 20 or so minutes in the last 25; he hit some shots… and had 0 assists to 5 turnovers, not even counting the mess he made of the last play. Oh and that McGary statline. Oh and missing the front end right before Burke blew everyone's brains up.

My only regret is that Johnson is a senior—otherwise we would have a delightful couple years of competing nicknames for the guy in the blogosphere.

Spike. I don't get it. Michigan gave Albrecht 11 minutes, and I was confused by about 10 of those—Burke sat for one. In this game it seemed like Michigan badly needed post defense, especially at the four. Kevin Young, Jamari Traylor and Perry Ellis combined to go 11/14, give or take an Ellis attempt against McGary when Withey was on the bench.

At 5'11", Albrecht is not noted for his post defense. While he was perfect for the up-and-down VCU outing, having him out there for a big chunk of time right after halftime was odd. He barely touched the ball on offense, and Michigan's defense with him out there was pretty porous.

Morgan at the four seemed like the move. Robinson had a decent night on offense and added three steals of his own, but, man, 11/14. Am I crazy here?

Stauskas took it easy, man. I predicted a tough night for Stauskas. He did okay. His attempts were relatively limited, which was fine. He took only good shots, hitting all three inside the arc and 1/4 from three—the OT miss was a killer. 11 points on 9 shot equivalents is decent output; he also had three assists.

But like man, if I can scream "make a free throw" in anguish at anyone, it's Stauskas. That missed front end would have paired with the foul on McGary's block in a Jacob Marley tapdance duet if Michigan hadn't pulled their asses out of the fire.

They really need an advantage call or something. If your foul does not prevent a fast break from fast breaking, the refs should just stick their arms out wildly to indicate a foul is coming but they have chosen to let the play go because the offense is in a fast break state.

If only my predictions weren't literally taking whatever Kenpom says and repeating it because I think predicting sporting events is an incredibly foolish pastime, as last night's game amply demonstrates. By which I mean, suck it local media!

Local writers
Nick Baumgardner, MLive: Kansas (66-61)
Kyle Meinke, MLive: Kansas (67-61)
Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press: Kansas (67-63)
Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press: Kansas (70-61)
Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press: Kansas (72-68)
Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press: Kansas (71-65)
Rod Beard, Detroit News: Kansas (72-65)
Matt Charboneau, Detroit News: Kansas (74-68)
John Niyo, Detroit News: Kansas (67-63)
Bob Wojnowski, Detroit News: Kansas (72-68)
Brian Cook, MGoBlog: Michigan (by one)

(I also expected Kansas to win in my heart of hearts.)


Burke postgame from GBW:

It finally went down:

Trey Burke has taken the last shot for Michigan before but come up short several times.

Burke has seen his share of misses at the buzzer: Last season at Arkansas and this season at Ohio State, at Wisconsin and at home against Indiana.

One out of five is… fantastic right this instant.


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Trey Burke may now officially be a folk hero, and Michigan's season is still alive.

Sample size. Woo.

Before the game, Michigan coach John Beilein wasn't ready to call that a slump or get a good feeling about McLemore's struggles.

"He's played how many games in postseason? Two?" Beilein said. "I wouldn't say that's a good sample size."

Presser transcript. Michigan has freshmen. Wojo. You did what to who?

Kansas center Jeff Withey was asked before his team faced Michigan whether he could dominate Mitch McGary.

"Yeah, definitely," Withey said. "He's not very tall. ... We'll definitely have to try taking advantage of my height."

That got telephoned into this:

"(McGary) looked at me last night, right before we went to bed, and he said, 'Did you hear what he said about me?" said Glenn Robinson III, McGary's roommate. "'He said, 'I’m not excited about his height. I don’t think anything about his height. And I expect to dominate him.'

"I looked at him and was like, ‘Oh. We’ll show him.’"

If Withey had said his bit a couple days earlier by the time it got to McGary it would have described him as a midget toad, so Kansas actually got off easy there. Seniors hugging and such. Rapping and ancient Chinese texts. Horford is a trip yo:

there was forward Jon Horford, off in a far corner ... reading a book.

One more time: Jon Horford, 15 minutes after advancing to the Elite Eight in one his school's most exciting tournament games ever, was reading a book.

Reporter: Jon. Jon. Jon.


Still no answer.

Finally, after a shout from point guard Spike Albrecht, Horford looks up from his ruffled pages.

"Hey man, what's up?" he said, apparently ignorant to or indifferent of the fact reading a book at this time is not customary. And he wasn't exactly thumbing the pages of Sports Illustrated, either.

Horford was reading the "Tao Te Ching," an ancient Chinese text believed to have been penned between the sixth century and fourth century BC.

A first look at Florida.


John Beilein Recalls Wild Friday Evening

John Beilein Recalls Wild Friday Evening Comment Count

Seth March 29th, 2013 at 11:24 PM

By ubiquitous request, we present tonight's commemorative unit of fashionable upper body apparel. (UPDATE: Those waiting on the store link to order your shirt, be patient. It's off the hook in there. UPDATE UPDATE: now working.)

It was someone's birthday. Someone who'd been really good this year. We had the grandkids over and had pizza and chicken wings. But the pizza was cold. And they forgot the wings (They usually have such great wings).

We thought about calling it a night—there will be another birthday next year—but then Trey...Trey said "Let's get subs!"

But it was far away, the place with the subs. Really far away. Like past the county line and closer to the state border than the edge of the arc. But that kid, he just went and delivered the subs. One after another: bologna and ham; three-salami and roast beef with provolone; turkey, swiss, mortadella and capacolla on cracked whole wheat, no tomato. Every order went down. And suddenly there we were…

Let me tell you, it was quite a night. We even made t-shirts!

(Here's the reference.)


Unverified Voracity Had Subs. It Was Crazy.

Unverified Voracity Had Subs. It Was Crazy. Comment Count

Brian March 28th, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Most Beilein quote ever. This MLive piece starts with the promise of a 'knock down, drag out party' celebrated by John Beilein in the aftermath of his team advancing to the Sweet 16. This invites questions about what Beilein considers a rager. Questions: answered.

"the (grandchildren) came over, we had a heck of a party -- pizza and chicken wings, it was crazy over there. … It was Patrick's (birthday on Sunday), we had subs. It was crazy."

I've been laughing at "We had subs, it was crazy" for 15 solid minutes.



i can't breathe


I love this man.

I wish this was more relevant, but it's still a good counterpoint to Brady Hoke's lovely boringness. An already-thin 2012 Notre Dame recruiting class has been veritably gutted over the past few weeks, what with Gunner Kiel, Davonte Neal, and Justin Ferguson heading out of Dodge for various reasons ranging from insufficient chest to excessive baby to whatever Justin Ferguson has going on.

With Tee Shepard's instaflee last spring that hacks out the top four recruits from a 17-member class, something that might be useful if Michigan were to play any of these dinguses as upperclassmen—dollars to donuts Michigan buys out the 2014 game at the last second out of spite.

In any case, Neal's departure gave ESPN cause to recount his bizarre recruiting story:

The Chaparral (Ariz.) High School product waited until 20 days after national signing day to announce his college decision, setting up a morning ceremony at his former elementary school, Kyrene de la Esperanza.

With 600 schoolchildren, friends and family members on hand for the Feb. 21, 2012, announcement, Neal did not show. He made his announcement several hours later in front of a handful of reporters.

Six days later, Neal withdrew from Chaparral and enrolled at Phoenix Central.

In a universe where Michigan was in on this kid's recruitment:

NEAL: [describes setup]
HOKE: You want to do what?
NEAL: [re-describes setup, mentions he's not even going to show]
HOKE: You are under the mistaken impression that we are Tom Haverford. We are Ron Swanson. Enjoy wherever it is you end up, and wherever you end up after that, and wherever you end up after that. Send me your travel memoir.


/eats bacon-wrapped turkey leg

Q: Who is the most Swanson? RELATED THING I JUST THOUGHT OF: Brady Hoke has a quality claim to the throne of Most Swanson College Football Coach. Bronco Mendenhall is a contender solely because he is named Bronco, but with Pat Hill and Danny Hope trolling unemployment lines the mustache category is all but moot. Bacon, libertarianism, temperature endurance… a case can be made for Hoke. In retrospect it's surprising that there has not been a Parks and Recreation episode in which a shirt-sleeved Swanson scorns his coworkers during a brutal Pawnee Winterfest blizzard.

I mean, I'm srlsly. From the Pyramid of Greatness:

“Fish, for sport only, not for meat. Fish meat is practically a vegetable.”

“Honor: if you need it defined, you don’t have it.”

"Buffets: Whenever available. Choose quantity over quality."

"Torso: should be thick and impenetrable."

"Frankness: cut the BS"

I'm having difficulty envisioning potential competitors. Orson immediately thought Schnellenberg, who would be a landslide winner if he was still coaching. The only other guy we came up with was Paul Johnson, and while Johnson bests Hoke in certain categories (lack of GAF, old-timeyness, hair helmet) Hoke wins meat hands down.

Oh hello Cincinnati. By 2017 the Bearcats may be a glorified MAC team in a glorified CUSA, but it's still a more interesting matchup than a game against East Nowhere, and Michigan has acquired it for the not-that-princely sum of 1.2 million dollars, and they probably had to throw in a basketball home and home, but I like the idea of that home and home so bully for scheduling.

The UC game continues a new trend in M (and to a somewhat lesser extent OSU) nonconference scheduling where they move past the MAC teams and just buy games against Real Opponents. Michigan's lined up Colorado, Oregon State, and now Cincinnati without offering anything other than cold hard cash. In this case the cash isn't even much more than the going rate for a MAC game—nearing one million dollars at last check. The economics have changed to the point where I expect Michigan will have a one-off home game against a low-level power conference opponent annually.

I WANT TO BELIEVE. Frank Clark has not done all that much so far at Michigan other than get completely lost on basic zone reads and that one fluke interception in the Sugar Bowl, but he's frigging huge now and people are saying mean things about him:

Frank Clark called the 'F'-word, emerges as leader to enter Michigan starting lineup

I feel this is a good thing even if they're not breaking out the swearing. They are apparently not doing so.

Michigan offensive tackles Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield combine for five years of starting experience. They've seen a lot of football, and can judge talent as well as anyone.

And both, asked open-endedly which defensive lineman provides the most difficult matchup in practice, offered the same answer: Frank Clark.

"He’s just so quick. He’s got such a quick step, it's hard to handle him. He's a freak," said Schofield, who wasn't the only Michigan player to invoke the F-word.

Added senior defensive lineman Jibreel Black: "Ever since Frank came in here, he's been a freak athlete. It's just a matter of putting it all together."

Yo man let's cut back on the freak talk until the dude accumulates some of those play-type things, but here's hoping. If Clark busts out that'll mitigate a lot of the issues that crop up without Jake Ryan.

Elsewhere in I WANT TO BELIEVE, Michigan is "raving" about Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh:

Jehu, in one-on-ones, he’s just flying by people with his speed," Gallon said. "Doing all these amazing things. You can tell he’s learning."

Both are built more in the mold that coordinator Al Borges desires for his pro-style offense: Tall, long and capable of stretching the field.

"Those two have demonstrated in the first few days that they have some big-play ability," Borges said. "They've won a few jump balls -- lost a few, but we haven't lost them all.

"Both of them have really good straight-line speed, particularly Jehu. Amara is fast, too. Amara is feel-fast -- probably more feel-fast than he is time-fast. His time isn't terrible, either."

Well, that's odd. Rothstein has an article about the transition from tackle to guard that quotes Steve Schilling on the challenges:

“When you get in the NFL, you almost have to be able to play, unless you’re a starter, you have to be able to play guard and tackle on both sides and a lot of times center also if you want to make it as a backup on the team,” said former Michigan lineman Stephen Schilling, who played both guard and tackle. “For me, the switch from tackle to guard wasn’t as much as if you were playing the right side the whole time and you switch to left, because you muscle memory gets so used to doing things one way and you have to flip it.”

Schilling was on the right his entire career at Michigan. The Hoke regime, meanwhile, has elected to move projected RT Mike Schofield to LG and back and is repeating that progression with Ben Braden. This may be a zone versus power thing: Schilling probably didn't pull more than a handful of times during his playing career. Michigan went to an all-zone system in Carr's last two years; while Rodriguez was considerably less monomaniacal than Mike DeBord, pulling was still a rare occurrence.

Man, everybody is on our jock now. CBS's Matt Norlander previews the South Regional:

Rank the remaining four teams:

1) Michigan

2) Florida

3) Kansas

4) Florida Gulf Coast

Why Michigan will be going to Atlanta ... The Wolverines now have the second-best offense in the nation, scoring 120.9 points per 100 possessions, that number adjusted for tempo. It's really good, second only to Indiana. The Burke factor is huge. I am a sucker for really, undeniably good point guards at this time of the year. Burke doesn't make mistakes as often as Aaron Craft and he's got a better set of tools on his hip than Shane Larkin or Peyton Siva. He'll be huge. …. Overall, the team has as much balance and weaponry as anyone in this tournament. Play a little D, and Atlanta will be the next stop.

That last bit is kind of an issue. He also talks up Stauskas—a bit, anyway. I expect Stauskas to do little against the Jayhawks. While he is Not Just A Shooter™, his midrange game is extremely clunky right now and he won't have a size advantage over the guy checking him. This is a bad matchup for him.

The Michigan chatter has gotten to the point where Bill Self's getting asked about it. Being the sexy upset pick makes me nervous.

It's too bad there is no available solution for this. You may not have noticed but this year's NCAA tourney is heavily regionalized. It's hard to get incensed about this when the pairwise has so much jitter that Notre Dame could have been either a one seed or out of the tournament going into the CCHA championship weekend, but if you're looking for this…

Over the past year, the people that oversee ice hockey within the NCAA, has changed. Last April, Mark Lewis was named "executive vice president for championships and alliances." …

Lewis, among other things, set out to address issues with declining attendance across all NCAA events. Obviously, attendance is relative, but even in men's basketball, there have been more empty seats than there have been in decades.

Essentially, under Lewis, the message coming through is of an emphasis on maximizing attendance at the events. And it's under that atmosphere — whether directly or indirectly — that the men's ice hockey committee operated this year.

…I have one or two ideas about how to make this happen. One: don't put regionals in St. Louis, you twits. Two: home sites for top seeds, you twits. If you decide not to do this, put one (one) regional in or around Michigan every year instead of zero most years and two this one time.

Etc.: LSUfreek gifs the most recent NCAA commercial. Countess confident he'll be back full go. Iowa reaches NIT Final Four by whomping Virginia; conference might have been good this year.

Scoop Jackson still exists! Remember when everyone was so mad about him? Things have changed a lot since then. I know it's not cool to be happy people get fired, but can we make an exception for David Whitley? Not so awesome: congratulations on the soccer story of the year, Brian Straus! Your prize is this letter about COBRA benefits. : (