What's the Deal with Dear Diary

What's the Deal with Dear Diary Comment Count

Seth August 8th, 2014 at 10:49 AM

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7thinningsketch

It's been 25 years since Seinfeld debuted. This was reason enough for saveferris to create another one of those Big Ten teams are analogous to pop culture thing things. I'm about to do one of those ruin the diary by providing spoilers when I argue with its conclusion things, so if you want to add to the discussion do the OP a favor and say it on his post.

Spoiler section: I'm fine with Michigan as Jerry even though starting these things with the home team as the main protagonist is pretty trite. It sets up the rivalries with Newman and Kenny Bania. Big disagreement: you've got Wisconsin and Iowa mixed up. What school falls ass-backwards into things AND is a hipster doofus AND believes in strange deities?

go-iowa-awesome_design.0_standard_352.0

What school is known for its incredible output of big, gumpy dudes who keep pushing handy relationships that feel really awkward?

Hand

Also because they're a mechanic who wants to be noticed. I'd make Rutgers Estelle Constanza and Maryland just Frank. 1) Their only connection to this show is their relationship to George (PSU), who stopped hanging out with them when he discovered his other friends. 2) Between the two of them, Jerry Stiller may not be a Seinfeld star but he's still a valuable onscreen commodity who gave us Festivus and other classic moments, and is only annoying because he talks about money too often, like Maryland; Estelle is just a walking "Joisy" stereotype and calamity.

There's a joke about Northwestern going to Florida in here.

If they lived in the Midwest they'd be married already. I once attended a very hip party in Brooklyn. My best friend's wife is like the pinnacle of Brooklyn cool, and she's also just really awesome, thus she interacts in the highest of hipster-professional circles, and one time I was visiting and tagged along to be this Midwestern object of curiosity among indie film makers, neighborhood magazine editors, and one girl who claimed she did irony as a living. My most successful joke was to remark that we here in the Northwest Territories were ecstatic to learn that flannel was back in style. Then I got into a long conversation on the balcony/fire escape about how we tend to get married by our mid-20's, which is really early to them. Maybe it's because there's nothing else to do. Maybe it's because we like our comfort (flannel, remember) more than the bother of drawing things out.

This is all a lead-up to m1jjb00's finding that only four Midwest recruits in the 247 top 300 are still uncommitted. We have fewer top players than any other region, true, but that doesn't explain why 84% of them are already signed to a school when the next closest region is 69% and the average is 61%. Because y'all got commitment issues. #flannelandproud

Etc. Reordering recruiting rankings by % of 4-stars in the class < giving + credit per player; Michigan's ranked low because we have a 10-man class that would be big at 15, and a lot of teams are already past 20 (Mississippi State is at 27 because Mississippi State is the SEC who's the worst at SEC-ing). See: Jake Ryan as Captain America. Also this wallpaper:

this_is_michigan_art_deco_1920x1080

[After the jump: a drone flies over the Big House to annoying music, a small change to the helmet that's destined for a "Michigan to Change Its Helmet" headline as soon as such people catch wind of it, and the true story of O-I-H-O.]

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Unverified Voracity Pulls Out The Durr Sharks

Unverified Voracity Pulls Out The Durr Sharks Comment Count

Brian October 19th, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Too busy to read the message board? Watch it. So this happened. It is a NSFW postmodern message board conversation verbalized by xtranormal:

Listen to the British woman.

Lord of the flies. An injury update from Penn State has more bad news for the Nittany Lions:

"Latimore, I'd be doubtful if we get anything out of Eric the rest of the year, although he may be ready for a game or two. Crawford has not done anything yet. ... I doubt if he'd be ready this week. Crawford might be ready next week."

That would be Eric Latimore and Jack Crawford, the nominal starting defensive ends. Latimore will be out for Michigan, with Crawford either on the bench or gamely giving it a go. Sean Stanley's status is still up in the air after it was revealed his violation of team rules was a marijuana arrest. He's practicing with the team and I'd be shocked if a simple possession charge would keep Stanley out four games. He's already missed two. Unless there's something else going on he'll probably start in Latimore's place, with either Crawford or unimpressive journeyman Kevion Latham on the other side of the line.

If Michigan held Iowa's DEs in check, the rag-tag PSU DEs shouldn't be a problem. Michigan will have a test against Still and Ogbu on the interior.

Penn State has a bunch of walking wounded they hope to get back for Minnesota; we'll see how many do.

And now a random dumb thing a Penn State blogger said. Take it away, Some Guy At BSD:

I hope that Denard Robinson gets healthy during Michigan's bye week and starts at QB in Happy Valley Halloween weekend. Choir boy / line-dancer Tate Forcier may provide more visual fodder for the blog, but I think he's a bigger threat at QB than Robinson. Denard Robinson can run all over weak competition, but in the Big Ten, where every defense is designed to stop the run, a competent passer like Tate Forcier is actually more deadly.

This is not factually wrong so it's not Fiutakin' it, but good God. This is the worst bit about turning it over seven times in two weeks while racking up 900 yards of total offense against the #28 and #13 defenses in the country:

shark_derp_durr_hurr

"It doesn't work in the Big Ten" cannot die soon enough.

This is a disturbing indictment of nothing in particular. Will Campbell is going to get a look at guard:

“He may be better-suited to play guard,” Rodriguez said.

No decision had been made, but Rodriguez said he’d convene with his coaches tonight to discuss possible position changes.  …

“He’s not playing much on defense,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t know if it’s possibly to switch and learn a position that quickly, but we’ll probably talk about him tomorrow. He’s got a good attitude. He’s working hard and is willing to do whatever’s best for the team.”

What does it mean? It means that ESPN was right to be skeptical of Campbell, who has a ridiculous physical package but doesn't play football very well. It was apparent to me the first time he got on the field against Iowa and immediately got gashed; freshman or not the passivity and inability to get under anyone's pads was alarming. This would be no big deal if Michigan had gotten either or both of Pearlie Graves and DeQuinta Jones a couple years ago, but since they whiffed on both the depth chart at DT is thin enough that one guy not working out leaves you a big hole after Martin.

It does not mean that Bruce Tall is an idiot who can't coach—Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen say STFU, please. Also Brandon Graham.

Not their fault, except for that one guy. The BCS computers come in for another round of bashing, this one in the New York Times. At least this time there are quotes from the guys who run the things complaining about the What About The Children decision to remove margin of victory from the metrics. That is a major source of computer rankings DERP. And this is a delightfully blunt assessment of Richard Billingsley:

“I’m not a mathematician,” Billingsley said. “I’m not even a highly educated man, to tell you the truth. I don’t even have a degree. I have a high school education. I never had calculus. I don’t even remember much about algebra. I think everyone questions everything I do. Why is he doing that? Does he know what he’s doing, a crazy kook in Oklahoma?”

The short answer is no. Billingsley’s ranking system is vilified by professional mathematicians and a subculture of amateur computer rankers.

I'm not either but I've already got my vilification in. Any attention Billingsley's inane system gets that might get it booted is welcome. I mean: "It is a simple formula, he said, because he is a simple man." This guy isn't fit to decide what to eat for breakfast, let alone who should be playing in the national title game.

Just a love machine. The MZone highlights a program from 1978 featuring the sex machine that is Mike Gittleson:

78 staff

You have to admire that dedication to facial hair: 32 years without even thinking about a change. Also, yes, that Jack Harbaugh.

Hail Zoltan! Zoltan just launched the punt of the year, nay the punt of the decade:

During the Patriots OT struggle with the Ravens last Sunday, punter Zoltan Mesko may have made the punt of the year. Facing a 4th and 6 from their own 16, Mekso was called in try to bail out the Patriots.

Typically, punts from that region of the field net about 39 yards, putting the Ravens at their own 45, and it looked like the Ravens were going to win the field position battle. From there, it only takes one or two first downs to move into striking distance for a game winning FG attempt. When Mesko trotted onto the field, the Patriots' win probability (WP) was 0.33.

Mesko’s punt went for 65 yards, aided by wind and by poor fielding by the Ravens returner. When the ball came to rest on the Baltimore 19 yard line, the Patriots had gained the upper hand with a 0.54 WP. The punt was worth +0.21 Win Probability Added (WPA), an impact extremely rare for a punt that neither results in a long return nor a fumble.

Hagerup did something similar—though it wasn't in such a high-leverage situation—when he bombed one past the Iowa returner midway through Saturday's game.

Really? Iowa guy who looks at a lot of film says this:

A couple of times Iowa made good audibles and a couple of others they missed their chance to hit Michigan where it hurt. It definitely seemed the crowd noise was a factor late in this one and it made it hard to change calls at the line. I would guess they'll make some tweaks to their audible calls this week, especially on their scripted series calls.

That would be something close to unprecedented. Woo luxury boxes?

Etc.: Entertaining WSJ piece on alumni cheerleaders focuses on Michigan's homecoming festivities. Hey let's fire Turner Gill already! (Note: it took all of two months for Gill to go from a molder of men to a "Victorian-era" fuddy duddy what with his rules against ladies and cell phones. Rich Rodriguez should start a support group.) Twelve pictures to sum up TRY FIGHT WIN. One of these five men will be Minnesota's next coach. (HT: Eleven Warriors.)

Comments

Unverified Voracity, Long Gone

Unverified Voracity, Long Gone Comment Count

Brian May 5th, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Where the great plains begin. It will not be news to anyone that Ernie Harwell died yesterday. I'm sure most have youtubed a tribute or three in the aftermath; there are plenty. A year-long bout with cancer gives people time to prepare. I think the best, tribute, though, was an improptu one: Dan Dickerson relaying the news on the radio. Clearly heartbroken, Dickerson provides a few seconds of dead air, then gets out a few tear-stained words before managing to interject "Hudson takes a pitch high." Jim Price hops in at this point and the two talk about Harwell as Hudson takes a five-pitch walk. That's baseball.

Here's some of Harwell in his own words:

The Detroit Tigers Weblog has a roundup of other tributes. Also, I wrote something for The Sporting News when news of Harwell's cancer broke.

Chicago, my nemesis, we meet again. After standing outside Hugging Harold Reynold's room with a boombox for months they've finally relented and allowed me to be on one of the panels at Blogs With Balls 3.0. The title of our panel is "Democratizing Sports Media: How Blogging Players, Fans & Leagues Are Changing the Game," and like a good engineer I'll be frantically attempting to make that less vague over email in the next month. Joining me will be Henry Abbott of True Hoop fame, Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo's Big League Stew, Valli Hilaire of The Fast and The Fabulous, which is not New York's gay and lesbian bike club even if Google thinks it is but rather a NASCAR blog, and Robert Littal of Black Sports Online.

Some cursory googling reveals that Littal is an Ohio State grad and Kaduk went to Wisconsin and roots for Notre Dame, so if things get boring I we'll just have a triple threat match for bragging rights. If you want to witness rough country justice firsthand, you can get tickets. They're 50 bucks off until May 15th. 

Zoltan, one last time. I read a lot of other college football blogs, so I state this with authority: we are living through a golden age in Michigan-football-related bizarre Youtube projects. There is not a school on the planet that can compete with Mike Cox getting it YGM style, Coner 2000 dropping mad rhymes (THAT'S FEBREZE PEOPLE) or killing some rich guy, Jack Kennedy auditioning for American Idol, O'Neill Depriest Swanson III pumping Vitamin Water, and Zoltan Mesko burning Meijer so hard:

Yea, truly we are the leaders and best.

JT Floyd would like to make cliches. Sometimes I feel deeply for beatwriters. This is one of those times:

J.T. Floyd’s motto as cornerback is simple.

“Make plays,” Floyd said last month after the Michigan football team's spring game. “That’s all you got to do to be successful out here.”

It's May. Football isn't until August. And you've got to publish something, so you grab an old quote in which a football player says "making plays" is the key to success. That article does have a couple encouraging quotes from teammates and coaches on Floyd, but… man. It's rough out there in May.

Other articles in this genre: Cam Gordon is a safety, Roy Roundtree is a receiver, and Obi Ezeh… actually, the Ezeh one has an admission from the man himself that last year was sub-optimal:

“It wasn’t my best year, obviously,” Ezeh said after the Wolverines’ April 17 spring game. “That’s in the past and try to move on and build a better future. I got to prove to people that last year was kind of a fluke and this is the (real) Obi.”

So there's that. Good luck in June, everyone.

Fightin' with facts. I don't believe I've mentioned the strange entity that is College Hockey, Inc. in this space, so here goes: USA Hockey finally got the same sort of giant developmental payment that the NHL has been forking over to the CHL for years. They spend some on the NTDP, some on the USHL, and some forming what can only be described as a propaganda organization called College Hockey, Inc. Its head is Paul Kelly and he's spent the year wandering around the country, advocating college hockey and pointing out that unless you're Patrick Kane the CHL is a rube's game. Kelly:

Our most important mission is to be an education and information resource to elite young players and their families on the many benefits of playing college hockey and why, if they're good enough and faced with the option to play for one of the junior teams in Canada or an NCAA Division I program, the option to play NCAA hockey is in most instances, the smarter and better course of action.

I love that there is an organization that causes CHL teams to complain about being "unfairly targeted" for pointing out relative graduation rates. Targeted, yes. Unfair… not so much.

Kelly also talks about future expansion of the USHL to a whopping 24 teams—Muskegon's picking one up this fall—and possible new markets for the college game. The great white sasquatch of the Big Ten is broached:

FTR:  Penn State has been kicking that arena idea around for awhile now, and they also have a very good club program.  Could they be next?

Kelly:  They have been talking about the arena project and if you could ever get one other school from the Big Ten, you could create a Big Ten Hockey Conference.  We'd have to shuffle the deck a bit, and reconfigure the WCHA and CCHA a bit.

I don't know how realistic any of these candidates are but if Penn State adds hockey I can't imagine it won't be at least revenue-neutral, especially if the Big Ten Network gets involved. Unfortunately, Title IX means a revenue-neutral men's sport can't be added without a women's sport that will be a money pit, and the economy and etc.

Kelly also suggests an Alaska-like exemption to keep Huntsville viable, something that I support.

Politics exception. There is one exception I will make to the otherwise iron-clad no politics law: copyright law is broken and stupid. Latest example is Google allowing the Downfall parodies to get yanked off Youtube when they could not be clearer instances of fair use. The precedent is worrying to me since I regularly post small snippets of a larger product I do not own for transformative purposes—ie, I employ fair use extensively. Here Google has failed to not be evil.

Etc.: I showed up on a podcast at Bucknuts. Warning: it looks like you have to register (but not subscribe) to get access to it. Also they make me state my opinion of Tressel, which I regret to inform you is respectful. Thus you are warned doubly. The hockey media's treatment of Alexander Ovechkin in the aftermath of the Caps' unceremonious first-round ouster is laughably inaccurate and totally predictable.

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Unverified Voracity Opens The Gates

Unverified Voracity Opens The Gates Comment Count

Brian April 29th, 2010 at 5:44 PM

Site updates. I've updated the Depth Chart By Class and added a new angle on the roster: the Unofficial Two-Deep. Folks with more than 500 points—"trusted users"—should be able to edit both these pages to reflect changes in them, though I'm getting the weird caching issues with the DCBC. Working on that.

Please no funny stuff, because then I will be sad.

deshawnsims2 simsharris

A pair of items to read. Run, don't walk to USA Today's profile of Deshawn Sims that reads like a Wire script:

DeShawn Sims graduates Saturday from the University of Michigan. His mother, sister, grandmother and aunt will be there to see him get his degree and hear President Obama speak.

His father and brothers will not be there. The men in his family are in prison or dead.

"The men are gone," Sims says. "I'm the last man."

As soon as you are done there stop immediately and run the opposite direction to Maize 'n' Brew's interview with Zoltan Mesko:

MnB: Do they ever stick you on the tackling squads or any other kind of full contact drills for special teams?

 

Z: You know... I think I've done two tackling drills in my whole career at Michigan. The first made the Carr staff realize this was pointless. The other made the Rodriguez staff realize that was pointless as well.

For extreme Justin Turner worriers, of which I count myself a tentative member, there is also this:

There are a lot of young guys that have the potential to be something unbelievable. Justin Turner, for instance. I only see bits and pieces of practice, because I'll do my own thing indoors with the other special teamers, but when I do watch practices, Justin Turner was like white-on-rice with the receivers. He's still learning, but if he was on the receiver, it was like he knew what the receiver was doing next.

Yes, please, with salsa. The interview continues on at epic length.

I say intent, you say "I'm sorry I didn't hear you come again whoops you're at JUCO." A couple days ago I posted something on the Sporting Blog about high-end college basketball players increasingly forgoing the letter of intent. I think this is a good idea for players, who are giving up all their leverage in exchange for little. I thought "little" was one year of scholarship, but even that morsel turns out to be a wild exaggeration of the benefits:

The problem with the NLI is that even for critics of varying degrees, as all three of these writers are, the benefits to a player of signing an NLI are overstated:

  • Signing an NLI does not guarantee a spot on the team. Nothing does. A coach can cut a player at any time.
  • Signing an NLI does not guarantee a scholarship for a year. Signing the athletic grant-in-aid agreement (i.e. the scholarship itself) binds the school to the player, without binding the player to the school.
  • Signing an NLI does not allow the school to start promoting you. Any written commitment to attend will.

The only benefit to prospects signing an NLI with a school is that it prevents other coaches from harassing the prospect and permits the coaches that signed the prospect to have unlimited contact with them, including by text message.

So there's virtually no reason to ever sign a letter of intent. BHGP argues that the cessation of hostilities from other coaches is a powerful incentive, but I imagine that saying "no, stop contacting me" will shut even the most persistent coach up lest his persistent annoyance damage his rep for little gain.  The Bylaw Blog, which is the source of the above clarification, points out that the NLI is essentially never enforced in the event of a coaching change (see: Alex Legion) and that this makes a trend towards signing only the grant-in-aid moot. This is mostly true. The stigma from holding a guy against his will is in most cases not worth the player. But there are instances in which a player is forced into a situation he's not a fan of: Iowa signee Ben Brust has been released from his LOI but as a result of his signing he cannot receive athletic aid from a Big Ten school. Also, it's widely suspected that Michael Beasley was not released when the Hugginsbot bolted for West Virginia—which is probably why Demarcus Cousins wanted that clause in his LOI that allowed him to  be released in the event of a coaching change.

We'll see one-and-dones, who are committing to a coach, pull the Knight trick more often than not starting now. You never know when your coach is going to have to get out of Dodge before the law rolls in.

The weirdest draft in the world. …is the OHL draft, where talent often has little to do with how high a player goes because of the omnipresent threat that your draft pick might not report if they've got a college option. It is this week, and with Michigan commits and targets peppering first round mock drafts it promises to be of interest. To pick a couple representative mock drafts at random:

  • #3-ish F Matia Marcantuoni. Marcantuoni is supposed to be the top overall pick in the drat but is widely rumored to have a deal with Oshawa under the table. The Wolverine has repeatedly said he will go to Michigan if he goes the college route. That looks doubtful.
  • #13-ish F Boo Nieves. (commit) The linked site says he's "likely" to play in the OHL next year but I doubt that intel given the extremely pro-college stance Nieves has maintained (there's "no question" he's going to college). A possible complication: Nieves did not get picked for the NTDP, which surprised many. With the USHL as strong as it is these days that shouldn't matter much, but if Nieves does go in the first round it's time to start fretting. Other sources leave him out as a "wildcard."
  • D Jacob Trouba. Trouba is a high end talent that would go in the first round if he had not committed to the NTDP. Michigan and Notre Dame are leading for him, with Michigan believed to have an edge.
  • D Connor Carrick (commit). Carrick was on a bunch of lists as a mid-first rounder earlier but does not appear in the latest mocks because his Michigan commitment is supposed to be solid. He is also committed to the NTDP.
  • G Dalton Izyk. Izyk doesn't appear either despite his status as one of the best available 2012 goaltenders; he is a Nieves teammate and someone Michigan will be pursuing heavily. His parents are reportedly adamantly pro-college.

Bonus hockey recruiting: The Hockey News has a profile of Stefan Matteau, the son of Stephane Matteau. Matteau has accepted a spot on the NTDP and is presumed to be on his way to college. There is mutual interest there. Cedar Rapids F and 2011 recruit Derek Deblois gets scouted; I'll have a fuller profile of Deblois and the incoming recruits later in the summer.

Etc.: Some TV station announced that Missouri to the Big Ten was a "done deal." It is not. Ironically, the twit who started the Pitt-to-Big-Ten panic by lending credibility to a Bleacher Report article has the gall to write a sarcastic piece about the "new journalism" of echo-chamber sources. Six Zero has started a series of mgouser profiles with the local recruiting demigod.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Opens The Gates

Unverified Voracity Opens The Gates

Site updates. I've updated the Depth Chart By Class and added a new angle on the roster: the Unofficial Two-Deep. Folks with more than 500 points—"trusted users"—should be able to edit both these pages to reflect changes in them, though I'm getting the weird caching issues with the DCBC. Working on that.

Please no funny stuff, because then I will be sad.

deshawnsims2 simsharris

A pair of items to read. Run, don't walk to USA Today's profile of Deshawn Sims that reads like a Wire script:

DeShawn Sims graduates Saturday from the University of Michigan. His mother, sister, grandmother and aunt will be there to see him get his degree and hear President Obama speak.

His father and brothers will not be there. The men in his family are in prison or dead.

"The men are gone," Sims says. "I'm the last man."

As soon as you are done there stop immediately and run the opposite direction to Maize 'n' Brew's interview with Zoltan Mesko:

MnB: Do they ever stick you on the tackling squads or any other kind of full contact drills for special teams?

 

Z: You know... I think I've done two tackling drills in my whole career at Michigan. The first made the Carr staff realize this was pointless. The other made the Rodriguez staff realize that was pointless as well.

For extreme Justin Turner worriers, of which I count myself a tentative member, there is also this:

There are a lot of young guys that have the potential to be something unbelievable. Justin Turner, for instance. I only see bits and pieces of practice, because I'll do my own thing indoors with the other special teamers, but when I do watch practices, Justin Turner was like white-on-rice with the receivers. He's still learning, but if he was on the receiver, it was like he knew what the receiver was doing next.

Yes, please, with salsa. The interview continues on at epic length.

I say intent, you say "I'm sorry I didn't hear you come again whoops you're at JUCO." A couple days ago I posted something on the Sporting Blog about high-end college basketball players increasingly forgoing the letter of intent. I think this is a good idea for players, who are giving up all their leverage in exchange for little. I thought "little" was one year of scholarship, but even that morsel turns out to be a wild exaggeration of the benefits:

The problem with the NLI is that even for critics of varying degrees, as all three of these writers are, the benefits to a player of signing an NLI are overstated:

  • Signing an NLI does not guarantee a spot on the team. Nothing does. A coach can cut a player at any time.
  • Signing an NLI does not guarantee a scholarship for a year. Signing the athletic grant-in-aid agreement (i.e. the scholarship itself) binds the school to the player, without binding the player to the school.
  • Signing an NLI does not allow the school to start promoting you. Any written commitment to attend will.

The only benefit to prospects signing an NLI with a school is that it prevents other coaches from harassing the prospect and permits the coaches that signed the prospect to have unlimited contact with them, including by text message.

So there's virtually no reason to ever sign a letter of intent. BHGP argues that the cessation of hostilities from other coaches is a powerful incentive, but I imagine that saying "no, stop contacting me" will shut even the most persistent coach up lest his persistent annoyance damage his rep for little gain.  The Bylaw Blog, which is the source of the above clarification, points out that the NLI is essentially never enforced in the event of a coaching change (see: Alex Legion) and that this makes a trend towards signing only the grant-in-aid moot. This is mostly true. The stigma from holding a guy against his will is in most cases not worth the player. But there are instances in which a player is forced into a situation he's not a fan of: Iowa signee Ben Brust has been released from his LOI but as a result of his signing he cannot receive athletic aid from a Big Ten school. Also, it's widely suspected that Michael Beasley was not released when the Hugginsbot bolted for West Virginia—which is probably why Demarcus Cousins wanted that clause in his LOI that allowed him to  be released in the event of a coaching change.

We'll see one-and-dones, who are committing to a coach, pull the Knight trick more often than not starting now. You never know when your coach is going to have to get out of Dodge before the law rolls in.

The weirdest draft in the world. …is the OHL draft, where talent often has little to do with how high a player goes because of the omnipresent threat that your draft pick might not report if they've got a college option. It is this week, and with Michigan commits and targets peppering first round mock drafts it promises to be of interest. To pick a couple representative mock drafts at random:

  • #3-ish F Matia Marcantuoni. Marcantuoni is supposed to be the top overall pick in the drat but is widely rumored to have a deal with Oshawa under the table. The Wolverine has repeatedly said he will go to Michigan if he goes the college route. That looks doubtful.
  • #13-ish F Boo Nieves. (commit) The linked site says he's "likely" to play in the OHL next year but I doubt that intel given the extremely pro-college stance Nieves has maintained (there's "no question" he's going to college). A possible complication: Nieves did not get picked for the NTDP, which surprised many. With the USHL as strong as it is these days that shouldn't matter much, but if Nieves does go in the first round it's time to start fretting. Other sources leave him out as a "wildcard."
  • D Jacob Trouba. Trouba is a high end talent that would go in the first round if he had not committed to the NTDP. Michigan and Notre Dame are leading for him, with Michigan believed to have an edge.
  • D Connor Carrick (commit). Carrick was on a bunch of lists as a mid-first rounder earlier but does not appear in the latest mocks because his Michigan commitment is supposed to be solid. He is also committed to the NTDP.
  • G Dalton Izyk. Izyk doesn't appear either despite his status as one of the best available 2012 goaltenders; he is a Nieves teammate and someone Michigan will be pursuing heavily. His parents are reportedly adamantly pro-college.

Bonus hockey recruiting: The Hockey News has a profile of Stefan Matteau, the son of Stephane Matteau. Matteau has accepted a spot on the NTDP and is presumed to be on his way to college. There is mutual interest there. Cedar Rapids F and 2011 recruit Derek Deblois gets scouted; I'll have a fuller profile of Deblois and the incoming recruits later in the summer.

Etc.: Some TV station announced that Missouri to the Big Ten was a "done deal." It is not. Ironically, the twit who started the Pitt-to-Big-Ten panic by lending credibility to a Bleacher Report article has the gall to write a sarcastic piece about the "new journalism" of echo-chamber sources. Six Zero has started a series of mgouser profiles with the local recruiting demigod.

Unverified Voracity Is Incredibly, Unbelievably Good At Ice Dancing

Unverified Voracity Is Incredibly, Unbelievably Good At Ice Dancing Comment Count

Brian January 28th, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Pyongyang would be proud. While Brandon Graham continues to kill opponents at the Senior Bowl, the other enormous Michigan star in attendance is reportedly struggling. These are lies. I can tell:

Michigan P Zoltan Mesko ruined the punt return drills by being unable to kick the ball far enough to allow a return more often than not (my rough count was 2 returnable out of 7), and his kicks consistently bounce backwards or straight sideways.

I'm sure this person meant to say Mesko ruined the drills by punting the ball into low Earth orbit. Either that or Jeff Risdon—if that is his real name—of RealGM is a compulsive liar who lies. These are the only two options.

That goes for you, too, "Chad Reuter":

This year's class of specialists is not very strong, and Michigan's Zoltan Mesko has been rated as the top punter on the board most of the year. However, his punts have lacked height and spirals, rarely turning over to gain maximum hang time and distance. He'll need a strong game performance to regain the confidence of scouts.

During the game on Saturday, Mesko will shank a punt that nails both of these fellows in the head.

Yost Hall of Fame. You know the monster Swedish flag that's taken up residence in Yost?

swedish-flag

Yeah… it's homemade. Engineering sophomore Rob Eckert's mother is a hero of the people:

“I asked my mom around Christmas time when I saw her if I could borrow her sewing machine," Eckert said. "She was like ‘What are you making?’ I (told) her I was making a Swedish flag, a big one. And my Mom made it for me for my Christmas present.”

I assumed that someone had purchased it off EBay or something, but it was a modern-day Betsy Ross. Someone get her a medal.

Expansion bits. Nominal Chicagoland/Illinois sports blog "Frank the Tank's Slant" has turned into an all-Big-Ten-Expansion-all-the-time sort of place, and it continues its long-running series with an analysis of the main thing: money. The Slant is a weird combo of useful information and totally bats conclusions like "Pitt is a ridiculous idea" and "a 14-team conference is worth spending 1000 words discussing."

I think the bats conclusions come from an excessive focus on money and only money. Pitt doesn't expand the BTN footprint but does make sense in a zillion other ways from academics to providing Penn State an actual rival to geography. A 14 team conference might make more money on average but is a nightmare on the field. Money is important—it's one of the many reasons Iowa State is not a candidate—but it's not everything.

Elsewhere, evidence that Missouri will give the Big Ten a good hard look continues to mount with a KC Star article on Mizzou's willingness to make a move. The main issues are Mizzou's century-long membership in the MVC/Big 8/Big 12 and the hit the Tigers would take in Texas, one of their main recruiting hotbeds, when they don't make regular trips to Tech, A&M, etc.

As always, it's dolla dolla bill ya'll making the most compelling case in favor:

“Illinois and Indiana will make $9 million more from its televisions contracts this year,” Alden said. “Arkansas and Mississippi will make even more. That’s our comparison. In five years, they’ll have generated almost $50 million more than us without selling a ticket.”

If Mizzou is willing to go, I think the additional markets they bring outweigh Pitt's superiority in basketball and academics.

You find a playlist 100,000 people can agree on, we talk. Maize n Brew Dave makes a case for improving the Michigan game day experience re: piped in music. My solution is simple: find Special K and have him transfer to Michigan State. His solution is removing stuff like "Lose Yourself" and "Don't Stop Believing" because while he likes piped in music "only when it's good." He suggests this playlist instead:

Guns n Roses: Paradise City, Nitetrain, Welcome to the Jungle
Motley Crue: Kickstart My Heart, Dr. Feelgood
AC/DC: Thunderstruck, Back in Black, Shoot To Thrill, Highway to Hell, Hells Bells (Defense only), Rock n Roll Train
Motorhead: Ace of Spades
Quiet Riot: Metal Health (opening scream only)
Metallica: Enter Sandman (Defense only)
KISS: Detroit Rock City

Problem: all this music sucks so hard. It's generic. It's played out. It's being RAWKED at an ECHL arena right now. And oh my god:

So how bout "Breakin the Law" by Judas Priest for penalties? "Why can't we be friends" for personal fouls? "Mama's little helper" when the refs screws us? "Sympathy for the Devil" when Tressel's around? "Play that Funky Music White Boy" for Tate Forcier and the "Speed Racer" Theme for Denard Robinson? This stuff isn't rocket sciene.

Dave is Special K. I can (barely) tolerate Don't Stop Believin'. When Special K plays Bob Seger at ear-splitting volume during a critical review I want to die. If he started making stupid little jokes about on-field events when I am on the verge of a panic attack it would make me want to stay home and that would make me feel terrible. The arrow on this points exactly one way: Joe Louis.

Dave makes this argument for piped in music:

The best example I can give is the Jagr-led Washington Capitals* … whose PA dude put together the most awesome montage-collages of heavy metal/death rock this pathetic planet has ever known. That Caps intro would melt your face right into your beer cup. … They knew their target audience and they fed it guitar heavy ROK like you'd feed makrel to a trained seal. We ate it up.

So… let's think about knowing your audience. At Michigan Stadium you have a vast variety of Michigan fans, students, and alums ranging from 18 to 80. Maybe 5% of them grew up driving a Camaro and rocking a rat-tail. "Knowing your audience" this is not. Keep the eighth-grade sense of humor ("boners!") and your 1985 hair metal where it belongs—everywhere else on the planet—, please, and let's go back to the things Michigan fans can actually agree on: Temptation, War Chant, Let's Go Blue, The Victors.

The thing that bothers me is that I really loathe the piped in music and, from the reactions I've gotten it seems like a lot of people do. For the people who hate it, the music ruins one of the few pristine sporting events luddites have left. For people who like it, it's just another opportunity to hear the same fifteen seconds of that one song you hear fifteen seconds of everywhere else. The cost to one group greatly exceeds the benefit to the other.

Rooting interest. I admit that I have no plans to watch ice dancing no matter what personal connection I have to it—I could be actively participating in a routine and be screaming "SWEEP" at my slingbox-enhanced smartphone—but others might be less curling-obsessed so it's worth mentioning that two current Michigan students are the sequined Brandon Graham and slightly-less-sequined-but-still-pretty-damn-sequined Brandon Graham of ice dancing. They are Meryl Davis and Charlie White:

White and Davis, both native Metro Detroiters, are University of Michigan students and die-hard Wolverine sports fans.

They're about to become very famous, as they head into the Olympics as the No. 1-ranked ice dancers in the world. White, a sophomore who has not chosen a major yet, and Davis, a junior in cultural anthropology, could become the most famous Michigan students in the Olympics since star swimmer Michael Phelps.

That's pretty remarkable. This bit goes beyond remarkable into the bizarre, though: the third-place team at nationals, and therefore the third Olympic qualifier, consists of fellow Michigan students Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates. Four of the six competitors for the US at the Olympic ice dancing competition will be Michigan undergraduates. Bates and White are freakin' housemates. I bet one dollar the four hit the ice at Yost during an intermission sometime before the year is out.

So, yeah, Tanith Belbin and Anonymous Partner can fall in a ditch. I want big, sequined block Ms on the medal podium. 

Ask Vlad Emilien anything! Seriously. However, he will sometimes answer incorrectly:

Who wins: Mike Barwis or Chuck Norris?

i dont really know maybe chuck norris

1 hour ago

Lies!

Has Barwis ever brought his wolves to workouts?

no

1 hour ago

More lies!

There's a couple of interesting responses, though. Molk is the "strongest, hardest working" player on the team, and this oddly grammatical question shoots down the idea that a lingering knee injury kept Emilien off the field:

Hey Vlad, Just curious, did a lingering injury keep you off the field last year? Did it affect your play? A lot of us expected to see more of you and that was the rumor. I'm looking forward to seeing you play next year. Thanks for making Blue proud!

to be honest i dont know why i wasnt playing... my coach told me he felt i wasnt ready yet

1 hour ago

Also…

Sammi Sweatheart or Jwoww?

who is these people lol

1 hour ago

So there you go.

Comments

Hidden Yards For The Win

Hidden Yards For The Win Comment Count

Brian September 27th, 2009 at 1:26 PM

Or: Hail Zoltan and his other brother Darryl.

Michigan punter Zoltan Mesko during the game against Michigan State on Thursday, October 23, 2008, in Ann Arbor, MI. Michigan State won, 35-21. (CLIF REEDER / Daily). 091209_SPT_UM v Norte Dame_MRM

Let's ease some of Mr. Hinton's burden for Michigan's inevitable appearance in "Life on the Margins" after winning a game in which they were outgained by almost 100 yards and finished –1 in turnover margin.

Here's a big chunk of that yardage differential:

# Player No Yds Average Ret Yds Net Avg
41 Zoltan Mesko 7 337 48.1 11 46.6
12 Chris Hagerup 6 222 37 6 36

And here's another big chunk:

Team KO Ret Avg Start
Indiana 6 30.3
Michigan 8 35.9

Despite the minus in turnover differential, Michigan's average starting field position in the game was their 35.6. Indiana's was the 32.9*. The net there: 2.7 yards * 15 drives per team = 40.5 yards. Michigan's special teams eliminated a minus one in turnover differential and 40% of Indiana's yard advantage. And that doesn't take into account Zoltan pinning Indiana at their own two, causing them to chuck away a possession with run-run-pass-punt.

Even all that would still have been a loss but for the defense's ability to stiffen in the redzone. The D forced five field goal attempts, one of which was missed. The skin of their teeth, in charts.

(I suppose Michigan's last drive, which started on the Indiana 30 after the Warren interception, could be discounted since Michigan wasn't attempting to score, but then you're just having the special teams performance explain away a –2 in turnover margin, which is equally impressive.)

Comments

Preview 2009: Special Teams

Preview 2009: Special Teams Comment Count

Brian September 4th, 2009 at 10:17 AM

Part nine of the all-singing all-dancing season preview. Previously: The Story, 2009, quarterbacks, tailbacks, receivers, offensive line, secondary, linebackers, and defensive line.

Note: video from last year is lightboxed; previous years will take you off the page.

Overall rating: 4.

Depth Chart
Punter Yr. Kicker Yr. Punt Return Yr. SDE Yr.
Zoltan Mesko Sr.* Jason Olesnavage Sr.* Martavious Odoms So. Boubacar Cissoko So.
Bryan Wright Jr.* Brendan Gibbons Fr. Greg Mathews Sr. Martavious Odoms So.
-- - Bryan Wright Jr.* Terrance Robinson Fr.* Carlos Brown Sr.

Punter

zoltan-mesko zoltan-high-step 

Rating: 6!!!

One of my slides when I went out to New York to talk to the alumni club there was titled "I Love Rugby Punting And So Do You," and this command now extends to the entire readership. Michigan's punt game in 2007 and 2008:

  2007 2008
Kick Average 41 42
Return Pct. 41% 25%
Ret Avg 7.3 7.8
Net 35.9 39.3
Awesome Highstepping Fakes 0 2

Michigan increased the average distance of their punts and still managed to reduce returns by 40%. Across the 83 (ugh) punts Michigan launched last year, the increase in average was worth 282 yards. That's a huge source of hidden yards. And also awesome highstepping fakes.

And though the average doesn't actually show it, I'm of the opinion that the rugby punting significantly reduced the chances of an opponent breaking a big return. The delay allowed by the rollout coupled with the spread formation allows players to get free releases once the punt is off instead of worrying about blocking a guy and then releasing. Guys get downfield quicker, and there more of them.

All this resulted in Michigan's punt game finishing #5 nationally. Zoltan returns and should at least replicate last year's feats, perhaps with a side of curing cancer. If he does, this blog is going to try to get him a Heisman vote. Just one.

Kicker

Rating: ?

Projecting kickers you've never seen before is a rube's game, so this will be brief. But I have some disquiet for these reasons:

  • Olesnavage couldn't beat out the walk-ons who preceded him; Kickin' Competency Lopata was pretty erratic last year.
  • Olesnavage was the guy in the spring game; the kicking demonstration early was sort of a fiasco.
  • I'd rather see the touted freshman win the job because I assume he's got higher upside than the fifth-year walkon.

Rodriguez, FWIW:

Jason Olesnavage is the first one out of the gate right now. He has kicked pretty well, pretty consistent. Some days have been better than others. Brendan Gibbons, Bryan Wright and Kris Pauloski are the other three in camp and they’ve all had their moments. That’s an area that again none of them have kicked in a game quality kicks yet. We are going to try and put them under pressure the next few days and see if there is anybody else emerges or who kind of takes control of it.”

I'm slightly mollified by the idea that if Olesnavage is about equal with Gibbons, you might as well redshirt your freshman.

I don't know what happens here; I'll be happy with consistency from 40 and in.

Return Game

martavious-odoms-fumble cissoko-fumble

Rating: 3?

HOLD ON TO THE GODDAMN BALL

End preview section.

No, not really. Okay. Okay, so if you ignore the 800-pound gorilla in the room, Michigan's returns last year were okay. Both units finished in the middle of the pack nationally and Martavious Odoms ripped off a punt return touchdown. Both primary returners—Cissoko took control of the kick returns by midseason—were freshmen and return, so you'd expect some improvement there, primarily in their effort to

HOLD ON TO THE GODDAMN BALL

One concern: Michigan's operating considerably shorthanded this year, which might cause the special teams to get filled out with walk-ons and whatnot instead of backup scholarship players. This might be a slight drag on Michigan's ability to block dudes.

Another note: Michigan's a lot deeper in little dodgy guys this year and so if Odoms can't

HOLD ON TO THE GODDAMN BALL

he'll get a quick hook, at which point it sounds like you might see Terrance Robinson:

On punt returns, Donovan Warren, Terrence Robinson, Martavious Odoms and Greg Mathews all worked on returns. In semi-live punt returning, Robinson made a couple of tough reads and catches. Granted, it's a small, small subset of what really goes on, but he seems to be separating himself a little bit.

I'd like to avoid whatever small possibility there is that Donovan Warren gets pwned on a return. It would be one thing if he'd shown any ability to actually return a punt; he hasn't. Throwing an average returner out there who happens to be one of your most critical players on a thin, thin defense doesn't make much sense.

I do assume that the fumbles will come down to a reasonable level; Michigan projects to be average here.

Comments

Who Sent Pryor The Email?

Who Sent Pryor The Email? Comment Count

Brian May 7th, 2009 at 2:10 PM

note: all email addresses below are intended to be fake, but I didn't test them or anything. suggest you don't use them.

Extremely sane and not at all prone to crying on the bench after tragic loss Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor told extremely impartial and totally tough-as-nails interviewer Kirk Herbstreit something obviously true yesterday:

Pryor: "I really want to be like a great quarterback. People tell me I can't throw and this and that, and I'm not that good and I'm overrated and all that."

Herbstreit: "Who?"

Pryor: "A bunch of people. Michigan players e-mail me and stuff."

Herbstreit: "Come on, are you serious?"

Pryor: "Yeah man."

Video if you want it. This is obviously true. But who is the culprit? MGoBlog's three primary suspects:

Zoltan Mesko

Motive: Michigan's lone player in the business school is marketing a TOTALLY LEGITIMATE scheme which isn't even a scheme at all, really, but just a sure 100% foolproof ways to make the moneys.

Example email

From: [email protected]

To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected][email protected]

Subject: "[email protected]@k! 1mpr0ve yr threwing motion no foolsies"

Dear Friend,

I am Mr. Boltan Tesko, Accounts Manager, of Abbey National PLC Bromley Rd Branch. I have an important business proposition for you.

On December 12th, 2008, a contractor with the National Fotoball Legue, United States, Bill Parcells, made a limited time (Fixed) offer for twelve calendar months, valued at US$ 17,350,000.00 (Seventeen Million Three Hundred Hundred and fifty Thousand Dollars only) in contracts for any quarteback to throw

Upon maturity,I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply. After a month, we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his contract employers, that there is no throw. TO throw we teach you throw for sum of US$ 3,500,000.00 which is leave you profit of US$14,000,000.00.

There is no risk at all as all the paperwork for this transaction will be done by the attorney and with my position as the Manager with my bank will guarantees the successful execution of this transaction.

Awaiting your urgent reply.

Thanks and regards.

Boltan Tesko

Odds: 50/1

 

Steven Threet

Motive: Exploring a transfer.

Example Email

From: [email protected]

To: [email protected]

Subject: So I hear you can't throw.

Body: Here's the deal: as soon as I completed my paperwork to transfer to Arizona State, Dennis Erickson drove into a volcano.

erickson-volcano

They've replaced him with Tom Osborne and moved me to fullback. I hear you can't throw and have emotional problems. Is this true? If so, do you want to be roommates?

PS: Please don't say yes and then throw Tressel into the sun.

Odds: 10/1.

 

David Cone

david-cone Motive: Is from alien planet and must drop mad science on fools every 30 minutes or he loses his super powers.

Example Email

From: [email protected]

To: [email protected]

Subject: prepare to get dropped

yo yo yo yo, check it:

pryor you ain't nothing

you at a place where there's no one to compete
i shake steve brown like he was concrete
bauserman, boeckman, guiton who dat
you get hurt they put in the wildcat

me? stuck behind sheridan, yeah, you lucky
otherwise mich gets rid of the monkey

white like mcguffie but with mad skillz
one more concussion i give him frog pills
my head's fine, clear like cristal
five yard ropes when i get the ball

THAT'S FEBREZE PEOPLE

Odds: 1/1.

Comments