Unverified Voracity Constructs Analogies Comment Count

Brian June 3rd, 2009 at 1:28 PM

Heismans past. College Football Live is going state-by-state and, I don't know, talking to people or something. It's the privilege of the internet that I don't have to watch College Football Live and find out about their latest programming initiative. Charles Woodson and Desmond Howard were the featured people when it came to Michigan. Here is their talking:

Reports from people who watched this say it seemed designed to blow a blood vessel in Mark Dantonio's head, BTW.

I do not know how alarmed you should be, but it appears the amount of alarm should, sadly, be nonzero. Incoming mega-recruit Justin Turner did not walk at his graduation because of what appears to be an inability to pass some statewide Ohio standardized test. Here's a really dumb thread on a Massillon message board about it. It's uncertain whether this would prevent him from enrolling at Michigan, as from other reports he's comfortably qualified, and it's also uncertain how an apparently-qualified person could not pass a test on which the questions were probably like so:

water : wet :: water :

A. wet
B. pantaloons
C. noodly appendage
D. I hate Michigan

Unless, that is, he picked A when the right answer was D. Apparently there are further opportunities to take this thing and get it done, if it's an actual barrier to his entry. FWIW, Varsity Blue says Sam Webb says* this is a minor thing unlikely to be an issue:

Webb was not particularly pessimistic about Turner’s ability to still get into school, as he’s a pretty good student who’s already met the NCAA Clearinghouse’s requirements for eligibility, except the no high school diploma thing. There are alternative methods to diploma eligbility, and given Turner’s academic reputation, most don’t foresee him having difficulty there.

It's out there, but I wouldn't get too exercised about it. I'm more concerned about Fitzgerald Toussaint's status.

*(There's been significant backlash against GBMW on this, and while I agree they could use some serious writing lessons, I don't see how reporting something obvious like "Justin Turner didn't walk at graduation" is a big deal. Both premium sites had moderators address the issue before GBMW did and, while they like to hide behind the idea that what's behind the paywall is super secret just-between-us stuff, any information there is instantly transmitted to free message boards across the internet and thereby into the fan consciousness. Also: kid didn't walk at graduation; this is not a secret.)

Buryin'. If there's one lead guaranteed to be buried it's "here's this important rule change," which is inevitably preceded by 300 words about some director of officials who's very sorry about everything but has to ask you to go to hell. And it is so after the Big Ten meetings produced a couple notable changes:

A new rule states that once [rugby] punters are outside the pocket, the defense will not be penalized for running into them or roughing them. The rugby-style punters previously had the advantage of waiting until the last minute to choose whether to punt, run or pass and still draw penalties on the defense. "The defensive team never knew what to do because they didn't want to rough them," Carollo said.

This seems fraught with logistical issues. How is this mystical ability of a punter different from that of a quarterback? Can a punter now roll out, pull up to pass, chuck the ball, and get leveled way late?

Offensive linemen also will be allowed to move up to three yards down the field without being penalized.

I'm somewhat confused here; this sentence follows the previous paragraph immediately and either means 1) a slight change to punting rules or 2) a significant relaxing of prohibitions against linemen downfield. I'm betting it's 1.

Rose Bowlin'. The Rose Bowl is obligated to take a scrub team in the event that 1) A Big Ten or Pac-10 team is yanked into the NC game and 2) a scrub team ends up automatically qualified by finishing in the top 12. That's a somewhat unlikely confluence of events there, and even if it happens it will only happen once:

"It's only going to happen once if it happens at all," Hancock said.

And that's just a totally redundant blockquote but that's life. Totally redundant blockquotes.

Anyway: this places the change even more squarely into the realm of don't-sue-us CYA. The likely effect, if there even is one, is to replace the second-place Pac-10 team with a Utah or a Boise or whatever, which would be a wash in hypothetical opponent strength.

I don't get it, either. Earlier this year I touched on the ongoing Kiffin fiasco, and resolved that this could so either way, with the two ways being "John L Smith" and "Steve Spurrier." A couple months, a couple more inane secondary violations/diarrhea of the mouth incidents, and I've been pushed over the edge: I just think Kiffin is an idiot. I wasn't going to say anything until Get The Picture eloquently summarized the nagging problem I had with the recent spate of MSM articles which had "no, srsly, Lane Kiffin knows what he's doing" as their idiotically contrarian thesis:

If this is such a great approach to resurrecting a national powerhouse, how come the first guy to think of it is a 33-year old whose prior stop as a head coach was a miserable failure?

I just don't buy Kiffin's latest posture. Claiming "no, seriously guys, I meant to do it" is the last refuge of a guy caught with his hand in the idiot jar. True cleverness—see OBC—is apparent. Even if this supposed gambit works in the short run, in the long run Tennessee is going to be seriously hampered by their head coach's lack of intelligence. When the biggest accomplishment you can point to is locking down your hot wife, you have issues.

Oregon State's going to be pissed. So the SEC put an end to this ridiculous oversigning business after Houston Nutt pushed it past its logical extreme, adopting the same policy the Big Ten has by limiting LOIs to 28. They're going to attempt to make this a national policy, and the initial returns are good:

One Big 12 assistant who asked to remain anonymous said he hopes this will push the NCAA to make it a rule throughout Division I football. … "Generally when the SEC makes a push for changes in recruiting, things happen on the NCAA level. So there are a lot of us who believe that this will eventually become something everybody will have to follow, and I think that's a good thing."


Etc.: Daily continues murdering Detroit papers, this time landing an extensive interview with Toney Clemons. Oregon's rushing attack—which you may remember cowering from—in coachy detail. NCAA 10… worth buying? Michigan had "no chance" in '97 according to Corso. Patrick Lucas-Perry is rapidly developing into a major target.



June 3rd, 2009 at 1:59 PM ^

my problem with GBMW all along has been, and forever will be, the ball-less hedging of their bets on "insider" info that has me utterly convinced they have zero insider info.

hey, guys, sources tell me the sun might come up tomorrow. maybe not though, just in case it doesn't. see, i said both outcomes, so we're right either way. no sugarcoat.


June 3rd, 2009 at 2:04 PM ^

but the original backlash against GBMW wasn't that "Justin Turner didn't walk at graduation." Their original post was along the lines of "we heard someone's in trouble but we're not going to tell you so you have no way to check up on us." Only after Turner's name got out did they amend. It's that initial post that was absurd.


June 3rd, 2009 at 2:11 PM ^

Good insight into what a kid in his situation has to think about when a new coach comes in. Regardless of whether you agree with his prediction of his usefulness in RR's system, this interview reminds you that he has to at least MAKE that prediction -- he's got only a narrow window of opportunity to make his mark, and can't just sit back and "hope for the best" under the new regime.


June 3rd, 2009 at 2:14 PM ^

over how a guy who's supposedly academically qualified to take classes at Michigan can fail to pass a standardized statewide exam. Something ain't adding up.


June 3rd, 2009 at 2:30 PM ^

down your hot wife, you have issues."

Brian, that is a pretty significant accomplishment, have you seen her? Don't sell that short. Also he is getting paid AGAIN, another accomplishment. He's starting to look like a genius to me.

El Jeffe

June 3rd, 2009 at 3:28 PM ^

Did Kiffin really name his kid after Knoxville? If so, did he do it to curry favor with the AD or to thank the AD for the opportunity? RR should have changed his son's name to Ann. Not doing so does not demonstrate top-end commitment.


June 3rd, 2009 at 3:07 PM ^

Hot wives tend to get lots of attention from guys who are not their husbands. Some of those guys might be just as rich and half as obnoxious.

Come to think, just because some guy has a hot wife doesn't mean he isn't dumb enough to step out on her, either, and Kiffin doesn't strike me as anything spectacular in the brainpan dept. In which case he better have a pretty good pre-nup.


June 3rd, 2009 at 3:54 PM ^

I'm not one to knock a hot wife, but see seems pretty "average" as far as hot wives/girlfriends of coaches/players go. I'm sure she has a great personality, but convincing a pretty blond girl in California to fall for an up-and-coming coach who is about/getting paid big bucks is like looking at fish in a barrel.

marco dane

June 3rd, 2009 at 2:51 PM ^

the dominat team instate. Not much of a peep about sparty. CMU got more mention than sparty.

However I do respect Dontanio's coaching...making the instate rivarly even more bitter on the field and off the field.

However his childish remarks about MN20,were just that...childish.


June 3rd, 2009 at 3:30 PM ^

I was in high school when they started the Michigan High-School Proficiency Test, and all I remember about it is that it was an even bigger joke than Governor Engler.

My group of friends at the time were a who's who of the honor roll (and included probably the best 3 decks of Magic: The Gathering in the school -- p.s. I didn't have one). The lowliest school any of us went to was Michigan State, and that on a full academic scholarship. My (not quite 1400) SAT score set the bottom of the curve.

I say this because half of this self-styled 'brain trust' failed the first MHSPT. Nobody took it seriously, especially those of us for whom high school was just an annoying prelude to the real education. It was a test designed not to measure aptitude of the students so much as to prove the ineptitude of their teachers, the justification arm of a two-pronged Engler-era effort to break the teachers' unions.

The only way to get the answers right would be if your teacher taught you that answer. If your (Boomer) English teacher had you read The Grapes of Wrath or Catch 22 or The Catcher in the Rye instead of A Tale of Two Cities, you wouldn't know which novel begins with "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times."

The test still had no reflection whatsoever on the aptitude of a single student taking it -- it was a test to see if Specific, state-mandated lessons were being passed on to the students. Or more specifically, when you got those answers wrong, it was the basis behind quotes stating that "60 percent of our state's high school students couldn't identify Hamlet as a character from Shakespeare." To previous generations, this was mortal sin. Follow it up with a news report of high school students being assigned Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas and PRESTO: that most wonderful catalyst for political gain: Outraged Parents.

I don't care if you think it was a good thing or bad thing to do this. The point is, to the students taking it, it had no teeth. It was given the last week of May, at a time when anyone who cared about grades was putting time into end-of-year projects, studying for finals, and having dreams about a perfectly bodied female with the head of Abraham Lincoln.

The first-year results reflected the mass indifference from the state's better students (e.g. a guy who ended up in Harvard Law and a dude on his way to Lloyd's at Michigan drew matching pics of Mario and Luigi with the fill-in circles). So for the next class, the state made it pass/fail, with failure keeping your degree from you. But even that was more to teach the Super Mario Brothers et al. a lesson.

That's what high school aptitude tests are for.

I would imagine the Ohio Aptitude Test is a similar thing. We all got the idea from Wisconsin, after all.

It's been 11 years since then, so I'd like to hear from more recent crops of Michigan-bound students: are High School Proficiency Tests, to someone already accepted to the University of Michigan, as much of a joke today as they were in my time? How about those in Ohio?


June 3rd, 2009 at 4:00 PM ^

The point was the students were caught in the middle of a political struggle we cared nothing about. Teachers and politicians (not all of whom are of Engler's party) are fighting this same stupid battle all over the country, and I posited that this future Wolverine defensive back who is otherwise known as an academic all-star, might just be one more high schooler caught up in the middle of it.

I apologize if I stepped over the line on the politics. I don't mean to express any political bent. However, I would hope we at least reserve the right to call out any fool no matter what his party affiliation when it directly or even indirectly intersects with college football.

Sarcasm's still okay, though, right?


June 3rd, 2009 at 11:49 PM ^

Maybe I jumped on that one too quickly. As you said, the situation does intersect with NCAA football, so it's relevant. It's just that I, and I'm sure others, arrive at mgoblog hoping to avoid the stuff that the MSM, Olbermann and Rush are spending all their time talking about.
As for sarcasm, I'm a fan on facebook.


June 3rd, 2009 at 4:24 PM ^

From what I've read and seen in movies about Massillon, Ohio, whatever they teach inside the school, that city is probably a better preparatory community for playing football than most any place outside of Texas.

Still, the point of the allegory to the State of Michigan a decade ago was to demonstrate that the results of a state aptitude test are not reflective of any one student's aptitude, i.e., don't worry about Justin Turner. They test specific knowledge chosen by the state, the key assumption being that a school doing its job would have passed on such knowledge to all of its students. They're ridiculously easy because they want to see if the students are being taught that material, and don't want that affected by teenagers' propensity to forget scholastic material.

The reason why this is holding up Turner's transcripts, then, is because they had to make it mandatory or else end up grading a lot of Super Mario pictures. But so this doesn't end up ruining a kid's life if his school sucked (or just taught something different), they give you other opportunities to pass easier versions.

Unless Ohio's test is vastly different than that of Michigan or New York or Texas or Indiana or Wisconsin, until Justin fails a makeup exam, this is a total non-starter.


June 4th, 2009 at 10:33 AM ^

Yup, I remember that test. I was in the first class they administered it to; I, and a large number of my fellow students, simply skipped it. The teachers didn't mind this at all, almost encouraged it even. It had absolutely no relevance to a good student who was University bound, where GPAs and SATs were what mattered.

No idea how it's evolved since then though. I think a couple years after me they might have tied some (like $2000 per year) in-state scholarship money to it.


June 3rd, 2009 at 7:20 PM ^

OK, I re-registered here because I hate when people, including Brian, distort my point:

First, lets be clear:

GBMW did not report that "Turner didn't walk." Nor did they report that "Turner didn't graduate". They reported that he failed his Ohio State exam. One of these (whether he walked) is publicly observable. The other is private record. I realize that GBMW didn't uncover this information, and was merely passing it on. That doesn't mean the information should be in the public domain. We don't publish unreleased academic information (unless we're Jim Carty), because it's illegal Period.

Second, my point was this:

GBMW writes that Kelvin Grady had "family values issues" because of an overheard conversation they won't convey from a person they won't reveal. In another, they communicate private, unreleased information about a high school kid. In another, they say that RR and Martin have a disagreement. They back up NONE of these things.

THEN, in a 4th post, they say that kids shouldn't be sensitive to online criticism. Communicating Turner's private information isn't "criticism". Making up that RR and Martin may have a conflict isn't "critcism". So their defense post didn't actually defend any of what they did. They can criticize a kid's pad level or tackling ability all they want, but essentially writing that Kelvin Grady is an asshole because they eavesdropped a comment they won't tell us uttered by a person they won't tell us is bullshit. That's all.


June 4th, 2009 at 12:17 AM ^

Toney Clemons, Ryan Mallett, and all those other transfers are people to watch. No matter how one may feel about them, at any level of their overall character, if they do well and overachieve it will be used as a negative on all levels in recruiting talks against Michigan. Or Michigan 2.0 in its current state. The real worry is alumni in the NFL draft year to year. Ok, because USC, whether one feels they are legal or not...puts guys at a good rate in the NFL. Michigan fans can look back and feel good about it all. But the future past this year, speculatively speaking, is kinda sketchy. The other thing is that USC still plays old Michigan football. And or Pro Style Offenses and 4-3 defenses. Pete Carroll was an NFL coach and runs running plays and passing plays like Lloyd and Bo did. He and whomever is is his offensive coordinator seem to be on the same page. Even if that Offensive Coordinator goes on to be a Head Coach and blows, under USC, they do not. And so you look at the NFL and then how that relates to high school recruiting. You factor in what Clemons said about values, family and a program and you see that MI has many things to wrap up. Michigan Football needs a superficially good season of W's. But Michigan, as a university, has never been satisfied with just that. It wants to win on every level and all of those levels matter. Otherwise it would not attract the type of student and athlete it regularly does. Damage control usually happens from the inside and goes out into the elements. It's strange when old elements, ghosts of old who are outside now are hinting at a vacuous middle. Here's to sliding down the surface of things and spread based W's!


June 4th, 2009 at 11:49 AM ^

I think it's about some old ghosts who are having a party at the Vacuous Middle.

id est

It's about perception of the program in light of the success of our transfers. Say that Boren, Mallett, et al. are Top 10 NFL Draft selections one day, and Michigan is a middling program in the Big Ten -- will that be a negative recruiting factor.

I happen to disagree. Even in that scenario, these guys will be seen as the typical coaching change transfers. I wish them all success except Boren, who left and sought vengeance.


June 4th, 2009 at 3:54 PM ^

The fear is that the football program slides into a realm equivalent with what happened to the basketball team. A lost decade. Recruiting violations are obviously not an issue at Michigan. However, if you lose a lot, or for two straight seasons, you might as well be on probation. Programs can rise and fall overnight.


June 5th, 2009 at 12:48 AM ^

I just think that Michigan football needs to be prudent in its approach to this season. So the need for stewardship and seeing the risks are at the forefront and of the utmost importance. So what I 'wrote' above to start this out was as you said. But I am also not worried about it and I am sure you are not anymore as well. College Football is silly, ya know. Nothing to get all crazy about, but yet everyone does. If Michigan loses to Western Michigan to start the season, well, the boo birds and know-it-alls in the student section will be up in arms and seething in anger. We've all made the long walk up those stairs and out to the parking lots. And now, especially after the last two home openers, we can all see that as a possible outcome or reality. Michigan Football is everyone's baby. Seemingly everyone owns some fictional stock in this program and it's day to day workings. I just hope the exodus subsides, players show improvements and the team comes together and just overachieves.

Durham Blue

June 4th, 2009 at 1:56 PM ^

I just read nebulous poetry?

Seriously, the first two sentences are great. And then the rest of the piece falls into the precipice.

"Here's to sliding down the surface of things and spread based W's!"

"Damage control usually happens from the inside and goes out into the elements."

What do I need to ingest to understand the meaning of these sentences?