There Is No Jerryworld Pot Of Gold Comment Count

Brian April 23rd, 2012 at 9:02 AM


Dave Brandon, Jerry Jones, and two weird old guys. Unless I've got that wrong.

A lot of people are pretty mad that Michigan's band is not going to Alabama. So many people are mad that there is a backlash against the mad people. The strength of the reaction is a combination of a number of things, amongst them the sudden reversal, how bush-league we look in comparison to Alabama, and the growing feeling that maybe this wasn't such a coup after all.

Remember back when this thing was scheduled and we were assured that the take from this was going to be epic? Back then, I thought it was a good idea because it seemed impossible for Michigan to schedule a real nonconference opponent in any other way. This came paired with rending of garments about that fact, how college football is broken, etc., but the fact remained that 2012 would be the first season in a long time in which two nonconference games would be against truly interesting opponents. It was the only way.

That assumption has steadily eroded as we find out more and more details and observe Big Ten scheduling trends in general. The conference announced a scheduling alliance with the Pac-12 that will force every league member to undertake regular home-and-home matchups against comparable opponents, no neutral site funny stuff (or at least not much). Michigan State jumped the gun on that agreement to schedule Oregon to a home-and-home. The year after that series finishes, the Spartans will take on Alabama in a home-and-home, in years when they also play Notre Dame. It can be done. Michigan just didn't do it.

As for our Alabama game, Michigan's announced take, $4.7 million, is so low it seems impossible it's correct. If that's all Michigan's getting from the game that's at best equivalent to playing a body-bag game at Michigan Stadium. Assuming random one-off opponent cost a million bucks, Michigan would match 4.7 million in gate receipts alone by charging an average of 52 bucks a ticket.

Michigan's 2011 budget shows $41.3 million for last year's eight-game home season in pure ticket costs minus guarantees, $8.7 million in PSDs, and $13 million in premium seating donations. Everything included, the average price paid for a seat at a Michigan game last year was about 72 dollars. Without all the donations, it was $49 last year; ticket prices increased by an average of $4.64 this year. $4.7 million is about 300k less than they'd get from a home game on ticket face value alone.

Add in Michigan's expenses for getting down to Dallas and the ancillary benefits of having a home game (parking and concessions seem to be around 300k per game and there would be some level of increased donations required to get a season ticket) and either $4.7 million is undershooting it by a lot or Dave Brandon sold a home game to Dallas for no financial benefit whatsoever. Meanwhile, tickets for Dallas start at $125. At that price Michigan could easily afford a home and home with a high-quality opponent.

Surely this can't be right. Dave Brandon didn't send Michigan down to Dallas for no reason whatsoever, right? My previous belief was that there was something we were missing in the numbers. But the sudden about-face about the band—and it was an about face given the contract and the conspicuous "Michigan band" sections on seating charts—suggests that the financial picture could be as grim as that: $400k is a significant chunk when you're already getting hosed backwards and forwards.

I finally took a close look at the contract. We are getting hosed backwards and forwards. Check it:

CSLP will … pay $4,700,000 to Michigan. The team acknowledges that the Team Guarantee constitutes the sole financial compensation for the Team for playing the Game, and that no other compensation will be due or owed to the Team under this Agreement in connection with the Game. … The parties acknowledge that the Team may be entitled to compensation from its conference related to broadcast of the game. CSLP … will … retain all other revenues from the game. CSLP and ESPN acknowledge and agree that (a) all rights to telecast of distribute the programs of the Games have been assigned by Michigan to the Big Ten (b) Michigan has no ability to grant to ESPN any rights for telecast or distribution of Games played pursuant to this agreement and c) as between Michigan and ESPN, ESPN is responsible for obtaining such rights from the Big Ten. Notwithstanding the forgoing, if ESPN has the broadcast rights [they can get a title sponsor, etc.]

The TV point is important: my Big Theory for why this makes sense is that the teams would get the TV rights to themselves because the game is outside of their conference footprints. That's not the case. The money Michigan gets from television will be split twelve ways—every extra dollar they make for playing a big time opponent also goes to OSU.

Michigan gets a couple hundred tickets, a couple suites, seating for the band, a field-level "party suite" and right to purchase 500 tickets near it, and 100 parking passes. Cheerleaders get in free. They get one "official retailer" in the stadium that CSLP takes a 22% of the gross of. So that's nothing. An addendum makes it clear that "hotel rooms, and other costs of transportation and lodging, shall be at the cost and expense of the individual institutions." Even the police escorts are at the respective teams' expense.

The only thing that could possibly redeem this is if the Michigan got the revenue from the uber-expensive tickets, but the contract makes it clear they don't:

CSLP shall also provide a minimum of 25,000 tickets for Michgian to re-sell to its fans as specified on the stadium map as an addendum to this document.

Michigan got no more money than they would for an average regular season game and is charging their fans 60% more (at a minimum!) to attend it. There is no way to read the contract other than this: Dave Brandon got ripped off.

So when Dave Ablauf tells that they're treating Dallas like "any other road game," it's because they have to. This supposed financial windfall simply does not exist. At best it's a break-even proposition even without the band. They will probably make more against Air Force the next week. Michigan gets a "bowl game experience" in an NFL stadium without its band at "neutral site" Michigan is twice as far away from as Alabama. Meanwhile, Mark Hollis gets Alabama at home. Michigan got owned by Mark "people u is" Hollis.

You can consider the future created, yo.

BONUS: I hope this came from Brandon.

MT @sbell021 Game announced 2 months before Hoke hire. RT @schadjoe Brandon asked Hoke if he'd like to play Alabama and Hoke said "Why not?"



April 23rd, 2012 at 11:22 AM ^

While Brian didn't explicitly say it, we can all agree that we're not likely to win this game. Of all the programs we could be facing, we're facing the one that gets 5 recruiting classes for every 4 that we get.

To me this seems like a high-risk, high-reward type of game. There are three realistic outcomes for this game:

1) we win close, which would be the biggest win for Michigan (and the B1G) in a long time;

2) we lose close, earning is some respect, but will not change the SEC > everyone narrative;

3) we lose big, "proving" to all the haters in the B1G and elsewhere that UM isn't one of the "big boys."

Given their significant talent and numbers advantage and our depth issues in key areas, anything but a blowout should be considered a bullet dodged. 2 out of the 3 possible outcomes are not favorable, and the potential for a national debacle is certainly there.


April 23rd, 2012 at 11:31 AM ^

Perhaps I'm naive, but I think that we have a pretty good shot at beating them early in the year.  They replace something like 15 starters this year, and are going up against a team that returns around 15 starters.  

Remember in 2008, when we played Utah to start the year?  We almost came away with a win, even though our team was terrible and theirs ended up going undefeated and destroying Bama of all teams in their bowl game.  They were one of the top teams in the nation, but they surely weren't that good in week 1.  


April 23rd, 2012 at 12:16 PM ^

I'm not saying it's impossible, as I included a close victory as a possiblity, but I just don't see us having the horses to pull this one out. Since this is being labeled by His Excellency, the Athletic Department as a major branding opportunity, there is potential that the whole thing backfires since the outcomes are slanted against us.


April 23rd, 2012 at 12:48 PM ^


Alabama played a top-10 and favored Clemson team to start the year in 2008 and kicked their ass 34-10. Came back to play a top-10 Virginia Tech in the same venue (Georgia Dome) winning 34-24. Neither opponent had 200 yards in offense. History says Michigan is going to get an Alabama team that's ready to play, not tuning-up.


April 23rd, 2012 at 12:59 PM ^

basically their entire starting OL and QB.  They have a stable of great RB like Lacey, Yeldon, Hart, etc.  With Michigan's DL are on a rebuilding mode with RVB and Martin departing from graduation/NFL draft, it may not be a pretty sight for Michigan considering that Bama likes to play a physical brand of football similar to Big Ten.


Also Nick Saban is the best defensive minded coach in the country, pro or college, he has months to prepare for Michigan offense.  If Denard doesn't improve his passing, Michigan offense may be in big trouble.  Throw in a stable of never ending 4* and 5* recruits coming up to play.  Remember, Bama rotates defensive players heavily whether if it's DL, LB or DB so the new starters have significant playing time experience.


Just playing devil's adovcate.


April 23rd, 2012 at 3:20 PM ^

On the flip side, he pulls in amazing recruiting classes each year, and turns those guys into tremendous players.  His defenses are fundamentally sound and stocked with 4-5* talent that he and his staff have been able to coach up to their potential.  Scumbag?  Maybe.  Oversigner-In-Chief?  Probably.  Great college football coach?  Most certainly.

Michigan brings an electrifying QB with serious accuracy problems behind an O-line missing the Rimington award winner, and without the guy who Caught.All.The.Balls.  On the flip side, the defense will be without two guys who are among the best D-lineman Michigan's had in the last 10-15 years and will be attempting to finally get something amazing out of their highly-touted, highly-disappointing replacement.  [A d-line with Graham, Woodley, Martin and Van Buren wouldn't look out of place on M's All-Decade team by any stretch, would it?]

The point is that for all Hoke's magical unicorn rainbow poop karma, he will be facing a coach with more and better talent, a better track record and in a venue more likely to be packed with 'Bama fans than the Maize-n-Blue.

It's great that we're playing them.  It would be better as part of a home-and-home.  I don't think we have much of a chance to win.  I'd love to be proven wrong.


Patent Pending

April 23rd, 2012 at 11:33 AM ^

Unless you think Alabama would agree to visiting us in 2012 and then waiting until at least 2015 for the home matchup I don't see how we make it a home and home.

If we played Alabama at home this year, we would have two road nonconference games in 2013 or 2014.  We are obligated to play UConn on the road in 2013 and Notre Dame in 2014.

The only way it would get done would be to pay off U-Conn to drop out and that amount would certainly put a dent in any profit we would make in scheduling a bodybag home game.  I think I saw the buyout amount was $2M.

edit: or we just go on the road this year and have one hella awesome Home schedule next year.

EQ RC Blue

April 23rd, 2012 at 11:38 AM ^

Considering how Brandon aced the single most important decision for a UM AD (the football hire - Hoke), and how bad Brian whiffed on that subject, I'd think Brian would lay off the anti-Brandon vitriol.  Guess not.

Brian, U ANGARY? 


April 23rd, 2012 at 12:48 PM ^

Hindsight is awesome.

At the time, all Brian's reasons for concern were logical.  Hoke has actually shown that he doesn't do the things Brian was worried about, and therefore Brian has adjusted his position.  I was the same way.

If Hoke punted on 4th and 3 inside the opponent's 40 (like Brian was legitimately worried we would revert to) I don't think the Hoke-love would be flowing as much as it is.  And, dare I say, after 1 year it's a little soon to annoit Hoke God.  He did lose to Sparty and almost lost to OSU in what would have been an embarrassment.  The cards fell the right way and for that we're all happy.

EQ RC Blue

April 23rd, 2012 at 1:08 PM ^

Hindsight is okay, but rationalization is better.  Brian harped on Hoke's record, Michigan's recruiting problems, etc.  Brian went on and on about how we need a schematic advantage or we'd be cooked by the big boys.  The going-for-it-on-4th-and-3-meme is nice, but it's not what drove the vitriol.

Plus, learning from history is okay.  So is a bit of humility.  Nothing changes that Brandon got the most important thing right and that Brian went nutso about it and has been proven wrong.  All the hysteria about the little stuff is a bit odd considering who was right on the important stuff -- or maybe it's not.


April 23rd, 2012 at 7:08 PM ^

is nice, but it's not what drove the vitriol."

When you look back on the carping people were doing during the last Carr (DeBord) years, I think that Scheme and 4th-and-3 were both part of the critic's composite picture of an approach that played not to lose more than it played to win. This was both here and over at MgoBrew, at least. Predictability was half the complaint and losses following conservative play to nurse small leads was the other.

Even thought the focus after the RR hire was on the aggressive sowing of confusion and game-theory RPS choices in the spread offense, I think that the idea of losing a game after punting from the opponent's half of the field was still a part of the negative collective memory that Brian and other UM bloggers hoped to move away from. That and the ominous direction of demographic and other trends at the time pointing toward SEC dominance in a dystopian future, in the event that B1G teams continued to rely on superiority of manpower alone to win games.

I think Brian legitimately thoughtat the time that the Hoke hire was a deliberate return to the good old days of pre-RR, which to him meant both the predictability of play-calling and dysfunctional conservatism in game management imputed to the old school of coaching by him and others. The relative importance of the two aspects of the old school may have become clouded by the arguments over "the spread won't work in the Big Ten." But I think both aspects were important to the people who yearned for a change from the Carr years.

I think Brian truly thinks we have gotten a new deal with Hoke, and his change of heart couldn't be more clearly stated than this:

I could not have been more wrong about Hoke. He's not the milquetoast win-by-not-losing sort. . . . I would not want to play poker against him.

EQ RC Blue

April 23rd, 2012 at 10:32 PM ^

Quiz: Here are five things Brian said about Hoke and one he didn't -- you guess which is which:

(1)I still cling to the belief that Michigan would not look at a 53-year-old with one decent season and one undefeated MAC campaign (undefeated until Ball State played Buffalo in the championship game, anyway, and then imploded against Tulsa, and then the mighty foundation Hoke had wrought imploded in a pile of balsawood splinters) after Indiana and Minnesota had both said "thanks, but no thanks" to the same guy, let alone make him their head coach. . . .


Unfortunately, I don't have much information and am relying on the common sense and logical deduction that have served me so well mocked and haunted me the last three years. I promise you this: if Brady Hoke is actually hired small children should not read the site for a week following because every other word will be swearing. This is in no way a joke.

(2) I'm not going to rush to my keyboard and spit out all the reasons Hoke is not a plausible candidate for the Michigan job like I did three years ago . . . . Brady Hoke is not a serious candidate for the Michigan job. He is not any sort of candidate.


(3) Does Hoke approach any of these guys [Dan Mullen, Pat Fitzgerald, Garry Patterson, Charlie Strong, Chris Peterse, Kyle Wittingham]? Absolutely not. If he'd been a Michigan State assistant no one would have ever brought him up.


(4) If you're eager to get Michigan started on a painful transition away from the offense they just painfully transitioned to, Hoke's your man. If he's hired we'll get some soundbites about flexibility but they'll be about as convincing as Tommy Tuberville's strained "hhhhyyyarrrrr" upon his hiring at Texas Tech.  If there are coaches out there comfortable with the spread offense that's proven itself kind of good across college football they'd be preferable to a guy who professes disdain for "basketball on grass" and doesn't have the track record to suggest he's anything more than average at the other stuff.



(5) Seriously? How on earth are we supposed to expect that a guy who's had two years in eight above .500 is as good of a coach as a guy with 8 of 10 above .500, most of them featuring eleven wins—TCU has won 11 games six(!) times under Patterson. He's vastly more proven than Hoke, whose single comparable season ended with blowout losses against Buffalo and Tulsa. Patterson just beat Wisconsin. There is absolutely no comparison between their resumes. . . .

Despite my antipathy for him it's not like Hoke is a guaranteed failure. However, it's hard to see him not providing another awkward transition period and then being at the tail end of his career by the time he gets something up and going. The upside is low, and frankly I don't want to return to whatever philosophy Carr had at the end of his career when OSU zoomed by him and Michigan flailed about with no answers. 



(6) This is a stupid hire. It will always be as stupid hire and David Brandon just led the worst coaching search in the history of Michigan football. He managed to chase off half of an already iffy recruiting class, hired a Plan C coach on January 11th, probably ensured the transfer of the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and restricted his "national search" to people who'd spent at least five years in Ann Arbor. Michigan just gave themselves a year of USC-level scholarship reduction voluntarily.

What are the chances that the best available coach is a 52-year-old with a 47-50 career record and no experience as a coordinator? Why weren't a half-dozen coordinators with time and results on their side given the opportunity to interview? Why did Brandon waste time with Les Miles, a guy on the downside who may not have even gotten a serious offer? After learning a hard lesson about program continuity with the last hire why did Michigan hire a guy who professes to hate the spread 'n' shred a day after two spread teams played for the national title?

I'd rather have Rich Rodriguez entering year four with a new defensive staff than this, a total capitulation. Does anyone remember Tressel's record against Lloyd Carr? 5-1. Change was necessary. It didn't work, but that doesn't mean you go back to the stuff that required change.


Answer - Trick question, Brian said all those things.  You know what he never said?  I think Hoke could succeed, just as long as he's aggressive on fourth downs.  The closest I guess is the "we can't return to whatever philosophy Carr had at the end," which is a big, big stretch.  The fourth-down aggressiveness thing was a tiny, if any, part of the vitriol.  


April 23rd, 2012 at 11:55 AM ^

Full disclosure: In the 80s, I played fullback for an Ann Arbor youth soccer team that was sponsored by Domino's. Our jerseys were Domino's blue with a Domino's logo on the chest. Many a free pizza was had.


April 23rd, 2012 at 12:04 PM ^

I guess my question is why we couldn't have done a home and home where it was a revenue split (ie @Michigan 75/Alabama 25, then @Alabama 75/Michigan 25) so that both schools could have some positive revenue from the game in each year in which they are playing without a straight "appearance fee" or an "all and nothing" set up?

Also, I know Brandon's still upset about the return game at Connecticut in 2013 and that he can't get them to move it to Foxboro or East Rutherford.


April 23rd, 2012 at 12:12 PM ^

If you think about it, Brian has really become the Rush of the UM blogs ... When someone obstructs the 'people's' agenda he doesn't hesitate to conduct a fair and balanced investigation into them. You can be a leading expert in your field or a 14 year old; he is egalitarian and undeterred.

And every Rush has his dittoheads, showing the power of mass action and mass thinking.

On the subject of the Alabama game, does anyone have any knowledge of tbe negotiations, the Athletic Departmwnt's intentions, or the issues involved in major college sports entertainment events and contracts? Has anyone inquired with the Athletic Dept?


April 23rd, 2012 at 12:28 PM ^

To avoid any misunderstanding (and avoid any need for moderation), I would simply say that this is Brian's blog and his readers are more likely than not to see things the same way as he does.  Just as any followers of anything, people tend to side with the leader.  Here, though, we have all kinds of dissenting opinions/thoughts/ideas.  That's what makes the blog great.  However, dissenting opinions that invoke flames as strong as Rush Limbaugh are not likely to stick around very long.  Dissent, but do it respectfully.  Please.



April 23rd, 2012 at 7:53 PM ^

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I don't think I was disrespectful. Many people like Rush Limbaugh (very many!) and he's enormously successful. I noticed the response to Brian's post, which is unusual for an online community, and the comparison came to mind and struck me as very telling.

Blogs are like talk radio. First, they don't practice Journalism: For example, Brian doesn't ask the Athletic Department, other parties, or experts to learn more about the story. Also, they can get away with attacks that professional journalists cannot; if a professional journalist encouraged his readers to harass a 14 year old, it would end his career (could you imagine even the reviled Free Press columnists writing that!), but Rush and Brian seem to get much more leeway with that kind of thing). Finally, they tend to write in a way that gets emotional responses.

Here's a reason to compare Brian to Rush in particular:

Just as any followers of anything, people tend to side with the leader.

I don't recall another blog where the blogger is called a "leader" and the readers his "followers", but certainly that applies here. Kinda like Rush and his Dittoheads (and I don't think that term is considered a negative one; my apologies if it is). Would many here object to being called Brian's Army or MGoBlog Army or something similar?

Finally, look at the response. Someone even looked up posts I made years ago to find material to use against me, and others modded up their attack. Someone else predicted, accurately, that my karma would take a hit -- for challenging the dear leader? An angry, defensive reaction, and some of the same emotion you see from Rush and his army.

Here, though, we have all kinds of dissenting opinions/thoughts/ideas.

There are always some but compared to other online communities, including in the small world of UM sports, there is relatively very little dissent here, and much very aggressive groupthink.

Personally, I hope for more from a UM blog than so much credulity, groupthink, and the occasional angry mob. Where is the skepticism? Where are people saying "X is not your private army"? (Again, there is some but relatively little.)

That hope was one reason I asked my questions at the end. They are basic questions about any story but unfortunately nobody is asking them (at least in the first couple pages of posts, before I added mine).


April 23rd, 2012 at 8:56 PM ^

This is muddleheaded.

If you read the comments, you find any number of people questioning Brian's financial analysis of the deal, challenging his attitude toward Brandon, and asking how his skepticism around Hoke should color understanding of his response to the Dallas game. You see many people making the case for the Dallas game, as well as others offering reasoned critiques ot it.  It's a deliberate misreading on your part to portray the reaction as some type of Orwellian groupthink.

And with the addition of other contributors to the blog, Brian has largely addressed your critique of the lack of journalistic practices - questioning those members of the AD and coaching staff made available to the press - while not falling into the myriad problems with the practices of jouralism today - the fetishization of objectivity, the refusal to take any analysis beyond the surface level, the closing space for actual writing.


April 24th, 2012 at 8:28 AM ^

What's wrong with comparing MGoBlog to talk radio? How does it harm you? What has made you defensive? That's the kind of loyalty that I was referring to; in other online forums, nobody would take it personally -- they would simply agree or disagree.

Thinking about it, it's a better analogy than I originally thought: MGoBlog is a lot like a sports talk radio call-in show, with the host providing editorial analysis, somewhat emotional and provocative, and the audience responds (except the format here allows longer comments and discussions).

Again, the loyalty is what makes it like Rush. Would listeners to a sports talk radio show be offended by the paragraph above? I doubt Rush Limbaugh listeners would either.


April 24th, 2012 at 2:43 PM ^

I'm not defensive. I'm in favor of effective analogy. There's nothing wrong with comparing blogs with talk radio ... if that analogy makes sense. Yours doesn't. Rather, it serves to obscure the variety of dissents that exist in this space in favor of a simplistic explanation of leader worship. That isn't true to the nature of the discussion in which your comment is engaged, nor to the broader life of this place. 

In short, it's a bad analogy.


April 23rd, 2012 at 12:27 PM ^

...but is there a slim chance that perhaps 'Bama wanted nothing to do with a home and home?

Playing in A2 as the defending National Champion is very high-risk, low-reward for them to kick off their season, against the lowly B1G no-less (or in 2013, i'm not sure who would have had first ups).

Playing on a neutral-site that is practically a home game is a plus for them, and the national exposure is a plus for Michigan, with or without the band.

I could be way off-base here, as i don't know all the details but it certainly seems like its within the realm of possibility.


coastal blue

April 23rd, 2012 at 12:28 PM ^

is this: If we are making a bunch of money, more than we would a home and home, why aren't we taking the band?

If its all about "brand", then why aren't we taking the band? 

If we're not taking the band because this is a losing effort from a financial standpoint, then its simple: Dave Brandon got owned by Jerry Jones, because a home and home against a national power would have gotten us just as much exposure over a longer period of time. 


But hey, at least now we have guys comparing Brian to Rush Limbaugh. I'm awaiting the Dave Brandon = Hitler retort as that will complete this thread's destination. 


April 23rd, 2012 at 12:35 PM ^

How much money does Michigan stand to make off the T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, Hoodies and JERSEYS going to make?  We all know or fear the teams going to have some special uniform on, that people are sure to go out and buy.  Chances are high there will be some special logo and shirts created for the event.  I'm not referring to the money made at the game but before and after.


April 23rd, 2012 at 7:16 PM ^

I think Hoke has changed the tide on the rivalry. Hell people in Ohio are starting to believe him. Never in a million years I would have thought that. Selling Michigan jerseys is a good start.

BTW, are we bracing for some kind of appalling clown suit football uniform for this specialty game?


April 23rd, 2012 at 1:31 PM ^

So, Brian, if it's clearly not a money move, maybe instead of finger-wagging we can consider it may be something else? And whereas it probably is something else, maybe we can give our AD the benefit of the doubt. Let's try looking at this through a less short-sighted lens.

Brandon said the 967-mile trip is a part of U-M athletics’ effort to rebrand itself. Unless you deny that Michigan, if it wants to win a MNC anytime soon, needs the big-stage exposure that the SEC and Notre Dame routinely get and the B1G struggles to achieve, then some branding moves are in order. The issue here isn't the money-grab, it's the benefit to the program.

In the past year, U-M has hosted its first night game, purchased and installed a $20 million pair of scoreboards and drastically restructured its athletics marketing arm to include more than a dozen marketing professionals, up from three at the start of 2010.

“Where we were before, I don’t know if we would have considered going off campus to play a game like that,” Brandon said of the Alabama-Michigan game. But now Michigan, the school with the new boxes, scoreboards, prime-time games, and fresh off a Sugar Bowl win, is going to Jerry World for the first ever college game played in the largest pro stadium in the country. And we're playing the reigning champs. And we might win.

Brandon says the game will create a lot of buzz around Michigan football at the start of a crucial season. Do you not believe him? Maybe you don't think that buzz is worth it?

“One of the driving forces behind everything we’re doing is to enhance the experience of our student athletes,” Brandon said. “The reason we want to create wow experiences…. is because that’s why student athletes come to Michigan.” 

I think I'm with Brandon on this. To me, this looks like Michigan is spending more money in recent years for the sake of exposure and attraction of recruits to the State of Michigan, as opposed to sunny California, Florida, or the SEC in general. As illustrated by this year's recruiting class, and the general mood around the program, I'd say the tactics are working. As far as I'm concerned, the hype bandwagon and spending is only problematic if Michigan is overspending. So, let's see if that's the case.

First, here’s a look at the money being spent by Big Ten programs on football.

  Football Expenses
Ohio State Univ. $31,763,036.00
Univ. of Wisconsin $22,041,491.00
Penn State Univ. $19,780,939.00
Univ. of Iowa $18,468,732.00
Univ. of Michigan $18,328,233.00
Michigan State Univ. $17,468,458.00
Univ. of Minnesota $17,433,699.00
Northwestern Univ. $15,733,548.00
Indiana Univ. $12,822,779.00
Purdue Univ. $11,821,265.00
Univ. of Illinois $11,092,122.00

While Ohio State is spending slightly more than the SEC’s biggest spender (Florida at $31,118,134), the average expenses in the SEC are $19,954,052 compared to $17,886,754 in the Big Ten.

With both revenues and expenses being larger on average in the SEC, who turns a bigger profit in football?  Here are the Big Ten figures:

  Football Profit
Penn State Univ. $50,427,645.00
Univ. of Michigan $44,861,184.00
Ohio State Univ. $31,986,964.00
Univ. of Iowa $27,386,032.00
Michigan State Univ. $26,994,201.00
Univ. of Wisconsin $16,621,480.00
Univ. of Minnesota $14,888,989.00
Univ. of Illinois $14,209,661.00
Indiana Univ. $8,960,406.00
Northwestern Univ. $6,971,411.00
Purdue Univ. $6,297,633.00

Link. The above link from Forbes establishes that U-M has maintained disproportionately low expenses as compared to its major football competition in the Big Ten, and the Forbes article supposed this may be why its major football competition has enjoyed more success on the recruiting trail and in the BCS.

So to conclude, now Michigan is spending - on scoreboards, stadium upgrades, lux boxes, etc. The attention has mainly been positive (see recruiting success, Sugar Bowl invite, etc.). And re: Alabama game, Brandon will have a game played in the largest football stadium in the country and didn't even have to spend much. We more or less broke even. But, Brian, you want to bust Brandon's balls?

In my e-pinion, DB's playing an excellent game of catch-up, and he'll have Michigan's brand of success and public opinion matching Alabama's and surpassing OSU's in no time. And, all else not being equal, he's really not even overspending in comparison. In any event, my only gripe is we could've spent a little bit more to get the MMB to Dallas.

coastal blue

April 23rd, 2012 at 1:37 PM ^

How does dropping the band from this trip fit into any of that? 

According to you, we have more than enough money to bring the entire band to Dallas. And if Brandon is really trying to improve the brand, he should understand, as a "Michigan Man", that hearing the band play on TV and in the stadium after big moments is part of Michigan football and a key part of the brand itself. 


Dave Brandon really only cares about money, thought this was a jackpot,  was taken for a ride by Jerry Jones on the financial windfall of this operation and now is trying to pinch pennies so the whole endeavour breaks even. He looks like an idiot if this is the case.

or: Dave Brandon really cares about the brand and money isn't that important, but he doesn't understand how to maximize the brand's potential, because if he did, he would use our largre profit margin to bring the band down to Dallas. He looks like an idiot if this is the case.

If money is no object in this case and we're all about Michigan's exposure, then bringing the band to Dallas is a no-brainer, case closed. Brandon is probably showing that he fucked this up and is now trying to save face from a profit standpoint

And really, while the stadium renovations may have helped in some small way in creating a greater atmosphere, Michigan would have always gotten a Sugar Bowl invite at 11-2 and has always recruited well, even in the worst years. So trying to use those as examples of Dave Brandon's spending (renovations were underway before he even got here right?) leading to success are almost completely false. 

So yeah, he deserves criticism.


April 23rd, 2012 at 1:54 PM ^

I don't think I missed any point. And to be honest, my gripe about the MMB is more a nostalgic issue as an alum who's seen live Michigan games, because I'm really not too upset about it from an AD decision standpoint.

As nostalgic fans, we want the MMB to be there because that's what Michigan college football is to us. And if this is really supposed to be a bowl like atmosphere for the fans, it won't so much be without the MMB. Except, I don't think DB was going so much for "Fiesta Bowl" for the fans as he was "Super Bowl" for the recruits, donors, and people watching TVs. It's a pro venue, and the largest one at that. We play Alabama, the champs. Based on billing and venue alone, the marquee automatically brands Michigan as something of a next-level contender.

As for the MMB...have you ever noticed the folks at home don't really ever get to watch the halftime performances anyway? I do feel for the M fans who will pay for tickets and, wanting to see the band perform, will not get that wish fulfilled. But we don't really know what's planned for halftime, nor do we know what the live game-feel will be like sans-MMB.

All I know is how I fall re: the favorability of having Michigan and Alabama on the marquee of a pro-venue, in prime-time, for $4.7M received. Maybe we just agree to disagree.

coastal blue

April 23rd, 2012 at 2:01 PM ^

because you don't understand the thrill of hearing the band in the stadium or on TV after a touchdown. Maybe you've grown immune to it, but if you're actually trying to expand the brand! then it is most definitely a significant part of the atmosphere around Michigan football. 

To deny this is simple ignorance. 

Edit: Would it really be better than having Michigan open up in two primetime slots against Alabama in back to back years or once now and once again a few years down the road? 


April 23rd, 2012 at 2:07 PM ^

I never denied the significance of the MMB, in fact I think I explicitly addressed that point. And, I'm not going to defend my fandom, because let's be serious.

We're talking about a one-off game here, in the largest pro-venue in football, against the reigning MNC, with maximum exposure, automatic next-level branding, and for a profit. In a one-off like this, while I still defend the significance of the MMB to the event and fan-experience, it's an ancillary issue to me. If DB was bringing Alabama to Michigan and sending Michigan to Alabama for a home-and-home, and he cut the MMB to either event, I would have my pitchfork at the ready. But this is simply a different type of event, and one I'm willing to give DB credit.

coastal blue

April 23rd, 2012 at 2:20 PM ^

It makes no sense to argue "next level branding" and not do everything you can to maximize that (i.e. bringing the band). Hearing "The Victors" on TV after a Michigan TD is simply part of Michigan football and is something high schoolers all over the country will have engrained in their minds upon hearing it. Except now it won't be there. 

And you did deny its significance as you said it doesn't bother you from the "AD's standpoint" which is the standpoint that decides whether or not they come.

Anyway, you made your point: DB is bringing Michigan into the future with his spending and business savvy and if some of the most important traditions have to be cut out to ensure...I'm not really sure what, but we have to ensure it. I guess its the cost of the band affecting our already enormous profits? Who knows, all I know is that if I was marketing Michigan football and trying to take it to the next level, I sure wouldn't miss a chance to put "The Victors" all over national television against Alabama every chance I got. But I'm not the guy who got us that Sugar Bowl invite, so what do I know? 


April 23rd, 2012 at 2:47 PM ^

What are you giving Brandon credit for?  Scheduling the game?  I guess I would submit that almost anyone would have jumped at the chance to schedule a big game like this.  The question for the blog is why would he schedule it and not get a huge payday or make it so tight that the MMB could not make the trip.



April 23rd, 2012 at 2:50 PM ^

But this was the most profitable way of scheduling any major team.

In this situation, we get our full home-slate next year (8 games), and this year, we turned 1 home game into an even that will get us 75% of the gate of a home game.

In a home-and-home, we would play the same # of home games over the two years (14 games), but one of the NON-home games is paying us $4.75 million.

You may not like it for reasons other than fianances, but this is significantly more profitable than a home-and-home.


April 23rd, 2012 at 3:12 PM ^

This is the big picture, here. It's a home game, and profit-wise, it's a relative wash. But instead of baby-seal U at home, it's Alabama at a pro-venue, under a marquee bill, in prime-time, with next-level branding, etc., etc. As a one-off, I'm for it, even though, as a fan and alum, the MMB sleight is a pretty unfortunate casualty. But because I don't know what kind of atmosphere will be created in the MMB's traditional and classic stead, I'll withhold judgment.


April 23rd, 2012 at 4:38 PM ^

I didn't understand that at first.  Thanks for explaining it.  I guess my naiive, remember-being-a-fan-during-my-childhood self shows itself every now and again and I wish that there were some aspects of the Michigan football experience that were not governed by money, that were instead determined based on maximizing the fan experience.