When I was a kid I hated Dr. Z because in the NFL preview issue he would invariably predict grim demise for the Wayne Fontes-era Detroit Lions, and half the time he would be wrong and the Lions would squeeze into the playoffs with a spectacular late-season, Fontes-saving charge and I would think to myself "what does that old coot know anyway?"
As I got older, though, I slowly came to realize that Dr. Z, more than anyone else I read, actually talked sense. In the early days of my experience with broadband—dorm rooms were about the only places in the world with it in 1997—I found myself a voracious football content sink and absorbed every word Zimmerman wrote and SI.com deigned to put on the internet.
The ones that evidently stuck the references to copious charts and minute observations of the game and how the popular conception of a player was just flat wrong and if you really want to know who's having a knockout year, well, here's this safety playing for the Arizona Cardinals of all teams that no one's talking about. In this, I think, was the genesis of Upon Further Review.
Dr. Z said that to understand the game you must watch it in preposterous detail and put the media's black and white storylines from your mind. His influence is unmistakable here.
I bring it up because Paul Zimmerman is in the hospital after two strokes, his health uncertain, his speech disjointed. I hope he makes it back.
Sparty, no! I am constitutionally obligated to mention this:
Plaxico Burress' controversial year has just taken a turn for the worse.
The New York Giants wide receiver accidentally shot himself in the right thigh Friday night, FOXSports.com has learned, not long after being ruled out of Sunday's game against the Redskins with a hamstring injury in the same leg.
Ha. Hahahahaha. Ha. Ha.
That is all.
Coins in the couch. So I wrote the following up a couple weeks ago, then stuck it in the "drafts" section of Windows Live Writer and forgot about it. Better late than never:
Hockey recruitin'. Signing day came and went for the basketball team and Michigan pulled in a pretty decent class that you probably know enough about because of the tireless efforts of UMHoops. Also signing were a number of gentlemen on skates, some of whom are significantly more hyped than I thought. The official site has the details; upshot:
- AJ Treais is one of those dynamite midget guys who can stickhandle through a swarm of locusts. His draft ranking makes me think he's more Shouneya than Cammo/Comrie. Red says screw that conservative noise: "I think each player will add something to our team. I think A.J. Treais looks a little bit like T.J. Hensick. He can be a prolific small centerman."
Dang, man, Hensick is a hell of a comparison.
- Chris Brown is a power winger with first-round potential. This is less exciting than it sounds because the NHL is always grabbing lumbering power wingers in the first round and often they're doing it based on projection, not current ability, or just because they're big or something. See: Eric Nystrom, who was the only Michigan player in history I thought was taken at least a round too high. (Not that Nystrom wasn't good, but you knew his max upside was a third liner. You don't spend the #10 pick in the draft on a guy who will be a grinder if he works out.)
- Kevin Lynch is the middle kid, not as big as Brown or as tiny and skilled as Treais; he's supposed to be a mid-round pick.
USHL defenseman Lee Moffie is also in the class, but he didn't sign for whatever reason. Last year Michigan couldn't sign Brandon Burlon to a letter of intent because they didn't have the money available; this might be a similar situation.
Michigan doesn't lose much from the current team: the only seniors are Sauer, Miller, Turnbull, Naurato, and Fardig. (Mitera is also a senior, obviously, but he's seen a period of icetime so far this year.)
There is also this article on 2010 goalie commit Jack Campbell featuring a quote from Yost Built's Tim Williams. Obligatory note: the 2010 class is sick. Right now Michigan has three guys being touted as potential top-ten NHL draft picks. That's like bringing in Al Montoya, Jack Johnson, and… uh… Eric Nystrom in the same class. Except this version of Eric Nystrom is supposed to be ridiculous. God, I hope they all get to campus. Also, the huge freshman class from '08 will be seniors then; if Michigan can hold on to Caporusso and Hagelin and Rust that long the 2010 team should be dynamite.
Which is nice… because man, this year's team is really disappointing. It's not even the defense, which you'd think would be a sore spot in the absence of Mark Mitera and Steve Kampfer. The team just does not score goals. I only caught the third period of the Minnesota game and can't offer any explanations; I thought they had played well the last time I saw them. They utterly dominated Western Michigan but got beat 2-1 because they just couldn't finish. Now they're sitting at 9-7 and really need to sweep a badly struggling Michigan State team to hit the break in any sort of shape to make the tournament.
So how much is it? Buzz has reached my inbox to the effect that Charlie Weis is done and Brian Kelly is in at Notre Dame, which 1) I don't think is anywhere near true yet and 2) I seriously hope is nowhere near true.
Brian Kelly built Grand Valley into a DII power, immediately turned around CMU after he arrived, and immediately turned around Cincinnati after he arrived. Putting him at the head of the admittedly ferocious talent that Charlie Weis has inexplicably gathered is the worst-case scenario for the near future of the Notre Dame coaching job. (Aside from the highly likely possibility that Urban Meyer will leave Florida, where he is God and paid like it, for South Bend. Yeah, sure)
This is contingent on Weis getting axed, but the preponderance of the evidence suggests the buyout really is incredibly steep. Here's a summary of what we've been told in the media:
At least $12 million is the fourth buyout figure reported by media outlets in the past week. The Chicago Tribune reported Weis' buyout at around $4.5 million. IrishIllustrated.com is reporting the buyout at at least $10 million and ESPN is reporting the number at $16 million.
Some private scuttlebutt I came across had that number even higher than 16 million, and that's what WNDU just reported:
As we first told you on NewsCenter 16 at 6 on Sunday, a source very close to the situation tells WNDU that the price to buy Weis out of the remaining seven years of his contract is around $20 million.
The source also says that Notre Dame does not appear to have the money right now and could be using the next week to try and raise more funds from alums.
That is equivalent to "there is no buyout." If true—and I still struggle to believe anyone could be this unbelievably stupid, even the people who hired Bob Davie, Ty Willingham, and Charlie Weis in succession—Notre Dame offered Charlie Weis a ten year guaranteed contract for losing to USC in his first year as head coach. Which would preclude his firing this year.
And I'm not sure if I want that, either. I prefer chaos in my rivals, and it would be especially helpful this year given that Michigan could pick off a few recruits that would aid Rich Rodriguez's rebuilding program.
Eh. We'll see, I guess.