Dear Diary Needs a Cat Sometimes

Submitted by Seth on March 1st, 2013 at 9:28 AM


Woman with Cat|Pierre Bonnard

True Genius is Getting Away With It. Before I get into my self-indulgent emo crap about the Penn State game, go read consecutive Diarist of the Week Ron Utah's conclusion to the two-parter (Part I here) on Hoke vs. Saban recruiting and whether Michigan's at least following Bama's recruiting pattern toward future success. Money chart shows contributions from Saban recruits of various rivals ratings, with 1 (blue) the washouts, 2 (orange) the spot starters/useable depth, and 3 (maize) the starters & stars:


Yes, chartnazis he should have labeled that better. As I've mentioned before a lot of those sub-four stars (5.7 and lower) were down-rated against their apparent talent by Rivals and other sites because the kids were high-risk to meet NCAA academic requirements. Saban's strategy for tapping all of that talent was to oversign like a mother and let that the risk work to his benefit. Hoke's smaller classes have very few academic risks.

Diaries Etc.: LSAClassof2000 found the Big Ten has rushed for enough yards since 2000 to make two trips to the moon. I'll let GOLBOGM update his charts before diving too far into his comparison of the best NCAA hoops coaches. Here's his latest remaining schedule update. The Blockhams have a power outage and this is a metaphor for something. Marching On (the wallpaper by jonvalk). Marching on…

Best of the Board

So this week we learned a few hard truths. Like this basketball team isn't a 1 seed. And according to this thread there's a lot of people who come to MGoBlog for something other than cleverness and cats.

The "I only come for Brian" crowd got an inadvertent taste of that yesterday. Thursday content on the front page after a game with Penn State is supposed to be Ace's gifs, Brian's game column, the video highlights thing that keeps promising me they're upgrading their servers, UV, and This Week in Twitterverse. Instead you got Brian talking to cats and then nothing, because—raise of hands—after THAT who really wants gifs and pierre-bonnard-artwork-white-cathighlights and links and tweets of Michigan defenders standing around while PSU's floppy walk-on drives for easy layups? If you weren't around for the game thread, or the postgame thread, I'll save you the trouble: it's 1200 comments alternating between calling our defense pathetic and the refs awful.

So cats. This isn't solely an internet phenomenon. The ancient Egyptians worshipped cats for their irreverence in the face of massive upsets to Hittites. The ancient Michigan fans used pictures of adorable kittens to make it through the aftermath of The Horror.

Since the late '90s the nittany variety has been that cathartic release for Michigan. Whenever it looked like our program was about to atrophy, a kitten in a scarf would appear, dressed all up nice like a real national program of consequence and culture, and lose in a fashion that let us regain at least some plausible measure of being Michigan fergodsakes. It was their apparent strength that catapulted the 1997 team to a #1 ranking we'd never relinquish. My freshman year a theretofore underwhelming squad blanked a top ten Penn State team in what's still one of the most memorable games I've ever been to. Minnesota tripped up their title-bound team in '99 but Michigan traveled to Happy Valley the following week, went nose to nose with Arrington and Brown, and sealed Tom Brady as the comeback kid. There's 2002. 2005 when is seemed all we could do was lose 4th quarters. 2007.

Basketball playing our home and home with them during the interlude of some brutal Big Ten nittanylionstretches seemed scheduled for exactly that purpose. Instead we ended up returning the favor.

I discovered MGoBlog during that whole '07 Comcast/Big Ten Network spat. The Midwest's least favorite company was having a hissy fit over putting another Fox channel on a basic tier, because the way cable works is you have to buy 150 channels you don't want before getting to the ones you do, and nothing drives the masses to move up like sticking the Michigan game just out of reach.

As a result I had to go to a local bar to watch the Northwestern game. Amidst a classic DeBordian display of zone left that made that game way too close I ran into my old fraternity brother Dave Malak, who informed me there's a website that responded to Appalachian State by turning pink and posting lots of cats. Phones didn't yet have the internet they have today so it wasn't until that evening that I got home, searched for "michigan blog cats the horror" and got the September archives starting with the newest on top. The first MGo article I ever read began thus

9/22/2007 - Michigan 14, Penn State 9 - 2-2, 1-0 Big Ten

Adrift on a sea of bodies, legs gone, head yanked back, enemies all around and pawing, Mike Hart stretches for the inch he needs and gets it. When Hart is gone and I am old and my mind flips through the rolodex of players past, this will be the image that lingers. It's his career writ microscopic. He takes his natural ability, and stretches it to its breaking point, and Michigan has a season again.

Somehow Mike Hart still feels like a secret. In some extremely obvious ways he is not: one of Michigan's vaunted triplets going into this season, he is widely acclaimed as the best back in the Big Ten and one of the best in the country. Anyone claiming the "no respect" card for Hart is going to have to make a strong case indeed. Everyone knows he is good. Maybe even great. But they don't know.

You can maybe forgive me and the other front-pagers if we try to sound like that sometimes. Writing is an impressionable craft; consciously or unconsciously we all imitate what we admire. I read Cook long before Foster-Wallace whom I've since devoured; prior to that my major sportswriting influences were Mitch Albom and Craig Ross. I adopted Brian's cheekiness because levity is the key to his genius for brevity and that's something I've always lacked; in turn he has little use for my themography or acoustic sensibilities. The advent of blogging sparked a new age of Impressionism in sports journalism, and I ask your patience as those of us who came after the vanguard fill in the white space of d'Orsay with our mimicry; we're all here for the Monets.

Contractually obligated highlight video

Board etc.: Denard catches footballs. MJ14 culled Twitter for some recruiting updates. Michael Scarn put together a handicapped 2014 recruiting board. M1817 explains Tom Brady's restructured contract so you can explain to people who question how/whether Tom could take less money. Krzychawe Kryzewefski Coach K comments spark an interesting discussion on when it's appropriate to rush the court, situationally and in a "give the other team a second to get off the court" kind of way. The M's in the center of Crisler and Yost are "UNACCEPTABLE" according to M. Discover posters' super-secret double identities. Blackhawks fan tries to solicit mourning from Red Wings fans over the potential loss of that rivalry if Detroit moves East, receives a chorus full of "Yeah we'll miss you when we play Florida, maybe."

Your Moment of Zen:


From Marley Nowell.

As of this week for the first time in my adult life I have a front yard. I'm stoked for gardening and tossing various balls back and forth and stuff, but so far this is all I've done with it.



March 1st, 2013 at 10:43 AM ^

One would think Coach K would know the easiest way to avoid being caught up when opposing team's fans rush the court: don't lose! Of course, its much more satisfying for the rest of us when he doesn't follow that advice.

That being said, if you're dumb enough to get in an opposing team's player or coach's face, you deserve to get smacked.


March 1st, 2013 at 11:22 AM ^

miss the meltdown after Seth's Jerry Montgomery post? I figured it was fairly obvious when I stated that I hated someone and the blog because of a cat video that I wasn't being serious. Again, I was beating a dead horse but it's effing Friday and I don't have a ton of work on my desk.


March 1st, 2013 at 12:02 PM ^

between the expectation that some of us have the necessary context behind a joke and the need to be told where the source of the humor is.  You run the risk of it not being as funny if you have to give too many details.

If it helps you feel any better, I completely got your joke. 

It just wasn't that funny.... (THAT part was sarcasm, btw).


March 1st, 2013 at 11:14 AM ^

Ugh. First you are critical of John Navarre and now.... you're making me defend DeBord. Again.

I thought that I left this habit behind? Why do you make me do this?

Amidst a classic DeBordian display of zone that made that game [PSU 2007] way too close

If you had said this about PSU 2006, I wouldn't have said a word because that game did seem closer than it need to be. Although, it was a night road game and blah blah. So. I don't know.

But 2007 PSU was a brilliant bit of coaching. It was among Carr's greatest games ever. Carr was always at his best when Michigans back was firmly against the wall.

Ryan Mallett was a mess. He was capable of absolutely anything. Just not fumbling the snap was an accomplishment. DeBord eecked out 2 TDs and then left it to Anthony Morelli to choke the game away one last time. And he did. It was a thing of coaching beauty. The raw freshman beating the senior, multi year starter. That and the ND game just prior, rekindled my interest in that most irritating of all seasons. Unfortunately.


March 1st, 2013 at 10:56 AM ^

Great read this morning. I'm appreciating the moments of zen conveyed by memories of Mike Hart as well as Mario Manningham. Much needed yesterday & today. Congrats on your front yard. :)

the Glove

March 1st, 2013 at 10:56 AM ^

My strategy was that I avoided the blog for over 2 weeks. I had to work after the game was over and all I wanted to do was find a corner and cry. I knew I was too fragile to handle any criticism from other teams fans. Those were dark days.


March 1st, 2013 at 12:14 PM ^

You beat me to the congratulatory congratulations comment.  Though I must temper the congratulations with a warning:  At some point, the novelty of having a yard wears off.  I think, for me, it was a Sunday.  It had become clear to me (from viewing and threats from the wife) that putting off mowing the lawn could not continue.  Unfortunately, it was 98 degrees on that Sunday and somewhere around 190% humidity.  5 Gatorades and hours of heat exhaustion later, I realized that having a yard was a horrible thing.  Here's to you not reaching that moment in several years!


March 1st, 2013 at 12:43 PM ^

I'm surprised Seth is still excited about it after Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. That concrete around the yard doesn't shovel itself.  And he must have an ideal football playing surface, because he didn't sound too worried about picking up tree branches (or whole trees). 

But congrats! It's YOURS.