Brian August 1st, 2011 at 12:21 PM

First, now-ceremonial photo of some dude very far away rocking colors he probably knows not wot of:

france trip 864

I was in… France. We had a free apartment to stay at and my mom turned in a bunch of airline miles, so it seemed like a one-time opportunity. It rained most of the time and the food was pretty disappointing but it sounds like everyone in the United States melted while we were gone so that's cool. Also if you ever get a chance go to a calanque, you should probably do it:

france trip 939

That is a real place, not the scene from Contact where the alien is all like "yo I'm your dad what up Jodie Foster."

The guy above was checking out a very serious bocce tournament we stumbled across in Marseille whilst trying to figure out how to get back to the bus. I'll probably throw up a trip report in the diaries if there is further interest, or even if there isn't.

Now presenting Things That Happened When I Was Going "Meh" At Escargot:



A large chunk of next year's attrition got resolved. Kellen Jones, Teric Jones, and Christian Pace are not on the fall roster and therefore not on the team. Kellen Jones reportedly got in some legal trouble that must be serious given the repercussions on his team status. Pace and Teric Jones got sent to St. Saban Memorial. Meanwhile, Terry Talbott is also expected to miss the season but it's unclear whether or not he has made the same journey. Rivals says Hoke confirmed he was medicaled($) in the hallway scrum following his media day time, so that's probably that for one Talbott. UPDATE: Misopogon reports that Ablauf also confirmed Talbott is done.

Three of the four are obviously not sketchy. Michigan needs linebackers and DTs like Mark Dantonio needs the collected Sophocles and Pace was the only(!) offensive lineman in his class. Teric Jones's departure is one you can question given his place on the depth chart, but since there's an entire football season between now and crunch time it's probably legit. In the Big Ten, sketchy medical scholarships are something to look for in January.

As for on-field impact, Teric found it impossible to contribute even in an offense suited to his scatback skills; his absence won't impact Michigan going forward. Pace removes one bullet from the chamber at center, but they'll still have Khoury and Miller once Molk graduates. That should be okay. Talbott's absence is bad. Now instead of a shaky three-star-ish redshirt freshman behind Will Campbell there are walk-ons and air and maybe Kenny Wilkins. Kellen Jones's absence will be felt keenly as well. My excellently-timed recruiting profile of him hyped him up as an immediate contributor and possible four-year starter due to his talent and the glaring hole at WLB. Now he's gone and WLB next year is the untested Mike Jones and two really small guys.

With those four off the roster the path to 26 is considerably less eyebrow-cocking. Michigan will have to shed another two or three players before signing day. A natural level of attrition should get Michigan to their projections without fuss.

Michigan got a fullback. Tim profiled Sione Houma, who is it. I hate giving scholarships to fullbacks because the difference between a walk-on fullback and a scholarship fullback is usually indistinguishable. Michigan's best in the last 15 years was walk-on Kevin Dudley. If they really take one DT it's going to be weird, doubly so with the uncertain status of Talbott.

Michigan got Chris Wormley. A foregone conclusion, that, but it's another head to head win for Hoke against the Bobcats. SDE is set in a major way and someone—possibly two someones—are moving to three-tech as soon as they hit campus.

San Diego State got a little less scary. Two of their receivers are out for the year with knee injuries, including presumed #1 Dominique Sandifer. Their new leading guy is the equivalent of Kovacs—walk-on made good. Ryan Lindley's good but he might not have anyone to throw to.

Something vaguely ominous happened with Devin Gardner's redshirt. Brady Hoke has been unusually wishy-washy about what Devin Gardner's eligibility status is after he saw a few snaps here and there as the designated Guy Who Replaces Denard For Three Plays Guy during the nonconference schedule. This is unusual. In the past the NCAA has just issued a ruling and been done with it.

The eligibility status of Alabama receiver Darius Hanks—still on the team and everything after five years!—may provide some insight into why:

… Hanks appeared in one game as a true freshman in 2007, hauling in one pass for six yards in a 52-6 win over Western Carolina. Accordingly, his fifth season required a waiver from the NCAA, which apparently attached the two-game breather to offset Hanks' contribution to that hard-earned victory four years ago.

Gardner appeared in three of Michigan's first four games. Against UConn and ND his box score totaled one rush for –4 yards but against BGSU he had 6 rushes for 25 yards and went 7 of 10 for 85 yards and a TD in the air. If I'm Dave Brandon I'm making the first couple of games of 2015 walkovers. Which Dave Brandon is going to do anyway because…


Dave Brandon does not Get It. This is awful:

"I don't believe we can or should go on the road for nonconference games when we can put 113,000 people in our stadium.  It's, financially, the right thing to do. It's the right thing to do for our fans, in terms of their ticket packages. And we're going to alternate with Notre Dame, so we're going to have one game on the road every other year. So the rest of those games, I would like to have at Michigan Stadium."

Kiss ever seeing an interesting non-ND nonconference opponent goodbye. This is another symptom of the AD's descent into full-blown corporate ninnydom: we get to play Alabama in Dallas because it makes incrementally more money than having an exciting home game. Brandon fails to understand that the point of an athletic department is not to accumulate the biggest Scrooge McDuck vault. (See also: renting the Big House for your special event, though that's far less offensive since I don't have to buy a 70 dollar ticket to the Jones-Wilson wedding. Unless I do. Do I?) Even if it was, the marginal difference between one home game against a real opponent and two body-bag games from schools charging a million each is not that much. People will suck up the difference on the ticket cost: a Clemson ticket that costs $80 will make people happier than an EMU one that costs $70.

At least we won't have to endure three pointless games against non-BCS opponents yearly for too long. Schools have been told to clear the decks in 2017. Presumably that's when the Big Ten will go to nine conference games. That's is not as cool as actually seeing teams from other conferences but better than our yearly battle for county pride.

Ohio State didn't get anything extra handed them by the NCAA. Time for a homer check. Matt Hinton:

Is it really possible for the people in charge to have that little interest in enforcing their own rules, as long as the paperwork is in order? …

The Ohio State and USC cases are similar in the sense that they both involve a star accepting a lot of money from shady characters on the fringes of the program, but the the case against OSU is on a different level. Where USC's violations (as chronicled by the NCAA's final verdict) involved a single player, Ohio State's involve at least six. Where USC consistently disputed that anyone affiliated with the program knew what was going on with Bush — as well as the sketchy evidence the NCAA used to reach that conclusion — the paper trail leading from Jim Tressel's hard drive is an indisputable smoking gun. Which he intentionally concealed as the offending players led the Buckeyes to another conference championship. Ohio State's star player(s) and its head coach did the crime, and no one denies it. Tressel's silence after being tipped to the investigation is the definition of a program failing to cooperate. He's the head coach: He is the program.

Get The Picture:

At this point, any athletic director with half a brain is going to set up a firewall between himself and the head coach.  Oh, sure, there will be any number of compliance people who will be sent around wagging fingers at coaches about following regulations.  But there will also be plenty of blind eyes turned to what those coaches are doing when the compliance folks aren’t in the room with them.  So when the shit inevitably hits the fan, those ADs and the presidents they work for can blink their eyes vapidly at the NCAA investigators, claim they had no idea what was going on and swear they’ll get rid of the rogue bad apple.  And it’ll work.

Nice system you got there, NCAA.

Bryan Fisher:

Mark Emmert, you have lost our confidence in your ability to do the job.

The next time you speak, we won't be able to take you seriously thanks to news that Ohio State would not face additional charges of failure to monitor or lack of institutional control in the school's infraction case.

'It's all about what the NCAA can prove, not what we've read' is the company line. Well, you had a chance to prove things but you said you weren't going to try.

Matt Hayes:

It’s pathetic, really. The rats see a ship sailing to probation, and it’s every dirty, cheating program for itself.

Ohio State got out first, and now North Carolina sees the opening. Soon enough, Oregon will too.

Here’s the best part of this growing, sordid tale: The NCAA is standing with open arms on the other side.

Want to blame someone for North Carolina’s utterly bizarre firing of coach Butch Davis, who was never mentioned once in the program’s lengthy NCAA Notice of Allegations? Blame Ohio State.

Better yet, blame the NCAA – and more specifically, president Mark Emmert.

Meanwhile Mandel, the guy who was predicting this would happen, hasn't taken up a position on whether it's good or bad. I haven't found anyone who doesn't have a framed Andy Katzenmoyer jersey who thinks this is anything other than total horseshit. Homer check tenuously passed.

Meanwhile, OSU confirms that Terrelle Pryor was ineligible for the entirety of last year and bans him from contact with the program without explaining why. Where is the extra violation that gets Pryor that treatment while the other five players remain on the team, associated with the program. Is the NCAA interested in this? Apparently not.

There is a recent precedent for a team not getting failure to monitor or LOIC (which come on) and still getting hammered: Alabama got 21 scholarships docked and a two-year bowl ban for various boosters paying dudes to go to Alabama. If Ohio State gets something similar, fine. The NCAA's two-eyes-for-an-eye policy could see at least 12 scholarships obliterated and two years of bowl ban even without LOIC if the committee is like "hey, your head coach lying to keep a half-dozen players eligible and hoodwinking us to let them play in a bowl game… that's bad."

loldantonio. Mark Dantonio called Jim Tressel a "tragic hero."

aaaaand eyyyyyeeeeeeeyyyeeeeeiiiiiii will always loveeeee yoooouuu

Then Jim Brandstatter was all like "loldantonio" and Dantonio was all like "paraphrase of insanely misused Teddy Roosevelt quote about being in the arena," because that's what people who say stupid things do when they are criticized for saying stupid things.

The Big Ten Network made itself into a feed. Press release:

BTN2Go features a live feed of all BTN linear network programming, including more than 40 football games, over 100 men’s basketball games and hundreds of other live events, as well as Extra Football Game Channels, on-demand programming and archived content.

BTN2Go will be offered exclusively through BTN’s participating cable, satellite and telco distribution partners as an authenticated digital service to subscribers who already receive BTN as part of their video subscription.

If the authenticated bit lets you watch the BTN if you're in Alabama despite the locals not giving a damn, that's great as long as it works better than the streaming service did a year ago when I tried it for an hockey game. If it's ESPN3 quality, lovely. 

Desmond Howard had a good idea. Via Get The Picture:

“But if you want to play the education game, then check this out. If they get my likeness for life, then they should be committed to my education for life. So if Mark Ingram 20 years from now, when they’re still selling his jerseys in Tuscaloosa, says ‘You know what? I want to get my Ph.D.’ Guess who should pay for that? They should be committed to his education for life. They’re still selling his jerseys.”

If a school is still profiting off a guy who had a few years in the NFL and now has some messed up knees and maybe wants a more saleable degree, he should be able to get it.

Wolverine Historian posted a bunch of games. Bo becomes the winningest coach in school history with a victory in The Game:

Also available are 2000 Indiana (58-0), 2003 Illinois (56-14), and 1993 Minnesota (58-7). Bring your nostalgic bloodlust.


John Gibson defects to the OHL, Michigan picks up Michael Downing. Let's not mince words: dropping a college commitment less than a month before classes start is a dick move. I get that he'll get more games next year because he probably won't be splitting time, but exactly no information has changed since he committed and signed a LOI. Blah blah blah about "doing what's best for me" is what they say on Jerry Springer, too.

Michigan now has zero backup to Hunwick and is in a desperate search for his replacement next year. At least whoever they pick up—they likely need two goalies—won't have a midget dynamo blocking their path.

In happier news, Michigan's somewhat glaring hole on D going forward is smaller thanks to Downing's commitment for 2013. Downing was the third pick and first defenseman in the USHL Futures Draft. He's coming off a strong showing at the U16 Festival. OHL defection risk currently seems low: he's from CC, has an older brother already in the USHL, and was drafted in the flyer area of the OHL draft (8th round) by Sarnia, a team not known for picking up off college-bound folk.

People discussed ways to prevent "Jerry, Jerry, Jerry" events. Gibson's very very late decision spurred a round of "what can we do" from Yost Built and The United States of Hockey. Yost Built wonders about making a hockey LOI binding in the same way an NTDP commitment is. Someone will have to ping The Bylaw Blog for confirmation but that would redefine the LOI in such a comprehensive fashion it wouldn't be a LOI anymore. It's currently a non-legal agreement enforced by a non-NCAA organization of schools interested in reducing chaos.

The United States of Hockey discusses whether or not it's a good idea to allow CHL players to play NCAA. He says no, and he's right. CHL teams have no incentive to keep athletes NCAA eligible even now; removing that restriction would provide an incentive to actually discourage players from keeping up with their books. The number of players headed the other way would be few. Meanwhile, the USHL has established itself a high quality league designed to get kids to college. This would hurt it as some players choose the CHL over it.

It's a moot point anyway: the NCAA just relaxed regulations on foreign players playing with pros. Hockey specifically requested and acquired an exemption.

So there's not much the NCAA can do. The one thing I'd suggest is prohibiting American 16 and 17 year olds from playing CHL hockey in Canada. As we learned during the Max Domi song and dance, Hockey Canada currently prohibits Canadians from leaving the country to play junior. Domi's dad would have had to "move to" Indiana to get his kid eligible for the USHL, a major hurdle for anyone who didn't have a long NHL career.

USA hockey should adopt the same policy, limiting American high-schoolers who want to play in the CHL to the small number of American teams in the WHL and OHL*.

*[The Q just shut down their only American team, the ridiculously-named Lewiston MAINEacs.]

Other Items

Austin Hatch is still in a coma a month after the plane crash. At least that's what his local paper says. Depressing.

Zak Irvin picked Michigan. Covered yesterday, but dang if Beilein's recruiting hasn't been on a steady upward trajectory since his first class. It's got to plateau soon, but that plateau looks like a Sweet 16 team.

Also, UMHoops has uncovered the first grainy videos of the camera-shy Irvin.

People covered ADs golfing like it was news. I don't care if it's July. A story about an athletic director playing golf against another athletic director is time that could have been spent on something more socially productive like spitting off a balcony. I'm not linking to any of this stuff. Sports editors across the state: you have suffered the mother of all eye-rollings.

Baseball made its RPI more Northern friendly. By acknowledging that—surprise!—having to spent the first month or two of the season on the road is a significant handicap, Big Ten teams that are actually kind of good will stand a better shot of making the tournament. They also eliminated some bonuses/penalties for teams at the extreme ends of the the range.

Getting those kind of good B10 teams remains a chore. As long as this is true…

Some schools are able to play 35-40 of their 56 allowable games at home, while other teams, due to factors such as weather, may play only 20 home games.

…the playing field will never be anywhere close to level, but good luck trying to change that.

In related news, Jonathan Bornstein moves to Honduras. Bob Bradley was fired and replaced by Jurgen Klinsmann as the head of the USMNT. I get people's reservations about Klinsmann's reputation, which is largely based on one World Cup with Germany and a flameout with Bayern Munich, but if there's one thing the US needs now it's a holistic look at how they develop talent and how it can be improved. The talent gap with Mexico won't be huge for the rest of this WC cycle, but it's hard to see the US not taking a back seat once the Dempsey/Donovan/Dolo/Boca generation ages out after Brazil. There are 100x fewer Uruguayans than Americans, man: there's no reason the US shouldn't be able to produce a few world class players.

Also! PSU QB Paul Jones is academically ineligible, leaving the QB competition there just Bolden and McGloin. The Big Ten further proved that putting their athletic directors in charge of naming anything just leads to a successories poster. BTN revenues increase 21(!) percent over last year. A Michigan undergrad built the largest solar array in the state. Basketball agreed to a home and home with Arkansas. Doctor Saturday predicts 7-5 again, but adding up the "likely win/tossup/likely loss" bits seems to point to 8-4. Gameday likely for the ND game.



August 1st, 2011 at 12:32 PM ^

We don't come back from this, sir.

(That's a total lie. I didn't stop reading at all. Is it weird that I'm so happy you're back? It's weird, right? Is it? Is it weird? Does it get less weird every time I ask? No? No.)


August 1st, 2011 at 12:34 PM ^

That is a real place, not the scene from Contact where the alien is all like "yo I'm your dad what up Jodie Foster."

Come on man, spoiler alert!

Welcome back Brian.


August 1st, 2011 at 12:36 PM ^

His family posted an update not long ago on the CaringBridge website that said that he was doing PT, OT, and speech therapy.  This would seemingly preclude him being in a coma.


August 1st, 2011 at 1:40 PM ^

"We are excited to now participate with Austin during the rehabilitative phase of healing.  We are optimistic that Austin's self-motivated, disciplined and high-energy approach to life will surface as he faces the challenges before him.  We are drawing strength from Austin's courage and our loving God who is taking us from despair to new hope and progress each new day."



Six Zero

August 1st, 2011 at 12:43 PM ^

into MGoBlog??  It's all funny and informative and I just don't like it.  Who gave this guy the license to heave all this #wherewithall all over the place???

Welcome back, Cook.

Also, saw what you did there with Bobcats.  Well played.


August 1st, 2011 at 12:51 PM ^

For (at least) the past 30 years, dozens of Wolverines have been studying abroad every year in Aix-en-Provence (about 15 minutes outside of Marseille).   Not surprised that you stumbled on some UM gear. 


August 1st, 2011 at 1:40 PM ^

My mother did Michigan's Aix program in the early '70s, so it goes about at least 40 years.

I wasn't too thrilled with that program when I was looking at studying abroad so I did an independent program in Paris instead.

After about a month of living in Paris I stopped going up to random people I saw wearing Michigan gear because apparently by at least the late '90s, Michigan stuff had become a French fashion statement -- I guess the closest thing for us is wearing Brazil soccer gear?

My good friend from France -- originally my exchange student -- made sure to bring back tons of Michigan crap when he studied here. I remember having to explain that Michigan State is a completely different school because he was buying both thinking Michigan just uses multiple color schemes.


August 1st, 2011 at 3:09 PM ^

Stayed at a cheapo hotel in Florence a few years ago, right down a side street from the Duomo.  There was a sports gear store directly across the street.  The highlight of the window display was a University of Michigan jacket (with accessories, I believe) in the lovely traditional shades of a mauve-ish pink and pale yellow.  Honestly.  If anyone can lend me their scanner, I can post the pre-digital photo I kept as proof.


August 1st, 2011 at 2:10 PM ^

I wasn't adventurous enough to spend the year in Aix, but I did spend the summer in Grenoble and visited Aix one day.  It seemed like a pretty cool college town.  Marseille OTOH had a couple of interesting sites (Notre Dame de la Garde, Chateau d'If) but overall seemed kind of sketchy.  


August 1st, 2011 at 1:45 PM ^

Yep. In fact, I'm pretty sure all Michigan's starting fullbacks before Moundros were scholarship players. They just converted from other positions (Shea from TE, Dudley and Oluigbo from LB, Floyd from TB, etc.) B.J. Askew and Che Foster were others guys given scholarships to play fullback who became involved in the offense.

It's really not an unusual thing to do, even in the age of 3-4 wideout sets.



August 1st, 2011 at 12:58 PM ^

From: NCAA

To: Ohio State

Subject: Don't Squeeze the Charmin.

Please don't squeeze the Charmin!

From: Ohio State


Re Subject: Don't Squeeze the Charmin.

Thanks Ncaa...We will get on it ASAP...Happy CFB season to you as well!! Go Buck!!

Franz Schubert

August 1st, 2011 at 1:10 PM ^

That has been wondering where the hell the NCAA is in regards to TP being ruled ineligible for the season as opposed to the others only getting 5 games. What was the additional issue/s that warranted this increased suspension? Seems like the NCAA would be curious? No?  Its also interesting that OSU has essentially admitted they played Pryor all season when he was ineligible so therefore last season was already forfeited without the self imposed bologna.


August 1st, 2011 at 1:13 PM ^

So you're saying that you doubt that Teric Jones' injury is truly career-ending. If you have hard evidence for that, medical or otherwise, by all means let's have it. Without such evidence, you're implying that Brady Hoke is engaging in shady and unethical decisions in a manner that is reminiscent of a certain Free Press "journalist."

Yinka Double Dare

August 1st, 2011 at 1:28 PM ^

I think he means that it's the one that we can't say for 100% without seeing medicals that it's definite.  We don't need to see the medicals on Pace and Talbott because one look at the depth chart tells you we'd never run those guys off in a million years.  Jones was buried on the bench at a deep position, which is where such roster shenanigans happen elswhere.

Which isn't to say it wasn't legit, just that it's the only one that there could even be a question about.


August 1st, 2011 at 1:56 PM ^

He's saying that it may, to some, seem 'a little too convenient' that Michigan is signing a huge class without room to do so, and all of a sudden four kids are "medicaled." After all, if this same thing happened at Alabama, we might well assume a screw-job was underway.

To counter that, Brian's point (I believe) is that in a typical screw-job, you would normally "medical" kids who are non-contributors at positions of good depth.  Here, three of the four don't meet that description (Pace, Talbott, and K. Jones are likely contributors at positions of weak to non-existent depth), and for the one kid that DOES meet that description, the timing doesn't seem right for a Saban-job.


August 1st, 2011 at 2:17 PM ^

...arched eyebrow is probably too much is the timing. Handing out medical scholarships after a bagful of NLIs are faxed in on NSD is one thing. Handing them out a year before such math is required and one month before the season starts indicates the injuries are legitimate.


August 1st, 2011 at 3:18 PM ^

Brian has written extensively here about the funny business going down at Alabama and Baton Rouge with respect to rosters and medicals, and he's been fighting the good fight in doing so—because of evidence he has presented that indicates these have been longstanding practices within the SEC and for Saban and Miles in particular. Neither Brian nor anybody else has presented a shred of evidence of any such malfeasance on the part of Brady Hoke that I'm aware of—not at Ball State, not at SDU, nor at Michigan. Yet, in classic impugn-by-innuendo manner, he employs the "St. Saban Memorial" term to insinuate that what's happened with UM's medicals is of the same nature as Saban's actions. It's unfair to Hoke and he doesn't deserve it, regardless of the fact that Brian is apparently still outraged that Hoke even got an interview, let alone got the job.


August 1st, 2011 at 1:12 PM ^

Brian clearly agrees that Gene and Co. have bestowed the Bush-like defense. Please refrain from calling people meth heads in the future who are spot on! Sincerely with a pwned of goodness, your swamy daddy for the day. =]

P.S. When are neg bombs coming back?


August 1st, 2011 at 3:10 PM ^

but this isn't RCMB.  Insults from twisting our rivals names, the use of $ in such, and most importantly... smileys / gifs are not encouraged here

To truly appreciate this, feel free to go to RCMB or 11W and see how long it takes for you to get physically ill via overuse of ScUM, cHoke, Meatchicken et al. 

This may be arrogant...but we are MGoBlog and we're better than that.