Unverified Voracity Asks Rhetorical Qs

Submitted by Brian on June 20th, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Site business. Two things:

  1. I am getting married this Saturday in a top-secret location far away from any images of Fielding Yost. I am taking Friday and Monday off; Tom and Tim will produce content as per usual. If you've got a diary you want front-paged this would be an opportune time to post it. Content from me will be light this week because a bunch of friends I don't get to see will be in town, etc.
  2. I'm warning you about this a month ahead of time: honeymoon is in late July for about ten days and I am probably not even going to take my computer.

Your understanding is appreciated.

Wolverine 503wolverine mascotrallypickle4

I'm partial to the rally pickle myself.

Mascot business. I took a rage day so that I wouldn't say anything regrettable in the aftermath of the mascot trial balloon, leaving the rest of the world to offer Dave Brandon a raspberry and Brandon to quickly clarify that while he is all seeing and all knowing he is very very wily and no mascot is pending. Even while doing so he leaves himself an out, saying it "may never happen."

Q: In retrospect do you believe that Brandon announcing the OSU game would be moving to midseason was really a super-clever way to get everyone outraged about it and therefore ensure it doesn't happen?

The M-Zone makes a compelling case that we should not. After that fan explosion we've had the uniform business and the mascot business and at about the same time we've had the night game business. (While I don't care that much about having a night game, it is a departure from tradition.) The evidence points towards Dave Brandon being so intent on "creating the future" that he has absolutely no grasp on what's important to the fanbase until everyone's freaking out about it.

Worse, he spends time belittling the kind of people who do really care. From the inbox:

Below response to my (very short and very respectful) email to Dave Brandon today asking him to reconsider a Michigan mascot.  I actually responded to this, against my better judgment, and said that if there's a man in a furry wolverine costume on the sideline than it'll wind up being more life-changing for him than for me.


Please don’t be too concerned over this life-changing topic!

All will be OK…

Have a great weekend!


I'm not sure how this happened since Dave Brandon was actually on the team under Bo, but the current athletic director appears to have no more connection to Michigan's traditions than—wait for it—Rich Rodriguez.

I really care about what goes on inside Michigan Stadium; Brandon thinks this makes me a sap.

At least he's not alone.

Convenient timing. Meanwhile, one of the main counter-arguments against Old Testament kind of guys who like their coffee black, parole denied, and Michigan Stadium old-timey is that if we don't get that cheddar Michigan will be left in the dust by its rivals.

Presenting Michigan's 2012 budget:

For the proposed FY 2012 Operating Budget (described in detail on the following pages), we project an operating surplus of $11.4 million based on operating revenues of $121.2 million and operating expenses of $109.8 million. The budgeted operating surplus will be will be used to fund our ongoing capital needs and facility renewal projects.

Bill Martin's great accomplishment was killing the immediate cheddar issue dead without compromising the brand that packs the largest stadium in the country. Further squeezing starts to impact the uniqueness of the Michigan experience and erodes the reasons people shell out as much as they do.

Unfair and true and BERGKAMP. Here is Denard Robinson's 87-yard touchdown against Notre Dame last year, first narrated by Tom Hammond, then your inner monologue:

It's not fair comparing Tom Hammond to whoever the BERGKAMP guy is, but he does have a point. Maybe Americans get more confused about whether sports is serious business worthy of objectivity or not.

For a counterpoint EDSBS immediately goes to Sean McDonough, who's the first guy I thought of, too:

Q: Franklin is retired and Nessler is now on the NFL network, so is McDonough now the undisputed #1 college football announcer? I can't think of anyone I'd rather have doing a Michigan game.

Welcome to the field. The O-Zone reports on the latest edition of the Big 33 PA-OH All-Star game, in which Ohio annihilated Pennsylvania. Featured amongst the players of interest is WLB signee Antonio Poole:

Antonio Poole, LB Cincinnati Winton Woods 6'0” 195 (Michigan)

I think Poole may have been the most impressive defensive player on the field. He's only listed at 6'0” 195 pounds, but he sticks ball-carriers right between the numbers and they stay stuck. When he's in pursuit, he looks much bigger than he is. He certainly hits much bigger than he is. He may not be big enough to play linebacker in the Big Ten right now, but the Wolverines may not be able to wait.

That's true—WLB is currently Mike Jones and maybe Brandin Hawthorne.

Goalie zen part XVI. Red Line Report is down on this year's crop of goalies but they do have a solid #1. Prepare for the same scouting report you've heard several times before:

The clear-cut No. 1 guy is John Gibson, who combines excellent size and a calm demeanor in the most important games. He plays economically and is strong in the butterfly, using his long legs to take away the bottom half of the net. Gibson is a big netminder who plays big, challenging well and not leaving much space for shooters to look at. He's also calm and patient and allows the play to come to him. We like his mental strength and focus in clutch situations.

They don't like the other Gibson, so John is the only goalie they give a first round grade.

Etc.: Penn State blog Linebacker U interviews Tom for his perspective on Michigan and Penn State recruiting.



June 20th, 2011 at 5:49 PM ^

Congrats on the wedding. Don't worry about us we will survive without you for a week. You will hopefully only have 1 marriage and one honeymoon so make it count.


June 20th, 2011 at 5:53 PM ^

Can somebody with enough MGoPoints create an Wedding Gift Thread?  I'm sure there are enough of us who would like to help celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime event for Brian and his fiancee.


June 20th, 2011 at 5:57 PM ^

Poole may look bigger b/c he is bigger - 220 lbs per interview with TomVH. Very excited for he and Kellen Jones to arrive.

I think Poole may have been the most impressive defensive player on the field. He's only listed at 6'0” 195 pounds, but he sticks ball-carriers right between the numbers and they stay stuck. When he's in pursuit, he looks much bigger than he is. He certainly hits much bigger than he is. He may not be big enough to play linebacker in the Big Ten right now, but the Wolverines may not be able to wait.

Deep Under Cover

June 20th, 2011 at 6:00 PM ^

Congrats on getting married, Brian.  I wish you the best and thank you for all you have done with this blog!  Now, time to disagree...

If DB did try to create a mascot, that would be terrible, but I don't get WHY people seem to hate Brandon so much for trying some new things. What has he done at this point that destroys tradition? He mentioned a mascot, that's it (again, I would also hate one...), but what else has he done?

- "The Process" - debateable on the merits and shortcomings of it. I don't really see how you can get too mad about it considering we don't actually know who he talked to and when

- Scoreboards EVERYWHERE - Awesome, though I am not sure which he is actually responsible for (were they planned for the Big House before DB came in? I think so...)

- Night game - Departs from a the way it has been, but I don't think having games before exclusively before nightfall is a tradition, necessarily.

- "Throwback" jerseys - Like them or don't, buy them or don't, but its ONE game.  Besides, I don't think they turned out as bad as most people expected, even if you still don't like them.

- Added lacrosse as a varsity sport - Awesome

- He mentioned a mascot, and says it is not an active project - Um, +0?

I just don't see what he has actually done at this point that deserves such criticism.  I donno.

In regards to that email, what was the text of the "short and very respectful" email sent to Dave Brandon?  Hard to say he is belittling someone when we don't see the context of it...

If Brian doesn't like that Brandon "refers to the athletic department as I", I would appreciate it if Brian didn't refer to "I" as "the fanbase" because he does not speak for everyone when he says the "fanbase freaks out".


June 20th, 2011 at 6:36 PM ^

I'm only speaking for myself here, but I see a disturbing trend in what Brandon has thus far done.  I agree with an above poster that he sees himself as an innovator who is bringing M athletics into the future.  Which is well and good, and I have no problem with the night game and the stadium renovations, and certain things that need to happen for us to be able to compete with other athletic programs in terms of recruiting and whatever (also, the night game is good for exposure, I get it).  I'm concerned that Brandon will continue to change things in an effort to drum up money and interest, and that when he floats ideas like "considering a mascot" it is because these things tend to take on a life of their own with the media.  Look, the DetNews is already having that mascot-generation contest.  So he floats the idea, lets people get over their outrage, then puts out some feelers, and eventually we end up with a mascot.  I'm not convinced that DB is not a corporate whore who will sell out Michigan tradition in the name of making a buck.  I hope he isn't, but he really could've made a case for that by strongly supporting a tradition of some sort.  Hoke gets it ("this is Michigan, for God's sake"), but DB is more of a politician in that everything he says has multiple meanings.

Plus, I agree with Brian.  I thought DB's response belittled his concern.  Sure, DB might not consider the mascot idea life-changing (and it really isn't) but these impassioned fans are the ones who donate money to your program.  Brian might not be buying out luxury boxes, but that doesn't mean his opinion is worthless.  It's a lot easier to change things that you think are "no big deal", and I wonder what else DB thinks that applies to besides this mascot issue.  Is not having a drum major no big deal? 

Basically, his decisions so far don't bother me terribly.  It's the ones to come that I fear.  I worry that we're going to all wake up to a maize-and-blue football field one day, a la Boise.


June 20th, 2011 at 8:52 PM ^

On the "I love Dave Brandon" thread. I posted the following, and I think it fits here: 

I’m pleased with the renovations at Michigan Stadium. I like the new scoreboards going up all across the Michigan Universe. I think Hoke has turned out to be a great hire (although I think “the process” was bungled). I don’t have any issue with night games. I’m a lifelong Cubs fan, so I’ve been through the, “OMG they’re putting up lights!” thing before. No big deal.
On the other hand, I hate, like OSU hate, the night game jerseys. I hold the same level of contempt for the idea of a mascot. Here’s the problem, I actually agree with MnB Dave, that Brandon is only doing what his customers want. I go to MLive and read all the posts that tell me the jerseys are “dope”. Dope? I didn’t even know people still used that word, and I’m 32. I’m not a blue hair, down in front, type, but I’ve clearly lost touch with the mainstream fan.
I’ve been spoiled by the posters on a few blogs, and forgotten that the majority of Michigan fans are not at all different from those at other schools. The majority want to hear “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” instead of the MMB. The majority think ProCombat uniforms are “dope.” There are certainly some who think, like me, that all of these things are ruining college football, but we’re not the majority. Brandon is smart enough to avoid wildly unpopular decisions, but his commitment to tradition extends only so far as the popularity of that tradition. To paraphrase a common quotation, we the fans will get the Athletic Department we deserve.


Deep Under Cover

June 21st, 2011 at 1:28 AM ^

I can totally understand your perspective and appreciate your level headedness about it. I think what I am getting at is that this tradition, for the most part, has remained largely unchanged for a very long time, and I agree for good reason. but at what point is it no longer tradition but stagnation? as many posters have pointed out before, without the courage to introduce something new to the tradition we would not have wings or the big house (and tsio would not have script Ohio..
score one for us haha).

my point is that I find nothing wrong with DB introducing something new so long as it can be generally accepted into the tradition (night games). I think him floating ideas is also fine as it gives him an opportunity to gauge public opinion on an idea that past ad's may have been too afraid to even bring up.

just so long nothing is forced on fans (I think mascot falls in here) it shouldn't be discouraged necessarily

[typing on little android phone so please forgive typos]


June 20th, 2011 at 6:01 PM ^

Brian - I'm also getting married this summer, I wish you could have told me so we could have had a combined wedding.  Ah, maybe next time.  I'll also be on my honeymoon when you are, so that works out about as perfectly as I could have asked for. 

Secondly - the best part of that Denard run is still the Omameh block.  Denard running fast happens a lot, but Mante Teo getting donkey-ridden back to Hawaii only happens so often and it's awesome when it does. 


June 20th, 2011 at 6:10 PM ^

Bill Martin's great accomplishment was killing the immediate cheddar issue dead without compromising the brand that packs the largest stadium in the country.

Oh, he would have if he'd had his druthers. Recall that he wanted to sell naming rights to the OSU rivalry to SBC before a public outcry (almost entirely from U-M fans) forced both sides to back down. The thing about both Martin and Brandon is that I think they are feeling significant pressure to expand revenue streams because expenses just keep on soaring. I can't believe the projected expenses are $110M. Five years ago I swear they were like $80M. The horrible deal we have with the university (to pay out-of-state tuition for all scholarship athletes, regardless of home state) puts a lot of financial strain on the AD - and by extension, the fanbase. We get to enjoy the privilege of footing the AD's portion of the 6.7% tuition hike next year.

Going forward, my concern is that the addition of still two more money-losing teams (M/W lacrosse) will put even more financial strain and force the AD to find more alternative means of raising funds.  Football season ticket prices can only be increased so much.


June 20th, 2011 at 7:12 PM ^

Are you serious? The Athletic Department is "charged" full out of state tuition for each and every scholarship athlete? I just did a very, very rough calculation. Between all the Men's and Women's teams, I could easily see a minimum of 600 athletes. That's probably way too low, but it's a start. If half of those were in-state, that would mean the AD was being charged about $5,000,000 more if all were charged out of state rather an in-state tuition. Is that possible? If so, who makes that decision? What a nightmare! In a sense, the AD is partially subsidizing the university unfairly, if that's the case. I don't get it.


June 20th, 2011 at 8:33 PM ^

By doing that are they adding extra scholarship money for the equivalency sports? Is there then $650,000 in the softball pool when with half in-state there would be ~$490,000 (13*$50k compared to $25k*6.5 + 50*6.5)?

If that isn't the case I'm not sure why they're spending all of that, although at present they can afford it.


June 21st, 2011 at 10:00 PM ^

Stay with the Athletic Department as an endowment. They don't go back to the University. That's where they get the money for scoreboards and such. If all the profit went to the University, any time you would want to do anything beyond normal expenses, from towering luxury boxes to whatever else you can think of, the U would have to kick back money, which they don't. Which as the previous post asks, is really rare because most schools subsidize their athletics. Which makes it nice when some yahoo says "my opinion counts on U-M football, because even though I have nothing to do with the University, I PAY TAXES"...which Michigan Athletics Takes none of.


June 20th, 2011 at 6:28 PM ^

i would always rather watch UM games at the stadium, but since i can't i have to settle for TV. one of my favorite things after a score is a nice wide shot of the crowd, students, band, hot irish fan-girl picking her face, etc. but if there is a mascot in place, you know the only thing that will be seen is this things preening and flexing and parading around, probably with some black eyed peas blaring in the back ground.

muck fascots! (sorry illinois)


June 20th, 2011 at 6:38 PM ^

First and foremost:  Congratulations on the upcoming wedding!

Second:  Maybe Brandon has mistaken muppets on this site as an indicator that we want a mascot?  Maybe we can have muppets as our mascot or band members dressed as muppets playing the hawaiian war chant?  Only to be shown if we win games?

Section 1

June 20th, 2011 at 6:41 PM ^

Is Brad Nessler really 'gone' to the NFL network?  I know he is doing a slate of Thursday night games.  But I had not heard that he would be 'gone' from college football on ESPN/ABC.  And I don't think that is the case.  I hope it is not the case.  Because I think Nessler has quietly become the best play-by-play man in the entire roster of potential Michigan tv guys.  Including anybody else on ESPN, ABC, or the BTN.

Sean McDonough is to me one of the most boring guys in sports.  He's right there with Pam Whatshername and Gus Johnson.  Deadly.  It is a relief to think that there will only be a couple of games this year in which I'll be condemned to watch on tv.  Iowa (a night game that won't be given to Pam) and Illinois (who knows?) are quite likely the only games I won't be at.  There's always "Mute".


June 20th, 2011 at 7:23 PM ^

This is the first time I've heard of it. Not saying it's not true. I don't know. But it seems weird, as basically one of the voices of college football, that he'd only do barely watched NFL games. A Millen type deal DOES make more sense. (I mean, who's going to be on NCAA '12 this year?!?! PRIORITIES!!!) 

I mean, next thing you know Gus Johnson won't be doing NCAA B-Ball games......


June 20th, 2011 at 6:43 PM ^

Mascots are always a good idea and reinforce the fan experience.  Personally I want three of these things cause two just arent enough in a stadium of our size.  I picture them wearing the stylish throwback jersey's to complete the look.




June 20th, 2011 at 6:49 PM ^

If there is anyone more despised for first rate, quality work than Brent Musberger, I can't think of him. I will forever be confused why he is not thought of in the same light as the other greats.. Professional, prepared, witty, entertaining, and yet, universally loathed. His "you are looking live", and "when you come back" always make any old rat game more exciting in my view.. Plus his inevitable reference to the point spread is pretty funny. I'll take him and Herbie over most anyone. I assume I'll stand alone on that take.


June 20th, 2011 at 7:38 PM ^

I'll never forgive him for saying that Michigan had no argument for part of the 1997 NC after Nebraska disposed of Tennessee. In fact, I think I only dislike Peyton Manning more. Maybe.
<br>Seriously, though, I feel like he shows his preference regularly.


June 21st, 2011 at 2:27 PM ^

Do you mean when he's sober -- assuming that's ever the case?  Personally, I like my announcers less "witty" and more engaged in what's actually going on in the game.  Entire quarters have gone by where he and Herbie barely mention what's happening on the field.


June 20th, 2011 at 6:52 PM ^

I am a huge Bergkamp fan, I have the jerseys, always made sure he was on my FIFA teams, etc.

Early on he was equivalent to a more finesse Zetterberg.  When he got to Arsenal, he shifted into this creative Larionov-like figure.

Arsenal fans would have jerseys with #10 on the back, the name on it was God. He's an Arsenal legend (and the type of guy that the whole country of England couldn't villify)