Unverified Voracity On The Ceiling Comment Count

Brian September 14th, 2009 at 1:57 PM


via reader Brian Hale

Take his and graduate 'em, take yours and graduate 'em. It's not noble to take guys with two good parents and a Catholic-school education and not screw them up. That's one of the things that's always bothered me about Notre Dame's smugness. They've positioned themselves as the nationwide destination for kids who end up at places like Oaks Christian, and when these kids fail to screw up they take pride in it. Michigan, meanwhile, has been more willing to take on potentially troubled kids. Not as willing as some other schools, but willing.

This is always spun as a negative when you get a Feagin situation. When you take kids out of Pahokee or Detroit or Delray Beach who did not go to a good high school and didn't have a stable home life and are just looking for a way out, some of them are not going to overcome their backgrounds. It's tough to do that. It's no accomplishment to graduate Craig Roh. That kid grew up like  an enormous, athletic, magnificently-eyebrowed version of me; he's going to graduate no matter where he is. It's a risk to stick out your neck for a talented kid who went to a school with textbooks from 1978 where dropouts are more common than graduates.

The reason I bring it up is an epic article on Pahokee, the home of three current Wolverines, in the Daily. I've been reading the Daily for twelve years now and it's without question the best article to appear in it in that time frame. It wouldn't seem out of place if you threw it up on ESPN.com in one of those fancy presentations they give Wright Thompson. It highlights the environment these guys come from:

He pops in one of the myriad discs. It’s a guerrilla-style video called “Palm Beach County: Gangstas and Thugs.” Local gun-toting gang members flash across the screen, beating each other senseless and shooting AK-47s into the air.

“That’s my cousin; he’s in jail,” he says pointing, to the screen. “Oh, and that kid’s dead. He was 17.”

Trouble in such places is easier to get into than avoid, and honestly working with these kids so that they get out of college and go somewhere else is a calling beyond giving kids who went to Catholic school calculus exams. Michigan has to live up to that charge, of course. In four to six years we'll have Rodriguez's graduation numbers, and in five more we'll have some sense of how the institution has served them. I'll be watching it carefully. I hope—and think—Michigan will do right by them. They are owed that.

No, you can't do that. Apparently ABC never showed the Armando Allen taunting penalty, but the News got a shot of it:

armando-allen-unsportsmanlike-conductNCAA rulebook on unsportsmanlike conduct:

a.  Specifically prohibited acts and conduct include:

1.  No player, substitute, coach or other person subject to the rules shall  use abusive, threatening or obscene language or gestures, or engage in such acts that provoke ill will or are demeaning to an opponent, to game officials or to the image of the game, including but not limited to:

(b) Taunting, baiting or ridiculing an opponent verbally.

(c) Inciting an opponent or spectators in any other way, such as simulating the firing of a weapon or placing a hand by the ear to request recognition.

Ssssh-ing the student section is an obvious flag that will get called 1000 of 1000 times. It doesn't matter if he said anything or not. Weis being an ass in the postgame (no, seriously, watch his bitchy press conference… what a horror it would be to have such a thoroughly unlikeable person* in charge of your football team):

"Armando was really distraught at the end of the game, because he felt that he  got called for a 15-yard penalty for going 'shhhh' when he got to the end zone," Weis said. "Now I guess, technically, that's taunting, but he felt really bad about that and I told him we're all part of this loss and don't put it all on your shoulders."

Indeed, it is "technically" taunting in the way Michigan's pass to Mathews was "technically" a touchdown. Meanwhile on that same play, Clausen was doing a fey little dance that could have drawn another flag. Why must Weis recruit these thugs? Why can't he have nice boys like Greg Mathews, who politely handed the ball to the referee after his gamewinning touchdown?

A note on one of the other ND refereeing complaints: Theo Riddick did touch that kickoff, as was extensively discussed on Sportscenter, so running two seconds off the clock was appropriate. And when Tate caught the ball on the last play of the game and got tackled with one second left, the key distinction to note is that the official timekeeper doesn't stop when he thinks the play is over—not his job—but when the referee signals him to. You can clearly see that the referee signals to stop the clock well after :00 is hit. (Yes, maybe that's a conspiracy too.)

*(dollars to donuts that caused any West Virginia, Michigan State, or Ohio State fan reading it to have a head asplode moment, but… seriously. Watch the video. There is no comparison between that and corny jokes and twang.)

Tempting fate. If Michigan loses the next two weeks you can stick my head in a blender for what I'm about to do.

Let's talk about Michigan State, Michigan's first road game of the season and next opponent against whom the spread will be in the single digits. State lost to Central Michigan in quintessential "Sparty, No!" fashion, but don't let the flukes at the end of the game overshadow the overall theme of the day. A worried The Only Colors explains:

While hanging our heads obviously doesn't do any good, I really have a hard time seeing Saturday's outcome as a fluke.  Sure, the events of the final 30 seconds all broke in the Chippewas' favor.  But we'd been outplayed by a significant margin for the 59 minutes and 30 seconds that preceded those 30 seconds--outgained by 74 yards and outconverted by 8 first downs.  And when it mattered most, we couldn't stop them.  Central gained a total of 147 yards to reach the endzone on both of its final two non-onside-kick-commenced drives.  We were lucky to be in position to win the game with 30 seconds to go.

Maybe CMU's a top-40 team and this loss isn't quite as bad as it looks right now.  But they certainly didn't look like a top-40 team against Arizona a week ago.  And you have to beat top 40 teams at home to get to a New Years Day bowl.

That is a strong indication that internet skepticism over a team that was outgained in conference play last year was better founded than the assembled Big Ten Media's assertion that Michigan State was the third-best team in the conference. Not that we needed anyone to tell us that the internet tends to do better research than newspapers. State should get better as Kirk Cousins solidifies his hold on the starting quarterback spot, but after some initial optimism in the comments that post bogs down into pessimism about a ton of things, most prominently the pass rush.

Compounding things for State in their matchup against Michigan: Central Michigan is headed by the Rich Rodriguez coaching tree, also known as Butch Jones, and quarterbacked by Dan LeFevour, a mobile, accurate quarterback that's a more veteran but less hyped version of Tate Forcier. LeFevour was 33 of 46 for 328 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. The State game now looks very winnable.

The move? Freshman Cameron Gordon's seemingly inevitable move to linebacker may be a fait accompli according to MGoPoster Jaggs:

Was at the ND game this weekend and my dad ran into a guy purporting to be Cam Gordon's dad (I have no reason to doubt it was him). The guy told my dad he was a father of a player on the team etc, and my dad asked him who he said his name which my dad forgot but remembered the guy said #84 a linebacker. A quick search of the program and mgoblue.com shows Gordon as the only #84 so sounds like Gordon.

Quick check shows 86 points, which isn't much, but also that this guy's been registered for eight months. Credibility rating: at least moderate. We're still looking for confirmation and will provide it if/when it comes.

Yeesh. I think this was just an mgolicious link. The numbers say, I don't know, something:

3. Inbound links checked daily. The day before I visited, logs for the Chronicle’s WordPress site reported that it had drawn 277 visitors from a local sports blog, 28 from a local school blog and 23 from annarbor.com, the reincarnated Ann Arbor News.

Probably what it says is that AA.com's traffic is far more dispersed, where this site is basically a single framework with varying content presented.

Etc.: Been struck with a burning desire to have Zoltan's biff immortalized for all time on your wall? Michigan obliges. Bleed Scarlet notes the one-year anniversary of David Foster Wallace's suicide.



September 14th, 2009 at 2:08 PM ^

So two ND players went off after the 2 pt conversion? I heard about Jimmah's butt dance with pistols, that shows real team discipline. 2 points for 2 clowns.

Notice that in mid-hysterium, Matthews remembered to stop and give the ball to the ref? I also never saw any "I am the cheese" celebrating by the Michigan players....always looking for teamates to celebrate with.

Now we need to avoid a letdown against EMU, but I dont see it happening.


September 14th, 2009 at 2:11 PM ^

I was watching on TV, and I distinctly remember ABC having a shot of the taunt. Specifically, I remember having a shot from a camera on the sideline behind the ref closest to Allen on that sideline, and the ref was moving towards him (probably to get the ball) when Allen 'sssh-ed' the crowd, and that ref immediately threw his flag. The only confusion I seem to remember is not noticing them announcing the penalty and wondering if it was going to be assessed on the kickoff until we saw where the ball was teed up, but I may have been paying too much attention to the Cover It Live chat.

Clarence Beeks

September 14th, 2009 at 2:24 PM ^

Yes, ABC definitely showed it. What they didn't show, however, was a replay of it. They stopped the replay of the touchdown each of the about 7 times they showed it right before the taunt. It would have been easy to miss on the original showing of the play because it was a shot from the opposite end zone.

I also had the same thought you did on whether the penalty would be called when they didn't show an announcement of it on the ABC broadcast.


September 14th, 2009 at 2:13 PM ^

I will not argue that what Allen did was taunting and deserved an unsportsmanship penalty, but I will ask you this:

Where would you categorize Cissoko's cheap shot on Floyd after he caught a short pass along the sideline. The cheap shot came as Floyd was sitting up, Cissoko hit him again well after the play (which was right in front of another ref)

Or how about Cissoko's little celebration dance in the endzone when Floyd went down with his leg injury?

El Jeffe

September 14th, 2009 at 2:24 PM ^

I personally think that post-touchdown taunting calls have gone way overboard. I vividly recall Manningham using the exact same gesture to ND fans on his 70ish yard TD in the 2006 game and he was not called for it. So, if that rule was in effect then, I as a ND fan would be more upset about the Allen call than the other two things you mentioned.

As for Cissoko shoving Floyd, I have two answers. One, I wouldn't have been at all surprised to see that called. Two, are you fucking kidding me? Let's take any football game and count how many post-whistle shots player take, and how many of them are actually called. I'm going with less than one percent. So, for every Cissoko shot, I bet you a lot of money I could easily find a ND post-whistle shot that wasn't called. Yes, you could easily argue Cissoko should have been flagged, but there are always plays like that that don't get called. Focusing on that just sounds like excuse-making to me.

I Bleed Maize N Blue

September 14th, 2009 at 2:26 PM ^

I did see the taunt on ABC as well.

I wouldn't call Cissoko's shove a "cheap shot." He didn't "hit" him, just shoved him. But he certainly could have been flagged for that.

I don't remember the dance, but I would think it would be in celebration of the incomplete pass, rather than the injury, as you seem to imply.

But such celebrations could tempt the wrath of the AMHG, so are not advised.


September 14th, 2009 at 2:30 PM ^

Obviously looking through maize-colored glasses here, but my take:

I am not happy with the Cissoko taunting. I would have grumbled if he got flagged, but would not have claimed to have been jobbed by the refs. But . . . the taunt was not directed at the receiver (meaning he wasn't facing him, strattling him, talking to him, etc.) and it was not directed at the crowd as a "taunt". That makes it a different scenario to me than the Allen flag. I think that Cissoko's thing was more akin to a D-lineman making the incomplete pass hand waiving gesture after stuffing a run on third and short (which I see from time to time and I do not think gets flagged).

As for the extracurricular shove . . . again, don't like it at all from my team's players, but I can also point to the Sam Young (more violent, IMO) shove that did not get flagged. In other words, we can go around and around on these.


September 14th, 2009 at 2:55 PM ^

I understood the Sam Young no call, while his helmet was coming off he couldn't hear the whistle that the play was dead, he was beyond the LOS with his back to the point of attack. Plus you add in the insane noise coming from the student section down there and the ref who was right there seemed to agree with him.

When I saw it live I expected a flag but the replay made sense.


September 14th, 2009 at 3:29 PM ^

Boubacar's antics had nothing to do with the injury to Floyd. If you watch every play that he(Boubacar) participated in either by getting burned, making a great play, or anything in between, he did his crossed arm and head wag several times.
I for one was sure he was about to get flagged (as the refs told him more than once to shut it, as did his teammates). I wish we had some depth at CB and RichRod could have sat him for a couple plays.
He needs to spend a few hours with Greg Matthews and learn how to act like a Michigan man or he's going to find himself on the outside once Justin Turner arrives in full force.


September 14th, 2009 at 3:50 PM ^

Cissoko probably deserved an unsportsmanlike conduct flag on the shove (calling it a cheap shot is a little extreme). But if you're going to open up the can of worms on missed calls, we can probably find a little something on every single play. It's just like basketball. It's simply a case of the refs deciding what shade of grey they're going to draw the line at, sticking to that standard throughout the game, and being balanced with it.


September 14th, 2009 at 4:44 PM ^

Its not even that it is a missed call on the field it seemed more of a differing definition from ref to ref. Both the shove on Floyd and Taunting occurred right in front of a ref, its the consistency that I am disgruntled with.


September 15th, 2009 at 3:08 AM ^

was immediate after the play and could be construed as a continuation of the play. It was a much more borderline call, but definitely could have been flagged. the allen thing, I said was weak, but I think the ref was going up to him to get the ball and instead he did the 'shhh' so that might have peeved the ref a bit more.

Undefeated dre…

September 14th, 2009 at 2:15 PM ^

The second I read "If Michigan loses the next two weeks you can stick my head in a blender for what I'm about to do.", I jumped down to the next bold header. Sometimes, it's a thin line between success and failure. Sometimes, it's Charlie Weis. Bing!


September 14th, 2009 at 2:23 PM ^


I couldn't agree more with you on this - it's been something I've been harping on for a long time, in fact (my ND analogue was Bobby Knight's IU teams).

The analogy I always use is this - if you had (1) an accountant, and (2) an emergency room doctor, which of those two professions would have more people die under their watch? This, of course, would be an absurd measure with which to judge these professions, as the doctor will *save* many more lives than the accountant (which, from experience, I can vouch for being effectively zero).

That certain programs - Duke basketball, for instance - chooses to play the accountant should not confer upon them all sorts of heaping praise for the lack of "deaths" (to continue my analogy) under their watch.


September 14th, 2009 at 2:26 PM ^

is that one uses spread looks primarily to run, while the other uses the spread primarily to pass. I'm not yet sure how that bodes for the game. Certainly, MSU has enough depth at corner/safety to go nickel/dime, but chose to stay in base 4-3 for looong stretches, contributing to the HORROR as they were carved up liberally, and got very little QB pressure as a bonus. I'll post my bias-noted analysis of the game during the week before, right after the first Big Ten matches. I was relishing that task a lot more before this past weekend, obvs.

biakabutuka ex…

September 14th, 2009 at 2:49 PM ^

Between RichRod, Tressel, Weis, Carr, Saban, and a host of others: for better or worse, teams takes after their coach in significant ways. That's why you've got to really worry when you have a coach who complains more than an NBA superstar instead of manning up and saying there are no excuses. It's also why it can hurt to have a coach as candid as RichRod is (*cough*Freep interviewing freshmen*cough*).

Also, re: Saban, does anyone else notice Alabama's demeanor? It's like they are an NFL team without the salary. Players look terrified to make mistakes. I only saw their first game, though.

Durham Blue

September 14th, 2009 at 2:53 PM ^

Golden Tate fumbled the ball on the last play of the game. So the play was still alive until the ball bounced out of bounds. It appeared to cross the boundary line just as the clock went to :00. It was all legit. Game over.


September 14th, 2009 at 3:56 PM ^

Timing is not done in a loop like in NASCAR or the Tour de France. There are no transponders or other wireless devices. The clock operator goes on the refs signal. You really expect the chain of events of the ref blowing the play dead, physically making the signal, and another human reacting to that signal to all occur in less than 1 second? Sparty Bob isn't in press boxes anymore.


September 14th, 2009 at 11:32 PM ^

Even though your trying to be a smartass, I will reply anyway. Your talking about 2 very different things though you tried to tie them together with the word "veteran" it doesn't justify what your trying to insinuate.

As a veteran wide receiver he should have just went down as he was instructed to do by Weis before going onto the field; but being a veteran WR he knows what he is capable of, and just like Floyd he has a very good chance of taking the ball to the house when its in his hands. By the time he realized he wasn't going to get 6 he went down, which ended up being too late to get another play off.

That veteran QB was using the TOs as they were intended. The game plan was to save them for times when the defense brought a look that the offensive play wasn't going to be successful against. With all the anticipated crowd noise they knew they weren't going to be able to audible at the line so that is why the TOs were used. And just so you know even with the crowd noise Clausen was able to audible 3 plays during the game.