Unverified Voracity Embraces Expectations Comment Count

Brian January 12th, 2016 at 1:30 PM

Not bad for year one. Michigan finishes tenth in Matt Hinton's final rankings.


But for an all-time fluke you can swap M and MSU. Jim Harbaugh can coach a bit.

Embrace expectations in year two. Michigan will not start next year outside the polls. It may start it inside the top five, if post-season top X lists are any indicator:

With a pile of starters returning and Jim freakin' Harbaugh as Michigan's coach, this is not a huge surprise. Michigan demolished Florida in the bowl game and that kind of thing tends to get you a big perception bump headed into next season. Half the time that's a mirage; Michigan will hope that theirs is legit.

The number one gentleman who needs to come through for Michigan to deliver. That would be one John O'Korn, likely starting quarterback. For months I've mentioned a steady drumbeat of chatter from inside the program that O'Korn was the best QB on the roster. Here's another manifestation of that from Ron Bellamy:

He said from his discussions with the Michigan coaches and the people in the program, John O'Korn "just lit up" the first team defense as the scout team QB everyday in practice. He said he was doing it against Lewis, Peppers, etc and the Michigan defensive coaches told him that O'Korn was going to be a flat out stud.

I'll try to stay calm and reasonable about these reports for the next eight months. And fail.

Let's go wherever, whenever. Harbaugh wants to have a week of spring practice in Florida. Specifically, at IMG, which has started a football program that attracts top recruits from around the country. A solid idea that will infuriate many: welcome to the offseason.

(Harbaugh wants to do it over spring break, naturally, to assuage any academics concerns you might have.)

I might watch it on mute just to see. Harbaugh is going to the state of the union thanks to a couple of congresspersons:

"For me he's the best of what the country should be and is," Dingell told MLive Monday night, pointing to his track record of hard work and teamwork.

Dingell, a Democrat, represents the 12th Congressional District, which includes the University of Michigan. She and U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican from West Michigan, together agreed to bring Harbaugh and his wife Sarah as guests to the State of the Union on Tuesday.

Each congressperson can invite one guest, so Amash invited Harbaugh and Dingell invited Sarah Harbaugh. Dingell said Amash's office approached hers about hosting the Harbaughs, and she'd have invited him in the first place if she knew he was interested.

Well done… people… in congress?

Seriously, do I have to watch the State of the Union now? I mean, any of these things could happen:

  • President shouts out Michigan's football coach
  • Harbaugh is invited to give speech
  • Harbaugh is not invited to give speech, gives speech anyway
  • Harbaugh wears cleats
  • Harbaugh nails Joe Biden on a post route
  • Harbaugh signs Declaration of Independence, is told that is unnecessary these days, says he has improved document all the same
  • camera cuts to Harbaugh gobbling stadium foodstuffs not apparently on sale anywhere in the building

Gentry location. Zach Gentry could be a tight end. He could also be a quarterback. He did a little of the former in the bowl practices but he is not a tight end. Yet.

Gentry was one player who Harbaugh experimented with during bowl practices last month, moving the 6-foot-7, 230-pound true freshman from quarterback to tight end.

An athletic quarterback in high school, Gentry was asked by Harbaugh to give it a shot after the regular season ended. Gentry says he didn't hesitate.

"It was their (idea), but I've been flexible with it," Gentry said last week in Orlando. "Coach Harbaugh and (Jay Harbaugh) wanted to use my athleticism and see what happens. I've been doing it in practice, I think I've done a nice job with it.

"But I'm not sure, exactly, what's going on with my future (and what position I'll play)."

I imagine he'll compete in spring as a quarterback, because Michigan's got an open job. If he ends up clearly behind at least two other guys, tight end becomes a real long-term option. (As does a transfer, unfortunately.) If he's in the running, or even in the top three, you have let him stay at QB. The athleticism that makes him a good tight end prospect is something Harbaugh wants from his QBs—and last night Deshaun Watson made Alabama's defense look silly thanks in large part to his legs.

Rats, what is your opinion of this ship? Penn State lost DC John Shoop to Tennessee. Related: John Shoop ain't got no shame.

Less than two weeks after Bob Shoop told reporters he hoped Penn State would have him "forever and ever and ever," the Nittany Lions' defensive coordinator is leaving the program for the same position at Tennessee.

PSU nearly lost him last year to LSU, whereupon Shoop was given a three-year, near-seven-figure deal. This year Tennessee offers 1.15 million and he's gone. All this further confirms that we should just pay the f-ing players before people in college football start literally drowning in money.

Anyway, the bleeding was and is not over: a few days later Penn State loses OL coach Herb Hand to the same position at Auburn. Today linebacker Troy Reeder announced he's transferring to Delaware after starting 11 games as a redshirt freshman. (Geno Lewis also grad-transferred to Oklahoma but that looks like a garden-variety playing time transfer.)

This all seems less than ideal for James Franklin, who has escaped serious scrutiny so far as Penn State digs out from under NCAA sanctions. Hand was dealt a… nevermind. Hand was put in an enormously difficult spot by those sanctions, which forced him to start two converted defensive linemen at guard. Then he lost the one good lineman he had to the draft last year; getting out makes sense for him.

I just wonder how hot seats get if Penn State's offense struggles again next year and their defense takes a half-step back without most of that defensive line. I'm guessing pretty hot.

Meanwhile in Big Ten teams losing defensive coordinators to SEC teams. Wisconsin's Dave Aranda headed down to LSU, causing Barry Alvarez to grouse about funding.

“The reason they can go up higher (in the SEC) is they’re not supporting as many sports,” Alvarez said. “It’s a difference in philosophy. The Big Ten is known for being more broad-based in its sports offerings. We are committed to supporting a broad-based athletic program. People may dismiss that, but it’s a real thing. They can sink more of their money into football."

At Get The Picture, a commenter points out the differences between Wisconsin and Georgia aren't significant:

What they have that we don’t: 3 rowing teams, wrestling, 2 hockey teams and men’s soccer.

What we have they they don’t (w/o looking to confirm): baseball, equestrian and gymnastics.

LSU is similar. They sponsor gymnastics, beach volleyball, and baseball; Wisconsin does not. Wisconsin sponsors hockey for both genders, wrestling, men's soccer, and rowing. Men's hockey makes money. Wisconsin's added expense for extra teams is more or less rowing—which mostly exists to be a cheap Title IX makeweight. Alvarez is full of it.

At least he's not alone?

…look at where some of the many other Big Ten coordinator hires came from this offseason: Louisiana-Lafayette (Minnesota, offense), Fordham (Penn State, offense), internally (Purdue and Illinois, offense), Northern Illinois (Rutgers, defense), Arkansas State (Maryland, offense) and even a coach who was out of football for a year (Purdue, defense). Maybe those moves will work out brilliantly, but they hardly bring the sizzle that Tennessee and LSU acquired.

On the other hand, Mike Debord.

Meanwhile in literally drowning in money. Hoo boy this makes me furious:


Jim Delany wrecked the Big Ten by adding two makeweight east coast programs that make no sense, destroyed the basketball schedule, made it so Michigan plays half the league once in a decade, and gets rewarded for it because some dillweed in the league office figured out a way to exploit the dying cable monopoly for short-term gain. I mean, I guess that's how things go in a business, but then they turn around and try to justify amateurism.

Meanwhile, the bubble creaks ominously:

Old Dominion and the other 13 Conference USA schools will have to make do with about $500,000 less in television revenue next season.

League TV revenue is likely to fall by about half when new contracts with Fox Sports and the CBS Sports Network take effect on July 1, according to sources at three schools familiar with C-USA’s TV contract negotiations.

The Big Ten is up in a few years. They've got a lot more pull than CUSA, but this might not be the best time for a contract negotiation.

In other news, I now have massive respect for Dane Brugler. CBS analyst Dane Brugler tells Michael Spath that Jake Butt had a shot to be the top tight end in the draft and a second round pick if he came out and picks out—yep—DESMOND MORGAN as Michigan's top eligible player:

:…he was all over the field,” Brugler said. “He was a blitzer, a guy that could play in the middle but play in space. He has lateral range, played sideline to sideline, quick reactions, strings runs out to the perimeter.

“Morgan is a physical player, aggressive but also at the same time, smart. I think he has the best shot to go a bit higher than his teammates. As long as the medicals check out.”

Thank you, Dane Brugler. You and I can ride on the Desmond Morgan bandwagon all the way to the, er, fifth round. Saddle up.

Etc.: Nebraska loses DT Vincent Valentine to the draft. Rahk playing well. Jake Rudock in repose. Bryan Mone is ready to go. NYE was a massive bust for the CFP.

Don Brown defensive resources I haven't had the time to look at yet but will revisit when I do. Ditto Ian Boyd on running your slot receiver down the gut of the MSU defense or Smart Football touching on the same topic.


Everyone Murders

January 12th, 2016 at 1:44 PM ^

Hinton's table shows Clemson at 14-0.  I hope he didn't go to bed early last night, because, well ... you know.  [EDIT - I see now he did this before last night's game.  Off to the corner I go!]

Otherwise, I wonder if the prognosticators are picking Michigan so high on the assumption that we get Rashan Gary. I'd put him down for the number two guy that needs to come through for Michigan to deliver, because he seems like that much of a difference-maker (even though he's not committed).



January 12th, 2016 at 4:51 PM ^

He'll play, but I don't think he's going to add too much next year other than depth. People get a little too excited about watching blue chippers beat up on other HS prospects. Going against guys with 4 years on you in the weight room and college program is a whole different ball game. 


January 12th, 2016 at 3:51 PM ^

Depends on where Michigan would fall otherwise.  If the Gary domino is the one that tips the scales from 6 to 5, I can understand it.  Our DL will straight up murder people between the whistles next year.  If they'd move Michigan from 14 or so into the top 5, then they are an idiot.

I am still holding tight to my pessimism.  I do not think Gary will be suiting up for the good guys next year.  


January 12th, 2016 at 1:41 PM ^

I do NOT think I would take that one as a "harbinger" of what the future holds elsewhere in the college football TV world.

The latest C-USA deal was for the 2011-2015 football seasons.  Since that contract started, Houston, Memphis, Tulane, East Carolina, UCF, SMU and Tulsa have left C-USA, replaced by Florida Atlantic, FIU Louisiana Tech, MTSU, North Texas, Old Dominion, UTSA, Charlotte  and Western Kentucky.

Some of the new C-USA members may grow (MTSU, WKU, ODU and UTSA being most likely) ---- but that's still definitely a net loss.

kevin holt

January 12th, 2016 at 1:48 PM ^

Delaware? I understand leaving a program if it's not a good fit or even if it's terrible, but a starter transferring to DELAWARE indicates something else is going on.

Edit: apparently his dad played there and his younger brother just committed? Weird still. Says he's eligible immediately (because it's not D-1?)


January 12th, 2016 at 3:12 PM ^

Yeah, it does seem strange on the surface. But he is a legacy there with family nearby, and who knows if there is something not public bringing him home.

If he's an NFL player, he'll still get a shot. There's more than a handful of FCS guys in the NFL, and Delaware has a pretty famous alum playing for the other Coach Harbaugh. 

Toasted Yosties

January 12th, 2016 at 1:46 PM ^

If the cable sports package deals aren't a thing in a few years and conferences aren't taking in what they are today, is there any chance we jettison Rutgers and Maryland? That's the sole reason why they're here. I know, I know...not going to happen...but maybe?


January 12th, 2016 at 1:50 PM ^

I realize I'm taking a risk by saying something that might be construed as political but here it goes:


Apparently the one man who can bring Republicans & Democrats together is indeed Jim Harbaugh.  I look forward to 2024 after Michigan's 8th Playoff Appearence and 6th title (I conceded that Alabama may win a couple) Jim Harbaugh decides to run for President and wins handily.


On more serious matters, I do not understand the Wisconsin fan base.  You would think there would be more concern about what is going on in that organization.  The number of people who flee continues to be shocking and Barry Alvarez seems totally out of touch.  The handful of Wisconsin fans I know don't seem perturbed by it at all.


January 12th, 2016 at 1:56 PM ^

Why does the blog refer to PSU's recently departed DC as John Shoop when his name is Bob? I saw it the other day in something Ace or Seth posted (I think). I had been figuring it was a joke I wasn't getting, or maybe changing Bob to John because too many people confuse Bob Shoop with Bob Stoops? But...there is a John Shoop, and he coaches at Purdue (did? not sure if he was let go).

UM Fan from Sydney

January 12th, 2016 at 1:59 PM ^

This is the best part of the post LOL. Love it:

Seriously, do I have to watch the State of the Union now? I mean, any of these things could happen:

  • President shouts out Michigan's football coach
  • Harbaugh is invited to give speech
  • Harbaugh is not invited to give speech, gives speech anyway
  • Harbaugh wears cleats
  • Harbaugh nails Joe Biden on a post route
  • Harbaugh signs Declaration of Independence, is told that is unnecessary these days, says he has improved document all the same
  • camera cuts to Harbaugh gobbling stadium foodstuffs not apparently on sale anywhere in the building


January 12th, 2016 at 2:10 PM ^

next year, I hope that who ever is #2 is a close second. It would be really great knowing that we have at least two capable QBs to take us through next season. Harbaugh has until September to make it so.


January 12th, 2016 at 2:13 PM ^

I don't think Alvarez is necessarily full of it.  When he says "more broad-based" I'm sure he's not just referring to quantity of sports.  Alabama, UGA, etc. fans give zero flying fucks if they have a good basketball team.  The only SEC schools that do care about basketball are Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, and I guess maybe Vandy and Mizzou.  The rest of the boosters are like "oh, we have a good team this year?  cool.  when's spring practice?"

I don't think there's any doubt, actually, that Big Ten teams invest more in non-football sports than SEC teams do.  I mean, if you're going to dismiss rowing as a cheap Title IX compliance sport, gymnastics has to be in the same category and not something that UGA invests pots of gold in.


January 12th, 2016 at 3:04 PM ^

College baseball is the EXACT opposite though. Nobody in the B1G cares about college baseball but it's a huge thing in the SEC. The pre-season NCAA rankings have Florida (#1), Vandy (#3), Texas A&M (#5), LSU (#7), Miss St (#11), and Arkansas (#25). The B1G has one team (Michigan, #24). There's also only 1 PAC-12 team (UCLA, #10). 

The College World Series is on ESPN non-stop in the spring for a reason. 


January 12th, 2016 at 3:43 PM ^

That's an outdated take on SEC hoops. The league isn't great yet but they're clearly investing now. Ole Miss just built an arena, Bama hired Avery Johnson, Miss State hired Howland, Auburn has Pearl, Arkansas (Anderson) and S. Carolina (Martin) have prominent coaches who've won at previous Power Five stops.

Say what you want about how those will all work out, but cheap it is not. Avery Johnson makes more than Beilein.

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Barca Wolverine

January 13th, 2016 at 11:56 AM ^

I'm with Barry Alvarez - ROWING IS NOT A CHEAP TITLE IX SPORT.  

It is not cheap to clothe, travel, and equip over 100 athletes and as the person who paid for these things for Michigan's crew team, I would know.

Think about flights, hotel rooms, food, and possibly per diem.  Think about flying out Thursday night for a regatta on Saturday morning in Princeton NJ

-Flights for 70 @ 450/person

-40 hotel rooms @ 109/room for 2 nights

-Food for 70 x 7 meals @ $25/meal

-Busses to the airport, from airport, to practice, from practice, to regatta, from regatta, to airport, from airport.

All this and we still haven't talked about the boats (6-figure pieces of fiberglass), clothes, practice expenses which yes, we have to charter busses for (We're talking 'bout PRACTICE?) and more. 

Don't just write rowing off as "cheap".  Gymnastics might be cheap.  Men's and women's soccer might together be cheaper than rowing.  

kevin holt

January 12th, 2016 at 2:19 PM ^

Haha that Ian Boyd article explicitly says multiple times how Spartan fans will inevitably tell him the problem is that they need great CBs or athletic guys at the position, but that it's really the scheme and good CBs won't fix the problems. First two comments try to argue that they just need to develop good CBs again.


January 12th, 2016 at 2:52 PM ^

1. Jim Harbaugh might storm at Obama like he would a ref making a bad call.

2. While O'Korn's skills are certainly there, one of the things that makes QBs successful is poise under pressure. Rudock has that in spades and the word is that O'Korn is not yet there in that department.


January 12th, 2016 at 5:34 PM ^

He played pretty well as a freshman, though he tended to beat up on the bad teams and struggled against the better ones ( lots of sub 50% completion rates as the season progressed). And then it all fell apart as a sophomore. I expect he'll be better under Harbaugh, but this isn't a poised 5th year QB like Rudock, and expecting that out of the gate is probably a bit foolish


January 12th, 2016 at 2:53 PM ^

Like everybody here I think it's certainly possible for this team to make the college playoff next year if O'Korn is as billed and the new group of LBs can be at least average.

But...those are big enough ?'s to start the season and rank this team outside the top 5.

I was thinking they'd start at maybe 6 or 7...and that's factoring in the attrition for the rest ofthe top 10.

MI Expat NY

January 12th, 2016 at 3:01 PM ^

The thing is, if you don't have serious questions you're probably #1, because almost nobody enters a season without question marks.  It's the nature of four year eligibility.  Outside of maybe Clemson, you could probably pick out a position group or two for each potential top 10 team and say it's a serious question mark.  

Someone has to be in the top 5, and I see no reason why it wouldn't include a team that finished as a top 10-ish team and only loses about 9 guys off the two-deep.  


January 12th, 2016 at 2:55 PM ^

Recall that Alvarez was dealing with his chancelor who was complaining about how much Harbaugh was getting paid, and he felt the need to explain to her those upward and downward sloping crossing lines.  The joke is that Rebecca Blank was a labor economist in her prior, academic life.


January 12th, 2016 at 3:43 PM ^

Athletic departments are just corporations, with the executive pay gap widening while everyone else (read: unpaid student athletes) get screwed. 


January 12th, 2016 at 3:51 PM ^

I was really surprised to find out they don't have a baseball team. Growing up, the three main sports were football, basketball, and baseball. I understand hockey being a fourth, especially in Wisconsin, but hockey and basketball share the winter season. What is a poor badger supposed to do during the spring?

For more info on the wisconsin baseball situation, see: http://www.foxsports.com/wisconsin/story/pain-of-losing-baseball-still-…

Wisconsin — along with Syracuse, Colorado and Iowa State — is one of just four BCS-level schools without a baseball program. The Badgers also are the only Big Ten school without the sport.


January 12th, 2016 at 3:58 PM ^

Richter said baseball was selected {to be cut} for a variety of reasons. Weather in Wisconsin made it difficult to play home games the first two months of the season, which increased travel expenses. Home attendance was sagging, the team's facilities were below average and baseball didn't have a corresponding female sport.

Um, haven't they ever heard of softball?

EDIT: They added softball in 1996, but didn't bring back baseball