Unverified Voracity Exceeds Minimum Flair Comment Count

Brian December 14th, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Is this inane or brilliant? Like all the best newspaper headlines, I can't tell if this News editor is serious or making a terribly sly joke:

New names add flair to Big Ten for next season

Flair you say?


The awful periwinkle logo does look like it belongs on a button that says "my other car is the incorrect belief I have a sense of humor."

Oddly, multiple readers have emailed to inform that the agency who put together this debacle is "highly respected." I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around a marketing firm named "Pentagram," which seems deliberately mom-terrifying and reminds me of Dan Akroyd in goat leggings and generally seems like a thing you should avoid if you don't want to give off the wrong impression.

Meanwhile, the public loves it:

According to an unscientific poll on ChicagoTribune.com, 6 percent believe Legends and Leaders "represent what the Big Ten is all about," and 94 percent say, "You have to be kidding … is this the best they can do?"

Similarly, 93 percent of those responding to a midwestsportsfans.com poll voted for either "terrible" or "it makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon." Others opted for "awesome" (2 percent) or "indifferent" (5 percent).

94%! You can't get 94% of people to condemn murdering six year olds these days. In two weeks all FAIL pictures on the internet will have been mysteriously replaced by images of Jim Delany.

The count. They announced 113,411 at the Big Chill by adding up every single person who was there and counting Red Berenson as six because obviously, but when Guinness sits down to actually put a number in the book it will be considerably smaller than that because they take a more restrictive view on what counts as a spectator:

The school counts players, media and others at the game to work. Guinness doesn’t count any of those people.

"It's a combination of scans with the barcodes on tickets," Janela said, explaining how Guinness reaches its number. "It's not for tickets sold but for people who actually show up. People who weren’t ticketed, marching band for instance, or people who were given special passes."

Media and players, he said, do not count in the numbers because they are not actually spectators of the game.

UPDATE: Wow. Guinness says the actual count was 85,451, which seems low.

Also from that article, a ref skated over to the Michigan bench after the Wohlberg extra-point celebration and said any more funny business would result in a penalty and Rick Comley said it was "uncalled for." The NFL infects all.

Speaking of. A reader emails that the XP is not lost to history:

I also broke a cardinal rule of game columns by not checking my feed before posting, so I missed an extensive WH highlight package:

Casteel Watch. Jeff Casteel remains the most plausible defensive coordinator candidate out there, having established a level of performance with the 3-3-5 that's become as impressive as Rodriguez's WVU offenses were. That level is "really impressive… for the Big East." Even with that BE caveat, WVU's defense is #1 in FEI this year and equally impressive in conventional metrics. The three years before this they were 33rd, 28th, and 8th. I'd be willing to roll with Rodriguez again if the band got back together.

Unfortunately, after two swings and misses the chances of that are miniscule unless Bill Stewart whittles on down that road. Fortunately, there are machinations afoot in Morgantown, with Oklahoma State OC Dana Holgorsen heavily rumored to be taking the job after Stewart coaches the bowl game*. Though a Smoking Musket rumor that Stewart was out was refuted on the twitters by multiple players, actual newspapers are saying that may be a matter of timing:

Sources confirmed today that a high-ranking official from West Virginia's athletic department has been in contact with Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen about the head coaching position at West Virginia, even as there is no vacancy. …

A source confirmed it is probable Stewart will be fired if West Virginia does not win that bowl game, and could happen regardless of the outcome. A win in the bowl game would give the Mountaineers a 10-win season.

It's possible Holgorsen would look at the defensive side of the ball and decide that he shouldn't fix what isn't broken but the chances of landing Casteel go from zero to non-zero if Stewart gets the boot. Let's hope NC State wins 3-0.

UDPATE: Newspaper type folk are reporting that Holgorsen is in as OC/coach in waiting and will replace Stewart after next year without touching the defensive coaching staff. Dangit.

*(Is it just me or are there an inordinate number of coaches in limbo this year? Usually it's fire and forget immediately after the regular season, but this year the coaching carousel has a number of schools half in, half out.)

Darius as mini-Denard part two. Way back on Friday Michigan dismantled Utah in an 11-point game that wasn't really as close as that, and people are beginning to pick up on Darius Morris's leap forward. Someone was asking about surprise teams on the most recent Big Ten conference call and both Tom Crean and Matt Painter cited Michigan, with Painter specficially mentioning Morris as the reason. Big Ten Geeks:

Darius Morris led the way with 19 points to go with 10 assists, and it’s hard to ignore his play so far this season.  A role player last year, Morris has become much more assertive in running the offense.  This is actually somewhat of an exception--role players don’t suddenly start consuming possessions over an offseason in general--but one should keep in mind that with Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims monopolizing the offense last season, there wasn’t much of an opportunity for Morris.  It’s been a different story in his sophomore season, as Morris is quickly becoming one of the Big Ten’s best floor generals.  He’s shooting an amazing (for a 6-4 guard) 61 percent from 2-point range, along with one of the best assist rates in the country. 

At times in the Utah game the problem with the offense seemed to be Morris's lack of assertiveness—most of Michigan's worst possessions saw him with limited time on the ball.

If Morris is shooting 61% from two he's probably not shooting enough, which is an interesting problem to have. Last year Manny Harris was sucking up 30% of Michigan's possessions while shooting 48% inside the three-point line. The rest of the team shot at a higher clip, and while that was because Harris drew so much attention I often felt like the team would have been better if the shots were more evenly distributed.

This year Morris is killing people; the rest of the team is doing well but can't keep up. Major SOS caveats apply, but I think I'd like to see Morris try to get a few more shots off per game. A complicating factor is Morris's assist rate, which is fifth nationally—a major reason he's not getting off more shots is he's turning Jordan Morgan into a 61% shooter, too.

Speaking of Morgan, he bounced back from a couple of rough outings with solid, annoying post defense against Utah's bigs, who are very big indeed. UMHoops grabbed a sequence in which he took a couple offensive fouls:

I wish they'd also clipped the possession before that, in which Morgan went to war with Foster for the duration of the possession and eventually got an elbow to the head for his troubles. The ref let that go but was looking for any funny stuff on the next trip and got it when a pissed-off Foster barged into him. Foster's not any good offensively—his usage rate is an amazing 8.9%—but he also did a good job on Washburn, and this year I think all we're looking for out of Morgan is holding his own against the mediocre and beating the bad.

Morgan drew a third charge with help defense later, but since he was 1) moving and 2) directly underneath the basket in the pretend no-charge circle the NCAA instituted last year that was positive reinforcement of a negative play Michigan got lucky on.

OH SO TINGLY. I may not be a fan of Michigan Stadium hosting dancing curly fries but some of the things Dave Brandon is plotting are major compensations:

Q: You also have talked about new scoreboards for Michigan Stadium. Your vision is not Cowboys Stadium huge, but pretty huge?

A: Pretty huge. If you picture the size of those (current) scoreboards and maybe something that's 30 percent larger, 40 percent larger, but then the entire surface or at least the vast majority of the surface would be video screen. I think those scoreboards look wimpy now with this structure and then the fact the HD video portion is only about a third of the surface. We can't do what our fans want us to do in terms of showing them really high-resolution replays, game action and even a lot of the marketing stuff we're doing with videos and pre-game and halftime shows — these screens are just not acceptable. This is very old technology, and they don't look very good, either. Think 30 or 40 percent larger and think big-image area for high-definition resolution screens. I think our fans will love it.

If you have never been to a stadium with video boards that size, it's a massive difference. It is Brandon's "hope" they are in for 2011. Brandon also re-iterates that advertising for the Big Chill does not presage advertising during football games. That's part of an extensive interview with Angelique Chengelis, BTW, that you should check out.

Time to go. The Only Colors takes an unprecedented step for them and calls for the replacement of Rick Comley as Michigan State's head coach. Despite how much I've been enjoying this stretch in MSU hockey, I'm with them. This is the third straight year they'll miss the tourney and the second time in three years they're virtually indistinguishable from Bowling Green, a school that's considering dropping their program. This year is like Rich Rodriguez having another 3-9 year two years after his first, and while Comley does have a fluke national title that sort of thing shouldn't be survivable at a program like MSU.

Etc.: Doc Sat points out how weird it is that awards lists are featuring Denard Robinson as something other than a quarterback when they were fine with Eric Crouch, et al, as QBs. Robinson completed 60% of his passes… what more do you need? Basketball takes on North Carolina Central at 7 this evening.



December 14th, 2010 at 1:17 PM ^

All I want for Christmas is a Jeff Casteel coordinated Defense! 

A Gator Bowl win + Rich Rod 4th year + Jeff Casteel = a great 2011 Recruiting Class and thus, a great 2011 Season!!!!

Big Boutros

December 14th, 2010 at 1:23 PM ^

As my homeslice pointed out, this is one hell of an economy in which to be throwing an outdoor hockey party. If Special K dressed up in a Curly Fries outfit helps foot the bill I'm OK with it. My ticket was only $15, for Hagelin's sake

Communist Football

December 14th, 2010 at 1:28 PM ^

Denard gained more yards this year than Mark Ingram did last year.  His stats were way better than those of Eric Crouch. 

What it clearly comes down to is not stats but team wins.  If Michigan loses 3 games or less next year, Denard gets the Heisman. 

Sgt. Wolverine

December 14th, 2010 at 1:34 PM ^

of 85,451 seems absurdly low.  Were there really 28k media, players and stadium workers at the game?  Did Michigan count tickets that didn't get scanned at the gate?  I expected a not-small gap between the school's figure and Guinness' figure, but that gap is monstrous and really perplexing.


December 14th, 2010 at 3:41 PM ^

Yes, Michigan counted tickets that were not scanned at the gate.

Michigan counts "paid attendence" meaning they automatically have a baseline of 109,901.  They don't count people that show up, rather people that actually buy the tickets.  It's really kinda a joke when you think about it.


December 14th, 2010 at 1:35 PM ^

I was over at Kenpom today and I think he may have recently updated the individual player stats, because Morris is all the way up to second nationally in assist rate


December 14th, 2010 at 1:37 PM ^

I know right now the video portion of the board is around 1/3 of it but if they make the entire thing 30 - 40% bigger and make most of it video how big would the actual screen be?  Are we talking the size of the screens hanging on the side at Jerry World or something larger? Obviously we're not talkign 60 yard wide but I can't seem to find the specs on the board anywhere.


December 14th, 2010 at 1:58 PM ^

Putting my company's time and resources to good use, I took a screencap from Google Maps' satellite and estimated distances using a CAD program.

The current scoreboards are about 27 yds wide, so a 30-40% increase means they'll probably be 35-40 yds wide. But considering the current video portion is only probably 10-15 yds wide, it'll seem much bigger plus the HD factor.


December 14th, 2010 at 5:07 PM ^

The poke was at UM fans.  Of the many criticisms of Rich Rod, one was that he had a hillbilly accent, poor grammar and lobbed numerous f bombs in practice.  To which my response is who is shitting whom (I hope that is gramatically correct).  I could give a crap less about anyone's accent and where they came from.  I find RR to be an engaging personality, certainly more outgoing with the media than was Lloyd Carr.  In the age of media attention on every little detail, I thought it was great to have a charming personality as UM football coach. 

I have a home in Ann Arbor and one in Raleigh NC.  I find it a little weak to form opinions based on one's speech patterns.  Actually that was a big poke at UM fans.  Are you crapping me?  If RR came into town and ran off a couple of ten-win seasons, then should care if he spoke Swahili.

Go Blue!


December 14th, 2010 at 1:43 PM ^

new names and logs at first, but after 24-36 hours it would start to grow on them.  Well, it's been 24 hours and I still think they are a joke.  Maybe he meant 24-36 days. Months?  Years?


December 14th, 2010 at 1:43 PM ^

Is acquiring Jeff Casteel dependent on West Virginia's bowl game outcome?

I would think that Michigan can offer money enough to get Casteel if RR/DB really want him.


Otherwise, if Michigan's Casteel-acquiring ability is really out of their control, then, Go NC State!


December 14th, 2010 at 3:45 PM ^

He's not going to come out and say I am staying at WVU because I didn't get enough of a pay raise to move from a situation I am comfortable with.  I know when Rodriguez was hired he negotiated a raise for his assistants, but after Casteel turned it down I am guessing there was never a Godfather offer thrown at him.  I know it doesn't seem like it's about the money but in my mind it's always about the money. 


December 14th, 2010 at 1:44 PM ^

How can the Guiness number be almost 30,000 lower than the announced number? That makes no sense at all. There are not 30,000 people in the Stadium without tickets.

biakabutuka ex…

December 14th, 2010 at 1:55 PM ^

My take on Denard is they really want to recognize him for being possibly the most exciting player this year. But you can't reasonably put him ahead of Cam Newton or Andrew Luck based on the way awards get handed out. So...you recategorize him.


December 14th, 2010 at 1:56 PM ^

Pentagram is very good. 

it is easier to bitch about the logo than to do it, these things are really more like reflections of the groups of people that commission them.  obviously it could be cooler or snazzier, but this is a group of stodgy old white guys from cities like indianapolis and happy valley, pa. cool was never in the cards.  its big, its simple, it will work at half court of the basketball tourney as well as it will on the facebook page.  i do prefer it without the word TEN at the bottom, just B1G gets the point across.

say what you want about how the big11ten thing was better, it was made in 1993 or something and simply did not have to be as versatile.  also, this brand works for all sports.  hiding a 2 in there to get a secret twelve works for sports where there are 12 teams, but what about women's diving or tennis or other sports that might not have 12 teams in the conference (i don't know which sports have less than 12 teams, but i am sure there are some).

legends and leaders though, blech.  that was not a design decision, that was a focus group tasked with choosing the least bad of several options.


December 14th, 2010 at 2:11 PM ^

Except, if you read Brian's original thread, there are a multitude of designs that were way better than this one, that took all of 10 minutes to design. The fact that you had big bucks and months to do it, and this is all you could come up with isn't a sign of difficulty, but incompetence. You don't HAVE to have a secret 12 in there. But it makes more sense than a secret 10 in a the BIG 10 (or 16, or whatever the hell that's supposed to be).  I mean, whether there are 12 teams in the conference competing in that sport, there are still 12 schools in the Athletic Conference (they could and would be allowed to field one if they wanted).


December 14th, 2010 at 2:35 PM ^

the B1G should stand alone, most often.  i am hoping adding the word TEN to the bottom was done to appease the "i can't read it" folks. 

what does big bucks and time look like graphically? 

doing it in ten minutes and posting it on brian's site is not nearly the same as haggling it out with 12 university presidents, 12 athletic directors, 250 coaches, and thousands of athletes then making it work as letterhead, tv graphic, facebook graphic and all sizes in between.  color, black and white.

again, this is not the best mark of any in the world, but i think it is pretty well done and they did not resort to any swooshes, bevels, gradients


December 15th, 2010 at 11:25 AM ^

Because it wasn't just bloggers...



According to an unscientific poll on ChicagoTribune.com, 6 percent believe Legends and Leaders "represent what the Big Ten is all about," and 94 percent say, "You have to be kidding … is this the best they can do?"

Similarly, 93 percent of those responding to a midwestsportsfans.com poll voted for either "terrible" or "it makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon." Others opted for "awesome" (2 percent) or "indifferent" (5 percent).

94%! You can't get 94% of people to condemn murdering six year olds these days. In two weeks all FAIL pictures on the internet will have been mysteriously replaced by images of Jim Delany.