Unverified Voracity Files Mouse Tort Comment Count

Brian August 4th, 2015 at 12:10 PM


Well, of course. Mr. Harbaugh goes to Washington.

A software engineer named Nick Harris was visiting Washington, D.C. one morning in April when a stranger outside the Supreme Court asked him for directions to the White House. It was only a brief interaction, and yet Harris remembers it well.

“It was very odd,” he said. “Like, why am I running into Jim Harbaugh at the Supreme Court?”

Harbaugh met with five justices, coaching them on the finer points of fair use law.

Also of course. Mr. Harbaugh finds a friend.

That mouse is now the Seahawks' starting tight end.

The worst possible take. This guy covers Rutgers for a living so he knows real when he sees it. I mean, I guess?

It was a good show. But let's be clear: It was every bit a show. Harbaugh turned on the happy personality for the cameras, and he was so effective that it almost made you forget about the other Harbaugh. The one that Colin Cowherd had to hang up on during a radio interview. The one whose personality contributed to an implosion with the San Francisco 49ers.

The one a former player said might be "clinically insane."

That Harbaugh. Which Harbaugh is the real Harbaugh? I have no idea. I only know the guy, much like Flood, from what I've seen from afar.

But I do know this: The Kyle Flood who was talking with the Big Ten Network cameras rolling on Friday? He is the same Kyle Flood was was standing in the hallway a few minutes talking to me, and will be the same Kyle Flood if you run into him this weekend around Piscataway.

This, you should know, is by design. … putting on a show when the cameras are rolling? That's not Flood. He'll let the shiny new guy have the spotlight. 

Observing Jim Harbaugh for a period longer than 20 seconds and coming away with the conclusion that any part of his personality is under control is… well, it's an opinion. It's an opinion like Kyle Flood's home state recruiting…


Rutgers is involved with just one of the uncommitted players

…but is definitely a thing someone thinks.

Dubstep ahoy. We have discussed it. We are still not sure if this is a joke.

We're leaning yes. But this is the place that hired Beck Man, so we can't be sure.

Not bad dot gif. Here is a small chart about dollars.


Louisville has really done a job making themselves a thing, I tell ya.

Note that USC and OSU aren't on these lists because they have differently styled deals in which they're given a floor and then get a royalty rate above that. OSU's 2012 deal is for a minimum of 9.7 million a year.

Nice guys. Man, there were a lot of quotes from Big Ten Media Days that set your teeth on edge about the state of the program under the previous administration. You don't want to read too much into them because every transition comes with talk about how now it's serious. But the results on the field are looking for an explanation, and some of it is in here:

"The practices in the spring were four hours," Ross said. "I remember a time where if practice ran a little longer than expected that we'd start sulking and complaining. Now, it's four hours and we're accustomed to it. We can work hard for as however long as needed, not "try to get it over" work. The seniors got everyone on path. In order to be successful we have to change what we've done in the past."

Previously, Michigan split their practice time between the field and film work and the like. Since stretchgate we're all experts on what a countable hour is, and a lot of that film stuff can be moved to non-countable if it's not with a coach. It's likely that Michigan was wasting countable hours under Hoke. That is not likely to be the case under Harbaugh.

In fact, he's encouraged everyone on the team to get jobs. Chesson:

"In my perspective and how I was raised, you have a certain responsibility to yourself to commit and to be a positive role model. What better way than to get a job and see how it feels to practice, go to school and then go cut fields and cut grass, come back and sleep and do it all the next day?" …

"I don't know a guy who doesn't have a job. When you're working, you're earning a wage. So many people in society don't have that opportunity. For us to do that is awesome."

People often compare college footballing to a full-time job that you have to go to college on top of; Harbaugh's like "and also you should have a part-time job."

Also with continued bizarre anti-mayonnaise stance. Andy Staples has a column on cord-cutting and the Big Ten's upcoming rights negotiations. He's referencing Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scot's contention that the Big Ten might get the short end now that ESPN is tightening its belt:

Scott is correct that rights fees won’t go up forever, but the Big Ten deal could be the last hurrah before networks get more cost-conscious because of cord-cutters. The Big Ten is going to get a massive deal because ESPN and Big Ten Network partner FOX need those rights to compete in the new marketplace. With deals for all of the other Power Five leagues, the NFL, NBA and MLB all locked down until at least 2020, the Big Ten’s deal next year is the biggest thing left. It might be the last one of these deals signed for a primarily bundled marketplace.

Which is all well and good for Jim Delany, who will flit off into retirement before that contract comes close to ending. Those of us still around in an unbundled world are going to be looking at a ridiculous 14-team conference that was foisted upon us in the pursuit of short term dollars.

Also, Staples continues slamming mayonnaise even in the context of a BLT. Apparently he hates tomatoes, too. Poor bastard.

This again. Michigan's basketball nonconference schedule:


That is Xavier and garbage at home. All six non-Xavier D-I opponents were 200+ in Kenpom last year. Football has seemed to figure out that giving people reasonable opponents is something that helps preserve the covenant between fans and the program. Hockey (which announced a schedule like this one minus Xavier) and basketball have not figured this out.

These are slightly different problems. Hockey needs any legitimate opponents to spark interest and help their strength of schedule in the dire Big Ten. Basketball has a respectable schedule, but they fill out the holes with the absolute dregs of D-I. This is bad for both fans and the team. The NCAA uses nonconference schedule strength as a metric, and they calculate it crappily, so taking on the truly awful teams hurts you disproportionately.

There are going to be a couple of duds every year—that game just before Christmas is always going to be against a team starting a 6'2" center—but upgrading some of those opponents from the Delaware State level to the Bradley level is preferable to the current situation.

This year is Breaston year. Next year is Denard year. Part of the NCAA's increasingly desperate attempt to keep the status quo:

The Nebraska athletic department is joining lots of other schools in limiting the numbers on the jerseys fans can buy. For this year, only No. 1 and No. 15 — as in 2015 — will be sold at the Huskers Authentic team store. Next year, it’ll be 1 and 16.

Licensees selling jerseys are limited to the same numbers, and nobody gets a grandfather clause.

And the change isn’t just for football, but for all sports that have jersey replicas for sale.

Michigan has not announced a similar restriction but they're probably thinking about it. So instead of fans buying the things they want and the players getting a portion of that, nothing for anyone.

Take it from Tyrone. PSA, 1993.

Via Dr. Sap.

Etc.: This week in Steve Patterson: ShaggyBevo has to change its name due to legal sabre-rattling. In lieu of actually writing a Gold Cup react I'll just endorse this one. The Broken Bits Of Chair trophy lives. Media day interview from the official site. The turkey is a prisoner. For now. Brady and his phone. ESPN asked Ian Darke to call college football. He said no because he knows his limitations, but I kind of want to see what that's like.

Mike Riley and Jim Harbaugh go back.



August 4th, 2015 at 12:17 PM ^

Not surpised Darke said no to football. My guess, however, is that it wouldn't take him long to figure it out. I'd love to see him try it, too. 


August 4th, 2015 at 12:21 PM ^

I'm guessing for 2015, as individual tix don't go on sale for a couple months, but the past few years when UM plays a patsy or three in December, tickets are *never* cheap. I can't believe even 10,000 people want to go see U of M play Youngstown State or Bryant, but when you go to StubHub, you very rarely see tix lower than $20/seat, and usually they are much more than that. 

Is there some other way to get cheap tickets to these b-ball games that I'm missing, online or in person? I've even tried scalpers on the street a couple times, and found them to be high priced as well. Then I watch the game on TV and it looks 2/3 full.

I don't get it.


August 4th, 2015 at 12:21 PM ^

I just did that with Comcast, and have internet only. (Pro Tip: Get a better price on unbendled internet by tweeting angrily at Comcast until their @ComcastCares account messages you. Tell them what you want or you're gone, and chances are you'll get better pricing.)

I'm still not sure what to do about away games this year. It'll probably involve a bit of streaming and using a friend's BTN account on my laptop, but the extra $30/mo I saved will come in handy. It all comes down to dollars and cents, and I'd rather save my hard-earned money than give it to ESPN/Disney/Comcast.


August 4th, 2015 at 1:21 PM ^

This is the question I've been wondering about every time Brian goes on a cord-cutting rant. You kinda answered it, Amaizin, but in doing so only reinforced my gut feeling:

All this "unbundling" and "cord-cutting" is saving you maybe $30 you say? And then go on musing about how you'll access certain games, maybe borrow a friend's membership, maybe harass Comcast a bit more... for 30 bucks?!

I dropped that on a round of drinks the other night, right? I can't see how I'm ever gonna sweat how or when I'll be able to see a game over $30/month.

And as for all the proverbial Grandmas out there cutting espn or what have you...maybe your grandmother is younger & hipper than mine, but she wouldn't have the first thought to call the cable company and start selecting channels to keep on her service like selecting items from a room service menu.

I mean, unless someone's suggesting the cable providers will be required to do that in the future? I'm mean either legally or for competitive reasons? I've not heard that yet...

A more viable future, I believe, is the direction of the AT&T/Direct TV bundle. Still get phone service (just cellular), still get Internet, still get channels. Comcast will figure out a way to get in on some of that too (hello Verizon? wanna merge?)

Brian is the smartest football fan/blogger I know of, but I have to think that Comcast et al employ some people who are pretty smart at making money for the boss man too...


August 4th, 2015 at 3:31 PM ^

... specifically on theme parks (they've literally recently invested billions) and internet services (you've got access, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, YouTube, etc in HD some way). They'll also make money on TV, but not as much as before.

For ESPN, you're not typical. Literally, you (and the rest of the readers on a U of M sports blog) are a small minority, perhaps 10-20% of the cable audience. It's not just grandma's -- the vast majority of the U.S. population don't care enough about sports to pay anything close to $360/year for it. They'll find that ridiculous to even consider.

Look at how far ESPN is down this list:

ESPN is in a bad spot - they've overpaid for talent (which is why there have been so many reccent firings) and for media rights (though, like a junkie, they can't quit it; they don't yet know any other way) and they can see the wave coming to crash down on them. Disney (their parent) doesn't own the pipes (like Comcast) or the airwaves (like AT&T or Verizon). 

They're plenty smart, but unbundling is the death of ESPN's current model (pay huge rights for all sports; pass on costs to customers. Repeat). They'll need to find a new one.


August 4th, 2015 at 4:22 PM ^

Thanks for the thoughtful and informative reply Mr Pollard - with statistics embedded for support!

I do not pretend to be knowedgable about this topic, but I see screeds on this blog frequently lambasting the B1G for adding large TV markets when that model of calculating eyeballs is a dying one - if I'm understanding the argument?

On the other hand, every media coverage source says netowrks will continue to pay big $ for sports because it's the only thing people watch live anymore... and advertisers don't like DVRs. So there's a disconnect there somewhere, right? Isn't it the very model of commercial television that seems doomed, not ESPN per se? DVRs, Netflix, etc are going to kill the business model.

In fact, even if only 10-20% of TV viewers care enough to pay to watch sports, based on your figure, isn't that still 20% of the viewership, but nearly 100% of people watching live programming? So sports networks should actually stay relatively healthier than other forms of entertainment - at least as long as thier revenue is based on selling commercials.

And in that case, wouldn't you want to be in as large of TV markets as possible, including NY-NJ & DC-Balt, even if as I suspect far fewer people care about Maryland (and especially Rutgers) than both the B1G Network and the cable providers hope?

I'm sure I'm missing an important piece of the puzzle in this debate, because as I layed it out it seems fairly obvious that sports are an advertisers BEST investment, even if that means subsidizing the ESPNs of the world to stay in as many homes as possible?



August 5th, 2015 at 12:20 AM ^

The issue many have is that how many Rutgers fans are there really in NYC? And even more pointedly, how many will want to spend $5/month for a sport tier in order to watch it? Eyeballs are only valuable if they are actually watching your product.

If eyeballs, on their own, were truly the most important (i.e., if advertising paid enough), they'd move the games to free TV (e.g., ABC, NBC -- which really aren't free anymore, but that's another story). But sports overlords like Goodell, Stern, Delaney, etc want more than just that -- they want to get money even from people who don't watch. And until very recently, they got it. They got it all, with both hands. "Grandma" was paying, so was everyone else, and ESPN still was in the vast majority of homes so "eyeballs" didn't get hurt that much.

But ESPN maxed out at 100 million homes in 2011; they're now at 93 million. Even before unbundling really comes out, they're getting dinged severely by cord-cutting. Grandma is next.

So many of the eyeballs are going away. And then the question is how does ESPN, etc get back the money for the huge fixed costs they've promised the NFL, NBA, etc? That's the issue. We know many MGoblog readers will pay $30/month. But who knows if you'll continue to do that all year? Maybe you'll keep it Sep-Jan for football season, then cancel it, and when Sept rolls around you'll call back up and begin again.

I don't have the answers. I just know I wouldn't want to be in charge of ESPN right now. And over the past 10-15 years, that's been one of the best jobs around -- they made a ton of dough. But those times are fast coming to an end.



August 5th, 2015 at 1:28 AM ^

Ok I think the one issue you still didn't address is the premium advertisers will pay for live viewers not DVRing a program. And sports is the only thing left people almost always watch live (maybe the Oscars is a single exception, but to tell you the truth we record that and watch the dvr 30 mins after it starts - plausibly live).
As long as the commercial tv model survives, sports will be a great investment. Now when that model dies out, then several different scenarios come into play. But until then I still like putting my advertising $ behind sports.


August 5th, 2015 at 12:21 PM ^

That's key -- with the huge contracts, the NFL, NBA, etc have *already* maximized (or nearly so) the money from all sources. And in the future, they still likely will get big money from advertisers. But that's already in the budget; there is only so much they can increase it.

And they can't increase it enough to account for the (likely) precipitous drop-off in cable user fees.

Oh, btw: Disney's stock is down 9% this morning. They're blaiming ESPN. If I had the skills, I'd insert the "It's Happening!!!" gif here.


Doctor Wolverine

August 5th, 2015 at 8:19 PM ^

I just cut my Uverse. I was paying $180/month, now I'm paying $40 for faster internet through Charter. I barely watch any TV other than sports, and I don't mind watching most games at the local sports bar (I'll still get ABC, NBC, Fox, the ESPNs and others free on my Apple TV and HD antenna, so only missing BTN). If it was only a $30 difference I probably wouldn't have done it, but saving $140/month was enough to push me over. I already have Amazon Prime, but I haven't tried the included streaming service, so I don't know if that is anything good, otherwise I might do Netflix for $10/month. My hope is that somebody will come out with a Sportflix for $10/month that I can stream all sports on. Make this happen people!


August 4th, 2015 at 12:39 PM ^

Being in large markets will still be important if cable collapses, because you're going to want to subsidize the meager profits you're going to see in that marketplace with whatever you can get. In this case, the deals with OTA networks, which will become more important as everyone sees their choices limited as production funds dry up.


August 4th, 2015 at 12:54 PM ^

Another day... another Brian post with a jab at adding RU and Maryland.  Not all UMich fans live in the midwest.  In fact, a lot of us live in the NY/NJ and DC areas.  I couldn't be happier to have my team play against schools in those fertile recruiting grounds, one of which happens to be right up the street.  Embrace Rutgers and Maryland, please!


August 4th, 2015 at 1:42 PM ^

I live in NJ and Rutgers is a joke of a football program.  I think they have some good things - like a good pharmacy program and they just took over UMDNJ so now they have a pretty good med school.  But come on, their football team is historically and presently bad and they are an annoying fan base.  They are giving Michigan fans so much trash because they won one game... they out-coached Hoke...   I didn't have an opinion on their fan base before, but now I'm annoyed and I hope we beat them every year going forward.


August 4th, 2015 at 2:27 PM ^

'hope we beat them every year going forward'... 

Of course!, so do i.  I hope we beat everybody, every game, every year... with ENTHUSIASM UNKNOWN TO MAN!  ... right up the street.  The B1G is in now in your backyard, how can you not be happy about that? 


August 4th, 2015 at 7:06 PM ^

So does a strong alumni base mean it's a good idea to add a team to the Big Ten from there?

A lot of Michigan alums in NYC. Should we add UConn? San Jose State for the Bay Area alums? TCU for the DFW guys?

Maryland is fine. Rutgers sucks and will always suck. Look at that top 15 in NJ. Kids in NJ do not give a sh*t about Rutgers and neither do the people of NJ. Their only value to the Big Ten is their proximity to NYC and their cable dollars


August 4th, 2015 at 10:06 PM ^

Top 4 UM alumni states (in order)... Michigan, California, Illinois, New York.  But it isn't just about alumni base, it is the combination of a contiguous state, the alumni base, recruits, and markets.

These are stats on NJ recruits and where they went to school. This is filtered at 3stars or better and a 75 rating or better, according to ESPN. The B1G column does not include RU, even after 2014.

Year / NJ Total / B1G / RU

  • 2006 / 14 / 3 / 1
  • 2007 / 13 / 0 / 4
  • 2008 / 17 / 1 / 5
  • 2009 / 30 / 1 / 6
  • 2010 / 21 / 3 / 2
  • 2011 / 30 / 4 / 10
  • 2012 / 34 / 2 / 11
  • 2013 / 38 / 8 / 8
  • 2014 / 33 / 10 / 5
  • 2015 / 35 / 7 / 6
  • 2016 / 23 / 10 / 1

Besides the fact that the screenshot Brian included was misleading historically, when it comes to RU keeping NJ kids... this also shows that the NJ kids, even those not interested in Rutgers, DO CARE about playing in a conference that plays in NJ.  Take note that the B1G announced the expansion in Nov 2012. 

So, to answer your question, should the B1G try to expand into California... well, i'm sure your alumni brethren in Cal would be mighty fine with that, and so would the football talent.

I Like Burgers

August 4th, 2015 at 1:11 PM ^

I was never a big fan of mayo growing up, but it was permanently ruined for me when I worked at Subway in high school, and we had to refill the dressing containers out of these giant tubs of mayo -- and it just smelled and looked like ass.  Then, on top of that, you'd have the giant land beasts coming in and ordering their tuna subs and wanting extra mayo on top of it, and then when there was a copious amount of mayo on top of the already mayo-heavy tuna mixture, they would often request more until the entire goddamn sub was covered in white.

And this is in no way an exaggeration.

It got to the point where if someone came in the front door, and they weighed in the neighborhood of 75-100+% more than they should, I could confidently bet they would order a tuna sub with extra mayo.

So no good sir, I respectfully disagree and think mayo is disgusting.