Unverified Voracity Has A Small Conflict

Submitted by Brian on September 20th, 2013 at 10:22 AM


SPW_webSponsor note. You may have noticed HAIL2VICTORS recent diary detailing his Sports Power Weekend for the Notre Dame game. I ran into that dude at Angelo's early that day and he didn't mention he was on an SPW trip, but he was yet to be impressed with the fact that Jared tracked down tickets, a field-level Big House tour, and—the capper—hotel rooms actually in Ann Arbor. I get emails about this. They are piteous emails that I can do nothing about.

If you would like to exchange money for the goods and services of a no-hassle trip to see Michigan do the opposite of whatever they did last weekend, you can grab a bus from NYC or DC to Penn State (UConn's sold out) or grab packages for home games against Nebraska and Ohio State or road games at Northwestern and Iowa. No Stubhub wrangling or sleeping on a piece of cardboard that doesn't even offer a continental breakfast. Also if you're the guy who gets stuck driving, buses are so clutch.

Kickstart this, sirs. Here's a Kickstarter that endeavors to print Brown Jug shirts and paraphenalia and also honor John Falk on the MGoPatio.


It got over the goal, but there's still cool stuff to acquire. Two hours left.

SKYWRITINGGATEGATE. I am a hopelessly naïve cherub, so I assumed that the "GO BLUE" that people saw over Spartan Stadium hours before MSU curbstomped Youngstown State and Michigan had a near-death experience against Akron was the work of a not-very-creative alum or a rogue skywriting company agent taking matters into his own hands. Alas:

Suzanne Asbury-Oliver, who runs Oregon Aero SkyDancer skywriting with her husband Steve, told MLive the Wolverines' athletic department hired her business to put Michigan slogans into the air above Ann Arbor then East Lansing on Saturday.

The department denies this, stating that locations all over SE Michigan were targeted. I asked twitter and no one saw anything outside of Ann Arbor that hasn't been used by a Spartan alum to make M look stupid while raising money for cancer.

This continues a pattern of behavior from the department where they do something inadvisable and then go into damage control mode. Just in the last couple months we've seen noodle, seat cushion, and field goal net gates. They seem to be sticking by their guns after overselling the student section by 50%, but that's a math problem with one answer so they kind of have to. That, too, looks like a panic move (even if I agree with the principle behind it) since Michigan announced their ticket policy a month before the season, after they'd sold 4,500 tickets under false pretenses.

So either the athletic department knows exactly what it's doing or they have no idea what they're doing. Which of these possibilities is worse is an exercise left to the reader.


  • 68-32-5

The worst part about all of this is how boring it is. "GO BLUE" is weak troll game. The only people the athletic department is good at trolling are Michigan fans.

A quainter time. Remember when coverage maps were important? When you play an AAC team on the road at night they become so again. Yellow is saved, blue is watching on ESPN3:


Nebraska, you're in the Big Ten now.

Transfers to make more sense, possibly. After a crapton of bad publicity as some coaches punitively limit their transfers' options, the NCAA finally seems to be moving towards a more reasonable system:

"It would be a situation where a kid would provide notice that he's transferring and wants to talk to these five schools, for example," Kevin Lennon, the NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs, told ESPN.com. "Schools can't say, we're giving you permission but not to these five schools. It's in the student's control more."

I still think it's reasonable to prevent a kid from transferring to another school in the same conference; other than that, fire away. Coach K suggests to do away with all transfer waivers, because something something something.

Everything about Mitch McGary. Wish I could embed part of this, but can't. Here's the entire life history of Mitch McGary, from UMHoops:

I like Mitch McGary.

Hockey schedule. There are a lot of Michigan hockey games on television this year, 28 games to be specific. Excellent for most purposes, but I'm a little concerned that there are four 6:30 home games on Friday and the vast bulk of the rest of them are at 7 PM. A decade ago Michigan standardized its games at 7:35 PM to help attendance. This isn't going to help.

On the other hand, Wisconsin has just 11 games televised this year. Pick your poison.

Etc.: Here is a gent who's been to 504 straight games, dating back to 1971. We'll update basketball recruiting during the bye week, but for now here's UMHoops running down where things stand. Todd McShay ranks Gardner a third-day NFL draft prospect. Hurray? Meanwhile, SI's guy lists Taylor Lewan as a faller because M struggled with Akron, something he had zero to do with.

Good luck with that. Alex Guptill's got some sort of issue. A hearty start to hockey season.



September 20th, 2013 at 10:58 AM ^

I really don't think the skywritting is such a big deal. Yea it was sort of lame but the way everyone is freaking out you would think it is the end of the world. It seemed all in good fun.


September 20th, 2013 at 11:09 AM ^

...is good for several chuckles about Michigan, Notre Dame and MSU. 

You might recall, Notre Dame dropped Michigan from future schedules but kept Michigan State, which didn’t make sense considering the Spartans regularly win in South Bend. Brian Kelly got all sorts of flak for suggesting Michigan was a regional rival, then he lost to the regional rival. That’s why coaches would rather play regional patsies, although the pressure goes up when the patsies decline to serve as game-day pastries.

Just ask Brady Hoke. Michigan graciously donated $900,000 to a little school in Ohio called “Akron,” and you know how it got paid back? The Zips marched into Ann Arbor as if it was Ypsilanti and scared the Wolverines so badly, ol’ Blue fans were spotted in the parking lot afterward spitting up their shrimp salad.

Coaches can’t have a letdown, not in front of microphones, not in front of MAC teams from Ohio. When Hoke suggested the noon kickoff last week made it a “glazed doughnut game,” we had no idea the Wolverines would spend the afternoon licking their fingers and sucking their thumbs. They held on 28-24, and you hope they learned their lesson about nutritional choices.

Was Michigan overlooking Akron? Judge for yourself, based on the pregame locker room speech I was lucky enough to fabricate and secretly record.

Hoke: “OK fellas, quiet, quiet. Listen up! Who had the jelly-filled and who had the French crullers? Anyone? Anyone?”

I’d go with custard, but I digress. Sometimes programs do silly things, like hiring a skywriter to scribble “Go Blue” above your third-biggest rival’s campus. Perhaps Michigan should send a plane to skywrite over Akron’s game this week.

Bando Calrissian

September 20th, 2013 at 11:18 AM ^

The skywriting stunt is just the latest in a series of moves by the Athletic Department that make Michigan look petty and small. It's childish, stupid, and completely unnecessary.

I really wonder why our Athletic DIrector seems so intent on getting himself and his department in the news for all the wrong reasons on such a regular basis. We're the Leaders and Best. Start acting like it.


September 20th, 2013 at 11:50 AM ^

I know that Brandon is the head of the department and I know the "buck stops there" when it comes to taking responsibility for decisions but isn't it possible that this lame move was authorized by a department minion and not Dave himself?  $3,000 (or whatever portion of it was allocated to the East Lansing fly-over) is not a huge sum of money for someone to have discretionary spending authority over.  Maybe, just maybe, some lower-level idiot did this and not the AD himself.

But that wouldnt fit the narrative very well now would it.  

Bando Calrissian

September 20th, 2013 at 12:01 PM ^

It's his department. It's his attitude about "The Brand" and "The Wow Experience," reinforced by guys like Hunter Lochmann, which makes stunts like skywriting a priority. So, yes, even if Dave Brandon didn't send the email with the list of sites to skywrite over, it is in itself a reflection of his values and the strategies he has brought to Michigan Athletics. It's more than fair to call him to task for this.


September 20th, 2013 at 12:15 PM ^

You are absolutely correct but speaking as somebody who has managed a lot of people over the years, sometimes subordinates do stupid things without your knowledge.  And then you're in the difficult position of either having to say I had nothing to do with that (and leave the subordinate out to dry) or take the hit and allow others to think you were responsible for the decision.  It's like we don't even consider that as a possibility - we want to believe that each and every decision we don't like was made by Brandon and Brandon alone.  Which is, IMO, highly unlikely given the size of the deparment and the sheer magnitude of decisions that need to be made.

Remember - I think the idea was beyond stupid and childish so I'm in no way supporitng it.  I'm just not as quick to blame Brandon for it as virtually everyone else seems to be.


September 20th, 2013 at 1:17 PM ^

(except perhaps this rash)  but it's the money grubbing/gimmick culture he has been so carefully cultivating for the last couple years.  
I mentioned it in another thread but to me this looks like the work of an overpaid, under-pressure subordinate trying to justify his/her job to their AD boss.

The Spinzone® began with the coaching search (which luckily ended up great), but it's either DB jumping into the spotlight for credit if it's a success, or half genuine after-the-fact damage control when the bad idea falls on it's face.  The former is annoying, & the latter is happening with increasing frequency.


September 20th, 2013 at 2:06 PM ^

And marketing's need to justify their existence (as all marketers do) with more marketing. The whole "we've gotten great bang for our buck with this skywriting" stuff reaction. When it's done over Michigan Stadium it's mildly entertaining, but doesn't really make the experience better for the players or the fans, and certainly is not a wow moment. But hey "marketing works!!!!" so we have to do stuff to justify my job.  And as is increasingly often the case, there ends up being more bad pub from the one move than all the good pub before.

Reminds me of the marketer from the Indians who came and talked to our business class telling us how the marketing team has gotten Cleveland to sell out the place on nearly a nightly basis.  And we were like "dude, the team's gone to the World Series...they're really good. Winning gets them in the ballpark."  But he was sure the way they promoted it had more to do with it than lots of wins.

turd ferguson

September 20th, 2013 at 12:04 PM ^

So you think up an unlikely scenario and then mockingly say, "But that wouldn't fit the narrative very well now would it?" when the much likelier explanation (that Brandon had a say in this) fits the narrative perfectly.  Plus, even if one of his minions did this without running it by Brandon, it would say a lot about Brandon that anyone would have the impression that's okay.

I don't think this is a big deal - and it's really not a lot of money - but I'm not sure what else people need to see to believe that we have an egomaniacal, 12-year-old, dollars-before-people athletic director.  


September 20th, 2013 at 12:03 PM ^

It's ironic that the people on this board that continously attack Mark Dantonio's character without even knowing the man and suggest that everyone with an MSU degree is somewhere serving french fries are calling out David Brandon as some classless jack ass because of some harmless letters in the sky.


September 20th, 2013 at 1:52 PM ^

but someone needs to explain to me the irony in that.  That actually seems to be an example of consistency.  I think it'd be more ironic to have had the people on the board that mock Dantonio to have cheered the skywriting and Brandon, but I might be getting to old to actually understand irony any more.


September 20th, 2013 at 12:33 PM ^

I guarantee that next season, after Dave Brandon (excuse me, the UM Athletic Department) hires a team of strippers to perform halftime pole dances in the end zones, there will be multiple posters accusing critics of "freaking out" and insisting that we all chill out and hug our pets.


September 20th, 2013 at 12:47 PM ^

Any time you can get Spartan fans riled up and upset it's a good time. And nothing says "I'm your big brother" like WRITING IT IN THE SKY above their heads like a freaking demigod. The score of the Akron game is irrelevant to whether this was a good idea. It was a GREAT idea. I want to see Dantonio glaring up at the clouds and shaking his fist at MgoGod for supporting the wolverines. The department is awash in a sea of money, and I can't think of a much better way to spend my donations!


September 20th, 2013 at 3:02 PM ^

Are front paged testimonials about Sports Power Weekend going to be a weekly thing?

Will they be on a particular day or will you keep mixing it up hoping to get people to read them?