Unverified Voracity Provides Unsolicited Cat Name Advice Comment Count

Brian July 30th, 2018 at 1:21 PM

[Bryan Fuller]

Jordan Poole's cat should be named "Splash" tho. For so many reasons! Anyway here's what Ace has been watching on repeat for the last couple days:

Been a while since we've had a good Harbaugh quote. But this one from Wilton Speight is a doozy:

Early in his Michigan tenure, Harbaugh pulled Speight aside and told him not to eat chicken, a protein that is considered fairly safe by nutritionists. When Speight asked why, Harbaugh said, "because it's a nervous bird."

"He thinks some type of sickness injected its way into the human population when people began eating white meats instead of beef and pork," Speight says. "And he believes it, 100 percent."

The Pork Advisory Council just spiked its glove into the dirt and walked away, fading into oblivion before it exited the outfield.

But what's even better is Matt Hayes's attempt to pivot from Harbaugh's crypto-Lamarckian theory of nutrition to his banal-to-the-point-of-narcolepsy response to questions about his starting QB:

That wasn't any less strange than the way Harbaugh responded to questions about Patterson during Big Ten media days. How he insisted the best quarterback on his roster—and the one guy who can save the program—is just one of four quarterbacks available.

That's right, he said available.

Well, folks. I'm baffled. I have no way to connect the dots between Jim Harbaugh Thinks Eating Lobster Makes You Grow Claws and Jim Harbaugh Said "Available" In A Press Conference being equally odd. I mean, I get that Patterson is a lock to start, but surely Hayes has been around the block enough to know that coaches play coy about their starters about 90% of the time they don't have a returning player.

[After the JUMP: bad math! OL weight news!]

I gotta lotta issues with you people. This result is the kind of thing you should immediately Ron Swanson if your ranking system spits it out:

It's time. Turn in your programmer's badge and gun and go be a monk on a mountaintop. ESPN did try to explain itself about some of the weird outliers; they mention that Illinois "brings back a lot of talent." Illinois had six guys leave this offseason and had no one taller than 6'6" on the roster until they grabbed a Kent State grad transfer earlier this month. BPI claims to be inclusive of transfers.

Any preseason ranking, especially an algorithmic one, is going to have some goofy takes once the season kicks in and blows up everyone's expectations, but that's a bridge too far. Bart Torvik's preseason rankings, which go…

  • 8. Michigan State
  • 21. Michigan
  • 22. Wisconsin
  • 23. Indiana
  • 31. Iowa
  • 33. Ohio State
  • 35. Maryland
  • 38. Nebraska
  • 43. Purdue
  • 47. Illinois
  • 50. Northwestern
  • 54. Penn State
  • 75. Minnesota
  • 95. Rutger

…look reasonably accurate give or take the annual surprise and disappointment.

Aaargh why did ESPN fire all their scouts but keep the BPI people? What benefit does ESPN derive from having a bad version of Kenpom?

Sucks to be that guy, sort of. Jon "Camp" Sanderson on basketball's freshman class:

"Four out of the five are, physically, really impressive," U-M strength and conditioning coach Jon Sanderson said. "They're way more advanced than what we typically have had in past freshmen."

The fifth is EYBL block% runner-up Colin Castleton, listed on the roster at 6'11", 210. When the negative physical outlier in your freshman class is also described as a "clone" of a first round draft pick, you are in business. Especially when Castleton's shown early signs that he's got a lot more defensive upside than Moe Wagner.

BTW, most existing players went up five pounds on this year's roster. Eli Brooks adding 15 is the main exception; Jordan Poole and Brooks added a potentially fictional inch of height.

A genuine competition. Ed Warinner had an extensive interview with Sam Webb this morning that revealed a few minor news items:

  • Stephen Spanellis got most of the first team reps in the four practice sessions after the "spring game" that did not in fact happen.
  • Chuck Filiaga is a guard. That was sort of expected but is also not great since it takes away a tackle option.
  • Bredeson is locked in at left guard but it sounds like the other spot is open-ish.
  • Jalen Mayfield is a hair under 6'6"—which is 6'7" by roster standards and 292(!).

This second-hand report from the board that Andrew Stueber is 340 has to be someone mishearing 314, right? That's what I choose to believe.

Three out of four isn't bad. Michigan's second-to-last guarantee game is against Chattanooga, which was a 3-15 Southern Conference team in the 300s on Kenpom last year. One saving grace is that the SoCon is 22nd in Kenpom conference rankings, not 31st or 32nd, and if the Mocs can get a little traction in their league they could be a less severe sort of anchor.

Basketball's still done a much better job of avoiding SWAC anchors this year.

Challenge time. This year's crop of hockey rule changes are mostly so minor they aren't worth mentioning but high stick and puck-off-netting-then-goal reviews now have to be initiated by a coaches' challenge. Anything to reduce reviews, please.

I continue to maintain that high stick goals should be legal since making them illegal does nothing to stop players from attempting to deflect pucks anyway. And it's illegal to whack someone in the head already. It's a full shield game, folks, let's go.

Also of some note:

  • 19 skaters! Why?
  • Ejections can be reviewed, which is probably fine since current ejections require a convening of the Refereeing Hague and take as long as a review anyway.
  • Slashing's definition has changed. Don't know what the previous one was but the new one seems like an admirably clear definition: “Any forceful or powerful chop with the stick on an opponent’s body, the opponent’s stick, or on or near the opponent’s hands that, in the judgment of the referee, is not an attempt to play the puck, should be penalized as slashing.”

No word about multi-puck yet.

Etc.: Michigan Stadium is pretty good at hosting ICC games.



    July 30th, 2018 at 1:49 PM ^

    slashing should be called only for the body.  never understood the stick call, and fortunately never got whistled for one.  i get the body needs to be protected, but the stick?  come on, its hockey, not hugging.

    Pepto Bismol

    July 30th, 2018 at 2:15 PM ^

    Yeah, that's my thought process below. Let's say 30 skaters on a team.10 sticks per guy/per season? Seems light, but we'll estimate low.  That's 300 sticks. Those bad boys cost close to $300 retail, maybe the program gets them for $200. Extreme ballpark, but that's $60,000 a year on sticks alone.

    In my heyday, sticks were $20 retail (and they'd probably only need half as many due to durability). That comes out closer to $6,000.

    Maybe it's a money thing? Michigan can probably eat it, but we're definitely one of the 'Haves' in college hockey.


    July 30th, 2018 at 3:37 PM ^

    Money is an issue, but to me the main problem is competitive: If you remove the incentive against breaking an opponent's stick, breaking the stick can become a positive move since the player is no longer allowed to use it. He is severely handicapped until he can get to the bench for a replacement. Not hard to, for example, imagine a forward parked in front of the goalie on the power play slashing at the stick of his opponent, knowing that a successful break will severely hamper the opponent's defense until the puck is cleared.

    Pepto Bismol

    July 30th, 2018 at 2:10 PM ^

    Well, depends on your budget I suppose. Like in beer league, they'll call a slash on the stick because today's brittle composites are roughly a billion dollars on the high end and nothing pisses off a weekend skater more than the threat of spending a couple hundred bucks on a new stick because some hack can't skate.

    I'm not sure what the stick budget looks like to D-1 college programs these days, but maybe they're trying to hold down the cost? I'm reaching, but it makes sense if it's an effort to limit broken sticks.


    July 31st, 2018 at 12:42 PM ^

    I remember there was one year back during Mario Lemieux's prime that somebody slashed him and broke his hand during the playoffs.  I don't know if this is how the rule against slashing the stick came about, but I wonder if this is kind of like the old "halo rule" on punt returns where in order to prevent one thing (pre-catch hits on defenseless punt returners, hand injuries from stick-slashes), you prohibit anything even approaching it (being too close to the returner before the catch, slashing the stick)?  

    Bando Calrissian

    July 30th, 2018 at 2:09 PM ^

    The more quotes I read like this from Harbaugh, the more I think this isn't a case of a genuinely wacky dude with a strange version of football-tempered masculinity, but a guy who's becoming more and more of a space cadet the older he gets... 


    July 31st, 2018 at 10:34 AM ^


    I've had some great coaches over the years. They've also said some weird things. (Pee on your feet in the shower, you'll never get athletes foot...)

    And while this is weird, I wonder A) How serious he is, really. Does he really not eat chicken? And B) What does it matter? It looks like they have a serious nutritionist on staff for his football players, and he doesn't meddle with her. For his own kids I'm guessing Sarah determines their diet. 


    yossarians tree

    July 30th, 2018 at 4:21 PM ^

    This sounds like something he might have picked up in his football travels over the years, probably from a teammate who had strong nutritional ideas.

    That being said, if Jim was really sincere about eating only red meat he should be eating exclusively wild game. That is by far the purest, most organic source of protein available.


    July 30th, 2018 at 3:21 PM ^

    That is correct - I just listened to the podcast.  Ed said Stueber is 6'7" and 340lbs. Thru fall camp lineman typically lose about 10lbs with all the running in hot weather, so starting the season at 325-330 seems like a good weight for Andrew given his frame.  Of all our current tackles, Stueber is the most built like Lewan and Long ... each was 6'7" and 325lbs. 


    July 30th, 2018 at 2:39 PM ^

    Can anyone explain why MSU is ranked in the top 10?  Or why they are ranked higher than Michigan?  They lost 2 lottery picks in the NBA draft, zone defense beater Ben Carter, and their 2017 and 2018 recruiting classes rank below Michigan's.

    I'm sure Michigan will struggle early, because they always do under Beilein, but come March, it's hard to not think Michigan will be the better team.


    July 30th, 2018 at 2:54 PM ^

    I haven't heard a decent explanation from anyone either. I guess it's the "trust Izzo" effect? They return 2 decent players in Ward and Winston, and 1 5* guy who hasn't proved anything in Langford, and besides that are pretty lacking. Izzo also hasn't shown an ability to develop his players recently so I'm not sure why the media is putting so much faith in this team


    July 30th, 2018 at 3:35 PM ^

    He also shot 42% from the field overall, with the second-most shots last year.  He is a a pretty inefficient scorer at decent volume (100.6 offensive rating in conference) who doesn't do basically anything else.  Ward and Winston are good players, but unless Langford makes a massive jump (which isn't crazy), he's not someone I'd bank on being any more than your usual semi-wasted 5* Izzo special.


    July 30th, 2018 at 4:01 PM ^

    He's a big issue on defense, but he's still a dead-eye shooter and a pretty elite passer.  His shot is a little slow and in the pros he'd have more trouble getting his shot off, but in college he's pretty good.  Simpson is an elite defender, so that's why he tends to look worse against Michigan than you'd expect.  You can see why Beilein wanted him on offense. 

    On defense...he's limited as an athlete and I wonder a bit about MSU's defensive scheme last year; Jaren Jackson having a top-6 block rate nationally doesn't feel fully intentional.


    July 31st, 2018 at 8:57 AM ^

    I don't think Winston is very good and I think he is basically already maxed.  I don't think he will ever have a chance to get his shot off in the pros unless it is in China or Italy and I would not bet on much PT there either.

    I do think Langford will end up being a very good four year player who has not come close to his peak yet.  He was on his way to developing a really nice Rip Hamilton curl and gun game toward the end of the season and was becoming more aggressive offensively.  Of the Winston/Ward/Langford trio that remains, I like Langford the most out of all of them and I think he will be an all BIG player by the time he leaves.

    As to the overall question regarding the MSU ranking, it is really baffling.  They will be solid and will be in the top 5 or 6 teams in the conference, but it appears that people still believe that Michigan State was this super great team last year who just got shockingly knocked off early instead of the thoroughly uninspiring outfit they actually were.  If you look at last year as "great" and then just think they only lost a couple of pieces you are going to believe that they are still going to be very good.  Upon further inspection you realize that they pretty much sucked last year and are bringing the most ineffective parts back but the pollsters did not watch that closely and are not thinking that critically.


    July 30th, 2018 at 7:17 PM ^

    playing in title game should do wonders for the young players confidence, so struggling early seems as queer as a tangerine.  And I say this fully realizing that Wagners moxie has left the team.   Matthews is still there and was a gigantic proverbial cross bearer and we will be more than fine early on.

    Ty Butterfield

    July 30th, 2018 at 3:42 PM ^

    Preseason rankings are a complete joke and have turned into clickbait. No one should waste their time getting excited or upset because of preseason rankings. The last two seasons of basketball are a good reference point. 

    2016-17 season

    Preseason Coaches Poll

    MSU: 9th

    Michigan: Unranked

    Final Coaches Poll


    Michigan: 17th

    2017-18 season 

    Preseason Coaches Poll

    MSU: 2nd 

    Michigan: Unranked

    Final Coaches Poll

    MSU: 11th

    Michigan: 2nd

    yossarians tree

    July 30th, 2018 at 4:31 PM ^

    Pre-season polls in basketball are basically pointless because there is so much turnover in rosters year to year, especially weighted to the best players who go to the NBA. You really have no idea what your team is until 3/4 of the way through the season.

    Football is a little easier to predict, but is also tricky because it is such a team game and it is impossible to account for how roster turnover effects team leadership, chemistry, etc. A great football team will always have several "glue" guys who are perhaps not the best players but are the smartest, most experienced, and best teammates. I'd wager that by the end of this season there will be a handful of teams in the top 20 that nobody expected, and a few highly rated teams that crap out.


    July 30th, 2018 at 4:43 PM ^

    Maybe it's just really hard to tell when Harbaugh is joking.  I've done that before...say something off the wall, stone cold serious face.  Never go back and say you were just kidding.  People don't know how to take it, unless they know you real well.