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:
Here is how the ESPN BPI has Big Ten teams ranked in its preseason top 50:
13. Michigan State
42. Penn State
I ... have so many questions.
— Alex Bozich (@insidethehall) July 30, 2018
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.