Talking. I was on the Maize 'n' Brew/Eleven Warriors-run Eleven Brews podcast, FWIW. Listen here. I've been talking up Illinois a lot and am beginning to dread Epic Zook Collapse. Also, I was on WTKA this morning talking about HTTV2009, Michigan's upcoming season, and, yes, plugging Illinois.
No maybes. The uncertainty about the departures of Helmuth and Evans has evaporated in the light of morning. They're out. Evans spoke about his decision plainly. Incoming:
"Me and coach Rod are on good terms," linebacker Marell Evans told the Free Press tonight. "It was more than playing time or academics or anything like that. It was a lot of things. Coach Rod is a great coach and I wish him plenty of success. I wanted to finish my career a different way."
Wha? As I peer out from cover I notice a distinct lack of shrapnel, limbs, and wounded internet denizens moaning about family values.
To reiterate yesterday's take: Evans was the lowest-rated player in his class and Helmuth converted to DL from fullback, which means neither would be much of a hit if Michigan's defense had its usual numbers. It does not, however, and Michigan's a little closer to playing that 5'7" defensive lineman today. If all goes well on D there won't be much impact. If it's a mash unit, the dropoff will be even steeper.
FWIW, I have the scholarship count for the 2010 class at 22 now.
Double feature. Historian celebrates his 200th video on the tubes with an expanded version of OSU 1997:
This might be a good point to mention that Clay Travis' has penned yet another Volunteer complaint about that year's Heisman.
And good riddance. The Alamo Bowl is set to abandon the Big Ten's #4 pick for the Pac-10's #2 pick. Which, okay, obviously you want Oregon or whatever most years instead of a 7-5 or 8-4 Big Ten team. For Big Ten fans, obviously any location on the planet seems more interesting than San Antonio. BONUS: this is one of those bowl games in which a Big Ten team gets matched against a superior, local opponent—it's the Big 12 #3 versus the Big 10 #4—thus contributing to the Big Ten's poor bowl record. Getting rid of it for a more even matchup will help with national perception and all that.
The bowl is scheduled for Jan. 2 after spending the previous 17 seasons with a late-December date. If that date holds, it would give the Pac-10 a second coveted post-New Year's Day bowl date.
The hallowed January date remains unbastardized yet.
Maybe this is an opportunity for this new New York Bowl to get in on a decent Big Ten team to match with a decent Big East team? Rittenberg speculates that the Big Ten might try to get into the Texas Bowl, which would be awful: it's on the NFL Network and no one ever sees it. [CORRECTION: The Texas Bowl is moving to ESPN this year. Objection partially withdrawn.]
Talk to the hand. The CCHA shot down Alabama-Huntsville's application, leaving the CCHA at 11 teams and Huntsville out in the cold with nowhere to go. Huntsville now faces the prospect of a lonely, pointless life as an independent or folding its program and the CCHA has to deal with scheduling an 11-team conference.
Yost Built points out that Huntsville's average attendance is just under 3,000 and that's with home games against other CHA teams instead of regular visits from Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, and Notre Dame. Their capacity is 6,600. And Huntsville isn't much farther than Omaha. But it only takes three teams to kill a membership application and with a few CCHA programs flailing it's possible teams like BGSU didn't want to pass up the opportunity at an 11-way split of revenue instead of 12.
How this affects Michigan: I'm not sure how the league can reconfigure its schedule such that M and MSU cram in their four games against each other. If they keep the 28-game conference schedule you play everyone twice and then four teams again, I guess.
Come on down. Memphis SF Casey Prather is one of two plan A wings—Trey Zeigler is the other—Michigan is trying to finish its 2010 basketball class with, and he's finally set a long-awaited visit. Though he just named a top seven, he'll only visit four schools: Vandy, Florida, Clemson, and Michigan. The other three schools are Kentucky, which is yet to offer, North Carolina, which just took a 2011 wing and has apparently parted ways with Prather, and local, troubled Memphis. The remainder of that list looks surmountable now.
While we're on the topic, ESPN's updated its 2010 top 100. Smotrycz and Hardaway slip a bit to #60 and #99, respectively; Prather and Zeigler are back-to-back at #25 and #26.
Etc.: Rodriguez tape from the presser.