Unverified Voracity Will Re-Report Anything

Submitted by Brian on May 11th, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Believe nothing until you see the whites of their eyes. Yesterday saw yet another Big Ten expansion panic as some Kansas City radio station reported offers had gone out to Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Rutgers. This was pointedly denied by the Big 12 wing of the rumor, and laughed off by Notre Dame. Rutgers squinted its eyes as hard as they could and thought please be true please be true please be true. They sent in the fourth formal acceptance since the process began and later tearfully announced that this one didn't count, either.

People of Earth: I know I give a lot of stick to newspapers, but in this matter you should not believe a "report" until an actual newspaper—and not some intern piloting their pale imitation of a blog—from a place other than Chicago writes an article about with quotes in it.

This goes double for people at, you know, newspapers. It's amazing how credulous newspapers are with this stuff. All it takes is one yahoo on the radio talking about topics that do not directly pertain to the locals who know how much of a yahoo said radio guy is and wham:

imageAny semblance of a corporation behind a news-media-type organization and it's off to the races even if it's talk radio, the least accurate source of information on the planet, or some intern with a blog linking to the Bleacher Report. This one's all on you guys. Can't blame the internet.

Get it. Brock Mealer is training under Barwis in preparation for the UConn game, where he'll lead Michigan onto the field. Barwis is posting videos of his rehab:


Getting there.

What is the number? 22 million is the number that's usually thrown out in the midst of articles describing the BTN's status as a wondrous money cannon spraying cash across the midwest. Por ejemplo:

"We hoped it would be profitable eventually. But it turned a profit in, what, its second year?" said Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi, whose athletic budget reaped an estimated $22 million in TV rights (including ABC, CBS and ESPN contracts) alone. "I don't believe anyone truly expected to be this successful this quickly. It's absolutely remarkable."

But estimated by who? If it's Maturi, okay. If it's a reporter in Chicago, alarms should be going off. Despite being the guy who appears to have hatched this meme, even Teddy Greenstein doesn't believe it anymore:

The Big Ten has declined to confirm the $22 million. What it has released is a figure of $220 million ($20 million per school) for 2010 that covers revenue from national television contracts, bowl games, the NCAA basketball tournament, licensing and the Big Ten Network.

So… by "declined to confirm" he means "denied." This year's conference distribution is $20 million, which you'll note is 1) not $22 million and 2) inclusive of many things that are not television. Bowl revenue accounts for about 2.2 million per school, for one.

That's still excellent. Last year the SEC shelled out just $11 million to its members. Michigan's conference distribution last year was $17 million and they projected another million this year. If that number is up to 20 that's a fantastic windfall, but it's also not the same as saying that Big Ten schools raked in $22 million from their TV deals. IIRC, the Big Ten now controls everything, even nonconference games, so there's no way the distribution fails to include all the TV money.

(Side note: that last thing is a major drag on the quality of nonconference schedules. When Michigan plays Notre Dame they get no more money from that game than Indiana does. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers are playing Indiana State in an effort to get bowl eligible. If the Big Ten would guarantee teams most of their nonconference TV revenue, there would be less financial incentive to schedule tomato cans.)

Also in that document. The "conference distribution" link takes you to last year's athletic budget presentation, in which you learn that a wrestling practice facility scored 75% more donations than the basketball version of same despite the wrestling facility coming in at 5.5 million and basketball coming in at 23.2. Also, the second major project other than "rebuild Crisler" is replacing the bleachers at Yost.

Why we always got to go and do that? Michigan seems incapable of scheduling a mildly interesting opponent that doesn't turn out to be considerably more than they bargained for these days. Utah, of course, finished the 2008 season by pantsing Alabama and finished undefeated at #2. This year, UConn is returning almost everyone from an 8-5 team that suffered a string of narrow losses. Echoing warnings that have been deployed here, Athlon has them 20th:

The Huskies welcome back 16 starters and possess plenty of optimism in a Big East that is wide open. The question for Connecticut is whether it is ready to play more as it did at the end of the season, when it won four straight games, including a bowl triumph over South Carolina, or if it is more like the outfit that dropped three consecutive league contests in the middle of the year, by a total of 10 points.

Survey says former.

Etc.: Mike Hart and a couple other NFL players from New York are starting up a free football camp for Syracuse-area kids. They're looking for some donations to help defray the costs.



May 11th, 2010 at 1:08 PM ^

...gather in St. Peter's Square to watch for the white smoke from the Council of CIC Presidents/Big 10 ADs then we wouldn't have to fall for all this black smoke that's coming from the "yahoos on the radio."


May 11th, 2010 at 1:10 PM ^

Michigan seems incapable of scheduling a mildly interesting opponent that doesn't turn out to be considerably more than they bargained for these days.

I'd imagine RR gets consulted on these things.  They had to know that 16 starters were returning.


May 11th, 2010 at 1:28 PM ^

After watching 36 years of Michigan football, I've learned to fear the dreaded "First Game Jitters".  Sure, Michigan managed to win anyway for many years, but they've had a tough time lately.  The 2008 Utah team turned out to be a lot better than expected, but Appalachian State?  Ugh.  So, I sure don't have a very good feeling about the UConn game...


May 11th, 2010 at 3:31 PM ^

1981, Wisconsin. Michigan's coming off a Rose Bowl win, they're #1 in the country ... 21-14 loss. I still remember that game, even if I had to look up the year.

Funny thing about it is that for so long, the first week of the season was a conference game. The next possible opportunity (1983 – '82 was the second half of the home-and-home conference schedule), they moved to a non-conference opener, even though that was also the year the Big Ten went to the full nine-game conference schedule ... I don't remember if the Wisconsin loss meant that Michigan lobbied to change things, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did.


May 11th, 2010 at 1:28 PM ^

I guess I'm not as scared of UConn as everyone else, but the fact that people like Athlon are putting them at #20 makes me wonder a bit.  

They didn't have a great D last year and they lost their best DL and their best DB (along with a lot of their DB's IIRC).  They had an OK offense, but they lost Easley (who caught like half of their passes) and one of their 2 co-starters at RB.  Yes, Todman was good last year, but he only carried half the load, and their power back carried the rest.  Now there's no power back, just Todman, and he's a little guy.  Maybe he can carry the load, maybe he can't.  

They return a bunch of big Olinemen, and that's probably the most troubling part.  If our front 7 (front 6?) can keep from getting pushed all over the place, I think we win this game because I like us in every other position battle.


May 11th, 2010 at 1:47 PM ^

I don't think UConn will be an easy game by any means, but the whole "only lost X games by a combined X points" doesn't mean squat to me. That's been the Lions fan's siren song for this millenia and how many close losses did Michigan have the last two years? Uconn also won a couple of close ones, do those not count as wins?

Anyway, I won't recreate previous discussion I've been involved with re:UConn here, but I'll direct those that are interested here and here.

My thoughts in summary:

  • Frazer (QB) is not that good.
  • UConn's defense was bad last year. They gave up 450+ yards to the following teams: Pittsburgh, Louisville, Notre Dame, and Syracuse. They gave up over 700 yards (!!!) to Cincinnati.
  • South Carolina's defense shut down UConn (250 ish yards allowed). But USC offense was spectacularly bad.  

This is a game Michigan can and, dare I say, should win.


May 11th, 2010 at 2:24 PM ^

I completely agree.  Yeah, they lose 5 games by a combined (low number) of points.  All that really means is that they never got blown out, but they didn't play any teams that were all that good (maybe Cincinnati, but they got smoked when they played a real team).  They lost 2 games by 4 points, that's really not that close, 4 points means a FG still wouldn't do it.

Their only 2 decent wins (outside of the bowl) were ND and South Florida, and those wins were by a combined 5 points.  So basically, this was UConn's season last year:  

Easy wins against bad teams (Syracuse, Louisville, Baylor, Rhode Island, Ohio).  

Games decided by 4 points or less, of which they went 2-5.  

Their bowl win, which was a contest of whose offense was worse, and UConn's was less bad.

Before their bowl game, UConn beat one team (USF) who played in a bowl game last year, and that was by 2 points, at home.  Yes, they return 16 starters, but the 6 they lost were significant, and they're not a team that reloads talent.  This is not the resume of team to fear, people.  


May 13th, 2010 at 2:14 AM ^

"This is not the resume of team to fear, people."

And Michigan's resume is?

If this were the Michigan of pre-2008, I'd agree wholeheartedly with you. It isn't. This is a team that has won 3 conference games in 2 years, lost it's best player (by far) from a bad defense, might have it's 4th different starting QB in 4 years, and will have far more pressure to win this game than the "top 20" team they are playing.


May 13th, 2010 at 8:20 AM ^

No one is saying that Michigan has a resume that should strike fear into their opponents--0bviously they do not--or that there won't be more pressure on M to win than on UConn.

What has been said is that UConn is beatable by Michigan, in spite of the issues you cite. That is all.


May 11th, 2010 at 2:08 PM ^

If the Big Ten would guarantee teams most of their nonconference TV revenue, there would be less financial incentive to schedule tomato cans.

I don't know the answer so this is not a rhetorical question - does a team generate more revenue for the BigTen through a good non-conference game or through a bowl game?  My guess is that Bowl Games would be substantially more lucrative.   So, that tells me scheduling tomato cans just to be bowl eligible is a better financial strategy for teams even though it may be boring for fans of good games.


May 11th, 2010 at 2:11 PM ^

Not only does revenue-sharing encourage the scheduling of "tomato cans," but so does the current system.  If you are in the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac Ten, or SEC, the best chance of getting to the MNC game lies in scheduling one tough non-con game and three easy wins.  Until the system changes and there is a real playoff, there will be no incentive for teams with national championship aspirations to play a tough schedule. 

As for the Indianas of the world, I can't blame them, either.  The system rewards them, too, for scheduling "down" as much as possible.  Thankfully, there are still plenty of compelling games every week.


May 11th, 2010 at 3:09 PM ^

to come out of UM in a while and one can't under emphasize the effort put forth by Brock and the S&C staff.  It makes me proud to be a Wolverine and I wish all the best to Brock and his family.  There should not be a dry eye in the stadium when he leads the team out against UConn.  Go Blue.


May 11th, 2010 at 4:23 PM ^

Are people really complaining about the strength of UCONN as an opponent?  Are these the same people who--when this matchup was announced last year--were hollering that we couldn't get a "Texas"-level opponent to crisen the new stadium renovations?


May 11th, 2010 at 7:37 PM ^

Claims to have sources about it going to 16....don't know if I believe them...but they're coasting on a high from yesterday, so...


Edit:  But Jim Delany disagrees-



Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany e-mailed conference officials Tuesday to stamp out a rumor that four schools had already been offered a chance to join the league. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith confirmed Tuesday that Delany had quashed a report that the Big Ten had offered expansion spots to Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Rutgers. Asked if there was anything to that speculation, Smith said, "Nothing. There's no truth to it whatsoever. Actually, Jim sent us all an e-mail telling us there's no truth to that — which we knew. There's no extensions of offers that have been made, so that's not true."

Ty Butterfield

May 12th, 2010 at 1:04 PM ^

I am sick of expansion rumors. I don't blame Brian or anyone here for posting them. I know people want to find out what direction the Big Ten is going. HOWEVA, there are so many different reports that it just makes me want to bang my head against the wall. I also do not understand the talk of adding up to five teams to the conference. Wouldn't the most logical thing be to add one more team? This makes 12 teams and there could be a conference title game. I understand that this is about money and possibly expanding the foot print of the conference. Still, more does not always equal better. I doubt Jim Delany is familiar with the Notorious B.I.G song mo' money mo' problems. Just sayin.