August 2 - Wednesday
The dream is over. Brian is indeed out of the World Series of Poker.
As I exited the Rio, still stunned, I hear not one but two "pssts" from what turns out to be an attractive-in-a-way woman who asks me to come over to her. Despite being the picture of midwest innocence, hooker alarms go off in my head and I mumble something along the lines of "um, er, no... I have to go... over here. Over here."
August 3 - Thursday
August 4 - Friday
Hello David Molk. This is impressive:
Not blessed with the natural ginormity that most offensive linemen have, Molkworked his way up from pipsqueak:
As a freshman, Lemont's David Molk was a 5-6, 175-pounder who bench-pressed only 110 pounds and squatted 250.
As he prepares for his senior season, Molk is a 6-2, 270-pounder who bench-presses 370, squats 550 and power-cleans 320.
Unverified Voracity: Catch Up gives a recap of everything that has gone on while Brian was in Vegas. Ben Winnett has committed to the hockey team, and the NCAA is going away from I-A and I-AA designations to FBS and FCS.
August 5 - Saturday
A request for the blogpoll members to check in.
August 7 - Monday
The recap of the current recruiting picture for the offense. There isn’t a lot of surprising information here, but this is an interesting era to examine. This was definitely part of the “bare cupboard” issue going into the Rodriguez tenure. Take Tight End for instance:
Needs Going In: Major. Instate sleeper Quintin Woods is the only tight end in last year's class and he hardly played varsity football until his senior year, when he starred... at defensive end. He's a project and with only Carson Butler in the year ahead of him Michigan needs a couple tight ends to make up the numbers.
Commitments To Date: Michigan jumped on sleeper Martell Webb before anyone got wind of his freakish 6'5" self, then picked up a second commitment from Denver's Steve Watson, son of current Broncos receivers coach and former Broncos reciever Steve Watson. Webb is the huge HS wide receiver with serious mismatch potential; Watson is the heady coach's son who might be a bit plodding.
Potential Commitments: Two tight ends should do it.
You Should Panic This Much: A little. Three straight years Michigan has swung for the fences with utterly raw, outrageously athletic basketball players and has only Watson in the "safe bet" category. With three cracks at a breakout player Michigan has a good chance of getting one, but it's still something of a risk. And it doesn't seem likely that Butler, Woods, and Webb are going to be crushing, Spaethian blockers.
I realize that this position wasn’t going to be utilized under Rodriguez, but look at those names, would this group have excelled under Carr or another coach of a similar philosophy?
Apparently, Go Blue Wolverine employed a guy who said of OSU commit and likely ‘M’ commit WR Taurian Washington…
Let us pray Washington goes elsewhere. Will never start here... doesn't affect Allen. He isn't that good.
Way to go Scout.
Bullet points from media day (I guess it was the first of fall camp). Highlights:
DT Marques Slocum is also not on campus, having failed to get a qualifying test score after a long struggle. Slocum is in the process of an appeal, but he is a longshot to enroll at this point.
First player out of Carr's mouth when asked about the WRs was "underrated" Carl Tabb.
Kevin Grady is going to be "much improved," having lost a bit of weight. Carr expects him to "hit the hole quicker and be better in the secondary."
Somewhat frighteningly, Ryan Mundy's name keeps popping up as a candidate for playing time. I suppose it's good if he can wade his way through the four guys who started games a year ago, but the dread spectre of Yards After Mundy lurks.
August 8 - Tuesday
Unverified Voracity: Media Day. Morgan Trent is moving to CB, lots of weight loss across the whole team, and Mike DeBord says:
"In `97, our whole thing was we want to control the ball and really continue to get first downs, three yards here, four yards here, five yards here. We were really trying to control it. But now you have to score. You have to put the ball down the field a little bit more than what we did then."
A video of Braylon catching balls blindfolded.
South Bend Tribune reporter Jeff Carroll attacks ND and the recruitment of Jimmy Clausen; he then gets banned from asking Weis any further questions. Brian sides with Weis, offering this should-have-been-heeded-sometime-in-the-next-three-years pieces of advice:
I've often wondered why Drew Sharp doesn't get the same treatment from the Michigan program. Even though he's a columnist and therefore not beholden to said facts, his relentless negativity is a drag on both Detroit-area fans and the teams they support. Lloyd Carr hates the guy -- and can you find someone who doesn't? Personally, if I was AD I would ban all Free Press reporters from press conferences and give the News unprecedented access until Sharp was sent packing. But I have been told I'm somewhat combative.
August 9 - Wednesday
Copying a research tool that Carroll (from the previous post) used, Brian settles various arguments based on the number of Google search results.
Apparently, a ‘M’ football fantasy camp used to be a thing. This post includes a long recounting of the recent camp from Jon Chait who attended as a camper. This is a fascinating read.
Unverified Voracity: Coke Geyser. Antonio Bass is optimistic he can come back in 2007, and Anthony Thomas might have found new light with the Buffalo Bills.
The picture says it all, but Maurice Clarett has been arrested.
August 10 - Thursday
Larry Harrison will not be allowed to play a second year at North Carolina A&T. This was due largely because of attack pieces by the local newspaper.
Northwestern team preview. The season looks bleak after the death of Randy Walker and the graduation of starting QB Brett Basanez. Brian predicts 4-8. They would indeed finish 4-8.
August 11 - Friday
Snapshot of the defensive recruiting. I didn’t realize that Ronald Johnson was primarily considered a DB.
Allen's FSU commitment removes Michigan's margin for error. Insiders are confident on both Johnson and (Michael) Williams but were also making assurances that (Dionte) Allen would end up at Michigan right up until he committed to FSU. As long as Johnson continues looking good things will be all right, but you should be spooked.
Also this bit of hindsight:
Ryan Kerrigan from Indiana and Eric Thomas from Ohio were mentioned as Michigan possibilities a while ago but are marginal prospects who may not get offers.
Unverified Voracity: USC USC USC tells about Pete Carroll antics.
As an assistant coach gave the Trojans a tongue-lashing while watching video of a lackluster afternoon practice, Carroll--complete in an official Wonder Bread NASCAR racing uniform and helmet--appeared from the back of the room, accompanied by the roar of an engine and shrouded by the smoke of a fog machine. Carroll raced to the front of the room and, as the team howled in laughter, informed the Trojans that they were going to take a break from football and go to the campus theater to watch the nation's hottest movie, "Talladega Nights, The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby."
August 14 - Monday
Unverified Voracity: Stare at the Watch. Pat Kane is still trying to decide between college and the OHL.
A link to an interview with Zoltan Mesko which sadly doesn’t seem to exist any more.
Continuing a series from last month, here is the most loathsome people in sports 30-21. Highlights are 30. Dick Vitale, 24. Steve Spurrier, and 21. Larry Brown.
This year, Brown's morose press conferences were context appropriate as Brown openly wondered whether he should kill Stephon Marbury or himself.
And no wonder since -- estimating conservatively by pegging his average at, say, 32 and giving him 40 or 50 days off per year for Christmas, Lent, and days when Boone was so drunk from the night before he slept for 30 hours -- over the past two years Boone has consumed approximately 20,000 beers. That's approximately 1,875gallons, enough to drown a small Vietnamese village. Since Budwesier is 5% alcohol by weight, Boone has consumed 94 gallons of alcohol alone over the past two years.
But wait! There's more! At 140 calories per beer, that's a staggering 280,000 calories; at 3500 calories per pound, Alex Boone has ingested 800 pounds worth of beer in the past two years. Alex Boone would not exist if he did not drink beer. He would be -450 pounds.
Brian takes on Tom Dienhart’s Sporting News article about how Lloyd Carr is on the hot seat.
August 15 - Tuesday
Rumors that Justin Boren has a broken ankle and Mike Kolodziej has a career-threatening condition.
August 16 - Wednesday
Blogpoll coming after Brian kills bugs…
And the actual Blogpoll...which no longer has its useful parts.
Unverified Voracity: Man Fun which is what Terrance Taylor and Jason Kates are having.
August 17 - Thursday
Confirmation on the Boren and Kolodziej rumors, though Boren’s sounds more like a sprain.
Unverified Voracity: Simmons is a Donkey. Bill Simmons has written a story on his own experiences in the WSOP.
A post about a video that no longer exists.
August 18 - Friday
Hello AL WR Marquis Maze. Seems like he would have been a nice player to have during the Rodriguez years.
Purdue team preview. They had a terrible year in ‘05 and lost several NFL players off their defense, so things don’t look great heading into this season. Everything hangs on the progress of Curtis Painter. Brian predicts 8-5. They would finish 8-6 with a bowl game loss to Maryland.
The Maurice Clarett saga turns humorous again. Apparently, he’s been bankrolled by Israeli gangsters.
Unverified Voracity: Hoep Cares. IU coach Terry Hoeppner has to use a media guide to identify his players.
August 21 - Monday
Highlights of a 13 play, 81 yard drive the from the 1989 OSU game, all running plays. It went Hoard, Bunch, Bunch, Bunch, Hoard, Bunch, Hoard, Bunch, Bunch, Taylor, Jefferson, Taylor, and finally Jefferson with the touchdown.
Brian’s answers to the blogger roundtable.
Unverified Voracity: Vote Zolton. Lamarr Woodley feels that his career has only been good, not great so far.
August 22 - Tuesday
Brian is rejoicing that a helpful reader has identified the Across 110th Street music.
Recap of a Carr press conference. Long and Woodley will be captains. Alex Mitchell is likely the RG, and Jamar Adams is likely the SS. True freshmen Mathews, Minor, and Carlos Brown are likely play.
Brian goes after print journalists who attack blogs. Watching how Detroit media interacts with MGoBlog and other blogs now, I think we have come a long way in the last ten years. Of course, print media has taken some major hits. I think they’re more contrite these days.
August 23 - Wednesday
Unverified Voracity: Jaren Hayes Returns. MSU’s defensive backfield is getting beaten up.
Brian references some ND piece of clothing, but the link is broken so who knows.
Already an update to the available shirts.
August 24 - Thursday
Brian fights against more “Carr is on the hotseat/there’s a coaching controversy in Ann Arbor” articles.
Tyler Swystun has left the hockey team.
Hello Junior Hemingway. Kind of rough career for him (injury, coaching changes, etc.), but there are such good memories of him in the Sugar Bowl.
Marques Slocum is on campus and enrolled. Let’s have a little primer on where things stand with him at this point in time.
For those not intimately familiar with the bizarre saga of Marques Slocum, he was a near-five star defensive tackle recruit who commited to Michigan for the '05 class, but he did not qualify academically. He then spent a semester at Milford Academy attempting to get his grades and test scores up, then another when the first semester didn't take. He spent this summer taking and retaking standardized tests, never quite getting the score he needed. All hope appeared to be lost after his last score came back, but Slocum appealed on grounds that some of his answers weren't counted or didn't show up or were misgraded or something. It's all very vague. Now he's around, but with a catch.
August 25 - Friday
Ohio St. team preview. Coming off a 10-2 season, OSU is commonly ranked #1. However, they have lost nine starters on defense, two 1st round picks on offense, and their kicker, so they can’t possibly be that good again this year (hmm, sounds familiar). Lots of familiar names here that have littered the NFL in the years since. Brian predicts 10-2; they would, of course, go undefeated until losing to Florida in the national championship game.
Unverified Voracity: Literally Shirtless referring to a shirtless picture of Braylon. Also, NU’s QB is out for the season so Mike Kafka is the starter.
August 26 - Saturday
MGoBlog will receive its one millionth hit at some point today.
Changes are a comin' to this space but they're made in the hope that this thing can become something of a profession. Perhaps this is a foolish goal but damn if it doesn't sound romantic, at least to me. We -- and I do mean "we" -- are going to give this a go. As anyone who saw "Michigan" placed in the tossup category of the OSU preview knows, I'm something of a romantic and I hope that this is but the beginning.
Second star to the right and straight on 'till morning. Go Blue.
I wonder how many hits it’s at today?
August 28 - Monday
Unverified Voracity: OL Ees Better. More “Carr is on the hot seat” articles with which Brian takes umbrage. This time Pat Forde claims that Carr, Larry Coker, Tubby Smith, and Phil Fulmer should all be worried about their jobs. Ironically, none of these would be coaching at the same school a little more than two years later. To Brian’s point though, Carr would leave on the best terms of any of these.
Hello Avery Horn (who I’m struggling not to confuse with Avery Queen). This is a 3-star RB disappointment for fans hoping for John Clay or Robert Hughes.
Brian got a job! He will now be the lead Big Ten blogger for AOL Fanhouse. These are interesting details related to the history of the blog.
Also, this marks a transition point. Selling out is going to occur. A few months ago my job and I agreed to not have each other any more, partially due to the fact that instead of doing "things" I was "supposed to be doing" I was "posting on my blog." In the subsequent months I've come to two conclusions:
I like blogging.
I don't like engineering.
August 29 - Tuesday
Information on Avery Horn from someone connected to his high school.
Michigan team preview: Offense. This is the normal copious preview we’ve come to expect from Brian each August. It is long, but essentially, there are lot of questions about the offense coming out of 2005.
No idea on this one. (ed. the link within the link is NSFW)
August 30 - Wednesday
Michigan team preview: Defense. Again, a lot of content here. I didn’t remember that there was this much concern surrounding Leon Hall:
Magazines and Mel Kiper tell us that Leon Hall is an excellent player worthy of accolades, though he doesn't seem like Marlin Jackson to me. He enters his third year as a full-time starter on All-American lists and NFL mock drafts as the top corner in the country, which is something of a surprise since he's never exactly dominated.
August 31 - Thursday
Brian wants to know why the Northwestern vs. Miami OH game is on ESPNU. Yes, a post just to ask that question.
Prediction of how the members of the Big Ten will finish.
To recap: everything should be better and I have totally reasonable reasons for thinking so. Everyone we liked except Avant, Stenavich, and about a third of Watson returns, plus we get our best two players back and healthy. Incremental improvement from many plus wild improvement from a few -- my bets are Manningham, Crable, and Jamar Adams -- should see Michigan re-assert itself. On the other hand, this team is flawed on the offensive line, at linebacker, and in corner depth.
...but you know and I know that the key to the season wears #7 and has a goofy haircut. If he plays like he did last year, we have a season similar to last year but slightly better. From 8-4 to 9-3. If he plays like he did at the tail end of last year, um, yeah. There's a chance.
Wins: Vandy, CMU, Ball State, @Indiana, Northwestern
Probable Wins: @ Minnesota, Drew Stanton, @ PSU, Wisconsin
Tossups: @ ND, @ OSU, Iowa
Split the difference: 10-2.
The first game is three days away, so here are highlights of the 2004 MSU game to get you in the mood.