Lowering Expectations

Submitted by Section 1 on August 15th, 2011 at 1:05 PM

We've seen some interesting things with the arrival of the Brady Hoke Era.  Perhaps the most interesting things have occurred in the intersection of Coach Hoke and the local media that had declared War on Rich Rodriguez at the end of 2010.

The year began with Michael Rosenberg declaring on January 4 that he had "zero doubt that he [Jim Harbaugh] wants the Michigan job."  Those were the days when Rosenberg had long since ceased answering questions about his vendetta against Rodriguez, and was openly campaigning for Harbaugh to be Michigan's next head football coach.  A couple of months before, Rosenberg had written a worshipful puff-piece on the Harbaugh brothers for Sports Illustrated.  Rosenberg's big concern appeared to be whether or not David Brandon would do a satisfactory job of courting Jim Harbaugh.

Rosenberg was all wrong, of course; Harbaugh didn't want the Michigan job.

Brady Hoke was hired, and the pivot on the part of the Free Press was so dramatic that it gave its critics many more months of good reason to laugh at the corruption of the newspaper's sports editors.  Hoke-worship became as obvious as the Rodriguez-hatred of just a few weeks earlier.  All of it, naturally, continued to sell newspapers and page-hits for the Freep.

The high level of enthusiastic cheerleading for Hoke has continued, for the past seven months.  Plenty of time, in campaign terms, to set up the narrative; that Michigan is back to being tough and tremendous and all of those things.  Which is fine, until expectations run into reality, head-on.

The expectations game is big in campaigns, and so now the question becomes, will we see yet another pivot, to "reduced expectations" for Michigan's 2011 season from our friends Rosenberg, Snyder and Sharp at the Detroit Fish Wrapper?  I say yes, and that in the next two weeks, as the preseason punditry begins to spill out, that is exactly what we will get.  Time will tell.  Very soon.  Like a countdown clock.

In the meantime, it has already started.  Rosenberg's latest is to declare that Michigan "will struggle early" this season, and then will end the season with a win over Nebraska or Ohio State.  He doesn't say which one, which sort of makes it sound like flipping a coin, and then writing your coulmn before picking up your check from the Gannett Company.  Except that Rosenberg didn't even bother to flip the coin.  He's just saying that Michigan will beat one or the other because, well, it sounds sort of good to say it that way.  Give the folks a little Hoke, er, hope, and don't get anybody too excited because then people might start thinking about the fact that Michigan was 7-5 in last year's regular season and went to a bowl game and hey what's the difference?  

Rosenberg's latest column is so completely devoid of any real information it is something that any blog-reader could have phoned in from the comfort of their own toilet seat at home.  There is literally not a single item of news, not a single original thought, not one thing that isn't the sort of routine garbage that you might hear two guys discussing at a bar.  In fact, if the bar was Fraser's Pub, you'd probably get a lot better news and information than from a Free Press sports columnist.  It really poses the question; now that Michael Rosenberg has cut himself off from the Athletic Department and all personal interviews with anyone who isn't already doing the run of the mill press conferences for Mark Snyder to cover, what does Rosenberg even have to do with Michigan athletics anymore?

Nothing, I'd say, other than what he seems to be doing now.  Managing expectations.  Keeping it real, so that no one gets agitated or disappointed if the 2011 Michigan Wolverines look like the 2010 Wolverines with a slightly more sluggish and sloppy offense, and an improved defense.



August 15th, 2011 at 1:12 PM ^

Your vendetta against the Free Press is way more pathetic than their supposed one against RichRod. We get it: you don't like them. Stop reading it, just like none of us dignify your inane missives by reading more then a sentence or two.

What a homunculus little shithead of a poster you are!


August 15th, 2011 at 1:34 PM ^

You should probably keep the name-calling to a minimum - you don't know Section 1.  He might be 6-5, 300 and beat the sh-t out of you if you ever run into him.  However, you hide behind the internets and feel comfortable with the name-calling because of it.  Maybe you should be the one to shut up.

Also, why don't you try practicing what you preach . . . If you don't like Section 1's posts then don't read them.  And if you don't read them, don't respond to them.  It'll save yourself and others lots of time and trouble.  Agree with someone's opinion/thoughts or not, there's no reason to post ridiculous responses like this one.  Just downvote it and move on.



August 15th, 2011 at 1:18 PM ^

You need more documentation. This is just speculation on your part. What you need to do is gather up lots of quotes from when Hoke was hired detailing the Free Press's predictions that Michigan would be good right away, and then use lots of quotes from now that demonstrate that they're backing off those predictions.

Then, once you've got that, post it somewhere else.


August 15th, 2011 at 1:21 PM ^


Don't care about the subject.

Not about to lower my expectations when the Rivals mods have a huge stiffy from watching practice / talking to players.  

Section 1

August 15th, 2011 at 2:27 PM ^

You didn't read, and so you missed the point.

I didn't say that I had lowered my expectations, or that you should lower your expectations.  I only observed that in the next couple of weeks, we'd be seeing all sorts of commentary on "expectations," and that I predict that we will see some very heavily "managed expectations."

I didn't criticize Hoke; I don't think I ever have.  I didn't even make any football predictions of my own.  All that I did was to make an observation about the leading columnist at the state's largest daily newspaper.  A guy who happens to have a very disturbing track record with our football program.

Next time, you might want to read before you comment.


August 15th, 2011 at 7:35 PM ^

I don't know... probably the same sh*t they say every year (this is my first year with access). 

Basically "the butterflies that we didn't have this time of year for the last three years are back".  One of the mods expects the defense to finish "50th-60th overall this year".  Marvin Robinson is sort of like Cam Gordon 2010 version (lots of praise but we'll see if it happens on the field). 

Denard is the man.  Receivers lack a go-to guy, but are very deep.  Freshmen RBs don't have a "deer in the headlights" look that all the other freshmen do.  Blake Countess rooming with Troy Woolfolk and looking very likely to push for time this fall (they say every freshman DB has looked good, though).  Woolfolk standing out - has pretty much locked down the #1 CB spot. 

This is all off memory from what I read earlier today, so please don't flame me for sharing.  If someone truly couldn't go without that info - they would've bought a subscription in the last 6 hours (IMO).

Dark Blue

August 15th, 2011 at 1:22 PM ^

Do you ever fucking quit. I bet you and Tater are best friends hanging out in VACATIONLAND USA and dreaming up all of these wicked awesome conspiracy theories. 


Section 1 everyone on this board gets that you have some dumbass vendetta against the FREEP, and no one gives a shit. 

His Dudeness

August 15th, 2011 at 1:30 PM ^

Eh I think the OP is bringing up a new point to the matter. That the Freep is now telling everyone to lower expectations to make Hoke look better when it happens. What I don't get is why the OP still reads it to find more things to hate? I hate the Freep, but I haven't picked up a single page since the jihad. I also hate the Huge Show in GR and I haven't listened to a minute in years. If you hate something be rid of it, I always say.


August 15th, 2011 at 1:31 PM ^

For argument's sake, why is this thread any different than some other thread based?  Is it because people don't like the opinion?  Or is it because people don't like to hear about the topic?  Because there are lots of threads out there that are annoying and others that re-hash subjects (see "CC" threads).  But none get the kind of response that this one got.  I don't get it.



August 15th, 2011 at 1:36 PM ^

Because somewhere along the way, Section 1's posts on this topic crossed over from OPINION to INSANE VENDETTA. He provides nothing new every time he posts one of these missives; they're 95% reprints of his ledger of supposed slights, with 5% of new material that he considers just enough to warrant him going through his laundry-list of wackadoo speech.

I don't think anyone had any problem with it, the first time he went off half-cocked like an insane person. The 50th time of rehashing the same argument in an always-asinine way is annoying. If you started an opinion thread, ok, some people would agree and some wouldn't. If you made it a point to start an opinion thread ever week in which you restate the same exact opinion in an obnoxious way, well, at some point the rest of us wish you'd shut up, even if we agree with you.


August 15th, 2011 at 2:11 PM ^

For what its worth, I appreciate you.  Its good that people remember what the Free Press did.  These kinds of things become water under the bridge and people with short memories will start buying that newspaper again.  If people don't like your point of view, they can simply downvote you and move on.  Anything else (offensive responses) is simply an attempt to silence your otherwise useful information.


Kilgore Trout

August 15th, 2011 at 2:24 PM ^

I'll admit it, I still subscribe to the Free Press and I never considered canceling it.  They do a good job of covering the metro region.  Their story this weekend about Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae was interesting and useful on the whole.  Of course their sports coverage doesn't hold up against mgoblog, but for stuff I only want to gloss over, they do a nice job.


August 15th, 2011 at 2:54 PM ^

I'm not a local so I obviously do not get the Free Press.  That said, I swore off newspapers a long time ago.  That same Freddie Mac/Fanny Mae article could be read on any number of sites since I'm betting it was an AP article.  And you can get local metro news online at any various number of sites.  Not that I begrudge you your perrogative or anything - to each their own!


Waters Demos

August 15th, 2011 at 8:21 PM ^

PGB I've always liked you and your independence of thought.  And that remains true.

However, I continue to marvel at how anyone can care about this, much less care so deeply about this.  Aren't there more pressing issues in people's lives?

Kilgore Trout

August 15th, 2011 at 10:40 PM ^

1. The Freddie / Fannie story was not AP.  It was their own investigative journalism.  They do a nice job of this, essentially bringing down the entire Kilpatrick administration in the city.

2. Yeah, you can read it online, but there's something to be said about sitting around your breakfast table on a Sunday morning with your family swapping sections of a physical paper and reading the comics to your three year old. 

3.  I honestly just don't have the effort to care enough about the jihad to boycott or anything like that.  Those guys blew that story.  They didn't know the difference between countable and non-countable hours.  That's really all it comes down to.  On the other hand, between the systematic compliance problems that it exposed (albeit inadvertently) as well as Rodriguez's apparent systematic issues with hours and GA responsibilities, I think it's likely UM was on its way to LOIC if it wasn't exposed when it was.

Section 1

August 15th, 2011 at 11:14 PM ^

1.  Yes the Free Press did its own reporting on the Fannie/Freddie story.  After that story had been handed to them in the form of the civil litigation that has been brewing for weeks.  And also, just as the Kilpatrick story was handed to the Free Press by an attorney who violated a court order to make it all quite easy for the reporters to read text messages that had been printed out for them.

2.  Okay.  Red Meat is my favorite comic strip and it's not in the Free Press.

3.  Just imagine for a moment how the Michigan story might have developed differently.  Suppose Rosenberg gets the CARA memo leaked to him and instead of playing "gotcha," he calls Compliance Services.  They grant Rosenberg an interview, and explain what "countable hours" really are.  Then Rosenberg asks, "What about the coaches at summer 7-on-7's?"  And the University says, "We can check on that for you."  They do, and as a result of going over all of the GA's time and their job descriptions, Michigan goes back to the NCAA, and says, "We're not sure about this; help us out with understanding the maximum allowable coach rules in off-season time.  If we've made a mistake, we want to self-report."  In that event, Alex Herron never gets interviewed by the NCAA.  In that event, Michigan might be looking at purely secondary violations.  In that event, Michigan isn't anywhere close to LOIC.

Not that Michigan ever was close to LOIC.  Even under the exaggerated and inflamed circumstances we faced, Michigan was not alleged to be in an LOIC situation.  Michigan got a slap on the wrist.  Because that is all that Michigan deserved.  Rodriguez didn't even get "Failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance."

It is pretty simple; the Free Press story, the way it was concocted and the way it was published, was calculated to inflict the maximum hurt on Rich Rodriguez.  The Free Press' stated goal -- to protect players from abuses of the NCAA rules by coaches -- was and still is a complete fabrication.  The two worst-abused players in the entire scandal were the two freshmen, Stokes and Hawthorne.  And their abuser was Michael Rosenberg.


August 15th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

Hoke was really one job away from being a sexy hire.  He took Ball State from nothing to a team that was making me squirm uncomfortably in the student section.  I know Carr didn't want to stomp on his former assistants, but man did we cut that game close.  

He then went on to SDSU which was a middling power in the MWC and started putting players in the NFL, getting his guys on All Conference Teams, and winning bowls.  

All he really needed was a fairly successful stint at some school actually in a BCS conference and he would have become a sexy hire.  Give him a few more years at SDSU to walk out of the MWC with a nice record and a few winning seasons with a middle level BCS team and we'd all be excited for him.  

As it stands he was that talented guy that seemed to not quite have the seniority you want.  However his choice of assistants should put the experience issue to rest I think.  Borges of course put together an offense capable of ripping up the SEC and was still putting guys in the NFL from SDSU.  Mattison's record speaks for itself.  Amazing Michigan defenses, amazing Florida defenses, and the third best defense in the NFL.  Both guys have experience and success at high levels.  

If our coaching staff as Hoke and some young coordinators I would definitely be nervous.  As it stands though Borges is likely qualified to be a HC in his own right and the defense coaching staff looks like something Bo, Mo, or Carr would assemble (and then used to mercilessly pillage the B10.  They didn't punt because they were conservative, they punted because they secretly liked watching defensive ends kill quarterbacks).  

So at the end of the day, what you call cheerleading I call legitimate excitement.  We have an excellent staff on both sides of the ball and recruiting is going insanely well.  As for Roseneberg's prediction, I think it sounds right.  By November the new system should have clicked and we manage to get a few nice scalps to hang on the wall, despite shooting ourselves in the foot in an earlier game as the team is still adjusting to scheme changes.


August 15th, 2011 at 3:16 PM ^

(with healthy receivers) at SDSU, and he could have them playing like Utah or TCU, who's coaches now and past haven't jumped up to mid-level jobs before getting considered for big time jobs, just had big time success at their lower level program.  Urban Meyer was a hot commodity, and was hired by his old AD.  And a lot of people would have been more than happy with Patterson. He didn't need another job. He just needed a few more years of accomplishment at San Diego.


August 15th, 2011 at 1:27 PM ^

"a slightly more sluggish and sloppy offense."  

Are you serious?  I will admit that the offense this year might not be quite as explosive, but it will not be as sloppy as the offense was once we got into the teeth of the B1G schedule last year.  


August 15th, 2011 at 5:52 PM ^

Last year RR had his offense in place with a first year starter who was llittle more than a red shirt freshman. With 9 starters returning (or 8 as it turns out) experience should have had the offense running smoothly this year. Instead, we have a new offense and it is likely to run roughly simply because players will have to think about what they are supposed to do instead it of simply doing it.


August 15th, 2011 at 1:29 PM ^

Section one hates Rosenberg, but there really isn't anything in what he said that isn't a reasonable opinion/analysis.  I hope that Rosenberg is never accepted back into the Michigan "community" again.  Lying to 17 and 18 year-olds to write a story that smeared the school whose degree allowed him to get his job puts Rosenberg in the catagory of "writers" whose word and therefore work can't be trusted.

And that brings me to my only quibble?  Why on earth would any Michigan fan actually subject himself (or herself) to reading even one sentence of Rosenberg's work?  I haven't given him even one click since he started the Freep jihad.  

Unless you count the Amazon review I gave his book...


August 15th, 2011 at 1:30 PM ^

I came here expecting to read that we need to have reasonable expectations for the team this year, but came away with the notion that you hate the Free Press.


Did I miss something?


August 15th, 2011 at 1:32 PM ^

I think Harbaugh did want the Michigan job.  It's just that something else came along, in the form of a better offer that was conveinent to take (can stay in the same home, same city, with a new baby).


August 16th, 2011 at 12:02 AM ^

Harbaugh's wife is the Yoko One of Michigan football. She started Johnny Sears and Stevie Brown against Appalacian State, she's the reason Gingell's field goal got blocked, she fired Lloyd, hired RR, fired RR, made Miles cut kids and eat grass, she slept with Gary Moeller's wife (!), then she kept Harbaugh from following his dream to coach Michigan and forced him to take the 49ers job. I hate that woman.


August 15th, 2011 at 1:36 PM ^

Are you keeping expectations in check, are you commending the Freep for doing so, condemning them for doing so, saying it should be done or that it should not be done?  What are you saying?  I read the entire post and don't know your position on anything.  What are your expecations?  How do you feel about expectations?  I am confused.