What the next decade holds--according to ESPN

Submitted by modaddy21 on January 22nd, 2010 at 12:23 PM


1. Widespread realignment
The Big Ten is exploring the possibility of adding a 12th team, and I'm betting it will be Missouri before the 2011 season. With 12 teams, the Big Ten can split into two divisions and stage a conference championship game. Who can't wait to flock to Detroit or Minneapolis in early December?

With Missouri leaving, the Big 12 will add TCU to its lineup of schools. Not to be left out, the Pac-10 will add Boise State and Utah, giving it 12 teams and a moneymaking championship game. The Big East will react by adding Memphis, East Carolina, Central Florida and Temple

8. Michigan will become relevant again
The Wolverines will return to national prominence -- under current LSU coach Les Miles or Stanford coach (and UM alumnus) Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines will stick with coach Rich Rodriguez for a couple of more seasons, before eventually pulling the plug on what has been a bad marriage. Rodriguez will return to his native West Virginia, where he'll unsuccessfully run for public office.


Smitty D

January 22nd, 2010 at 12:56 PM ^

never seen a freaking coach ripped apart so bad by the national and local media in my life. THE GUY TOOK over a program who's starting QB was a freaking high school walk on who didn't even make the all confernce team in high school. Yet we expected Rich to... I guess turn him into a good qb. W/E Rich just win so you can flip the bird to all the haters


January 22nd, 2010 at 1:05 PM ^

(preface by saying I am not a RichRod hater. All in, baby!)
Actually, he took over a program with a QB who should be a top 10 draft pick in next years draft. He decided that that he would stick to his guns and play his system, even if it meant a couple of years sucking until he could get the right type of players. Some of the hating he is receiving, he should have known was coming.

Smitty D

January 22nd, 2010 at 1:18 PM ^

Rich took over.

Q: You left Michigan after Rich Rodriguez replaced Lloyd Carr. How did that go down?

A: We met after (Rodriguez) was hired, and I think we both realized his offense wasn't the right offense for me. It was a mutual thing. After we felt each other out, we knew it wouldn't work. There were no hard feelings.

Translation: There was no way in hell I was going to play in a zone read spread option offense.

As for sticking to his offense? What was he going to do? Go to a pro set, he basically invented the spread option, I would of never wanted him to do that.


January 22nd, 2010 at 1:31 PM ^

Again, I am a RR supporter. You said he inherited a walk on QB. I disagreed. He inherited a talented headcase who couldn't run the spread. Yes, an offensive mind like Rodriguez could have run a pass attack type offense until he had a different player set. I am not saying he chose poorly in sticking to his offense, I am just saying he chose. He chose to tell Mallett that he was planning on running the spread with or without him, and Mallet chose without. Rodriguez knew that he was going to have a hard time winning by running the spread with Sheridan or Threet. He decided that he was better off teaching his system, letting the players become comfortable with it and buy in, and then improve as he could add better fitting pieces. The poor record of the last few years did not come as a surprise to RR, and neither did the criticism. He is banking on the fact that he is right, and that the wins will come, and the boo birds will fly away.


January 22nd, 2010 at 1:55 PM ^

Being UofM fans, I give us all credit for having above average intelligence. Because of that, we all should have known that bringing in RR and the spread offense meant a huge culture shock and a couple years of stuggling before we would reap any sorts of benefits. That being said, we live in the now, and having to listen to our MSU and OSU friends brag about beating us makes our stomaches feel like we had Taco Bell for lunch and then went two round of Fear Factor, and then had our girlfriends tell us they were pregnant. So, here is the prescription. Go to Itunes and buy the song "Back in the High Life Again," listen to it a couple of times, take three deep breathes and chant..."If you can't get into college go to State, if you can't get into college go to State, if you can't get into college then you know your life will SUCK, if you can't get into college go to State."


January 22nd, 2010 at 2:25 PM ^

Let's be honest, and I don't want to whine or psychoanalyze about 2008, but:

With 10 new offensive starters, RR would have had problems running the Michigan pro-style offense had he decided to switch after reviewing the talent on hand in the spring. Justin Boren and Alex Mitchell would have quit no matter the system - they didn't want to run. So, as we've analyzed here dozens of times, it made no sense for RR to switch to a system he'd have gutted before the 2009 system.

And, look at the improvements with such a young team:

from 1771 yards and 3.9 ypr to 2234 yards and 4.5 ypr without any continuity or consistency at the RB position. AT ALL. Oh, and without the best linemen for 2/3 of the 2009 season.

The RB position has been patchwork due to Minor and Brown's GIMPGATE 2008-09. The hope here has to be that Toussaint, Shaw, MIKE Cox, and one of the incomings can be healthy and consistent. And, in year one we got about 7-8 explosive Robinson runs. We can expect 10-15 explosive, long runs by Denard in 2010.

All in all, if we get the same kind of improvement from 2009 to 2010 that we got from 2008 to 2009, the rushing game will be top 15 nationally, and the team is going to win a lot of games.


January 22nd, 2010 at 1:46 PM ^

He decided that that he would stick to his guns and play his system, even if it meant a couple of years sucking until he could get the right type of players.

Can this lazy analysis be retired already? We ran very little zone read in 2008, and passed the ball 46% of the time, compared to 26% for WVU in 2007. We've also mixed in some I-formation from time to time, something WVU almost never did under RR, and threw to the TE much more in 2009 than he ever did at WVU. Our problems have had far more to do with our players being not that good and/or young than them being ill-suited for the system. Threet and Sheridan weren't going to look good in any system in '08.


January 22nd, 2010 at 2:10 PM ^

Threet was a very well respected recruit coming out of HS and, although he is not Chad Henne, he is also not a huge talent drop from John Navarre. I feel about the "we had no talent" argument about the same as you feel about "need the right players" argument. We had consistent top 20 recruiting classes in the years prior to RR, so the talent was there. We had several talented, experienced players leave, this is true. However, they left because they were not a good fit for RR and his system. Before you call a dissenting opinion lazy, you might want to think that there are more sides to an argument than yours.


January 22nd, 2010 at 2:24 PM ^

On a side note, I feel that we have way too many people giving negs and name calling on opinions that differ with theirs. The idea of a discussion is to voice your opinion and listen to others, constantly evauluating information. I could live without the fingers in the ears, stomping their feet on the gound posts. This isn't all about your post, jmblue, as the 'lazy' comment really isn't over the top derrogatory, it just was teh trigger to this rant. I can see your argument, I just happen to disagree.


January 22nd, 2010 at 2:39 PM ^

Before you say "the talent was there" based on top 20 recruiting classes, go back and look at those classes and see which of those highly rated recruits that made those classes top 20 were still there. Antonio Bass? Eugene Germany? Mario Manningham? Marques Slocum? James McKinney? Even Kevin Grady?

These were the guys (along with linemen Justin Schifano and Corey Zirbel) who made up 8 of the 11 4 star and above players from the 2005 recruiting class, the class who would be seniors in 2007, all who were non-contributors under RR.

The 2006 class was good but small, and included such 4 star players as Cobrani Mixon, Justin Boren, Jason Kates and Adam Patterson. Again, much of the "talent" from this class either didn't turn out to be talent, or turned out to be a talented Buckeye (fuck).

My point is 2 fold: First, if you are going to argue that we had "talent" when RR came in, don't base it on how the classes were ranked, because 2005 shows us that it doesn't always work out the way Rivals says it should. Secondly, if you are going to argue that we had "talent" when RR came in, I'm just going to disagree with you. We had very little talent left over from those 2 classes by the time RR came along, and even the sophomore class (recruiting class of 2007) wasn't especially strong without Mallett.

When assessing the talent a team has, look at who is there, and how talented they are at the NCAA level, not just who showed up on our commitment list from 3 or 4 years ago.


January 22nd, 2010 at 2:49 PM ^

Point taken. Those classes might not have been world beaters. However, if you are going to stick to the argument that lack of talent was teh only reason for our poor performance, you must be arguing that Lloyd Carr would have went 3-9 with the same kids. I think the system change was bigger than people give it credit for. The first thing I thought when RR was hired was that we were in for a rough couple of years. I think his system gives us a better chance in the longrun of competing for national championships, so I was OK with the hire, but lets give him some credit for having a good idea the struggle he was in for.


January 22nd, 2010 at 3:01 PM ^

I agree with you that talent deficiency was not the only problem. Lloyd Carr would not have gone 3-9, but he knew when to leave. If Lloyd and Mallett both stayed, we probably would have gone 7-5 or 8-4. The receivers were still young, the defense would have still sucked. We didn't want mediocre seasons anymore. We knew RR couldn't pick right up where Lloyd left off, but we also knew (know) that he has what it takes to put us over the top. I'm not sure if keeping the old regime around had that.


January 22nd, 2010 at 5:29 PM ^

Regardless of what Threet's high school ranking was, it was clear as day to anyone who watched that he - like many QBs - wasn't ready to be a starting QB as a redshirt freshman. You mention that he "is also not a huge talent drop from John Navarre." Have you forgotten just how bad Navarre was as an underclassman?

A bad QB (who was oft-injured and frequently replaced by a walk-on) playing behind a horrendous OL, throwing to a so-so WR corps and handing off to an injury-riddled group of backs is not likely to have a successful season.

Chester Cheetah

January 23rd, 2010 at 4:21 AM ^

I feel like a bad experience in an indoor stadium mostly has to do with the quality of the facilities. I've been to Miller Park for a baseball game and it was fantastic. The structure was architecturally phenomenal and made me step back in awe.

However, I went to a then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays game at Tropicana Field (still being used) and the entire experience felt trashy to me. Walking to our seats was a completely different experience than when my father and I were at Miller Park.

Anytime Michigan is on the field it's a great experience. If it's a team that you're so-so about, then the atmosphere makes all the difference.


January 22nd, 2010 at 12:41 PM ^

It will probably be in Indy or Detroit, based on the brand new indoor venues available. My bet is Indy since that is the least likely to be a home field advantage for any team (Purdue or Indiana probably never make it), and since the Basketball Tourney ends up there so often.


January 22nd, 2010 at 12:35 PM ^

I can't decide why I want to see Michigan football "return to national prominence" more: because I love watching us win, or because I want to silence the haters.

Winning is winning, but ideally, we do it with Rodriguez.


January 22nd, 2010 at 12:50 PM ^

1) Big Title game would rotate between Indy, Chicago, and Ford Field.
2) I agree Michigan will become relevant again, and it will be under Rich Rod.

Bonus: Jay Riemersma will be govener in 2018!


January 22nd, 2010 at 12:56 PM ^

Soldier Field in December would be awesome - but a tough sell.

It would be cool to stick it in the face of the Pac Ten and SEC warm weather pansies, but I don't see the Big Ten risking their payday on Chicago weather.


January 22nd, 2010 at 12:50 PM ^

5. 3-D TV will become the rage
College football fans will be captivated by much-improved 3-D technology, which will make them feel like part of the action. To almost no one's surprise, Big Ten players will look even slower in 3-D.

I have heard that ESPN has plans to launch a 3D network and will be kicking it off by broadcasting some World Cup games in 3D this summer. Should be interesting.

Also, those 'faster' players from Oregon and Miami FL didn't seem to be able to put their conference-based superior athletic ability to use in their bowl games this year...


January 22nd, 2010 at 1:01 PM ^

All sports coverage will be from ABC/ESPN. Nothing will be true unless ESPN says it is. All athletes will be given nicknames based on Disney characters. Whole games will not be shown and instead all sports will be broadcast in highlight packages that cut from shot to shot so quickly that only rats on methamphetamines can follow them. These highlights will be accompanied by whatever is the most annoying hip-hop song available at the time. Most "sports" will in fact be clips of Sportscenter hosts doing poor David Letterman impressions while they interview Maxim models. The word "hello" will be replaced on all ABC/ESPN broadcasts with the word "boo-yah." "Boo-yah, Brent." "Boo-yah to you, Kirk."


January 22nd, 2010 at 1:06 PM ^

That article is just full of FAIL.

Did Schlabach even watch any Big Ten bowl games this season?

The only truths I see actually occurring are the conference alignments and Michigan/Notre Dame becoming "relevant" again. As if Michigan had ever become irrelevant...


January 22nd, 2010 at 1:19 PM ^

I still don't see how adding 1 game (split 12 ways) and a below average team to the market (e.g. Missouri) helps garner the B10 more money.

Right now, they are dividing revenue by 11. If Missouri is added, they would have to be above average in revenue to add value to the B10 (each team would also get 1/12 of the championship game).

I don't think Missouri brings in more money than an average B10 team (but don't have the financials).


January 22nd, 2010 at 1:28 PM ^

The fact that Schlabach has designated one of his bullet points about Michigan is proof they are not irrelevant.

Want irrelevance? Minnesota just built a new football stadium for the Geauxfurs, but the Vikings have had the headlines all year with BERT FARVE.

Also, the Geauxfs they pulled a 0.4 rating for their bowl game. Michigan would get a better rating for a practice.


January 22nd, 2010 at 3:58 PM ^

I would figure their predictions for the future included ESPN Holywood: The Movie, President Stephen A. Smith, and someone finally strangling Chris Berman.


January 22nd, 2010 at 4:11 PM ^

Even negating the shots he took at the Big Ten and Notre Dame, his seemingly serious predictions were stupid. This is unsurprising, considering that Schlabach never produces anything intelligent.

First of all, taking Schlabach's assumption that Missouri goes to the Big Ten (which is plausible) for granted, we will have a mess bigger than anything Schlabach has predicted. First of all, the Big 12 would collapse, as Texas and Colorado would likely bolt to the Pac 10, while Texas A&M and Oklahoma would likely attempt to join the SEC. The reason this is likely to happen is that Missouri contributes a lot of revenue to the conference, the loss of which would leave the stronger teams to look for greener pastures. This would leave the remainder of the conference to try to sort themselves out. I'd imagine that Nebraska would be an independent (football only) for awhile, as their football team has a strong enough national brand to survive on its own. The remainder of the conference would be screwed. Kansas and KSU may go to Conference USA, perhaps taking Iowa State or Baylor with them as they attempt to form a reasonably strong basketball conference. The remaining teams may be forced to join the Mountain West or something. Simply put, it would be a big mess.

Furthermore, even if TCU were added to the Big 12 and it somehow managed to survive, Boise State and Utah would never gain admission to the Pac 10. The individual Pac 10 teams would lose money, as Boise State and Utah cannot bring in much revenue. Furthermore, the Pac 10 is a strong academic conference and schools like Stanford would likely balk at the prospect of bringing in either school.

Now onto point #3. Schlabach is likely right here, because virtually everyone in the country knows that Paterno is pretty much through, while the other names on the list have virtually zero likelihood of staying on through 2020. Point #4 (the SEC will win 4+ national championships) is something I will ignore when reading the world's biggest SEC homer. Points 5 & 6 are stupid jokes, although it is quite possible that Boise State will win a national championship. Point 7 actually has merit, meaning that Schlabach deserves some credit, even though this belief has been touted by a bunch of people. Points 8-10 are also dumb and not worth discussion. In fact, the rest of Schlabach's assertions are either stupid or obvious too, so I'll just stop here.


January 22nd, 2010 at 4:56 PM ^

My prediction: Comcast owned NBC-Universal pumps tremendous funding into versus to make it a serious ESPN competitor. VS siphons off the Pac-10 and Big 12 and eventually the NBA and NFL. ESPN turns to more tabloid style reporting with their "journalists" rummaging through Tiger Wood's and Lebron James' trash to find any discarded condom wrappers for their next big lead.