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02/28/2018 - 10:33am The vast majority of college

The vast majority of college athletes are in fact student-athletes.  The number is probably something like 98%, if you count the entire NCAA.  What's the point of blowing it all up for a tiny, non-representative niche group?  

02/27/2018 - 4:34pm And it's also quite bizarre

And it's also quite bizarre to call a full-ride scholarship "underpaid" when people like Jordan Kovacs (and the thousands of walk-ons from time immemorial) were willing to "work" at the same "job" for literally free.

Do the "Death to the NCAA" Deadspin types ever even consider these obvious points?

I was a pretty decent IM basketball player BITD, and would have walked over broken glass to walk onto the varsity for free.  The idea that that would have been "work" is just batshit insane.

02/27/2018 - 4:26pm How many players on the 2017

How many players on the 2017 Michigan football team are even "worth" the value of their four-year scholarship?  

02/27/2018 - 4:19pm See, here's the problem:  The

See, here's the problem:  The money has never gone to the players and has always gone to administrators, buildings, other sports, etc.

The only difference now from 1987 or 1977 is that there's quite a bit more money going to those things.

Which means the objection to that isn't really a matter of principle, but instead just one of relative degree: 

"It's fine if a school spends a million dollars on other stuff, but if it's ten million, we need to rip up the system from the ground floor."

To which, I would simply ask, "Why?"  Why is a scholarship enough if the coach makes $500,000, but not if he makes $5 million?"  What's the tipping point there?  One million?  Two million?  It's all pure guesswork and gut feel, nothing more.

The schools have always had enough money to pay players -- why now?




01/26/2018 - 9:36pm The post about the thing in

The post about the thing in South Quad in '82 wasn't describing a sexual assault, just a plain old assault.  The statute of limiitations passed decades ago on it. I was a student in South Quad around that time, and came in contact with Harbaugh -- including in IM sports where he was INSANELY competitive to the point of thuggish -- and have no reason whatsoever to disbelieve it.  There was a group of guys who were some the top players on the team in 1985, which included him, that were complete pains in the ass on campus, way more than any of the five years before or after.

I'm just not sure what any of this has to do with MSU and the current stories and scandals.  The current Michigan football coach got wasted and hit a woman when he was 19?  And?  

01/02/2018 - 12:13pm The "structural problem" with

The "structural problem" with the offense is that it's completely primitive in philosophy.   I'd be far more optimistic about the future if that wasn't the case, but unfortunately it is.

If Al Borges and Brady Hoke had run that ridiculous play in a bowl game, they'd still be referred to as "Tight End Dive" on this blog well into the 22nd century.  And the real problem with the play is that it's entirely what you'd expect an offense with this philosophy to think of as all "gadgety," which they pretty clearly do.

If this offensive staff comes back intact next year, with the same philosophy, there are no grounds for optimism at all and it will clearly be "whatever" time.

01/02/2018 - 11:54am If we're going literary, the

If we're going literary, the obvious reference is Bo's death as the equivalent of White Noise's The Airborne Toxic Event.

01/02/2018 - 11:49am Somehow I don't think Brian

Somehow I don't think Brian would have been all "Eat at Arby's" in November 2014 if Brady Hoke had given the other team a massive game-changing momentum jolt by fumbling on our own 20 on a "Tight End dive" play.  

For comedic value, that debacle was right up there with the Jets' Buttfumble, the only difference being that TE Dive was the product of actual conscious thought and effort.



01/01/2018 - 7:05pm But on a positive note,

But on a positive note, there's still plenty of time for him to change his mind.

It's also in his best interest. The luster is already starting to fade and after next year -- barring a miracle -- his NFL window will be virtually closed.

11/18/2017 - 5:30pm Yeah, you need to be able to

Yeah, you need to be able to make big plays in these kind of games, and we aren't.  

Nor do we try enough.  

11/18/2017 - 5:11pm Absent a major change in

Absent a major change in staff and/or philosophy, next year's offense is going to be just like this year's.  Mediocre OL, conservative, few big plays, no margin for error, lots of yards against bad teams, decent chunks of big games where yardage doesn't translate into the number of points it should.  

With a tougher schedule, and no Jim McIlwain.  

11/18/2017 - 5:04pm Yeah, other than the last 28

Yeah, other than the last 28 minutes of the second half when they completely curb stomped us, we totally outplayed them.  

Enough of this.  We did some decent things for awhile, and the defense played a pretty good first half, and then all of that turned completely around and we got smoked.  

11/18/2017 - 4:52pm "Crap on our team," LOL.

"Crap on our team," LOL.

11/18/2017 - 4:51pm Yeah, well we always "should

Yeah, well we always "should have" been further ahead after our periodic bouts of dominance in these games, but we consistently "never are" further ahead.  At this point, it isn't a coincidence.  

And then the periodic bout of dominance ends and the game is still close and the other team turns it around and outscores us by way more than we outscored them.  

Like today.

11/18/2017 - 4:46pm And Don Brown was exposed in

And Don Brown was exposed in this fiasco, too.  No need to take a single risk against a QB as shitty as Hornibrook, especially on 3rd and 15.  Single coverage with a backup true freshman corner -- WTF?

11/18/2017 - 4:43pm Time to face the fact that

Time to face the fact that Harbaugh's nothing special.  Decent coach, maybe even very good -- but certainly not elite.  Coached up Hoke's players better than Hoke would have, but that's kind of the quintessential low bar.  

Paul Chryst has done a better job at Wisky that Harbaugh has in A2.

Barring a miracle, we're going to get curb stomped next Saturday at home.  We haven't really moved the needle a millimeter.  OSU is still a clear class above.  

HIghly depressing.  

10/24/2017 - 1:44pm The first order of business

The first order of business for Harbaugh should be to be cold and cutthroat in his offensive staff evaluations.  It's already hard enough to compete at the elite level without giving yourself the additional headwind of having cronies and sons on your coaching staff and unclear lines of authority. 

Does he have it in him?  Not sure he does.  We'll see.

10/24/2017 - 1:41pm It is in fact possible for

It is in fact possible for Harbaugh to be both:

1.  A very good, even excellent, coach; and

2.  Overrated.

The narrative by which he's superduper elite, which many of us were hoping for on It's Happening Day, is not really bearing itself out.   The hope was that he'd be right there with Meyer and Saban, and would be curbstomping people like Dantonio and Franklin.

He isn't that.  Maybe he can become it -- there's still time for growth -- but right now, he isn't.

So that's got some of the fanbase a bit perturbed.    It's understandable.

And moreover, a lot of the fanbase acted as if we'd clearly hired a superduper elite coach, so a lot of the other fanbases/blogs have shit-eating grins on their faces right now and are getting some comeuppance.  

So Harbaugh is somewhere between "a clear and material improvement over Rodriguez and Hoke" and "superduper elite."  That's still a good place to be, and Harbaugh can clearly have playoff-caliber teams and maybe even win a playoff -- but it's not looking like we're going to be Meyer's Ohio State or Saban's Alabama.  Understandably a bit of a disappointment.  

10/23/2017 - 1:35pm This offense is so primitive

This offense is so primitive a redshirt 8th grader could run it.

The narrative that Peters can't figure out the offense has no chance of actually being true.

10/23/2017 - 1:16pm I thought Brian was trying to

I thought Brian was trying to say that a mattress could do a better job at RT than Ulizio or JBB.

10/23/2017 - 12:56pm With this caliber of

With this caliber of offensive line in Year Three, Harbaugh is very lucky Bo is dead.

10/22/2017 - 12:05pm The offense is primitive in

The offense is primitive in every way, including in the cronies and unclear lines of authority in the management structure.  It's not remotely competitive at this point, in every dimension.

10/22/2017 - 11:51am Enough with the revisionism;

Enough with the revisionism; on "It's Happening Day" no one thought Year 3 would be this -- a primitive offense, losing at home to Little Brother, and being otherwise thoroughly mediocre with all manner of roster holes and outcoachings.

Not sure what the point is in pretending otherwise.  

In the cutthroat world of college football, it's virtually impossible to be elite with the offensive management chart we have -- stuffed with cronies, unclear lines of authority, and nepotism.  The intelligent fanbase should be demanding significant change there.   This offense is light years away from where it needs to be, in every facet.

10/22/2017 - 11:31am Harbaugh had a loaded team

Harbaugh had a loaded team last year and went 10-3.  There's no honest reason to think he'll win those 3 games in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.  He might -- but to think he will just because he's *Jim Harbaugh* is kind of insane.

The counternarrative to the Harbaugh love is that he's good at coming in as a breath of fresh air following a poor coach, changing the culture, and overachieving a bit.  Then the more patient and substantive skills come to the fore, and his programs stagnate and regress.   Happened in SF and is happening in Ann Arbor.

10/16/2017 - 2:56pm Colin Kaepernick over Alex

Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith is now looking like a pretty bad decision, too, even though CK led SF to the Super Bowl one year.  SF fell off a cliff when he went south even a little bit.

I'm actually not feeling Harbaugh and good QB judgment at this point.  He gets too close to them and too tied up with them and therefore too personally invested.  Plus his main advisors on that side of the ball are cronies, not cutthroats.  It's not a good dynamic.

10/16/2017 - 2:47pm If we're psychologically

If we're psychologically analyzing Harbaugh, as some previous posters have dipped into, those of us roughly the same age who went to Michigan with him and had any contact realize that he's a hypercompetitive ... odd duck.  Great coach, no question, but utterly immune to blind spots?  No way.

Not to extrapolate too much, but I could very much see him getting very stubborn about his QBs and certain traits he believes they do and do not possess.  I have no direct evidence this is happening, but I do have evidence that John O'Korn is no good and that Wilton Speight before him wasn't much better.   I can't begin to see what Harbaugh sees in John O'Korn, but then again I couldn't begin to see what he saw in the corner bar stool frowning by himself on Saturday nights at Rick's 30-odd years ago.

10/16/2017 - 2:32pm Raise your hand if you

Raise your hand if you thought the standard for Harbaugh Year Three was "rebuilding."

Yeah, me either.

10/10/2017 - 7:13am Yeah, the Hoke thing is

Yeah, the Hoke thing is getting real, real old.  Harbaugh has had two full recruiting classes, and freshman and sophomores are able to play college football well.  It's troubling to say the least that the top two QBs this deep in are a Hoke recruit and a fluky 5th year transfer.

Harbaugh obviously hasn't found his Andrew Luck yet, or anything close; if he had, his Andrew Luck or anything close would be playing.

10/09/2017 - 5:17pm There was no talent deficit

There was no talent deficit in 2016; there was a surfeit of talent.  He went 10-3.  Nothing to be ashamed of, to be certain -- but nothing snowflake special either.  

10/09/2017 - 4:57pm As to Hoke and recruiting,

As to Hoke and recruiting, even throwing out the 2014-15 transition, freshmen, redshirt freshman, and sophomores successfully play left tackle and right tackle in college football, and have for decades.  Mason Cole did three and especially two years ago.  The second-team 2016 AP all-american team featured ... two sophomore tackles.

Tackle wasn't remotely an unfixable problem for Harbaugh.  He should have fixed it.  He didn't fix it.  Pretty much end of story.

10/09/2017 - 4:53pm I like the blithe assumption

I like the blithe assumption that any criticism of Harbaugh equals calling for Harbaugh's firing and is therefore "dirt stupid."

He got outcoached and outgameplanned Saturday night, by any serious measure, and it's not exactly great that in Year 3 he's losing to a Sparty team that was 3-9 last year and kicked several good players off the team.  Not sure why that's such an OH, THE HUMANITY!! thing to say.


10/08/2017 - 1:35pm The offense is vanilla at

The offense is vanilla at best, if not primitive.

10/08/2017 - 1:33pm Yeah I"m not sure another

Yeah I"m not sure another round of "Hoke left the cupboard bares" are in order after this debacle.  Hoke actually left behind a ton of talent.  A little unbalanced, but nevertheless -- a ton of talent.

And this is Year Three.

10/08/2017 - 6:36am ??
Why "should" we have won


Why "should" we have won this game?  The other team outplayed us, took care of the ball, and deserved it.

Little Bro lost a bunch of their team to suspensions, and we lost to them at home in Year 3.  That fact has to be faced square-on.  The shine is off Harbaugh for me.  He might be right there with Meyer, the loathsome Dantonio, and Franklin -- maybe -- but we're deluding ourselves if we think he's clearly better.

08/28/2017 - 3:40pm Way better than any of the

Way better than any of the garbage clowniforms trotted out by Dave Brandon.  And if we win 40-14 or somesuch, they'll look even better.

I've kind of always thought the arc of the Michigan football uniform universe was long but bent toward mixing and matching white, maize, and blue jersey/pants combos.  The maize jerseys are one indispensible step closer to that.  Still have no issue with it if it comes to pass.  

12/21/2016 - 3:35pm It's unfortunate because

It's unfortunate because things like college and playing in college and "the team, the team, the team" actually do have meaning.  It's just that their meaning is intangible and so they're always going to get laughed away when all the norms and nomenclature surrounding the activity are those of the business world.  

12/21/2016 - 3:05pm It's a lot easier to ask a

It's a lot easier to ask a guy to play one last time for old alma mater when old alma mater isn't squeezing every last dime out of its alumni and paying customers, isn't on TV every Saturday, hasn't been moved into a conference incongruent with its traditions and geography, and isn't coached by a guy making $8 million a year who'd leave old alma mater in five seconds if some other school offered to pay him $8.5 million per year.  

There are certain norms that were in place that nobody really enforced, that made the whole amateur thing tenable (*) and those things are just no longer in place.  They weren't "efficient" and therefore were probably always destined to end ... but end they have.  They might have stayed if the business schoolish maxims of efficiency and value maximization hadn't permeated every last nook of society, but that's what happened and here we are.

(*) You can distill them down quite well by remembering Bo's decision not to go to Texas A&M.

12/21/2016 - 2:46pm The Dave Brandons and the

The Dave Brandons and the guys in the awful pastel blazers are the ones who ruined it for all of us, by making any criticism of McCaffrey and Fournette completely untenable, if not absurd.  They needed to leave the sport alone and not squeeze every last dollar out of it and not move teams to ludicrous conferences and all the rest.

The so-called "adults" have zero standing to criticize the players.

As to answers, the only way to really stop this is to let NFL teams enter into contracts with players while the players are still in college.    So McCaffrey could have been drafted and paid by, say, the Colts this year while he played at Stanford.  Sure, there's a risk to the teams there so they'd probably not want to pay him as much but the exclusive rights to great NFL prospects plainly has high value, and the players should be able to monetize that value while still in college.  Major league baseball teams pay big bonuses to guys who aren't major league ready.

12/19/2016 - 2:05pm He's only bailing because

He's only bailing because he's subject to a draft on a specific date.  If he could have already signed up with a pro team that was ok paying him to play in the minors, he woudn't be bailing.

That's probably the best solution to all the current hypocrisies -- let guys like Fournette get drafted at 18 and let them be paid by the team that drafts them while they play in college.

Other people don't have to face these kind of artificial limitations on contracting with potential employers.

12/19/2016 - 1:02pm Not surprised.    Once people

Not surprised.    Once people like Dave Brandon and all the bowl directors in blazers began to monetize every drop from the system, the hypocrisy became impossible to ignore.    The vast majority of these bowl games are 13th games, purely made for TV with no organic tradition to speak of.  All they do is line the pockets of a bunch of nobody administrators.  

College football and basketball only really worked when everyone in the system -- presidents, ADs, tv types, coaches -- treated them as something clearly distinct from the NFL and NBA. That restraint passed 20+ years ago, and in college football really started when the Supreme Court held that the NCAA couldn't limit teams' TV appearances. (*)  At this point, unfortunately, with Michigan's head football coach making $9 million per year, there's nothing whatever separating college football and basketball from their professional brethren, other than the fact that the players don't get paid.

Again, unfortunate, but any claims that McCaffrey should put team and school first, in the context of 2016, is beyond silly.  There was a time it might have made some sense, but that time has long passed.

(*) Two years after Bo famously didn't take Texas A&M's money.

12/05/2016 - 12:47pm Michigan is better than both

Michigan is better than both Clemson and Washington and would clearly be favored by Vegas against both on a neutral field.   Ohio State is favored by 3.5 against Clemson.  Michigan would be far less an underdog against Bama than Washington at +11.  


The committee did not pick the four best teams.  So if that was its goal, it failed.   Not much more complicated than that.

11/28/2016 - 5:08pm From the CFP website: What

From the CFP website:

What criteria does the selection committee use to rank the teams?

The committee selects the teams using a process that distinguishes among otherwise comparable teams by considering conference championships won, strength of schedule, head-to-head competition, comparative outcomes of common opponents (without incenting margin of victory) and other relevant factors that may have affected a team’s performance during the season or likely will affect its postseason performance.

Selection committee members have flexibility to examine whatever data they believe is relevant to inform their decisions. They also review a significant amount of game video. Among the many factors the committee members consider are strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents and conference championships won. The playoff group has retained SportSource Analytics to provide the data platform for the committee’s use. This platform allows the committee members to compare and contrast teams on every level possible. Each member evaluates the data at hand, and then the individuals will vote to produce a group decision.


"Conference championships won" is explicitly just one of many factors.

11/28/2016 - 4:57pm No one with a functioning

No one with a functioning brain believes that Wisky and Penn State are the B1G's two best teams, rendering this Saturday's "championship" clash just another game.  If one team blows the other out, it's a nice win that should go into their body of work ... but under no circumstances should the game be seen as dispositive of anything.

The "divisions" don't really mean anything real; they're just a gimmick to service the desire to have a revenue-generating "championship game."  The divisions are actually kind of silly and discordant now that we're in the CFP "best 4" era.  (We've actually come full circle since 2006, wherein Michigan suffered by not playing on "championship" weekend while Florida did; in 2016, the two participants are clearly running behind one non-playing team, and likely two.  So much for that idea.)

11/28/2016 - 3:53pm Getting advantaged by beating

Getting advantaged by beating Rutgers, Idaho, and Portland State is not an example of the "regular season mattering."  It's exactly the opposite.

It's amazing (or some other word or collection of words) how Michigan, alone amongst the bigtime college football fanbases, goes completely silent and guilty about politicking for the playoff after a game that they basically won on the road against a Top 2 team was taken away from them by a referee's lame spot.  Does anyone think Urban Meyer, or Nick Saban, or Les Miles or their teams' fanbases and administrations would be this passive and guilty under similar circumstances?

Brian's main theme when we hired Rodriguez, and correctly so, was that he and we wanted to compete with the Alabamas of the world in the newly nationalized college football scene and needed a more modern, less provincial approach to do so.  Well, here's a newsflash:

"Competing" means advocating that your clearly playoff-worthy team be ... you know ... put in the playoff.

11/28/2016 - 3:40pm Michigan "did make the play

Michigan "did make the play it needed to make when this huge game was on the line," but unfortunately the refs spotted the ball a foot and a half forward from where it should have been spotted.

11/28/2016 - 3:14pm Washington has a singularly

Washington has a singularly unimpressive body of work in a mediocre conference.  If they squeak by Colorado in the final, I see no reason they should automatically be assumed to be in the playoff as opposed to two-loss teams with much stronger schedules.  The CFP wasn't supposed to work that way, nor did the late-era BCS work that way.

The idea that a Pac-12 champ who played Rutgers, Idaho, and Portland State nonconference, and lost a home conference game by two TDs, should have effectively an autobid is nonsense.

11/28/2016 - 3:05pm LSU lost two games in 2007 to

LSU lost two games in 2007 to Kentucky and Arkansas, one at home, and was put in the BCS final.

If the CFP committee stays true to its mandate and picks the best four teams in the country, one will be Michigan.  We have three wins over top 10 teams and a highly dubious loss on the road to a fourth.

The conference championships don't have the weight Brian puts on them, because of unbalanced conference schedules, unbalanced divisions, and conference championship games.  We had to crossover against Wisky and at Iowa.  And Penn State didn't really "win" the East; they won a tiebreaker.  We beat both them and Wisconsin, one very handily, are better than both of them, and have a better body of work than both of them.  Which means we should go over them.  

The literate alums in the fanbase really need to drop the Midwestern guilt thing and stop worrying so much about benefitting from  "unearned" and "undeserved" things.(*)  Is Michigan a better football team than Penn State and Wisconsin?  Than Colorado?   The answer is "Yes," right?  That's all that matters.

(*) Particularly since it's not as though abjuring earns you special objectivity "points" you can later cash in.  We got hosed in 2006 because no one wanted to campaign.  Where's the payoff?

08/21/2015 - 1:20pm Pressuring Morris into

Pressuring Morris into signing the form (when he was concussed, FFS) was itself a fireable act.

08/20/2015 - 5:22pm We could easily go into the

Even if we struggle a bit early, we could easily go into the Ohio State game with only one Big Ten loss, thus giving us at least the chance to reprise 1969.  I'd take that.

08/17/2015 - 4:13pm So now with this and with the

So now with this and with the Ninth Circuit stay of the O'Bannon decision based on it likely being overturned, it looks like the completely misguided and pointless effort to ruin college football by making the players non-students may have actually peaked.

It's nice to see reason finally applied in this area.