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Date Title Body
07/17/2018 - 1:11am I hope paragraphs come out…

I hope paragraphs come out OK, since editing seems not to work...

I don't want to say too much about the issue of whether the education is compensation enough. I don't know the answer. For a guy like Josh Rosen? He generated tens of millions in revenue and the argument that he should share in that is easy to make. For the starting setter on the UCLA women's volleyball team?

The law says we can't really distinguish between them, though, in terms of compensation. So all the revenue from NCAA sports is pared down by all the expenses from NCAA sports. And, well, college sports loses money.

It doesn't just lose some money; it loses a lot of money. The average FBS football program makes more than $5 million per year, but only 55% of those programs run a profit. The average basketball program makes a small percentage of that, and about 50% of basketball programs at FBS schools make money. There are no women's basketball teams that turn a profit - not even at UConn.

So, even though student fees and government fees and other bits of revenue we wouldn't think of as revenue make up about 20% of the funding for NCAA sports (at FBS schools; it's more like 75% at non-football schools), the average college program runs at more than a $10 million per year deficit including that funding. If all the coaches in all the sports worked for free, it looks like college sports would about break even with the public support. They don't. They probably shouldn't.

Let's say you set up a fund for athletes who graduate. Let's say 2/3 graduate - I'm just spit-balling - it seems reasonable. So that's 400 paid athletes per year per school at football schools. Pay them $1,000 each per year? That's less than a half-million per school - or maybe 3-4% added to the annual loss from college sports. So you raise student fees maybe? Should you even allow student fees and government subsidies in these cases? I don't know how these deficits are handled.

I have a better picture of what a sports game license is worth - it's not going to move the needle that much - if it were, then EA would have figured out a way to make the game happen in the current system. In general, advertising/sponsorship is about 10% of the total revenue at FBS schools, 3% for schools without football.

So it comes down to whether Rosen's ideas about endorsements bring significant change to advertising and sponsorship revenue. The existing numbers suggest that's mostly about football and mostly about our familiar Nike/Addidas uniform/shoe/etc paradigm. It's not about the UCLA setter and endorsing vitamins or orange juice. Not that she can't; just that those opportunities are very limited and with close to half a million college athletes, you're going to run out of juice brands fairly quickly.

Primary source: http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D1REVEXP2015.pdf

Anyway, long story short, I'm skeptical about this, but I recognize the hypocrisy of the current system.

07/04/2018 - 12:04am In addition to the other… In addition to the other reported issues with the mgoblog redesign, apparently it's April 1 and this post was dated July 3. Clearly a mistake.
06/28/2018 - 5:26pm Something has to be done…

Something has to be done. Yesterday's performance was an embarrassment. The current leadership will never bring us a title.

I was sent into Iowa and we outnumbered the enemy 5 to 1 and what happened? We lost. That's a reflection on the entire program, top to bottom. Some of you three- and four-stars just aren't performing. Change is necessary.

(since Maizen isn't around, I felt this needed to be said - lives are at stake, actual lives here).

06/27/2018 - 2:31pm Ah, but this is only the…

Ah, but this is only the lead-up to CFB Reddit Axis and Allies.

At any rate, given the rule set, it seems the powers that be finally learned from Matthew Broderick and concluded that no one wins.

(it still would be nice to eliminate the Buckeyes, if that's possible)

06/26/2018 - 1:36am Sorry, can't find the editor…

Sorry, can't find the editor and go back and put paragraph tags in there.

06/26/2018 - 1:34am I thought I was doing fairly… I thought I was doing fairly well following it through the Ghost Nation episode. But the last three - I'm struggling. MIB was being portrayed as human through the entire second season, and even seems to suspect he's a host by digging in his arm, but if he's not a host then how in the world can he take gunshots like they're paintballs and cut open his arm and blow off his hand and somehow he's bouncing around like a 20-year-old in the next scene. And if he's not a host, then his whole story line seems rather pointless since he shot Maeve apparently to prove to himself that he was royally screwed in the head after his wife killed herself. So he needed to follow the maze and then find the door and next season he'll slap the banner at the top of the archway and maybe if he sticks with it long enough, he'll be champion of the west. I like it, but the entire Delos plot seems to revolve around no one having any knowledge of even 2010's data storage techniques in the 2050s. Even though AI has advanced to a point I doubt it will even approach in 50 years. Though the sentience/advanced AI confusion is a sci-fi standard these days. Does Dolores go full Stephen King in Season 3? That could be fun.
06/14/2018 - 2:12am I wish I could. As soon as… I wish I could. As soon as we sell our home, it's off to the Canton/Akron area. A bad move that should be in the Hall of Fame along with all the bronze. Even Terrell Owens knows better than to go there.
06/13/2018 - 10:39pm Our group had a guy who… Our group had a guy who always went for Australia right away, even if it were contested. So, reasoning that the key to the game was to try and amass armies early without getting into serious conflict while always taking one territory per turn, I'd try and hold SA if I could, or hole up in Madagascar or NA with access to Greenland (someone always tries to take Europe early and loses quickly - that person is a great source of bonus cards). But I suspect this game works very differently because we don't seem to lose armies after lost conflicts - everyone can still play. I'll just take orders and not pretend I can help with strategy. Unfortunately, even though I've had a Reddit account for a long time, I'm not much of a poster, so I'll only be one star to deploy.
06/13/2018 - 5:55pm BlueMan, what do you think… BlueMan, what do you think the in-state minimums are for GPA and test scores are for engineering these days?
06/07/2018 - 4:35pm Hollywood will love this…

Hollywood will love this. They're desperate to extend the E.L. James franchise. Get ready for Fifty Shades of Greyhound.

06/06/2018 - 3:51pm Unfortunately, this is… Unfortunately, this is happening everywhere as a four-year college degree is replacing a high school diploma as a minimum standard for education. High schools started dropping standards a long time ago. Basically, you graduate unless you stop going altogether. What my son gets away with in high school is astonishing, and he still gets As. Any kid who's even minimally competent in math could probably place out of high school math with a month's worth of tutoring at age 10. That's why these remedial courses exist - to bring these fledgling Sparties up to that minimal high school competence. MSU can't be selective and still maintain a student body. It's not really their fault. They're only moving with the times. Hopefully, Michigan won't have to follow down the road. We're really long beyond a crisis point with the high schools these days.
06/03/2018 - 9:25pm It just won't happen. There's

It just won't happen. There's no way it's more than just being curious about the process. Even Kyrie Irving says only a conspiracy nut would believe Beilein's leaving.

06/03/2018 - 6:33pm Since it's a Division III

Since it's a Division III school, Steward can make this move, lecture immediately and still have two years of pedagogy remaining.

Plus, all the campus buildings have their own doorman. Very convenient.

06/02/2018 - 12:39am I was a kid standing in the

I was a kid standing in the last row of section 5. I don't think any sports experience in my life could ever match how I felt during that play.

06/01/2018 - 4:23pm I get why he'd accept the

I get why he'd accept the interview request. I'd be shocked if he considered the job for more than a few seconds.

05/20/2018 - 11:53pm If we accept Sierra Romero as

If we accept Sierra Romero as something somewhat less than one of the greatest players in NCAA history, I guess I see your point.

I'm not going to argue that this was a great class, but it was representative. Led by Blanco, who should be remembered as one of the better hitters we've ever had here.

I didn't know that about her pitching preferences. Recruiting is tricky. We needed her to take those innings.

Congrats to Blanco, Falk, Swearingen, Swift, Vargas and Wald. Being part of 199 wins is very impressive.

05/20/2018 - 11:20pm Because it's not criticism;

Because it's not criticism; it's just frustration. If you look at Hutch's record, this is not a team that's satisfied by accumulating Big Ten regular-season titles alone.

She has taken Michigan to the WCWS 12 times, most recently in 2016. No coach of any sport here has done the equivalent.

What's more, she does this in a sport where geography makes recruiting quality players a great challenge. She has done a phenomenal job here, and she's hardy finished.

So there's no evidence of any "mission accomplished" with this team. They fell short of Hutch's expectations. She demands better and she has shown she is capable of better.

If you want proof, we've given you proof in abundance, plus she has brought in a top-ten class for next year and a recruit who was top ten in this year's class essentially lost the season with an injury.

They don't have a problem getting over the hump. They have jumped this hump many times in the past and there's no reason they won't be in a position to jump it again next year.

05/20/2018 - 4:25pm It is what it is. Hard to

It is what it is. Hard to recruit softball to the north, and there were a couple of weaker recruiting classes behind the Sierras.

Hutch is still Hutch and there's a lot of offensive talent coming in.

Why would we choose between Beilein and Hutch? It's like choosing between having dinner today or lunch today. Both have more than justified long contracts here.

We're quite lucky to have Hutch. I'm sure she is far more frustrated with the last couple of weeks than we are. And she is not afraid to make changes.

05/20/2018 - 4:13pm I see that. What's really,

I see that. What's really, really odd is that NCAA.com indicated Hofstra won that game for quite a while, correcting it this morning, I guess.

05/20/2018 - 5:17am I'm a little surprised that

I'm a little surprised that Blanco didn't get the start against Illinois-Chicago, given that a win meant the team needed three more to advance. But Beaubien came out after 76 pitches with the game in hand.

She has started two games in one day once this season, and that was her best day as a Wolverine - two-hitting Notre Dame over five innings, then two-hitting Florida State over seven innings way back on February 17. No runs allowed. That day is likely the reason Michigan was a 2-seed in a regional rather than a 3-seed.

They didn't keep pitch counts for that tournament, unfortunately, but she walked 2, struck out 11 and didn't hit a batter that day. I'll maintain she's at her best when she's getting a high percentage of ground-ball outs rather than strikeouts. The infield defense has been a little shakier lately. I hope that's just random flux.

Running some numbers on the tournament so far:

1-seeds in regionals (hosts) have reached 15 regional final series (with Oregon already winning a regional, since the Ducks were hosting BYU and had to start a day early because of that). Only #9 South Carolina has been eliminated. #3 UCLA is the only other 1-seed that has even lost a game, and needs to beat 3-seed Cal State-Fullerton twice today.

2-seeds are in 6 regional finals, 3-seeds are in 7 and 4-seeds are in 1 (Jacksonville State is going up against #6 Florida State). In addition to Michigan/Notre Dame playing to reach a regional final, Missouri and Tulsa are 2/3s that had their game last night suspended in the fourth inning. Of the 30 teams that have reached regional finals, only three, Jacksonville State (87th), Ohio University (55th) and Fullerton (49th) are below 40th in RPI. Let's hope Notre Dame (42nd) doesn't become the fourth.

Of the remaining 1-seeds, eight are from the SEC and five are from the Pac-12, one is from the ACC and one from the Big 12. Three more SEC teams are among the 33 teams still alive - adding up to one third of the current bracket. The Pac-12 has six teams remaining.

Only Wisconsin has been eliminated out of the five Big Ten teams in the tournament. Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio State are 2-seeds and Northwestern is a 3-seed, upsetting 2-seed California for a second time last night.

However, these are the other Big Ten teams and their results so far against 1-seeds. Northwestern lost to #7 Georgia, 12-0 yesterday. Ohio State lost to #2 Florida, 10-2. Minnesota split with Texas, eliminating them last night, so has yet to play #5 Washington.

05/18/2018 - 6:45pm I've been watching her

I've been watching her numbers fairly closely, and her best games aren't the ones with high strikeout totals. She gets optimal results by keeping the ball down and not walking people. It's just 3-4 extra pitches per inning, but it has a huge effect on her results.

That's definitely part of the bigger stage. In high school and against lesser Big Ten opponents, hitters shorten up and do dumb things with two strikes. Not as much against better opponents. I strongly believe she's at her best when she's not trying to strike people out.

05/18/2018 - 5:03pm Obviously disappointing. I

Obviously disappointing. I think they can hit Holloway, but they're just not getting it done right now. They'll probably see her again tomorrow. They're going to live or die with Beaubien, and she is better when she throws more strikes. She doesn't quite have the experience to know what to do when she's behind a hitter.

I still think this is a winnable regional.

05/18/2018 - 4:24pm I don't have a problem with

I don't have a problem with that inning. Holloway mixes speeds well, and with the umpire (consistently) calling the low strike, you can't count on a lot of walks. The ball just didn't fall in.

Looks like Allan will lead off the seventh - Hutch called Alexander back late in Hoogenraad's AB. Definitely need some pinch hitting here - I wonder if last year's power specialist, Vargas, is ready.

05/18/2018 - 4:08pm I like the rule change. Don't

I like the rule change. Don't see why a well coached team would suddenly forget about it, or why a player with Peters' experience wouldn't be extra-careful after seeing Rodriguez called out for the same thing.

Slapping is an abomination. Agreed on the mess with Rodriguez and the pinch runner against a catcher who can't throw.

05/18/2018 - 3:22pm Good. Now all we need to do

Good. Now all we need to do is convince dozens of softball moms and dads to barrage the field with a hail of binkies and Baby Bjorns.

05/18/2018 - 2:40pm Michigan torched Holloway

Michigan torched Holloway early this season. If there's a freshman pitcher more highly touted than Beaubien, it's Holloway. So that was probably her adjustment period to the college game. She's a bit wild, but very hard to hit.

Hopefully they can come back. I don't know the stats, but the loser of the initial 2/3 game probably doesn't win many regionals.

05/14/2018 - 3:29am Thanks. It helps that I was a

Thanks. It helps that I was a young reporter when Hutch took the job. I've seen her build a program in a place where you can't even play softball half the season.

The first national title for any program east of the Mississippi. Her 25th NCAA tournament appearance this week (23rd in a row). Twenty conference championships, nine Big Ten tournament championships, eleven trips to the college World Series. She was named to the NFCA Hall of Fame 12 years ago and has 1,566 victories as head coach - the most in NCAA history.

I was disappointed just like you with Friday's performance. It was definitely memorable. But what a standard she's set. I'm positive she is far more disappointed than we could ever be and she'll come up with an answer. We are so far beyond spoiled when it comes to softball here.

05/14/2018 - 12:15am This is the best placement

This is the best placement they could have hoped for. The rest of the Big Ten was not as lucky. It won't be easy, but they have a decent chance of advancing. I'm sure Hutch is doing what she can to help them learn from their recent misadventures.

Minnesota's reward for a strong finish to their season was a trip to #5 Washington. Wisconsin is the 3-seed in #12 Alabama's bracket. Northwestern is the 3-seed in #7 Georgia's bracket and Ohio State gets to visit #2 Florida.

The problem, of course, is #1 Oregon looming in a super-regional. But the supers are where you can go with just one pitcher, and Beaubien is certainly capable if anyone is. Michigan would definitely be a huge underdog, but that also means far less pressure.

05/12/2018 - 3:46pm Sobczak's story is unusual,

Sobczak's story is unusual, to say the least. If ever there were a Michigan player in the proverbial doghouse, she's right there. I might have it remembered wrong, but Katie Alexander's first career start was under some very unusual circumstances.

There are no guarantees with any player. But I think this incoming class fills some major needs.

05/12/2018 - 2:56am It's a solid class. A good

It's a solid class. A good leadoff hitter and outfielder, a top catcher, a top infielder. All three in the top 30 nationally. From an offense perspective, this is a game-changing recruiting class. Add in Lou Allan, who was a top-ten power prospect this year but lost a lot of time with that knee injury, and I think you're going to see the offense improve right away.

There's one pitcher, who's more a wild card, but could be a good one. I see no reason Hutch's amazing run won't continue. But I'd expect Beaubien to carry a heavier load. I think she can handle it.

05/12/2018 - 1:51am I'd have to look it up, but

I'd have to look it up, but doesn't Michigan have a 21-game winning streak against them in games that aren't part of the conference tournament?

The first HBP, the batter turned into. It was only a couple of inches off the plate. That's the kind that shouldn't be awarded, based on how the rule is written. The second one was tailing inside and not very close to the plate. Beaubien's got to be close to leading the entire country in HBP.

That sixth inning was difficult to watch. Zalewski's in a zone, and I'm as happy for her as I can be under the circumstances. But these aren't good swings. Three straight strikeouts from hitters who have been fairly good this year. I wonder what the team was doing during the long, long rain delays? No one has looked good today. At least it wasn't a mercy game.

05/12/2018 - 1:12am I agree that this is the

I agree that this is the perhaps the worst game they've played in a long time.

I can't call MSU a shit team. This isn't a team enabled by poor actors like Izzo or Dantonio. These are good kids who work hard. Foerster and Zalewski are academic all-Region, which is a big deal. MSU can't recruit against Hutch, so they're not going to be as competitive. They can have their day in peace - they earned it.

Sad that Beaubien's ERA won't be under 1.00 this year (it went from 0.90 to 1.09 tonight). But it's a learning experience and they now can go into regionals with absolutely nothing to lose.

05/12/2018 - 1:01am I can't. I'm sorry to say I

I can't. I'm sorry to say I didn't want to endure any more of this game. It's a teachable moment. Hutch knows what to do.

05/12/2018 - 12:54am I can't blame this ump.

I can't blame this ump. Beaubien's not hitting her spots, and he hasn't been giving either pitcher the low strike today.

It's just not her day. I've seen her throw a lot this year, and she's never looked like this. Sometimes you just have a bad day.

Hopefully, some time off and she'll hit the regional with no pressure on her at all.

05/12/2018 - 12:37am Only the second most unusual

Only the second most unusual delay of the tournament today. They spent a half-hour earlier waiting for a helicopter to come and dry the outfield. It was in pretty bad shape after five hours of heavy rain.

05/12/2018 - 12:36am It's hard not to admire

It's hard not to admire Foerster. But it would be nice if she stopped being such a Wolverine killer.

05/12/2018 - 12:21am When you're a slapper, you

When you're a slapper, you have to know the rules. Can't make contact out of the batter's box, and can't stand around watching the baserunner when you're out of the box. That's interference, and you just wasted another opportunity. Both feet have to be in or you'll never get the benefit of the doubt on where your bat is.

I don't fault the schedule. They let the host play in the top slot because you get more attendance that way. State has to play past midnight, too.

05/11/2018 - 11:49pm I've been railing against

I've been railing against calling the HBP rule as it's written for years. It seems to work against Beaubien more than anyone.

She's rattled, though. That's the freshman in her. Tournament game, lots of pressure, long rain delay. A veteran knows how to handle that. The two-out walk to the .150 hitter at the bottom of the lineup was a bad mistake and they're in a hole now. Plenty of time to dig out.

I'd hate to see a loss because it might drop them to a #3 seed for the NCAA tournament.

05/11/2018 - 9:41pm After a lot of rain, they

After a lot of rain, they should resume with the first inning of today's first game at about 6:00 our time. Not much chance Michigan/Michigan State plays today. The weather doesn't great tomorrow, so perhaps the second semi and the final will both be on Sunday.

EDIT: Apparently, only the fourth quarter will move to tomorrow, so UM/MSU will start around 11:00 tonight. That will be very rough on Iowa, should they get past Northwestern.

After last year, with the NCAA gambling and sending #1 Minnesota on the road for a regional, there's no mistaking how they feel about the Big Ten. Minnesota lost, too. So I'm just hoping they hold on to a 2-seed.

05/11/2018 - 4:28pm I don't know that there's any

I don't know that there's any way to look at the issue of compensation in revenue-producing college sports and not find hypocrisy.

Schools operate what are essentially professional sports. Yet if you take away the veneer of scholarships and the college experience and perceived amateurism, what's left isn't going to fill anyone's 100,000-capacity stadium. Not even close.

There are a lot of questions, many of which have been asked here, that have uncomfortable answers.

The bottom line is that if we want quality college football, we have to either drink some of this "amateur" Kool-Aid, which is more and more exposed as an unhealthy mix of sugar and chemicals. Or we have to agree to some changes that will likely result in the separation of college football into one revenue division that operates exactly as a professional league would. No more illusion that these recruits are real students - they will be paid and they will not have time for classes.

So I welcome Harbaugh throwing ideas out there. He lives this stuff - he has to know better than anyone that massive change is on the horizon.

05/11/2018 - 3:36pm RoseInBlue, I think the

RoseInBlue, I think the example is easier if you look at this way:

Let's say you're up two and Piper leads off. Does it matter whether she hits a home run or walks?

Even if her expected OBP against Doocy is .750, it's better to give it your best shot.

The interesting thing is that while the announcer was saying the botched call at second base opened up the intentional walk strategy because it left a base open for Piper (he didn't fully understand that concept, either), it did the opposite. If the call were correctly made, it would have loaded the bases for Piper with none out. Given that Piper had already hit a home run and the next two hitters were 0-for-6 with six strikeouts, I think you have to consider walking Piper even though it brings the winning run to the plate.

I remember at the height of his late-career renaissance, teams considered walking Barry Bonds with the bases loaded - he was that much better than the rest of the league. Piper is certainly in that category.

05/11/2018 - 12:08am Well deserved honors for

Well deserved honors for Meghan. And some motivation for what's hopefully a very long weekend for her ahead.

First, vanquish the Spartans. Unlike the well documented issues with the Dantizzo crew, they've got a good group of student athletes. Both center fielder Lea Foerster (their leadoff hitter and toughest out) and pitcher Kristina Zalewski were named academic All-District. Zalewski missed last week's game with Michigan with an injury, but looked OK today. She does seem to have the Wolverines' number. Can't forget what happened in the tournament last year.

I felt bad for Ohio State (not really) tonight. Two horrendous calls on the basepaths in the seventh inning - they entered it tied at 1. One led to all Iowa's runs. The other helped prevent Ohio State from scoring. Allison Doocy, who shut down Michigan in a game earlier this season, struck out 15 for Iowa.

Strangest thing, though. Up four with two on and one out in bottom of the seventh, Iowa semi-intentionally walked Lilli Piper. The announcers were going on like this was some credible strategy Iowa came up with. Um... Piper could, yes, hit another home run. And OSU would still trail by a run with the tying run coming to the plate. Or Piper could walk on four pitches and load the bases with the tying run coming to the plate. As it turned out Doocy struck out the next two batters anyway.

05/10/2018 - 6:12pm Yes, you want to do your due

Yes, you want to do your due diligence when searching for a new coach. Investigators would know how to ensure an old case is the same person, not just someone with the same name or a similar name.

Not surprisingly, for someone who worked closely with Bill Belichick for years, Patricia was extremely careful with language today. A strong denial of wrongdoing, which was important. But also very careful not to inflame the situation by sharing any detail.

You can read what you want into that. I just don't want to.

If someone comes forward with an accusation, then I hope everyone gets a fair hearing. Until then, I honestly don't see why the Lions should have to answer to additional scrutiny and, as a former journalist, I strongly question why the Detroit News felt this was a story worth printing.

05/09/2018 - 5:16pm Congratulations for a

Congratulations for a well-earned set of awards.

The Big Ten has never had a player sweep the Player and Pitcher of the Year awards. The closest was 2015, when Megan Betsa was Pitcher and Sara Groenewegen (Minnesota) was Player. While both were absolutely dominant pitchers, Groenewegen was a decent hitter as well.

Since that was the only year Sierra Romero didn't win Player of the Year, and her hitting wasn't much different as a junior as the other years, there has to be some sort of voting system that gives a second pitcher a chance at that award.

Gotta wonder, who chose Amber Fiser of Minnesota over Beaubien for Pitcher of the Year. Not that Fiser isn't really good, because she is clearly #2 in the conference. But that Beaubien was simply better in every category.

05/09/2018 - 2:48pm We're used to certain

We're used to certain development paths based on a lot more knowledge and a lot more media interest in football and men's basketball.

With softball players, physical development and strength are apparent and predictable before they reach college. In fact, the new recruiting rules that will prevent early recruiting are very much welcome and will change softball recruiting dramatically.

The unknown is how players will react to better competition. Most have played AAU, so there's some knowledge, but it's far from complete and some play in areas and/or divisions where they face fairly bad competition throughout the season.

Blanco wasn't one of those players. Hutch knew she was getting a top prospect. And she was just a little short of being able to compete as a pitcher at this level. While she improved, and probably would have been the ace at 90% of Division I schools, it just wasn't enough here. But she's been every bit the hitter Hutch needed. I'm sure Hutch is delighted with how she turned out, as are her teammates.

Schaefer is more a big fish from a small pond. A little more of an unknown. She has handled the jump well, but since she isn't an elite prospect, needs more experience against good hitters. Throwing her out there against an elite opponent would be a mistake. Blanco should take what Beaubien can't in the regional. There's reason to hope she can develop further.

Beaubien is future NPOY material, and I'm sure no surprise to Hutch. Not that many of those out there. Just luck that she happened to grow up loving Michigan (and I'm sure the 2005 championship when she was in grade school helped), because the weather here makes recruiting a challenge.

Crockett left the team roster right before the season started (you can see she's in the yearly team photo). She was a big fish from a really, really small pond, but much more a wild card in terms of development. She simply couldn't develop the command necessary to put out there. I believe she's still with the team as some sort of assistant.

05/09/2018 - 1:45am Northwestern has a

Northwestern has a super-frosh who can hit. They're no slouch, and Beaubien is 2-0 against OSU.

Minnesota is the team that scares them the most. Amber Fiser is starting to break out as a sophomore - easily the second-best pitcher in the conference. And they have a couple of big hitters, too. Wisconsin isn't getting past Friday.

05/07/2018 - 4:38pm Nice wrap-up.
I hope Blanco's

Nice wrap-up.

I hope Blanco's struggles in the circle this week were reflective of a little added pressure of knowing it was her last week playing in Ann Arbor. Schaefer just hasn't been getting much work during league play and her recent struggles could be seen as rust.

But we have to worry a little that Beaubien might have to pitch every inning of every game. That was the case with Betsa last year in Seattle and the Huskies were far too deep to see that much of one pitcher and not figure her out.

The RPI indicates there's a high risk that Michigan has to face a top team like Oklahoma or Oregon in a regional. I'd love to see an upset, and clearly, this team is capable. But it would be a major upset (and significant accomplishment) to get through their regional.

It's a little sad that Lou Allen wasn't mentioned in the recap. Not that you overlooked her, but that her knee injury and unsteady performance wasn't what we hoped for from a recruit almost as heralded as Beaubien. She didn't start against Ohio State, but that could be as much her slump as it was Hutch rewarding senior Taylor Swearingen for four years of hard work. Swearingen was an interesting combination of a patient eye and a go-for-broke swing. From the beginning it always looked like she was just a weekend away from breaking out and becoming a mainstay in the lineup. Anyway, we have Allen to look forward to seeing next year with as much impact on the team as any top recruit. Hopefully fully healthy.

Beaubien was everything Michigan could have hoped for. It's really her team now.

On the offensive side, some season OPS numbers: Blanco 1.177, Canfield 1.043, Uden .956, Alexander .915, Falk .914, Hoogenraad .882. That's a solid core, better than we expected. Again, while it would be a huge upset to reach a super-regional, this team is capable.

05/06/2018 - 6:50pm Being a big fan of John

Being a big fan of John Irving, I used to see high school sports in New Hampshire as Robin Williams courting the daughter of the local wrestling coach at a private prep school.

After living in New Hampshire for several years, my impression did not change. This is not an area that takes high school football seriously (though not as not-seriously as Vermont, which did not produce a single scholarship player active on any I-A college football roster in 2017).

That doesn't mean the kid isn't good, though. I'm not questioning Harbaugh's perception here. Just that he will have quite an adjustment to make if he wants to go from New Hampshire football to I-A college football.

05/05/2018 - 1:05am Nice win. Beaubien held the

Nice win. Beaubien held the Buckeyes to only four balls hit out of the infield. Bad news: two of those four were hit out of the ballpark. Good news: no walks, no hit-by-pitch, 11 strikeouts.

The 3-2 final did not reflect an 11-1 edge in runners left on base. Ohio State's pitchers are both the high-walk, stay-out-of-the-big-innings type.

Senior Taylor Swearingen received a rare start at DP (freshman phenom Lou Allen has been on pinch-hit duty lately - knocking in the winning run tonight) and reached twice in three plate appearances, including a two-out single that played a major role in the Wolverines' first run.

Zeeland's Haley Hoogenraad also had a big night for the offense, reaching base three times as the bottom of the order did most of the damage.

Congrats on a share of the Big Ten title. Take it all home tomorrow. Please stop pitching to Lilli Piper.

05/02/2018 - 7:04pm Playing in the Big Ten East,

Playing in the Big Ten East, there's nothing Michigan can or could have done to host a regional. Even if they were on a 35-game winning streak right now.

The worry is that any loss will get them closer to a situation like last year's, having to visit an excellent team like Washington in a regional.

Hutch has always done a good job getting the team to decent tournaments in February and March. The problem is, with the SEC coming on line en masse, that just about everyone plays decent tournaments now.

They're going to have to work harder to schedule only elite tournaments in the future if they ever want to host another regional. Plus, someone has to convince that poor excuse for a Big Ten commissioner that the current scheduling format for softball is a terrible one. Michigan needs to play Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern every year because they take the sport more seriously.