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06/25/2018 - 1:15am It's getting closer…

It's getting closer. Stadiums around the country stand empty. The blinding noon light dances through the heat rising from the steel bleachers, baking in the sun. A sole groundskeeper quietly tends to the field in one endzone, while a linebacker flings a trail of sweat as he runs one more row of stairs on the far sideline. In the empty tailgate field just visible over the grandstand, a boy in shorts and a tank-top runs around, tossing a football in the air to himself, imitating a play-by-play call of an imaginary game-winning touchdown. 

Just hidden out of view, a coach pauses a game film study to step over to the window on the field. A smile slowly crosses his lips.

Football is coming.

06/25/2018 - 12:31am Are you kidding? The old…

Are you kidding? The old Mgoblog had people taking digs at Maizen/Bluey all the time. This is exactly the same.

BTW, I really hate to say this, but Bluey's response just below is completely correct. It is pretty sad that this is the first comment in a commit post. The comments that go out of their way to namedrop him in threads in which he has not appeared are as dumb as his junk stuff.

06/24/2018 - 4:46pm Not sure how Higdon…

Not sure how Higdon improving behind a (hopefully, man, hopefully) better line after a quite good 2017 is a "pleasant surprise." He carried the team at times last year, and with better interior blocking and a legitimate deep threat I'm hopeful that he'll get even more space this year. I mean, I guess I get what you're saying, but for me a "pleasant surprise" would be Higdon emerging as the clear-cut best back in the conference.

Which, FWIW, I don't think is outside the realm of possibility.

LJ Scott has talent but there's a reason he was having trouble seeing the field last year. He could be terrific, or he could be a wipeout again this year, depending upon what's going on upstairs. 


06/22/2018 - 6:31pm This is a pretty good…

This is a pretty good response. Honestly, man, if you refrained from the Trumpian style, you'd have just as much to say and wouldn't get all the blowback. Drop the MRGA schtick, admit it when you've blown calls, and you'll find people will have normal conversations.

A lot of us aren't just saying "trust the coaches." Some are, sure, but there's a key here: Patience is needed.

Not, "it'll all work out eventually" patience, but, "wait for results this year" type patience. As I've said repeatedly, Michigan needs to win significantly this fall. The situation is not going to change until that changes. Whatever the reason (people who pretend to know are usually wrong, like when people were making assumptions about Beilein's recruiting) Michigan isn't in on top guys. "More effort" won't change that, winning will. 

So the continued griping doesn't really serve any purpose. Michigan's recruiting is what it is right now. They're going to get marginal 3-4 types with maybe the occasional blue chip, rather than all blue chips. It's not somehow breaking news that the talent level currently on the board is a bit low. If Michigan pushes out another 8-5 type season, it's going to stay that way and we're looking at a dark future, regardless of the perceived "effort" of the coaches.

But, put up something like 11-1 with a win at OSU and then whatever postseason permutations come to pass, and the top-100 types start taking us seriously again. The recruiting news in November and December and of course January becomes really pivotal, and a commit or lack thereof becomes newsworthy, because there's new data.

Right now the shine is off of the program and it's recruiting like it. It's up to the 2018 team to put the shine back on.

06/22/2018 - 5:29pm He's not like Maizen, he is…

He's not like Maizen, he is Maizen. 

His negative opinions can be grating, but his self-conscious and hostile style has been a part of his act from the beginning. This is not some new development.

You are, of course, perfectly entitled to like him. The stuff he blasts around (I think I just miss some of it, but then, I'm not looking for stuff to annoy myself with) certainly makes for entertainment in a deadly train-wreck kind of way.

I think posts like this are just as stupid as one of his threads. This is literally a post accomplishing the opposite of what it pleads in the OP by giving him the oxygen that he thrives on. 

Ignoring is easier than ever with collapsible threads. That's probably the best option. 

06/22/2018 - 4:39pm Dude, just read up on the…

Dude, just read up on the backstory between Shaqiri (and a couple of teammates, all of whom are Kosovar) and Serbia. 

So that goal was really, really something.

06/22/2018 - 4:00pm Serbia-Switzerland doesn't…

Serbia-Switzerland doesn't really move the needle for me, but I flipped it on while working anyway and the second half was fantastic. 

06/22/2018 - 3:22pm A 3-goal win over Nigeria…

A 3-goal win over Nigeria could do it if Iceland were only to win by one. 

Obviously their ideal scenario is a win and an Iceland loss or draw. In their favor, there is a realistic scenario. Working against them is the fact that they stink.

06/22/2018 - 1:13pm This list isn't about how…

This list isn't about how successful a team has been, but about how hard it is to build a team, period. They have Washington State there, which as some have observed has actually done pretty well. But they're talking about the overall position of the program, not just recent history: facilities, recruiting base, funding, alumni, everything.

Illinois isn't a sleeping giant, per se, but I would argue that it's a sleeping mid-major that should be better than it is. It's not a black hole like Kansas or Oregon State, or like Indiana for that matter.

06/22/2018 - 12:10pm A Nigeria win here, of…

A Nigeria win here, of course, keeps Argentina very alive for advancement. What would then probably happen is that Argentina will get gut-punched by a late own-goal to lose 2-1 and miss out anyway.

06/22/2018 - 11:52am In general Nike's kits look…

In general Nike's kits look pretty good this year. All the major manufacturers use templates, of course, so there's no getting around that, but I'm happy with the look of this WC.

Nike got off to such a good start when it broke into the business, though, it's disappointing that they simply aped the Adidas strategy for most of their tenure. In 1998 they outfitted Brazil, Netherlands, Nigeria, Italy, and the US, and all five teams looked unique and fantastic. 

But they never went back to that type of portfolio again.

06/22/2018 - 2:00am Sure, which is why Michigan…

Sure, which is why Michigan will continue to recruit guys. What you don't need is a guy who will come in for a year (if he's good enough to be worth pursuing, he's good enough to go pro after one season in 2019) and compete for snaps with elite-level guys like DPJ and Black and freeze out snaps with guys we hope to be elite like Nico Collins. 

What we do need is a steady stream of talent to develop under those guys so that they're ready in 2020 when others go pro. Michigan doesn't need to fortify the receiving corps for 2019, they need a pipeline for 2020 and beyond.

06/22/2018 - 12:39am Does Bilas care about clean…

Does Bilas care about clean programs? He appreciates good coaches, of course, but he seems to spend a lot of his energy grousing about NCAA hypocrisy and stuff. I gather that he's not all that upset that some guys are getting paid to drive profits for a multi-billion dollar business.

I mean, that's a fine position. I just don't think he's that concerned about programs that aren't clean. 

06/22/2018 - 12:34am There's no question that the…

There's no question that the changeover has had an initial response cost.

But I think a lot of that is that the new interface (both on desktop and on mobile) just makes things a bit less convenient. I never used the app on my tablet, for example, but I was so accustomed to using it that even though the interface was inconvenient I posted stuff from there with some frequency. I have yet to do so on 3.0 simply because it's unfamiliar.

I have a strong confidence that this will pass. Today, when I've sort of been working but have also been laid up sick, has been the most I've posted on the board by far since the changeover, and it has been... just fine. 

The problem is that there isn't a lot to talk about now. What we're losing is dozens of threads and hundreds of comments about not much at all. Not that I disliked the comments or the threads, but big-deal stuff will still make waves.

I expect things to be humming again during football season. 

06/22/2018 - 12:29am This isn't really a position…

This isn't really a position of need for Michigan. We're already seeing guys transfer out because the position is so clogged. Even if, say, Black and DPJ go pro early, there's still a load of guys ready to step up and perform at a high level.


06/21/2018 - 11:49pm An interesting factoid:

An interesting factoid:

Schools with the most 1st-round #NBADraft picks since 2013:
1. Kentucky — 15
2. Duke — 13
3. UCLA — 8
4. Michigan — 7
5. Arizona — 6
6. Michigan State, Kansas, North Carolina, Syracuse — 5

— Zach Shaw (@_ZachShaw) June 22, 2018

I guess the real question is, what's up with UCLA? We can mock MSU and we should, but at least they've won some hardware and made some runs. UCLA's total there is mind-boggling.

06/21/2018 - 7:03pm I agree with Stringer's…

I agree with Stringer's response to this almost completely. At some point Michigan has to win tough games. 

Furthermore, the urgency of winning this year is extremely visible in recruiting. It simply isn't up to snuff, and Michigan's tepid success seems to be a large part of this. This year Harbaugh is fielding a team comprised largely of his recruits, with most of the key positions staffed by guys from his two top five-level classes. If he can't win with guys like Rashan Gary and Donovan Peoples-Jones on the field now, when will he ever? And if he can't win with those guys, why will a top recruit ever want to come play for him?

That's the question that rival recruiters are asking, successfully. Michigan just had a "meh" recruiting class. One class can be explained and understood. But another "meh" class, in a division in which PSU is actually gaining momentum and OSU continues to be one of the top programs in the country, is disastrous.

I'm not "setting myself up for disappointment." I've followed this sport for my entire life. I know it well. Michigan's schedule may be tough, but it doesn't matter. They need to win, and they need to win now. In close losses at Iowa and OSU, twice at home to MSU, and in the last two Florida bowls, Michigan has lost its margin for error.

If they don't win big time this year, I won't be the one uniquely disappointed: We'll all be staring years of disappointment in the face.

06/21/2018 - 5:24pm 9 wins is, frankly, not…

9 wins is, frankly, not enough. That both implies some gut-wrenching losses and a relative lack of progress from last year, which for all of its problems still netted 8 wins in the regular season. 

Yeah, yeah, the schedule is tough and all: So what. Last year's team had issues and needed to build with a lot of young players, and I have been on the forefront of saying that. This, however, is the year for the growth to show on the field. The lackluster recruiting results of the past year show that the need is urgent. Yeah, it's stupid for Purdue Staff Guy to be taking shots at us, but he's also not wrong and if he's saying it so are guys from OSU, PSU, and everywhere else. 

Michigan has enough talent to go into the game in Columbus with zero or one losses. It should do so. If it goes into that game with two losses, the season and the future probably hang on beating OSU on the road. I can't think of any scenarios in which a regular season including three losses is not a disaster both on the field and in this fanbase. 

Fortunately, I don't think Michigan loses that many games, or I'd be a wreck come August.

06/21/2018 - 4:03pm I don't think there's any…

I don't think there's any scenario in which Quinn spends more than a handful of games with his NHL team next season, but that doesn't mean that there aren't franchises who would prefer him to spend that year in the AHL. It depends upon the franchise. Some will sign him for a year in the minors, and some might just let him develop for a year at Michigan before paying him a salary and taking up minor league roster space.

06/21/2018 - 3:59pm Paul Pogba looked really…

Paul Pogba looked really good today, though.

06/21/2018 - 3:55pm Messi, in my opinion, has…

Messi, in my opinion, has been really ill-served by his team. No way an elimination here isn't a big data point in the Messi-Ronaldo comparison, though. What a melt-down. 

06/21/2018 - 3:53pm The current tie-breaker…

The current tie-breaker rules are available here:

Goal difference is and would be the first tie-breaker, followed by total goals scored (ie a team that has a 3-3 draw is ranked ahead of a team with a 1-1 draw). But, assuming that there all three teams are 1-0 by matching 1-0 scores (not at all improbable) it would then go to: fair play points, then drawing of lots. 

Fair play points are determined giving teams negative scores for each yellow and red cards. The advantage here is that it penalizes teams for being dirty and is much less likely to involve tied. The disadvantage is that it's a pretty narrow criteria, and a team could easily lose by a cheap (and somewhat random) yellow card or two that is based entirely on the subjective level of intensity of the referee. 

If things are still even after that, they draw lots. Seriously. I can't wait for the first team to get eliminated by drawing lots.

06/21/2018 - 3:17pm These situations are rare,…

These situations are rare, though. Rarer than potentially troubling situations in smaller groups, IMO. Not nearly enough of an issue to outweigh the inevitable cries of injustice that will come when teams get dropped due to the increased need for relatively arbitrary tie-breakers.

06/21/2018 - 3:13pm Can't blame Mbappe there,…

Can't blame Mbappe there, the ball isn't in the net, you don't hold back just to give another guy a stat. You make sure.

And note that Mbappe's celebration was personally muted, he wasn't acting like it was all him there. I think he was looking for Giroud and Pogba to credit them. 

06/21/2018 - 3:12pm OS-GOOOOOOD

Wow. Argentina…


Wow. Argentina now under the gun after a Karius-level goaltending mistake.

On the upside they'll really have to press now. Man, I'd like to see Messi actually get a chance to do something.

06/21/2018 - 2:58pm One of the great crimes in…

One of the great crimes in sports history is how Argentina managed to squander 8-12 glory years with a good roster and one of the all-time great players ever by utilizing tactics apparently designed by a local madman with his own three hands on the back of a napkin. 

06/21/2018 - 1:34pm Losing out on all the hot…

Losing out on all the hot recruits this fall (minus Wilde, which is a bit of a gut punch in the surprise category) was always a possibility and perhaps the most likely one. I think it is more likely that Quinn leaves than stays, given his already-established willingness to follow the guidance of whatever team drafts him on whether or not to sign this summer. But we'll see what happens.

Still stinks. Welcome back to the good old days, I guess: A heart-breaking FF loss followed by a series of guys that would be stars magically transforming into empty lockers.

That's what happens when you're a big boy. The difference: Mel is recruiting in a way that both tries to draw in these guys but also fills the roster with older types that will stay for four years. We'll see how that works, but I'm optimistic.

06/21/2018 - 1:10pm "Dropped the ball" just…

"Dropped the ball" just cannot be considered an accurate description based on the facts. Jack Hughes isn't a high school graduate who has a hole in his resume that the staff overlooked; he is a player who just finished his junior year for whom the staff was doing everything they could to get into school. 

Jack's situation is unique, because the only way he was going to play college hockey was by finishing high school a year early. This only became apparent in the last season as he emerged as the potential #1 overall pick in the 2019 draft.

So with that came the need to accelerate schooling, but not a lot of time to do so. It's hard enough just doing a year of high school with all of the travel the NTDP requires (including a USHL season, exhibitions against college teams, and some important international tournaments) much less getting a second year in on the side. So everything is pushed to the late spring. The idea that the Michigan athletic department, including at least a couple of people that went through this with Zach Werenski, was unaware of the challenge or of the requirements is ludicrous. 

You can make sure a graduating senior has all of his boxes checked, sure. But this isn't the situation here. This is a very busy hockey player for whom there simply wasn't enough time to complete everything that needed to be completed. He's not getting frozen out because he graduated high school but was missing a technicality on his transcript; this is a person who would need to finish a year of high school over summer break while training to be the #1 pick in the NHL draft at the same time. 

06/20/2018 - 10:33pm I was really excited by the…

I was really excited by the possibility of having the two Hughes boys playing on the same ice, in addition to all of the others. So this is a let-down, a bit. But it's kind of baked into the program--when you recruit prospects of that caliber, some of them aren't going to make it to campus, and others won't stay long.

I think Mel is recruiting with that in mind, and it's notable that there are like three guys ready to come in if Michigan has space on the roster. 

The team has already done considerably better than I thought it would in year one (or even year two) so a moderate step back this coming year isn't a disaster. But yeah, I want that tenth title, too. With Jack and Wilde and maybe Wahlstrom, that was a real possibility. The year will be a slog now, but Mel is playing with high stakes and sooner or later that's going to bear fruit.

06/20/2018 - 9:46pm Consider, for example, that…

Consider, for example, that this executive assistant probably has work to do during the games. Imagine missing the end of a game because you have to arrange Harbaugh's dinner plans or pull up the car for him.

06/20/2018 - 9:42pm Wahlstrom and Wilde are more…

Wahlstrom and Wilde are more open questions. We don't know what was going on with them (did Wilde have a LOI signed that keeps him from going somewhere else, or is he just choosing to skip college for whatever reason anyway?) and it's fair to wonder if a better job could have been done to get them in. It's clear that Mel wanted them in.

I don't think the Hughes situation is comparable, even though the top-line cause (academics) may look the same. Hughes isn't just missing a key class, but a whole year of high school.

06/20/2018 - 9:14pm Yost Built is a valuable…

Yost Built is a valuable resource for Michigan Hockey and a great fan of the program, but I think he's off base here. At least with regards to Jack Hughes, Spath made it pretty clear a month or so ago that there was a hefty load of work ahead for him to accelerate his schooling to make it on campus that fall; he further said that it would be pretty clear before or at the time of the NHL draft (when the other factor, the ultimate destination of Quinn, is decided) whether or not Jack was on track to finish high school a year early.

It is obvious, then, that Jack is not right now on track to graduate from high school a year early and go to college. That's not a knock on him, because he was only scheduled to be a senior in high school this year, and it's not like he hasn't been really busy with hockey besides. Doing another year of HS in three or four months? That's a lot.

So it's not like Michigan is keeping a guy out on a technicality, he's not not done with high school yet. 

No real idea what's going on with Wilde. But it doesn't surprise me that first round NHL draft prospects aren't always going the extra mile on academics. They are going to get rich playing hockey, it's what they love, it's their first priority. 

06/20/2018 - 6:40pm We had a very similar event…

We had a very similar event in Duluth six years ago. Pretty rough stuff, and while most things were fixed within a year, the last major project to repair the damage was only finished last year.

Northern Wisconsin was also smacked pretty hard by the same system. It's pretty wild out there. Not as bad as Houghton, but crazy nonetheless.

06/19/2018 - 11:03pm Everybody said that last…

Everybody said that last year and he was fine. Sure, he's missing Barkley now, but the cupboard isn't exactly bare. He'll be fine. 

I still expect to beat them, mind you. But McSorley is pretty good.

06/19/2018 - 10:20pm I don't think he wins the…

I don't think he wins the Heisman if the offense is clicking like that. Bama QBs generally aren't significant Heisman candidates with that kind of offense, for example, and neither are OSU QBs etc. If the offense is clicking with him at the helm, the credit probably gets spread around while guys that are lifting teams more single-handedly.

But I mean if I'm wrong and your scenario plays out I am totally, totally ok with that. 

06/19/2018 - 6:41pm I would go back and edit my…

I would go back and edit my third paragraph, which as I re-read it sounds snarky or harsh, not something I intended to bring across. Alas, the edit doesn't work!

Anyway I still stand by my point about the tiles: It's new and not useful right now but I think we're going to want it in the fall. 

06/19/2018 - 6:30pm Some things take time to…

Some things take time to install and some take time to get used to.

An important example: The tiles at the top to the so-called "stale stories" you mention.

Yeah, they're stale right now. It's June. Seth is busy trying to fix the site, several regular staff contributors are off-line, and Brian is using a crowbar to produce content almost every day while HTTV stuff is getting written up. It's going to be thin.

It won't be so in late August. I expect the week before the ND game to be as rapid-fire as ever, and when that time comes I look forward to how the tiles will help see content that might otherwise be missed. Game weeks regularly feature 3-6 front page posts per day, and being able to know that they're present will be a big boost.

That's not to say that there aren't things that can be fixed or that it will work great; just that the site has been designed for higher volumes, and we're getting this in the doldrums of the offseason when the only thing to talk about is what Maizen/Bluey thinks about how badly recruiting is going right now.

That kind of content volume also makes it easier to just not post (hey there, MGrowOld!) because there's not a lot to talk about anyway. I've certainly posted less, but I suspect what are currently minor site snags will feel irrelevant when we're busy woofing over a great win or calling for firings after an ignominious defeat.

That's when we'll know how the site redesign has worked out.

With this stuff all in mind, I feel a lot better about the decision to push back the site upgrade until the depths of the offseason. Putting up midseason, as many advocated, would have been a disaster.

06/19/2018 - 5:36pm It's just preseason talk…

It's just preseason talk. Nice to know that Steele recognizes that Michigan has a lot of developing talent on offense that could break out, but ultimately it's just talk. If there is ever a lick of talk of Patterson being even a marginal Heisman candidate as late as October, it means incredible things for the state of the program, because it means that the offense has been really good.

But even if the offense is off-the-charts great I don't think he will ever be a serious candidate, because off-the-charts great means that the OL is performing well and that means that the team is running the football very effectively. I guess there is a scenario in which his elusiveness overcomes an otherwise stagnant offense and he puts up a series of 300-yard games that win otherwise losable contests, but that is a remote possibility. It is more likely that both Higdon and Evans rush for 1000 yards and Patterson is a terrific but not Heisman-worthy player.

The pre-season stuff doesn't matter. I'm really optimistic about the team on the field, which is good, because the pressure is on to succeed this season. Hopefully Patterson and the OL are up to it.

06/18/2018 - 10:21pm One thing different from old…

One thing different from old times: Mel recruits in such a way that anticipates departures. He has a ton of guys ready in the pipeline. I doubt this is one he anticipated, but he knows guys are going to leave. 

06/18/2018 - 9:09pm The sidelines appear to be a…

The sidelines appear to be a different color; the field has not yet been brushed, and I would withhold any firm judgments on the color green until we actually see it in action. I suspect that it will wind up a similar color to the old field. At least, the old field when it was new. 

06/18/2018 - 9:07pm Probably, yes. The dirt…

Probably, yes. The dirt/rubber infill still to be brushed into the field. 

06/18/2018 - 9:04pm Ugh. He seemed like the…

Ugh. He seemed like the solid bet to fortify the team if the Hughes brothers weren't there. Now we're basically holding out for the Hughes brothers to keep us at the level we were at last season (!) or it might be tough going.

06/18/2018 - 2:56pm Yes. It is significantly…

Yes. It is significantly darker than the maize that characterized the football uniforms in the Carr years. It is not as dark as the last year of Adidas, which was borderline orange, but it is still too dark. 

The major difference is that now all teams have basically the same maize, whereas in the Carr era and earlier the maize on the football uniforms was a lighter (and in my opinion superior) color than the color used by other major teams. Most notably the hockey team, whose maize uniforms actually clashed with the helmets that were painted to football spec. 

06/18/2018 - 1:59pm A note: This shows the…

A note: This shows the layout of the lettering. It is "floating" and hasn't yet been stitched into the endzone (looked at the point of the M, for example). It should look a hair sharper when finished, though it's possible that the lettering may dull in luster somewhat when the infill is rolled in.

06/18/2018 - 1:50pm Looks good to me. Maize is a…

Looks good to me. Maize is a bit dark, but appears to be in line with the current color scheme. I'm glad they aren't trying anything fancier, like white outlines or football helmets or logos. Nice and simple. 

06/15/2018 - 5:55pm There are rare occasions…

There are rare occasions where I find this ok. For example, I use "draw" here because "tie" often means something else. There may be a word or two that is used so infrequently in America that the British pronunciation comes naturally. 

But deliberate use of British pronunciation and agreements (using plural verbs for team names, for example) strikes me as artificial. People are self-consciously changing pronunciations or language to sound British in such cases. I basically agree with you here. 

06/15/2018 - 3:52pm Games like this are why…

Games like this are why draws can be great. 

06/15/2018 - 3:46pm 3-3 in the 90th minute, but…

3-3 in the 90th minute, but who knows if it will stay this way. Crackling game. 

06/15/2018 - 3:45pm I don't like Ronaldo; I…

I don't like Ronaldo; I prefer Messi, quite strongly.

But Ronaldo is terrific. Him against the world. Unquestionably a brilliant day, and that goal was fantastic.

06/15/2018 - 2:54pm OS-GOOOOOOOOD

Might not be…


Might not be the best keeper in the world after all. Still got a ways to go to match Karius, though.