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01/22/2019 - 8:09pm He may be looking at Rob…

He may be looking at Rob Pelinka's career that he can be on both sides of the sports business.

01/10/2019 - 8:16am The environment for the…

The environment for the bowls has and will continue to change.

1. More of the top players will opt out to prep for the pro camps - it just is logical and financially rational.

2. So what can the coaches do? They get to tune and tinker. They also get one last chance in the season to burnish their resumes in case they are looking to move up or out.

They want the extra game. AND there are some benefits for the players as well.

3. For the seniors (e.g. anybody whose eligibility is running out) this is their last chance to get some tape to showcase their skills. The coaches should point this out and offer to get them into the rotation. For 95% of them, this is it, the last time they'll suit up and play a real game of FB.

4. For the juniors and sophomores - this is the first day of next year's training camp - positioning themselves for next year's depth chart.

5. For the freshmen - anyone who can play and not burn a redshirt should see action. Getting to play is something they all want and getting into a "name" bowl on TV would be nice. They should hit the playbook studies hard because they will play.

6. Suggest to some of the seniors that they might want to play some special team snaps because if they do make a pro roster and they are not in the group that (number 1) that are known entities, being able to play on the special teams is a plus for roster retention.

7. Have fun - have the OC/DC open up the playbooks and try stuff they had prepped and never got to use, run stuff that they wonder about - fake FG, fake punts, variations of onside kicks.

We've seen a lot of games where one side is simply not into it emotionally. They were primed for a drive for the CFC and when they fell short, they didn't have much left to play for - and that is the reality. The coaches, teams and ultimately us fans have to face the facts. Just like the teams that are mathematically eliminated and are just playing out the schedule in the MLB,NBA, NHL, etc, there are a lot of teams that are doing that at the end of the year - so why not make it productive and useful in some other way?


01/10/2019 - 8:04am He's very good - no doubt…

He's very good - no doubt but it is early and sometimes these kids hit a wall physically at midseason. 

01/08/2019 - 12:05pm These guys are pros - just…

These guys are pros - just like Mike Hart can help Indiana's running backs prep against the Wolverines, they got where the jobs are and where they think they can get the situation they want.

Greg Mattison might be getting one last big payday and may be trying to help some friends down in Columbus. Likewise Al Washington might think this is a pathway towards a coordinator job on his climb up the coaching ladder. Just like many college players believe they'll play in the NFL, most of these coaches believe one day, they'll be the head coach some where, so they chase the dream.

Don't take it too personally. Their contracts were up and they can sign up as they wish. It isn't like someone signed up with us, pledged their help to build up the program over years and then immediately bolted for another job (see Lane Kifflin and U Tenn after just 14 months as HC) The coaching world is all about networking and contacts and can be strange. Honestly did anyone ever believe we'd see Mike DeBord back on a Big Ten coaching staff and arguably effective? 

01/08/2019 - 11:55am Once in the past, each of…

Once in the past, each of the big American automakers had a station wagon in their line up. Now, none do - and it can be argued that the SUV has taken on that role. One every automaker had a 4 door sedan - sometimes like GM or Ford, multiple models at different price levels, (Chevy, Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadillac for example) and now it looks like most have two SUVs - a small one and a larger one and two marques (basic and higher end - Honda/Acura, Ford/Lincoln, GM/Chevy/Cadillac). For people whose life requires a payload bay - a truck and large SUV makes sense - they make practical use of it. For others, it is just a lot of space to haul around.

The unknown is this generation of young people who are used to Uber, Lyft, Zip cars and are just "not into" cars like people were of my generation (I'm in my 50's). IF and it is still a big IF, if auto drive takes off and is practical, we might see cars become divided into practical shapes and sizes like construction gear, commercial trucks and mechanized tools. There would probably be a sizable niche market for sporty vehicles - manual transmission, and designed to give the driver the sense and feel of driving; everyone else won't care - you don't fly a jet, ride a train or bus to "sense or feel" the flight, tracks or street - you just want to get there safe and sound and often the less you are aware of the physical interaction with the sky, track and street, the better.

01/08/2019 - 8:57am It goes to show what a poor…

It goes to show what a poor hire RR was and often forgotten the very bad hire of DB after a detached Bill Martin left. Martin was great at the building facilities part - I doubt any other AD could have renovated the Stadium while still using it and made it look like it was all part of a single build. Go look at some of the frankenstein monstrosities out there at other campuses and you'll see it: odd square/rectangles jutting out of curves with different masonary.

I have a soft spot of Brady Hoke because I do believe he was sincere and in the Bacon books it is clear that he really did try to help a lot of kids with their lives; he just honestly wasn't a great college or pro level coach - he probably would have been an awesome legendary high school coach that coaches for decades or a great college guy in the 1950-1960s, but time moved on. I don't lump his lack of success with that of RR. RR is undoubtedly very smart about offensive football and no doubt helped make college football what it is today with the spread attack but he is a terrible head coach.

01/07/2019 - 7:35pm Fundamentals will always…

Fundamentals will always matter - it is just that the appreciation waxes and wanes. Look up Pete Newell and his big man camp - he was teaching guys who are ALREADY in the NBA how to play the post position. 

Beilein may not be able to add much to a LeBron James, Moses Malone or other legitimate straight out of high school great, but for everyone else he can help.

01/07/2019 - 2:37pm No, just wait, Urban Meyer…

No, just wait, Urban Meyer will be the leading candidate for the Notre Dame job in a few years ... twice the CFB selection board has given ND the benefit of the doubt about their schedule and twice they've been burned.

01/07/2019 - 2:36pm Well, he did have Cardale,…

Well, he did have Cardale, Braxton Miller and JT Barrett all on the same team ... and couldn't make it work.

01/07/2019 - 2:34pm Let's look at this more…

Let's look at this more dispassionately.

Is he a good coach? Does he have a good track record? Is he familiar with the Big Ten? Yes to all three, in general.

So it is not a bad hire - it is hire that can't be attacked out of hand.

BUT, is this the person OSU would pick if they had a better stronger option? No doubt he'll be competent and capable but aren't there many other options out there? This may be more about who the OSU FB leadership - no one better? no young hungry DC/assistant ? Or is that partly why he was asked to take charge of the defense - against Purdue (a team that lost to EMU) and Maryland (who inexplicably decided they were more nervous and went for 2) OSU's defense was poor.

01/07/2019 - 10:45am This is why I don't get the…

This is why I don't get the academic snobbery against "performance athletics" as a degree concentration. People in the performing arts (music, theater) and other artistic fields supported by the university seem to get a pass. Yet, their practical immediate job prospects and long term options are as limited as professional athletes.

So, why not accept performance athletics? That might make their attendance and diligence in class improve and end the hypocrisy. The top players do really want to play pro ball and do want to "study" their sport - why not do it?

01/06/2019 - 7:08pm Good play - really happy…

Good play - really happy about the game of Brandon Johns - did not seem tentative. Had a great pick and roll where once he got the ball, he immediately went to the rim with a dunk.

01/06/2019 - 8:25am He did look very good…

He did look very good against Rutgers - who were left wondering why they weren't pursing him.

01/02/2019 - 12:52pm Nice work!

You might still…

Nice work!

You might still consider the First Responder Bowl under the statistical principle of "intention to play" like "intention to treat" analysis. The teams showed up. The stadium was prepared. The referees were hired. They meant to play. That everything went down hill after 5-7 minutes, the prep work did happen and it should count against the statistics that are available. :)


01/02/2019 - 12:09am Seems sort of like when Utah…

Seems sort of like when Utah played and beat Alabama under Saban - many years back. Texas came ready to play and Georgia despite the talk don't seem to be into the game.

12/31/2018 - 6:58pm You haven't factored in the…

You haven't factored in the key variable - the LIONS factor. Watch as this guy turns out to be amazing and drafts together a team that wins multiple Super Bowls. It is like the other end of the bell curve - he'll be the opposite of the Matt Millen experience.

12/31/2018 - 6:56pm Nice ... tip of the hat ...

Nice ... tip of the hat ...

12/31/2018 - 6:46pm Happy New Year! Yes - this…

Happy New Year! Yes - this game was in contention for worst bowl game of the year; 0-0 at halftime, 

The other contender is the aptly named Cheez-It Bowl (I kid you not) on Dec. 26, 2018 had 9 interceptions, including a rare INT thrown by the QB after he had already received a forward pass on the play and AFTER crossing the line of scrimmage.

12/31/2018 - 6:33pm Yes, while $1 million isn't…

Yes, while $1 million isn't much in the world of college football or men's basketball, it had the same effect. It drew some of the best players around the world, and had accusations of eligibility, and was it good for the development of US players - sort of the type of discussion we hear when swimming, rowing and track and field teams draw international talent. We've had Olympic caliber track and field athletes (they actually competed the Olympics and not just a compliment) Nick Willis for example ran for New Zealand and won a silver in 2008 in Beijing and a Bronze in 2016 in Rio. He ran for the Wolverines.

It shows that regardless of the sport - money isn't everything BUT it does matter.


12/31/2018 - 1:19pm Judith Polgar, probably the…

Judith Polgar, probably the greatest woman player of all time (so far) reached her peak rating of 2735 FIDE in July 2005 (around age 30 then) and was the overall 8th ranked player in the world but she's been inactive since 2015 and basically retired.

She is the most successful of the three Polgar sisters and were trained by their parents from an early age to be interested in chess. 

Interestingly, in the chess world, women have usually played very aggressive chess - going for complex attacks and tactics. In top flight chess, "to play like a girl" means "relentless aggression" (attributed to Garry Kasparov) - probably the only sport where it has that connotation.

12/31/2018 - 1:12pm That is the terminology used…

That is the terminology used - NOT  a reference to the usual collegiate sport usage. It refers to the average strength of the team - and the Wolverine team average was between 2000 and 2199. Division 1 is 2200 and up. The typical grandmaster is rated 2500 and higher.

12/31/2018 - 12:49pm Yes, that is totally true,…

Yes, that is totally true, just look at the Webster line up. Although we do have a some homegrown top level talent like Ray Robson.

12/30/2018 - 11:37pm Definitely make this a…

Definitely make this a recurrent theme.

And you might consider variations of other sports that make it to the BIG Ten or National championship level (e.g. baseball, hockey, softball, soccer, field hockey, and what the heck track and field, swimming/diving)

12/22/2018 - 8:51am Probably a slow transition…

Probably a slow transition move.

Ozzie Newsome the long time GM is going. It maybe the owners don't want to complete change at the major positions in one year - He helped build some of their better teams and he's had a decent 16 year run but this maybe just a transition move. If Harbaugh suddenly gets a good run next year, he'll keep going especially if the QB situation suddenly looks good.

BUT if this turns out to be just a mirage and Jackson regresses ... then the GM DeCosta now with a year under his belt will probably go with a new person.

12/15/2018 - 8:39pm Let's not forget the origin…

Let's not forget the origin of bowl games - it was always a commercial one - in other words, it was always a "cash grab". The Rose Bowl was started in 1902 to help attract interest to the Rose Parade and to help lower the cost and the parade itself was also a commercial venture to help attract interest in the commercial flower industry - so from the very beginning it was about commercial interests - it was a "cash grab". By the way the UM under Yost led 49-0 over a Stanford team and they reported conceded ("quit" according to Wikipedia) at the 3rd quarter. That game was so lopsided that the football game was shelved for the next 13 years and other ways of attracting interest were put in - horse races, ostrich races and even chariot races ala Ben Hur. Football came back in 1916 and it has been football ever since. 

BUT never let it be forgotten that it was originally a "cash grab" and bowl games have largely been that - often gouging the schools to line the pockets of organizers who show up wearing garish sports jackets.

A lot of things are like that - over time they acquire airs of nobility and purpose but were originally "cash grabs." Anyone who has lived in Ann Arbor over the past 60 years probably has gone to the Art Fair that usually occurs in the 3rd week of July. While it now is one of the larger art fairs of the summer and has morphed into an event that covers all of downtown and south university it too was originally a "cash grab". The business down on South University during the dog days of summer noted a huge drop off in business. The students were all gone, summer classes were not at the level they are today and in 1960 air conditioning was starting to be popular but not yet common place. So to help drive business downtown they thought about holding an art fair. Originally the Ann Arbor Art Association balked noting that "no good artist will sit in the street and there were only 132 exhibitors. Over time it grew, and the success at drawing crowds was not lost on the other merchants on State and Main Street. Soon there was an Ann Arbor State Street Art Fair, Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair and South University Art Fair joining the rebranded The Original Street Art Fair.

So, let's not be too dismissive of "cash grabs" nor too high and mighty about the nobility and sanctity of certain events! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all, and Go Blue!

12/15/2018 - 4:00pm Nice story - and I'm glad to…

Nice story - and I'm glad to have read it. Behind all of the bravado and bluster, there is a real person, and that was who the father met and became friends with. The dad sounded like a really optimistic upbeat sort of person.

12/11/2018 - 3:40pm I doubt that will happen any…

I doubt that will happen any time soon - selling the franchise that is.

Why? Because it the one really valuable asset the Ford family still controls.

With each generation, each set of fund raising from various banks and credit lines, each set of cousins, nieces, and nephews, there is increasing pressure from outsiders to curtail the voting rights of the Ford (family) preferred stock and so the amount of wealth that the family can pass that comes from the auto company and its spin offs continues to diminish and becomes more dilute.

What was once a fun hobby (like owning a fancy yacht, a race horse, or one's own golf course) for the late William Clay Ford, akin to someone sponsoring their own bowling team, is now a billion dollar enterprise to turns a tidy profit each year. No, they won't be selling it any time soon - especially with the NFL rules banning corporate ownership outside of the Packers. Every team has a distinct "owner" otherwise we'd long ago have had the ATT Cowboys or Delta Airline Falcons.

Look instead for someone in the family who might have in the past looked to go into the auto business to try to learn about sports management and look to take on the task.


12/11/2018 - 3:31pm First thought that came to…

First thought that came to mind ... :)

12/09/2018 - 11:50am Just some Jive Turkey talk …

Just some Jive Turkey talk ... and their mouthpieces ...spreading lies and disinformation ... 

12/07/2018 - 12:10pm From reading the link, it…

From reading the link, it seems that the Longhorn Network - long the sticking point of any conference moves is viewed as not an important factor. That is a surprising conclusion.

If that is true (never underestimate the egocentricity of other people) why wouldn't the Big 12 find a way to cut a deal? This seems like that sort of dreamy what if "thought experiment" piece that pops up in the off season.

12/06/2018 - 4:29pm Yes, but in a different way…

Yes, but in a different way. The tourney is always played far away - on neutral courts and it would be very nice for John Beilein - makes me feel that not everything in the world must end up with corruption and corner cutting.

12/06/2018 - 11:53am Good point but hidden is an…

Good point but hidden is an ulterior motive. Now that Urban Meyer has taken another leave of absence from coaching, there was an open seat on the jive turkey roundtable and Cris Carter was just auditioning for that role.

12/02/2018 - 11:45am There is a pool of kids who…

There is a pool of kids who can play extremely well and can also qualify without a lot of smoke and mirrors. The problem is that this pool is not large and year to year is pretty limited in some categories - like defensive linemen, running backs, etc. BUT that number is still more than the typical 25-26 football recruits each year. In theory it can be done, but it is hard, not easy and probably take longer to establish. 

The other pathway is faster - juco transfers, lowered standards - heck don't bother, go the UNC route and create a completely fake phone degree concentration. (how that hasn't led to sanctions is still mind blowing) 

I think the trips do matter to the kids in this pool and their families. 

Finally, check out the latest issue of M magazine, the official magazine of the Athletic Dept.  There is a pair of great where are they know pieces on Dave Gallagher and Stefan Humphries - I think the kids we are trying to recruits want to have these types of options in their future.

12/02/2018 - 11:34am It is one of the many…

It is one of the many legacies. UM Athletics has always been strong across many sports. Most people started hearing about the cup during Dave Brandon's reign when decided that would become super important publicly. But it is something that was already big. Check out the official home page.

Since we are now off the usual topic of the major team sports, the UM Chess Team tied for first at the Ivy League Chess Challenge. They lost to Princeton on tied breaks.

Ann Arbor's own Atulya Shetty on board 1 was undefeated and scored 4 out of a possible 5 points.

The team finished tenth in most recent Pan-American Collegiate championship which was held at that place down south. I know that may not seem like much but if you look at the cross table, college chess has now seen an influx of money and scholarships (yes, you can get a scholarship to play chess at these places but typically you have to be really good - international master or grandmaster strength) - the top teams, Webster Univ. Univ. of St. Louis, Texas Tech, Univ. of Tex Dallas, etc can field multiple teams all with grandmasters. (a grandmaster or GM is about 10 standard deviations better than the average player)

So the next time some scandal breaks in college sports about recruiting, money, and people getting poached, it is not just the sport but partly the effect of money, booster, supporters and administration wanting to upgrade the results. 

11/22/2018 - 8:21am Almost an ideal situation:

Almost an ideal situation:

A Rutgers win or close lose will:

1. annoy the MSU fandom and send them to even higher levels of rage about the OC.

2. probably ensure Chris Ash will be back - he has already declared that he's keeping his OC.

11/18/2018 - 9:48am Are we sure that was a Mike…

Are we sure that was a Mike DeBord offense out there? Did a Skrull replace him? Is there a giant seed pod husk somewhere where a Bodysnatcher has taken over his existence?  Where was this quick moving and flowing offense back when he was in Ann Arbor?


11/18/2018 - 9:32am Glad to see Coach Harbaugh…

Glad to see Coach Harbaugh had his priorities straight at the press conference. He went straight to the most serious injury - the kid carted off for a cheap shot.

That is why he is a head coach.

11/17/2018 - 11:05pm I'm curious:

1. Who reviews…

I'm curious:

1. Who reviews the referees? Is there a Big Ten head of referees that looks at each game and grades out the teams?

2. How competitive is it to get a Big Ten referring gig? From reading articles about MLB umpires, it can be a long haul but they have a lot of people. 

3. How much turnover is there? When the basketball ref Ted Valentine didn't get another contract that made news - so is it rare for there to be an annual turnover?

Ideally you want a ref team that is experienced, so they know the tricks and aren't fooled; mature enough not to be drawn into making themselves part of the game; fit enough to keep up with the game; knowledgeable about the teams/venues but NOT too cozy or chummy.

Being a ref is a tough job, and maybe it is time to make it a full time one - AND make it more competitive by turning over the lower scoring teams each year and opening it up for new blood/fresh eyes.

11/12/2018 - 7:43pm Two years ago, who were the…

Two years ago, who were the lead RBs at the Rutgers game: Chris Evans, Karan Higdon with Ty Isaacs. Right now it is Chris Evans, Karan Higdon, and Tru Wilson as the main rotation with O'Maury Samuels in some spots. He probably can't crack the line up because of non-ball carrying issues. 

He is a true Freshman - so he has time. It isn't like in the past where RBs tried to become featured backs to draw notice from the NFL - (1) the NFL isn't valuing the run as much as it did in the 1970-1980's thanks to rule changes, and (2) there are a lot of good backs every year that no one is paying top dollar for limited backs - they ideally want someone who can run and gain tough yards, has enough speed to break a few long runs, be a really good pass catcher and a good pass blocker. Look at James White out of Wisconsin for the NE Patriots. He was a thousand yard runner for Wisconsin but has made a nice 5 year career thanks to his pass blocking, and pass catching.

He'll have an advantage over the younger new guys because he'll know the system, know the plays, and know the assignment issues (like pass blocking, chipping, releasing etc.). It is impressive that Tru Wilson has done as well. 

Great running backs are born - there is something special about that burst of speed, agility and vision but Good running backs are made - through coaching and teaching, and learning. There are only a few lightning-in-a-bottle guys and we'll know right away -but for everyone else, it is still the same story - study, practice and hard work.

11/12/2018 - 7:28pm That whole news conference…

That whole news conference complete with the background, his neck brace, the road rash on his face, belongs in the life-is-stranger-than-fiction hall of fame. One cannot have written this without being attacked as being too contrived and far fetched.


11/12/2018 - 7:25pm Wow, so was he contractually…

Wow, so was he contractually obligated to do the show?

11/11/2018 - 3:26pm Thank you for doing this.

Thank you for doing this.

Realized something while watching the replay and how the long shadows cast by the setting sun seemed to go almost in the direction of the field. For uncovered field stadiums aren't they usually sited so the field runs North-South so the sun is not aiming into the eyes of the players?

On Google Maps it looks like there is plenty of room to angle the stadium. 

11/11/2018 - 3:21pm I understand the fans…

I understand the fans locally may not be happy with Rutgers and how the football team is doing. Curiously, as a UM Wolverine fan, I don't mind if they are bad. We have to play them every year in a division with OSU, MSU, PSU and a Indiana team that usually is at or above 0.500. It offers an every other year trip to basically NYC and a direct path to a rich recruiting ground. So why not?

1. The Scarlet Knights are better - simply because they now have at least three players on the team who could legitimately play for other Big Ten squads - heck even Michigan - RBs Pacheco and Blackshear and that defensive back Young.

2. They are not well coached - but that is OK - they soak up some so-called two star and three players who might blossom on a rival team but there they languish and won't end up hurting the Wolverines down the line. 

11/11/2018 - 11:36am He must be great at one-on…

He must be great at one-on-one interviews because he seems to keep getting jobs that will pay him millions to leave and not be there. That's a topic that some of the business schools should look at.

11/11/2018 - 11:29am He'll probably take a rest -…

He'll probably take a rest - might see him around here for a year, or do some TV work and see who really is serious about building a strong team. He had a good situation in Baltimore with a good GM. 

They did win a SB and had some great teams; the decline in the defense, the whole Ray Rice scandal, and Flacco being a normal human being QB who didn't continue to improve with time, so it was time. Ozzie Newsome will no longer be the GM and the window on Flacco is closing - so a major rebuild is in the future. They have Lamar Jackson but it sounds like he isn't Patrick Mahomes (yet?)


11/10/2018 - 5:00pm Blackshear and Pachecho -…

Blackshear and Pachecho - only guys who can break plays.

11/10/2018 - 4:55pm YES! Close them out


YES! Close them out


11/10/2018 - 4:52pm They are running at Winovich…

They are running at Winovich -

11/10/2018 - 4:47pm Wow, he was WIDE OPEN!

Wow, he was WIDE OPEN!

11/10/2018 - 4:42pm Look at the Northwestern…

Look at the Northwestern game - the Wildcats are a good team but NOT great - but they were amped up to the max in that first quarter.