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Date Title Body
02/14/2012 - 10:43pm This must be bumped

to the front page.  srsly.

12/22/2011 - 5:39pm A monetary motivation for dragging out RichRod's firing?

Re: JUB's response to question 8) the Firing Process, JUB says "So, why drag it out?... Since this boils down to speculation, something I’ve tried to avoid, your guess is as good as mine."

One possible reason that has not been mentioned so far is that by waiting to fire Rodriguez until after the Jan. 1 Gator Bowl, Brandon saved the school $1.5 million.

As JUB writes at the end of Chapter 7:  "Coleman and Martin agreed to adjust [Rodriguez'] contract to provide for a $4 million buyout from Michigan if they let him go during any of the first three years, instead of his original buyout deal, which diminished by $500,000 after each year. After January 1, 22011, however, it would fall to $2.5 million." (emphasis mine)

So, in addition to all the other reasons put forth why Brandon may have waited until after the Gator Bowl to fire Rodriguez, it seems logical to me that -- being a business man first -- Brandon would have taken that $1.5 million savings into consideration, as well.  Even if Brandon had already made up his mind to fire Rodriguez before Jan. 5, there probably was not enough upside to firing him in December, if by waiting until January did help Brandon set the stage for Hoke -- plus all the other reasons JUB cites -- and saved a bunch of money, too.


11/18/2010 - 1:04am Dang, thought I was the only one here old enough to remember him

Dennis Franklin would have killed teams running this offense.  The UM teams in the early 70s when he was QB were already loaded enough, and given his mobility, they would have been almost unstoppable.

11/06/2010 - 9:33pm Carl follows this blog why not ask him?  I think he'd probably love the idea.

10/18/2010 - 11:17am True, but don't forget stadium is losing capacity

when they finish the final phase of the original project and widen all the aisles and when (or if) they widen the space between each seat by ~1".  We lose >3K seats that way, if not more. Brandon's not blind to the fact that in the alumni survey that preceded this expansion, one of the top requests (besides more + better bathrooms) was that the Big House stay #1 in capacity. I think we may lose that distinction when this last phase is completed.  Plus, demand is still high enough that UM could sell out 115-120K.

Anyone have a SWAG as to how many more seats UM could gain by building up, say, another 20 or so rows on either (or both) ends of the stadium, and what the new capacity would be, if you assume we start from 108,000 based on the above?

10/18/2010 - 10:57am Home-and-homes hard to justify vs. more tomato cans at UM

That's a great idea, but issue UM has with scheduling home-and-homes is re: the revenue from these games.  I read in another thread (re: the 'Bama game in '12, IIRC) that revenue gets split between all the Big 10 teams. (Or is that just for the away games?)  So there's not as much incentive to schedule h-&-hs with big-name schools vs. bringing in more tomato cans / Baby Seal U's to the Big House b/c not as much revenue benefit.  

From revenue standpoint, best alternative is seemingly to go the neutral-site route, a la selling our souls to play Nick Satan's team in Dallas in '12, b/c I think UM gets to keep their half of the revenue from this game.  Would be interesting to see if UM ever pursues holding a neutral-site game at Yankee Stadium, like ND is, given our large alumni base there and Delany's lusting after that TV market.

12/17/2009 - 12:36am Wait -- What?

Brian writes:

"You also can't keep all the rivalries together if Pitt is indeed the pick. You try to split this into six team divisions:


Wait -- you just *did*, Brian. Put those first two triplets in one division; the last three pairs in the other. There are exactly zero meaningful rivalries lost with this arrangement, and UM v. OSU is retained and could still be the final regular season game; it would probably be for the division title most years, with no repeat matchup in the conference title game. Granted, this arrangement makes the division Michigan is in a bit more loaded for football & hoops, but shouldn't we be OK with facing a tougher schedule / better teams, anyway?

This arrangement works because, even though Ohio is somewhat out of place in either of those directional scenarios, well, who the hell cares where Ohio is, anyway, except south of us (geographically and in every other sense)? So, if you must have some kind of division naming convention, North - South or East - West works if you ignore Ohio, which is a good m.o., regardless.

I really cannot see any other acceptable way of splitting up the conference into divisions if Pitt is indeed the 12th school.

11/16/2009 - 11:39am I have found peace...

by accepting the fact that, this season, we are in essence fielding a JV team (+ 1 or 2 Varsity guys) on each side of the ball. So, Brian, don't check out emotionally; simply readjust your mindset: Michigan has no Varsity football team this year; it's the JV team only. Go ahead -- say it: WE ARE A JV TEAM.

And the JV is putting up a good battle against these much tougher Varsity teams, but no JV team is likely to beat a good Varsity Big 10 squad. Any win is like the intervention of the hand (or foot) of God in a Monty Python film. You can expect it to appear once, but for the remainder, it's "Run awaaaaaaay!"

All we can hope for is the hand (or foot) of God to make a cameo again this weekend. Amen.

11/10/2009 - 1:06am Amen!

And speaking of God -- for good measure, I've decided to join all the world's religions for the next two weeks. Hedging my bets...

10/26/2009 - 11:18am 2009 == WIP

+1 on this post

I admit I also found myself guilty of some "irrational exuberance" about this team after the first couple games. But, you are spot on -- this team is still a work in progress, and we just can't expect a team this young to have it all together every week. It's also unfair -- and unrealistic -- to expect the kind of 2nd-year turnaround in W-L record RichRod had at WVU, etc.

This team *is* still making progress, but that may not translate into more wins this season. Sure, 8-4 is still a possibility, which ain't shabby, but 7-5 for this team would still be a big step forward. All they really need is 1 more win to get into a bowl game, and that would still be huge -- 4-5 additional weeks of practice with RichRod's system will do a world of good building toward next season.

10/18/2009 - 3:09pm JB's finger was pointed at the media

I agree that JB was mosdef NOT pointing a finger at Carr, Leach, or anyone else internally. He did refer to the media previously, too, so I'm sure that he was indirectly calling out the Freep (DIE, FREEP, DIE!) and their sports writers. But remember that JB is part of the media, and the Freep guys are, to some extent, colleagues so he was trying to be indirect -- maybe out of professional courtesy?

Either way, that was good to hear -- and way more interesting than anything said all day by the BTN crew. (But, I could be biased.)

10/14/2009 - 12:58pm Yes, as an editor your job is to check facts

...or have your writer do it before submitting it for print.

It is exactly this kind of sloppy work that is eroding the standards of journalistic integrity. There is a huge difference between fact-checking links in an online forum vs. fact-checking an article printed in a national newspaper -- particularly when your job, as an editor, is to ensure that all the statements presented in an article are accurate or can be verified. Simply reprinting an article -- ANY article, no matter who it is written by -- without checking it for accuracy is lazy, slipshod journalism, especially when said article makes a potentially controversial or incendiary statement. That is the definition of journalistic malpractice.

I've been reading this blog for ~3 years now, and I'm pretty sure that Brian, et al., try to get verification or corroboration whenever possible in their posts re: facts or matters of potential controversy. Sure, it may not always be possible, but a self-proclaimed national newspaper sure oughta try.

09/07/2009 - 6:45pm Forcier shirt YES, but shorter text

How about something pithy, like:


08/31/2009 - 11:12pm Hit 'Em Where It Hurts (the wallet)

It appears to me this Freep piece was written as a desperate attempt to keep a troubled media outlet alive and relevant. The fact that this piece is generating nationwide attention is evidence that it worked -- at least for now. Not good.

How to respond, MGoBloggers? If we want to punish the Freep, ignoring their site and all discussion of this piece is a good start.

But remember, on the internets, it's all about the clicks, people: No clicks, no ad revenue. So if you really wish to punish the Freep, the best method is to hit their bottom line. Cancel your subscription (if you have one); do not click on any link to or from the Freep ever again, and encourage other alumni to do the same.

However, if your anger is boiling over (like mine), the most effective punishment would be to visit, find out who is advertising in their sports pages, and either boycott the merchants or -- better yet -- contact them to inform them that you will not purchase their products or services as long as they advertise on, and copy the editors of the Freep on any email or letter you write to these advertisers.

In the end, money talks and bullsh*t walks. However credible (or not) the Freep is, it matters little if they can keep getting eyes on pages and clicks on ad links by publishing this garbage. So, let's let the market speak on our behalf!

Freep, you are officially dead to me.

08/25/2009 - 11:49am Good idea, but needs signature Woodson moment instead

To make this shirt unmistakably Woodson, I'd change this to be a graphic of his spectacular one-handed INT on the sideline vs. MSU. That play still makes me gasp every time I see it.

08/02/2009 - 4:08pm Umm, actually, he is.

Sorry, but gotta disagree with you on this. There is a huge UM fan and alumni base in the NYC metro area (I even heard UM jokingly called "SUNY-Ann Arbor" while I was enrolled) -- of which Connecticut is a part -- not to mention an enormous east coast TV market that Big 10 honcho Jim Delaney desperately wants to tap into.

I think the biggest beef UM fans will have next year with this game is that UConn's stadium is so small -- i.e., not enough available tickets for UM fans. I could easily see this game being a 50-50 fanbase split, a la UM games at Northwestern.

07/28/2009 - 10:14am Return game doesn't have to be in 2011

True that -- although the return game in a home-and-home doesn't need to be in 2011; it could be in 2012 or 2013. Another reason to suspect it's Cal.

07/28/2009 - 10:10am Think You've Hit On Something There

Beantownwolve, if you didn't go to UM B-school, you should'a; nice thinking there. No way UM schedules a home-and-home with *any* school that can't provide an equitable gate in the return game -- otherwise, why do it, in Martin's opinion, except out of complete desperation? So, maybe you're onto something there with the idea that UM plays vs. Rutgers (or 'Cuse) at Yankee Stadium or the Meadowlands. Delaney craaaaves him that east coast market, and doesn't want ND one-upping him (cf. ND-Army game).

More wild (but fun) speculation: such a game might also be a test to see if Rutgers would have the drawing power needed for... an invitation to join the Big 10? -- i.e., a pre-invitation test?

07/27/2009 - 5:47pm My guess: Cal

Here's why:
1) b/c Big10+Pac10=4EVER. 'nuff said.
2) b/c, IIRC, ~ 10 yrs ago, UM and Cal signed a contract to play 5 games -- 3 @ UM, 2 @ Cal -- starting in 2008 or so. Said contract was later cxl'd, obv'ly, but may be resurrected now?
3) We haven't had a Pac-10 team as regular season opponent in a few years; we're due.
4) OK, pure speculation, but Google co-founder Larry Page (UM and Stanford alum) pro'ly personally paying for UM to beat stuffing out of Cal? Nah...

06/11/2009 - 10:59pm Minnesota 1986 - the Ricky Foggie run

One game I'm not sure was mentioned yet is the 1986 game for the Little Brown Jug -- the last time Minnesota won it before '05.

Michigan, behind Jim Harbaugh, was ranked #2 going into that game, the last home game of the year, poised for a shot at the nat'l title. Favored by 4 TDs, all UM had to do was beat a mediocre Minnesota team before facing OSU (a game they won 26-24 after Harbaugh "guaranteed" a win). UM tied the game 17-17 late in the 4th, and it looked like a tie was inevitable when, on 3rd and long near midfield, Foggie ad-libbed a 35-yard run to put Minnesota within chip-shot FG range, which they got on the game's final play to win 20-17.

I'd take back any of a half-dozen plays from that game: Harbaugh's fumbles and INT; the game-ending FG; but esp'ly Foggie's run... If UM doesn't lose that game, they go to the Rose Bowl ranked #1 or #2, and maybe it ends up differently vs. ASU. (But then, we wouldn't have gotten Cooper at OSU for that glorious decade of dominance.)

06/11/2009 - 10:54pm Last-second UM games and rule changes

I wonder if there's a metric on this somewhere: UM games have led to at least 2 rule changes and 2 policy changes that I know of, off-hand. There might be more. Here are the 4 I know:

1) The 1974 loss to OSU on the last-second FG by Mike Lantry that was (erroneously) called wide. Up until then, only one referee was stationed under the uprights. Ever since that fiasco, there have been two. Thanks, fellas...

2) This game (plus the ones in '72 and '73, and yes the lure of TV $$) led to the Big Ten finally abandoning their Rose Bowl-only policy after Michigan teams that finished 10-1 and 10-0-1 stayed home for the holidays.

3) The '79 Indiana game mentioned here, which led to at least a clearer rule about intentional fumbles.

4) The Sparty game in 2001 -- when time stood still -- led to the change in the Big Ten's policy for clock-keeping.

Any others anybody know of?

01/27/2009 - 11:02pm 16-team Super Conference?

Once in a while, I hear talk here in Chicago that the Big Ten is considering a number of expansion options, including one scenario with 16 teams. First of all, WTF? Second, the only way this would work is if the Big Ten accepts *all* the schools mentioned above -- ND, 'Cuse, Pitt, and Rutgers -- and also Iowa State, which is decent enough academically to be in the AAU, too. (Wouldn't be a stretch to pull ISU out of the Big XII, I think.) This would be a possible breakdown of that scenario, just for grins:

West Div:
Iowa St.

East Div:
Michigan St.
Notre Dame
Ohio St.
Penn St.

OK, so that makes the East very top-heavy for football ATM, there mosdef would need to be a conference championship game, and we'd now be champions of the East. But this alignment does keep all the geographical rivalries intact, and would still give meaning to the season-ending matchups, in terms of deciding divisional titles. Several options exist for playing a game or two against teams in the other division, including permanent annual pairings, e.g. Notre Dame vs. Purdue, Michigan vs. Minnesota. Hoops would just be one division, like the Big East; play every team once except one main rival, twice.

Extremely unlikely to happen, but fun to think about (and debate).

01/26/2009 - 10:55pm It's academics first, believe it or not

100% correct. One reason why Penn State's entry into the Big Ten did not happen until 1993 was due to the CIC needing to approve their addition. No 12th school will ever enter our conference without being thoroughly vetted academically to meet the CIC's standards. The only school that is a 'gimme' for approval is Notre Dame, given its geography and academic rank -- hence the standing invitation to join the Big Ten that Delaney has tendered them.

Of the other schools mentioned thus far, Louisville absolutely does not fit; it's practically a commuter school. Miami U. (Ohio) has a better shot to join the Big 10 than Louisville. Syracuse, Pitt, and Rutgers are all similarly-ranked Tier 1 schools and could be an acceptable fit. Rutgers has the obviously huge appeal of bringing in the NY-metro market, though, which I think would give it the edge.

I also doubt the conference will do any expansion until Delaney is gone. Once that happens, I could see the Big 10 going to more than 12 teams. But without the 'Domers in the mix, I don't see how any expansion happens; the CIC just isn't gonna Sparty up the conference.

And a (snarky) point re Big Ten vs. ACC or Pac-10: As jmblue mentions, U-Chicago IS still a part of our conference, academically, via the CIC (and yes, that still matters). Now do the math about overall conference ranking (mean avg.); it changes a bit.

01/10/2009 - 9:42am A kindred spirit agrees

(also class of 1987) wholeheartedly! I despise the BCS -- one letter too many in the acronym (the C). And while I dislike what the bowls have morphed into, what I hate more is how the NCAA (ab)uses what they have become -- all the while crying that the "tradition" of the bowls is sacrosanct, and that this is why there can be no Div 1-A playoff. *Urp* -- I might just puke up my Metamucil.

While we were growing up in the 70s and 80s, the bowls -- the scant 25 or so of them there were -- did not have corporate-appended or corporate-only names. There was no Outback Bowl, no Bowl, no Bowl, no Capital One Bowl (it was the Tangerine Bowl originally, even before it was called the Citrus); they were simply the Rose, Orange, Cotton, Sugar, Gator, Peach, Fiesta, Liberty, Independence, Holiday, etc. Not only could you depend on the Rose, Orange, Cotton, and Sugar Bowls being played on New Year's Day, you could also rely on who was playing in them -- the conference ties were pretty solid. I liked that arrangement -- a lot.

My problem with the Bastardized Corporate Shilling system is that most of what were the "traditions" of the bowls is now largely gone -- the original conference bowl tie-ins; the dates that some games are played (the Rose NOT on New Year's Day? *wretch*) -- and "new" ones are now in place, including meaningless bowl games being played after New Year's, including gems like that International Bowl in CFB-happy Toronto (whu?), and the fact that a .500 team now gets rewarded with "post-season" play. That's all fine -- it is what it is -- but then I don't want to hear BCS proponents talk about how this system is maintaining the tradition of the bowls. That's gone. So shut up about it. Go ahead and play your 38 bowls, like the Chick-Fil-A Bowl with its two 7-5 teams, but if you want to tell me this is CFB tradition, there's the door.

My druthers would be this: either institute a real playoff system with 8 or 12 or 16 teams -- I don't really care how many, just figure it out; it's not rocket science -- and stop this hypocrisy that the NCAA is really just looking out for the student-athlete's best interests (a 12th game? Hello?), OR go back to a non-BCS bowl system with stable, consistent conference bowl tie-ins and NO fake-title game. If I can't have my Rose Bowl on New Year's Day between the Big 10 and Pac 10 champs, I don't want it at all. I'd rather see the stadium in Pasadena host a playoff game instead.

And if you damned kids TP my house again, I get my gun.

10/13/2008 - 2:29pm Reality check? Check.

Good post, Brian.  I've stopped reading the posts at for the reasons you cite:  just sick & tired of the vitriol-laced idiocy.  If any of those posters claim to be Michigan men, please stop.  Now.  You're not.

Bottom line is that in 21st-century college football, there is not much separating the top-level teams from the mediocre ones, talent-wise, except for ~5-10 play-makers.  On offense this season, we have total of maybe 3 play-makers -- 2 of whom are true freshmen:  Odoms, who was hurt and didn't play Saturday, Mathews, and MacGuffie.  Our O-line is incredibly young & inexperienced; they try hard, gosh-darn it, but they're just not that good (see Notre Dame, 2007).  Then our starting QB, such as he is, goes down to injury in the first half Saturday.  Where did that leave UM?  --Remember the black knight scene in Monte Python's Holy Grail?  On Saturday, we were that knight when he is minus two arms and one leg.  Obviously, you're not going to win many battles that way, even against bad MAC teams.

I'm not thrilled with the approach Shafer took with the D, but again, they only gave up 6 points.  I'm not unhappy with the effort I'm seeing, either.  RichRod wants everyone to be the hammer on the field, rather than the nail, but some of that comes from having confidence and experience in your role on the field, which is still very much a work in progress, as I see it.

This season is a rough one, no doubt.  Keep in mind that most of the guys on the field now will still be here in a couple years, with lots of experience & two more years of eeeeeee Barwis under their belts.  Things will turn around, so let's just suck it up this year and deal with it.

10/09/2008 - 12:41pm Yes, you CAN throw in the U of Chicago

Actually, U of Chicago is part of the Big Ten, academically speaking.  They are part of the Big Ten's academic consortium (meaning they participate in sharing library resources, professorial exchanges, etc.).  So, when talking about Big Ten academic superiority, and some buffoon begs to differ, point out that the Big Ten includes the U of Chicago. They simply chose not to compete athletically in the Big Ten anymore back ~ WWII (they're a Div. III school now, FWIW).

Re: rankings, I think some of it goes simply on reputation, and UM has an outstanding reputation internationally (UM draws in a lot of top-tier internat'l students, as you may have noticed).  I've lived and travelled all over the world the past 20 years, and I have yet to go ANYWHERE where the University of Michigan is not instantly recognized and respected.  Does that really mean we deserve to be #18?  If that's the perception of UM abroad, subjective as it is, then yes.