Monday, December 31, 2007
Went to the Alamo Bowl last night. Although I was with MANY Aggie supporters (it was essentially an A&M home game) I quietly rooted for Penn State and the Big 10.
I guess I was not the only Wolverine fan there. I captured this image from my seat. Note the "M" flag in the upper right hand corner.
That guy had it waving the entire game. It was pretty funny.
Friday, December 28, 2007
West Virginia's Board of Governors sued their former-slash-Michigan's new football coach Rich Rodriguez yesterday to collect the $4 million buyout in his old contract.
According to the lawsuit, the university believes R2 simply doesn't intend to pay up.
The AP story linked above states that the buyout clause requires Coach Rod to pay the $4 large (as in VERY large) to WVU over two years with one-third of the total due 30 days after his employment ends. Which means, since he resigned on December 19, he's got about three weeks to come up with a shitload of coin.
Another interesting tidbit is that the lawsuit claims that WVU officials were not aware of and did not consent to Rodriguez talking to Michigan about its head coaching vacancy.
Ok, I get WVU is pissed and thus wants to sue to get its $4M, but putting in that last part makes WVU look a tad like a bitter ex.
WVU: But you said you loved me! That I was your dream job!
RICH RODRIGUEZ: You were, but...I've changed. It's not you. It's me.
WVU: I did everything you ever wanted! I gave you the money for your assistants. And look at me - I just upgraded my athletic facilities for you!
RR: I'm sorry.
WVU (getting hysterical): We can work it out. Please. Just give me another chance. It can still work. I know it can! Please, Richard. Please.
RR: Don't do this to yourself. We had seven good years together. But it was time.
WVU picks up the Big East Championship trophy off a nearby table.
WVU: Doesn't this mean anything to you?
Rodriguez just looks down.
WVU: Doesn't it?
RR: I...I have to go.
WVU heaves the trophy at a nearby wall - CRASH! - smashing it to pieces.
WVU: Michigan will never love you the way I did! NEVER! DO YOU KNOW THAT! As soon as you have a three-loss season, she'll start looking around. For somebody else! And when you lose to Ohio State, that'll be it. She'll leave you! Then you'll know how I feel! YOU'LL KNOW!
Rodriguez turns to leave. But WVU won't stop...
WVU: Do you hear me, goddamnit! DO YOU?! And you were never any good in big games! Never! All those times I said how good you were, and gave you a contract extention - I WAS LYING! LYING! Because I knew your ego needed it. You lost to Pitt with the National Title on the line! PITT! Coached by Dave Wannstedt! DAVE FUCKING WANNSTEDT! HA! You call yourself a man?! You're a joke. A pathetic little--
The door slams.
WVU: You'll be back! Just wait! YOU'LL BE BACK!
But Rodriguez is long gone.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
So, what will each player do and, more importantly, what should they do?
With all the injuries to Chad Henne this season, the consensus #2 high school QB in the country last year (behind ND's Jimmah Clausen) got more playing time than even he could have imagined. However, the year turned out to be a mixed bag for Mallett.
After Michigan opened the season with two ugly defeats, Mallett started against the suck-ass Clausen-led Irish and brought home a victory that anybody probably could have brought home. The following week was even more impressive when Mallett helped the Wolverines up end 10th ranked Penn State. Suddenly, it looked like a QB controversy was brewing in the Big House.
Not so fast, my friend.
From that point on, it Mallett seemed to struggle the rest of the season. And I mean really struggle - like just taking the snap from center. Even worse, rumors swirled that there was an attitude problem.
WHAT WILL HE DO: Transfer. With Rodriguez in A2 and Terrelle Pryor - a Vince Young-esque dual threat QB and #1 recruit in the country now considering Michigan - Mallett sees the writing on the wall. However, since he does have the game experience - and if Pryor doesn't come to UM - Mallett could be the BMOC on a wide open attack if he sticks around.
WHAT HE SHOULD DO: Transfer. Even though he played in a shotgun-centered offense in high school, his lack of running ability will never make him The One in Rodriguez's eyes - and he knows it. Mentally that will be tough...coupled with the fact that Michigan will be only recruiting QBs in the VY mold, further making it obvious that, "Damn, we wish you weren't here." Plus, if the offense struggles, the fans - unfairly - will blame him for "slowing" Rich and his spread down. Sadly, this talented
Remember ND game in 2006? When Manningham seemed to explode onto the scene, going from mere talent to superstar? Since then, while he's put up some big games (MSU, anybody?), he doesn't seem to play at that top level each and every time he takes the field. He's also had some dropsies (OSU, folks?) and seems reluctant to lay his body out there or take the tough hits across the middle.
This season, Manningham was benched a game for violating team rules and seemed to run half-ass when the play wasn't to him. But man oh man, is that talent still there as evidenced in the MSU game.
WHAT WILL HE DO: Declare for the draft. Manningham has always struck me as the sort of guy who's playing for the M on his driver's license and not the one on his letterman's jacket. Furthermore, reading his quotes makes him sound like he's gone (Manningham said, "The decision I make will be based on this next game" which I frankly don't believe and, when you think about it, doesn't make sense in terms of what he should be basing his decision on).
WHAT SHOULD HE DO: Stay. He needs to prove he can produce week in and week out, as he'll need to do in the pros. One more year, especially in an offense where - while he might not see as many deep balls - he will see a lot of quick routes that will showcase his gamebreaking abilities. I also think a lot of scouts would like to see him take the tough hits and hang on to ball when it counts.
I always liked him. He's a hard worker who never got the pub of a Manningham, but his work ethic and attitude, in my opinion, will take him farther. The fourth-year junior was Michigan's second leading receiver (behind Manningham) and made the tough, non-glamorous, "keep the drive going" catches on a regular basis.
WHAT WILL HE DO: Declare for the draft. However, as mentioned in the News, if his position coach, Erik Campbell, is rehired by Rodriguez, I think the odds shift in favor of Arrington staying. I truly believe he is torn and is going to really go back and forth on what to do. Yet if Campbell doesn't come back, he's 100% gone.
WHAT SHOULD HE DO: Toss up. Arrington is never going to be a first round pick. That's not a slam, it's just the type of receiver he is. Yet such a possession receiver will always find a home on draft day. So, since he's not talking about the big money of passing up first round dollars, it comes down to how much Arrington is enjoying the college experience.
According to the Toledo Blade story linked above, a 90 year old man ran a stop sign and plowed into the SUV driven by Mealer's father. The SUV flipped, went off the road and landed on its roof.
Mealer is an offensive tackle from Wauseon, Ohio who committed to Michigan in April, although none of that really matters one damn bit right now.
My sincere thoughts and prayers go out to the Mealer family at this time of unimaginable grief.
Monday, December 24, 2007
PS I looked for a Michigan-themed Christmas vid on YouTube for this post and couldn't find squat. So for shits and giggles, I tried a Tosu search. And, well, let's just say Buckeye fans are a different breed...
Saturday, December 22, 2007
While that's certainly his prerogative, I thought for sure a couple of the assistants would be retained. But none? Not even to keep a little continuity? Wow (According to the Detroit News article linked above, O-Line coach Steve Stripling may be rehired).
A house cleaning such as this really drives home that the Bo-Mo'-Lloyd Era at Michigan is no more. I can only hope that's a good thing.
UPDATE: Fred Jackson is being retained. This is very good in terms of keeping Sam McGuffie.
"I really don't know what's going on," McGuffie told Rivals.com. "I haven't talked to coach Rodriguez yet or anything so I'm just kind of chilling and waiting to hear from him."
Yet while he waits, it seems others aren't. McGuffie has apparently been contacted by new A&M coach Mike Sherman and UCLA - even though they don't even have a coach yet!
Uh, Rich, please put this at the top of your "to do" list. Stat.
Friday, December 21, 2007
I am a CPA and a tax lawyer as well as a football fan. RR has a famous $4,000,000 buy-out in his West by God Virginia contract. It is rumored that UM will directly or indirectly pay this.
This brings up what tax professionals call: "Phantom Income". Money he will have to pay taxes on that he never gets.
If anyone other that RR pays it, RR will owe income taxes on the $4,000,000. In his bracket, that going to hit at 45% to 50% including state and local tax. So that $1,800,000 to $2,000,000 in AFTER TAX cash that he will need to come up with. If UM pays it or it is paid on UM's behalf, he and UM will also have to pay 1.45% Medicare taxes.
Even if WBGV agrees to just drop it, it is "forgiveness of indebtedness" and he will be liable for the taxes on the money.
RR is making money that most people have difficulty imagining and has probably put a nice chunk aside by now (he has had little opportunity to spend much in Morgantown -- how much can a double-wide cost? and Bentley doesn't make a pick-up.) but after paying his taxes in 2008, he will probably have -0- take home pay.
Lots of times, phantom income gets ignored because the IRS doesn't learn of it. But RR's phantom income has got a lot of media attention and there are probably some Mount Near (to use their pronunciation) fans in Compliance and Audit that hold a bit of grudge against Rich.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Basically, if we're going by Gut Feeling 101 - I liked him. A lot. How could you not after watching that?
Welcome to A2, Coach. Best of luck. I'll be cheering my ass off for you next season.
"There was some information on ESPN that Rich Rodriguez has been named the new coach at Michigan and I think it's imperative that I straighten something out. Just because Rodriguez was hired, their reverse psychology ploy to really try to get me won't work. I'm the head coach at LSU, I will be the head coach at LSU and I have no interest in talking to anyone else about why I still have wet dreams about my days in Ann Arbor," said Miles who had been frothing at the mouth until he uttered the words "Ann Arbor," which caused his eyes to mist over.
Dabbing at them with a maize and blue hanky he pulled from his pocket, Miles continued, "I'm only excited about the opportunity of my damn strong football team to play Ohio State in a few weeks for the Big Ten championsh-- the BCS championship. It's unfortunate I had to address the Wolv-- my team with this information. With that being done, we'll be ready to play. There will be no questions for me. I represent me in this issue. Please ask me after. I'm busy. Thank you very much and have a go blu-- a great day."
Unable to stem the waterworks, Miles then stormed off the stage and scheduled another denial press conference tomorrow.
In a related story, Brady Hoke's interview for the Michigan job has been picked up for use in a future episode of NBC's Bloopers, Bleepers and Practical Jokes.
Monday, December 17, 2007
From the depths of despair for many Michigan fans as the Wolverine coaching searched dragged on almost four whole weeks (which is equivalent to 8.3 years in today's Internet-fueled sports world) to the heights of ecstasy as U-M landed a coach who apparently believes the quarterback is allowed to stray outside the pocket by more than 4 feet (and not just to take a sack).
So, is it a great hire?
It's too early to tell. Just as it would have been impossible 48 hours after the fact to tell if the hiring of Mike DeBord would have been the first sign of the Football Apocalypse. We won't know how good this hire is until about three years down the road.
'Bama fans nearly wept with joy after their school lured Nick Saban to Tuscaloosa. But after a 6-6 season, including a loss to Louisiana-Monroe, now they might just be weeping, period. Pete Carroll was USC's 38th choice when he was hired to coach the Trojans. Southern Cal fans wanted the AD run out of town for picking some failed NFL coach to lead them. The end was near - the end of being average as Carroll returned the team to new found glory. And after Bo Schembechler was hired way back when, the headline of the Detroit Free Press screamed, "Bo Who?" Gee, I didn't know Drew Sharpe was that old.
So while we can be excited, whether or not it was great is yet to be determined.
I will say that our offense is going to be like nothing you've ever seen in A2 before (unless you're talking about Oregon, Syracuse, Appalachian State or any of the other spread offenses that have shredded the Wolverines in recent years). The only problem is, do we have the personnel to run it next season? If Rodriguez tries to reinvent the wheel too soon, well, talk to Husker fans about that one.
I will say that I like the hire better than Miles (who, hopefully, will stop holding press conferences now). From all I've heard, he's a great guy and a good coach. My one nagging concern is his record in big games, which is the main issue many folks had with Carr the last couple of years. West Virginia usually played a non-conference schedule that would make the K-State non-con cupcakes from the Bill Snyder era look like murder's row. Then they duked it out in the still-a-bball-league Big East. Yet they still managed to struggle in key or big games.
This season, the best team from a ranking standpoint they played was 18th ranked South Florida. They lost. They only had to beat 28 point dog Pitt - coached by Dave "Has he EVER had a winning record?" Wannstedt - at home to reach the BCS title game. They lost. Yeah, I know Pat White was hurt. But they were playing 28 point dog Pitt at home - a team coached by Dave Wannstedt! WVU's big wins this season were over Cinci and UConn (yes, in football).
And there are some nagging questions about his defenses. While known for his offenses, stout defense, a Michigan staple (except against teams coached by guys running offenses like Rodriquez), weren't his forte.
So, while I'm optimistic, I'm also realistic. Coach Rod, as he is known, has my full support (except for his nickname. He sounds like a porn star). I sincerely hope this is the genius hire the "sky is falling" crowd thinks it is (who apprently thought Michigan AD Bill Martin was going to pick a name out of a hat containing only Pop Warner youth league coaches once Les Miles didn't work out). Whatever happens, it's going to be fun as hell to watch.
Now only time will tell if that fun translates into something much, much bigger.
MZONE: Ryan, what do you think of Michigan bringing in Rich Rodriguez and his spread offense?
MALLETT: Fuck cocksucking sonofafuckingbitch ratballs fuckknuckle assfuck shit motherfucker cockstain anal beads fuck cockshit hairyballnuts fuck piss shit fuck fartsucker cum jabber dick fuck me with a spoon ball farts ass wiper munching piss fuck taint grabber whore fucker asshole shit licker fuck fuck FUUUUUUUUUCK--!!!!
MZONE: Hello? Ryan? Are you still there? Ryan?
Friday, December 14, 2007
Well, lot's to write about this in the upcoming week. But must go try to find the press conference on TV.
Since poor Bobby Petrino's post is getting plastered with comments on the possibility that U-M might swipe it's second WVU coach in as many years, wanted to open up this thread to track thoughts on the Rich Rodriguez rumor.
But in the hysteria now swirling in some quarters surrounding the search, did any of those folks stop to consider if they really want a guy like this at Michigan?
In case you haven't heard, Petrino up and quit in the midst of his first season as the head coach of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons in order to take over the top spot at Arkansas. Classy guy that he is, he did so without even telling his team face-to-face.
According to the USA TODAY article linked above...
"The Falcons watched him on television the previous night, yukking it up at a giddy, late-night news conference in Arkansas, then showed up at their lockers to find a 78-word letter from their ex-coach, whose tenure in the NFL lasted all of 13 games."
Seventy-eight words? Good God! Les Miles issues longer statements on a daily basis saying he's really, really, really not interested in Michigan. And if you doubt him, he'll tell you again tomorrow. But I digress as there's more to the Petrino story...
"Falcons owner Arthur Blank sounded as though he had just been stabbed in the back. He got a call late last week from Dallas owner Jerry Jones, an Arkansas alumnus, to say the school was interested in talking to Petrino about its coaching vacancy.
Blank said he told Jones the Falcons had no intention of letting the Razorbacks speak with their coach, and general manager Rich McKay confirmed that position in follow-up calls with Jones.
That was followed by a series of meetings over the weekend in which Petrino laid out some areas of concern, and the Falcons thought they had addressed them all. In fact, Blank said he met again with the coach on Monday, just hours before Atlanta's 34-14 loss to the New Orleans Saints, to make sure he wasn't planning to leave.
"He stood up, we shook hands and he said, 'You have a head coach,' " Blank said.
Twenty-four hours later, Petrino submitted his resignation, hopped on a plane to Arkansas and signed a deal as Razorbacks coach."
Now, some people make fun of Michigan's "old school" request that our football coach have something called integrity. They mock U-M's antiquated expectation of a coach with character. How quaint. It's 2007, just win, damnit!
But I don't want the Bobby Petrino's of the world roaming Michigan's sidelines. I want a guy who's not constantly checking his cellphone to see if his agent called with a better deal. I want a guy who's excited to coach in Ann Arbor, not simply excited because he was able to get a bigger paycheck.
Am I naive? Maybe. Arrogant? No. I simply believe there are still some ingredients in a coach that are just as important as knowing about X's and O's.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
BATON ROUGE -- LSU football coach Les Miles issued the following statement on Tuesday regarding the conversation he had with Michigan last week:
“I had a conversation with Michigan last week that covered a wide range of topics. I was doing nothing more than helping them with their search for a football coach, just as any loyal alumnus might do. It was nothing more than that.
“I’m not a candidate for that job and I will not be a candidate for the job. I was only assisting them in their search for a coach. I have a great job at a wonderful place, a place that my family calls home. It’s time that Michigan goes on with their search for a football coach. I’ll say it again, I’m going to be the coach at LSU next season.”
Oh brother. Is anybody buying this?
"I was doing nothing more than helping them with their search for a football coach, just as any loyal alumnus might do. It was nothing more than that."
Somebody doth protest too much (and hold way too many press conferences and issue way too many press statements for something he's not interested in).
Is it just me or is Les starting to sound like a guy who just got caught by his new girlfriend hanging out with his old girlfriend?
"What's the big deal, LSU? We were just talking. I swear. Michigan and I are just friends. That's it. She just needed some dating advice. She's going through a rough time right now. Remember I told you about that Greg guy who blew her off? What a dick. So I was just, you know, helping her find somebody else. Like any old boyfriend would do. As a friend. A platonic friend. And that's it. I swear. Just friends. Because I don't even like her anymore. I love you, LSU. Only you. Honest."
Gee, can't wait for his next press conference which should be in, oh, about five or six minutes.
UPDATE: I hate when facts get in the way but...these are two different women. The top is a UF student who is apparently not Tim Tebow's girlfriend and the bottom picture is of a British model. God save the Queen? Forget the Queen, save this girl! Wow.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
But why are they so worried? I thought anybody could do it.
I mean, wasn't that the knock on Lloyd? That with the talent the Wolverines always had, the weak Big Ten, the melting of the polar ice caps and really cool helmets, any sap who ever watched Madden Football on an XBox could lead the maize and blue to just five Big Ten titles and one national title in 13 years. Anybody.
So what does it matter who we get, as long as it's not someone on Lloyd's staff, right? I mean, if fucking Lloyd Carr - you know, Lllloyd - can never have a losing season, why are Michigan fans losing sleep. The good news is, whoever we get, it'll be ABC - Anybody But Carr. Good Christ, don't these people understand that simply by being ABC, we're guaranteed 9 wins next season?
So why all the sky is falling articles in the Detroit papers and panic on the Michigan websites? Just replace Carr and get on with it. The hard part is over. Sheesh. Any idiot can take it from here.
I was only vaguely aware of his blossoming campus reputation as a poker player, but I could tell he was a shrewd sports bettor. Early one college football season (probably 1970) he advised me to bet heavily on Ohio State in the Michigan game that would take place many weeks later. Michigan had defeated Ohio State the year before, ending a long OSU winning streak, and was widely considered the nation's best team. Chip told me that his grandfather was a friend of Woody Hayes (Ohio State's legendary coach) and that Hayes been gunning for Michigan since the end of the previous year's upset defeat. Hayes had privately expressed confidence that his Buckeyes would beat the Wolverines. Ohio State won the game, Chip made a ton of money, and I won a few bucks.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Thanks for reading,
BEST OF THE WORST COLLEGE FOOTBALL BLOGS
This is the first in an occasional series on the M Zone where we highlight the Best of the Worst College Football Blogs the Web has to offer. We start with a classic.
It's April, 2005. You're such a big college football fan, you can't wait for the fall to start your college football blog. It must be started now. Today. In the spring. You simply have too much to say before September rolls around.
So, you adopt the moniker PoDunkU and try to think of a name for your blog. And think and think and think, you do. Because the name is key. Without a good name, people won't be enticed to show up, read and comment. So you think some more and come up with a beauty. But it's so good, you figure it must be long gone. Some other college football fan surely must have snared it long before your April 2005 foray into the blogosphere. Slowly you type your name choice into Blogger and - Holy shit! - it worked! You somehow, someway got it: College Football Fanatics. Beware Deadspin. Look out Every Day Should Be Saturday. With a name like this, cyberfame, glory and a million hits a day are just around the corner.
In a state of euphoria and on a creative roll, you come up with another dandy for your sub-headline: All Football all the time! Which only makes sense. I mean, you're a college football fanatic, for cryin' out loud. There aren't enough hours in the day for all the football all the time that you're going to be blogging about.
College Football Fanatics: All Football all the time!
Wait. Something's not right. Something's...off. But what? Then it hits you like a Woody Hayes sucker punch in the Gator Bowl: the exclamation point after your sub-headline. Just one? No. You need two. No, fuck that. Three. Three exclamation points. Anything less and you wouldn't be a college football fanatic, would you now?
College Football Fanatics: All Football all the time!!!
There. Now it was perfect. Like Captain and Tennille, the two to be forever joined as one.
With your sweet name now safely secured, you sit down to write your first entry. The date, April 8, 2005. Even writing that first entry, you just know someday folks will look back on this day the same way Silicon Valley looks back on the moment Google came online. It will be like the day Hewlett and Packard cleaned the shit out of their garage to start HP. It will be like the time MicroSoft first illegally put another company out of business using its monopoly. Yes, April 8, 2005. A date which would live in blog - dare you say sports? - history.
You decide to start small at CollegeFootballFantatics.blogspot.com. No big or multiple posts. Not on the first day. Just a quick simple blurb talking about the 2005 Florida Gators. Your team. By the time the 10,000th visitor stops by on day two, then you'll really begin cranking out the posts. They will spew forth like water over Niagara Falls, flowing from your magical keyboard unabated. Remember, we're talking "All football all time time!!!"
And thus, with this screenshot below, capturing the moment for all to see, a shining star of the Internet was born. College Football Fanatics was here. And sports fans everywhere rejoiced saying, "PoDunkU, lo' thy name is genius!"
But, sadly, it was not to be. After that single solitary post of pure, unadulterated brilliance, PoDunkU packed up his laptop and disappeared into the cyber ether. Never to post on College Football Fanatics again.
Some speculate, like Orson Wells after CITIZEN KANE, his genius spent on that first post, PoDunkU had nothing left to give. But what he did give reverberates to this day, almost a year later.
"Hey, I'd be lying if I said CollegeFootball Fanatics wasn't the inspiration for our site," said M Zone founder Yost. "What we try to do - and fail most days - is live up to the bar PoDunkU set. But it's tough. His site, even though it was only one post, was like that first Hootie and the Blowfish CD: Flawless. So how do you follow up perfect? You don't. At least I guess that's what PoDunkU thought."
Thus, with the great name, the brilliant sub-headline and the most auspicious debut since TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, CollegeFootballFanatics...All Football all the time!!! was no more. But the memory, oh the sweet memory, lives on to this day. A memory and also a burden. A burden of expectations. Which all of us who write about college football and put up pictures of semi-naked ASU cheerleaders try to live up to each and every time we post.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
However, I couldn't disagree with him more regarding the current U-M coaching search.
Over the last couple of the days as The Les Miles Incident played out, Brian has been near apocalyptic in his assessment of Michigan's actions - or inaction - with regards to "losing" Miles, calling what happened - or didn't happen - a "fiasco" and a "colossal screwup by Bill Martin, aided by Lloyd Carr."
I know we bloggers are in the business of hyperbole, but Brian's remarks constitute the biggest overreaction and misrepresentation in the history of recorded human existence.
Look, I'm no fan of Bill Martin, but the only thing he's guilty of is keeping his word and not contacting Miles before he said he would. I know, shocking. Keeping one's word and ethical conduct in a coaching search are so...old school. Of course the conspiracy theorists (aka Miles backers) see some Machiavellian motive in this. I guess nothing will change that opinion. I however prefer a school that follows rules and a man's word is man's word.
Bri also had a problem with Martin not having already interviewed Miles face-to-face long before Carr retired and, short of that, suggested Martin should have simply talked to him on the phone...
"How do you not have an extended one-on-one interview with the man obviously most qualified for the job at this point? Michigan has known Carr was retiring since September, and Martin knows literally dozens of Miles' friends. Hell, John Wangler is his BFF. Call Wangler into your office, have him call Miles, and have a goddamn interview on the phone. There is no excuse for failing to hammer out whatever potential differences existed months ago. All this interview stuff is purely for show if we are operating under the assumption Martin has an IQ above 60."
Again, love and respect Brian, totally disagree.
You don't have an interview like that because word would get out. In this day and age? Such a meeting would have been all over every college football blog in by the time the check dropped (except this blog as we'd have been asleep at the wheel posting nudie pix).
And I'm sorry, but I don't care if Vince Lombardi himself comes back from the dead - you have a face-to-face meeting with him. Period. Just imagine if U-M hired Miles and it didn't work out. People would be going ape-shit if they found out that a school which hires coaches once a generation didn't even sit down to talk about things before hiring only its 4th coach since the Johnson Administration.
Finally, to blame Carr in any way, shape or form in this is ludicrous. If he's has shown anything in all his years at Michigan, it's that he's a man of integrity. If he wasn't, he'd be telling the whole world and every ESPN host what his beef was with Miles. Yeah, he obviously has a problem with him, but he hasn't said a word publicly.
Just what is that problem? We don't know.
Outside the same sort of unfounded rumors and innuendo surrounding the coaching search to date, nobody knows for sure just what the problem is that Carr has with Miles. Maybe, just maybe, it's legit. Yet we - the Internet echo chamber - will never know for sure because Carr will never tell.
So no matter what Carr's dislike is based on, he has it and thus isn't going to support or back a person he doesn't believe in. Watch his retirement press conference again and tell me if this is a man who would purposely screw up a great thing for his beloved Michigan just to "get back" at someone he has a personal beef with. Hell no.
Thus, should Carr fake his opinion to appease others, even if he disagrees or it goes against what he believes? Hell no. And to ask - or expect - that from him would be both wrong and unfair.
USC didn't get their first choice (or second or third) last time they went looking for a coach and it worked out okay. And if you recall, Tressel wasn't exactly the top choice in Columbus yet that hasn't sucked for them. So let's all just take a deep breath and let this thing play out. It's okay. Everybody step away from the ledge.
P.S. Bri, I still hope this means I get to vote in the Blogpoll.
UPDATE: Due to some comments received, I sincerely hope readers realize this isn't intended as a bash at Brian or MGoBlog in the least. I simply disagree with his POV on this subject. I would hope people understand that one can have a difference of opinion and still like, respect and admire the person holding another viewpoint.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
But in the immortal words of Lee Corso - not so fast, my friend.
That 6-1 is the ranking of those teams when LSU played them, not a team's ranking at the end of the season. Meaning, to "credit" a team for such a stat is highly misleading.
Two of LSU's six "ranked" victories are against 6-6 South Carolina and 6-6 'Bama. Should anybody really be including a squeaker victory over a Crimson Tide squad that lost to Louisiana-Monroe and a 'Cock squad that lost its final five games as marquee wins?
On the flip side, the Tiger loss to "unranked" (at the time) Arkansas, which climbed back into the rankings after beating LSU to end their season, doesn't look the same anymore either.
Thus, while 6-1 sounds great when trying to a make a case for a team at the end of a season, it's bogus as hell.
Looking at some other schools, should USC get credit for being "3-1" versus ranked teams when two of those "ranked" teams turned out to simply be rank: 5-7 Nebraska and 6-6 Cal, loser of six of its last seven games?
On the flip side, Mizzou, poor astro-fucked Mizzou that got hosed out of a BCS game, should get some love for beating an Illinois team that turned out to be damn good. They shouldn't be punished just because a bunch of overweight pollsters thought - in the middle of summer - that the Illini would suck come fall and the team was thus unranked when the Tigers played them to start the season.
I could go on, but you get the point. This is just one of those "stats" that has always bugged the hell out of me. Especially when it's used at the end of the season to justify one team's inclusion in this or that bowl game. Once the season is over, you have to take a better look at the body of work out there, not continue to base the shit on incomplete info.
Then again, what else can you expect from a sport that uses this craziness to crown its champ to begin with?
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
When I read that line in his draft before posting that night, I thought he was so full of shit, that OSU making it to the title game after losing its second-to-last game at home, was such a long shot and such a crazy thing to even bring up, I deleted it from the final post.
As a result, the CFB Gods have smited me for questioning the Great Benny Friedman by making his horrible vision of a Buckeye title run come true. Damn them! I will never doubt his magic prognostication powers again.
Ed. Note: For a small fee, Benny is available to pick Lotto numbers, locate missing pets and predicate the next time Les Miles will blow a gasket on national TV.
I know, they'll be even more insufferable than ever if they win, but the fact is, it's actually worse for Michigan if they lose.
It really is.
The Big 10 is still reeling from the losses suffered by U-M and OSU in last season's BCS games. Yeah, I know Michigan's nosedives against Appy State and Oregon didn't help, but the Big 10 had already been branded as barely a step up from a junior high touch football league as a result of the previous January's bowl games.
That's why Michigan fans, as painful as it is, should be pulling for OSU come January 7th.
And for all those folks getting ready to post their "You don't know anything about rivalries!" comments? Save it. I do. Trust me. But I also understand big picture thinking.
Look, an Ohio State loss isn't going to make Michigan better. It isn't going to suddenly erase the pain of our recent bowl stumbles and losses to the Bucks. Hell, we're going to be hearing about those November losses until we do something about them.
But a Buckeye victory - and a Michigan victory against Florida - would go a long way toward shutting up the rest of the country. Enough is enough. It's time for the Big 10 - which includes OSU - to step up and reclaim its rightful place among college football's elite.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Like Ohio State's chance at redemption a few days later in the BCS title game, the game against the Gators is an opportunity for Michigan not only to salvage its 2007 season but a chance to prove that the Mighty Gators - and by extention, the SEC - aren't.
This second tier bowl featuring an unranked 8-4 Michigan squad is a statement game. Make no mistake about it.
A spanking by Florida will not only erode the perception of U-M's football fortunes in the eyes of the Maize and Blue faithful, but such a loss would go a long way in solidifying the view among college football fans around the country that Michigan, while the winningest program of all time, simply isn't among the nation's elite when talking football as it's played in 2007.
So get ready, team. Practice hard. And play like the former UT Invitation means something.
Because it does.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
The histrionics on display last weekend, when he "angrily" said he was staying at LSU right before the SEC championship game, was a load of crap. If Miles was so concerned about his team and such a distraction, why didn't Les call a quickie press conference the day after Lloyd retired and state unequivocally that he was staying at LSU? Would have saved poor Les a lot of stress from the bad, evil rumor people.
But he didn't. Because he was interested. He himself invited the circus and played people.
So spare us all the forced indignation, Lester.
Mitch Albom put it best in his excellent column, Les Miles was the wrong coach for a great job. Talking about the Tiger coach's press conference, Albom writes:
"Right. Stop. So long, Les. We've put up with a lot of baloney this past week in the Michigan coaching search. But getting belligerent about a process he encouraged, he invited -- and he ultimately parlayed into a jackpot? Sorry. Not swallowing that meatball."
But nice (over) acting job. You almost looked like you believed it because you said it really, really loud.
Some people will point to what happened Saturday as exactly the reason why we need a CFB playoff. But I think such losses are a stronger argument to leave things alone.
Seriously, would any of us with a life have been watching WVU vs. 4-7 Pitt if there was a 16 team playoff? Hell no. The loss would have simply meant that instead of being a top 2 seed, the Mountaineers would be, oh, an 8 seed or so. Ho hum.
Instead, West Virginia's season came down to a 4th down call with under four minutes left. And I was glued to the set.
Same with the Oklahoma game. The entire college football loving world was also checking out that game to see if another BCS slot opened up.
Is it perfect? Hell no, as Michigan found out last year. But it sure as hell is exciting.
So who should face OSU in the title game? Personally, I'd love to see OSU play LSU and - believe it or not - I hope OSU kicks their ass. Bad. Real bad. For the Big 10...and for a couple other reasons many U-M fans can probably figure out.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
As noted by several of our readers, U-M officially posted the job opening for its head coach (which it's required to do as a public university)...
View Job Detail
Job ID: 13431
Job Title: HEAD FOOTBALL COACH
Job/Career Family: Athletics
Country: United States of America
City: Ann Arbor
Job Type: Regular
Full Time: Yes
Date Posted: Nov 26 2007
Salary Frequency: Annual
Job Description and Responsibilities: Market Title: Head Football Coach
Salary Range: To be Determined
The University of Michigan invites applications for the position of Head Football Coach. This position entails the leadership of all phases of the Football program. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to; coaching, the recruitment of qualified student-athletes, support of the academic progress of student-athletes, budget management, and community relations.
Job Requirements: Minimum qualifications: Bachelor’s degree required. A thorough knowledge of NCAA rules and regulations is required.
Preferred qualifications: Graduate degree. Previous collegiate head coaching experience.
Whetstone? T9? Katie? Polish those resumes!
I was going to throw my hat in the ring, but in reading the posting I noticed under "Shift" that the job required some work on weekends and that blew if for me.
P.S. I wonder if Lloyd wants to punch the guy who wrote this: "Forty hours a week?! Are you out of your fucking mind?! If it was only 40 hours a week, I would have stayed, assface!"
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
But, alas, MZone reader DS steps into the void with the picture below. As he stated in his email...
"Well, if we do get Les Miles I hope he brings with him some "unpredictability" and "surprise" like in the picture."
Amen, DS. Amen.
UPDATE: Turns out the pic above comes from Poon of the SEC. Always want to give props to original source. So...props. Big props (and yes, I do realize the collective jaws of our entire female readership just hit their keyboards: "Did that say 'poon?'").
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I would have been very surprised if it was true, not so much due to the choice itself, but rather what that would have said about how the search was conducted. To simply go out and grab somebody without going through the process - somebody who clearly isn't the commodity of say, Urban Meyer when he left Utah a few years ago - would have been foolish.
Now, our blogging brother-in-arms, Brian at MGoBlog, has been all over the Ferentz rumor - even following a mysterious flight from Willow Run to Cedar Rapids yesterday. But while I think Brian is probably one of the most well-informed bloggers out there (he was the first to break the story about Lloyd stepping down) I still think it's a case of the Internet grapevine here. At least that's my opinion. My uninformed-I-put-up-pix-of-semi-naked-coeds opinion.
I think this search may take a bit. So sit back, relax and get ready for the next whopper to drop into your inbox.
P.S. You know, just to show how dangerous a few fans can be, we should all agree on a name - I dunno, say...Bob Stoops - then hit all the message boards with some serious post about how we "just read this on an Oklahoma board" or something credible-sounding to see if we can get it started.
P.P.S. If Ferentz is hired today, mock away, folks. Mock away. I'll deserve it.
I can Photoshop a perfectly normal picture of some random guy into a mocking picture of an alleged Spartan fan. I can piss off half the Buckeye blogosphere with a few keystrokes. Hell, I can sometimes even get get Benny to post more than one fucking post a week during the season while I bust my nuts working on this site 24/7.
But, alas, whatever God gave you in the package department, I can't help you improve on that. I feel I must mention this fact after receiving the following email....
Just an FYI - I received some spam today from "yost" (lower case y about growing my penis size. I didn't want to click on the message, so I have no idea what the actual e-mail address was. It would be incredibly odd that the spammer somehow know that you and I corresponded and since the Y is lower-case, I'm pretty sure they haven't hijacked your account. But I thought (a) you might want to see if this is happening with other folks you know and maybe (b) somehow talk about it in your blog.
Hope all is well!
No, while being a mighty blogger has given me untold powers beyond my wildest imagination (like the ability to impress the ladies with the mere mention of my blogging activities), I am - at this juncture in time - unable to improve the sexual functioning of our readers.
This magical site has only been around two years. And I'm sure Blogger is coming out with another update in the near future. So you just never know. You just never know.
Monday, November 26, 2007
At some point, I should just shake my head and laugh at the "annoyance journalism" of Drew Sharp, "columns" in which the only purpose behind their writing is to sit back and revel in how upset he can make the targets of his attacks (and they are attacks, make no mistake about it). I guess I keep reading and posting about it in the silly hope that somebody at the Detroit Free Press will finally wake up regarding the intellectual dishonesty of his pieces (of...).
Drew's latest piece (of...) is entitled "Michigan isn't a top 10 program nationally." The piece (of...) deals with Michigan's coaching search and the attractiveness of the job.
Now, that very title was solely picked to poke. Plain and simple. You can argue my response is a "homer" one since this is a Michigan blog, fair enough. Take me out of it. But Urban Meyer, Steve Spurrier, Phil Fulmer, the ESPN crew and every other coach and pundit writing about the U-M coaching vacancy have called it one of the premiere jobs in the country.
Which is exactly why Sharp wrote his piece (of...).
Sharp can't bag on our season or our coach anymore. The season is over, the coach moved on. And the focus of the media has been on this wonderful coaching opportunity that has opened up to outsiders for the first time in 40 years. So what does he do? Take something that everybody is taking about in a positive light, tear at that, then sit back and watch the response.
And it's annoying because I always assumed the Free Press was supposed to be a step up from a "lowly" blog. Or so I thought. But I see much more honest reportage and stories coming out of the blogosphere on a daily basis.
According to Sharp's expertise, there are five principle factors in determining a program's reputation: Institutional support, quality of resources, natural recruiting base, competitive coaching salaries, historical pedigree. The only one Sharp "gives" Michigan top 10 credit for is historical pedigree.
He dings Michigan for its lack of a "natural" recruiting base which he defines as the recruiting base within a 3 hour drive of a school's campus. Never mind that teams like Michigan recruit nationally, regularly having a top 10 class.
He says Michigan has no institutional support because the school is only now adding luxury boxes to bring in "much needed" revenue. As if such suites are the measuring stick of program's "institutional support." Oh, and never mind that they increased seating capacity to 107,501 in the last 10 years or so. Or that with such a seating capacity - in the LARGEST stadium that is ALWAYS sold out - Michigan has been in no way, shape or form in dire need of such boxes. And don't bother to mention the seat licensing fees which were instituted in the last five years to bring in such revenue on a more stadium-wide basis. But hey, if Sharp mentioned all that, he might have to take a more honest look in his "reporting."
In his piece (of...), Sharp ties, blends and intertwines his Quality of Resources category into the institutional support slam, knocking Michigan for just now starting to build a new indoor practice facility. Uh, wasn't Michigan the first team in the country to even have an indoor facility? Correct me if I'm wrong, but that facility was built in the 80s. Are they supposed to build a brand new one every 10 years? It's time, now they're building one. End of story.
Finally, and most laughably, he says Michigan isn't competitive with its football coaching salary. This could be the most intellectually dishonest piece of crap in his entire piece of shit article. Lloyd Carr's salary is $1.5M a year. A ton for you and me, but not on the level of the standard $2M coaching salaries at the big programs. Yes, that's true.
But - and it's a huge "but" - what assclown fails to mention is that the reason Michigan "only" pays out $1.5 for its coach is, first and foremost, Lloyd Carr isn't a money grubbing whore. If even non-Michigan fans learned anything about the man over the course of his tenure and during his press conference last week, it's that money wasn't/isn't important to Carr in the way it is to, oh, say, I dunno, let me throw out a name...Nick Saban.
You think Carr could have left Michigan after winning the national title in '97 for a huge raise? Or used the the leverage of being the 7th winningest coach in the country during his head coaching career to constantly renegotiate like so many coaches do? Yes he could have, but no he didn't.
Furthermore, had Carr left, say, four or five years ago, guess what? The new coach's salary, if he would have come from outside the program, would be up in the level of the Stoops, Carrolls and Browns of the coaching world. Yet Sharp instead uses the class of Carr and the unique longevity of head coaches at Michigan as a "strike" against the program.
Seriously, if you're a sports editor at the Free Press, how do you print this crap with a straight face?
UPDATE: Just saw this dick article regarding Les Miles possibly coming to A2 that doesn't even constitute a column. It's all of four paragraphs long, with two of those being a sentence each. No, this "column" was written in the wake of LSU's loss to Arkansas for the sole purpose of these
"If LSU loses in the SEC championship game next week, doesn't Les Miles then become the prototypical Michigan coaching candidate?
He would have lost his last two games since the job became available. Sounds like a seamless transition from the Lloyd Carr era."
Folks, what I just posted above is half the article! HALF! I say again, is this the Detroit Free Press or a blog run by a fan of some Michigan rival? Seriously.
But in the immortal words of Lee Corso: Not so fast, my friend.
If you watched the LSU/Arkansas game, you saw exhibit 1A on why I don't think Miles is the best choice for U-M. Fact is, there was simply some boneheaded coaching by LSU's top Tiger down the stretch.
For example, on 4th and 2 at around midfield with just over two minutes left, Miles had his QB fake a run to the right then throw back across the field for a screen. This play took forever to develop and if not for a missed tackle by a Razorback player, the game would have been over before the OT excitement.
Then, as LSU neared the Arkansas redzone, Miles called two quick timeouts with over a minute left which made NO sense whatsoever. The game is going to end (or should) one way or another on this drive. As the announcers even stated, the only thing Miles quick timeout calls did was give Arkansas almost a full minute to get in position to attempt a game winning FG in regulation.
Dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
This is also the coach whose last gasp, game-winning TD against Auburn - in which he almost burned out the clock with a timeout to spare and in position for a game-winning FG - was lucky not brilliant.
And don't forget the meltdown by a mediocre-at-best Tide team that allowed Miles and his Tigers to escape with a victory against 'Bama.
Also, while many in favor of a Miles hire point to his brass ones after he went for it on something like 84 consecutive fourth downs earlier this year against Florida, don't be fooled. As the Auburn play clearly illustrates, there's a big difference between gutsy play calling and bullheaded bravado. And I'm afraid Miles falls into the later category.
Throw in his head-scratching, why-even-say-those-comments regarding USC and the Pac-10 before the season began - comments about a team and a conference he doesn't even play and such factors begin to add up - add up to a man that I don't think is the best fit for Michigan.
And I'm not even including the rumored issues from the recruiting trail that allegedly upset Carr.
So while I won't go so far as to say the emperor has no clothes, I will say I'm not so sure he's wearing much more than an ill-fitting purple and gold toga and some socks.
Be careful what you wish for, Wolverine Nation. Be careful what you wish for.
Folks, that's one of the funnier things I heard over the Thanksgiving holiday.
You mean the guy who bad mouthed the U-M program earlier this year isn't going to be our coach?
Boy, there's a fucking shocker. Thanks for clearing that up for everybody, Jimbo. I would have sworn Michigan athletic director Bill Martin was on his way to Palo Alto with a suitcase full of cash in an attempt to woo you to Ann Arbor.
In a related story, the Tooth Fairy, Mandy Moore, Drew Sharp and MZone reader Srudoff have also removed themselves from consideration.
P.S. Nice loss to ND, Jim. Oh, and if you change your mind about the coaching thing, don't call us, we'll call you.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
End of Another Era at Michigan
Lloyd's coaching career wasn't the only thing that came to an end this week...
Today is the day the stadium renovation preparations begin. I work
next door to the stadium and saw that Keech Street is being blocked
off and that part of the parking lot is permanently cordoned off for
material storage and worker parking.
Today is somewhat the first day of the next era at Michigan w/ Lloyd
announcing retirement and the renovations beginning. I was thinking
this would be the perfect topic for a post. If you'd like, I can try
and send useful pictures of the ongoing construction.
Please send the pix and keep us updated, Dave. I was initially opposed to the renovations but I think I've changed my mind and look forward to the new Big (Hopefully Louder) House.
(Picture HT: MDen)
Fair commerce, fair weather or worse?
One great thing about being a longtime season ticket holder is the sense of community that develops over the years with other lifelong Wolverines in your section. After awhile, they're not strangers, they're family. But not for MZone reader Bill...
First of all I would like to say that I thoroughly enjoy your site and have turned on many of my Michigan buddies and they also enjoy it. However I do have a question. Do you know who I might be able to get a hold of concerning season tickets? Not in order to procure tickets but to have them revoked. I have had the same seats for 40 years and in the last few years the “fans” to the right of me are never the same. It’s always the opposition “fans” that are buying them on the internet for over face value. I began asking that specific question this year and the answer is always the same. I tired of sitting next to the opposition each and every game. That and the non-noise cheering sections are why Michigan seldom has a home field advantage. Hopefully you guys can point me in the right direction. If not then I will begin to query the Athletic Department. Once again, keep up the good work on MZONE.
I totally understand the frustration. I really do. If I want an evenly split crowd, I'll go watch a game in the sports book of a Vegas casino. But I'm not sure there is anything that can be done. If somebody rightfully purchases season tickets, unfortunately they can do pretty much what they want with them (as long as they're not breaking any scalping laws which are hard to/rarely enforced to begin with).
Next up, friend of the MZone and regular reader Beast in Bama sent us the following...
IT’S DIVISION I FOOTBALL!!!
Being a fan of a Big 12 team, I don’t get to participate in the unending Big 10 vs. SEC debate that rages seemingly every week here on the MZone. After all, the Big 12 is still the home of college football dreck such as Missouri, Kansas, Baylor and Iowa St., so I can’t begin to back up any “top to bottom” claims of superiority against any other conference.
But as the crazy 2007 football season draws to a close, I will submit this for your consideration: no conference has had more YouTube moments, more bizarre twists, more raving lunatic behavior – in short, no conference has had a more entertaining 2007 season on and off the field than the Big 12. To wit:
1) Kansas and Missouri will play what amounts to a BCS elimination game on Nov. 24. What?
2) Bill Callahan singlehandedly destroyed one of the greatest programs in college football history. In one season! OK, so did Charlie Weis. But ND is an independent in football – we’re talking cumulative conference effect here.
3) I could attempt to tell you what Dennis Franchione did, but that kind of insider information might wind up costing me $1,200, and I don’t have that kind of spare change right now. He will be missed – everywhere but College Station.
4) Did I mention that Mike Gundy IS A MAN!!! HE’S 40!!! HE’S A FATHER OF CHILDREN!!!
5) Four different teams have scored 70 points or more this season. Nebraska gave up 76 to Kansas one week, and then scored 73 points of their own the following week vs. Kansas St.
6) The too-morbid-for-words Okie-Longhorn crotch ripping incident. I know the UM/OSU rivalry is heated, but I don’t recall any reports of one man redecorating another man’s family room over the Wolverines and Buckeyes.
7) Dan Hawkins would like to remind you that it’s still DIVISION I FOOTBALL! IT’S THE BIG 12! If you don’t agree with him, the intramural fields are that way, brother.
8) Mark Mangino in a velvet track suit. Need I say more?
The Big 12: we might not be the best conference in 2007, but I’ll be damned if we’re not the most entertaining.
Finally, besides M/OSU, what are the best rivalries in college football?
I was wondering what your take is on other college football rivalries across the nation. Specifically the one coming up between Auburn and Alabama. Be careful how you type Auburn vs. Alabama, because if you don't put Alabama in front of Auburn i.e. Alabama vs. Auburn, the mullet nation could explode.
You could take the safe route though and put Auburn vs. Saban, since it seems thats all the Alabama fans cheer for nowadays. Like the shirts they wear that says they are a member of "Sabanation" and the year is 200Saban.
Anyway, War Damn Eagle
Well, what do folks say?
But, alas, here is this week's poll...
Yes, that's Michigan at #25. Blow me. Before you call it a strictly homer vote (which it partly is), check out who teams like Clemson with three losses have defeated. Or BYU in the AP poll. And Hawaii? Please. They might beat a good HS team, but it would probably be in triple OT.
Also, due to being at the Michigan game (then falling into a well of despair afterwards), I only saw one game last weekend (if you call a contest in which one team gets only 91 total yards a "game").
Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
What Michigan supporters saw during his retirement announcement was a coach who truly embodied Bo Schembechler's mantra of "The Team. The Team. The Team." What jaded sports fans witnessed was a man who still put principle above a paycheck. What the sport lost was a teacher who realized the "big game" was simply a way to instill larger lessons regarding the big picture.
Unfortunately, we live in an era, especially when it comes to athletic competition, where many of us claim to care about the above but deep down - and usually less so - all that really matters is the scoreboard, baby. And to many in the Michigan family, Carr had fallen short in that column of late. So while they profess their admiration for the man, deep down - and usually less so - they were happy to see the coach step aside.
Never mind that Carr never had a losing season in 13 years at the helm. Forget that the school never once had the hint of a scandal during his tenure. Who cares that keeping any team among the nation's elite year in and year out is a much tougher assignment than its ever been (see: Nebraska, Notre Dame and Miami). It simply wasn't enough for some.
And I'm not naive, blind or an apologist. Yes, the recent bowl losses and stumbles against Ohio State stung. But college football, like life, is a game of ups and downs. To wax less poetically than Carr at his press conference yesterday: Shit happens. There is an ebb and flow to everything...except the unwieldy expectations of Michigan fans.
Thus, U-M begins its search for a new coach. Forget interest or availability, I just hope the person we're looking for exists. You know, someone able to contend for a national title every year, win each bowl game and never lose to Ohio State. If not, watch out. We Michigan fans are like some long-married guy going through a perpetual mid-life crisis: the grass is always greener, the coach of "that team" is always sexier.
But to some, the coaching situation is already looking up because whoever it is, it won't be Carr. Which really is a shame. Because a special part of a Michigan just retired yesterday. Yet, sadly, too many peopled failed to realize just how good we had it.
Thank you, Coach Carr, for everything you did. Both on and off the field.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
By your own soul learn to live.
If some men thwart you, take no heed.
If some men hate you, have no care.
Sing your song, dream your dream.
Hope your hope and pray your prayer.
Yes, a special coach, indeed.
But that's not the point of this post. Ignoring Les Miles for a minute (which is almost impossible - or against the law - to do with regards to Michigan's coaching vacancy), who else do you think Michigan should consider and why?
Leave us your thoughts in the comments section.
Thus, scroll down for one last (painful) look back at the Tosu loss.
Monday, November 19, 2007
That aside, the atmosphere was amazing...if you were in the student section. They were loud from the beginning and right on through until the end. A tip o' the hat to you guys.
But that wasn't the norm. At least from my vantage point.
My buddy got us great seats, section 4, almost the 40 yard line...but apparently right in the middle of a fucking tax audit. These people had all the energy of a rotting corpse...which is almost an insult to rotting corpses.
On several "key plays," I turned to look at the folks above me to see what they were doing. I was hoping to see yelling, screaming and general noise making. Instead, I think I saw breathing. Although even that might be debatable. Hell, these people don't even shake their keys.
Worst of all was when the Ohio State fans in attendance started their "O-H-I-O" going around the stadium. Thankfully, the student section stopped it since the cadavers around me were obviously trying to break some Guinness Book of World Records mark for quietest stadium section ever in a big game.
Defensively, Tressel quickly realized that Henne was still hurt and couldn't beat them passing. Thus, Tosu wisely loaded up to stop Hart (after a few opening runs that gave me hope) then watched as Henne's balls fluttered harmlessly all over the field (and in and out of the hands of Michigan receivers the few times he was on target).
Offensively, once the Bucks got the two-score lead - and with his own QB having an off day - Tressel decided to just run, run, run knowing, like a Woody Hayes/Bo Schembechler Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust showdown from some bygone era, Michigan would be unable to move the ball against his defense.
It really was that simple: take what the other team is giving you and get out of dodge with a victory. Period. Style points be damned.
While there was the false hope of never really being out of it due to both the closeness of the score and some decent starting field position in the second half, the truth of the matter is, one glance at the stats on the giant Michigan scoreboard revealed it would take a small miracle for the outcome to change.
Worst of all, was the grim resignation as I watched this game unfold. The above wasn't something I thought of as I sat down to write up this post-mortem tonight, those were things I actually turned to my buddy and said as we were subjected to the ugliness on the field. It wasn't rocket science, it was a beating by Buckeye squad right out of the 60s.
The sad fact for Wolverine fans is that this team really isn't that good. I don't know that we so much underachieved as over-achieved. Our offensive line never was a force that we thought it would be (except for Jake Long). Mario Manningham showed up about 50% of the time. The defense proved it wasn't just the spread that could ding them but pretty much just running it right up the gut (see: Wisco & Tosu).
I could go into the minutia of what transpired on the field, but why? What is really the point unless I want to get frustrated all over again by an effort that produced a whopping 14 yards in the second half. I mean, it's almost comical when our biggest plays of the day were a couple of PI calls (although, seeing how our receivers were playing, in hindsight, I'm guessing OSU DBs are wondering today why they even bothered since the balls most likely wouldn't have been caught anyway).
I will say that there is simply no underestimating how different a team we are/were without Hart and Henne at 100%. One only has to look at how average Oregon is without Dennis Dixon to see what the loss of a team's top playmakers does. And Michigan had two of its best hobbled much of the season. Would it have made a difference Saturday? Sadly, I can't say for sure.
Here's the worst thing about this loss is that there is no shock or outrage on my part. I bleed maize and blue yet it's almost, dare I say, not surprising. I guess I now know how Buck fans felt in the 90s.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Ed. Note: I rushed for more yards walking to my computer to post this than U-M did all game yesterday. Ugh.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
How are we already to the Ohio State game? Wasn't I curled in the fetal position after the Appy State game just yesterday?
Yet, alas, The Game is upon us. Michigan vs. Ohio State. Bragging rights, a trip to Pasadena and the undisputed Big Ten title on the line. As it should be. As it often is. Which is why we don't need no stinkin' conference championship game. This is the conference championship game.
So, what's going to happen? Well, if Hart and Henne's injuries aren't 100% healed, it could be a long day, and not of the Jake variety. No Reverse Blog Psychology (RBP) needed. But to be safe, I'm going ultra-RBP today thus...
* Hart, Henne and Long, in an effort to protect their draft status and avoid further injury, opt out of the game.
* Carr retires during the coin toss and the "savior" Les Miles immediately quits at LSU and coaches via cellphone connection, refusing to punt and going for it on every fourth down.
* The defense...uh, well, actually, the defense plays like the defense normally plays of late in big games: like a sieve. All this leads to...
Tressel's Bitches - 18 (all FGs, so at least we got that going for us now)
The Team with the classiest fans in America - 45
Also, nobody seems to have a fucking clue as to what time the pep rally in the Diag is today: 3:30 or 6:00 pm. The students sent out one thing, the athletic department another. Arrrghhh! Nice going.
Anyway, enjoy the game tomorrow. If you take any good pix or video, please send them our way. And most of all...
The annual battle for the Big Ten title takes place in Ann Arbor when the Wolverines host Ohio State. Unlike last year, there are likely no national title implications, but the game will determine the fate of each team’s season. As any Buckeye fan will be happy to point out, tOSU has won five of the last six meetings, including two of the last three in Ann Arbor. Michigan holds the series lead, 57-40-6, following last year’s three point loss. With both teams coming off losses to break long winning streaks, there are some who don’t believe this year’s matchup measures up to those in years past. But with Michigan teetering between an accomplished season and a disastrous season, this game is huge. So you want to be prepared, and the preparation wouldn’t be complete without the final regular season version of the MZone's KNOW YOUR FOE.
History – The current Ohio State University was founded as The Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1870 as a land grant institution. But that only sparked the beginning of two huge battles in the first couple of decades of the school. The first was a result of two factions with opposing views of the role of the university. The "narrow gauge" group, held that the college should teach subjects related to agriculture and mechanical arts. The "broad gauge" party wanted a more diversified curriculum that included English and ancient and foreign languages as well. In 1873, an 8-7 vote called for the broadening of the curriculum to include seven fields of study: agriculture, ancient languages, chemistry, geology, mathematics, modern languages, and physics. The first class of twenty-four students, including three women started in 1873 and the name was changed to Ohio State University in 1878.
The second battle also came from in state. Two universities – Miami and Ohio University – had their feelings hurt that they weren’t chosen as the state university. At times, former U. S. President Rutherford B. Hayes, who later became governor of Ohio, mocked the older schools, and lobbied hard for monies for the state university, tOSU. Hmmm. There’s something about this school that likes bullies named Hayes who bring them glory. Finally, in 1906, the state legistlature settled the issue by declaring tOSU as the only school that would offer post-graduate degress, while Miami and Ohio would only offer bachelor’s degrees.
Location – Columbus, Ohio. Located smack dab in the middle of the state, Columbus is, surprising to many, the largest city in the state. It has kept this title by bullying the few surrounding suburbs into annexation in exchange for sewer and water service that the city controls. And though C-Bus is the largest, people from Cleveland or Cincinnati have far more pride in their hometowns. It’s known as the Arch City for the metal arches that spanned High Street during the early 20th century. Columbus is the capitol of Ohio and is home to Nationwide Insurance as well as the corporate home to The Limited, Express, Bath & Body Works, and Victoria's Secret.
Nickname - Buckeyes. The name comes from a type of tree that is native to much of the eastern United States, including Ohio. The leaves appear in a five-leaflet cluster, and the fruit, or nut, is round and typically about an inch and a half wide. It’s poisonous to humans, horses and cattle, though not to squirrels. We’ll find out on Saturday how Wolverines handle them. Ohio State fans love their buckeyes. They wear them around their neck, and tOSU students and alums refer to themselves as Buckeyes.
In addition to the tree, and the fruit that carry the buckeye name, there are two towns in the U. S. named Buckeye, though neither one is in Ohio. There’s also a breed of chicken named Buckeye, as well as a species of butterfly. Know Your Foe used to work with a tOSU grad. Every year for Michigan-Ohio State week his wife would make these chocolate and peanut butter buckeyes. Know Your Foe's allegiance in this game has never been questioned, but those chocolate buckeyes came pretty close to getting us to say “It might not be so bad if Ohio State won.”
Mascot – Brutus Buckeye. Brutus was born in 1965 and was the brainchild of Ray Bourhis and the student group Ohio Staters. At that time, most mascots were live animals and Bourhis proposed bringing a buck deer to the games but that proved too logistically difficult. The first Brutus costume weighed over 40 pounds. Through the years Brutus has had a number of face lifts – as well as some lipo evidently. But after the first incarnation, Brutus has appeared to be an angry, often drunk looking mascot.
Know Your Foe has been to games to see Brutus dishing out as well as receiving abuse. But the most memorable was in 1983 when Brutus, as is his wont, ran the perimeter of the field at Michigan Stadium waving the Ohio State flag. As he made his way down the Michigan sideline, one of the athletes holding the M GO BLUE banner had seen enough. He made a beeline for Brutus and dove into his legs, taking down the costumed mascot. Brutus’ head almost fell off and he cocked his fist, ready to punch the Wolverine athlete who took him down. And who was that diving star that day? Olympic silver medalist, and former felon Bruce Kimball.
Colors – Scarlet and Gray. The official colors were selected by three students in 1878. The reasoning for the combination was that they were a “pleasing combination” and weren’t being used by any other college. The original selection of orange and black was shot down when the students discovered that Princeton used those colors. It was the last time in recorded history that Ohio State and Princeton would ever be confused for each other. Now we’ve gone over the whole red thing in previous Know Your Foes. And the fact that tOSU calls their red “Scarlet” doesn’t change the argument. Red is just too common. The gray that’s added to the tOSU color scheme is somewhat unique, but is it really gray? Take a look at those helmets – there’s undoubtedly a metallic quality to them. Any non-color blind person would call them silver. And until a couple of years ago, the Buckeyes wore silver pants as well before changing back to the matte gray.
Logo – A block O, with “Ohio State” arched through the middle. The block O has been part of Ohio State for years, and plenty of Buckeye gear still only includes the single letter. In the early eighties, the words Ohio and State were added, though the current logo has been in use for about 20 years.
Fight Song – Across the Field. One of the all-time great fight songs. There’s almost no way you can walk away from listening to it and not end up humming it right after. The only drawback to it, is that it’s very football-centric. Sure, this makes sense for a school like Ohio State, but as we’ll see below they also excel in a number of other sports. And the opening line of “Fight the team across the field,” just doesn’t make sense when cheering for the Buckeye basketball or swimming team. It’s not surprising that the first word is “Fight.” This is Ohio State, after all. They like to fight. But they get big credit for also using the word “reverberating.” Sure, most of the students and graduates of tOSU have no idea what it means, but it’s a great word and the usage is perfect in the song. In addition to the fight song, the Ohio State band will also play Hang On Sloopy, and after the game the players join the crowd in Carmen, Ohio.
Academics – In the latest U. S. News Ranking of America's Best Colleges, Ohio State is tied for 57th, with Boston University. This is actually a much higher ranking than tOSU has received in past editions, and puts them in the middle of the Big Ten, which, again, isn’t that bad for tOSU. Most importantly for Buckeye grads, they’re ten slots ahead of Miami of Ohio which is generally considered a stronger school academically. With almost 52,000 students on the Columbus campus, Ohio State is the largest university in the country, But bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to tOSU. Not many of their undergraduate or graduate programs rank among the elite. Sure, the Department of Dance is considered the top ranked graduate program and the second ranked such program in North America. But other programs, like Business, medicine, and law are good. Yes, they’re also big. But better? Not so much.
Athletics – Few schools have the athletic tradition of Ohio State. It’s the only university to have won national championships in football, basketball, and baseball. Well, the only one other than Michigan. tOSU has also won national titles in golf, men’s swimming, men’s gymnastics, and men’s outdoor track. The women’s teams have never won an NCAA-sanctioned title, but they have won 24 titles in synchronized swimming, and two in pistol. For anyone who's attending a future game in Columbus, that's a scary thought.
But let’s face it, when people think of Ohio State sports – hell, when they think of Ohio State period – they think of Buckeye football. They’ve won five recognized national championships, including the 2002 crown. They’ve won 32 Big Ten titles, though, interestingly, only one outright title since 1984. Former coach Woody Hayes is worshipped as a god in the state despite an irascible personality and repeated episodes of poor sportsmanship. The identity of the school – and much of the state – is wrapped up in how the Buckeyes do on the gridiron. It unites the state from Cleveland to Cincinnati, from the farms to the cities.
Famous alums – This is another instance of Ohio State being bigger, but not necessarily better. Check out this list of tOSU alumni. It’s looooong. But there aren’t many people who really stand out other than athletes. The Hoover Street Rag has a grreat showdown that summarizes things well. As mentioned above, the Buckeye football team has produced hall of famers. And even in other sports, Buckeyes are among the all-time greats, including Jesse Owens, Jack Nicklaus, Frank Howard, John Havlicek and Jerry Lucas. The most familiar names in academia are current University of Georgia president Michael Adams (the guy who won’t allow Florida-Georgia to be called the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party), and former University of Michigan president Harlan Hatcher. You know, the guy who the Grad Library is named after. In business tOSU alumni run Diebold (the voting machine people), and the founder of Shoney’s restaurants. Well known Buckeye journalists include Jack Buck, Judith Miller, and Erin Moriarty. The field of the arts is populated with Buckeyes Patricia Heaton, comedian Richard Lewis, network executive Fred Silverman, singer and actor Dwight Yoakim, artist Roy Lichtenstein, and comedy writer Bruce Villanch. And though the state of Ohio has produced eight U. S. Presidents, no chief executive has ever been a tOSU alum.
The Game – The biggest question for this game is who’s going to play for Michigan. Without Hart and Henne this will likely be a blowout. With both approaching good health Michigan has a shot. But even with both of those guys the Wolverines don’t have any real advantages. The better offense? Ohio State. Defense? Ohio State. Special Teams? Coaching? All are to the advantage of the Buckeyes. Michigan can win this game. But they won’t. OHIO STATE 34, MICHIGAN 20.