Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Instead, say hello to more Ball States, Appalachian States and any school with a North, South, East or West in its name.
Michigan and Notre Dame have signed a 20 year contract extension which will keep the rivalry chugging along until 2031. And while obviously a classic clash of the two winningest programs in the land, as the Detroit News article linked above even states, that probably means there won't be room on the Wolverine schedule for another major powerhouse team.
Which, in my not-so-humble opinion, sucks ass.
Look, let me start by saying this isn't anti-Notre Dame. Now, let me say it again, because last time I broached this subject, some Domers got all in a tizzy: This isn't anti-Notre Dame. It's simply a desire to change things up a bit.
I was really hoping we'd do maybe two years on, two years off with the M/ND rivalry. That way, we could have a home-and-home with some other elite teams. Again, just to change things up. Get some fresh blood in the Big House as well as plan a couple awesome road trips to see the team. Lincoln, anybody? Gainesville, folks? I hear Knoxville is beautiful in September.
Plus, I believe taking a break every few years would have actually strengthened the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry. Absence makes the heart - and college football fans - grow stronger. But playing it every year, I think both fan bases take it for granted and the game loses a bit of its "specialness."
And for those who naively think we can still add a Texas or Georgia or Florida State as one of our other two non-conference games each year, not gonna happen. It doesn't work that way. Not in the BCS-era in which one loss practically eliminates a team from National Title consideration.
And that's not just Michigan, that's every team with BCS title dreams nowadays. It's what I call the Three Little Bears non-con schedule: One really good team, one (or two) average teams and one (or two) squads that has warm bodies on scholarship.
Thus, we'll play Notre Dame, one/two lower-to-maybe-mid-level major conference team (Vandy, Rice, etc.) and the usual cheese puff(s) like Eastern/Western/Southern/Northern INSERT SCHOOL NAME HERE.
And we'll be doing that for a looooong time.
* As many of you wrote to tell us, Sam McGuffie, the best all-purpose back in the land, picked Michigan over Texas A&M. Click here for highlight reels galore courtesy of Brian at MGoBlog.
* UPDATE: Yahoo! Sports has a nice article on what the McGuffie signing means for Michigan.
* Garvie Craw, who started at FB for U-M in the late 60s and who, according to our tipster, scored the first TD against Tosu in Bo's big 24-12 win in '69, passed away last Friday.
* ESPN lists the top college football programs of the last 10 years. Not only does Michigan come in at #6, but check out the stats. Very impressive when compared to the others on there. I think, due to our disappointments vs. Tosu and in the Rose Bowl of late, we forget just how good we have it.
* Worthy cause: An online auction of 191 items, many of them Michigan-themed sports memorabilia, is being held to fund the Bernard Maloy Scholarship at U-M. The Scholarship is in honor of a professor at Michigan who passed away in 2001 of esophageal cancer. Once funded, it will be awarded to Michigan undergrads who either have cancer themselves or who have direct family members who have or are battling cancer. Click here to find out more and view the items up for bid.
* Finally, U-M grad and stand-up comic Tom Franck just returned from Texas where he was one of the five Famecast.com finalists in the comedy competition. MZone readers were part of the reason he made it that far, helping vote him through. Well, to help him take the last step and nab the crown, click here to vote for him (yes, if you're not registered, you have to. A pain but not a bad one).
In case you haven't been following Jimmy's Quest, Delany has his knickers in a knot because most of the big cable providers don't want to carry a niche channel like the BTN, at least not for free on basic cable (as Delany wants).
That's where expansion comes in.
According to Delany, the BTN would benefit from an additional big-name university in a large television market. “The broader (the network) is distributed, the more value (expansion) has. We have eight states. With expansion, you could have nine,” he said.
While that's a good business move for a network that nobody wants to carry, I don't think it's in the best interest of Big Ten football. If it ain't broke...
And whether 1, 2 or 5 teams are added, I have a news flash for Delany: The BTN isn't a national network. It isn't ESPN. Nobody outside of the conference gives a rat's cornhole about the IU-Wisco lacrosse smack down. Seriously. Clue up. You think anybody in Michigan or Pennsylvania wants to watch the SEC or Big 12 Network on a regular basis? Here's a hint: no. And they don't care about the BTN. It's a regional network. Deal with it.
So how else can one coerce cable providers into carrying a sports channel they don't want? By adding a conference championship game on the football side then only showing it on "your" network, naturally.
But while Delany claims the addition of a 12th team wouldn't automatically mean a championship game (yeah, right. If you believe that one...), the president of the BTN is salivating at the prospect, saying, "Any television executive would do whatever they could to be able to air a game like the Big Ten championship. It would be worth a considerable amount of value.”
There's that word again: Value. Value, value, value. I guess it would look way too whorish to just come out and say "money."
Does anybody else see hypocrisy in all this?
Delany's a guy who, in Congressional testimony, said that if college presidents adopted a so-called Plus One model (where the top two teams after the Rose, Orange, Sugar and Fiesta would play for the title), it would lead to a full-blown playoff and declared the Big Ten would abandon its BCS partners if they adopted such a system. Now he's trying to add a 12th team and potentially "plus one" to the Big Ten?
I hate conference championship games. I think they're nothing more than money grabs and dilute the regular season. Oh, and they usually suck. Most of the time it seems like there's one great team going up against some 3 or 4 loss team from the other weak-ass division (that the great team has often already played and beaten during the regular season).
Just imagine if Michigan and Ohio State were to meet once again as undefeated, top ranked teams and the winner, instead of clinching a BCS title bid instead has to first square off against, say, an 8-3 Purdue team from the "West Division" it already smacked back in October.
What a let down. Not only does that take the luster off the M-OSU clash but it puts the victor of that game in a no-win situation.
Then again, maybe I just don't understand "value" like I should.
Monday, July 30, 2007
First, you know you're at party central when the nightclub/bar you're at has the ol' silver disco ball hanging from the ceiling as the C-bus establishment in the video below does. Because nothing says hip, nothng says cool, nothing says
Now since it's Columbus and life itself revolves around Tosu, the clip begins with the bar patrons (obviously taking a break from the Bee Gees tunes) rocking to the "Buckeye Battle Cry."
But then the class shines through as the DJ says - and I quote - "We got a couple middle fingers in the air. You know what that means, right? Here comes your song!"
Gee, wonder what's coming next...
Now, while I'd still be shaking my head, I could almost expect this if it was from last November right before the #1 vs. #2 clash in The Shoe. But folks, judging from the attire by those in attendance and the date the clip was added (July 25th), this is common behavior in the middle of the summer down there!
Wow. Wow, wow, wow.
P.S. Oh, and I don't care what time of year it is, nothing excuses the disco ball.
Ed. Note: In our continuing effort to save Buckeye fans stopping by the trouble of having to leave a comment after they read a post like the one above...
"Fuck you! Michigan sucks! We own your ass! Disco ball this you 1-5 bitches!"
Friday, July 27, 2007
The investigation is expanding because a discarded gun was found at the home as well as "a large quantity of narcotics."
In addition, UCLA coach Karl Dorrell admitted he hired Scott even though he was aware of his previous run-ins with the law. Scott has admitted guilt to separate misdemeanor concealed weapons charges in 1996 and 2005, and a misdemeanor disturbing-the-peace charge in 2002.
So, what does Scott's attorney have to say about the whole thing? "It'd be a shame if he loses his job at UCLA over some doo-doo like this."
Doo-doo? What is this guy, a lawyer-slash-third grade teacher?
Scott's lawyer also stated that, "From my preliminary investigation, it appears that a mistake was made by the Los Angeles Sheriff Deputies that should be cleared up within a few days."
So, just what is the mistake? The MZone has learned that Scott's attorney will explain that, with USC scooping up all the talent in SoCal, his client was merely on a recruiting visit. "You have to be pretty darn creative in order to 'get a foot in the door' (or window) as a Bruin coach going up against Pete Carroll and his team these days," he said.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Unfortunately, there is an ugly and not so feel-good side to this story: Johnson said he has hired security for their wedding this weekend due to racial threats. Apparently the bigots of the world have a problem with Johnson, who is black, marrying his white girlfriend. According to the AP story linked above, since his Jan. 1 proposal, Johnson has received phone calls, letters and some personal threats from people who object to their marriage plans.
Worst of all, as Johnson even says, "It's really sad because a lot of people that are probably doing it are the same people who were cheering me on."
Man, I'd like to think that's not the case. Then again, I would've liked to think in 2007, Johnson and his fiancee wouldn't be getting such hateful threats from anybody right before their big day.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Plus, I have to say, I'm a little disgusted with sports right now. Between Barry Bonds tainted chase of Hank Aaron's hallowed record, the gambling scandal going on in the NBA and the revolting charges of dog fighting against NFL QB Michael Vick, it's enough to make the biggest sports fan cynical.
And it's not just the pros. Throw in such off-the-field college transgressions as the Minnesota Gopher football player who allegedly ejaculated on the face of a woman while she was passed out - and taped the incident on his cellphone! - and it goes beyond cynical. It becomes hard to invest time finding the funny in sports.
Ok, off my soapbox now. Just tired, grumpy and, as stated, a little burnt out.
* Brian at MGoBlog has contributed to a book taking a look at the 2007 Wolverines.
* Nebraska vows to continue its slide into mediocrity by extended the contract of AD Steve Pederson who has overseen the errosion of the once proud football program. Look, I'm no Husker fan but they're 22-15 under Bill Callahan, Pederson's hire and they haven't won a big game in forever (no, the Alamo Bowl game against Michigan doesn't count).
Monday, July 23, 2007
The guy in the video below calls himself BigSoonerFan4Life and has put up a bunch short clips on YouTube, traveling around the country saying nothing more than "OSU sucks" (with OSU referring to Oklahoma State).
Uh, while we love the whole rivalry thing, we're not quite sure we get going to such extreme lengths just to rag on Oklahoma State. His ex-wife must have gone there.
* Thanks in part to you, the MZone reader, U-M alum and comedian Tom Franck made the final five on Famecast.com's comedy competition and is being flown to Texas at the end of this month for the live webcast final.
* Matt Leinart's probably not going to win any Father of the Year awards according to this story on BruinsNation.
* Funny CBSSportsLine column on A2's own Steve & Barry's.
* Former U-M standout Rod Payne has a book coming out.
* Note to MichiganManPhil - Hey, I'd love to put up those pics you mentioned. Please email them to me at the address on the left. Thanks!
Well, that alone is humorous in itself. But it gets better...
The Blackwell Inn is named after Roger Blackwell, a long-time marketing professor in the tOSU Business School who is well-known nationally as a leading marketing expert and made a rather sizable contribution to tOSU ($7 million). Funny thing is, Blackwell doesn't teach at tOSU anymore. Why not, you ask? Because he is serving six years in another premier conference center in the Midwest - FEDERAL PRISON. You see, he forgot about obeying the law when it came to conquering the real world - most notably, he forgot that insider trading is a no-no on Wall Street, and if you do it and get caught, you just might end up in the pokey.
When Blackwell was convicted and sent off to the pokey in 2006, there was discussion that tOSU might drop the name of the Blackwell Inn since naming a university-owned campus hotel after a convicted felon doesn't exactly project the best image. But apparently money prevailed over ethics. Who knows, maybe tOSU officials didn't want to risk Blackwell rescinding his sizable contribution to the university so they decided to just roll with it. After all, what's wrong with having the campus hotel named after a convicted felon? Hell, it might even be considered a good omen - at least any future football felons would feel right at home at the team hotel the night before games. Maybe that's why our buddy Maurice ran so well against the Wolverines in 2002.
Blackwell isn't all that bad though. In 1991, he dumped his first wife of 31 years to marry his teaching aid, who was 25 years his junior. Nice work, if you can get it. Makes you want to go back to school and be a professor doesn't, it? Well, maybe not...
Unfortunately, his trophy wife got tired of him and divorced his ass in 2003. Then, she testified against him in his trial to help send him off to the pokey. Along the way, she was granted immunity, a $1 million divorce settlement, and found a new hubby - the chief executive officer of Federated Department Stores, who made in excess of $6.3 million in 2004, not including stock options.
No word yet on whether or not Maurice has become Blackwell's third wife. In any case, tough break, buddy.
Friday, July 20, 2007
When reached for comment, the site apologized and said it would immediately enter an alcohol treatment center.
(Click here for a larger view of the picture)
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Simmons was a four-year letterman and team captain of the Bucks in 1993. When asked for comment, Buckeye fans said they were disgusted and appalled by Simmons as he went 0-3-1 versus Michigan during his football career in Columbus.
No word yet on whether he decided to grow his Backstache before his alleged criminal activity began or after.
(HT: DG, JL)
To quote Brent Musberger here, "Whoooooa, Nellie!"
P.S. If you didn't immediately know that was U-M's Desmond Howard, maybe this isn't the blog for you.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
(Thanks to the reader who told us about this in the comment section the other day)
The books were published in the wake of Ohio State's undefeated 2006 regular season but, as you'll see, before the BCS title game.
The first book is called THE UNSTOPPABLE BUCKEYES which, as SiC reminds us, is not to be confused with THE UNSINKABLE TITANIC...
The second book in this collection is called 12-0: An Insider's Account of Ohio State's Championship Season...
Now, in hindsight, for the non-Tosu fan, these books do seem a bit, shall we say, humorous. I mean come on - aren't you just setting yourself up for failure by calling a book "Unstoppable" with one game left to play?
Same with 12-0. That would be like an NFL conference champion putting out a book on their season right before they played in the Super Bowl. You're just asking for, well, posts like this from your rivals (and Florida fans).
Then again, these are only first editions. I'm sure we can look forward to STOPPABLE, with a new forward by Urban Meyer, and 12-1: An Insider's Account of Ohio State's Excellent Season Before They Got Blown Out.
P.S. To save OSU readers stopping by the trouble of leaving a comment on this post...
"Fuck you! Michigan sucks! We own your ass! Least we can read about how we kicked your ass in those books! 1-5, bitches!"
P.P.S. And, best of all, Buck fans, you can now buy these (obvious) collector items as part of a special "two pack" on Amazon.com.
Monday, July 16, 2007
But had an idea...
Since some of the reader comments we get here on the site are so good, I've been thinking about looking for a guest columnist or two. Hopefully it would be a win-win in that it would help me out on days like today when blogging must take a back seat to life while also allowing one or two of you to have a creative outlet without the time commitment of running a full-time blog and building up a readership.
Thus, if you're interested, email me a sample column. If I get more than a couple, maybe we'll put them up over a few days and let our readers pick their favorite to become a regular contributor. Couple of suggestions: keep it brief (it's a sports blog with a comedic bent. We're not breaking the Watergate story here) and use a picture if you can to add humor or context to the piece. It helps.
Also, it doesn't have to be "pro Michigan." If you're a Buck fan and have something clever or interesting to say, give it a whirl.
Finally, if you do submit and we don't use it, please don't be offended. After doing this for almost two years now, we just sort of have a feel for what's right for the site and what's not.
Well, I got an email from one of the producers asking for any high-res "anti-OSU photos." He's looking for a couple counterpoints to the anti-Michigan stuff out there.
Anybody have/know of any? I seem to recall one of a girl at last year's M/OSU game that was sent our way. Maybe from SI.com?
In any event, let me know and I'll pass 'em on.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
While there, he found a cool piece of art depicting Ford's playing days at Michigan built by Louis Padnos, a metal scrapper out of Holland, Michigan...
* Another great Michigan preview from another Penn State site, this time Black Shoe Diaries.
* Michigan goes 1-1 in court of law
* CFN lists The 100 Greatest College Football Finishes. Before you shudder at the thought of reliving the most painful of Michigan memories, know that Michigan is listed 13 times, going 5-7-1.
As SiC said when he sent me the link, "funny how the memory works- when i first started to look thru this, all i could think of were the devastating losses- Colorado, Northwestern, etc. i had more or less forgotten about the wins."
Spoken like a true Michigan fan!
* Finally, with Michigan switching to adidas (do I really have to no cap the "a" each time I spell it?), MZone reader JK sent his version of some new helmet decals for THE O-High-O State University...
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The eight-year agreement will pay U-M $7.5 million per year and begins with the 2008-2009 season. It will cover all 25 of Michigan's varsity sports teams. The old Nike deal paid Michigan $1 per year when it was first signed in 1994.
Adidas also has deals with Notre Dame, Nebraska, UCLA, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Indiana.
When informed by the MZone that Michigan was leaving the fold, Nike founder Phil Knight declared that, "Henceforth, Michigan shall be banished from participating on college gridirons across all the land!"
Told that he was just the CEO of a shoe company and couldn't do that, Knight said he could do as he so pleased because he owned college football and was also going to smite our MZone correspondent for challenging him.
In a related story from the future, Michigan announced it is raising prices on season tickets, seat licensing fees, parking, merchandise, programs and the air fans breath in and around Ann Arbor for the 2008-2009 season due to budget shortfalls in the athletic department.
UPDATE: According to the Detroit News, that $7.5 per is in cash and merchandise, with the cash value being $3.8 million annually. On top of that, "Michigan will receive $2.2 million worth of product to outfit all 25 of the school's intercollegiate athletic teams. The school also will receive $600,000 annually in guaranteed licensing and an $800,000 signing bonus."
The current Nike deal signed in 2001 was for 7 years at $1.2 million per year in cash with a total of just over $3 million annually including merchandise and 10% royalty on all Nike gear.
UPDATE, PART II: Bri at MGoBlog also notes (via the Detroit Freep) that there is a "most favored nations" clause in the deal which will keep Michigan as Adidas's highest paid college team for the length of the deal.
This is one of the dumbest things in all of sports.
You're playing for the most coveted title in your profession, you win a hard fought point after the ball takes a funny bounce...and the first thing the player does is apologize?
Give me a fucking break. Luck is part this - and any - game.
Can you imagine a Michigan-Ohio State game where the QB throws a pass that gets tipped into his receiver's arms for a touchdown only to put his hands up toward the opposing defense and say, "My bad."
Look, I actually enjoy watching tennis. But if the players and game's powers-that-be want to help tennis shed some of the puss image the rest of America has of it, they need to remember that when players step on the court, they're pro athletes in the heat of competition. No, that doesn't mean you have to be a dick. But you don't have to apologize like you bumped carts with someone at the grocery store, either.
Sack up, folks.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Ed. Note: TH said in his email that two Wolverines made the cut but I couldn't find the other. Anybody know who it is?
* Ok, I know I'm acting like a 12 year old for even giggling at this, but when someone sends me a link to the Ohio Cornhole Company well, the 7th grader comes out in me.
* The Best Damn Room in the Land?
* Michael Rosenberg offers tip to Sparty: Stop trying to be Michigan.
* Finally, several weeks ago we asked readers to vote for stand-up comic and U-M grad Tom Franck in a comedy competition on Famecast.com. Well, MZone readers must have come through because we got an email from Tom saying thanks and letting us know he made the Top 10.
This week is the voting to make the Top 5 and be flown to Texas for the live webcast finals (where the winner will get $10,000). Apparently, just a handful of votes separate places 3-6 so register/log in here and be sure to vote for Tom here (as well as see his new clip).
The BTN, which is which is currently only being carried on Ron's Cable Service and Pet Food Emporium in Cheboygan, Michigan along with Viva Las Cable in the Dominican Republic, will kick of its schedule with the sure-to-be-instant-classics Appalachian State vs. Michigan, Youngstown State vs. Ohio State, Florida International vs. Penn State and Northeastern vs. Northwestern which has been re-dubbed the "You Say Tomato, I Say Tomoto Bowl."
"People were worried that they'd get screwed out of the excitement of Big 10 men's basketball and football due to our event equality policy," said Big 10 Commish and SEC-basher extraordinaire Jim Delany. "But as you can see from the football games we're airing, we've figured out a way to make everything about the new network as appealing as the debate of an agriculture bill on CSPAN."
Delany then blasted cable providers across America for not dropping HBO, CNN, Lifetime and the Weather Channel in order to carry the Big Ten Network. "If you need to know the weather, look out a fucking window," said Delany. "But if you look out that same window, can you see Penn State-Iowa women's water polo immediately followed by the Big 10 Fall Fencing Classic. Answer? Hell no!"
When reminded that by dropping Lifetime a lot of women's programming would be lost, Delany corrected himself saying he meant cable providers should can Spike TV and "all that crappy Japanese game show programming they show where the contestants always get hit in the nuts."
Monday, July 09, 2007
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Losing 5-4 to the Dallas Stars late in the third period, the Edmonton Oilers pulled their goalie to get an extra attacker on the ice. With just :17 seconds left, Patrick Stefan of the Dallas Stars stole the puck at the Edmonton blue line and headed in all alone toward the empty Oiler net for the clincher. But...
This was so good, I've found a second clip with the hometown call...
Friday, July 06, 2007
* ESPN.com takes a look at the least difficult schedules of the upcoming 2007 season. Three Big 10 teams make the list with Indiana at #4, Northwestern at #7 and our friends in Columbus at #9.
* Penn State site "There Is No Name on My Jersey" has a decent breakdown of the 2007 Wolverines.
* For those of you looking for gifts for the smallest Wolverines this summer, check out LittleWolverines.com.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
In the clip, a couple of Michigan fans sing their one-note masterpiece entitled "Ohio State Sucks!!!" (yes, with three exclamation points).
Folks, these guys made me pine for the talent of William Hung...or, hell, even those Buckeye rappers.
(HT: D114 & LM)
The choices are:
Alabama vs. Auburn
Notre Dame vs. USC
Texas vs. Oklahoma
Florida State vs. Miami
And, the reason for this post...
Meeeechigan vs. Ohio State.
So click on the link above and cast your vote for the Bucks and Blue.
This is a primarily a QB number and, as such, so are most of the the best Michigan players who wore it during their maize and blue careers. So without further adieu, let's meet the greatest Wolverines to ever wear #7.
First up is QB Rick Leach who started four straight years for Bo Schembechler from 1975-78, going 38-8-2 in his career. After losing to top ranked Ohio State 21-14 his freshman year, Leach beat the Bucks in each of final three seasons. During his sophomore season, the Wolverines were ranked first in the nation for eight consecutive weeks before a heartbreaking 16-14 loss to Purdue on the road. The Flint, Michigan native was an All-American and came in third in the voting for the Heisman Trophy during his senior year in 1978.
In his career, the option QB still managed to pass for 48 TDs while running for 34 on his own.
Ed. Note: Leach was the last Michigan QB to ever play in front of less than 100,000 fans in the Big House. Against Indiana on October 25, 1975, "only" 93,857 folks showed up for Michigan's homecoming game that year.
Next up is fullback Chris Floyd ('94-'97) who played on Michigan's National Championship team his senior year. Since the FB position is primarily a blocking position at U-M, Floyd didn't put up flashy numbers. But the four-year letterman still managed to average 4.2 yards a carry and 8.9 yards a catch when called upon.
Our third #7 selection is QB Drew Henson. Coming out of high school in Brighton, Michigan, the two-sport star (baseball being the other) was probably the most highly touted QB - if not player - to ever sign with the Wolverines. But things never quite went according to plan with Henson.
During his first two seasons, the projected golden boy ended up splitting time with some back-up by the name of Tom Brady. At first, Henson would come in and play the second quarter of each game...until midway through the '99 season when Brady took over the starting job - and all four quarters for good.
Thus, 2000 was supposed to be the year for Henson. But his Shakespearean odyssey at Michigan took another freak turn when he was injured right before the start of the season. The starting job then fell to a youngster by the name of John Navarre, who led the Wolverines to victories in its first two games before they lost at UCLA. Then, in the fourth game, with Michigan getting spanked on the road against #19 Illinois (yes, there was once a time when they were ranked), Henson came back right before halftime to lead the Wolverines back to a 35-31 victory.
Under Henson, Michigan's offense was explosive as they scored over 30 points in 6 of the 8 games he started, including a 38-26 victory over #12 Ohio State in Columbus. But that would prove to be Henson's final regular season game in a Michigan uniform as he
Even with his truncated career, Henson still threw for 24 TDs and rushed for 4.
Our final #7 for your consideration is current QB Chad Henne. A three-year starter, the Pennsylvania native has led the Wolverines to two Rose Bowls and the cusp of the BCS title game last season. So far in his career, he has completed just over 60% of his passes and thrown for nearly 8,000 yards and 70 TDs. And with a season still to go, Henne should own most of Michigan's career passing records by the time he's finished.
So, now it's time for you to vote...
Monday, July 02, 2007
You be the judge...