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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Top Ten Victories in the Carr Era: #10-#6

Yesterday, we started counting down the Top Ten wins in the Lloyd Carr Era

As mentioned, what makes a win "great" is a subjective thing. But Benny and I based our decision on a combination of factors including importance for the program, season impact, intangibles, who the opponent was (let's face it, a thriller against highly ranked arch rival Ohio State is always a candidate) and just the plain ol' excitement factor of the game.

To recap...

10. 1995 #14 Michigan 18, #17 Virginia 17

9. 1999 #16 Michigan 31, #6 Penn State 27

Moving on...

8. 1995 #18 Michigan 31, #2 Ohio State 23

What happened: After starting the season 7-1, Michigan dropped two out of their next three - a heartbreaker at MSU and a 27-17 loss at Penn State. And things didn't look like they'd be getting better with Ohio State coming to Ann Arbor for the season finale, bringing an undefeated record and #2 ranking along with Heisman trophy winner, Eddie George. But in one of the greatest individual displays in the history of the M-OSU rivalry, it was Wolverine RB Tim Biakabatuka - not George - who ran wild, rushing for 312 yards in the Michigan victory.

Why it made the list: Michigan was reeling. After the strong start, the season was teetering on the brink. And here came Ohio State playing for a shot at a national title and to assert itself after struggling in the years since John Cooper took over in 1988. A win could have turned the tide for John Cooper, dealt a big blow to the Wolverine program and Carr following the quick start. Instead, Michigan continued its dominance in the series during the Cooper years.

7. 2003 #20 Michigan 38, #17 Minnesota 35

What happened: In the greatest comeback in school history, QB John Navarre led the Wolverines to a stirring victory after being down 28-7 in the 3rd quarter. The Wolverines scored 31 points in the 4th quarter with freshman Garret Rivas' 33 yarder with 47 seconds left providing the winning margin.

Why it made the list: The team never quit. After being down 21 points in the 3rd, Michigan cut the lead to 28-21 early in the 4th...only to see Minnesota break off a long run on a short-yardage play to reclaim a 14 point lead. But the Wolverines just kept fighting. And when Rivas' kick went through, from a psychological standpoint, Michigan knew it could come back from any deficit.

The win was also huge for the psyche of oft-maligned senior QB John Navarre. For whatever reason, the Michigan faithful never warmed up to a kid who unfortunately had to step into the starting position a year before he was ready due to the sudden departure of Drew "Dead to me" Henson. This was the game he needed to prove he could win a big game and not just put up numbers, or make it "close" in a losing effort as he'd done earlier in the season on the road at Oregon.

The win also kept Michigan in the hunt for the Big 10 title and a Rose Bowl berth, something they accomplished with their 35-21 victory over the Bucks at the end of the year, Michigan's (sigh) last in the series.

Finally, what a game! And it was for the oldest trophy in college football, the Little Brown Jug.

6. 1998 Rose Bowl #1 Michigan 21, #8 Washington State 16

What happened: Down 7-0 early, the Cougars were driving to make it 14-0 when Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson picked off a Ryan Leaf pass in the endzone. The Wolverines knotted the game at 7 at the half, fell behind again in the third, before retaking the lead for good and holding on at the end. With the comeback victory, Michigan claimed its first National Championship in 50 years, a title that ended up being split when the coaches gave the other half to Tom Osborne as a retirement gift instead of a watch.

Misc. tidbit: Wazoo fans were hopping mad, believing Ryan Leaf had stopped the clock with a second left on the Michigan 16 yard line, which would have given the Cougs a final play and shot at victory. However, while pissed about that call, they all seem to forget a play or two before, when one of their receivers flat-out tackled Charles Woodson to prevent him from intercepting a poorly thrown Leaf pass. If the offensive PI is (rightfully) called, the last second stuff is a moot point.

Why it made the list: The surprise here isn't that this game made the list. Instead, we're guessing many will be wondering why it wasn't higher as it brought a piece of the MNC home to A2 for the first time since right after WWII. But, coming off four consecutive four loss seasons, getting here was actually more important than winning. Michigan proved it was still an elite program. And before the victory in Pasadena, Michigan actually beat a couple tougher teams. One could tell Michigan was feeling the pressure in the way the game started. But, as they had all season, they sucked it up and pulled out the "W," capping a perfect - and storybook - season.

Two Minute Drill

Here's a helping of various things that have been sent to us or that we've run across while scouring this here Internets. If you see anything that you think might be of interest to us, send them along to the e-mail address in the column to the left.

* Have you ever wondered who paints the Michigan helmets? Did you even know the helmets actually get painted every year? OK, neither did I. But Russ Hawkins has been doing it for the past 40 years. And he lives in Ohio!

* Will has an interesting analysis of the effects of the ridiculous clock rule enacted for the 2006 season.

* Run the 40 in 7.4? Have the coordination of a drunken hobo? Tip the scales at two and half bills despite being 5 foot 8? No problem. Your future as a college football recruit is only one call away. As long as you can get Million Dollar Booty out of your DVD player, you too can learn how to get recruited to the big-time schools.

* Most of you probably know that making a typo in your browser can lead you to some, uh, interesting sites. It used to be that typing whitehouse.com instead of whitehouse.org sent you to a porn site instead of the President's.

Well, I guess it means we've made the big time since our URL has been hijacked in a similar way. Although, I have to say we're a bit disappointed that "michiganzone.blogpsot.com" (note that the g and p are transposed) doesn't bring up porn, but rather a Bible site with spam advertising. I guess somebody is trying to "save" those of you with poor typing skills who are coming to the MZone to check out semi-naked co-eds.

Oh, and may the pieces of shit that did this rot in a pit of hell fire for all eternity.

P.S. And God doesn't love you, either. Seriously. He thinks you're a dick for using web hijacking to get His word out. He said it reminded him of something Pat Robertson would do.

(HT: AS)

* Although this sounds like something more suited for Ralph Friedgen or Phil Fulmer, it's in fact Joe Paterno whose likeness will grace the boxes of donuts and cinamon buns.

(HT: DW)

Was it just me or...

Ok, I have an admission to make. And I think some of you might have more respect for me if I said I was a Buckeye fan but...

I watch American Idol. Even worse, I TiVo it. (Hangs head in shame)

So I have to ask those of you that also watch and saw the show last night: Did anybody else notice how they barely had Paula Abdul on the first half of the show? How she was acting, oh, a little loopy?

A couple times, when the judges were deciding whether or not to put a "singer" through to Hollywood, they simply skipped right over her - or more precisely, edited around her - not even showing her as Randy and Simon gave their opinions. This is all a little strange, especially in light of her recent "equipment malfuntion" on those live interviews a few weeks back - such as this classic with a TV station in Seattle...

Anybody else feel she looked a little "out of it" last night and so the show cut around it?

Note: You might want to check out that video clip soon as the previous one we linked to has been removed. Apparently, FOX doesn't want their cash cow of a show getting too damaged with the negative pub. Although trying to banish a clip like this in the YouTube age is like trying to put the proverbial genie back in the bottle.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mom! Dad! Check out my new tattoo!

Ok, this is appalling and humorous at the same time (but only because it didn't happen to us)...

According to the news story linked here, a tattoo artist from Argentina is being sued after drawing a penis on the back of an Argentinean football fan instead of his favorite team's official logo.

Apparently, the teenage kid asked the tattoo artist to tattoo the logo of the Boca Junior football team on his back.

However, the tattooist was a big fan of the rival team and decided to play a prank on his young customer.

After reaching home, the victim proudly showed his parents his new tattoo and was surprised to learn that a penis was tattooed on his back.

Man, I wish I could have seen the look, first on his parents' face, then his when he finally saw it in the mirror. Hoooo leeee shit! And I thought Michigan-Ohio State was intense.

In a related story, no word yet if the man below plans to file a similar suit. He had requested a "small, tasteful, 'Go War Eagle!'" tattoo but, arriving home, he was surprised to discover...

Yeah, yeah, I know we've used this picture in the past. And you can be assured we'll probably use it again. Because I still laugh each and every time I see it. Daaaaamn!

Top Ten Victories in the Carr Era: #10 & #9

Yesterday, we gave you our five Michigan victories during Coach Carr's 12 years at the helm that didn't quite make the Top Ten but landed on our Honorable Mention list.

Today, we start counting down numbers 10 through 1 -- the biggest Wolverine wins since 1995. As mentioned yesterday, what makes a win "great" is a subjective thing. But Benny and I based our decision on a combination of factors including importance for the program, season impact, intangibles, who the opponent was (let's face it, a thriller against highly ranked arch rival Ohio State is always a candidate) and just the plain ol' excitement factor of the game.

So here we go...

10. #14 Michigan 18, #17 Virginia 17

What happened: In his first game as Michigan's head coach, Lloyd Carr's squad staged what was, at the time, the biggest comeback in U-M football history, rallying from 17-0 down in the 4th quarter. Mercury Hayes caught a touchdown pass from Scott Dreisbach as time expired.

Why it made the list: Couple of reasons. To start, the game was the first after a summer of turmoil in Ann Arbor. Gary Moeller had been fired during the off-season following his drunken outburst at a Detroit-area bar and Mo's defensive coordinator Lloyd Carr was tapped to step in, for no other reason, than it was the middle of summer and who else were they going to get. By the time the UVA game rolled around, people just wanted to get back to talking about football on the field for a change. So the win was big from a "righting the ship" standpoint and to show the Moeller firing hadn't dealt some sort of lethal blow to the Michigan program.

Second, as Lloyd's first game, it was imperative, playing a ranked team at home, he start his tenure off on the right foot. If he loses this game, all the naysayers are breathing down his neck from the first game and already talking about his replacement (he was only the "interim" coach at the start of the season). Instead, he started off 5-0 that first year and continued Michigan's winning ways.

Finally, it was a damn exciting game. If you were there (as I was) you probably remember the heat. It was as hot of a game as I've ever been to in A2. An older gentlemen in our section even passed out from the heat. Wilting just as badly was Michigan's chances at victory, down by 17 in the 4th. But with one beautiful fade route on the game's final play, the heat didn't seem so bad. And say what you will about Michigan teams under Lloyd, they rarely get blown out and never quit. This game summed up and started that trait.

9. 1999 #16 Michigan 31, #6 Penn State 27

What happened: Tom Brady brought the Wolverines back from a 27-17 deficit in the final 3:26 to lead the Wolverines to victory in Happy Valley.

Why it made the list: We picked this game from the '99 season over the Orange Bowl OT win against 'Bama to end the season for a couple reasons. First of all, this game (finally) put to rest Michigan's dual QB system once and for all. The shared time between Brady and Drew Henson was used earlier in the season and many fans (yours truly included) blame the 34-31 loss by undefeated #3 U-M to #11 MSU on keeping Henson in instead of switching to Brady who almost led the team to a miraculous comeback on the road. The Penn State game, down 10 in a hostile environment, showed what Brady was capable of, no matter what the score. Besides a win for the team, the self-confidence factor for a guy that had to split time was probably immeasurable as well.

In addition, after starting out 1-3 against the Nittany Lions since they joined the conference, the amazing comeback was Michigan's third win in a row over Penn State, and they've never looked back (or lost).

Finally, the win - coupled with a victory over OSU a week later - locked up Michigan's first trip to a BCS bowl since the league joined the arrangement the previous year.

Ok, the list was going to be a little longer for today, but real life intrudes. More to come.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Top Ten Michigan Victories in Lloyd Carr Era

MZone reader Chad recently emailed us a suggestion that we should do a piece on the Top Ten Greatest Michigan Victories over the last ten seasons followed by the Top Ten Michigan Disappointments/Debacles.

With the 2006 season over and a lot of cyberspace to fill between now and September, we thought it was a brilliant suggestion. However, we decided to take it one step further and throw in 2 extra years so that it covers the entire Lloyd Carr Era, from '95 to the present.

The hardest thing for Benny and I about this list was defining what made a victory "great." Was it simply an exciting game? The importance? The expectations going in? What it did for the program? In the end, we think it is a combination of all of those. Of course, you might disagree which is the beauty of lists + a comments section.

So with that preamble out of the way, today we start off by presenting five victories which didn't quite make our Top Ten, but fell just short and thus are on the honorable mention list. Sort of like the "Also Receiving Votes" games of this list.


HONORABLE MENTION (in no particular order)

1997 - #14 Michigan 27, #8 Colorado 3

Why this was a big win: Michigan had posted back-to-back 8-4 marks in Carr's first two years (including consecutive bowl losses) and the Michigan faithful were getting restless. Coming into this game, not many people gave Michigan a chance against the highly-ranked Buffs. But under first year defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann, Michigan unleashed a defense that would lead the Wolverines to a National Title and Charles Woodson to the Heisman.

Why this didn't make the Top Ten: As important as it was, CU turned out to be an average team this year that didn't live up to its pre-season hype. Of course, by the time the country figured that out, the psychological boost to the Wolverines and springboard for the season was already secured. But, in terms of some sort of "comparison" in the pre-BCS days, this average CU team took Nebraska down to the wire that year.

1997 #5 Michigan 28, #15 Iowa 24

Why this was a big win: As the #5 team in the country in mid-October, Michigan was in the thick of the national title hunt. Yet the Hawkeyes were proving to be as tough as they always are and led the Wolverines 21-7 at the half. But behind the Griese to Tuman TE "waggle" play, Michigan fought back for a tough home victory, keeping them on track for a title run.

Why this didn't make the Top Ten: Basically, the entire '97 season could have made the list. When you win a national title, each game is important. But there were bigger victories that year in addition to the fact that Michigan, playing at home, while the comeback was valiant, should not have struggled this much even against a good Hawkeye team.

2000 Orange Bowl - #8 Michigan 35, #5 Alabama 34

Why this was a big win: The first OT game in Michigan history saw Michigan eek out a victory against another storied program in a BCS game in front of a national TV audience. The victory capped the third consecutive 10 win season for the Wolverines, their third straight bowl victory and showcased QB Tom Brady's amazing coolness under pressure as he led U-M back from a 28-14 3rd quarter deficit. You might have forgotten, but Brady actually gave Michigan a chance to win in regulation when he 4 of 5 on Michigan's final drive, taking the Wolverines from their own 31 to the 'Bama 18. But Hayden Epstein's 36 yard FG attempt on the last play was blocked, sending the game into OT.

Why this didn't make the Top Ten: Unfortunately, in this day and age of the BCS, this game didn't mean much. Yes, it was exciting and yes it accomplished the things above, but it was just about pride, even more so than a traditional Rose Bowl game without title stakes on the line.

2002 #13 Michigan 31, #11 Washington 29

Why this was a big win: It was the first game of the season against a traditional power. And since each game means something in college football (at least until you lose), a win kept Michigan eyeing a big 2002 season. Kicker Phillip Brabbs connected on a 44 yard FG with :06 seconds left after Troy Neinberg had already missed three earlier attempts, including a 27 yarder with under two minutes left.

Why this didn't make the Top Ten: Missing three FGs, including a chip shot which would have saved the need for the last second heroics isn't exactly a good things. Couple that with the fact that only an illegal participation penalty against Rick Neuheisel's team got Michigan in FG range to begin with and thus here it sits.

2005 Michigan 27, #8 Penn State 25

Why this was a big win: After losing to Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Minnesota in its first six games, Michigan was reeling as it limped into this home game against Penn State, which had rebounded from a number of dismal seasons that had many Penn State fans calling for JoePa's head. Michigan took a 21-18 lead with 3:25 left on a Garret Rivas FG. But, as would be the theme of the 2005 season, Michigan's D couldn't stop PSU as they drove 81 yards to take a 25-21 lead with less than a minute to play. But following Steve Breaston's 41 yard kickoff return and the infamous two extra seconds the refs put back on the clock (which Penn State fans are still bitching about someone on cyberspace, we're pretty sure), Chad Henne found Mario Manningham in the endzone on 4th and 4 from the Penn State 10 yard line with no time left.

Why this didn't make the Top Ten: We're still doing all we can to erase the 2005 season from our collective memories. And, as stated above, if the defense makes a stop on the final PSU drive, the game doesn't come down to the end. Then again, if the defense made just one stop in each game, this 7-5 team wouldn't have been 7-5.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

MZone Helpful Tip of the Day

While this has nothing to do with college football, it was sent by a friend and made me laugh. Plus, it can be very useful. Thus...

If you are sitting next to someone who irritates you on a plane, train or subway...
1. Quietly and calmly open up your laptop case.
2. Remove your laptop.
3. Turn it on.
4. Make sure the guy who won't leave you alone can see the screen.
5. Go to this post.
6. Close your eyes and tilt your head up to the sky.
7. Click on this link.
8. Enjoy.

Beer Bong Friday

From the accents, we're guessing these are exchange students. And folks, while Americans may suck at actual school and shit vis a vis the rest of the world, apparently we still do beer bongs better...

Oh, and she didn't get any better the second go 'round...

Two Minute Drill

Can't Wait to Hear This on YouTube

Apparently, the would-be sports marketer who allegedly gave Reggie Bush and his family loads of cash while he was still at USC made tapes of encounters with Bush in which he promises to pay back "their money." Oops.

That's Just Mean, Gator Fans

Mike sent us a link to a CafePress store that is REALLY rubbing the Florida BCS victory over THE Ohio State University in. The 82 in question refers to THE Ohio State University's total offensive output for the game.

And guys, we love a good jab at our Buckeye friends as much as anybody, but tile coasters and tote bags? Wow.

Who Knew Michael Vick was a Drag Queen

Customs officers in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou discovered 60 pounds of marijuana leaves hidden in 215 pairs of high-heeled women's shoes abandoned at the airport. No word yet from Atlanta Falcon officials what Michael Vick was doing in China.

This Makes Us Appreciate Those Buckeye Rappers

Been meaning to put up this YouTube clip that MZone reader David sent us. It's a (really shitty) rap video of the '88 FSU Seminoles. Oh...my...god.

It's Baaaaack

WVU jumps out to an early lead in the 2007 edition of EDSBS' Fulmer Cup.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Thursday Housekeeping

Due to some problem with Blogger, we were down much of the day yesterday. As such, we're going light today so Wednesday's comedy nuggets don't get buried for those that missed them (and so we can relax a bit).

Thus, below is one new post followed by the two from yesterday.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

New Ohio State Recruiting Weapon

If you read the site, you've probably seen the OSU Video Chick, the Buckeyes' secret recuiting ace in the hole. Well, the Bucks have gone and done it again...

Meet Raven Riley, a porn star (as evidenced by her NSFW site) and a big Buckeye fan judging from her pictures:

Best of all, when Ms. Riley says "Fuck Michigan," we don't mind. In fact, we hope she means it.

(HT: WhiteDawg)

If college football writers covered world events...

May 8, 1945

Berlin -- In the end, its capitol lay in ruins. In the end, the "master race" wasn't. In the end, it wasn't even close.

A conflict that started with the hope of world domination for the once top-ranked army on the planet ended in a rout as the Allies defeated Germany yesterday, ending World War II on the European continent. The loss dropped Germany to 0-2 this century in world wars and left its people asking themselves how a plan to rule the world had once again gone so terribly wrong.

But for those who watched, the answer was simple: speed. The Allies had it and the Germans couldn't match up. Whether it was the speed of the tanks, the speed of the planes and yes, even the speed on the grunts on the ground, the Germans had no answer for the Allies' offensive power.

A war that began with most pundits picking the Germans instead ended in disgrace for the heavily favored Nazis, its Thousand Year Reich coming up a mere 988 years short.

After Germany opened its quest with easy invasions of Poland and France, not many people gave the Allies a chance. And during the darkest hours of the Raids on London, it looked like the Nazi war machine might be able to wrap this one up early.

But it was not to be.

From the earliest days of the war, Allied generals were quietly whispering amongst themselves that the German blitzkrieg against lesser competition like the Poles and the French didn't prepare them for what the Allies could do.

"We watched a lot of tape of their invasion of France," said a jubilant Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander. "The French just sat back with their Maginot Line and let the Germans take the fight to them. We wanted to be the ones calling the shots."

And call the shots they did.

From their surprise landing in Normandy to the North African campaign, Eisenhower and his staff came up with a masterful gameplan that left the Nazis confused, befuddled and always guessing. From the moment of their D-Day invasion, the rout was on.

But as brilliant as Eisenhower and the Allies were, German leader Adolf Hitler's warplan for his squad was equally as bad. With western Europe on the ropes early, Hitler for some reason decided to open up a second front in the east with the Russians. A move that proved disastrous.

"If it works, he's a genius and we win it all," said Gunther Huuggenvagen just before he was hanged for war crimes. "I think if we just would have---aggggghhh!"

Even before their second crushing defeat in less than 50 years, support was building among the German people to oust their mercurial leader as secret underground printing presses were already beginning to crank out FireAdolfHitler.com and "You can't spell Adolf Hitler without two 'Ls'" newsletters. But, in the waning days of the war, Hitler made the point moot, abandoning the once-proud program by committing suicide in his Berlin bunker.

The Allied victory was especially sweet for United States President Harry "The Buck Stops Here" Truman who was following in the footsteps of legendary President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who died mere days before the U.S.-led victory.

"This one was for FDR!" shouted Truman before being drenched with Gatorade by his war cabinet. "And I think this ends once and for the debate all about which country is tougher."

But Truman added that there was still work to be done. "I'm going to tell my staff, my generals, my soldiers and the American people to enjoy this one for 24 hours. But then let's turn out attention to the Japanese."

When asked how he planned to defeat the Japanese on their home turf in the Pacific, Truman smiled and said, "I have a 'little' surprise for them."

And if what we just witnessed in Europe is any indication, it's probably a dandy. But don't take it from me, ask the Germans.

UPDATE: In a related story, following Hitler's departure, former Colorado and Washington head coach Rick Neuheisel has expressed interest in the German vacancy.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Please tell me these guys lost a bet

Gator Nation: From the heights of a BCS title to...this.

The horror. The horror.

(HT: WN)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Yeah, It's A Good Thing College Football Doesn't Do It Like This

What a great scenario it was that played out on Sunday. There were four great teams battling to go to the championship game. Four great and distinct stories. Both games played on the same day, back to back. A veritable orgy for a football lover.

The first game looked to be a blowout early, then got tight, and then the home team took over. For the last 10 minutes or so, the home fans - as numerous, devoted and loyal as any in sports - were able to share in this historic moment with their team, singing their fight song. They were also able to celebrate with their neighbors who they've known for the past 40 years only from the eight Sundays they spend together each Fall.

The second game featured a tremendous comeback that looked to fall just short. The seemingly snake bitten home team just didn't seem to have enough to slay the dragon that has kept them from drinking from the championship chalice so many times. But in the end the home crowd was once again able to celebrate.

And now we can look forward to a matchup of two great, history-laden franchises and crown a true champion of football for the 2006 season. No committees, no voting, no politics. Just great football.

Yeah, it's a good thing college football doesn't do it like this.

Instead we get teams rigging their schedules so they can be more likely to avoid a loss. We see teams running up the scores against limited opponents to impress schmucks like Mark May and Matt Hayes. We get about 300 meaningless bowl games leading up to the title game - where the participants are voted in, not unlike the way the "American Idol" finalists are chosen.

Sure, we'll occasionally see a Boise State-Oklahoma classic, but ultimately that was just an exhibition game. Yesterday's Patriots-Colts battle actually meant something on the field. And that makes it even more memorable, whether you're a die-hard Colts fan, or just a football fan. And that's why so many people still consider college football the minor leagues.

The NFL: Great...for One Out of 19 Weekends

Below is a rebuttal to Benny's pro-NFL playoffs post above.

Quick, anybody outside the Windy City name the Chicago Bears "fight song."

That's what I thought.

See, I didn't even know they had a fight song until Benny made the claim in his post above. And yeah, the Chicago's 39-14 victory over New Orleans was close...except for the first half until the last 46 seconds. Close...except for the 4th quarter. Close...except for 75% of the game.

Pinch me. I'm riveted.

Yet, my esteemed cohort, Benny, uses this NFL playoff game as an "example" to make his case that the pro game is better than the "minor leagues" of college football. As many of his pro-style playoff advocating ilk do this time of year when the NFL crowns its champion.

Granted, the Indy-New England game was a classic. One of the best pro games I've ever seen. But one great game does not make a great league. Nor does it make a strong case for a 16 team or 8 team playoff. Because the fact is, for most of the season, the NFL is about as exciting as an old Pauly Shore movie.

That's because, the regular season doesn't matter one tenth as much as the regular season does in college football. That's why the Colts can go into a late season slump, losing four of their last seven games, yet still have a shot to win it all. That's why three 9-7 teams and one 8-8 team made the playoffs (and you thought the Motor City Bowl had low standards and let some shit teams slide through?). Most importantly, that's why the Super Bowl doesn't crown the best football team for a given season but rather the hot football team at its end.

The college football game has many flaws in the way it chooses its champ. That's a given. But a pro-style 8 or 16 team playoff isn't the answer, even though such a system would have greatly been to Michigan's benefit this past season. Because it would take away what makes college football so great - the only major sport where every game matters if you want to win the title.

The big "Game of the (INSERT HYPERBOLE HERE)" between Michigan and Ohio State last November would have simply been about seeding. Ho hum. Would the loss that day have been that bitter? Not really.

And USC's loss to their arch rival UCLA, instead of knocking them out of the title game, would have simply dropped them to a #6 or #7 seed instead. Big deal.

So, yes, those were exciting pro games Sunday. But just remember all the meaningless dreck you have to wade through to get there. And remember that next September when you're glued to your TV from college football's first regular season game in September to its last in December while the NFL excitement hasn't even started yet.

P.S. Chicago Bears fight song? Yeah, wake up the echoes.

Raiders Hire Doogie Howser as Head Coach

The Oakland Raiders hired 31 year old USC offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin as its head coach making him the youngest NFL head coach since the days of leather helmets.

Thirty-one?! Marty Schottenheimer has socks older than that. Most BYU players are just finishing their sophomore year at that age.

And don't I feel like a schlep. Although, I did take my Madden '07 team to the Super Bowl the other day. So blow me, Lane.

The reason to drink those 8 glasses a day

While many folks have heard about Michael Vick and his mysterious water bottle, only the MZone has obtained the first exclusive pictures of the container in question. As you can tell, no wonder TSA officials in Miami were suspicious.

And if you missed it, check out this SNL clip about the situation...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Do other schools do this?

Eight players from the 2006 Ohio State football team, including recently declared juniors Anthony Gonzales and Antonio Pittman, will be signing selling autographs at an event in Zanesville, Ohio next Saturday.

Besides Pittman and Gonzales, the event's promoter said Antonio Smith, Roy Hall, T.J. Downing, Stan White Jr., Justin Zwick and Jay Richardson will also be signing autographs. Purchasing a $100 Super Ticket will net one autograph from each player. Pittman and Gonzales autographs will cost $20 each and other individual autographs will cost $15 each.

Now, while there's nothing technically wrong with this from an NCAA standpoint since the players are finished with their eligibility, something just doesn't feel right about it. Disagree if you want, Buck fans, but less than three weeks after the season ends, to have some promoter out there hawking autographs, makes one wonder. Did the promoter book this 1,700 seat auditorium well in advance then just hope some of these players would agree to participate once they were allowed? Or did he put all this money down the day after the BCS game on January 9th, risking what is probably a sizable investment by throwing this thing together in just a couple days?

I mean, from an NCAA standpoint, I'm assuming this guy couldn't approach the players in, say, November and say, "Gonzo, if you declare after the season, I have a sweet cash gig lined up for you," could he? The same promoter held a similar signing event last year, thus is there a - wink, wink - understanding that OSU players can do this once their eligibility ends?

The whole thing just raises a lot of questions. Most notably: who the fuck would stand in line to pay for Justin Zwick's autograph?

(HT: DW)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Two Minute Drill

Folks, we'd be lying if we didn't tell you these are the dog days of being a college football blogger. With the season over, before spring ball and recruiting really sets in, it's hard to find stuff related to our beloved sport to talk about. But, alas, we have a few nuggets...

* MVictors has a nice piece on the 1926 Michigan squad which was my Yost's last as coach and featured a captain by the name of Benny Friedman. This was also the year they broke ground on the Big House as this picture shows:

Rumor has it that even then, the University tried to charge the two guys standing near the bulldozer on the left a seat licensing fee.

* Gary at MemphisTider put up a good post recently about his ideas for a cfb playoff. Everybody has an opinion on how it should go. He offers a couple different scenerios.

* Fanblogs.com asks: Why isn't Charlie Weis in hot water after his team keeps getting smoked by any team with a pulse? (HT: DW)

* Sparty recently won where it counts most: the national mascot champion at the Universal Cheer Association's national championships at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. It is MSU's third victory in four years at the competition.

According to the Detroit News article linked above, Sparty overtook Minnesota's Goldy Gopher in the final round on Friday with his "Sparty's Spectacular" routine, in which he did his interpretations of KISS, Lord of the Dance and Justin Timberlake.

Yes, you read that correctly: Lord of the Dance and Justin Timberlake.

* Finally, we may just have another segment of the Blog Co-ed Showdown brewing with this (we-assume-now-former) Louisville cheerleader that so many of you sent us pictures of (bless you):

To see some of the many other pictures we couldn't put up on a family site such as the MZone, check out this link. WARNING: Not remotely safe for work unless you work at Penthouse.

Bengals fan flashes her team pride

I much prefer the college game to the pros. But the picture below which MZone reader MonkeyWrench32 saw over on Deadspin just might make me reconsider.

Why is it I never seem to sit next to fans like this at football games? I always get stuck beside the drunk fat guy with the small bladder.

And is it just me, or do you get the impression if this happened at the Big House somebody would have yelled, "Down in front!"

Beer Bong Friday

Another in a semi-regular series.

This is wrong on so many levels. Uh...happy birthday?

Ah, her parents must be so proud.

A little timeout from college football to welcome the newest Piston

Former Wolverine basketballer Chris Webber made his debut with the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night. Webber, who was bought out by the Philadelphia 76ers earlier in the week, chose to play with his hometown Pistons instead of signing with a number of other interested teams.

But will he be welcome back in Michigan? Judging by the standing ovation that he received by Piston fans at The Palace while he attended Monday's game, and when he entered the game on Wednesday, it would seem like all is forgotten. But then maybe there were a lot of Spartan fans in attendance.

Webber has been persona non grata in Ann Arbor, and among most Michigan fans ,since it was alleged that he accepted $280,000 from former Michigan booster Ed Martin. In 2002, Webber admitted that he lied to a grand jury which was investigating Martin.

In this age of athletes getting cheered despite being hardened criminals, serial abusers, and having more kids out of wedlock than they do rebounds per game, all Webber has on his blotter is perjury. Not exactly a spotless record, but hardly a menace to society.

Of course Michigan fans take the perjury personally. Webber's eventual admission of accepting money from Martin continued Michigan's death spiral in basketball that began when Webber called the ill-fated timeout in the championship game against North Carolina in 1993. The Wolverines have made the NCAA tournament only four times since then, and not at all since 1998.

There's no doubt that Webber deserves blame for helping ruin Michigan basketball after his departure for the NBA. And though taking money from a booster is not a crime to society at large, as college athletics go, it's severe. But to continue to loathe Chris Webber - and to blame him for the current sad state of Michigan basketball - is excessive.

Would I cheer for Webber when Mason introduces him at The Palace if I were in attendance? Probably not. But I also wouldn't boo him and/or heckle him throughout the game. My hatred for Webber, much like his effect on the Michigan basketball program, has washed away.


The following is a rebuttal by Yost to Benny's post above.

I still loathe him. He's a cheater. Period. Next question.

(Thanks to AS for the story suggestion)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Uh, is he a football coach or on the board of a Fortune 500 company?

Former N.C. State coach Chuck Amato is returning to Florida State to join the new and improved staff of Bobby Bowden. Amato previously spent 18 years at FSU under Bowden during the 80s and 90s.

My favorite part of this story: his title. Amato joins the Seminoles as its executive head coach and linebackers coach.

Not being familiar with the management structure of college football boardrooms now that D-1 football coaches are paid more than the CEO of AT&T, I'm confused: is the Executive Head Coach title one step up from Senior Vice President of Head Coaching and Chief Operating Coach? Or is it a step down from Managing Director of Gridion Operations and a lateral move from Deputy General Counsel of Football

Little Help

Ok, while I know our readers probably don't sit around TiVo'ing the ABC TV show WIFE SWAP, we're hoping somebody's wife/girlfriend/other happened to tape it and can put a clip associated with the following up on YouTube. That's because we got the email below today from MZone reader AD:;

"Please tell me you guys caught Wife Swap this week. I normally don’t watch it but the Buckeye rage caught my eye and I had to tune in. Use your vast resources to find and post the segment in which a crazed OSU fan screams at a dwarf over the location of his TV remote. Yes, you read the last sentence correctly."

Needless to say, our curiosity is piqued, to put it mildly. So, any help out there?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

MZone Caption Contest

Get those creative juices flowing for this dandy...

Here's what we came up with...

"Spiderman is almost busted after having an affair with Troy Smith's girlfriend."

And this...

"With the library was closed, Mike Cooper decided to try and fuck his apartment building."

Leave us your best in the comments section.

Yes, Another Minnesota Post

I know a lot of MZone readers feel we spend too much time posting about Minnesota, and sometimes it's hard to argue with them. In fact, a few people have pointed out that they think the "M" in "MZone" really stands for "Minnesota."

Look, I wouldn't say we're obsessed with the Gophers, but it's true that they do get a lot of mentions on this site. Of course, when we're given so much great material by them and as our main rival due to the Little Brown Jug, how can we avoid it?

Of course the worst part for us is, each time we mention them, I know the Gopher trolls like Gopher1377 and MinnesotaOverUSC are going to flood our comments saying things like "2005, bitch!," or that Mason "pwned" Lloyd, and the old standard: "You can't spell Lloyd without two Ls...ok, actually you can do it with one 'L' unless you go back and count 1986." But with the stats to back it up, like that lone victory since the Reagan Administration, sometimes, we have to just take it.

That's why, with so much animosity between our two schools, we put up as many posts as we do and have to get our shots in whenever we can. Especially against their fans who once pointed at a U-M fan who strayed into the Metrodome for a game said, "Hey, you're from Michigan!"

But, for a change, this post is not a poke at our bitter rodent rivals. It's actually a bit of Big 10 news that we couldn't avoid posting about: Minnesota is set to announce that Tim Brewster will be named the new head coach of Golden Gopher football. Brewster, who captained the Big Ten winning Illinois team in 1984 (you remember, the one that coach Mike White built and then paid for with NCAA sanctions), was most recently tight ends coach with the Denver Broncos.



Tim Brewster?


We feel so proud today

Many of you may remember Grant Thompson who joined Benny and me during our College Football America shows on NowInLA.com. Well...

Grant all done growed up and now has his own weekly show on the site starting today. It's called The Sports Pulse with Grant Thompson and airs for 2pm-4pm EST (11am-1pm PST).

Be sure to check it out.

UPDATE: Yours truly is going to be a guest on the show at 2:15 EST/11:15 PST

Thirty-Six More OSU Players Declare for NFL Draft

(from MZone wire reports) - Columbus, OH - Running back Antonio Pittman and receiver Ted Ginn Jr. joined receiver Anthony Gonzalez in announcing they would skip their senior year at Ohio State to enter the NFL draft. This brings the total number of Buckeyes leaving early for the pros to 74.

Among those also declaring early were third string kicker Buck Henderson, Frank Giraldi a walk-on who never played one down in 3+ years riding the bench and Carol Sunkowski, the girl who holds coach Jim Tressel's headset cord on the sidelines during games.

"I was starting to feel bad for Michigan," said Tressel when asked about all the players leaving his team. "I mean, I've won - what is it? - five out of the last six against them? So fuck it. I told the players all to go on, get the hell out of here."

Tressel added that "just for shits and giggles, with so many positions to fill, I'm going to see if I can beat them next season with Tri-Delt president Becky Tollin as my starting quarterback and Hun Lee Kang, an exchange student from Taipei playing running back and a little defensive end. Hell, I might even throw Justin Zwick in there for a couple plays. Just kidding. Is he still here?"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

U-M's New 4-Star DB Recruit

Last week, we put up a highlight clip of future U-M QB Ryan Mallet from the Army All-American game. Today, we bring you Mike Williams of California, who committed to Michigan during the same game.

Welcome to Michigan, Mike and...

Go Blue!

What Happened To The Hula Bowl?

I noticed that the Hula Bowl was on ESPN on Sunday night. I actually flipped up there for a few minutes, but didn't watch for long. I found the game kind of depressing.

I remember as a kid really enjoying the Hula Bowl. The stadium was pretty full, all of the top college players were playing, the game was a major ABC broadcast and it didn't come at the end of an already full football day.

Now the game is in some tiny stadium, many of the top players don't participate for fear of lowering their draft status, only seniors are allowed to play, and ESPN sends the Gary Thorne-Andre Ware crew, so you know it's not a high priority game.

So what happened? Did I enjoy it more as a kid because there were only three channels and my choices were so limited? Is it because the quality of players and thus the quality of play has diminished? Or is it because there are so many bowl games on TV now, that another one, like the Hula Bowl, is just gluttonous, and gives most fans no real reason to watch? Kind of like the International Bowl.

Free At Last - At Least Some of Us

For those out of the office, enjoy the day off. For those poor saps stuck in a cube check out the post Yost put up over the weekend. You won't be disappointed.

Blog to you on Tuesday.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

College Football Blogger Awards - complete nominee list

Rocky Top Talk has put up a post with the complete list of nominees for all the College Football Blogger Awards.

Too Funny Not to Post

Nothing to do with college football but it's January for cryin' out loud. And this made me laugh.

Check out Paula Abdul's interview from Thursday with a Seattle TV station. Her publicist swears she's not drunk. Oooookay. So if it's not alcohol...

Friday, January 12, 2007

The more things change...

Check out the first 30 seconds or so of this clip from a Jimi Hendrix concert from way back when. Or at least I think it from way back when. If not for Hendrix's untimely death in 1970, judging by his remarks, this could have been from any number of years from the 70s, 80s or more recently.

(HT: JC and the other person who sent us this but whose email we can't find. But you know who you are)

Hey, Those Oxygen Tents Don't Pay For Themselves

Tosu wide reciever Anthony Gonzalez announced yesterday that he is foregoing his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft.

Is Ted Ginn next?

What kind of offense will they have if they lose their QB and three of their top four receivers?

Is it pathetic that I'm starting to feel that the only way Michigan will beat the Buckeyes is if all their great players leave?

Whatever the case, Gonzalez will not be missed by Michigan, a team he shredded over the last three years to the tune of 10 receptions for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns as well as an amazing catch to set up tOSU's winning td in the 2005 game.

Best wishes, Anthony. It wasn't so great knowing you. And just think what kind of oxygen tents those NFL millions will buy! You might even be able to afford an oxygen house now.

If this is on Classic, where does Boise-OU air?

While flipping around the stations last Sunday morning, I happened to stop on ESPN Classic. I noticed that Penn State was playing and I was trying to pinpoint the game being shown. Was it the 1987 Fiesta Bowl when they upset Miami? Maybe it was the double overtime Orange Bowl win over Florida State from last year?

Nope. It was this year's Outback Bowl win over Tennessee.


I saw a fair amount of that game live. It was actually a pretty dull game for such a close contest. It was a good win for Penn State, but even the most die-hard Nittany Lion fan would have trouble claiming it was a "classic."

And if this is the new standard for a "classic," what's next for ESPN? Any game pitting two well known teams? Last fall's West Virginia-Eastern Washington 52-3 thriller? Or maybe that great Spring game between the blue and the white teams in Ann Arbor in 1986.

C'mon, guys. You're supposed to be the WWL. You can do better. I think.

For Your Consideration...The MZone?

Screw the Golden Globes, the 2006 College Football Blogger Award nominations are up at Rocky Top Talk and yours truly was nominated in three categories.

Our first nomination is for The Trev Alberts Quits To Do Construction Award (Funniest Blog). The other nominees are EDSBS, Hey Jenny Slater, Fire Mark May, and Losers With Socks.

We also were nomintated for The Jenn Sterger's Rack Award (Best photoshop or other gag of the year) for our Coaches' Halloween Costume post. In addition to a couple of the blogs mentioned above, we're nominated with Sunday Morning Quarterback, Tiger Smack, and Tressel's World.

Our final nomination came for the Best Big Ten Blog along with MGoBlog, Black Shoe Diaries, The Ciskie Blog, and Buckeye Commentary.

Wow. From the depths of the Colin Cowherd Controversy to the heights of-- I'm sorry, we might need a moment here. I mean, it's just an honor to be nominated. Really. Yost and I have been reading EDSBS and SMQB since we were little kids and now, we're nominated with them? And to be mentioned in the same breath along with MGoBlog, Hey Jenny Slater, Buckeye Commentary, Tressel's World, The Ciskie Blog, Black Shoe Diaries, Fire Mark May and INSERT ANYBODY WE FORGOT HERE, I mean, we've been linking to these guys since the TRS-80 days, so it's like going up against family. Just being nominated is like winning. Only not, because it's not winning.

And the best thing about being nominated for one of these cyber awards is, we don't have to dress up for some stuffy awards show. Hell, we don't even have to wear pants. Suh-weeet!

If you're interested in voting, head over to the MGoBlog Voting Machine and cast your ballot. The only caveat is that you have to have a blog that regularly posts on college football to be eligible to vote.

And even though being nominated made our day, should we actually win an award we promise to be like Sally Field...

And if we lose - even though there are no losers in this contest - we promise not be like Faith Hill...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

MZone Caption Contest

Dust off your inner 8th grader for this pic from Clemson's 28-20 loss to Kentucky in the Music City Bowl last month:

Here's what we came up with:

"Coach, I SWEAR I wasn't thinking about your daughter."
(HT: JK)

Piling On

The material in the wake of Florida's BCS victory over our friends in Ohio continues to come our way. Thus, as uninvolved completely neutral observers, we simply pass it on.

First up, Paul at Georgia Sports Blog sends us this picture of the Best Damn Band in the Land's other famous formation:

Next, check out a more honest display of Buckeye body painting in the wake of OSU's Disaster in the Destert:

I knew the Florida D caused havoc for Troy Smith but I didn't know it was this bad until our buddy DG sent us a pic making the rounds in Gainesville...

Jonathan Tu says Riot-fearing Columbus requests assistance from Bartertown, Master Blaster.

Finally, we bring you this dandy from the O-zone. We've taken the liberty of changing the man's "priceless" joke to something a little more appropriate:

To our readers...

The MZone has become more popular than Benny and I could have ever hoped or dreamed. And much of that success is owed to you, the MZone reader. You folks send us stuff that literally has us howling. We truly enjoy all the emails we get, even if its just a quick note saying how much you enjoy the site. Trust us when we say, sometimes it's things like that that keep us spending so much time keeping our little blog chugging along.

However, we now get so much email that to respond to each and every email individually - as we've tried to do in the past - has started to add much more time to our blogging day. Sometimes as much as working on the posts themselves. Which is tough because, while the MZone is a hobby we both love, we have these real jobs and - contrary to the stereotype of bloggers - relationships to maintain (ok, so it's just Benny's WARCRAFT clan group that his mom lets meet in their basement once a month, but still).

Thus, while we promise to continue to read each and every email we receive, we won't be able to reply to them all. It was either that or so long WARCRAFT. And that is a line in the sand (and Benny's mom's basement) we simply refuse to cross.

Thanks for reading!

Benny & Yost

U-M's 5-Star QB Recruit Shines at All-Star Game

Much has been made about "prized" ND QB recruit Jimmy Clausen. I guess that's what happens when the kid shows up to announce his college choice in a limo. But check out Stewart Mandel's comments on SI.com following last Saturday's U.S. Army All-America Game for the country's top high school players:

"I think the most interesting development to come out of Saturday’s U.S. Army All-America Game is the cloud of skepticism that’s starting to surround all-everything Notre Dame QB recruit Jimmy Clausen. From what I was told by people who were there, Clausen didn’t look nearly as good as Michigan recruit Ryan Mallet. And a New York Times feature on Clausen prior to the game included several anonymous critiques from coaches questioning his attitude and level of competition in high school."

Not so good news for ND. Very good news for Michgan.

To see what Mandel's talking about, our good pal JZ put this clip together of Ryan Mallet highlights from that game. The kid looked great!

Welcome to A2, Ryan. Glad to have you aboard.

Go Blue!

(HT: Kev for the SI article)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Dancing on the OSU Grave?

Although some unnamed bloggers enjoyed the beat down/ass raping that tOSU suffered at the hands of the Gators on Monday night, we can't really gloat. After all, the Buckeyes beat Michigan fair and square last November. And, as some Bucks never fail to remind us, they have a bit of streak going against the Wolverines.

But, as a Michigan site, we get a lot of e-mail from Michigan and anti-Ohio State fans. And it really poured in after the championship game. And, well, some of it is just too good not to share.

First is a pic of the OSU band. We're not sure if this was before or after they did their big TITANIC halftime show, although both were just as appropriate considering how things were going at that point.

Even more amazing: the run by the dude from the "t" over to dot the "i" was the longest gain by a Buckeye all night.

(HT: JN, C-line)

Next is a screenshot you might remember from the FOX broadcast of a heartbroken young Buckeye fan...

When I saw this kid on TV on Monday I almost started to feel sorry for him. But then I remembered that he called me a fag about 15 times on November 18. And his dad is probably a donut thrower.

(HT: JB)

Our third picture was gleaned from the O-Zone Forum, which in an act of schadenfreude I read on Tuesday morning. It wasn't reported during the game, but apparently Ted Ginn injured his foot during the celebration following his game-opening kick return for a TD. I think the supplied caption says it all.

That's senior WR Roy Hall on the "tackle." It's as good as any made by the Buckeyes all night. And, yes, I wish the Wolverines could have tackled Ginn as well in Columbus. Or at least Roy Hall would have helped us, too.

Finally, in an act of detente, we here at the MZone offer up the following to help our fallen Buckeye fans cheer up, at least a little bit. We'll probably regret this when they start spelling Lloyd's name with 5 L's again, or point out Tressel's record against the Wolverines - AGAIN, but we thought we'd show what the MZone is all about: Making fun of anyone. Even ourselves.

Thus, we offer up...


(HT: JN. The picture is by Jim Davidson of the Ozone.net who always seems to get the best shots)

Ok, let's say we both burn those bowl tapes. Here's to November 2007 in A2!

Final MZone Top 25

Well, this is it, the final poll of the 2006 season. As such, we must give a big thanks to Brian at MGoBlog for inviting us to participate and running this whole thing.

1Florida 2
2Boise State 9
3Ohio State 2
4Southern Cal 2
5LSU 1
6Louisville 1
7Michigan 5
8Wisconsin 1
10Rutgers 9
11Texas 5
12Oklahoma 4
13California 11
14West Virginia 4
15Brigham Young 5
16Wake Forest 3
17Virginia Tech 5
18Notre Dame 8
19Boston College 4
20Oregon State 1
21Penn State 1
22Georgia 4
23Arkansas 9
24TCU 2
25Hawaii 1

Dropped Out: Tennessee (#15), Texas A&M (#17), Nebraska (#25).

Is it perfect? No, polls never are. Plus, the season's over. After the top 5, it's really a crapshoot.