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Friday, December 31, 2010

Know Your Foe - Mississippi State 2010

As hard as it is to believe, it really has been 34 days since the season ended with (another) humiliating defeat at the hands of the Buckeyes in Columbus. Believe it or not, It really has only been 34 days of "Is he going to get fired today?" -- to me it seems like 344 days. Tomorrow the 2010 Michigan Wolverines end their long and strange journey in Jacksonville at the Gator Bowl against Mississippi State. If someone had told me in August we would be playing in a New Years Days bowl - I would have smiled and signed up in a second. But somehow this rough journey back to college football mediocrity has not been as fun as I thought. Here are some essential facts about our foes from the deep south.

History: The school was created by the Mississippi State Legislature on February 28, 1878 as The Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi (or Mississippi A&M). As you would expect with a name like that, it was one of the national land-grant colleges established after Congress passed the Morrill Act in 1862.

This new university received its first students in the fall of 1880 under the leadership (and presidency) of former Confederate General Stephen D. Lee. Lee is famous for being the youngest Confederate Lieutenant General in the American Civil War. Lee was the officer that first delivered the "surrender and evacuate" ultimatum message at Fort Sumter to start the war. After the wars started he fought and led troops in many major battles including the Peninsula Campaign, Second Bull Run, and Antietam where his cannons played a prominent role in defending the ground near the famed Dunker Church. He was also taken as a prisoner of war after the fall of Vicksburg, was returned to the Confederate Army during a exchange and eventually wounded in the Battle of Nashville. He fought until the bitter end of the war, finally surrendering with Joseph E. Johnston's troops in April 1965.

Other important dates: In 1932, the Legislature renamed the university as Mississippi State College. In 1958 it was again renamed the university as Mississippi State University after Graduate programs had been established. In July 1965, Richard E. Holmes became the first African-American student to enroll at the school.

Location: Mississippi State is located in Starkville. It is the state of Mississippi's largest university and is also the largest employer of Starkville and dominates the city's economy. Artifacts in the form of clay pot fragments and artwork tell us that the Starkville area has been inhabited for over 2100 years. The modern European settlement of the Starkville area was started after the Choctaw inhabitants of Oktibbeha County surrendered their claims to land in the area in the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830. A mill southwest of town provided clapboards which gave the town its original name, Boardtown. In 1835, Boardtown's name was changed to Starkville in honor of Revolutionary War hero General John Stark.

The town is the birthplace of National Baseball Hall of Famer Cool Papa Bell. In 1965 Johnny Cash was arrested for public drunkenness, though he described it as being picked up for picking flowers, spawning a song and the Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Festival which is held each year. In 2006, Starkville became the first city in Mississippi to adopt a smoking ban for indoor public places, including restaurants and bars.

Academics: The university offers 78 bachelor's degree programs, 59 master's degree programs, and 35 doctoral degree programs. listed among the "100 Best Values in Public Colleges" in Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine. The list recognizes institutions that are "noteworthy for their combination of top flight academics and affordable costs." Now listed at 88th, it is the only Mississippi institution included in the national publication's annual survey. Forbes magazine has ranked Mississippi State University among the top 20 of its top 100 best college buys in America.

Ask any SEC fan which school has the worst academic reputation in the conference, and more than likely you will get told: Mississippi State. According to the US News & World Report National University Rankings. the school is ranked 151st. This is good enough to make MSU the 2nd ranked school in the state of Mississippi, behind Ole Miss (ranked 143rd nationally).

Alumni: Famous Mississippi State people include WorldCom whistle blower and 2002 Time co-person of the year, Cynthia Cooper. Former DOW Chemical president Hunter W. Henry Jr. and Fred Carl, Jr., Founder and CEO of Viking Range. Mississippi State also educated former US Senator and reformed racist John C. Stennis. Notorious American gangster Machine Gun Kelly lived in Starkville and enrolled in the university to study agriculture in 1917.

Famous ex-MSU athletes include former baseball stars Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro, Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon and Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter. Former football stars D.D. Lewis and Fred Smoot and former basketball player Eric Dampier.

No former US Presidents or Astronauts.

Nickname, Mascot, Colors, Helmets, and Fight Song: They call themselves the Bulldogs, but MSU teams have answered to a couple of different nicknames through the years. The first squads were called Aggies. When the school officially became Mississippi State College in 1932 the nickname changed to Maroons. It wasn't until 1961 that Bulldogs became the official title for teams. Yet references to bulldogs actually go back to early in the century, and this nickname was used almost interchangeably with both Aggies and Maroons, since at least 1905.

As is the case with several SEC teams, there is some confusion with mascots (Ole Miss Rebels/Black Bears & Auburn Tigers/War Eagles comes to mind). Nonetheless, a live bulldog was first used official game mascot in 1935 when coach Major Ralph Sasse sent his team to Memphis to select a bulldog puppy. They named him Ptolemy and the Bulldogs Maroons promptly defeated Alabama 20-7.

A litter-mate of Ptolemy became the first mascot named 'Bully I' shortly after Sasse's team beat mighty Army 13-7 at West Point. This is considered the greatest victory in MSU football history. But "Bully I" earned other fame the hard way, in 1939 he was killed by a campus bus. Days of campus mourning followed, as Bully lay in state in a glass coffin. A half-mile funeral procession accompanied by the the Famous Maroon Band and three ROTC battalions went to Scott Field where Bully was buried under the bench at the 50-yard line. Even LIFE Magazine covered to the event. Other Bullys have since been buried by campus dorms, fraternity houses, and also at the football stadium.

On November 15, 1895, the first Mississippi A&M football team was preparing for a road trip to play Southern Baptist University. Since every college was supposed to have its own uniform colors, the student body requested that the school's team select a suitable combination. Considering making this choice an honor, the inaugural football team gave the privilege to team captain W.M. Matthews. History records that without hesitation Matthews chose Maroon and White.

Only once has a MSU team appeared in any other color combination. In 1938 football coach Spike Nelson secretly had cardinal and gold uniforms made, a selection that did not sit well with the team or the college at the first game. Neither the uniforms nor Nelson were back for the next season.

They currently wear maroon helmets with maroon face masks adorned with a simple block M/State ribbon combo. During the years 2004-2008 they wore white helmets with a similar logo. They have also used an interlocking MSU helmet logo in the recent past. In general, the MSU helmets are about as generic as you will find in the SEC and all of college football.

The words and music for the Mississippi State Fight Song called "Hail State" were written by Joseph Burleson Peavey in 1939.

Hail dear 'ole State!
Fight for that victory today.
Hit that line and tote that ball,
Cross the goal before you fall!
And then we'll yell, yell, yell, yell!
For dear 'ole State we'll yell like H-E-L-L!
Fight for Mis-sis-sip-pi State,
Win that game today!

What is the deal with these Cow Bells? Cow bells are a significant part of any Mississippi State University experience. The tradition began after a jersey cow wandered on to the football field in the early 1900s, disrupting a game. Subsequently, they won the football game, and the cow became a symbol of good luck. Eventually, the cow was replaced with just the cow's bell. Handles were welded onto the bells to ease ringing, and cowbells are now manufactured and sold specifically as athletic noisemakers.

Cowbells seem to be as important to MSU fans as winged helmets are to us. They decorate offices and homes of alumni and they are passed down through generations of Bulldog fans. These bells are not heard at Southeastern Conference games (not legally, at least). In 1974, the SEC vote 9-1 to ban them issuing a conference rule against 'artificial noisemakers' at football and basketball games. Don't worry -- Michigan will hear them loud and proud during the Gator Bowl.

Football: Mississippi State is a charter member of the Southeastern Conference. They have been playing football at Mississippi State since 1895 and the SEC has been around since 1932. In that time, the Bulldogs have won exactly one SEC conference title (1941). They also won the 1998 SEC West division -- but lost to Tennessee in the SEC title game.

Their primary rival is the University of Mississippi. They play annually in a trophy game called the Egg Bowl. Ole Miss leads the series 41-60-6. The Bulldogs also have a heated, yet lopsided rivalry with Alabama and their game is sometimes referred to as the "90 Mile Drive" or the "Battle for Highway 82". Alabama leads that series by an astounding 17-73-3 record.

Mississippi State has an all-time bowl record of 8-6, highlighted by wins in the 1941 Orange Bowl, the 1963 Liberty Bowl, and the 1999 Peach Bowl. Most recently, the Bulldogs defeated the Conference USA champion UCF Kinghts 10-3 in the 2007 Liberty Bowl. Saturday will be the first bowl appearance in for Head coach Dan Mullen, who in direct contrast to the Michigan coaching situation just signed an expensive extension.

Nick Bell: On Tuesday, November 2, 2010 Mississippi State defensive end Nick Bell died after a short battle with cancer. He was 20 years old. Bell, from Bessemer, Ala., was diagnosed in late September after experiencing headaches during football practice and had surgery in October to remove a mass from his brain. He had another emergency surgery a few weeks later after it was found that the cancer had aggressively spread throughout his body. Bell played in four games this season, starting two, including his final game against Georgia on Sept. 25. He made seven total tackles, including two for a loss. He played in all 12 games as a redshirt freshman in 2009, making 16 tackles.

Other Sports: Not many people think of this, but the Bulldogs are much more of a basketball school. They have had a lot more success on the hardwood, including nine SEC championships, ten NCAA tournament appearances, and a Final Four in 1996. They also have a pretty strong baseball program, making eight College World Series appearances, the last being in 2007.

I could not find any record of NCAA titles in any sport, but in 2009 the disc golf club won the National Championship at the Collegiate Disc Golf Championship in Augusta, Ga.

The Game: This will be Michigan’s third appearance at the Gator Bowl. Bo brought his Wolverines against Lawrence Taylor's North Carolina Tarheels and lost 17-15 at the 1979 Gator Bowl. In 1991, Desmond Howard had his coming out party as Michigan curb stomped Ole Miss 35-3.

I expect this game to be very much like many of our games this year. High scoring, entertaining, and ultimately resting on Denard Robinson's capable shoulders and our defensive ability (or inability) to make stops. I would not be surprised if Michigan comes out like we did against UConn: crisp, confident, and dominate the game. But then again we could come out and play like we did against the other "State" schools we played this year (Michigan State, Penn State, and Ohio State) causing me to start my annual New Years Day channel surfing early and dreaming about a new era.

End of the day prediction?

Michigan: Jim Harbaugh
Miss State: Dan Mullen

Thursday, December 30, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Tate Forcier ruled ineligible for Gator Bowl

Sophomore QB Tate Forcier was ruled ineligible for Michigan's Gator Bowl game against Mississippi State on Saturday "for not meeting university standards."  Michigan will not discuss the reasons behind the suspension citing privacy issues although many assume it's for academic reasons.

No word at this time if coach Rich Rodriguez, AD Dave Brandon or the Gator Bowl CEO are lobbying school or NCAA officials in order to have the suspension postponed until the 2011 season.

What did the Sugar Bowl CEO know and when did he know it?

ED. NOTE:  This is one of those stories that gets me so pissed off, I have a hard time writing a coherent column.  So please bear with me as I try not to simply segue into rant mode.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan admits he lobbied Ohio State to keep the Tat Five (and the 6th dude nobody's really talking about) eligible for the game against Arkansas on January 4th. 

Sugar Bowl CEO...and NCAA violations adviser
Even better, while the suspensions of the Tat Five (and the 6th dude nobody cares about) were announced on December 22nd, folks will be happy to know that the CEO of the Sugar Bowl was told about possible suspensions on December 7th - two full weeks before they were handed out publicly.

Yes, you read that correctly: bowl officials were given an early heads up regarding ongoing NCAA investigations, violations and school disciplinary matters.  Awesome!  No potential problem there, huh?

Apparently Ohio State AD Gene Smith told Hoolahan they were trying to push the suspensions back to the 2011 season and Hoolahan told Smith how strongly he felt about the players participating in the Sugar Bowl:

"I made the point that anything that could be done to preserve the integrity of this year's game, we would greatly appreciate it.  That appeal did not fall on deaf ears, and I'm extremely excited about it, that the Buckeyes are coming in at full strength and with no dilution."

Oh, that's rich.  Did he really say "integrity?"  Is there video?  Because I'd love to see if he said it with a straight face.  Or, like some Hollywood actor, it took him several takes ("I made the point that anything that could be done to preserve the int... preserve the integ... *snicker* ...the integret-bwahaha!  I'm sorry, can I try that again?").

Then again, maybe the reporter got it wrong and mistyped "integrity" when he really said "ratings" or "future TV contracts" or "assloads of money."

Yeah, yeah, I know - he was using integrity to mean "the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire."  I'm guessing the irony of its more common usage -
"adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty" - was lost on him.

Of course the bigger irony of it all is that while his lobbying efforts proved to indeed be successful, the game is now certain to have a lot of things, but integrity definitely won't be one of them.  Because while all the bodies will be on the field, the game will now be more diluted than if Tressel had the balls to sit the Tat Five (and the other dude).

And Hoolahan wasn't alone in his lobbying efforts.  The Dispatch article states that OSU officials, along with Big Ten commissioner Jjim Delany, were also among those who successfully lobbied the NCAA to reinstate the players for the Sugar Bowl.

Yes, that Jim Delany.  The one who blasted the NCAA for its Cam Newton decision saying "there ought to be accountability.  There ought to be consequences" and questioned the NCAA interpretation of its rules:

"This was an opportunity to apply a very reasonable concept.  They chose to go with a very high standard instead of what's more of a reasonable application given the facts and reality that we're dealing with."

Exactly.  A "reasonable application" - i.e. letting 5 dudes (and a 6th guy we shouldn't even bother mentioning anymore) who got busted for getting extra benefits and selling shit against the rules start their suspension when its more convenient.

Like, say, after a bowl game.  Part of the NCAA's little-known but very, very, very reasonable "Start your suspension when you want" bylaw.

A bylaw AD Smith - and especially Tressel - should be ashamed they embraced.

Surprisingly, it's a large number of Buckeye fans who are disappointed that the players are getting a Sugar Bowl pass.  Something not lost on Hoolahan who said that he was aware that many Scarlet and Gray fans felt that the players should not be allowed to play in his bowl game.

"I appreciate and fully understand the Midwestern values and ethics behind that.  But I'm probably thinking of this from a selfish standpoint."

Gee, you think?

And I love how he says "Midwestern values" and "ethics behind that," like they're a couple of quaint little concepts only rubes who don't use his definition of "integrity" adhere to.

But please don't say you fully understand them.  Take it from this Midwesterner - you don't.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Uhhh.... I am sorry, no really I am.

After watching this video, I could not help but ask myself: What is it that these remorseful buckeyes could possibly be looking down at during this emotional and gut wrenching press conference?

Thanks to the power of the internet, I did some quick investigative work and came up with the answer.

Wallpaper Wednesday - The Gator Bowl

HT to the incredible Fraser Davidson and his jaw dropping new revo helmet template.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Sing along with me....

"It's the most wonderful time of the year!"


While watching a myriad of games, you can also play BCS Bowl Week Bingo.  Use the following card for each game, for only the BCS games, in team competition, or as a dual bingo/drinking game.  The possibilities are endless !

So, pop the top, kick up the footrest, change the batteries in the remote and ENJOY!

Even if we did it in jest it wouldn't be as "good" as the real thing

Oh, where to begin regarding the video below I saw in a comment thread on MGoBlog...

Fuck it.

Watch. Manually shut your "agape" mouth. Leave a comment.

I hope that was staged.   Seriously.   If not...

Monday, December 27, 2010

MZone Exclusive: Brutus latest Buckeye busted in Tatgate

(from MZone wire reports) Columbus, OH - The Tatgate scandal in Columbus continues to grow.

Last week, five Ohio State football players - including star QB Terrelle Pryor - were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for receiving improper benefits, including tattoos for autographs.  Now, another Buckeye has admitted to improperly benefiting from his association to Ohio State football: Brutus Buckeye.

The MZone has learned that the long-time Ohio State mascot received free tattoos at the same parlor as the other busted Buckeyes in exchange for his autograph, the small white Tosu towel he covers his crotch with, and one so-called Akron Steamer.  As you can see in our exclusive photos below, Brutus got "sleaved" on both arms and had a "tramp stamp" tattooed on his lower back.

Brutus also sold his trophy for being named one of the eight finalists in the Capitol One Mascot of the Year contest and a urine-colored trinket the once-beloved Buckeye mascot gets each season if he doesn't get his ass kicked by another mascot.  He sold the trophy for $63.89 cents and his 2009 urine-colored-jewelry thingee for $11.95 on eBay. 

While many Buckeye fans said Brutus should immediately be banned from the OSU sidelines and not be allowed on the field for the team's upcoming Sugar Bowl appearance, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith was quick to leap to the mascot's defense, saying the punishment should be mitigated because of how Brutus used the money he received.

“The time this occurred with Brutus was a very tough time in our society. It’s one of the toughest economic environments in our history,” Smith said. “The decisions that he made he made to help his family, feed the poor, and cure childhood illness in Somali.”

Smith also started to say some other ridiculous shit but was cut off by school officials before he could further make an ass out of himself.

Et tu, Brutus?

What else would Brutus's tramp stamp say?

Props to Ohio State Fans: Yes, you read that correctly

ED. NOTE:  No drugs or alcohol were consumed prior to the writing of this post (although I did inhale a copious amount of exhaust fumes yesterday while stuck in a shopping mall parking structure traffic jam for so long I thought there was a 50/50 chance I could up as a segment on DATELINE).

Okay, this is going to be a very short post as it pains me to type it, but...

From what I've read on several Buckeye-biased outlets, I've been shocked - and frankly impressed - that a large portion of Buckeye Nation Unincorporated Township feel Terrelle and his tatted teammates should not play in the Sugar Bowl even if the NCAA says it's permissible.  From the Columbus Dispatch, to the Tosu student newspaper The Daily Crayon The Lantern, to the regular Buckeye readers of the MZone, it seems a great many who bleed Scarlet and Gray are voicing the opinion that TP et. al embarrassed themselves and their school, and thus shouldn't play in the Sugar Bowl, even if the loss of several star players could cost Tosu the game.

Sure, some are questioning the severity of the five game suspension.  With so many opinions on these here Interwebs, that's to be expected.  But very few, to my knowledge, are making excuses for the players or minimizing their actions.  Surprisingly, about the only ones doing that seemed to be coach Jim Tressel and OSU AD Gene Smith.

Instead, many of the Ohio State faithful are saying the to-be-suspended players don't deserve to wear the Scarlet and Gray in the bowl game.  This stands in stark contrast to what I've read - or more precisely, haven't read - from Auburn outlets regarding the Cam Newton situation (and by "situation" I mean his father shopping him around for $180K and Cam "not knowing").

Unless I missed it, not only was there no outcry, there was a circle-the-wagons mentality against the accusations and any accusers. 

So...props...Buck...eye...fans...who... support... doing... the... right... thing.

Shit, that was difficult to type.

Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled mission of mocking the Bucks and its fans.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, back Monday (unless there's any more Tosu trouble)

Hadn't planned to post yesterday...then Christmas came early to Michigan bloggers.  And couldn't resist two more stocking stuffers today, which you'll find below for your reading pleasure.

Have a fun, safe and overall fantastic weekend.  And check back Monday as we've obtained some exclusive TMZ-worthy photos that will reveal just how big the Tosu Tatgate scandal really is.

ED. NOTE:  By popular demand, we have moved our Christmas card up to the top post.

MZone Exclusive: How Terrelle Pryor spent his spring break

Most college kids spend spring break in a drunken state of debauchery.

But not Ohio State student-athlete Terrelle Pryor. 

The MZone has obtained this exclusive picture of the Buckeye QB peddling his wares outside one of the resorts near Cancun last spring break in order to provide for his family.

"Tell you what, buy the gold pants and I'll throw in this ring."

Tats Hats off to you, Terrelle, for being such a hardworking entrepreneur.

(HT: JW)

"Cheating not as bad if economic times are tough" and other Tatgate travesties

As Tosu's Tatgate scandal has unfolded this week,  I'm not sure whose actions and words are more appalling: the players involved, Tosu officials for trying to justify the actions of those players, or the NCAA for the seemingly nonsensical punishment-to-be-served-later they doled out.

So let's take a brief look at who did and said what to try to determine who deserves to be get top billing on Santa's Buckeye Naughty List as we head toward the Christmas weekend.

First, there's Terrelle Pryor, the face - and tatted arm - of Tattoo U.  Despite 30 wins as a starter, three B10 titles and three BCS bowls in his three years at the helm in C-bus, he's still not as beloved by the Scarlet and Gray legions as QBs past with similar or even lesser records. His "I would DOMINATE" attitude and then, well, not dominating despite the stats has led to a feeling of underachievement.

So when the story breaks, like any college kid, he takes to Twitter to defend himself with his now-infamous, "I paid for my tattoos. Go Bucks" tweet.  Only one problem.  He didn't.  At least not regular price.

But even worse are the things that came out in addition to the "tats for 'graphs" portion of the scandal: the selling out of his Buckeye soul.  Pryor pawned his - wait for it - "Sportsmanship Award" from the 2008 Fiesta Bowl, his 2008 Big 10 Championship ring and, probably worst in the eyes of Buckeye fans, the little Home Shopping Network "gold pants" trinket Buckeye players get for beating Michigan.

Granted, after beating U-M seven times in a row, for many Buckeye players these pieces of jewelry are probably lying around their apartments like old Maxim magazines at a frat house.  But you never, ever sell that stuff.  And when you're still playing?!  Yikes.

Then there's coach Tressel.  According to Bucknuts.com:

Tressel said the coaches need to make things “even more crystal clear” in terms of compliance issues. Says the “buck stops” with the coaching staff. “Don’t feel good that we fell short.”

Yeah, unless you tell players not to cheat, damnit, kids will be kids and they'll cheat.  Oh, I'm sorry, 'not comply with the compliance issues.'  "Uh, coach said we can't take an envelope of money from a booster.  But he didn't say nothin' about selling a $39 piece of jewelry for, you know, like $500 bucks to some dude who really likes the team."

In the post-Clarett Era in C-bus, are we really to believe you're not going over the rules a little better?  If not, that points to much bigger problems than Tatgate.

And who cares what punishment the NCAA metes out, What Would Woody Do?  You think Woody would let a player who did this and play in the bowl game?  Bo used to send kids home - who were already in California for the Rose Bowl - back to Michigan if they came back to the hotel a couple minutes past curfew!  What would Woody think of his QB selling his gold pants for beating Michigan? 

Continuing on, my personal fave in all this is Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith's comments at the press conference he held with coach Tressel yesterday.  According to this AP story:

Smith said the punishment should be mitigated because of how the players used the money they received.

“The time this occurred with these young men was a very tough time in our society. It’s one of the toughest economic environments in our history,” he said. “The decisions that they made they made to help their families.”

Are you fucking kidding me?!

Not only is that "excuse" complete horseshit, but it's a slap in the face to all the other kids, not only on your own school's team, but across the country who are in similar or worse financial situations yet still didn't cheat.  Who toughed it out and played by the rules. 

Furthermore, did Ohio State's AD just basically give the go-ahead to Buckeye players to skirt the rules if the player decides his or his family is struggling financially?  Sure sounded that way.   Cheating's okay if the economy is in the toilet?  Hell, folks in the SEC are probably even laughing at that one!

This "excuse" is even more laughable and bullshitty because it doesn't mesh with the NCAA's stated reason for letting the to-be-punished players play in the Sugar Bowl was the Newton Defense: "I didn't know."

Which dovetails into our final party in this clusterfuck: the NCAA.  Who knew they could top their head-scratchingly nonsensical reasoning for not punishing Cam Newton after his dad admitted he shopped his son to Mississippi State.  But they sure come close in their details behind their punishment of Tattoo U.

As you probably know by now, Pryor and four of his teammates got a 5 game suspension for their part in all the shenanigans but those suspensions start next fall -- meaning all the players can suit up for OSU's Sugar Bowl game against Arkansas.

WTF!? you ask?

According to the AP story linked above:

The NCAA did not suspend the players for Jan. 4 Sugar Bowl against the eighth-ranked Razorbacks because they “did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred.”

Unbelievable.  Simply fucking unbelievable.

You know, if you read the site regularly, I never once said Michigan shouldn't have been punished for the recent NCAA practice violations they got nailed for.  I never blamed local newspaper columnists or bought into the "but everybody else is doing it" highway speeder defense.  My feeling was, if we broke the rules, we broke the rules and we have to pay the price.

I'm not so sure anymore.

Let's see now: Cam Newton's dad admits to shopping him for $180K but Cam "didn't know" so he doesn't miss so much as a down and is free to play in the National Championship game.  Ohio State players receive improper benefits - which they admit to! - but get to play in their team's big Sugar Bowl game because "they didn't know."  Michigan practices go like 10-15 minutes long due to extra stretching and U-M gets placed on three years probation and loses scholarships.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Oh, hey, one final question: how the hell are each of these busted Buckeyes going to repay the money to charity that's part of their penalty if they're each in such dire financial straits?  Better account for all those gold pants.

Who knew that when Buck fans and bloggers refer to their team as tOSU the "t" stood for "tattoo?"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Move along... nothing to see here

Last minute stocking stuffer for that Buckeye on your list

It's December 23rd and you haven't had a chance to get a Christmas present for the nice Tosu grad who mows your lawn or delivers your newspaper in the morning.  What to do?

Never fear, the M Zone is here.

May we suggest some lovely Peel and Stick Tatts/Stickers?  For that Tosu fan who doesn't have any autographs, gold pants or "sportsmanship awards" to barter but still wants to tat up like his favorite Buckeye! 

Only $4.99 plus 5/12ths of your 2011 eligibility

(Big HT to SiC!)

The TP Auction

Tosu Tatgate

UPDATE: Five Buckeyes - including Terrelle Pryor - must sit out first 5 games of 2011 season for accepting improper benefits.

Forget the tats. Didn't the whole Live Strong-
esque bracelet craze end a few years ago?
Now this is just the sort of story that would stop even Santa from his pre-Christmas to-do list and bring him back to the keyboard (assuming he ran a Michigan-centric college football blog on the side).

Reports are coming out of C-bus that Tosu officials are looking into compliance issues which could potentially affect the playing status of several Buckeye players for their Sugar Bowl showdown with the Arkansas "Sign 'em all" Razorbacks. As-yet-unproven rumors are swirling that the Ohio State players took cash from boosters, got free cars, got laid by hookers, were working as hookers took drugs, sold drugs admitted they really loved Michigan and Columbus is a shithole might have traded autographs for tattoos at a local ink shop.

The player names mentioned in the story reported on SportsbyBrooks are Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Chris Fields, Nate Oliver, Travis Howard, Mike Adams, Jonathan Newsome, Michael Brewster and Jordan Hall.

Some of the players, such as Pryor, have denied the charge yet most Vegas sports books have pulled the OSU-Arkansas game.

Surprisingly, this brewing story was not broken by a Wolverine trapped behind enemy lines in Ohio, but by Dave Biddle of Bucknuts.com.  Or, as he'll be known around Columbus if Pryor et al. are forced to miss the Sugar Bowl and Tosu again gets spanked by an SEC team: @#$% Dave Biddle. 

Frankly, I'm torn as to whether or not I hope it's true.  Sure, anything that would cause Buckeye fans to rip their commemorative Dale Earnhardt plates off their mobile home walls in anger and throw them across the room at their framed Superman pictures makes me chuckle.

But wouldn't that be some shit if, say, Terrelle Pryor got banished from the Buckeye bowl game for a tattoo while Cam Newton is still allowed to play?

These are: a) two members of Motley Crue or
b) a couple dudes in Ohio State's secondary

(HT: SG)

Vote for your Favorite Buckeye Tattoo

ED. NOTE:  I had no idea Andy was working on the post below and vice versa re: my post above.  But when I put mine up - voila! - there they both were.  Like minds.

It's pretty slow around here, so I thought, just for fun, it might be the appropriate time to have a vote to determine which Ohio State Buckeye has the best tattoo.
1) Mike Adams

2) Chris Fields

3) Nathan Williams

4) DeVier Posey

5) Michael Brewster

6) Terrelle Pryor

Ohio State Buckeyes: Best Tatoo
Which Buckeye has the best tattoo?
Michael Adams
Chris Fields
Nathan Williams
DeVier Posey
Michael Brewster
Terrelle Pryor

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Season's Greetings from the M Zone!

Thanks for reading! We sincerely appreciate folks coming back and checking out MZone 2.0.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

SEC = Sign Everyone Conference

If there is any question in your mind as to why the SEC has developed into the top conference in college football over the last 10 years, this should give you a good answer. Dirtbags.

That sound you hear is Les Mile's chance of ever becoming the Michigan football coach going down the toilet.

EDIT: I posted this after a friend (a Florida alum and fan) sent it to me.
His comments were pretty funny:
Two things:
1) At Florida, we're accustomed to at least 10-20 players being incarcerated on felony charges and thus being ineligible putting them under the 25 limit.
2) When did Terry Bowden start preparing for his reprisal of the role as Jabba the Hut? He's huge.

After I posted it, Yost informed me that MGoBlog also had it up. So, HT to Brian. I hope that every college football blog in the country puts this up, the NCAA starts caring and the SEC is forced to change their ways.

Holiday Posting Schedule

Trying to finish everything up on the work front and the life front as the holidays rapidly approach (how the heck can it already be the 21st?!). 

Thus, sporadic posting unless something arises.

Monday, December 20, 2010

MZone Exclusive: Troy Punter Will Goggans' Acting Reel

The college football blogosphere and yours truly have been buzzing about the beard sported by Troy punter Will Goggans at Saturday's New Orleans Bowl.  Put it this way, ZZ Top circa 1987 would be impressed.

And he's not just a football player.  With such a unique look, he's also an accomplished character actor.  Our sources have uncovered the exclusive video below from Goggans' acting reel.  In fact, we think you might recognize some of his previous work.

(Pic HT: CBS Sports.com)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Troy's Will Goggans is...THE BEARD MASTER!

Reader BiB pointed us toward the picture below of Troy punter Will Goggans: Owner of the most bitchin' beard this side of BRAVEHEART and LORD OF THE RINGS.

What we didn't know was that there was already a movie made about Goggans: THE BEARD MASTER. Epic.

(HT to EDSBS which is where I believe the Goggans pic first came from)

Just in time for Christmas

Buckeye fans: Going on a trip to New Orleans over the holidays? Check out this bold yet stylish new collection from Eleganza apparel and footwear. Don't get caught walking down on Bourbon Street in anything but your best.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pinch Me: Three Awesome Bowls on Tap Today!

When folks bitch and complain about all the "meaningless bowl games," I simply point to days like today: BYU vs. UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl, Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl and Ohio vs. Troy in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. 

Somebody pinch me!

Sure, the cynical may mock.  Let them.  The rest of us will simply bask in the college football equivalent of a three-way.  Savoring a triple play of bowl games so unnecessary I never heard of the sponsors two of the bowls were able to scrounge up so steeped in tradition they didn't need to sell out to some big corporation and sully their names, instead letting a pair of the small companies that make this country great piggyback on their rich bowl heritage.

They didn't need to do that.  But they did.  For you.  For me.  For America.  I would have just gone with something like the New Mexico Bowl presented by Tradition, Bitch.  Or the This is Why They Play the Fucking Game Humanitarian Bowl.  Or the Hasn't New Orleans Suffered Enough Granddaddy of Them All on December 18th New Orleans Bowl.

Yeah, I know: I'm preaching to the choir.

Who among you reading this post hasn't been salivating over the prospect of watching the Troy...IThinkThey'reTheTrojans take on the Ohio Bobcat mascot?  Damn!  We're talking about the second place team in the MAC's East Division going at it against the team that was a mere 14 points shy of upsetting Louisiana-Monroe on the road in October.

Pinch me again!  Like an Aggie this time!

That's why I say screw Christmas shopping when you can glue your ass in front of a TV bitching about the field in Boise like we all do even though we've seen it now 1000 times to see how the Northern Illinois...whatstheirfuckingnamesagain respond after their coach ditched them for the big time Minnesota.  That's right - clear me some Real Housewives off the DVR, daddy's gonna be re-watching this one a lot over the holidays.

Yes, sir.  Just writing about it fires me up.  I haven't been this excited in front of my computer since I first discovered PornHub.com.

And don't even get me started on the BYU vs. UTEP in the Initials Bowl New Mexico Bowl, which judging by the name takes place in, I'm guessing, New Mexico since I've never seen this week-before-the-actual-holiday classic in years past - all previous 4 years of its tradition-laden past.

I mean, just look how excited the New Mexico Bowl Executive Director who hasn't faked it like this since he told his wife she didn't look fat in those jeans is talking about this showdown on their website.  Followed by Mike Price wishing he'd never gone to that titty bar talking about how excited he is, too.  Folks, it's just excitement central at the New Mexico Bowl.   In fact, race ya to the New Mexico Bowl Store to stock up on the souvenirs before they're all sold out. Dibs on the fleece!

So let others make fun of the numerous bowl games.  Not I.  No, sir.  I will simply feast upon the bounty bestowed on me by the loving, merciful and generous college football gods.

uDrove...rather than shell out good money to fly to this thing

Friday, December 17, 2010

Two-Minute Drill: Endangered Wolverines, Robot Athletes & Suggestive Buckettes

"Where are the uplifting Josh Groban tunes when you need 'em?"
Back of the line, Wolverine

There are only 250-300 actual wolverines left in the contiguous United States and that number is dropping due to climate change,  So the wolverine is being added to the endangered species list, right?  To quote Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend." 

Because of a backlog of other animals in even more grave danger, the wolverine will have to join the list of plants and animals waiting to be added to the list until space opens up.

Uh, I'm no expert in the field, but this sounds like a really shitty system.

(HT to Sru for the link.  And there is no truth to the rumor that he and his Buckeye brethren are currently trying to track down and eradicate that last 250-300 of the ferocious critters)

Photo via Michigan Exposures

The future of Michigan recruiting...in 2042

While it sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, researchers in Japan are working on the prototype for a running robot.  But judging from the video in the link, the robots still have a long way to go as the demo didn't go so well.

Either that or the previous head of the Athlete Robot program at Tokyo University, Tumoyutilloyd Ishacarri, left the robot cupboards really bare.

Sure, he runs a 3.6.  But can he major in General Studies?

Irony, thy name is Bill Stewart

Bill Stewart, who took over for Rich Rod at WVU, who won nine games in each of his three seasons in Morgantown, who tied for the Big East title this year, is nudged toward the door with the hiring of Holgorsen as "coach in waiting."

NFC West - Exhibit 'A' why I'm not in favor of a pro-style college football playoff

The division co-leaders are both 6-7 while a team that started 0-5 is in the hunt.  Welcome to the NFC West which is reason #427 why I'm not in favor of a 16-team pro-style playoff, no matter how many books Yahoo sports writers sell promoting one that includes 6-6 Sunbelt Conference Champs in the mix.

Her Mother Must Be So Ashamed

No, not for posting a sexually suggestive video on the Internet for all the world to see, but for being a Buckeye fan.  Scarlet letter indeed!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yahoo! to close Del.icio.us?!

Just read that among the things being jettisoned in Yahoo's latest round of layoffs is Del.icio.us.  

Well that blows chunks. 

Since Andy got me to (finally) put up a list of Delicious links here on the site, I've grown to really like being able to put up a way for our readers to find some things that are interesting but might not warrant an entire post.

Hopefully somebody takes it over or there's a good alternative.

Building a Better Mousetrap?

I know, I know: I said I wasn't gonna mention the new B10 logo or any of that stuff anymore but...

Brian at MGoBlog asked his readers to come up with a better logo and, I have to say, I really liked the one below by Anthony Tscherne (with a slight modification by reader "Quarterback U").

Compare that to this:

What say you?