Friday Drivel

The Michigan Daily ran an article describing in detail what each of the 85 luxury boxes will feature to their oh-so-well-to-do patrons starting in 2010. For roughly $85,000 per season, you will receive a 15' x 27' sky box high above the Big House carpet.

Each suite will feature 3 rows of seats (two rows of couches and 1 row of stools) which will seat 18 people in total. Behind them will be 2 TVs, one hanging on the wall and one mounted from the ceiling...both in stunning high definition I presume. Also in the suite will be lots of counter space, sinks, and ice bins. And yes, the suites will have to abide by the stadiums no alcohol policy. A catering service will provide food, and special orders can be made ready by kick off. The suites will also share a special bathroom that is not open to the general public. Up to 4 parking spaces will be designated for each suite.

And if the sky box fans want to hear the game better, they can open the windows to hear the commoners cheering below. But its below, in the bowl of the great stadium, where I'd like to address some changes that I think would directly improve the overall quality of the stadium atmosphere.

First of all, move the band from the student section to directly behind the end zone on the flagpole side of the field. I've heard that many of the students can't hear the band that well in their section. And also I think it would help out by moving the two loudest sections away from each other. I think more people could hear the band if they play facing the bulk of the crowd instead of one corner of the stadium.

I like the band a lot. And I think they could serve the crowd better by maybe playing where most people could hear them. Remember, the band is there for us...we're not there for the band.


I can't believe that after all this time, we still can't get at least one night game per year at home. Games in the late fall that start at 3:30 and end in the dark are usually the best games of the year. The crowd is way more psyched up at night (usually from some sort of liquid fixation), but it just adds to the atmosphere.

2004, Michigan versus Michigan State. 3 Overtimes...all of which took place under the lights and in one of the most awesome college football atmospheres ever. 2005, Michigan versus Penn State. Last quarter of the game was under the lights. Henne to Manningham...need I say more?

I will also say that I am firmly against noon kickoffs. I like not having to wake up at the crack of dawn to get to the stadium. I love late fall afternoons and the buildup of anticipation throughout the day. If it is a 3:30 kickoff, and if I'm watching the game at home, I can get a lot of stuff done before the game starts. The only argument I see against it is the large abuse of alcohol by students and fans who are tailgating. And my response to that is...there isn't anything that will get in the way of a motivated alcoholic.

And most importantly, I wish that all of the richy rich old-money alumna would go up to their sky boxes, shut the door and not cheer in silent...and leave your kick-ass season tickets at the 50-yard line up for grabs for someone who will actually sit there and make some damn noise!

I can not tell you how happy I am that Rich Rodriguez is here and making the changes to the culture that he is. Michigan was so in need of a total face lift. There are so many things that have gone on too long and been embedded into the system. Don't get me wrong. I love the rich history that is Michigan football. I love the stadium, the band...all that. But success has a way of making you think you're better than you think you are. Rich Rodriguez is coming into a system and shaking things up big time. Just ask Justin Boren.

The revolving door of assistant coaches has finally come to a stop. Although I really really liked Ron English...I think time will tell, but he's going to be a great coach somewhere. But it got to the point where it seemed like a bunch of guys who just liked to coach, liked the kids, and had some moderate success from time to time.

What we have now is a whole new culture. One that is used to winning big games when they matter. Rich's quote explaining his coaching career as "this isn't his first rodeo" was great. And he couldn't have been more spot on. Since he came here, he's had to endure one disaster after another. From his legal issues getting out of his WVU contract, to players leaving and replacing an entire old stogy offense...Rodriguez has been pretty steady in his demeanor and temper. Most average people would've thrown a public tirade by now.

Next year will be tough, I think most Michigan fans are bracing themselves for that. But I think once the old culture is extinguished...we can finally begin moving forward towards a new way of thinking and playing...and it all starts with demolition.

Poor Justin Boren

If you want to know why Justin Boren is quitting the Michigan program, look no further than daddy. Mike Boren gave an interview to the Columbus Dispatch this week explaining his take on why Justin is leaving Michigan, and might actually land at OSU.

Justin also released a nice long dear John letter yesterday after Michigan sent him packing, saying:
"I regret leaving behind my friends and teammates, but I need to stand up for what I know is right," Boren said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. "I wore the winged helmet with pride, whether we won or lost, whether things were going well or times were tough."

"Michigan football was a family, built on mutual respect and support for each other from (former) Coach (Lloyd) Carr on down. We knew it took the entire family, a team effort, and we all worked together. I have great trouble accepting that those family values have eroded in just a few months. That same helmet, that I was raised on and proudly claimed for the last two years, now brings a completely different emotion to me, one that interferes with practicing and playing my best and mentally preparing for what is required.

"That I am unable to perform under these circumstances at the level I expect of myself, and my teammates and Michigan fans deserve, is why I have made the decision to leave. To those of you outside the program, the loyal Michigan fans and alumni, I know you will have trouble understanding, but I do want to thank you for your years of support. I wish my teammates the best and will always be proud to have been a part of Michigan football over the past two years."

My take goes like this though...and it is quite simple. Daddy is a pissed off former player who doesn't like Rich Rodriguez. He's a Bo guy...and wanted his boy to play for another Bo guy. I'm not going to say that Justin had no say in this...but one could easily draw those conclusions.

Mike Boren's quotes to the Columbus Dispatch:
"Ohio State would be a good fit for Justin, and that's why he's not at Michigan anymore, because Michigan is not the right fit for him,"

"I have not talked to Ohio State, and I'm not sure about their situation. But would he go to Ohio State? Yes. The only two schools he seriously considered three years ago were Ohio State and Michigan, and he almost went to Ohio State even then."

"Three years ago, if I had seen in a crystal ball that the whole coaching staff was going to change halfway through his career, I would never have let Justin go to Michigan, I would have told him to go to Ohio State. I'm disappointed and hurt because my wife and I both graduated from the University of Michigan. I didn't want this to happen. It's the last thing I wanted to happen. But, basically, the bottom line is you have to look out for your kid and what is best for him."
And there it is...mommy and daddy Boren are hurt. I mean why else would he then turn around and go play for OSU? It's pure spite. What other explanation could there be? According to Big Ten rules, he can not be awarded a scholarship, so he's on mommy and daddy's dime there. I think this situation is much deeper than just Justin not feeling like he'll fit in with the new offense. If he were to pick up and leave, go to another conference and not try and blast the program on his way out the door, I might be a little more sympathetic.

Mad Marchness

Another hit for the Wolverines this week. Junior center and left guard Justin Boren is quitting the team for undisclosed reasons. Many speculate that it has something to do with his lack of motivation to work hard under the new management, and/or that he just doesn't feel comfortable in the new system.

Either way, I can understand being forced into a new system could have its disadvantages. I can only assume that walking away from a school like Michigan and a man like Rodriguez would be a terribly hard decision to make. But at the end of the day, Boren made a decision that he felt was probably best for him and the Michigan program.

I'm not going to throw him under the bus and say good riddance. I think its much deeper than that. Much like Ryan Mallett's decision to transfer, these things don't just happen in an instant. I assume there will be others as this off-season progresses, that will need to take a good look at how they fit into this system that Rodriguez will be running, and see where they can adapt to it. And some of them very well might not fit at all. I have pretty much no doubt that Rodriguez would love nothing more than to keep every player Lloyd left behind, but I'm also sure he's being realistic in that not every player came to Michigan to play for Rich Rodriguez. It's just the simple reality.

Do We HAVE to Run the Spread?

Terrelle Pryor is going to "THE University of Ohio State". Wow! He got the name of the school wrong. He should fit right in.

I seriously considered trying to ignore this topic completely. When he didn't sign with anyone on February 6th, that should've been the sign to drop this kid and walk away. He wanted to go to OSU then, and it took him a month and a half to finally come around to telling us.

Who knows how hard Rich Rod pulled for this kid after February 6th. His plate is full enough as it is...trying to teach a bunch of guys what a spread offense looks like. But I have no doubt that he wanted Pryor. Our recruiting class count is, and will end at 24 for this class. Although, Rich did hold open tryouts for walk-ons a couple weeks ago. Maybe a Vince Young lookalike showed up. But as it stands right now, we're painfully inexperienced at the QB position.

David Cone - Jr. (6'6", 214 lbs.)

Made one completion against Notre Dame in 2007 on the final play of the game...a 21 yard pass to Andre Criswell. It's the only pass he's ever thrown in his college career.

Steven Threet - Fr. (6'5", 228 lbs.)

Transferred from Georgia Tech to Michigan before the 2007 season. Sat out the mandatory transfer year. Never taken a snap.

Nick Sheridan - Jr. (6'1", 201 lbs.)
Played in two games as a sophomore in 2007. Took snaps against Notre Dame and Minnesota. Was also backup placekick holder. Never threw a pass.

So there you have it folks. Hey! Doesn't Drew Henson have some eligibility left?

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner...

...for either Ohio State or Michigan. The Detroit Free Press is reporing that Terrelle Pryor will announce his college decision at noon today. They're also saying its down to us or the buckeyes. Oh gee...I wonder who he'll pick?

UPDATE - 12:03PM: Live on ESPNEWS...Pryor sitting in front of about 12 microphones wearing a black cap with a block O on it.

Pryor to Ohio State

So the boys over at Michigan Against the World have somehow come across information that says superstar high school QB Terrelle Pryor is going to announce in the next few days, via a presser (of course), that he will be attending OSU next year.

I guess pretty soon, we can all start hating Pryor (more?), continue hating Ohio State...and just not look forward to playing them in 2009 & 2010. Odds are OSU will stick with their senior QB this year, so Pryor is looking at his sophomore and junior year to make NFL scouts drool.

So, Rich...who's our QB going to be?

Extreme Makeover: Michigan Football Edition

A little insider look at the transformation of Michigan Football from ESPN writer Ivan Maisel. Pretty good article. I like what players are saying about Mike Barwis, the strength and conditioning coach. Not to throw Mike Gittleson under the bus...he was, after all a product of the Schembechler era. But any discerning fan of the maize & blue would probably tell you that it was time to get a new Mike in there to pump up the troops.

So, lets chart some of the changes in the works right now.
  1. New head coach
  2. New coaches at every position (except RB)
  3. New strength coach
  4. Totally new spread offensive scheme
  5. New QB, RB, WR and bulk of the OL
  6. $226 Renovation to the stadium
  7. New indoor practice facility
  8. New uni's next year (Adidas in, Nike out), although how different could they really be?
And that's just off the top of my head. Maybe two of those would be a HUGE change for the usually stogy Michigan Football program. Change is kind of resisted unless it is absolutely necessary. But what many true blue fans have come to realize is that Michigan was indeed in dire need of an extreme makeover.

With all due respect to Lloyd and his staff...which had great success here, their time was at an end. Lloyd knew could tell by his body language, he just didn't have it anymore.

So as is nature...out with the old, and in with the new. My favorite part of the video in that article is when Rich is doing up-downs with the team, and hops to his feet to jump up and bump chests with a player. When's the last time you saw that from any other Michigan coach?

That's It?

So the long-rumored Ann Arbor news article that was supposed to uncover something huge about corruption within the Michigan football program, and/or the athletic department finally surfaced today. Only one of the four part story has been released so far, so I don't want to completely discredit this as nothing but hot air...but unless it gets a lot juicier, who cares that division 1 athletes take cake courses to boost their GPAs. I got news for ya...EVERY COLLEGE STUDENT in the world does that. Stop the presses!

Just Because

Maybe I'm feeling a little emasculated by Penn State. Since we have to play 2nd fiddle to their suddenly ginormous Beaver Stadium for the next two years, I thought it would help us all to throw a little kind-hearted dirt toward our fellow giant-stadium compadres.

They may have a slightly bigger stadium than we do, but we've won 11 straight against the Nittany Lions. Here's some, or all, of my favorite highlights:

1993: Michigan 21 - Penn State 13

1997: Michigan 34 - Penn State 8

1998: Michigan 27 - Penn State 0

1999: Michigan 31 - Penn State 27

2000: Michigan 33 - Penn State 11

2001: Michigan 20 - Penn State 0

2002: Michigan 27 - Penn State 24

2005: Michigan 27 - Penn State 25

2006: Michigan 17 - Penn State 10
Offensive Highlights:

Defensive Highlights:

2007: Michigan 14 - Penn State 9

We Own - Penn State!

Random Stuff

I must note that this post has very little if nothing at all to do with Michigan football, college football, football in-general, or even sports.

First of all, the US Air Force is retiring the F-117 Stealth Fighter next month. Story.

I'm not really broken up or anything about it, just thought it was interesting. Apparently it will be replaced with the new F-22 Raptor. April 21 will be the last flight for the remaining radar-deflecting birds. They served the Air Force for 27 years. Only 59 were ever made, 37 of which have already been retired, and 7 have crashed. As an armchair air warfare buff, I liked this plane. One time I was at an air show with a good friend of mine, and we were standing about 20 feet from one of these jets behind a rope line. Armed airmen were standing guard along the rope line, and also answering questions from the crowd. My friend, who had a knack for asking stupid questions called the airman over.
"Can I touch it?" he asked.
"No." the airman said.
"What if I hop over the rope and run towards it?"
"I suggest you don't do that"
"What if I threw a hammer at it?"
The airman laughed, and then said with all seriousness..."You'd hit the ground before the hammer hit the plane."

We walked away.

Good story.

Also, on a brighter note...the mayor of Detroit gave his annual address to the city last night. The "State of the City" speech was particularly intriguing this year because the mayor, turns out, had a tough time keeping his secret affair with a city employee a secret. Text messages sent from him to her have surfaced, causing all kinds of trouble for Kwame and the city.

And now, since lawyers and prosecutors have been combing through text message records, they have found out that the mayor has been awarding lucrative city contracts to his buddies for money and perks. Its city government at its best. Go Detroit!

I watched about 5 minutes of the speech before I couldn't take it anymore. I just thought it was funny to see the mayor class it up a little bit. Whenever he messes up and people get mad at him, he takes his earrings out, he dresses less like a thug, his posse of 300-pound linebackers don't follow him around, and he gives speeches in front of churches using a lot more quotes from the Bible. Amazing. Detroiters fall for it every time.

And for all of you keeping count, this is the 100th post of the Maize & Blue Nation. Fitting that is has nothing to do with sports. Ehh...whatcha gonna do?

Big House not the Biggest...For Now

The "Big House" is no more.

Well, for at least 2 seasons, Michigan Stadium will not be the largest college football stadium in the country. According to changes that need to be made due to the settlement by the University to the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America (Michigan is still only in America, right?). The settlement will immediately add 237 to the existing 92 handicapped accessible seats already in place. That's a total of 329 seats, plus a companion seat for each.

According the reports...the capacity will fall from 107,501 right now, to somewhere around 106,201. Penn State's Beaver Stadium currently holds 107,282. Although after the stadium expansion project is finished, the capacity is said to be around 108,000. But no one knows for sure.

This settlement, which has been a point of contention for the community against the University, and their $226 million expansion of Michigan Stadium has been widely debated since the plans to expand were unveiled last year. From what I remember, the group wanted 1000 handicapped seats inside the stadium. With all due respect, thats a ton of seating!

Now I'm all for helping out the disabled...and I don't want to sound like this is a non-issue. It's important to keep the stadium accessible to all fans. I think everyone can walk away from this process happy with a little coordination and some common sense. Michigan wants their luxury suites, the veterans want their handicapped seating, and the general fans want the stadium to be the biggest. But what everyone wants is for the Big House to be the standard for all other stadiums in the country. I don't see how this is such an issue. Make improvements and eventually the stadium will be the biggest again. I guarantee it.

It's Like Les Miles All Over Again

There is an eerily similar feel to this Terrelle Pryor situation. The constant lack of info from proper sources...fueling speculation from improper sources like me, is starting to grow thin. While I certainly have no insider info to shed on this topic, it certainly doesn't stop me from being curious and eager to find out what the hell is going on in this kid's head.

A Detroit Free Press article today, for the most part further speculates what most of us already know: Pryor has 3 weeks left to decide, he might want to play basketball, and he wants to go to Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State or Oregon.

What the article did tell us is that Pryor wants his mom to visit all 4 schools with him. He admits that Oregon may be out of the question due to distance and time, but he wants to do a full 2 day visit to Penn State, and a one day trip each to Columbus and Ann Arbor. Apparently, he's no closer to a decision than he ever was. He admitted to being close to choosing Ohio State prior to signing day, but decided not to due to his father's urging to look at Penn State. But now that he seems so "up in the air" about where he wants to go...anything less than a signature on a faxed letter would be seemingly irrelevant.

Clearly, I have no idea. But in keeping with my effort to fill these "pages" with actual content and not just embedded YouTube videos...this is the best I can do.

On a side note, the athletic department released a computer rendering of what the Big House should look like come fall when the season starts.

I have to admit, it will be kinda cool seeing those huge steel structures looming over the side of the stadium this fall. I think this addition will be just awesome when it is completed in 2010. Wider seats (thank you very much) and hand rails will be a welcome sight in the cramped Big House. As will added bathrooms, a better concourse and more concessions. Now if they could just add a Grizzly Peak pub in every corner of the stadium concourse, I'll put all those new bathrooms to good use!

Dead Air

No, I'm not ignoring you...loyal reader. I am simply taking some time from my usual blogging regimen to give my career some much needed attention. Combine that with the fact that it is the middle of the off-season, and you have a recipe for absolutely nothing to report on.

I wish I cared about basketball (or do I?) and I really don't get into hockey anymore...although I hear the winged helmet icers just netted a CCHA title. So that's good news. I did happen to catch the YouTube video of Michigan's women's bball coach getting a little irritated with his team, the refs and the media at his presser a few days ago.

And of course what would a post be without at least one paragraph devoted to Terrelle Pryor speculation? What do I know? Nothing. I have a very sneaking suspicion though that Pryor may be headed to the red state of Ohio. For whatever reason, I think O$U nabbed him up when he paid them a visit late last month at a bball game. I heard that wherever he goes, we wants to be a two-sport athlete in football and bball. I seriously doubt Tre$$ell will let him get away with that...but who knows what they are telling him just to sign on the dotted line. Michigan would seemingly be a better choice just because he would be guaranteed the starting gig...whereas at O$U he'd have to sit and wait his turn. Penn State and Oregon are also rumored to be courting young Pryor as well. Those are good programs both on the I wouldn't be surprised. But my heart of hearts tells me he's going to Buckeyeland.