Monday Quick Hits

Good morning! After a brief period of no posting, hopefully this week will find us something interesting. As of right now, not too much to get to. I do have a few interesting posts in the hopper. One will be my in depth preview of the Big Ten race this year...probably split into two or three posts. And also my own entry into the Big Ten Bloggers Fearless Predictions that everyone else did last week, but I am just now getting around to.

In case you missed it late last week, my post about our favorite team from Ohio has found its way to a few distant points on the web. It was posted on Friday afternoon and honestly I don't know if many people read it. Scroll down for the entire rant.

Also, mgoblog has just updated and upgraded his site. It's chalk full of new features, including a new comments section, and various other amazing features that this blog doesn't have. However, since the majority of the visits I get come from him, I'll give Brian a shout.

And finally, RBUAS has another post this week...this one about Terrance Taylor, Michigan defensive tackle. Great quote at the beginning of the post from Taylor himself about this year's off-season workout regimen...
"I haven't read the magazines, but it doesn't matter. They're not here, they're not seeing what we're going through. I can guarantee you we're working harder than anyone in the country, I can guarantee you that. ... Whatever they're writing in the magazines, we're not hearing it."
I love it. And I also love the fact that Johnny is seemingly back to posting again...which is good for all Michigan fans.

Why I Hate Ohio State

Disclaimer: This post is directed towards roughly 20% of Ohio State fans. The remaining 80% are regular people who can enjoy the sport without being a prick. It's just a shame that a few can ruin an entire school's reputation.

I'll make no excuses. I hate Ohio State. I hate everything about their football program. Everything from their toilet bowl stadium to their salvation army-style band uniforms. I have no respect for their coach, their players or their arrogant asshole fans.

First of all, let me back things up a little bit. I was born and raised in Ohio. I lived there for the first 24 years of my life. I went to college in Ohio. I have more Ohio friends than I could ever count...most of which would gladly choose Ohio State over Michigan in a Pepsi challenge.

My family was divided growing up. One half was all Michigan fans, one half was all Ohio State fans. I had an Ohio State family, and a Michigan family. We lived in Toledo, which is pretty much a border town right on Route 23, which connects Columbus and Ann Arbor.

There are many pictures of me in my younger years wearing Ohio State garb. Scarlett and gray were my colors of choice until junior high. I was young, stupid, and I didn't know any better much less care. I knew of Michigan, I knew of Bo and Woody. I had heard of how big Michigan Stadium was. But the half of my family with OSU ties were much stronger than that of my Michigan family. They took me to OSU games every year. I ran around on the field after a game with Brutus the Buckeye doing Script Ohio. I knew the OSU fight song almost by heart.

It was sick.

However, in junior high, my Michigan family started to fight back. Me and my brother went with my Dad to our first Michigan game. On September 26, 1992, I attended the Michigan v. Houston game. We tailgated before the game at Pioneer. We walked around the stadium before the game. And as we took our seats, the Michigan band came marching out onto the field. It was a sight to behold.

I can pinpoint my entire allegiance to Michigan to one singular moment. When Tyrone Wheatley ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. That was it. I was a fan for life. Michigan went on to route Houston 61-7.

Since then, I have attended 28 games. My all-time record is 24-4. I have been to only one Michigan-OSU game, in 1999. I have seen Michigan lose to Penn State, Syracuse, Appalachian State and Oregon.

My family could tell you in stark detail my reaction to Kordell Stewart's 70-yard hail mary back in 1994. We were at a hotel in Oxford, OH on the campus of Miami University, where my brother attended. I just fell face first onto the bed and chucked the remote into the wall. Not one of my prouder moments. But the point is, I caught the maize & blue bug quickly. Within two years, I was living and dying with each game.

But, through all of the ups and downs that all die hard sports fans experience with their chosen teams, there is always one team that just irks the hell out of you. For about 85% of Michigan fans, its Ohio State.

Sure, there are those who will claim little brother has the edge in the rivalry department, but I assure you, Michigan v. Ohio State is the king of all rivalries. And what makes a rivalry great? Pure hatred for the other team.

Some think that a modest respect for ones foe is not only cordial, but necessary. I disagree. I never want Ohio State to win. I never want Rodriguez to even shake hands at midfield with Sir Teflon. If a player chooses OSU over Michigan, or has the audacity to transfer, his picture should hang in the Michigan locker room so every Wolverine knows who they should hate.

But it's not Tressell that makes me hate Ohio State the most. No, it most certainly has to go to the fans. Ohio State fans are the worst. Because, for OSU fans, there is no casual fan. Columbus has no other sport worth watching. Ohio State has the market cornered. There are a few MAC schools in Ohio, and you also have Cincinnati, but who cares? And couple that with a general sense of "Ohio boredom", and you have a legion of blindly obsessed Buckeye supporters.

Now I'm not going to turn this into a "Michigan-is-better-than-Ohio-State-because..." post. We've all heard that argument. It's been raging since the beginning of time. No, this is simply just my personal tangent about why I just can't stand Ohio State. And in no specific order, here are some of my reasons...

• Your coach is a prick. Sorry, but its true. Yes, he can recruit good players, but he also pays them...that has been proven. For some reason he gets a pass from the NCAA. He also tends to recruit more than the typical amount of thugs. All schools have them, but OSU has more.

• Your mascot sucks. Who wants to cheer for a nut that falls off of a tree. And further, why make necklaces out of them? That alone exemplifies my "there is nothing to do in Ohio" argument.

• Your uniforms don't match. Will someone please write a letter or call the athletic department and let them know. For as long as I can remember, the helmets are silver and the pants are gray. Or maybe they are a shiny gray sheen fabric. Either way, they don't match. It bugs me.

• Your stadium resembles a toilet seat. I know its ground zero for all things Buckeye, but its not a pretty stadium...from the outside anyway. But I will give you props for finally getting a field that doesn't come up in 10 pound chunks when a player tries to plant and turn.

• Your band is not the best in the land. Your band is good. Michigan's band is good. But neither is the best. They are good at marching, playing songs, and giving the halftime crowd something to look at. But for 300-pound men to wear hats and shirts that have "TBDBITL" on it is just sad. And do they need to play the fight song on every play that gains yards?

• Your fans. Oh my your fans. The most obnoxious group of people in the world. Hey, has Michigan gone 4 years since beating Ohio State??? I can't remember. Will someone please remind me?

Look, I'm not saying that being loyal and supportive to one's team is a bad thing. But there are levels of being a fan. And right now, the Ohio State bandwagon is about as full as it can get. I know you've experienced a ridiculous amount of success recently, but lets dial it down a notch here and there.

Please don't call me a jealous Michigan fan...there is nothing I am jealous of Ohio State about. And I am also not trying to imply that Michigan is the the be-all end-all of college football. Yes, I am a Michigan fan for life, but I am also a fan of college football too.

So, in closing, to all the alcoholic dumbass OSU fans out there who let their game day drinking and obnoxious behavior go way too far...I despise you. Keep on being a jackass. You're ruining college football one burning car and one empty can of Old Milwaukee at a time.

Programing Note

Just a small update to let you all know of. I have changed the URL of this blog to simply...

www.maizenbluenation.com

Easier on the eyes and more fun to say. Gone are the days of having the blogspot in the URL. However, the old address will redirect you here. So all should go without a hitch.

Also, I have updated my Michigan Blogs list on the right with some new blogs. For some reason, during the switch over, my blog list got erased...so I had to rebuild it.

Cheers!

Buckeye Hate Flash Prelude

I am still efforting a nice little rant about our favorite Big Ten foe to the south...but I thought while I finish up my thoughts on that post, I'd whet your appetite with this one.

A quick jaunt over to Eleven Warriors this afternoon, I was reading up on OSU's stellar 09 recruiting class. While sipping my afternoon caffine beverage, I was trying to do the quick math on how many alumni pockets Tressell has had to delve into to nab so many verbals so soon.

In June alone, 5 verbals for 2009...one of which is Buckeye legacy himself Duron Carter, Cris Carter's son. Upon hearing the news his son picked the Buckeye's, here's what Cris had to say...
“This is kind of surreal. This morning I went for a walk and thought to myself that I can’t believe how great this is. I feel like I died and went to heaven because I get to go through the Buckeye experience twice.”
Heaven.

Right.

Anyway, moving on.

The Big Ten Bloggers have posted their picks for 1st team Big Ten offense and defense. I did not participate. I am simply not prepared to pick the all-Big Ten players yet. But it surely interesting to see how my fellow bloggers have voted. Head on over to LTP to see the rundown. Here's a hint...its full of Buckeyes. Although Terrance Taylor made the cut at DT.

Michael Shaw is Fast!

And now we'll get to watch him scorch defenses in 09 with his breakaway speed. Apparently, this is the first recruit that RR has stolen away from the Ohio recruit gravitational pull that is Tressell's vest. According to Eleven Warriors, RR is 1-7 in head-to-head recruiting bouts with Tressell. Yes, crazy Buckeye fans even keep track of that!

An article in the Free Press this morning caught my eye. Sporting News columnist Spencer Hall had a great article detailing the speed of players from conference to conference, and you might be surprised how he rates the Big Ten. He also has some encouraging words for RR and the new style of speed at Michigan.

Quote...

The high-profile losses to perceived speed teams and the implementation of the spread offense across college football, though, changed the demand curve for athletes and placed a premium on speed at every position. In 10 years, we could be talking about the Big Ten's dominance and superior strength training programs, but for the moment the pendulum has swung toward speed and explosiveness over brute strength.

Bringing us to the future, a.k.a. the West Virginia/Michigan training program. I mentioned Michigan's superb record against the SEC above; now consider how well Michigan did using training techniques from the 1970s, as it did until this year's complete revamping of the training program.

(Fun story that's been floating around college football circles: Under the former management, Michigan linemen, in order to gain weight, were allegedly told to "eat a whole pizza" at night. I'm amazed they didn't flounder like sick race horses on Saturdays. Also: no squats. The most basic fundamental move in weight lifting simply did not exist in their machine-dominated training program.)

Michigan is now busy reprogramming its players to play in the 21st century, demanding speed at every position (yes, even for pizza-mobbing offensive linemen) and totally rebuilding their talent development system.

Two thoughts crossed my mind as we finished drills: One, that not vomiting on day one represented a substantial accomplishment for a squishy blogger; and two, that if Michigan did as well as it did with old training methods, the possibilities for the Wolverines under a newer, speed-obsessed regime remain both frightening and limitless.

Those two words were never uttered under the previous Michigan administration. And "speed-obsessed"??? HA! But I might have to take a quick shot at Spenc. He might want to consider Michigan's superiority of lineman talent both in the college ranks and in the NFL. Pizzas don't do much for speed, but take a look at Hutchinson, Payne, Backus, Baas, Jansen and Long. Not a bad pedigree.

I'm sure Boren and daddy Boren will be scouting the pizza joints on High street this summer.

Well, that's all I have for now. More on those pesky Buckeyes on the way!

Update - Quick correction
Comment from Jason...
"Yes, Shaw is lightning fast, but OSU didn't offer him. The one that Rodriguez won over Tressel so far for the '09 class is Justin Turner.

Not that we're obsessively tracking this stuff or anything..."
No Jason, not at all. I think the passage I read from Eleven Warriors led me to think it was Shaw. Thanks for the shout out.

Newsome on the Fence?

According to reports, and Michigan Sports Center...Kevin Newsome, Michigan's 2009 dual-threat QB recruit, and #4 QB in the nation has decided to transfer high schools. Lew Johnston, Newsome's former HS coach and close family friend had this to say about his departed star.
"I thought when he picked Michigan, he jumped the gun a little bit, and I was disappointed, I told him that."
Apparently, Virginia Tech is now in the running. But the departure of VA Tech QB coach Kevin Rogers to the Minnesota Vikings was the only thing that kept Newsome from committing to Tech...according to Johnston.

Newsome and his father both refuse to acknowledge any sort of de-commitment from Michigan.

Johnston also cites the commitment of Shavodrick Beaver and the interest of Tate Forcier as reasons why Newsome should reconsider his verbal to the maize & blue.

I personally don't put a lot of weight on the words of a former HS coach. Sure he knows Newsome well, and maybe he has an axe to grind against Rodriguez...but if Newsome was so inclined to listen to his former coach, why did he decide to transfer? This is according to Newsome's father...
The move is so Kevin can "continue to improve at quarterback so he'll be in a better position to step in and help somebody as soon as possible when he gets to college,"
So there you go. Newsome is looking to start immediately...obviously. Does Michigan give him the best opportunity to do that? We'll see what kind of senior year he has at Hargrave Military Academy.

Doug Weighs in on Michigan-Utah. And It's Not Pretty

According to that guy...Michigan will lose to Utah.

Now, that guy, who's name is Doug Smock...how did I guess? ...is a writer for the Charleston Gazette in Charleston, WV. Not only does he predict Utah to win, but to make it all the way to a BCS bowl.

I think Yost retired one day too early, because I detect a hint of a Buckstache.

Not only that, but the hair piece is probably a real panty-dropper!

Okay, okay, just because he's predicting a Utah win in Ann Arbor this year doesn't give me the right to bash his appearance, I just did that for fun. But I will go out on a limb and say that there is a very long line to so-called "experts" who are predicting the demise of Michigan football this year. And you probably can't swing a dead cat in WV without hitting a sportswriter who hates Michigan and Rich Rodriguez.
"I project this team to give Rich Rodriguez a fitting start at the "Big House" in Michigan, laying a big, fat "L" on the Wolverines."
Wow, that's some pretty impressive journalism! Doug, have you met Jim Carty? Jim...Doug?

Doug also drops this gem on us...

"YOU KNOW what we need in college football this fall?

Faster games? From a selfish deadline standpoint, I'm on board, but I'm not sure that many fans really want the clock to start after the ball is reset from out-of-bounds plays."

Faster games??? Are you serious? Games last year just barely cracked 3 hours. Much quicker than the typical 3 1/2+ hour games in previous years. I don't have my numbers in front of me, but something like 10-15 less plays per offense were run per game last year. And please correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't steps being taken this year to extend the games a tad?

What we really need is more writers like Doug here. Next thing you know he might go way out on a limb and predict WVU has a 10-win season. Whoa!

Hail to the MZone!

In a stunning move, Yost over at the MZone has decided to hang up and keyboard and shut down the blog.

While I will miss his insightful, and sometimes sarcastic remarks, I do understand and of course will wish him well. I started reading his blog about a year or so ago, when I was trying to figure out if I should start one of my own.

The Michigan blogopshere will miss him. While I don't think I he ever linked to me, its not like I didn't want him to...he was a staple on my link list and a daily visit for me.

So with no further adieu, in true MZone fashion...I give you the Buckstache!



Farewell Yost...Here's to a good run!

Let's Hear it for...

Bill Martin...

He's reportedly kept the Michigan Athletic Department under budget for the 8th consecutive year. From mgoblue.com...

Total revenues for FY 2009 are budgeted to be $90.5 million and total operating expenses are budgeted at $80.2 million. The Athletic Department is a self-supporting unit that does not receive financial support from the University's General Fund budget.

"We are pleased to project another operating surplus for FY 2009, the eighth straight year of operating surpluses," Athletic Director Bill Martin said. "To achieve competitive excellence requires a significant financial commitment. We are proud to be able to field an outstanding, well-rounded athletic program, build new facilities and fund all our sports to the full NCAA scholarship limit."

In the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2008, Athletic Department revenue will have provided $14.06 million in athletic financial aid—including tuition, housing and books—to 481 student-athletes who compete in the 25 men's and women's sports.

Good job. Way to...do...your job.

Jim Delaney...

What started out more than a year ago as a power struggle to see who would cave first, the Big Ten Network is coming to Comcast. Props to Delaney for being arrogant and stubborn. You outlasted your big business cable company counterparts.

While I can't say I watch the channel everyday, when I do tune in, I am typically impressed. The fit and finish of the programs, and production value is usually very high. The on-air talent is pretty good, and they're not taking commercial breaks more than anyone else. So you don't feel like its a bargain basement network.

1997 Michigan Ball-Boys...

Apparently, during that year's Northwestern game, these two ball boys on the Michigan sideline noticed that someone on the NW sideline had been able to forecast Michigan's runs/pass plays.

Here's the free press article. Quote...

"There was a guy on their sideline that day, and he had our signals down pat," Datz said. "Every time, he would scream into the defense what we're going to do -- pass or run -- and he was almost always right. ...

"They were blowing up draws, calling our counters and destroying our screen passes -- all a big part of our plays that year. I was just screaming mad. Youtan and I are thinking to ourselves, 'This guy has us.' "

They somehow needed to inform the U-M coaches. So early in the third quarter, according to the managers, Youtan ran around the field to talk with Magnus.

Magnus' job was to hold the cords to Carr's headphones. He, too, was expected to keep his mouth shut, stay out of the way and keep the wires from entangling the boss.

But Magnus decided the information was so important that he had to approach Carr.

"Your heart skips a few beats," he said. "But it's a fairly stressful issue if they know all our plays."

So he took the plunge and told Carr what Datz and Youtan had observed.

"I absolutely remember that," Carr said recently. "The reason I do remember it is I don't ever remember anybody else offering advice or information during a game.

"Those are all bright guys that get into those positions. But that's the only time I remember one telling me something."

But that still wasn't enough for the coaches to change their signal calling. So later in the quarter, Datz said he ran around the field to repeat the message to Magnus.

The play that finally sold the U-M coaches on the need to adjust came on a third-and-25 with less than three minutes left in the third quarter. That's when U-M tailback Clarence Williams ran a sweep -- an odd call for that down and distance -- and two Wildcats grabbed him behind the line of scrimmage.

All kidding aside, but how surprised are we that someone on the other sideline knew when Michigan was going to run or was going to pass. The drunk 50 year old guy behind me is pretty good at calling those too.

Either way, its an interesting story.

The author of this blog turns one year older tomorrow. So, enjoy the weekend. Enjoy your summer solstice. And enjoy the longest day of the year. Throw a few back for the old Maize & Blue!

Cheers!

Wednesday Link-a-thon!

Well, its a slow day here at MBN, so I thought I'd let the internet do the dirty work around here. Here are some of the noteworthy links today...

Johnny at RBUAS has (finally) posted to his blog. His last post came just one day before the UM-OSU game last year. Through the whole head coaching search...nothing. Lloyd leaving...nothing. Bowl game...nothing. Pryor...nothing. But now, just over 7 months of silence, he has posted. And its definitely worth a click.

Also, Varsity Blue has a good post breaking down Utah's offense & defense, and what to expect when the Utes come calling to Ann Arbor this fall. I think it may be a bit premature to speculate on next season...but they do a good job breaking down stats and returning players.

ESPN's summer slowdown feature..."Title Town", has picked Michigan's own Ann Arbor as a finalist for the "award". Remember last summer's "Who's Now?" feature? Yeah...I don't either. I think Tiger Woods won that contest. Word is that Tiger is out for the rest of the year with another knee surgery planned. Bummer.

And finally...mgoblog has posted some fine fotos of the stadium renovation. These pics are taken from field level. I must say, the Big House is going to look much much bigger when this project is done. So cool.

Cheers! Go Blue!

New Adidas Away Jersey?

Via mgoblog...


Um...
I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Thankfully we play at home more then we do on the road. Brian at mgoblog says he had more than a couple people email him with these pics saying they are the true jerseys. The second pic looks as if it was taken at the Michigan Women's Football camp last weekend. In which case, I would tend to think these are the real deal.

Now, they're not too different from the Nike jerseys from last year. The yellow piping looks to be a bit thicker, and of course the yellow inserts on the sides are a new addition (which remind me a lot of WVU road unis...blah!). So its not too far off from last year. But this blogger thinks Adidas, and Michigan coulda and shoulda done better.

Darius Winston: New 2009 Verbal

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Darius Winston, the #2 CB in the nation, and 20th player overall for 2009 has de-committed from Arkansas and reopened the bidding process, adding Michigan as his new leader.

From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
Helena-West Helena Central cornerback Darius Winston withdrew his commitment to Arkansas on Friday and will reopen his recruitment, according to his uncle Buck Willie. Winston, 6-0, 175 pounds, 4. 38 seconds in the 40-yard dash, made a nonbinding oral commitment to the Razorbacks in early February and is considered to be one of the top cornerback prospects in the nation. Willie said Winston is still considering Arkansas but named Michigan as his leader.
No word on any of the details yet, but here's the standard YouTube highlight reel:


Cheers!

Michigan's New Adidas Home Uniforms

Just in case you were curious what Michigan's new home unis will look like this fall under the Adidas regime, rest assured, aside from the logo...they're very similar.

Here's what your mom would look like on gameday.

A big thanks to Tim @ Varsity Blue.

The Face of the Program

ESPN.com's SportsNation is running a feature this summer called "The Face of the Program". They are asking fans to discuss and debate who/what is the face of their beloved programs. It can be a person, place, thing, idea, rivalry, color, anything really. Whatever comes to most people's minds when they think of a certain football program.

Instead of commenting on ESPN's page, lets bring part of the discussion here. Hopefully we can avoid the OSU and MSU trolls, unlike our ESPN counterparts.

Of course, to start us off, allow me to weigh in on what I think the face of the Michigan program is.

My take is, it has to be no one other than the old coach himself...Bo Schembechler.


There is simply no doubt, Bo has been the most influential person in Michigan's rich football history. He's the standard for any coach that follows him. Bo's influence is clearly visible in the character of his assistants who became head coaches, and the players he coached. There are many things you can point today, that Bo had a direct hand in. From the facilities, to the band, former players and the uniforms, all of that takes a back seat to the legendary coach.


Pre-Season Big Ten Picks

We're still a ways away from the season, but the Big Ten Bloggers have decided to put together our pre-season predictions for how the Big Ten will look when the 2008 season comes to an end. First, here are my picks:

1. PSU
Even with their off the field issues, they're primed for a banner year. They have the talent, they have the cupcake schedule, and if they can knock off Michigan at home and win on the road at OSU the week after, it's clear sailing. Just need to make sure to keep away from the injury bug.

2. OSU
Say what you will, but when everyone in the world is telling you how great you are and how easily you should return to the title game, watch out.

3. Michigan
Okay, sure...I had a little case of homeritis with my pick of Michigan at third. But, hey...I look at the rest of the league and I can honestly see it. If the spread can work for Illinois in 07, it can work for us in 08.

4. Wisconsin
Good things are happening in Madison, but this might be a less than stellar year. But 09 is looking better.

5. Iowa
Iowa will benefit from not playing OSU or Michigan this year. Plus they have Wisconsin and Penn State at home.

6. MSU
Little brother opens at Cal which will be a great game to watch. But I don't see them sustaining the momentum for the whole year. OSU, at Michigan and then back home for Wisconsin in three straight weeks will be brutal. And then they wrap up the season with a trip to Happy Valley.

7. Illinois
Lost some key players. Tougher conference schedule this year...although a cake-walk non-conf schedule. Just don't think they have it in them for another BCS-type year.

8. Indiana
I see Indiana knocking off a top-tier Big Ten foe sometime this season. But it won't be OSU or Michigan, as Indiana gets a pass on the Big Two this year.

9. Purdue
Goodbye Joe Tiller.

10. NW
Well, what else can I say? My hats off to LTP for putting this pre-season rankings together. Sorry your Wildcats didn't finish higher. But, take solace in knowing that I think any of the bottom 5 could finish in any order. I think it would be great for the league to see NW back in a bowl game soon.

11. Minnesota
1-11 last year. Will do better this year, could maybe finish as high as 7 or 8.

Now, let me say that this is a very different year for the Big Ten, it is almost a wide open race. I can honestly see maybe any of the top 6 making a good run at the title, and probably the top 2 in BCS games. But it is still way too early to make really educated picks. Maybe as we draw closer to September, we'll give this another whirl.

Now, here is the combined picks from the 25 or so members of the Big Ten Bloggers. This is a composite average. Thanks to Lake The Posts for putting this together and making it happen.

1. OSU
2. PSU
3. Wisconsin
4. Illinois
5. MSU
6. Michigan
7. Iowa
8. Purdue
9. NW
10. Indiana
11. Minnesota

Penn State Mail Call

Mike at Black Shoe Diaries chimed in on my last post, Penn State: Criminal U?, and had the following to say:
See, your post is exactly what we're fighting. There were not 61 "arrests". The list alleges 61 run ins with the law, but when you break down the list it is full of errors and omissions. A large portion of the charges were dismissed. Some of the items were done by former players. Joe Paterno gets out of his car and wags a finger at a lady and that makes the list?

When you take all that stuff off the list and all the things that are dismissed you're left with mostly a lot of underage drinking and disorderly conduct stuff. While I'll be the first to admit our kids have been less than choir boys in recent years, the person who put the list together had a clear agenda to smear the PSU program and wasn't going to let facts get in the way. So when PSU fans hear Outside the Lines is looking to do a similar story we get a little defensive.
Well, first of all, thanks to Mike for taking the time to comment. I do understand trying to fight the good fight against the people out there who may be trying to smear the Penn State program. But as an outsider, I have the ability to see the forest through the trees...and I can tell you that it doesn't look good. Whether the honest number of arrests/run-ins with the law is 61, 51 or 41, either way, its a lot, and clearly there is an issue that needs to be addressed. This ESPN story will only highlight what has been a growing problem. Unfortunately it is a growing problem on almost every campus in America...and Penn State has the misfortune of being singled out by maybe the biggest sports media outlet in the country.

Now, I will not say that JoPa needs to go. Old men shaking their fingers at younsters is never good. The head coach is ultimately responsible for the actions of his players, but I think there is more to the problem than the coach. I think the leadership of the program, from assistants to upper-class men, need to be taken into account.

I wish I had more information in front of me so I could address this topic on a incident by incident basis, but I will take your word for it that the bulk of the run-ins were alcohol related and/or disorderly conduct issues. And if it is true that former players are involved and their actions are bringing down the current team, then that is most definitely something that JoPa and his staff need to address.

But, it will be interesting to watch this unfold. Luckily for PSU fans, the NBA refs are the big controversy right now. So this may be tabled until we get closer to the season.

Cheers!

Penn State: Criminal U?

Now I'm not saying that college age kids shouldn't get in a little trouble now and then. Most college students are unexpectedly and suddenly exposed to the harsh realities of paying for their actions once they move away from home. Certainly life lessons are best learned the hard way, but what is happening at Penn State has to be concerning. I don't know if this is a product of bad program leadership, or just a run of bad eggs that seem to to be growing like a virus in State College, PA.

Run Up the Score is running a post (ha!) detailing a story that ESPN is going to feature on their sports magazine show, Outside the Lines. They are featuring a story about all of the PSU players who have been arrested since 2002. ALL 61 OF THEM!!!! *#!&!%$!!!!!

The link and the find are courtesy of Mike at Zombie Nation.

However, like Mike, I too share in his feelings about ESPN. And I too will be interested to see how specific they get about each player. Now, it should be noted that not all players arrested were charged or even found guilty. But, that's not the story.

Now I understand the group dynamic. And when you are a member of a close-knit team...as the team goes, so goes the rest. Clearly there is a problem here. Of course not every program is totally squeaky clean, but 61 arrests in 6 years is alarming. Either the coach has lost control of his players, or he just recruited bad kids...something is wrong, and will obviously be addressed by either the administration or the NCAA, or both.

I don't know details of this story and when it will air, but any PSU fans out there who are "in the know", please feel free to comment or email me and I will update.

Overpaid, Underwhelming Sportswriters

In an interview on WTKA with Sam Webb and Andy Evans, Jim Carty, our favorite Michigan sportswriter, addressed Michigan's upcoming season outlook...

According to Jim, Michigan could be a sub .500 team, or win 10 games.

Oh really??? Well, that Ann Arbor news salary was really put to work on that one wasn't it Jim? My 6 month old nephew in Los Angeles could've predicted that. As much as I may not believe it sometimes, we are getting closer and closer to no longer needing sports media experts.

Jim Carty. The biggest boob in sportswriter history.

I know of many many many bloggers (see links on right) who know a helluva lot more about the ins and outs of Michigan football, and other Big Ten schools, than guys like Jim Carty. They are not only better writers, but they actually post honest information, and are not afraid to be critical when the situation warrants it, unlike always being critical like Carty. And they also don't go out and waste untold amounts of dollars digging up fake news just to sell subscriptions or get online readers.

Now I'm not saying I don't think we need antagonists now and then. We can't all be homers all the time. I'm certainly not saying Michigan will go and win 11 or 12 games next year. Anyone who reads this blog knows how I feel. Next year will be a crap shoot. This Michigan team is a great representation of why I think pre-season rankings are not only meaningless, but a waste of time and effort.

Should Michigan be ranked? Of course no one knows. I'm still trying to figure out who should've been ranked #1 at the end of last season. And I'm getting tired of these so-called experts telling me that Michigan will either suck, or be great. I can make that prediction, and I'm just another jackass blogger! It's because of guys like Jim Carty that folks soon will no longer need sportswriters.

WVU Prez Resigns

Is that Drew Carey without the glasses???

Via freep.com:
West Virginia University President Mike Garrison said today he will resign in September to end the controversy surrounding the improper awarding of a master's degree to the governor's daughter.

"After careful reflection, I have determined I am the one person who is uniquely situated to stop this dialogue with my decision," Garrison told the school's Board of Governors. "It is the most difficult decision I have ever faced. But it is a clear decision with a clear outcome."
Now, if that's not an admission of guilt, than I don't know what is. I'm not going to assume that the Rich Rodriquez situation has anything to do with this, but it does seem awfully coincidental. In the deposition Rodriquez gave in April, Garrison's name came up a few times in relation to the $4M buyout agreement Rodriquez signed in August last year.

We'll just have to wait and see if anything comes of this in relation to our dear coach. In the meantime, enjoy a random video from the collection of WolverineHistorian to wrap up your Friday afternoon.

Our Cup Runneth Over


Our colors may be maize & blue, but today, they're red and white! What a series, what a game. I could not imagine this thing going to a game 7. As usual, the embedded videos...



Quintin Patilla..."Blasting" the New Staff?

"Report: Wolverine blasts new staff, set to transfer to Grand Valley"

Apparently, the Detroit Free Press thought Quintin Patilla was going all Justin Boren and "blasting" the new coaching staff as he announced he would be transferring to Grand Valley State next year.
“There were a lot of things I didn’t agree with,” he said, “I didn’t like what was going on. My health issues were present when the old staff was there and I felt like the new staff didn’t care too much.
Patilla has suffered from issues related to asthma. He was recruited as a linebacker, but was switched to fullback shortly after arriving in AA.
“I was just trying to find something different. I wanted to get away from Ann Arbor, start out new and Grand Valley is a good team, the campus is nice and they have nice surroundings.”
So can someone please tell me, at what point he blasts the current coaching staff? I'm all for using certain buzzwords to get people to click on a story. I mean, hey, that's what its all about. But this is a case of the headline making the news, not the story.

I mean, don't get me wrong, it sucks when a player leaves. But he's a 3rd string FB. Probably not going to be missed too much. Of course, I wish him well at GVSU.

Later, in a similar article, he says the following:
“It feels good. I’m eager to get to GVSU and meet the players and help them win national championships like they’re used to doing. I’m still in Ann Arbor working at the hospital until July though and I’m still cool with all my friends and guys at UM. They’re still my team, they’ll always be my team. They were my team as a kid and I’m still a Michigan fan."
Geez...he sounds pissed. Good work Free Press!

Game 5


Very rarely from time to time, this blogger will stray away from the friendly confines of Michigan football discussion. But last night's Game 5 in the Stanley Cup Finals was simply mind-blowing. For the fans at the Joe last night, what an emotional roller coaster. But I have to hand it to them, they were crazy from the opening drop at about 8:15 last night, until the final goal in the 3rd overtime at 12:46 this morning.

I'm no hockey expert, but I knew we were screwed when Jiri Hudler got hit with a 4 minute high-sticking penalty. I mean a 4 minute man advantage in overtime? Especially since the Red Wing's legs were gone by that point. Petr Sykora's goal was just waiting to happen.

Not to play devils advocate or anything, but this is the kind of game that can change a series completely. Max Talbot's goal with 34.3 seconds left was about the must clutch goal I have ever seen. It will be very interesting to see how they bounce back tomorrow night at Pittsburgh.

Also, just an FYI, I've added various links to Big Ten blogs on the right-side column. And it is surely to their credit, there is some fine writing going on there. Since I get a fair share of traffic from some of those fellas, I see no reason not to at least attempt to return the favor. But geez...do we need so many damn Buckeye blogs?

Big Ten Coaches Hot Seat - Part 2

Pat Fitzgerald - Northwestern
3rd Season

2006: 4-8
2007: 6-6
Total: 10-14

Pat Fitzgerald was hired after the unfortunate passing of Randy Walker. Northwestern hired him in 2006 making him the youngest Big Ten coach ever at 31. He was a player at NW in the mid-90's...a highly decorated linebacker who led them to two bowl appearances, the Rose in 1996, and the Citrus is 1997.

It is safe to say that the die-hard Northwestern fans out there, there are some out there, right?...probably really like Fitzgerald. I can honestly say that I wasn't a huge fan of playing Northwestern last year. They probably could've knocked us off.

I think Fitzgerald's job is pretty safe. He has the support of the school and the fans. And let's face it, expectations for the Wildcats are never really that high. I expect we'll see him pull off some big upsets before he's through in Evanston. When that will be, who knows...he may be off to greener pastures if he can string together some respectable bowl appearances.

Jim Tressel - Ohio State
8th Season

2001: 7-5
2002: 14-0
2003: 11-2
2004: 8-4
2005: 10-2
2006: 12-1
2007: 11-2
Total: 73-16

Forget his first year, since then he's gone 66-11. Damn you Tressel!

Sir Teflon's career at OSU has been marked by two things: He beats Michigan, and he's been able to defect any sort of controversy from himself about his thug players. Thus the name, Sir Teflon.

Of course, being a constant winner helps people forget that your players are, for the most part, idiots. As long as he keeps beating Michigan, and going to BCS title games, he could have a whole team of Clarretts and no one would care.

To the rest of the Big Ten, Tressel is hated. No one likes to play OSU. To drunk Buckeye fans though, he's God. He could not run for Ohio Governor and still win. He will be the head coach at Ohio State for the rest of time. Period.

Joe Paterno - Penn State
43rd Season

(I'd list his season-by-season records...but I just don't have that kind of time)

Total: 372-125-3

JoPa has been head coach at Penn State since 1966. He's been on the coaching staff since 1950! He's 81. 81!!! There has to be dirt or rocks that are younger than him!

He's maybe the winningest coach in DIV-1 FBS, or second to Bobby Bowden if you count Bowden's 33 wins at Howard. But this is a Big Ten blog...so we'll say he's the winningest.

There's no point to speculate when he'll retire. As senile as the old man is, he'll coach till he dies. No question about it.

A little "did you know"...he was asked by Don Canham in 1969 if he'd consider the vacant Michigan job? Or that he was offered the Pittsburgh Steelers job in 1969 also? Or that he was offered the New England Patriots job in 1972? Turned them all down.

Joe Tiller - Purdue
12th Season

1997: 9-3
1998: 9-4
1999: 7-5
2000: 8-4
2001: 6-6
2002: 7-6
2003: 9-4
2004: 7-5
2005: 5-6
2006: 8-6
2007: 8-5
Total: 83-54

Joe Tiller won a share of the conference in 2000. Since then its been hits and misses...mostly misses. Never really impressing too much, his career at Purdue has probably been a disappointment. He has been to 10 bowl games in 11 years, but lately those bowl games have been Sun, Champs and Motor City.

He's right up there with Ferentz in terms of remaining head coach life-expectancy. He's a nice guy, not a big fan of Rich Rodriguez, but a nice guy. Unfortunately, being a nice guy won't pay the bills. I don't know first hand what Purdue fans think, but if I were a lower-class Big Ten team, even I would want some fresh blood in there after 11 years of struggling, and producing only 1 decent NFL prospect, Drew Brees in 2001.

Bret Bielema - Wisconsin
3rd Season

2006: 12-1
2007: 9-4
Total: 21-5

Big Ten coach of the year right out of the gate, Bret Bielema got a lot of attention going 12-1 in 2006. And even though that only landed them 3rd in the conference that year, he made the Wisconsin faithful very happy. Last year was a 9-4 hangover that will most likely be cured this season.

Replacing Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin's Bo Schembechler...was not an easy thing to do. He had a lot of doubters. But I think this guy will be around in Madison for quite a while to come. He just needs to string together some wins over the Big Ten elite...something that has always been hard to do at Wisconsin, even for Alvarez.

They're 2008 non-conf is a joke. But they do travel to Ann Arbor in late September, and then back home to face OSU in back-to-back weeks. If they can get past one of those two, its pretty much clear sailing to another 10-win season.

***Update*** 6/3/08, 8:45AM

It has come to this bloggers attention, and for whatever reason I chose to forget, Joe Tiller has announced this will be his last year at Purdue, and that Danny Hope will be his replacement in 2009. That is all.