Also, the final "official" rankings for the Big Ten Bloggers weekly pick'em have been released. MBN finished tied for 7th along with LTP out of the 22 bloggers who participated. I guess correctly picking all 7 Big Ten bowl games did a lot to boost my score. I was middle of the pack for much of the season. Plus bowl games were worth the most at 5 points a piece. Michigan blogger Michigan Sports Center took the crown, edging out the Michigan blog Maize & Brew for the top spot. Props to The Daily Gopher for hosting said pick'em.
There has been whole lot of posts by my fellow Big Ten bloggers about the skeptical nature of the mass media as to the voracity of the Big Ten conference's football squads ability to "hang" with teams from supposedly better conferences. And while I would agree that the Big Ten has indeed struggled to string together any form of a consistent winning percentage against the Pac-10, Big 12 and SEC, it should be noted that there could be a broader theme to the Big Ten's recent woes.
You see...the Big Ten is situated, geographically, in the upper-midwest (duh). After, say, November 1st or so, the weather really gets funky. And by funky, I mean cold and wet. Not exactly a prime location for hosting holiday season bowl games. So, where do we go?
Well, we head south and west, of course. Right smack dab into SEC, Big 12 and Pac-10 territory. For all of the 7 bowls the Big Ten played in this year, they took place in Florida, California, Arizona and Texas. For teams like Penn State who had to play USC in southern California, 12 miles from USC's campus, that's basically a home game for the Trojans. But what's new? USC has been playing in front of hometown crowds for bowl games for years now.
But, Michigan State played Georgia in Florida. Wisconsin played FSU in Florida. Northwestern played Missouri in Texas. This is a trend that has been going on for a long time...and it will not be stopping anytime soon. It was just last year that almost every Big Ten team was playing their bowl opponent in their home state.
Michigan vs. Florida in Florida
tOSU vs. LSU in Louisiana
Illinois vs. USC in California
Penn State vs. Texas A&M in Texas
Purdue vs. Western Michigan in Michigan
This is just a snapshot from one year, but, no wonder the Big Ten struggles more than any other conference in bowl games.
Until the BCS or whatever bowl committee games decide to start hosting teams from similar equidistant locations, then there will always be a hint of home field advantage for the opposing team.
In other news, Steve & Barry's in Ann Arbor on State Street has shut it's doors. This actually was announced a while back. But they officially shut down just a few days ago. And within 72 hours, MDen swooped in and has started to set up shop. Anyone not familiar with MDen, should be. They're really the best one-stop-shop for all of your University of Michigan wearable and merchandise needs. (Is that good enough for some free swag?)
The Michigan men's basketball squad will hit the hardwood tonight in Bloomington, IN to take on the once-mighty Hoosiers of Indiana. If you cannot make the trip to the most boring state in the union, then tune your porn-tube to the Big Ten network promptly at 6:30 to catch the game. It's been since 1995 since Michigan has won a game in Assembly Hall. This is maybe on of our best chances ever as we are favored by 6 1/2. UMHoops has a full preview.
According to Spawn of MZone, tOSU is a hot tranny mess. And we would have to agree.
Rivals had a nice long piece about Rodriguez and some fun tidbits from his recent interview with John Bacon on his radio show. Michigan will be having a spring game this year. On April 11th...and it WILL be played at the Big House! Sorry Saline High School.
He also dove head first into his thoughts on the DC search...
"The process is very early right now. I've talked to some guys on the phone, gathering information on things. I've talked to guys on the current staff. I'm going to take time with it, not going to rush into what I want to do defensively.So, lots of info there but nothing definitive. But I am very happy to see that the 3-3-5 is not going to be the base defense anytime soon. Not that it probably doesn't work, but what I saw when Michigan ran it against Purdue was nothing short of awful.
"The coordinator is a concern whether it's in house or out of house, and I also want to make sure to leave all doors open. The national coaches convention is next week, there will be 5,000-plus coaches. I'll see guys there. There are still bowl games and NFL games to be played. I want to leave all options open for the for best fit not only for the University of Michigan, but for what we have our team, recruiting and our current staff."
"You can't just be a 3-4 guy or a 4-3 guy. At West Virginia we ran a 3-3-5 base, which was a little different. We'll maintain here the 4-3, 3-4 principle. We did a lot of 3-4 stuff in our second- and third-down packages this year, and we'll continue to do more four-man and odd front.
"I know what I want to do philosophically, but I don't want to change everything because of what we have on our team and what we've recruited so far. Our full-time defensive coaches, Jay Hopson, Tony Gibson and Bruce Tall … I've coached with Bruce and Tony for several years, Jay this past year but I've known him for several years … all have been college coordinators, so they've got a lot of experience in the 4-3 and 3-4 packages. They get along great, they are good people and they are going to be involved in which direction we want to go."
Yesterday I assumed that there would be little to no news about Michigan seniors entering the draft and/or being drafted. I forgot about college all-star games such as the East/West Shrine Bowl. Morgan Trent and Terrance Taylor will be on the East squad for the game on January 17th.