Recruiting Update

As we inch closer and closer to signing day, just over 7 days from now, Michigan narrows its sights on a list of recruits.

Atop the list right now are high school teamates Denard Robinson and Adrian Witty. Robinson is a 4-star QB from Deerfield Beach, FL. He's expected to announce probably on signing day that he's heading to Michigan. Hopefully, along with him will be his teamate Witty. He's only a 2-star CB, but both have made it clear that they'd like to attend the same school. And so far only Kansas State and Michigan have offered both, although Robinson has an offer from Florida. They took their official visit to Ann Arbor together on Jan. 9th.

According to Rivals, Michigan's coaches visited the home of Pennsylvania WR Ja'Ron Stokes this evening. He's listed as a 4-star WR and the #14 player at that position. He's only 6-1, 178, but he can run the 40 in 4.4. He's currently listed as verbally committed to the Vols, but it seems as if he's been wavering lately (he's not visited Tennessee since Fulmer left)...hence inviting the Michigan staff into his home tonight.

Michigan currently has two great DT commits in DaQuinta Jones and Pearlie Graves (as well as new Michigan freshman 5-star DT William Campbell). But lately both have been considered to be on the fence. Maybe this has something to do with the last second Campbell re-commit right before the spring semester. Maybe not. Maybe it's all speculation and hearsay? Graves has been to both Tennessee and Oklahoma this month for official visits. Yet, he's still commited, although Oklahoma is looking like a more likely option. Jones has offers from about every team in the south. And he's visited both Auburn and Arkansas in recent weeks, yet he still remains a soft verbal for the Wolverines. He took an official to Ann Arbor just this past weekend where he again verbally commited saying he expects to sign with Michigan next week. We'll see.


Michigan needs at least one more QB and one more WR to add to this class. Should things fall through with Robinson, Michigan now has the interest of FL QB Austin Dantin. Not much out there about this prospect right now. WR prospects LA WR Travante Stallworth and GA WR Terrell Mitchell are both on the Michigan radar.

Stallworth is probably the more likely of the two. Mitchell took his official visit to AA this past weekend, but is still very high on Kentucky. Stallworth is barely committed to Auburn. He's been there 3 times so far, but said that he's still keeping an eye on other schools. He came to AA on Jan. 9th.

Maybe one of the most important positions for Michigan to be looking at right now is offensive line.  SC OL Quinton Washington just welcomed Rich Rodriguez into his home recently for an in-home visit. He's a verbal commit for Clemson right now, but obviously still looking around. He's been busy visiting schools like Tennessee, South Carolina and Clemson this month. He's also set to visit Miami this weekend. Hopefully the 6-3, 305 lb. recruit with fit the M cap onto his head come signing day.

Keep an eye on our recruit list on the middle sidebar --->, and obviously we'll keep you up to date with all the latest news if it breaks. This late in the game though, verbal commits are probably few and far between. Signing day will be fast and furious. Michigan had 4 commits decide to play for Michigan last year on signing day, and 4 more within a week of. It probably won't be as crazy this year, but who knows.

Catching Up With

Wolverine Historian

Our favorite Michigan YouTube sensation has been busy lately, and we've been neglecting some great videos that have made their way onto the internets.

Some choice selects for your consideration...

Michigan vs. Iowa, 1971


Michigan vs. MSU, 1982


Michigan vs. Purdue, 2001


Michigan vs. UCLA, 1981 Bluebonnet Bowl


And finally, Braylon Edwards Michigan Mix-Tape


Go Blue!

Be A Good Little Blog...

...or WLA will come and get you.
Fandom is irrational and emotional, and therefore should be fun. Period. Enjoy the ride, and if you ever stop having fun (and consequently write something stupid), the WLA will be there to remind you that you're a bitchy little donkeyfucker. You can count on it and, by knowing we're here for you, maybe next time you'll refrain from saying something stupid on the internet.
If the blogging police at WLA think that my site is lame and my posts are stupid, that's fine. I'm okay with that. To each his own.

But to cast a blanket exhortation to all Michigan bloggers that if WLA thinks something you write is not up to their golden standard of passing the stupid-test, does not sit well with me. Don't get me wrong, I'll keep posting the usual stuff that I do...mostly YouTube videos, news and links, with some editorial commentary sprinkled in for fun. If WLA, or anyone for that matter takes issue with what I say, I can handle it. Criticism is fine, but the bad language used by WLA's authors is what gets me. I like to keep this blog PG rated if at all possible. Sports are a very emotional topic, and the internet is an easy forum for sports fans. But I'll stand by my policy of never deleting comments. If your point is good enough, f-bombs and a-holes should not be needed.

This post acts as basically a message to all MBN readers (I know you're out there!), that if WLA authors decide one of my posts does not pass their standards, and they populate the post comments with foul language, that at least I can say I said my piece, and that I do not condone such behavior.

Monday Night Link-a-Thon

It's been some time since we've last posted. After last week's Morgan Trent madness, it's a relief to get back to some semblence of normalcy. My days have been filled with real-life work, so posting has been tough. But rest assured, it's business as usual here at MBN.

• We don't cover much hockey news unless it's a big story. But the blogs and news sites have been going nuts over the news coming out of Yost this weekend as two Michigan State goons have been suspended for the duration of the season for their attack on Steve Kampfer on Saturday night during Michigan's 5-3 win.

Andrew Conboy and Corey Tropp are the players in question, and the video of said event is below.



No question whatsoever that this is just a despicable act. We're very glad to hear that Steve Kampfer was not seriously injured, and is expected to be back.

For all of the best info and links to just about everything you could imagine that is related to this, hit up The Blog that Yost Built.

• Last week ESPN ran a little fluff piece ranking each and every Div-1 (or FBS) school from 1 to 119 in terms of "Prestige". How does ESPN do this? Here. Why? They're bored. I had predicted, rather homerishly that Michigan would be #1. This was based purely on the fact that Michigan holds the best winning percentage all-time. Actually, thats how ranked all 5 top teams. Well, I was way off. Michigan finished #8 overall. And yes, our friends from down south came in at #3 behind Oklahoma at #1 and USC at #2. Big surprise.

• Recruiting is really starting to get down to the wire. As we get there, mgoblog is your place to check out who's in and who's not.

Basically, Michigan has some dire needs in some spots. Sure, everyone knows we need a second QB commit. FL QB Denard Robinson is rumored to be more than interested.

Also not a bad place to get your Michigan recruiting fix is the good folks over at Varsity Blue. Sure, they might have a thing against blogs with "Nation" in their title, but we can admire any blog that goes as far into detail as this one does.

• Via MnB and The Daily Gopher, Minnesota has signed a home-and-home agreement with the Trojans of USC. Sept. 18th, 2010, USC comes to Minneapolis for a Gopher beatdown. And then the next year, they'll host the Gophers for the next 50 point win on Sept. 3, 2011. The only way the Big Ten is going to improve its national image is for our mediocre mid-conference teams to schedule dynamite powerhouse schools like USC.

Its More Than Just A Sticker, Its Justin Boren

It seems like this is a larger topic then at first blush. Maybe it's the off-season that's getting to people. Maybe we just have nothing better to concern ourselves with right now. Spawn of MZone was unhappy with the messing of perfection. Varsity Blue thinks let bygones be bygones...and takes a shot across the MBN bow with a jab at our title (thanks for that). And WLA responds in kind.

I can live with a Michigan man adorning his helmet with Florida State, Northwestern, Richmond, Nebraska and Georgia Tech stickers for a senior bowl. If Morgan Trent wants to do that, so be it. It's his helmet that he earned with 5 years of blood, sweat and tears playing football for the Michigan Wolverines. Like Spawn of MZone, I see the Michigan helmet as a icon that needs no such improvement. But given that senior bowls are famous for players doing such things to their head-gear...I can accept it. The Michigan helmet that we see on Saturdays in the fall is much more important than the ones we see in senior bowls in January.

I do not pretend though that seeing a Buckeye sticker on a Michigan helmet didn't make me seriously question the integrity of the man who's wearing said helmet. I know he's given everything to to Michigan and its fans over 5 years, and his character is intact as far as some bloggers are concerned. I wish I was able to just turn the other cheek and say no big deal.

We've never made an attempt here to say we honestly like Morgan Trent. Is he a good football player? Sure he is. He's been the starting corner back for Michigan since whenever...including two coaching staffs that saw him as the best option. Did he miss big plays and make bonehead mistakes? Sure. And I would argue that making a big mistake as a corner back is much worse than making a big mistake as a defensive lineman. You're on an island out there by yourself. It comes with the territory. But there is a reason tOSU fans are sad to see him leaving.

Until the East-West Shrine game last weekend, I never considered him anything less than a noble and faithful Michigan man. I do not know him personally, nor have I ever even met him. So for me to cast my character insults may seem resentful. But how much more worse is it to see a player who I truly cheered for, basically slap Michigan fans in the face with a solitary Buckeye sticker on his Michigan helmet. If Michigan won a few times over the last 5 years against tOSU, then maybe I could see it as something of a light-hearted joke. But we haven't, so I'm bitter.

Like I said, it's not the other stickers that bothered me. Not at all actually, just the one sticker of Michigan biggest rival. And so what if bloggers or fans want to be critical? How do you think Bo would have felt had he saw Morgan Trent's helmet this past weekend? Call me old-fashioned, but I think it was a disgrace.


Morgan Trent may get drafted in the last round of the NFL draft and go on to have a Tom Brady-like career. Or he may get cut after being picked up as an undrafted free-agent. Who really knows. I don't really care now. But there is a distinct difference between what is preceived as right and wrong. And to me, what he did was just wrong.

I Always knew Morgan Trent Sucked

It only took me one senior bowl to finally figure it out.

For 5 years, Morgan Trent has been smoked by better athletes. Wide receivers have lined up against him ever since he started seeing a starting rotation at corner back. And ever since then, they have made him look like a fool.

For 5 years I told myself that he's better than that, that he will make up for it on the next series with a great break-up or INT. But he didn't. Yet I still lived in the Michigan dream world where Morgan Trent was a better player then he really is.

But, he does have speed. He can run down a wide open WR running down the field with the best of them. Maybe that's why he's found himself playing in 2 senior bowls this year. Or, maybe the good folks who pick the players for those games have the same rose colored glasses on that I used to wear.

The straw that broke the camels back for me was the helmet that Morgan wore at the East-West Shrine game last weekend. It was just like his normal winged Michigan helmet that he wore for 5 years. But this one had other schools helmet stickers adorned all over it. This tradition is not too unfamiliar in senior bowls. Players are given the opportunity to do pretty much as they please to their helmets. But what Morgan did was downright wrong.

He had stickers from Florida State, Northwestern, Nebraska, Georgia Tech and Richmond.


Photo via Spawn of MZone

Screwing with the greatest helmet design, and easily the most recognizable symbol of Michigan football is bad enough. But the sticker placed right above the center "Michigan" sticker above the facemask...

Morgan Trent, I loath you.

It takes a special kind of jackass to place a f-ing Buckeye sticker on a Michigan helmet.

May your football career die a horrible tragic death at the hands of one of any of the great receivers you'll see next year in you first, and probably your last year in the NFL.

ESPN Asigns Prestige

College football ended about 5 minutes ago, and already ESPN.com is diving head-first into one of their off-season features in order to generate hysteria among college football purists, and those of us who just can't fit our love of the game into a 5 month-long season.

The latest feature is called, essentially "Prestige". ESPN.com has devised a system in which they are able to asign a point value to every Div-1 school. The higher the points, the more prestigeous the school. Simple, right?

The rankings begin with the 1936 season. Why 1936? Because that was the first year the AP poll was used to rank teams. Only teams recognized as "major college programs" are ranked in this study. Basically, all FBS teams.

So how does ESPN arrive at the point totals for each team? Via: ESPN.com

National title: 25 points
The full 25 points were awarded to any team that won one of the two major poll titles (AP, UPI or coaches) that season. No season had more than two title winners.

Berth in one of the major bowls: 10
Major bowls were defined as every Rose, Orange and Sugar Bowl since '36; every Cotton Bowl from 1940-94 (when it started taking the SWC champ until it was booted from the Bowl Alliance); and every Fiesta Bowl since the '86 season when the historic No. 1 Miami-vs.-No. 2 Penn State game changed the landscape of college football.

Major bowl win: 10

Best win/loss record in conference regular season: 10
These points were awarded to every team that had at least a share of the best overall record in a major football conference, regardless of divisional alignment. Independent schools were awarded the bonus if they were ranked ahead of at least three of the big six conference champions in a final regular-season poll that season.

Final AP top-5 finish: 10
All final poll points were awarded for the final poll put out by the AP that season.

Heisman winner: 8


Final AP top 6-10 finish: 6


Conference title championship-game bonus: 5
This bonus was only given to a school that didn't already get credit for having the best record in its conference's regular season.

Final AP top 11-25 finish: 4


Bowl appearance: 3
This was awarded for any NCAA-sanctioned bowl, and would be added to the previously mentioned major bowl points.

Bowl win: 3

10-win season: 2

Week as AP No. 1: 2

Win over AP No. 1: 1

Each consensus All-American: 1

First-round NFL draft pick (since '70): 1

Losing season: minus-2

There were lots of variables for when a school was handed penalties by the NCAA for infractions. Those penalties were graded as such:
Each year of television ban: minus-1
Each year of postseason ban: minus-2
Each year of overall probation: minus-1
Each year of financial-aid penalty: minus-1
Each year of recruiting penalties: minus-1
Each penalty of "show cause action:" minus-2

So far, they've ranked everyone up to #11. All but two Big Ten teams have been ranked so far. I'll let you figure out which two Big Ten schools have made it into the top 10.

#11 Penn State (1,088)
#26 Michigan State (454)
#30 Iowa (368)
#33 Minnesota (341)
#34 Wisconsin (317)
#49 Illinois (219)
#50 Purdue (210)
#80 Northwestern (60)
#102 Indiana (-8)

Bummer for Indiana. Showing up negative really sucks. But I would also say that it's a bummer that rankings didn't start in 1995, otherwise Northwestern and Minnesota could just swap places.

If I had to venture a guess...simply off the top of my head, I'd say both Michigan and tOSU are going to show up in the top 5. I'll say the top 5 will look something like:

#1 Michigan
#2 Notre Dame
#3 Texas
#4 tOSU
#5 Nebraska

Again, what do I know? For a complete rundown of 119 through 11, clicky clicky. Tomorrow, 6-10 and Friday will be the top 5. Check back for more.

Incoming: Greg Robinson

We're back!

After a brief but much needed winter vacation to the warm and sun of southern California, we're back and ready to dive right in to some big news out of Ann Arbor.

As we thought would happen when we signed off last week, Michigan found it's new defensive coordinator. His name is Greg Robinson. He comes to Michigan fresh off being fired as the head coach of the Syracuse Orangemen (ironically where former Michigan DC Scott Shafer is going). Robinson coached at Syracuse for 4 seasons compiling a horrific 10-37 record.

But he has had some success as a defensive coordinator. Before heading to Syracuse, he was the DC for Mack Brown at Texas in 2004. That wasn't a banner defensive year for Texas, but 2005 was, the year after he left...thank you very much Vince Young.

Before that he was the DC for the Kansas City Cheifs from 2001-2003. Those years were not very kind to the Cheifs. But as with most NFL coaching situations, it's so hard to really cast blame on any one single guy.

From 1995-2000 he was the DC for the Denver Broncos. Easily the most success he's has as a coordinator. Albeit John Elway helped, but Robinson was on the staff for Denver's back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 1997 and 1998.

In 1994, he was DC for the New York Jets, after coaching the defensive line there from 1990-1993. He also spent time as an assistant at UCLA, NC State, Cal State Fullerton and Pacific.

I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this hire. Okay, sure, he's not a good head coach. That much has been proven. But he has had some success as a defensive coordinator, at least at times. It seems that his defenses have relied on the ability of the offense. So far, he's never had a truly shut-down type of defense. But if the offense has some playmakers, he can work out a type of defense that can keep Michigan in position to win.

A lot has been made of the fact that he might not be a strong recruiter. Given his struggles at Syracuse, that point would seem obvious. But how much does it matter if a DC can be a stellar recruiter? As long as he is a good coordinator and had success here, the recruits will find him. I'd rather have a strong DC than another strong recruiter. Leave the heavy lifting to Rodriguez.

Time will tell when it comes to how successful Robinson will be here. I thought Scott Shafer was going to do well, so that goes to show you how much I know. From the looks of it on the surface though, Michigan got a good coach in a position where we so desperately need one. Robinson is not a newbie, he's not an up-and-comer, but he's a coach with valuable experience who's proven he can run a defense well. Two super bowl rings look pretty good on a resume too. But just ask Notre Dame how well super bowl rings translate into the college game.

I hope Robinson does well...obviously. For more reaction from the Michigan blogosphere, check out here, here and here. And for some "official" news about it, check out here and here.

Out of the Office

Well kids, things are going to grind to a screeching halt around these parts for the next few days (not like we've been setting any blogging records lately anyway). I am on a plane to the west coast for a long weekend to visit some family in southern California and soak up as much sun and 75 degree weather as possible!

Odds are, Michigan will get a new DC and anywhere from 2 to 5 verbal commitments for the 2009 class while I'm away. In a rather slow time for Michigan football news, leave it to me to be out of town to spur some much needed headlines.

We plan on coming back mid-next week with a flurry of catching-up posts, as well as some looks at whats to come for the 2009 season. A full fledged recruiting post will be forthcoming as well. Have a great weekend and enjoy those record-low temps fellow Michiganders!

Midweek News

My apologies to my loyal readers (anyone?), I have been rather busy these past couple days with work-work that I've been finding it hard to make my appearance here. However, since there is a lack of anything worth posting, this break comes at a good time.

Obviously, still no word on the defensive coordinator spot. As usual, mgoblog has been the best place for info so far. All we have is speculation and hearsay...but since when has that stopped us from going crazy in the past. Usually one of those is needed for Wolverine fans to go into hysterics.

There has been some speculation that Jim Hermann, former Michigan DC and current linebackers coach for the New York Jets has been brought into the conversation. We all remember Jim and his time here. I have no idea if this is a real possibility or not, but I would hope that sanity will prevail and Jim will stay in the NFL for a while.

I think that the next DC will surely be someone from outside of the program. There is still a chance it could be someone who will be promoted from within, but given the length of time since Shafer's departure, it's clear that Rodriguez wants someone from the outside. I would assume that someone will be named before signing day in early February.

UMTailgate likes Jim Hermann. No, this Jim Hermann! And we would have to agree!

As everyone knows by now, Michigan hosted 8 potential recruits this past weekend in Ann Arbor for one of the biggest recruiting weekends Michigan has had since the season was over. No verbals from that weekend yet, but word is a few guys really liked what they saw. We surely do not pretend to speculate about the fickle world of college recruiting, that is best left to the experts. But all we know is, some of the guys who came in left with Michigan much higher on their radar than they did when they arrived.

Who? You might ask? Sam Montgomery is a prime example. The 6-4, 230 lb. defensive end from Greenwood, South Carolina has a list of schools a mile long on his radar. But word is, from his HS coach, he returned from Ann Arbor this week with rave reviews. Rivals lists him as a pretty solid 4-star DE. This would be a great get for the 2009 class.

And finally, this blogger is not a huge fan of Detroit Free Press feature and sports writer Mitch Albom. He's a great writer of course. We know him from his work on "Fab Five" and "Bo", but most people know him from "Tuesday's with Morrie", "The 5 People You Meet in Heaven", etc. But what makes me bring him up today is his latest feature which appeared in a recent issue of Sports Illustrated. The piece pretty much nails how I have felt recently about the city of Detroit and the whole state of Michigan. It's a great read.

Odds Are, You'll Lose

Just in case you're in a race to get your bets in for the next BCS National Champion, Vegas already has you covered. The world of sports betting online is huge and getting bigger all the time. Maybe you could roll the proverbial dice and see how fast you could lose.

Freep posted an article, basically a fluff piece (like this one), giving the odds for Michigan to win the title next year. They list Michigan at 60-1...while listing Sparty at 100-1. So even after the worst season in Michigan history, and one of the best seasons in MSU recent history, odds makers say things will be back to normal next year. Somehow I don't see it going that simply.

But maybe one of the most strange things about these odds, is that they list Notre Dame at a 25-1 chance to raise the crystal football next year. Just goes to show that even Vegas is guilty of drinking the Irish Kool-Aid every now and then.

Five schools have single digit odds, and they are Florida at 5-1, Oklahoma at 7-1, Texas at 8-1 and tOSU at 9-1. That's right, the Buckeye's lose they're whole defense and star running back and Vegas says they're still a contender. But leading the way is the Trojans at 4-1. No shock there as they trounced the Nittany Lions in the Rose Bowl this year.

Speaking of sports and betting, if you have some holiday cash just burning a hole in your pocket and would like to do a little (or a lot of) Super Bowl betting, give these guys a click, they'll help you out. I should note just for the record that I'm no sports gambler, and I don't condone such a practice. But we're not here to judge.

No More Beanie!

For the past three years, Chris "Beanie" Wells has been a thorn, or should I say a stiff-arm in the side of just about everyone he's ever played.

It has been reported that the tOSU junior running back will fore go his senior year and enter the NFL draft, where he will certainly be a first round pick

Not only did I hate playing against him, but pretty much every Big Ten team can second that sentiment. In 3 games against Michigan he compiled 427 yards and 4 touchdowns. But what's really staggering is his averages in each game. In 2006, he was 2nd on the depth-chart to Pittman.

2006 - 11.2
2007 - 5.7
2008 - 8.9

I wonder how amazing Pryor will be without this beast in his backfield? In the Texas game, they looked pretty good without him. With him in the game in the 2nd half, they probably would've won that game. So, I'm sure tOSU will have another super-star to take his place soon, but for now, we're just glad he's gone.

Outgoing: DeWayne Peace

The revolving door of Michigan recruits continues into the new year. WR/CB prospect DeWayne Peace has decided to decommit. From the looks of it, he wanted to be a WR only, and Michigan had other ideas. They saw him as more of a CB. So, Peace said goodbye.

"To tell you the truth, I wanted to play wide receiver. I told the Michigan coaches that I wanted to play receiver. At the beginning of my commitment they said I could play cornerback or receiver. Then as time went on, I went on my visit and told them I just wanted to play receiver and if I could only play corner then I would look for another school to go to. They told me that it was fine and I could play receiver. Then something came up where they didn't land enough corners so that is where they wanted me."

Sounds like a bit of a cry baby. Especially in the wake of Tate Forcier's recent Q&A about his future at Michigan. Fully expect to find a replacement at the WR position soon. But the real question mark is who's still out there at the CB position?

Wednesday Fluff

I have decided to 86 any such preview of the BCS Championship game. I could go into a long-winded post citing any such number of valuable statistics that could go a long way in helping you decide who is going to win tomorrow night. Howeva...I thought just a simple paragraph in my fluff post would suffice. SO...I think Oklahoma will win. Why? Why not?

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.

"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."
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.

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.

Odds and Ends

A few topics to address as we all head into the long and dark off-season.

First of all, my earlier post from today "Dear Ohio State" has garnered some great comments from some very brave anonymous Ohio State commenters. Now, first of all, how shocking is it that a Michigan blog has taken the ripe opportunity to poke some fun at our biggest rival's inability to win a game that actually matters.

Yes, I am more than aware that you have beaten us the last 5 years. Strange that I didn't somehow forget that?! Yes, I am also aware that you hung tough with a good Texas team. I watched the whole game. And I will be the first to admit that you impressed a lot of people, including this Michigan fan, by not losing by 21 points.

A couple comments I'd like address before I move on...
Are you an idiot? Ohio State is trying to become a national power by playing some of the top programs in the country during their non-conference schedule every year, see USC and Texas. How about U of M makes it to a bowl game before you guys start talking. Heck, you haven't beat your biggest rival in the past 7 of the past 8 years. Get over yourself.
First of all, I am an idiot. But thats neither here nor there. Ohio State is a national power. They've been one for a long time. I fully understand scheduling powerhouse schools to try and gain some national respect. But in this instance, it backfired because you haven't done so well against them. You knocked off Texas in 2006, which was nice. But they were not the same Texas team that beat you in 2005.

And secondly, I'll talk smack anytime because that's what a rival does. I was more than willing to take the shots we recieved after Appy State and Toledo. That comes with the territory. Since we haven't beaten you in a while, I'll take the shots anyway I can get them.
Shows why Michigan football team is where it is. Stupid and blind fan base. You haven't been "elite" since 1998 so stop your shit talk right now and open your eyes.

3-9...try to rally around that dumbass
I'll simply reply to this by saying that by posting this comment, this particular fan has taken what we call the "high road" and used harsh words and insults to make their point. 3-9 sucks for sure, no arguement there. But I'll do whatever I can to rally behind anything I can get. We Michigan fans aren't prone to calling it quits when the road gets tough. We're scrappy!

Look, I know it sucks to lose big games like tOSU has done recently. I poke fun because I can. When your biggest rival loses...in any fashion, it's a good thing. I'm not a loyal Big Ten fan. I admire Michigan fans who can set aside their hatred for tOSU and cheer for them in a bowl game, I really do. But I'm just not built that way. Much like the fine tOSU fans who have repeatedly made it a point to remind me that we lost to a Div. II school, and Toledo in the last 2 years.

Moving on now.

Former Michigan defensive coordinator Scott Shafer has a new home, his 3rd in 3 years. He has been hired as the DC for the Syracuse Orangemen. This was finalized a few days ago, but we just read it yesterday and wanted to post it up here. Best of luck to Scott and the Orangemen next year.

Still no word on who the next Michigan DC is going to be. Word was that Rodriguez wanted to wait until after the BCS championship to make a move. No idea if thats the case or not, but it was the word on the street.

Also still no word on who's going to be Michigan's 4th non-conference opponent for 2009.

Looking to do a recruiting update sometime soon. I have one in the hopper...just need to finish it. The silent period is over for coaches and recruits, so I assume recruiting madness will ensue shortly. Hang on to your hats.

No big NFL prospects for this Michigan squad (shocking, I know), so not much to look forward to in terms of the draft. Odds are about 20 Buckeyes and 20 Trojans will be drafted. More of the same.

I would love to get a BCS title game preview out sometime before kickoff on Thursday. Not sure how or when that will happen, but it's on my list of things to do.

Other than that, if breaking news breaks, we'll let you know.

State of the Big Ten

As we head into another off-season, there are many questions and doubts from just about every team in the conference. If your team did not make it to a bowl, things are not going so well. And if your team did make it to a bowl, it probably didn't go so well there either. Let's have a look, albeit a brief and off-the-cuff look, at each school and which direction they're headed for 2009.


Illinois 5-7 (3-5)
After a good 2007 season and a huge win in Columbus, hopes were high for 2008. Those hopes came crashing down after losses to Missouri, Penn State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, W. Michigan, tOSU and Northwestern. Odds are losing Juice Williams is not going to help things. 2009 is going to be tough. Expect to be in the bottom half of the conference.


Indiana 3-9 (1-7)
The worst team in the Big Ten. Bad year all around for Indiana, and you didn't even have to play tOSU. The win against Northwestern suprised everyone. But then the 4 losses to end the season suprised no one. Bad outlook for 2009.

Iowa 9-4 (5-3)
Surprise! You were the only Big Ten team to win a bowl game this year! Of course you got the luck of the draw playing South Carolina. But still, good job. You also beat Penn State and ended the season with 4 straight wins. I don't know if Shonn Greene is going to be better next year, but he is back. I expect Iowa to be a possible Big Ten contender next year.


Michigan 3-9 (2-6)
Oh dear. What a mess. I could do a huge post just on the state of Michigan football alone. But I'll summarize by saying that bigger and much better things are on the way for this team. Rodriguez does get a pass for inheriting basically nothing from the departing administration offensively. Defense was a joke with Shafer as the DC, but he's gone, and with him hopefully the array of zone coverages he used while he was here. 2009 should see a much improved squad that should be a bowl eligible team. We don't lose anyone on offense, except McGuffie who transferred. But don't expect to see Threet or Sheridan on the field much, or at all next year.

Michigan State 9-4 (6-2)
Well, Dantonio is doing things with MSU that the last couple coaches couldn't. He's making them believe they can win again. Of course, just as long they play average teams. If they line up against teams with a pulse, they lay down pretty easily. Losing Hoyer and losing Ringer are not going to help things for 2009. Expect Michigan State to return to old form next year with a .500 season.


Minnesota 7-6 (3-5)
Well, going from 1-11 in 2007 to 7-6 is a great jump forward. Too bad they were 7-1 at one point this year. 5 straight losses to end the year hurt this team going into their bowl game. Let's face it, we were all surprised to see the Gophers doing so well this year. But I'm going to go out on a limp and say that I expect Minnesota to be an upper level conference team next year. We won't play them, and I'm kind of happy about that. Gopher Nation is on the upswing.

Northwestern 9-4 (5-3)
Speaking of upswing. Hello Wildcats! You crazy academic college you! You have the benefit of playing, and winning games based on pure emotion. You can acually will yourselves to win. You held stong against a better opponent in Missouri. You went to overtime. So close. You do lose Sutton. 2009 will probably almost be just as good as 2008. But much like the rest of the middle of the Big Ten, when you play a team with a pulse, you just couldn't pull it off. The nice part of it is, you rarely played teams with pulses last year. I expect 2009's schedule is little different.


THE Ohio State University 10-3 (7-1)
Another season, another (couple) ebarrassing non-conference losses. Yes, they did get there, but is it better to get there and lose, or not get there at all? Honestly? But, what can I say...I'm so happy to see most of the defense, and hopefully Wells leaving Columbus. I'm so tired of losing to you it's rediculous. I'd say next year will be different, but I've said that before. Pryor might be the real deal, but right now he's got longer to go than most people thought before he's considered the Lebron James of college football. He has the weight of the world on his shoulders. And now all of the sudden, it seems that Tressel is taking heat for not being able to win "the big one" even though he has a BCS title and 5 straight wins against Michigan under his belt. Its not that tOSU hasn't won big games, it's just that they've struggled recently. And if that alone is enough to get a coach canned at tOSU, then it's a shame that things have gotten so bad in Columbus.

Penn State 11-2 (7-1)
What a year for Penn State. They finally knocked off Michigan and beat tOSU in Columbus. Too bad they stubbed their toe against Iowa. And also too bad they drew USC in the Rose Bowl. That was just not fair. Big Ten teams, most notably Michigan, have been getting throttled by the Trojans in the annual new years day beatdown for years now. Aside from JoPa getting 3 more years in the pressbox starring out the window, Penn State is on the right track. Royster is a star at RB and incoming QB Kevin Newsome is every bit as good (I think) as Clark is. At least he should be in a couple years. They might have a little hangover from the Rose Bowl loss next year, but I expect Penn State to contend for the conference title in 2009.

Purdue 4-8 (2-6)
Well, not quite the way Joe Tiller wanted to go out. But I expect things to be looking up for the Boilermakers. Maybe not next year, but soon. Expectations were high with Painter and Tardy in their senior years. Losing both of them will dramatically impact the Purdue passing attack. Another year in the bottom half of the conference is likely the case for 2009.

Wisconsin 7-6 (3-5)
No doubt, I thought Wisconsin was primed for a better year than this. They got to a bowl game, but anything less than a new years bowl for the Badgers has to be dissapointing. I really though PJ Hill was going to go out with a better season than what he had. He missed a few games early in the season, and never really hit his stride the rest of the way. The loss to Michigan was devastating, and it showed in their next 3 games against the Big Ten elite. 2009 hopefully will bring a renewed sense of determination after 2008 really never got off the ground. They have some good talent coming back on both sides of the ball, so expect Wisconsin to be a potential contender next year.

So...here's my VERY early 2009 prediction for order of finish for the Big Ten...

1. Penn State
2. Iowa
3. Ohio State
4. Wisconsin
5. Northwestern
6. Michigan
7. Minnesota
8. Purdue
9. Michigan State
10. Illinois
11. Indiana

Dear Ohio State...

Stop losing marquee non-conference games!

I'm not going to lie, even I'm getting tired of seeing you lose to superior teams in prime time on national television. I'm a die hard Michigan fan, so I know how it feels to be not the best team on the field lately. But we're working on it. But even with an odd sense of remorse, I find it embarrassing to see you fail yet again at trying to take on the creme of the crop from other conferences.

I have yet to read much of the fallout from your latest debacle, but I can only guess that most of the national media is going to be pretty sympathetic as you only lost by 3 this time. But you did lose, in epic fashion with less than 30 seconds left. It only seems fitting that the last shot FOX showed before the Colt McCoy TD pass was of your players dancing on the sidelines.

It seems like an eternity since we last beat you. 2003 was a long time ago. And since then, our conference has been somewhat of a punching bag for the national media and fans from around the country. We did the best we could when we beat Florida in the 2008 Capital One Bowl. But you fumbled our hand-off when you collapsed yet again a week later in another BCS Championship game.

It only got worse this season when you scheduled a home and home with USC.

USC!

!@#$%^&

For the love of God, what were you thinking???

Did you not see us (and almost everyone else) get destroyed by them in past few years. They have, potentially, 10 or 11 future NFL players on defense alone.

Play in any number of bowls you like, no big deal. You can't control who you play. But do the conference a favor and stick to Youngstown State and Ohio University from now on with you non-conference schedule.

So here's the deal: Michigan is going to be back. We have a great coaching staff, great young players who are here and on the way. We have a huge stadium remodeling project in progress. Things are looking bright for Michigan. We'll pick back up and be the leaders of the conference once again, and restore order. Your stint as the best team in the Big Ten didn't go so well. So it's time to step aside and watch how the big boys do it.

We're sorry we let it get to this. A brighter future for all of us is right around the corner.

Sincerely,
Your Friends in Ann Arbor

Big Ten Bowling for Dollars

First of all, let's begin with my picks for the Big Ten bowl that I made prior to the bowl season.

BowlMatchupMy Pick
Winner
ChampsFSU v Wisc.FSUFSU
AlamoMizzou v NWMizzouMizzou
InsightKansas v Minn.KansasKansas
OutbackSC v IowaIowaIowa
Capital One
Georgia v MSUGeorgiaGeorgia
RoseUSC v PSUUSCUSC
FiestaTexas v tOSUTexas???

So, as you can see, its been a bad bad year for the Big Ten this bowl season. But, on the flipside, and more importantly, its been a good Big Ten bowl season for us here at MBN. But, I digress.

1 and 5 is a good if you like being really bad at bowls. I can say that because not only did Michigan not lose a bowl game this season, we never even went to one. Given the struggles of just about every other Big Ten school, these bowls that everyone speaks of, seem highly overrated.

Okay...NOW I digress.

I am not at all surpised of every bowl a Big Ten school played in this year. I was slightly impressed with how close the Alamo bowl was considering NW (not NU, I don't care what you say, you're still NW)...didn't really even belong on the same field as Missouri. I've seen Missouri a couple times this year and it was obvious they just didn't play up to their potential. But it was funny to see how Chase Daniel's parents reacted to every single play in the last 5 minutes of the game. Seriously ESPN, WTF???

Wisconsin and Minnesota had no business being in a bowl game this year. And they both drew just terrible matchups. Those games sucked. If anything good comes from the Big Ten sucking so bad in bowl games lately, is that maybe we can have less Big Ten teams in bowl games from now on. I mean when 7 or 8 teams from your conference basically all go off to play away games against the creme of the crop from more competitive conferences, only badness can insue. With the exception of Iowa, every Big Ten school drew bad matchups. Call it what you want, but there is no way to hide that the Big Ten is a terrible conference right now.

MSU had the golden opportunity to make a statement against Georgia in the Outback Bowl. But a second half defensive meltdown ended that dream. I didn't watch much of the game, but I remember being slightly impressed that the score at halftime was so low. So I started watching. Then I saw Stafford go 14 for 17 in the second half while throwing 3 touchdowns. And, as suspected Michigan State looked like a lowly Big Ten team playing against a much better SEC team. So stereotypical.

I won't even go into Penn State's loss to USC. Simply calling it a loss does not do this game justice. USC looked so damn good. Even Herbie and Musburger were calling for a plus 1 system so USC could play the winner of the Florida/Oklahoma game. Somehow, even they forgot about Texas.

Speaking of Texas, they play tOSU tonight. As you could see, I picked the Longhorns in this one. Not only for obvious reasons, but because the part of the family that I inherited a couple years ago would have some choice words for me.

But I try to view this game from a non-biased and objective point of view, but I just can't. All I can see is tOSU getting humbled by Florida and LSU. Now I won't discount the fact that tOSU has done relatively well in recent Fiesta Bowls, and this is not an SEC team they are playing. But I just don't see them beating Texas.

Call the Big 12 up or down, it really doesn't matter. This bowl season has been strange, if for no other reason that the Pac-10 went 5-0.

But, sorry Big Ten fans, our conference is once again the punching bag of the college football world. And even a win tonight against Texas will do very little to persuade anyone otherwise. I really don't care how the Big Ten is perceived as a whole on a national level. To me, we're already known as a bad conference, and still got tOSU into the Fiesta Bowl...so how bad are things, really?

All I know is, Michigan will make it back to a bowl maybe next year, definitely in 2010. And when they do, how far they go will have very little to do with how strong their conference schedule is.

Incoming: William Campbell

After a long and somewhat confusing recruiting process, William Campbell is officially commited to Michigan! Link.

This is a huge committment for Rodriguez and his staff, who have already put together a very respectable top 10 class for 2009. Landing Campbell will easily knock Michigan into the top 5.

But it wasn't easy. Last year Campbell verbally committed to Michigan before the season...actually even before the summer. But then he decommited, like so many players are doing these days. He kept Michigan on his radar, but also looked at LSU and Miami.

It was last week that the world stopped rotating for a while when Campbell said something to the effect of "I'm not coming to Michigan". But there was some chatter on the web that a certain W. Campbell has been added to the U of M online directory. So mass confusion had set in.

I decided to stay away from the news until he made his official announcement, which he did in the 3rd quarter of the US Army All-Star game yesterday. He sat at a table with 3 hats. Michigan, LSU and Miami. He picked up the Michigan hat and put it on. Case closed.

Click this link for a visual representation provided by our friends at MVictors.

So what does Michigan get? Campbell (6-5, 310) is a 5-star recruit from Detroit's Cass Tech high school. He is rated, according to Rivals as the #25 player overall in the country and #4 at defensive tackle. Bill Kurelic, recruiting analyst for ESPN.com says he has Campbell as the #1 player in the state of Michigan, and #2 overall in the midwest.

Not bad. He will enroll this week, along with 7 other Michigan recruits to get a head start on the 2009 season.

We'll see if we can get some pics/video up on here this week.

Go Blue!

McGuffie to Rice

We don't post very much on Saturdays (or at all on Saturdays). But I am at home...bored watching the Cardinals-Falcons playoff game...because God knows I haven't watched enough football lately.

Anyways, just doing a little paroosing of the internets, and I see that Sam McGuffie has enrolled, or is about to enroll at Rice. I could go ahead and check to see exactly where Rice is, but I'm not that excited about it, so I'll just assume it's somewhere in Texas.

Rivals says he's also interested, or at least was interested in Houston.
"Rice's administration is really committed to athletics, and I really like it there," he told the site. "I've met all of the coaches, and they are an up-and-coming program."
And Michigan is...chop liver?

Okay, don't answer that. Sorry, I'm a little bitter.

So, there you have it. I fully expect Michigan to be scheduling Rice for their 2010 home opener, where McGuffie will rush for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns.

That is all. Happy Saturday night everyone!