Brandon Graham Wants to Hurt You

Great video posted today on with some behind-the-scenes footage of Brandon Graham working out and training for the 2010 NFL combine.

And while we're at it, here's Brandon Graham in action in 2009:

And of course, we'll finish with Brandon Graham absolutely blowing up former Sparty jailbait RB Glenn Winston last October:

Reaction to Michigan NCAA Allegations

Reaction from the world of sports to the latest news that Michigan has broken some NCAA rules has been vast and sweeping. Here's some of what we've been reading.

Inital story
Dave Brandon Video 1
Mary Sue Coleman Video
Rich Rodriguez Video
Dave Brandon Longer Video
Dave Birkett on Rodriguez's lack of control
Dave Birkett on Quality Control staff

Inital story here. Interview with Joe Shad:

Video of Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney speaking on Big Ten expansion and Michigan NCAA allegations:

Michigan blogs have also been hard at work covering this story from all angles.

Initial story of press conference
Presser instant recap
Official NCAA documents post
Interview with a compliance guy from an undisclosed college program
Comparing Michigan to other common violators

Hoover Street Rag:
Awesome Domino's Pizza "Pizza Player Tracker"

Maize n Brew:
Breaks the news and provides some commentary

Some things to say about QC


A retrospective in true WLA fashion

Even other blogs of note have weighed in, including some from the Big Ten.
Eleven Warriors (tOSU)
Black Shoe Diaries (PSU)
Doctor Saturday (CFB)
Time Speed Kills (SEC)

Well, this should keep you busy for a while. More on this as it develops.

This Aggression Will Not Stand Man

This is our concern, dude.

We've been away for the past week, and as you can see the entire college football world has jumped all over Michigan for pretty much doing what every other college football team does. Except not every college football team is in the cross-hairs of the Detroit Free Press.

From very early on in the Rodriguez tenure as Michigan head coach, the Free Press, more specifically Michael Rosenberg has had it out for the former West Virginia head man who decided to take the job of a lifetime and coach at the University of Michigan.

Why does Rosenberg hate Rodriguez? I don't know.

Why does the Free Press support this hatred? Well, that one's easy. Because it sells newspapers.

From every source that I have read about this issue, all concede that Michigan did indeed break the rules. But by a narrow margin. Far from the gross and outrageous breakage of rules that the Free Press insisted Michigan was doing in it's article from last August which broke this story.  The Free Press alleged that Michigan didn't just go over the allotted time allowed by the NCAA for team activities such as practice, meetings, weight training, film sessions, etc...they blew those time limits out of the water. So much as double the time the NCAA allows.

Michigan did it's own internal investigation and did find some wrong-doing. But answers were murky at best. So the NCAA was called in to investigate. They did, and Michigan addressed those findings earlier this week. From everything that I've been able to put together, Michigan did 3 things wrong.

1. In the 2008 and 2009 off-seasons (summers), Michigan players, without coaches, held mandatory team practices for 2 hours a week more than they were supposed to (10 hours instead of 8).

2. They had quality control assistant coaches acting as coaches a bit longer than they should have in both on-field and off-field activities.

3. They did not accurately report the time spent by the players at "team" activities (aka, countable hours) to the NCAA.

There is also the charge that graduate assistant Alex Herron provided false and/or misleading information to investigators (both Michigan and NCAA) about the allegations. That is less of a concern to me, a die-hard Michigan fan, because it's an easy fix if it comes down to it...goodbye Alex Herron.

But what does all this mean? And where do we go from here?

Well, the results of the NCAA's inquiry are at minimum, reason and cause for concern. Clearly, Rich Rodriguez has not done a very good job maintaining control over his program. Keeping track of time spent on team activities, whether on the field or in meetings, is ultimately the responsibility of the head matter how much of that responsibility he decides to delegate to assistants.

Now, you might be saying to yourself that every major program has to be guilty of going over allotted time restrictions. Right?


I don't know that for a fact, but I can say with some degree of certainty that it is true. This comes from multiple sources of people affiliated with other institutions that I have come across over the past 72 hours.

Think of it as going 5 miles an hour over the speed limit on the freeway. No one gets pulled over for it because it is really not a very big deal.

But if you're going 5 MPH over the limit and you've just completed the worst season in the previous 129 years of Michigan football and ended the country's longest active bowl streak...then you can probably expect a ticket. Maybe even some jail time.

And that, when you really get down to it, is what's going on with this program right now.

Now of course Rodriguez is not going to be fired. New AD Dave Brandon said during the presser that he and President Mary Sue Coleman stand firmly behind their embattled coach and he will be the head coach in 2010. No word of course about 2011.

Michigan now has 90 days to respond to the NCAA's findings and most certainly suggest a lesser course of action in terms of violations. The things that Michigan did wrong are considered by the NCAA bylaws to be major violations. If Michigan can talk the NCAA down, it may skirt any major sanctions. But if it can't, this will be the first time in 130 years of Michigan football that they've been hit with major violations by the NCAA.

If that happens, a new coach will most certainly be called for.

Programming Note, NCAA Inquiry Notes

We're leaving for a nice little mid-winter vacation posting will cease until mid-next week. Until then, please enjoy the absolute slowest point of the college football year. Seriously, nothing is going on right now. Bowls are long gone, recruiting is wrapped for the 2010 class, it's too early to care about spring ball, and we can't speak intelligently about what to expect for the 2010 if we're able to speak intelligently at all!

The only thing worth discussing right now is possibly the results of the NCAA inquiry into "practice-gate" that stemmed from the Free Press article by all-around-great-guy Michael Rosenberg last summer.

The Michigan board of regents gathered a couple weeks ago to discuss the results of the inquiry (note: not an "investigation" but an "inquiry"), and the meeting wrapped with no one talking about it publicly...obviously.

When can we expect to discover what the NCAA found out? I honestly don't know. What I do know is, the regents know what the NCAA concluded, but have yet to know what the final verdict is going to be as far as violations go. But word on the street is no major violations are expected to have been committed.

We might have to deal with possible loss of scholarships...but that's probably the worst-case situation. No forfeiting of games or loss of post-season bowls are expected.

More on this as news develops.

Tuesday Links

• UM 'baller David Merrit talks about tonight's Iowa game [UMHoops], and his own t-shirt brand. [IMU]

• Sophomore RB Vincent Smith discusses his knee surgery recovery, will be back on the field by fall. []

• mgoblog dives head-first into a seriously dark abyss known as the 2010 Michigan defense. Here's a look at early spring defensive battles. [mgoblog]

• They also took a look at spring offensive battles as well. [mgoblog]

• The Rivalry Esq. is predicting 9 wins for the Maize & Blue this year. Clearly the Kool-Aide is still flowing at full-strength over there. [The Rivalry Esq.]

• Genuinely Sacrcastic drops an awesome YouTube video of Brock Mealer in his recovery efforts with the aid of the Michigan S&C staff. Brock is the brother of Michigan lineman Elliot Mealer who were both involved in a devastating car crash near their hometown of Wauseon, OH, that took the lives of their father and Elliot's girlfriend. [Genuinely Sarcastic]

• Recession? What recession? Seats and suites at the Big House are selling well, despite the fact that 20% of Michigan is not working at the moment. []

Big Ten Expansion Part 2

Big Ten Expansion Part 1 [Link]
Texas Update 2-12-10 [Link]
Initial Texas Post [Link]

Aside from the obviousness that we yet don't know who will be the 12th, or 13th and 14th member of the soon-to-be bigger Big Ten conference is yet, that is not going to keep us from going all speculative as to what this conference is going to look like when it's all said and done.

Any form of expansion will result in the formation of two divisions. Maybe a North and a South, East and West, Woody and Bo, Good and Bad...whatever you want to call doesn't really matter the name at this point. But what matters like nothing else is which teams will be in which division and who will cross over and who won't.

The obvious problem is which division gets the powerhouse teams (Michigan, tOSU and Penn State)? Can Michigan and tOSU be split up and still play every year? Well, the answer is of course, yes. Prime example would be Florida-LSU in the SEC. They play every year, sometimes twice with the SEC Championship game. Would this work for the Big Ten? Of course, just as long as the money makes sense. Which of course, it will.

For example #1, let's assume Missouri is picked as the 12th member of the conference. That would give us two nice and neat divisions of 6. They could break up as follows:

Division A:
1. Michigan
2. tOSU
3. Michigan State
4. Northwestern
5. Illinois
6. Missouri

Division B:
1. Penn State
2. Wisconsin
3. Minnesota
4. Iowa
5. Purdue
6. Indiana

Trying to keep the most important rivalries in place, UM-tOSU, UM-MSU, NU-Ill, Purdue-IU, UW-Minn - just to name a few, and also maintaining the Mizzou-Ill rivalry that has been going via non-conference scheduling. Obviously there are other rivalries that aren't really rivalries such as PSU-MSU, Minn-PSU, IU-MSU, etc. Not every team is going to be happy...obviously.

Currently, each Big Ten school has two teams it plays every year:
  • Illinois: Indiana, Northwestern
  • Indiana: Illinois, Purdue
  • Iowa: Minnesota, Wisconsin
  • Michigan: Michigan State, Ohio State
  • Michigan State: Michigan, Penn State
  • Minnesota: Iowa, Wisconsin
  • Northwestern: Illinois, Purdue
  • Ohio State: Michigan, Penn State
  • Penn State: Michigan State, Ohio State
  • Purdue: Indiana, Northwestern
  • Wisconsin: Iowa, Minnesota
  • Source []
I would probably keep the same setup for Pitt if they were to enter the conference. That way the Pitt-PSU rivalry, if there ever is one again, would be in place.

BUT...if the Big Ten adds Texas, well that just throws everything out of wack. We'd just have to assume that Texas would have to bring Texas A&M to the Big Ten with them...which would be interesting to say the least. But from a Big Ten standpoint, it would really come down to: Do you want Texas to be paired with Michigan or tOSU...OR, Texas and Penn State together? Or Texas and A&M? Because either way, you can't have 1 division be too top heavy. You would have to split the 4 major teams with 2 in each division.

AND...which team would be the 14th school? Who would they be and where would they go?

I would see it looking like this...

Division A:
1. Michigan
2. tOSU
3. Texas A&M
4. Michigan State
5. Northwestern
6. Illinois
7. Minnesota

Division B:
1. Texas
2. Penn State
3. Wisconsin
4. Iowa
5. Purdue
6. Indiana
7. Mystery Team X???

I am of course assuming that each team will be required to play the 6 other opponents from their division, 4 non-conference games, and 2 in-conference games from the other division. Looking at this from the Michigan perspective, because we must play Notre Dame every year until 2031, I just don't see Michigan getting paired in the same division as Texas. Yes, we might play them, but I could see it being a revolving schedule with Penn State OR Texas on the schedule each year.

Either way, this example is a crazy idea that will probably never happen. 14 teams that include Texas and A&M is just insane. And if the 14th team is Missouri...then what's left of the Big 12?

All of this post is just incoherent speculation...but it sure is fun to consider what could be. But one thing is for sure. The Big Ten is going to expand. And Texas is a definite possibility.

    Texas Update

    Kirk Bohls' bologna has a first name, it's B-I-G-T-E-N. In his editorial for The Statesman, he assures his readers that all this Texas to the Big Ten talk is just a bunch of hooey.

    I'll put this as succinctly as possible: Texas isn't joining the Big Ten. No way, no how. So put down your Ohio State pompoms and that JoePa pennant.

    That straightforward enough?

    The possibility that the Longhorns could be enticed to join the oldest conference in the nation was raised again by recent out-of-state blogs quoting anonymous sources.

    Don't pack your parka for Madison and Ann Arbor quite yet.

    I've been assured by higher-ups at Texas that this is nothing more than a wishlist on the Big Ten's part. As one school official said, "We're the good-looking girl at the dance." Another even higher up the food chain told me, "It ain't going to happen."

    I'll go ahead and second this statement. Texas to the Big Ten is a wet dream for journalists and bloggers. But one thing that keeps crazy idea alive is the fact that Texas would be cashing-in big time by joining the Big Ten. Its a financial windfall for both parties. I think the biggest hurdle is actually making this happen because of it's shear awesomeness.

    That, and the fact that Texas A&M would probably have to come along with them if Texas decided to jump to the Big Ten. The prospect of adding Texas and Texas A&M, along with a 14th team to balance it out is way more than Jim Delaney is capable of.

    Big Ten Expansion Part 1

    Okay, so now that Texas has gone from zero possibility to...some-degree-higher-than-zero possibility of joining the Big Ten, we are still not anywhere closer to having a single leading candidate(s). Among the many folks out there taking sides in this debate, mgoblog feels that 14 teams in the conference when this is all said and done is such a crazy idea, that it's not really such a crazy idea. And I tend to agree.

    The idea of a super-conference is one that is both ludicrous and totally awesome at the same time. I don't know if the Big Ten is really the conference that is best suited to pull this kind of trick off...but then again, who is? The Big Ten has its footprint clearly through the heartland of maybe the best college football territory in the country. The middle to upper-midwest is prime time for college football recruits, fans, culture, and boasts some of the greatest and most tradition-rich colleges out there. Every conference is distinguished by its geographical location...and the Big Ten's is vast.

    There are schools out there that have been mentioned so far as possibilities that already fall very close to the current reach of the conference's footprint. Among those schools, Missouri and Pitt both make sense in that they are located conveniently close to other Big Ten schools, have good academics and would be a natural fit to enter the conference with the ability to compete in not only football, but many other varsity sports as well.

    So far 3 schools are leading candidates, by mere internet speculation only, but none-the-less, are leading candidates. And one school is just so crazy of an idea that today's news puts them on this list as well. So let's meet them.

    University of Missouri:

    Location: Columbia, Missouri
    Established: 1839
    Endowment: 1.02B
    Enrollment: 30,831
    Nickname: Tigers
    Conference: Big 12
    Colors: Black and Gold
    Closest Big Ten Opponent: Iowa
    National Titles: 0
    Conference Titles: 15 (Last: 1969)
    Bowl Appearances: 29 (Last: 2009)
    All-Time Record: 612-512-52 (.543)

    A flagship state university, Missouri would more than meet the academic requirements (whatever they are) in order to please the Big Ten's university presidents.

    Well established as a solid football program in a very competitive conference. They have done well in recent years against the Big Ten, especially against Illinois. They are close enough in location so as to not dramatically increase travel costs for schools to have to visit or for them to have to travel. Really, athletically speaking, they are about as solid of a pick as you can get.

    The one major con would be...would they be willing to leave the Big 12? You could argue the same thing for any potential school who has to leave an equally successful and competitive conference. But the main draw for Missouri, or any school really, would be money. I don't have my calculator in front of me, but I'd have to think they'd be better off in the Big Ten. So the real question for them is, would they be more successful in the Big Ten or the Big 12? It would depend on which division they'd be put in and who'd they be matched up with...but to me, I'd think they'd be more successful where they are now.

    University of Pittsburgh:
    Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Established: 1787
    Endowment: 1.837B
    Enrollment: 27,562
    Nickname: Panthers
    Conference: Big East
    Colors: Blue and Gold
    Closest Big Ten Opponent: Penn State
    National Titles: 9 (Claimed)
    Conference Titles: 13 (Last: 2004)
    Bowl Appearances: 26 (Last: 2009)
    All-Time Record: 663-478-42 (.578)

    Aside from the former rivalry with Penn State (on hiatus since 2000), the pros of having Pitt in the conference are about the same as Missouri's. Relatively close, decently solid football program. They also are located in an urban setting in Pittsburgh. They play home games at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers (although they rarely fill the stadium).

    Well, actually Penn State would be the biggest road block to Pitt getting in. Ever since 2000, efforts to renew the rivalry have been on hold because of a lack of communication from both schools athletic departments...something of a bitter feud. Pitt's biggest current rival is West Virginia.

    However, I feel that neither of those schools really add anything to the conference that we don't already have. In other words, Pitt and Missouri are not really exciting. To add one of these schools would feel like expansion for expansion's sake.

    But the other side of the argument for expansion is one of a more genuine "expansion" with maps and stuff. Schools like Rutgers and Texas fall into that category. They not only add their great names and reputation to a traditional conference, but also extend the reach of the Big Ten into territories not really considered Big Ten regions.

    Rutgers University:

    Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey
    Established: 1766
    Endowment: 545M
    Enrollment: 52,471
    Nickname: Scarlet Knights
    Conference: Big East
    Colors: Scarlet
    Closest Big Ten Opponent: Penn State
    National Titles: 1 (Shared 1869)
    Conference Titles: 7 (Last: 1961)
    Bowl Appearances: 6 (Last: 2009)
    All-Time Record: 596-589-42 (.503)

    Rutgers is the largest state school in New Jersey and would fit very well into the Big Ten academic mold. So from an institution standpoint, they're a no-brainer (pardon the pun). Football has just recently come around at Rutgers since a long drought of pretty sub-par teams over the last 50 years. As far as tradition is concerned, Rutgers played Princeton for the first ever inter-collegiate football game in 1869. Head coach Greg Schiano, while having only a .474 win-loss record at Rutgers since 2001, is credited as the savior of Rutgers football and putting them back on the map in 2005 with their first bowl appearance.

    Maybe the biggest pro to Rutgers is having a Big Ten presence on the east coast. This not only helps television viewership...hello Big Ten Network, but also would positively impact recruiting for all Big Ten schools.

    They would struggle to compete early-on at least in football. Sure they've had some good seasons the last few years under Schiano, but a grueling and physical Big Ten schedule might be more than the Scarlett Knights are used to. Not a real "win" for the conference from a football standpoint.

    University of Texas:

    Location: Austin, Texas
    Established: 1883
    Endowment: 16.1B
    Enrollment: 50,995
    Nickname: Longhorns
    Conference: Big 12
    Colors: Burnt Orange
    Closest Big Ten Opponent: Illinois
    National Titles: 4
    Conference Titles: 32 (Last: 2009)
    Bowl Appearances: 47 (Last: 2009)
    All-Time Record: 845-318-33 (.720)

    Now Texas is a whole 'nother beast altogether. They are the better half of the Big 12's best rivalry. They are a national powerhouse. Among the 4 main contenders for the Big Ten expansion, they're the only team with a BCS bowl appearance (4 of them actually). They are maybe the biggest and most popular thing in Texas...which is saying something. Sorry Cowboy fans. If by some crazy turn of events Texas actually joins the Big Ten, watch out. Not only would this make the Big Ten by far the most powerful and competitive conference, in relatively all sports, but also the most lucrative. Texas was recently named #1 on the Forbes' Most Valuable College Football Teams list.

    It could be argued that travel costs would dramatically impact the conference as a whole because of Austin's rather distant proximity to the rest of the Big Ten, and that's a valid argument. But I would say to doesn't matter. Increased revenue to the conference's team's from television networks, including the Big Ten's own Big Ten Network which would suddenly have about 25 million potential new viewers, would far outweigh any increase in travel budgets for member institutions.

    But maybe the largest road blocks in baiting Texas into the Big Ten would be:
    1) Current rivalries with Oklahoma and Texas A&M
    2) Texas state legislature
    3) The baseball squad at Texas would OWN the Big Ten
    4) Texas is good enough and big enough, it could legitimately go independent (in football) and not have to share a dime with the Big Ten or the Big 12.

    This debate will go on and on. But all it took was a little rumor about a phone call to get all the interwebs buzzing. Call it crazy off-season speculation, call is legit...whatever. Either way, this is a topic sure to make more news hopefully very soon.

    All images sources:

    Big Ten to Expand with...Texas?

    Mind you I have been working on a nice little piece to really get into the discussion about possible Big Ten expansion which is looking more and more likely. The prospect of creating 2 divisions and having a football championship game are just too enticing for Big Ten officials to ignore any longer.

    So as we continue to piece together a longer and more in-depth post about the expansion to 12, or even 14 teams in the Big Ten, chew on this little nugget...

    The Big Ten and The University of Texas have begun preliminary talks about adding the Longhorns to the conference roster [Detroit News link]. It sounds insane, but at one point in the late 90's, right about the time Notre Dame looked prime to join the Big Ten, Texas was also a real consideration.

    "There have been preliminary exchanges between the Big Ten and Texas," a source with ties to the Big Ten told the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World. "People will deny that, but it's accurate." 

    What are preliminary exchanges? Who knows. Maybe it's just a mis-dialed call from the Big Ten offices to some random guy in this point, that may be enough to trigger speculation. If I had to guess as to what will happen with this expansion, I would say that the Big Ten has a better chance of ending up with 14 teams when this is all said and done than with 12 teams...unless one of those new teams is Texas. In which case 12 makes more sense.

    My Take on Demar Dorsey

    First of all, lets all remember that we're talking about 17 and 18 year old kids here. That, along with the fact that the world of recruiting is an ever-changing beast usually dissuades me from covering it too heavily. But since Dorsey is not just a recruit, but a committed member of the 2010 Michigan football squad...he deserves the attention that we'd give any other member of the team.

    Demar Dorsey is a very gifted athlete...obviously. Without his ability on the football field, he'd never get into Michigan, much less be given a scholarship. The same goes for about 95% of the entire football team. So to assume that Dorsey doesn't fit some sort of high moral standard that Michigan is somehow known for is a useless argument. A checkered legal past is reason for caution. But there is a fine line between being accused of a crime, and being charged for it. That's a very slippery slope, and I realize that. So we're not going to get into it. I'll just assume that he did commit these crimes and for whatever reason was never charged.

    But think back to when you were just a teenager...I bet you did some things that you might regret, or maybe got into a little bit of trouble that maybe could have been avoided. Now of course I never committed burglary...but I also never ran with the type of crowd that would do such a thing...Demar Dorsey did.

    But from were I stand, I see a kid who knows he did wrong...expressed regret, has channeled that into being a great high school football player, and has gotten the attention of the some of the biggest programs in college football. What this kid needs is a fresh start in a place very far away from the life he led in Florida. And when he arrives in Ann Arbor this summer, that's what will happen.

    I will not cast a "Rich-Rod recruits thugs" accusation until I see it. With Justin Feagin the lone exception so far, I have been impressed with the character of the players I've seen Rodriguez recruit. Feagin was a desperation offer made by a first year coach who needed someone at QB because the cupboard was as bare as it has ever been. But as it turned out, Feagin was a very bad seed...and he was dealt with accordingly.

    I would also go ahead and say that one of the Lloyd's guys, Boubacar Cissocko has been maybe one of the biggest off-field distractions in the last year...and Rodriguez has given him two chances to make things right and Cissocko screwed it up, so Rodriguez said goodbye.

    So until Dorsey does something for me to change my mind, if this kid is looking for a fresh start at Michigan, then that's exactly what he should get. I don't care about what the mainstream press is saying. The Detroit Free Press has continually made it clear that they can't stand Rodriguez and are looking for anything that will cast a bad light on the Michigan program so that Rodriguez will be run out of town.

    From their crucifixion of Rodriguez in the "practice-gate" allegations from last August, they have had it out for the embattled Michigan coach. So when Rodriguez jumped a little bit at the press last week in defending his recruit, he might have overstepped the situation a little bit by attacking the media...but what would you expect for a coach who cares a lot about his players and has had to put up with way more than his fair share of media scrutiny. I'm not a Rodriguez apologist, but I am willing to back up a guy when I feel that he's being vilified for really no reason. Both Rodriguez and Dorsey share that in common these days, and like I said before...until I see something to rip these guys apart with, I'll let their actions on the field be the judge of their character rather than flimsy accusations (Rodriguez) and a couple bad decisions as a juvenile (Dorsey).

    Super Wolverines

    Go Colts!
    RB Mike Hart 2004-2007

    CB Marlin Jackson 2001-2004
    Go Saints!
    WR Adrian Arrington 2004-2007

    C Jonathan Goodwin 1999-2002

    Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

    Well, it's been a pretty crappy off-season. Lose to tOSU, no bowl, basketball team sucks, hockey's not much better. Recruiting was pretty good but we don't really get into that like some of our colleagues do. So as long as we're not posting anything...why not completely overhaul the design of the blog?

    As you see, the place is much simpler and cleaner than the old site. We're still working out the kinks, and making some small changes, so please keep that in mind if everything doesn't work right away.

    The most notable change is the addition of the navigation bar at the top of the page...this is something that the last site was really lacking, and will hopefully provide our readers with added convenience to much needed information. Right now those links are disabled (actually they just link back to the main page)...but as soon as we create the appropriate content, we'll update the navbar and let you know.

    So as you can see, we're definitely not neglecting the site, just merely doing a lot of behind the scenes work that will hopefully pay off by giving our readers a better experience. Thanks for reading!