Incoming: Kellen Jones

2011 Recruiting Board lives here.


Michigan adds another commit to the 2011 class. This time its Houston, TX linebacker Kellen Jones (6-1, 209). Jones' offer list is one of the longest and most diverse I've seen this year. He had offers everywhere from Boise State to Vanderbilt to Purdue to Arizona. Among the other standout offers that Michigan beat out...Stanford, Texas A&M, Illinois, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri and Virginia.

This is a great addition to the 2011 class. His abilities could be utilized sooner rather than later with Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton both in their final seasons with the Wolverines. Judging from the picture above...he could have a huge impact on this team very early in his career.

Rivals: ★★★, #32 Overall MLB
Scout: ★★★★, #11 Overall MLB
ESPN: ★★★, #33 Overall MLB

Times Have Changed, Times are Strange, Here I Come But I Ain't the Same

YouTube is good for many things. One of them is 2010 Michigan Football hype videos. Here's one of them. Enjoy! Go Blue!

tOSU Re-Admits Maurice Clarett

Further proof that all you really need is a pulse in order to be accepted into THE Ohio State University, former Buckeye running back turned NFL dropout turned convicted felon Maurice Clarett has been re-admitted into the school. [Story]


If you recall, Clarett was arrested for armed robbery on January 1, 2006 outside of a danceclub in Columbus. He robbed two people and took a cell phone worth $150. He had a loaded .45 handgun.

Later that year, in August...he made an illegal u-turn and led Columbus police on a chase that ended in him driving over a spike strip and stopping in a parking lot. Upon his arrest, in which he spit on police calling them racially charged slurs, the contents of his uncle's SUV were revealed. A loaded AK-47 assault rifle, two loaded hand guns, a katana (long Japanese sword) and an open bottle of Grey Goose vodka.

Handguns...check. AK...check. Grey Goose...check. Lint roller...check. LETS ROLL!

After pleading guilty to all charges, he was convicted to 3 1/2 years in jail. After finishing his stint in the clink in Toledo, he was released to a halfway house in Columbus where he resides now.

All I can say is that if it weren't for rules that say a player can no longer play college football once they've played in the NFL, I'd be willing to bet he'd be interested in playing for Tressel again. And I'd also be willing to bet that Tressel would consider it.

I don't wish Clarett ill-will. And I do hope that he's a reformed citizen. But putting him back in the same place where he fell into all this trouble is probably not the best course of action. But hey, if he's reformed enough for the state of Ohio, then he's clearly met all the requirements for THE Ohio State University.

2010 Preview: Quarterback

Welcome to the summer preview of the 2010 Michigan Wolverines. In this series of posts we'll dive head first into each position, providing in-depth analysis of all the main contenders and a little bit of speculation just for fun.

All good previews have to start somewhere, and it only makes sense to start at the single most important position on the field.

Quarterback
Projected Starter: Denard Robinson (So.)
Contenders: Tate Forcier (So.), Devin Gardner (Fr.)


Denard Robinson and Tate Forcier
When 2009 ended, it seemed pretty clear that Michigan had two very unique and very different QBs to choose form for the 2010 season. Tate Forcier saw the bulk of the snaps in 2009, even with a concussion in the Iowa game, Forcier remained the go-to guy for the remainder of the year.

His hero-like performances in the early part of the season against Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Indiana and MSU earned him the admiration of the Maize and Blue faithful. But mid-to-late-season struggles proved that he was still just a freshman, and had a ways to go before he solidified his position as Michigan's starting QB.

The other side of the freshman duo was Denard Robinson. Robinson saw plenty of action in the opener against WMU, and in his first play as QB, he fumbled the shotgun snap, picked it up...scrambled to his right, made a few defenders miss, and blew passed everyone as he ran for a touchdown. This play wowed the crowd, and made everyone take notice of a QB with speed Michigan fans had never seen before. See video proof...


And the peasants rejoiced!!!

As the season played out, and Forcier began to see more and more snaps and starts at QB, Denard was relegated to a backup role, and sometimes a non-existent role under center. It wasn't his lack of ability that kept him off the field, but rather his lack of precision throwing. He just didn't have the arm to compete with Forcier who had enrolled at UM 6 months prior and had that much more experience in the system than Robinson. By the time the Big Ten season started, defenses knew to not have to defend the pass when Denard was in the game. He was very one-dimensional, and not at all what Rodriguez's offenses want to be.

But time is proving to be on Denard's side. Denard has clearly been very busy improving his throwing ability and overall knowledge of the playbook during the long off-season. In the spring game this year, he saw the bulk of the snaps with the starting group, and looked 100% more efficient and comfortable in the pocket than he did in 2009. He was suddenly hitting receivers in stride over the middle. He was checking down to TEs. He was spreading the ball around to RBs and slots WRs. All of the sudden, his first instinct wasn't to just take the snap and just scramble like it was last year. He's growing into a pass-first, run-second type of QB...one that suits his ability well.

Tate looked very much like the Tate from last year in the spring game. What troubled me the most was that when he was forced to scramble, which was often, he would carry the ball in his right hand far away from his body...not protecting it at all. Its that carelessness that the coaches notice and use in making their decisions as to who plays and who doesn't. One of the areas we need to improve drastically is winning the turnover battle and maintaining ball-control. With a young defense, we need to keep them out of bad situations by keeping the ball safe.


Devin Gardner
2010 brings us yet another contender to the QB battle. Incoming freshman Devin Gardner has been hailed as one of the top QB recruits of the 2010 class. The biggest asset he brings to the table is his size. Where as Denard and Tate are both a little shorter than I'd like them to be, Devin's 6-4, 200+ frame bodes well for him. He showed in the spring game (he enrolled in January) that he can move well with the ball. He's not as fast as Robinson, but resembles Vince Young in a lot of ways in how he moves. He has a ways to go before he's at the same level as his two other teammates in terms of knowledge of the offense, but there was a definite buzz around him in the spring game.

My hope is that Devin can red-shirt this season and get another year of training and practice before he's thrown to the wolves. I hate the fact that we are getting into a habit of using freshman at skill positions...especially QB. Give him time to learn the system before he's forced to perform. But a lack of a true 3rd string option at QB, a red-shirt seems unlikely.

Video!
Thanks to the power of the internet (and the good folks over at mgoblog), we give you each and every snap(!) from Denard, Tate and Devin from this year's spring game...


Denard:



Tate:

Devin:


Conclusions
All in all, 2010 is bound to see drastic improvement in the QB position for Michigan. Last year we had two freshman, and at times it showed. Expect a true 1st to 2nd year improvement in almost all phases of the game for both players. Prepare to see the two-QB system in effect at least in the first few games. It's clear that both Tate and Denard offer two different, yet two very capable options for Rodriguez. Denard may be the slight leader in the clubhouse going into the 2010 season due to his overall improvement in his throwing ability...at least the QB with the most momentum coming out of the spring sessions.

Its clear that Rodriguez's spread-option style attack favors a "Pat White" style of QB, and that would bode well for Denard if he can capitalize on his spring success and continue to impress coaches and grow into a more pass-friendly, dual-option QB.

Officially Launching the Message Board

I had this grand idea to make MBN all about community interaction when I launched it about 3 years ago. While comments on posts and random emails from readers are great and all, it really didn't satisfy what I had planned. I wanted to get some genuine discussion going.

Part of what makes a blog great is that we're all just fans here. I'm not a professional writer or sports columnist...far from it. I just happen to be a fan who runs a website. So to me, having genuine interaction with other fans in this space is really the main idea for what makes a sports blog great.

So the best way I could think of to help create that sense of community interaction as well as letting fans post their own original content within this site...is to create a message board or course!

You may have seen the link above for a while now. Its been live for a couple months, and getting decent traffic, but not a lot of interaction.

There are many great message boards out there for Michigan fans. So I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel here. I just wanted to create a simple forum that would fit well with this site, and that is easy to use.


Click "Board" in the linkbar above, or just click here to go to the board.

If you're familiar with the general idea of a message board, then it should all make sense. If you're new to message boards, it's a pretty simple concept. You just have to register to create a username, and once you're logged in, you can begin posting new threads or comment on existing threads.

Generally, I'd like to keep the content geared towards Michigan football. But certain exceptions can be made. I am the only moderator at the moment, but hopefully I'll be able to hand off/share that responsibility to someone else down the road. So at least for now, I'll be keeping an eye on things to make sure things remain as PG-rated as possible.

But in the end, this message board was created to be yours. I'll post as much as I can, and when I can. But you should feel free to have at it!

Possible Big Ten Championship Game Venues

Forget that the Big Ten is a year away from having the required number of teams to create two equal divisions. Forget that any possible divisions haven't been talked about yet. Forget that a mythical title game between those two divisions has even been thought about yet. Forget...everything.

All that matters is we're a college football blog and it's mid-July.

No doubt, all signs point to a Big Ten championship game being created and played for the 2011 season. I mean isn't that the whole reason for expansion in the first place? The money that a possible Big Ten title game would generate is enough to make a good dog break his leash. So it stands to reason that so many people, and potential venues are lining up to woo the Big Ten to their city.

But I don't really care about who's saying what and why one city makes more sense than another. We have the luxury of having some pretty amazing venues that reside well within the footprint of the Big Ten. Of course, I am assuming that any sort of title game would be played at a neutral site...thus omitting any current Big Ten stadium from playing host. But, that opens the door for one of many pro facilities from stepping in to the mix.

So...let's have a look at some possible venues for a title game that we don't even know will ever be played. In no particular order...


Ford Field - Detroit, MI
Type: Indoor
Capacity: 65,000
Built: 2002
Field: FieldTurf

Soldier Field - Chicago, IL
Type: Outdoor
Capacity: 61,500
Built: 1922 (Renovated in 2003)
Field: Natural Grass

Cleveland Browns Stadium - Cleveland, OH
Type: Outdoor
Capacity: 73,200
Built: 1999
Field: Natural Grass

Lucas Oil Stadium - Indianapolis, IN
Type: Indoor
Capacity: 63,000
Built: 2008
Field: FieldTurf

Heinz Field - Pittsburgh, PA
Type: Outdoor
Capacity: 65,050
Built: 2001
Field: Natural Grass

Paul Brown Stadium - Cincinnati, OH
Type: Outdoor
Capacity: 65,790
Built: 2000
Field: FieldTurf

Lambeau Field - Green Bay, WI
Type: Outdoor
Capacity: 72,978
Built: 1957
Field: Natural Grass 

Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome - Minneapolis, MN
Type: Indoor
Capacity: 64,111
Built: 1982
Field: Sportexe (???)

So there you have it sports fans. Which stadium is best? Indoor? Outdoor? Grass? Turf? So many questions...no answers. Let's decide this with a poll!




A Perfect Example

Where were you on June 4-7? Well, if you're name is Darryl Stonum, you were in the Washtenaw County Jail. [AA.com Story]

Source: AnnArbor.com
The Detroit Free Press (shocker) discovered that Stonum spent 3 days last month in the clink for "multiple probation violations". In September 2008, Stonum was busted for operating a motor vehicle while visibly impaired (i.e. drunk). What likely happened was he was caught driving a car when he wasn't supposed to...but that's just my guess.

I swear they must have interns at the Freep who just do nothing but scour police records and jail records looking for Michigan football players. Sorry, I'm just a little bitter.

While it's not a good thing that Stonum was busted, this story made its to my blog not because of the Darryl and his transgressions as disappointing as they are, but because it just simply illustrates how the Free Press just irks me to death. I'm sorry to any of my readers who subscribe to that paper or knows someone who works there...I simply have no patience for a so-called "news" outlet that targets a university and it's coaches and student athletes with made-up stories and blown-out negative headlines.

This story is just another in a long line of examples of why you will never find a link to their site on my blog.

Images of the Decade - College Football

It is mid-July in college football land. We need something to pass the time. Is it September 4th yet?



For your added enjoyment, the Mike Hart image from this video...
Source: ESPN.com

Drop It Like It's Hot

Source: Stephen Chernin/Getty Images
So USC is getting a new AD this fall. Outgoing is Mike Garrett, and incoming is Pat Hadan. That I pretty much don't care about. What I do care about is that incoming AD Hadan is going give back USC's 2005 Heisman Trophy that Reggie Bush won.

[ESPN Story]

It should be noted that USC has a trophy and Reggie Bush has a trophy. I don't know what Bush is going to do with his, or if he'll be forced to return it. I also don't know if USC is willingly returning their trophy, or if the Heisman Trophy Trust is asking for it back.

Either way, who cares. USC getting in trouble and being forced to give back everything they bought and paid for 5 years ago is considered a step in the right direction as far as I'm concerned. Now if only Ohio State would also be forced to do the same from their store-bought BCS title in 2002.

Is Michigan a Sleeper?

Source: The Michigan Daily
Look, I know things haven't gone exactly to plan these last 2 years. A couple seasons without a bowl does a lot of strange things to a program...especially one as traditionally powerful as Michigan's.

Eight wins in 2 years is not acceptable, we all know that. And it has left an impression on people's expectations for what 2010 could be. A decimated defense that wasn't all that good to begin with. An offense led by two sophomore QB's. There are question marks all over the place.

But I like to look back at Michigan teams that ended up being pretty great by the end of the season, while not exactly being considered world-beaters when the season began. For example, the 1997 season is one I like to reference a lot. Expectations for that team were average. When the preseason rankings were released that August, Michigan was ranked 14th overall by the AP voters. That's a casual way of the pollsters saying, you're a powerhouse so we'll give you a comfy mid-teen ranking, but we don't expect anything great form you. By November 10th, we were ranked #1...and stayed there for the rest of the year.

2006 is also another great example of Michigan having to earn the respect of the pollsters.

When the pre-season polls were released, they were ranked 14th again. 8 weeks, and 8 wins later, they were ranked #2 where they stayed until the season-ending loss in Columbus. But even with that loss and the loss to USC in the Rose Bowl, Michigan still finished off the year ranked 8th overall. Not bad considering.

On the flipside of that coin, there are years when Michigan starts the season ranked very high, only to disappoint and fall within the first 2 or 3 games of the year...and eventually they fall out of the polls altogether. See: 2005, 2007.

In 2005, we began the season ranked all the way up to #4 in the AP poll. 5 losses and 12 weeks later, we were unranked and headed to a pre-New Years Day bowl.

In 2007, we began the season ranked #5 in the AP poll, only to lose 2 straight miserable games to open the season and drop from the rankings immediately. Actually, we dropped from the rankings after week 1...but let's not go there.

You could say that it was 2005 and 2007 were the reason's Lloyd Carr is no longer coaching today. But I'll take low pre-season expectations rather than lofty ones.

So it's stands to reason that 2010 could be setting up nicely for the kind of year we like. Low expectations for Michigan usually mean higher than expected results by the end of the year. If Lloyd were still coach and we didn't have two miserable seasons in a row, based on the talent level of the players we have coming back (especially on offense) we'd likely be ranked in the mid-to-upper teens.

But this is not Lloyd's team. This is Rodriguez's team. He has revamped and reconstructed this program over a two year period that has galvanized this team's fanbase. And apparently, galvanized the pollsters and experts as well.

ESPN partnered with Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook to provide a comprehensive preview of all 120 FBS teams for the 2010 season. [Link, team previews require Insider subscription] In this preview, they cover each team individually, provide a pre-season All-Conference squad, and rank the teams in each conference.

As you could probably guess, Michigan is not favored to do much of anything according to this preview. They rank Michigan 7th in the Big Ten, and have no Wolverines in the All-Big Ten team. But to me, this seems about right. I don't contest these pre-season projections. Mainly because they are based on the previous season's outcomes, and we all know how Michigan fared in October and November last year.

But I have to think that this sets Michigan up as maybe the biggest and most interesting surprises for the 2010 season. Odds are we'll have a winning record. Our OL and skill positions are way ahead of where we were last year. And I don't think the defense is going to take a hit from losing Graham, Brown and Warren. In fact, I think the defense will actually improve overall.

I can think of no other team in the Big Ten that has such low expectations, and yet so much talent. If Rodriguez can rally this team together and get the season started on the right track, I have no doubt we can be the biggest sleeper not only in the Big Ten, but perhaps all of college football.

I'm not trying to say that 2010 could be like 1997 or 2006, but measured improvement is all we're looking for. Whatever it takes to get back to respectability and keep Rodriguez here for a 4th year...that's all I ask. And if we can surprise some teams along the way...even better.

Biggest Non-Conference Game in 2010

Last week we took a look at the 2010 schedule and discovered Michigan's biggest opponent this year will not be the Buckeyes, but rather the heretics from E. Lansing. [Link]

But that certainly doesn't mean we're done. The schedule has many ways to break it down. We play 12 games...all of which mean something. Today, we'll look at Michigan's non-conference opponents and discover which one will be the most important.

I consider it both a blessing and a curse that Michigan plays Notre Dame each year. A blessing that it provides a big-name opponent for the non-conf schedule year-in-and year-out. A curse in that it blocks us from getting a different big name non-conf opponent to play once in a while.

When I first started getting serious about Michigan football, I never realized how good we had it. We played the Irish most seasons, but we also played schools like Boston College, Colorado, Virginia, Syracuse, Washington, UCLA, and even recently with Oregon.

Those days are screamingly ending with the prevalence of FCS schools popping up on schedules more frequently. Even the directional Michigan schools are regulars on Michigan schedule now.

But every now and then Michigan can get a smaller, but still BCS level opponent that makes me hold out hope that they will continue tougher non-conference scheduling. For this year, that opponent is the Huskies from the University of Connecticut.

Yes, that's right. Our biggest non-conference opponent for 2010 is not Notre Dame, but rather UCONN.

Why?

Well, easy really. We beat Notre Dame last year. So the heat is off Rodriguez to win against the Irish. The heat IS on for Rodriguez to impress in the opener. Just like last year, the opener is a huge game for Michigan AND Rodriguez.

So in that respect, it doesn't really matter who the opener is. Whomever we play is the biggest non-conf opponent for 2010. But this opener is against UCONN. And that only makes this even bigger. Yes, UCONN is a BCS opponent. No, they're not a sexy BCS opponent. But that really doesn't matter. The 2010 opener is important for this program and this head coach, and any Michigan fan with his or her salt knows why. If we can set the tone like we did last year against Western Michigan, it can take the heat off of Rodriguez and allow he and his staff to focus on coaching this team, and not warding off the press who will already be calling for his head.

And this year's opener has added meaning. It will be dedication game for the newly renovated stadium. So not only will it go down in history, but it is the added flavor that makes this the most important game on Michigan's 2010 non-conference schedule.

Incoming: Jake Fisher

We heard a few days ago that it could start raining verbals in Ann Arbor very soon...and it looks like it may be starting.

2011 recruiting page lives here.

Source: Rivals.com
The latest edition to the 2011 class is Traverse City OL prospect Jake Fisher (6-7, 279).

Rivals: ★★★, #18 in Michigan, RR 5.6
Scout: ★★★★, #25 OL overall
ESPN: NR

Other offers: Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Michigan State, Cincinnati, Toledo.

Pros: Size and athleticism.
Cons: Never played tackle before, only played as a TE so far. But will transition into tackle or senior year.

The New Big House

Source: The Detroit News

Step aside Penn State. Your 2-year reign as the biggest stadium in college football is over.

Michigan Stadium: 109,901
Beaver Stadium (Penn State): 107,282
Neyland Stadium (Tennessee): 102,495
Ohio Stadium (tOSU): 102,329
Bryant-Denny Stadium (Alabama): 101,000

Two plus years...$226 million plus dollars...much planning and hard work have paid off in one of the most stunning college football stadium designs ever. The renovations to Michigan stadium are the standard for any school that attempts to do the same. The perfect balance of old and new. Traditional mixed with modern design.

College football has a new home, and it's right here. [UM story]

It's not too often that a powerhouse school like Michigan takes its biggest and most iconic symbol and changes it so drastically. But Michigan saw a need to expand its offerings within and around the stadium on game-days. We needed bigger and more concourses, more restrooms, more concessions, better crowd flow, more updated indoor seating and press areas, and state-of-the-art premium seating. And with that, Michigan saw an opportunity to do something that would not only blend naturally with the existing bowl, but look like it had been there since the days of Fielding H. Yost and Fritz Crisler.

And they nailed it. This is without a doubt, a beautiful blend of design and execution.

I know I'm sounding like a complete homer here, but I am so proud of the way this stadium looks and feels. I am proud to be a Michigan fan and call this is our house. This truly is...the Big House!

I can't wait for September 4th!

Go Blue!!!














Big House Capacity Announced

Source: mgoblue.com
It's official...the Big House will once again be the biggest stadium in college or professional football in America.

Official capacity is now 109,901.

[Official story]

This accounts for all of the new seating and suites, pressbox, everything. Good to be back on top!

Also, today only, public tours are available for the new renovated areas of the stadium. Click here for more info.

Lloyd Carr Retires from University of Michigan

Source: Mlive.com
Lloyd Carr retired from coaching in January of 2008. After his 13 seasons as head coach, and 15 seasons prior to that as an assistant, he accepted a position within the athletic department as a associate athletic director.

As of September 1, after 30 years of dedicated service, he will officially retire his position with the department, and no longer work for the University of Michigan.

[Official UofM release]

Lloyd Carr via UofM media relations:
“I am thankful for the wonderful opportunity to assist two great coaches here in Bo Schembechler and Gary Moeller and I will always appreciate Joe Roberson’s decision to name me the head coach in 1995,” said Carr. “I am also appreciative for those I worked with and for all the great friendships I have developed.

“Most of all, I am thankful for the young men I coached and for all the memories I have from my time at Michigan.”
More relevant quotations:
“Lloyd Carr's legacy is an impressive and important part of Michigan's rich history and tradition of excellence in football,” said U-M President Mary Sue Coleman.  “He has served the University as well through his advocacy and passion for a number of philanthropic causes. We are grateful for his long and successful service and wish him well in retirement.”

“I have known Lloyd since he came to Michigan as an assistant coach,” said Dave Brandon, U-M Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.  “Coach Carr is a man of integrity. I admire and appreciate his love for all of our student-athletes and his many contributions to not only our University, but his work on behalf of numerous charitable causes throughout the State of Michigan.”
UofM media relations for football director Dave Ablauf compiled some impressive numbers for M's 17th head coach...

CAREER COACHING HIGHLIGHTS
1995-2007: Overall record 122–40 (81-23 Big Ten)

Championships
1-National (1997)
5-Big Ten (1997–1998, 2000, 2003–2004)

Awards
AFCA Coach of the Year (1997)
Walter Camp Coach of the Year (1997)
Paul “Bear” Bryant Award (1997)
AFQ/Schutt Coach of the Year (1997)
Northern Michigan University Hall of Fame (1997)
Catholic League Hall of Fame (1997)
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year (2007)
Robert R. Neyland Award (2008)

College Coaching
1976–77 Assistant (Eastern Michigan)
1978–79 Assistant  (Illinois)
1980–86 Defensive Backs  (Michigan)
1987–94 Defensive Coordinator (Michigan)
1995–2007 Head Coach (Michigan)

High School Coaching
1968-69 Assistant Nativity HS (Detroit)                                                                              
1970-73 Assistant Belleville (Mich.)                                                                                              
1973-75 Head coach Westland (Mich.) John Glenn
Regional Class A Coach of the Year (1975)  
No mention in the release about why he's officially retiring now and/or what spurred this decision. Maybe he just wants to do his own thing and not focus on sports as much anymore? Who knows? As most Michigan fans, I wonder about most personnel decisions within the department these days.
Either way, Lloyd was a great coach for Michigan. We have mentioned many times on this blog about how much we have missed him and how much his legacy means to not only the current coaching staff, but all coaching staffs to come. We will continue to miss you Lloyd. Enjoy your retirement...you've earned it!
Go Blue!

Ready. Set. Dive!

I'll admit, I drank the World Cup Kool-Aid this last month. I watched all the USA games with the eagerness that any true red-blooded American should. I also casually watched some other games that happened to be on while I was flipping through the channels.

All the while, I marveled in the way in which the entire rest of the world has embraced this game of Futbol, or as we lazy Americans call it, soccer. Aside from the 1-0 final scores and blown calls left and right, one thing became very apparent to me...these guys can act better than Bill Laimbeer.

So, without further adieu, from the world of the internet, a collection of some of the best dives ever. Enjoy!

Michigan's Biggest Game in 2010

As we inch closer to the beginning of the 2010 season, its time to really dissect the schedule and pick apart certain things. First, let's have a look at Michigan's biggest game in 2010.

There are a lot of contenders. Usually, tOSU gets the nod for biggest game of the year. And they should. The Game is equaled by none other year-in and year-out. Other normal opponents like Penn State, Notre Dame or Wisconsin or Iowa can easily make the case for top billing. I could actually go ahead that throw Purdue onto this list because of the Rodriguez/Hope debacle from last year.

But in 2010, Sparty is Michigan's biggest game of the year.

Source: mgoblue.com
For obvious reasons...it's an in-state rivalry game...the biggest one in the Big Ten. Their coach hates us. And even after two seasons of beating us, they still haven't shaken that "Little Brother" label applied by Mike Hart in 2007. And they may never shake that label, and that only fuels the hatred felt by Michigan State players towards Michigan.

So okay, yeah that's all fine a great, but that's the same for any season. What makes 2010 so important?

Well, MSU is the biggest home game on the schedule this year. That scores this game big bonus points. tOSU, Penn State, and Notre Dame are all on the road. And, we have a two year losing streak against them. More bonus points.

But perhaps the biggest reason Sparty makes the top of the list for 2010 game of the year...Rich Rodriguez's job may be kept or lost by the end of that game.

This is conditional of course. If he sails his team into this game 5-0, of course he'll probably be bullet-proof if he loses a close one. But if Michigan's record is a more realistic 4-1 or 3-2, this game is a must-win for Rodriguez. No question the fans and alumni feel that 3-straight losses to Little Brother is just unacceptable. And I'm sure everyone within the football team and staff feels the same way.

But I'm here to tell you right here and now that if Michigan loses to Michigan State again this year, Rodriguez may not live to coach against Iowa the next week.

But what about tOSU? We've lost 6 straight to them...doesn't that streak hold more weight than 2 losses to Sparty?

No.

Oddly enough, it doesn't. And the reason is, losing to tOSU for the last 3 years has been almost expected. They've been a far more impressive team that Michigan has. And the talent gap has only widened. Ever since 2006, The Game just hasn't had the same feel for Michigan fans. And until we close that talent gap, expectations for the last game of the year will continue to remain low.

But that's why MSU has stepped up to become the game of the year. Not only because we feel that we should beat them, but that we need to beat them. And because we haven't, this matchup has become the focal point for whether or not Rodriguez is truly able to win with this team and guide this program back to dominance.

Programming Note

Hello Michigan fans. I must apologize for the lack of content over the last few days. Unfortunately it will probably continue through the weekend. It has nothing to do with the lack of news or really anything relevant going on with Michigan Football.

My wife and I welcomed our first son into the world on July 5th at 10:49AM. His name is Jack Ethan and he's doing great. He already rocking a Michigan block-M stocking cap, so he's well on his way. He's 8 lbs. 12 oz, so he may follow in his dad's footsteps and be an offensive lineman!

Anyways, it's a slow recovery process and the introduction into fatherhood will keep me very busy. Rest assured we'll get back to blogging soon. Until then, thanks for your patience.

Go Blue!

Happy 4th of July America


Freedom...Yeah!

Incoming: Jack Miller, Chris Rock, Kevin Sousa

So yeah we're a little behind with the incoming recruits lately. Time to play catch up. Today we welcome 3 new members of the 2011 recruiting class.

2011 recruiting board lives here.

Jack Miller:
Source: Scout.com
Rivals: ★★★ / NR
Scout: ★★★ / 84th DE
ESPN: ★★★ / 46th DT

Miller hails from St. John's catholic high school in Toledo, OH (my hometown). He plays both ways for the Titans, DE and tackle, but he's being recruited primarily as a defensive end. He's 6-4, 265, his fake 40-time is 4.8.


Chris Rock:
Source: Rivals.com

Rivals: ★★★ / NR
Scout: ★★★ / 55th DE
ESPN: ★★★ / 30th DE

Rock is another in a long line of recruits from Ohio (Columbus). He's a dedicated full-time defensive end, and is one of the best ones out there. You may remember him from such Michigan players as Craig Roh. He has the same build (6-5, 250) and his fake 40-time is 4.9.

His roster of schools pursuing him is impressive...Michigan, MSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, tOSU, Pitt, UCLA, Stanford, WVU, Wisconsin...just to name a few. This is a very nice land for Rodriguez.

Kevin Sousa:
Source: Rivals.com
Rivals: ★★★ / 21st QB
Scout: ★★★ / 31st QB
ESPN: ★★★ / 22nd QB

A nice QB addition for the 2011 class. Kevin Sousa (pronounced Sosa, like Sammy Sosa) hails from Orlando, FL. His build suggests that he's a slightly slower and taller version of Denard Robsinson. Not sure how well these recruiting sites get their information, ESPN lists him at 207, Rivals lists him at 213, while Scout lists him at 235. I'll just assume that since his fake 40-time is 4.69, and not sub-4.5, that he's closer to 235 than he is 207.

Other schools interested were Illinois, South Florida, FIU, FAU, Duke, Texas Tech, UCF, Vandy, Wake Forest and WVU.