Big Ten Coaches Hot Seat - Fickell Edition

Last month, we brought you the 2011 installment of our annual Big Ten Coaches Hot Seat (Leaders, Legends). For those uneducated souls, the Hot Seat is something of a tradition around here, and if you think for one second we don't take it seriously, you're out of your mind.

At the time we went to press, Jim Tressel was still the head coach at Ohio State. We had this to say about the soon-to-be-axed "Sir Telfon"...who's nickname has such been retired for obvious reasons.
But even as I write this, there is no way to know for sure if he'll be on the sideline this coming season. All signs point to yes. After he sits out his 5-game suspension, it is assumed that he'll be back in the saddle. I think it will take a swift NCAA ruling, or more ugly headlines like the ones that are just coming out now about some Ohio State players are/were getting free used cars that will ultimately force Sir Teflon to fall on his own sword. But make no mistake, Tressel is a very proud guy who takes his image very will take a lot for him to step down on his own.
The brass at Ohio State, who could be facing the music themselves before this whole situation is sorted out, saw to it that Tressel is better off unemployed then as the head coach of their school. In his stead will be one of his many right-hand men, Luke Fickell who served at Tressel's linebacker coach since 2004, and his co-defensive coordinator since 2005.

Luke Fickell - Ohio State

First Season
Career Record: 0-0

Let's get one thing out of the way, no one is expecting greatness from Luke Fickell. Yes, Ohio State is a top-flight football powerhouse...sort of. Their wings have been clipped a bit, and it's only going to be getting worse once actual football starts being played. Luke Fickell has all the cards stacked against him at this point. The rallying cry for Fickell is to just go out there and play 100% and try and ignore the destruction of the program that is and will be going on all around him.

As far as Luke's Ohio State pedigree, he's basically their version of Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald. Great linebacker who led the team during one of the best stretches of successful Ohio State teams in recent memory. He has the experience of coaching at the school since 2002. And he was one of the odds-on favorites to succeed Tressel when he was eventually going to step down. At least according to the fan's general consensus.

Like I said, no one is expecting a 10-win season and a BCS bowl, although they will win their fair share of games. Actually, you can pretty much guarantee that no matter how well Fickell and Ohio State do on the field, a bowl game is pretty much out of the question. The rug has been pulled out from underneath Ohio State's football program. The best Luke Fickell can hope for is to keep his players focused on the game at hand, and try not to get too distracted by all of the off-the-field crap that is sure to go on. He does have some talent to work with, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

So what's it going to take for Luke Fickell to stick around for more than one year?

A ton. He's going to need to basically cure cancer on the sideline in order to win over the OSU die-hards. Because once that last second ticks off the clock in the Big House on November 26th, all eyes of Buckeye Nation are going to look to Urban Meyer. And I'll tell you this, if Urban so much as sniffs in the direction of Columbus, Luke Fickell is done like Thanksgiving dinner.

Important Games in 2011:
9/17 @ Miami FL
10/1 vs MSU
10/ 8 @ NEB
10/29 vs WISC
11/19 vs PSU
11/26 @ MICH

MBN Hotness Meter: Dead Man Walking

The New World

It seems like it's been years since we last wrote about Rich Rod, GERG, the vaunted 3-3-5, sideline teddy bears and of course, those pesky Michigan factions.

It's amazing what six months of an off-season will do for you. Six months of trying to move on and forget...rationalize that everything really does happen for a reason.

Since Brady Hoke stepped on campus on January 11th, the Michigan football program has undergone a drastic surgical procedure to remake the program into something completely different for the second time in three years.

I will say that if you're going to compare the first six months of Brady's career at Michigan to the first six months of Rich's, the differences are striking. For so many reasons.

When we last spoke of Rich Rodriguez, it was to wish him well as he embarks on his first football season not as a coach in some capacity, for the first time in some twenty-odd years. If you think he's not at least a little bitter about that, you don't know Rich Rodriguez. I don't claim to be an expert, but having seen the man up-close and personal after both triumphs and defeats, no one takes hardship more seriously than Rich does. He will spend the 2011 season as an in-studio analyst for CBS's college football broadcasts (Hellooooo SEC). Where he ends up after that, no one knows? But he's young-ish, driven and experienced. Call me crazy, but he's Jon Gruden-esque in so many ways, minus a Super Bowl ring.
Give him and his tarnished reputation a year to cool off. His name will be mentioned for every high-profile job opening next year...guaranteed.

I have a lot of respect for Rich Rodriguez. He was never given the shot he deserved at Michigan. If given a few beers and the assurance that he was completely off the record, I bet he would agree with that. Michigan was never ready for Rich Rod. And vice-versa. We all tried, some of us harder than others. But it was not to be. He will coach again somewhere. It will be at the highest level, at a place where he can be what he was at West Virginia. And he will achieve success again.

I have a suspicion that Michigan will face Rich Rodriguez at some point. It may be after the bulk of his talent has left Ann Arbor, but it probably will happen.

I am completely dumbfounded by Brady Hoke. I don't understand how he is doing what he is doing. He is uniting factions in such a way that you probably couldn't tell that they had ever existed. He did fifty percent of the heavy lifting in that regard on the day he was hired. His hoarse voice sounding like every tough-nosed football coach that has ever existed, immediately won over the factions of Michigan fans who never got on board with Rich's "We're gonna be fun to watch, I can tell you that." in that West Virginia backwoods drawl.

Brady's sense of Michigan pride and appreciation for tradition has reignited the Michigan football family base. Former players and coaches are now visibly involved in the program again. They, as do many fans, feel that Hoke just "gets it". I've said on a few occasions that I don't even know that "it" is, but I definitely see it, and I agree with the people saying it. It's not that Rich didn't try, but maybe it was just the fact that at a place like Michigan, we shouldn't have to expect a coach to have to try, it should just come natural. I'm getting off-topic here a little bit...this might be a little too conceptual for me to explain.

Another twenty percent of Brady's rebuilding process took place when Greg Mattison signed on to be the defensive coordinator. That hire was an absolute home-run in every sense of the term. You want to rebuild a defense and immediately insert a sense of toughness, you go out and pay the most qualified possible candidate what he's worth, and get his ass on a plane to Ann Arbor. Mattison said he would only ever consider leaving the Ravens for one man. Guess who?

The final thirty percent of Hoke's faction unification process (FUP!) has occurred over the last 3 months. A successful spring camp by all accounts, minimal attrition (especially Denard, which you can thank Al Borges for as well), accompanied by an immediate assemblage of one of the nations top recruiting classes for 2012. Those indicators have signaled to the Big Ten, the country, and more importantly the Michigan fan base that the Rich Rod experiment is over. Michigan is on it's way back.

To fully grasp the pure insanity of what is transpiring in Columbus currently and over the last 6 months, look no further than Jim Tressel's driveway. A few weeks ago, after one of the most successful coaches in the country was forced to resign for breaking NCAA rules, and then lying about it...a group of 200 or so Buckeye fans marched to Jim Tressel's house to offer support and show their appreciation for their fallen hero.
This guy not only broke the rules, but lied about it on multiple occasions. Jim's tarnished legacy could go back as far as Youngstown State. But Ohio State fans don't care to hear that. They know that deep down Jim Tressel broke those rules in the name of winning football the name of beating Michigan. He did it for the good of Ohio. That's his legacy, anyway.

He never, in his mind, thought he would get caught. Who could ever topple the great empire he's presided over? Ohio State football is king in the state of all Ohio sports. Jim Tressel obviously felt invincible. And for so many years, he was.

For Buckeye fans, wins over Michigan are considered currency in Columbus. Jim Tressel was and is the richest man in town. They love him for it. To hell with everything else.

Terrelle Pryor? Well, that's a different story. He also beat Michigan, but he did it ugly. He won without class and with no style. Terrelle is not a son of Ohio. He's from Pennsylvania. And he's being treated as such.
Life in general is going to start getting much tougher for TPeezy2, as he heads out into a world that doesn't love him and worship him despite all of his faults and ineptitude.

Buckeye nation has already moved on. Terrelle Pryor will be the goat, so Jim Tressel can be the hero. Luke Fickell is simply just keeping the throne warm for the next king of Ohio.
Today...That is Ohio State football.

So the script for the 2011 season is going to be drastically different than 2010. No one knows to what extent the NCAA is going to punish Ohio State for their transgressions. This blogger thinks the punishment is going to be brutal at best. Ohio State is going to be set back a few years. The treasure-trove of high school talent that OSU has had a firm grasp on for so many years is now suddenly up for grabs.

Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison seem to have quickly realized that fact, and are cashing in immediately. As is Michigan State. As will Penn State, Notre Dame and the rest of the league.

Parity is alive and well in the Big Ten. With so much talent peppered throughout the league, you have a recipe for not only great TV viewing, but unbelievable competition.
I suspect the glory days of Michigan in the 80's and 90's and Ohio State in the 00's are going to come to an end. With Nebraska entering the conference, the addition of the B1G title game in December and the two divisions, it's going to be unbelievably difficult to sustain a dominant hold on the conference year-in and year-out. The league will remain top-heavy, as most conferences are, but the Big Ten championship is more attainable than ever right now.

For Michigan and Ohio State, I predict a "righting of the ship" so to speak. 2011 is going to be the year where the two Big Ten powerhouses pass each other on the way up, and on the way down. The proverbial reset button has been pressed on this series. And whether it's good or bad for the rivalry, I will contend that anything that makes one team remarkably more dominant than the other is bad for everyone involved. If success over your biggest rival is the goal for every season, then what goals can you make when you get to experience that success so frequently?

Parity is good for business. It is good for Michigan, it is healthy for the league, and it will eventually be good for Ohio State. And anyone who thinks continued dominance is a good thing, just wait and see what happens to Ohio State when the NCAA hammer falls in Columbus sometime this fall. Ask USC how it feels. With great success often comes arrogance and entitlement. And with those, eventually...collapse. Not everywhere, but it is a rampant illness among college football's elite programs.

This is a much more complex subject that will become more and more of a problem as coaches and players continue to bend/break the rules while schools look the other way...all for the sake of winning and self-entitlement. How much of this we are subject to is up to the NCAA and how firmly they intend to enforce the rules. They've done a pretty lackluster job so far. I would argue they have an unique opportunity to set the precedent right now with Ohio State.

I am about to begin my fifth season blogging about Michigan football. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined that my humble site would be read by anyone other than me and my family. I started this blog on the premise that I would probably do it for a little while and inevitably get bored and move on to something else. But what surprised me about doing this, is how much I really love sharing my thoughts about Michigan, college football and Its the interaction that I receive from you guys that make this whole deal worthwhile to me. Its the comments and the emails, both positive and negative, that keep me coming back to this keyboard.

Close to a thousand posts later, I have no plans on stopping anytime soon. So I just want to take this small opportunity to thank you for reading. And if you think the words on this blog are worth passing on, I hope you would do so.

Go Blue.

Denard, Michigan Bring Home BTN Awards

I caught a few minutes of the BTN awards show last night. I just want to say that even though Michigan, and Denard did very well last night, the one award I really want to see Michigan football take home is the team of the year award.

And, props to Darius Morris, Brock Mealer and Carol Hutchins for their nominations.

BTN Videos!
Breakout athlete of the year:

Game of the year:

Via UM media relations/
Denard Robinson, U-M Football Recognized with Three Honors During BTN Awards Show
University of Michigan football claimed top honors in three categories during the fourth annual Big Ten Network Awards Show Monday night (June 20). U-M sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson was honored as Breakout Performer of the Year and for Most Dominating Performance for his efforts at Notre Dame on Sept. 11, while the Wolverines’ triple-overtime victory against Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 6, was named Game of the Year.

Robinson, after attempting only 31 passes for 188 yards as a freshman in 2009, started every game in 2010, passing for 2,570 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 1,702 yards and 14 touchdowns.  Robinson became the first player in NCAA history to throw for 2,500 yards and rush for 1,500 yards in a single season. The Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year began his sophomore campaign by setting a school record for most total yards in a game (383) vs. Connecticut (Sept. 4), only to break that mark the next week at Notre Dame (Sept. 11) with a 502-yard performance. His 328.6 yards of total offense per game ranked first in the Big Ten and second in the NCAA. Robinson’s 4,272 total yards of offense, a Michigan single-season record, and 32 touchdowns also landed him sixth in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 2010.

Two of Robinson’s school-record 502 yards came on the game-winning touchdown run in Michigan’s 28-24 victory at Notre Dame on Sept. 11.  Robinson accounted for 502 of the team’s 532 yards of total offense, finishing with 258 yards rushing—a Big Ten record by a quarterback—and 244 yards passing.  The second-year quarterback became only the ninth quarterback in FBS history to gain more than 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing in the same game. He also scored on an 87-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, the longest rushing touchdown in the history of Notre Dame Stadium, the second-longest run all-time by an opponent against Notre Dame and the sixth-longest scoring play from scrimmage in Michigan history.

In a football game on Nov. 6 that granted the winner bowl eligibility, Michigan defeated Illinois, 67-65, in triple-overtime, for BTN’s Game of the Year. In the third overtime, U-M blitzed to force an incomplete pass on an Illinois two-point conversion to hold on to a two-point lead for the win. The game set several Michigan single-game records, including most combined points in a single game (132), most combined total yardage in a single game (1,237), most individual receiving yards in a single game -- 246 by junior/sophomore receiver Roy Roundtree -- and most passing yards in a half -- 262 by Robinson.

We're Talkin' Schedules - Wisconsin

We round out the Leaders "Woody" division today by taking a look at Wisconsin's schedule. Stay tuned for the Legends "Bo" division analysis coming soon.

Previously: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue

Now: Wisconsin

2010 Overall Record: 11-2
2010 Big Ten Record: 7-1

Non-Conference Opponents
9/1: UNLV (2-11)
9/10: Oregon State (5-7)
9/17: Northern Illinois (11-3)
9/24: South Dakota (4-7)

Divisional Opponents
10/15: Indiana
10/29: @ Ohio State
11/5: Purdue
11/19: @ Illinois
11/26: Penn State

Crossover Opponents
10/1: Nebraska
10/22: @ Michigan State
11/12: @ Minnesota

Do Not Play

If You Only Watch One Wisconsin Game in 2011: No question, Nebraska on October 1st. Not only is it Wisconsin's first league game of the year, but it's also Nebraska's first B1G game...ever. It's in Madison, it's on national TV, and it's a night game. It could also be a preview of the B1G Championship game.

Non-Conference Loss: Wiscy's non-conf slate is pretty usual. Their only real chance for a loss will be Oregon State on September 10th. Although, the matchup with Northern Illinois, which will be played at a neutral site at Chicago's Soldier Field could be an interesting game to watch.

It's a Trap!: I hesitate to say Purdue, just because it's a home game, and a Leaders division game. Howeva! It falls between two tough road trips...coming back from E. Lansing and Columbus, and before a trip to rival Minneapolis and Champaign. That game falls right in the meat of Wisconsin's tough stretch.

The Game Destined for Bielema will probably hang 90 points on South Dakota on September 24th. The funny thing is, no one will be watching.

Final Analysis: Wisconsin makes up for a relatively easy non-conference schedule with an appropriately difficult league schedule. Even without playing three good teams in Michigan, Iowa and Northwestern, they make up for it by going on the road 5 times in 4 weeks right during the tough part of their schedule. Make no mistake, Wisconsin is going to be right there at the end of the season. With Ohio State crumbling before our eyes, no one stands to benefit more in the short term than Wisconsin, who should steamroll through the Leaders division.

Fearless Predictions
Non-conference record: 4-0
Division Record: 5-0
Crossover Record: 2-1
Overall: 11-1 

...And We're Back

Sorry for that pesky technical glitch that occurred from around 10 this morning to just after 3 this afternoon. The permission settings of the blog had blocked everyone but me from be able to access the site. So as far as I could tell, things were fine. But some eagle-eyed readers alerted me via our Facebook page that things were not right, and that I better fix it...and soon.

So what's the lesson to be learned here? Well for me, stop pushing buttons if you don't know what the hell they do. And for everyone else, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. You'll be glad you did. And as always, pass the word around about us if you think what you see on this blog is worth passing. Thank you dear readers.

Go Blue!

Brady Hoke Speaks at Alumni Event in D.C.

Found this via our great sponsor, Moe Sport Shops' Facebook page. Don't follow them yet? You should. Click here.

People like to throw around the phrase "He just gets it." a lot. I have no idea what that means, but I think they're right.

Under the Lights!
Click image to be taken to the Moe's home page.
Don't forget about the throwback's for the Notre Dame night game on September 10th. Pre-order all of your "Under the Lights" apparel from Moe Sport Shop starting this Friday, June 17th.

Incoming: Erik Magnuson

The sun is maize and the sky is blue, and the 2012 recruiting board lives here.

Rivals: ★★★★ NR OT
Scout: ★★★★ #16 OT
ESPN: ★★★★ #24 OT
24/7: ★★★★ #13 OT

The Brady Hoke recruiting wagon has headed westward, and picked up a great offensive tackle prospect on it's way. Carlsbad, CA native Erik Magnuson is the latest commitment to the 2012 class. It was long rumored that he would commit to the Wolverines...and the official word finally trickled out late Friday afternoon last week.

Via mgoblog:
"I just feel comfortable with the coaches, and I know them so well. I feel the program is going in the right direction. I know some of the 2012 commits and I think they're all good players. They're bringing in a good offense, and I want to get out of California. I just feel like Michigan is the right place for me."
Just as an aside, not too many 17 year old's out there willing to say "I just want to get out of California...". However, as mgoblog points out, his first offer was from San Diego State...hence where he got to know the coaches so well.

But as far as how this plays into the 2012 class, Erik ranks right up there with Terry Richardson and Royce Jenkins-Stone as the tops of the class. As you can see, his offer list is a typical who's-who of west coast CFB schools. He is a really nice pick-up for the class.

As far as how many spots are left available in this class...according to Sam Webb on this morning's Michigan Insider on WTKA, there are 10 spots left. Plenty of room for some of the areas where we need some help.

Other Offers:
Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Cal, Cincy, Colorado, Colorado State, Miami FL, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Stanford, UCLA, Utah, Washington, Washington State

Hype Video:

Michigan Unveils Night Game Uniforms (Photos)

I'll probably get crap for saying this, but I like 'em.

Why? Because they're only going to worn for one game, and how much do we really need to care about how a one-off jersey is going to look anyway? Plus, when you actually see the whole completed uniform and not just the jersey...they look pretty good...the shoulder stripes aren't that bad...not as bad as I thought they would be. I really like the M on the front with the small numbers on old school Adidas logo.

And the grey facemask and numbers on the helmet are a nice touch too.

Slideshow of my pics from the event:

Incoming: Tom Strobel

As always, the 2012 recruiting board lives here.

Rivals: ★★★★, NR DE
Scout: ★★★★, #24 DE
ESPN: ★★★, #56 DE
24/7: ★★★★, #14 DE

Another DE commit, this time from the football prospect factory in Mentor, OH. This news is courtesy of The News-Herald, a northern Ohio newspaper.
"I have been very blessed with the opportunity to visit and meet with many elite colleges, but I genuinely feel that Michigan will provide me with both the best academic and athletic college experience possible," Strobel said. "Like most people in Ohio, I was raised with a biased opinion against Michigan. However, it occurred to me that there was no justification for my prejudice, besides the fact that it was Michigan. I think it says something that despite my apprehension, Michigan still stood out above the rest. I am confident that I have made the right decision for my future, and I look forward to beginning my college career as a Wolverine."

Strobel is entering his senior season at Mentor and will lead the Cardinals defense as they begin their first year in the rugged NOC after leaving the Lake Erie League at the end of the school year.

Mentor coach Steve Trivisonno said Strobel is the second player from Mentor to go to Michigan to play football (Randy Stark in the late 1980s) and that it is a good decision for Strobel on many levels.

"It's a great fit for him for academics and football and the fact that it he got the decision done before the start of the season," Trivisonno said. "Tom is the complete package. Michigan is getting a good one."
Other Offers:
Akron, Cincy, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kent St, Miami OH, Sparty, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio, Ohio State, Pitt, Purdue, Stanford, Syracuse, Vandy, WVU, Wisconsin...and had strong interest from Penn State

Yes, that's right...he had 11 Big Ten offers (with interest from PSU)...and he picked Meeeechigan.

Update: Scout lists an offer from Penn State, Rivals doesn't. For the sake of argument, we'll just assume he has a Penn State offer.

Hype Video:

I See You Steve Breaston

Recite the name of this post using your best Rod Allen impression. Why? Because I just watched a Tiger game on Fox Detroit, that's why.

Now, watch this video of former UMer Steve Breaston riffing on the NFL lockout situation.

Okay, now, just for this. Another Rod, who also happened to be a WR for the Arizona Cardinals.

We're Talkin' Schedules - Purdue

Previously: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State

Now: Purdue

2010 Overall Record: 4-8
2010 Big Ten Record: 2-6

Non-Conference Opponents
9/3: Middle Tennessee State (6-7)
9/10: @ Rice (4-8)
9/17: Southeast Missouri State (9-3)
10/1: Notre Dame (8-5)

Divisional Opponents
10/15: @ Penn State
10/22: Illinois
11/5: @ Wisconsin
11/12: Ohio State
11/26: @ Indiana

Crossover Opponents
10/8: Minnesota
10/29: @ Michigan
11/19: Iowa

Do Not Play
Michigan State

If You Only Watch One Purdue Game in 2011: The road trip to Happy Valley on October 15th is going to be a good test for the Boilers. Its their first division game, it's on the road, and they should be at minimum 4-1 going into it. The bad part is Penn State should be at best 5-1 going into that game as well. A loss here could unhinge the wagon as Purdue heads into the meat of their league schedule.

Non-Conference Loss: Notre Dame comes calling on October 1st. Purdue comes off a bye week heading into this game. This is easily the biggest non-conference threat on the schedule.

It's a Trap!: No real trap threats on the Purdue schedule. But Minnesota could be an interesting matchup. Purdue begins the conference slate with them on October 8th. It's a non-divisional game and it's sandwiched between Notre Dame and that pesky trip to Penn State. It's a home game, and Minnesota isn't really much of a threat...but that's what makes a trap game a trap game.

The Game Destined for Well, any non-conference opponent other than Notre Dame. Maybe the Minnesota game.

Final Analysis: Like Penn State, Purdue's schedule is back loaded with the bulk of where most of the losses will come from. A key for them is to start out strong and focus on the win-able games. If they can do that, I see no reason why at least a .500 record isn't at least possible. If they can manage to knock off Penn State, Illinois, and/or Iowa...or any combination of those...Danny Hope just might be able to hang on to his job for another year.

Fearless Predictions
Non-conference record: 3-1
Division Record: 1-4
Crossover Record: 1-2
Overall: 5-7 

Possible Throwback Uniforms Leaked?

An mgoblog reader noticed something interesting on the MDen website this afternoon, which has since disappeared from the site. It's an image eerily similar to the leaked Free Press photo we saw last month that the athletic department (Brandon) quickly dismissed as not accurate.

As you can easily see, this looks very similar to this:
I will keep my opinion to myself until I see the official uniform this Friday night at an athletic department event being held at the Big House at 8PM (which will also be streamed live in But the photo leaked by the MDen looks pretty darn real to me.

This is what Brandon had to say about the Free Press photo last month:
   Dave Brandon Discusses the Throwback Jersey by MaizeBlueNation

And if this is the real deal, all I can say is...swing and a miss.

Pryor Leaves Ohio State

The day Terrelle Pryor announced he would attend "The University of Ohio State."
This news shouldn't exactly be shocking to anyone. In a statement released by Pryor's lawyer, he has decided to end his playing days at Ohio State.

Via the Columbus Dispatch:
"In the best interest of my teammates, I have made the decision to fore go my senior year of football at The Ohio State University."
Once the Tressel shoe dropped last week, all eyes turned to Pryor. Most, of not all speculated that he would never see the field at Ohio State next year. They were right.

In all fairness, Pryor is a tremendously gifted athlete, blessed with a natural ability that was evident to anyone who had the agony of watching him effortlessly consume their defense (by scrambling away from a d-lineman and then jogging at the 45-degree angle to the sideline for twenty yards...fifteen times a game). But his career at Ohio State was a trainwreck in so many ways. He was good, but never rose to the level of player that he was built up to be. He never delivered. Blame poor play-calling, lack of ability...whatever. The bad far outweighed the good in case of Terrelle Pryor.

You could make the argument, and some have, that Pryor is directly responsible for the downfall of not only Jim Tressel, but also Rich Rodriguez. I would not refute that. I wanted him to come to Michigan. Every one of us did.

Imagine what would have happened if he did.

In a way I'm sad to see the Tressel, and now Pryor go before next year. I desperately wanted Brady Hoke to have one shot at both of them. I wanted to see the two coaches at midfield of the Big House before the game. I wanted to see an invigorated defensive line tear into Pryor...Mike Martin chasing him down and burying him in the ground.

But it is not to be. The proverbial reset button has been pushed on this series. It's Hoke versus Fickell...for one year at least. It's Denard versus...whoever. This game is going to have a very new and unique feel this year. But after the last 3 years, new is good. I'll take new. I'll take anything other than what we've had to endure lately.

Time & TV Announced for Western/Eastern Michigan Games

Via UM media relations:
Two Additional U-M Football Kickoff Times Announced
ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan Athletic Department in conjunction with the Big Ten Conference and its television partners announced the kickoff times of two additional 2011 Wolverine football games on Tuesday (June 7).  U-M will open its 132nd football season on Sept. 3 at Michigan Stadium by hosting Western Michigan at 3:30 p.m. EDT on ABC.  The Wolverines, following their ‘Under the Lights’ contest against Notre Dame at 8 p.m. EDT on Sept. 10 (ESPN), will host Eastern Michigan on Sept. 17 at noon EDT, and it will be broadcast live by the Big Ten Network.

The Wolverines are 108-20-3 in season openers, including 92-15-2 in season openers at home, while the 2011 season marks the first time since 1976 Michigan will open a football season with five consecutive home games.

Five of the Wolverines’ 12 games now have kickoff times set.  The Big Ten Conference previously announced Big Ten Network primetime games and conference schools’ homecoming games.  No additional pre-selection of 2011 football games is expected until the six- and 12-day process begins for games of Sept. 24.
2011 Schedule:

Ohio State Fans Just Don't Get It

Okay, I've been debating with myself about writing this...this blog has enjoyed it's fair allotment of Ohio State lately. But there are just some things that, when you read or see a Michigan blogger, you simply have no choice.

A group of about 200 Ohio State fans marched to Jim Tressel's house in Columbus on Saturday evening to show their support for the coach who cheated and lied then about it.

Via LarryBrownSports:
“Those in the rally cheered, sang the alma mater and held up signs that said, “You’re in Our Prayers,” “We Support You, Jim!” and “We Love You, Coach Tressel.”

"We’re going to be Buckeyes for life,” Tressel said, his arm around his wife. “What’s that old saying? Buckeye born and bred, a Buckeye ’til I’m dead.”
As a parting shot, Tressel added:
"Don't forget. On Nov. 26, we're gonna kick their ass."
This guy just pissed away a three and a half million dollar a year job because he was too scared to turn in his own players for breaking the rules, and then he lied about it...and this is what he has to say??? No "Sorry about all that lying and cheating I've been doing.", or "Hey, I regret the decisions I made.", or "Hey, I'm sorry I totally screwed you guys for the next 5 years."???

To add insanity to confusion...what do deranged Ohio State fans do when more than two of them are in the same place at the same time?

Okay, I get that this guy made Michigan his whipping boy for 10 years, I do. He regularly beat us on a unfair field where he repeatedly used players that should have never been able to leave the locker room. This guy took whatever public level of respect there was left for Ohio State and beat the life out of it in the course of one year.

And how to Ohio State fans react? They march to his house to proclaim their love for him.

Ohio State fans have such a distorted reality, that they have no idea the amount of suck that is headed their way for the next 5 years...all thanks to this man. Good riddance.

We're Talkin' Schedules - Penn State

Previously: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State

Now: Penn State

2010 Overall Record: 7-6
2010 Big Ten Record: 4-4

Non-Conference Opponents
9/3: Indiana State (6-5)
9/10: Alabama (10-3)
9/17: @ Temple (8-4)
9/24: Eastern Michigan (2-10)

Divisional Opponents
10/1: @ Indiana
10/15: Purdue
10/29: Illinois
11/19: @ Ohio State
11/26: @ Wisconsin

Crossover Opponents
10/8: Iowa
10/22: @ Northwestern
11/12: Nebraska

Do Not Play
Michigan State

If You Only Watch One Penn State Game in 2011: I'd say it would have to be Alabama. My inner-Big Ten conscience tells me that it should be a B1G team, especially a Leaders division squad like Ohio State or Wisconsin. But I'm going out on a limb and picking the Crimson Tide. Last year's contest in Tuscaloosa was never really close, but this year's tussle in Happy Valley will be better. I'm not going to say that Penn State is going to win, but it should at least be entertaining. Plus this will be a nice afternoon primer for the real matchup of the day, Notre Dame at Michigan under the lights!

Non-Conference Loss: With traditional powerhouses like Indiana State, Temple and EMU on the schedule, I don't think I'm out of line by picking Alabama here.

It's a Trap!: At Northwestern on October 22nd. This road game is sandwiched between two home division games. It's also the last game before the home stretch where they play 3 of the conferences best teams. Plus, Northwestern has the firepower to hang a loss on Penn State in late October.

The Game Destined for The opener against Indiana State. Coming in a close 2nd is Temple on the road on Sept. 17th. Take your pick.

Final Analysis: I feel like Penn State is possibly better than their 7-6 result last year. They need to solidify their QB position. And with Robert Bolden transfer rumors twisting in the wind isn't helping matters. If he stays, you have a QB race. If he leaves, then McGloin needs to step up. PSU will benefit from an improved defense, which is really what they're known for. If they can get to the Iowa game in 10/8 with only 1 loss, which is what I predict, than I think 8-9 wins are certainly possible. But a brutal November could unhinge a New Year's Day bowl.

AND! Whatever happened to the PSU-MSU rivalry that league tried so desperately to manufacture when Penn State joined the league in 1993? Hmm...not so much, huh?

Fearless Predictions
Non-conference record: 3-1
Division Record: 3-2
Crossover Record: 1-2
Overall: 7-5

ESPN and SI's Happy Cover Accident

Incoming: Anthony Standifer

Don't forget, the 2012 recruiting board lives here.

Rivals: NR DB
Scout: ★★★, #26 CB
24/7: ★★★, NR CB

The great DB search of 2012 continues with another commitment, this time from IL CB/S Anthony Standifer. Anthony has been slightly under the radar until his Michigan offer, which led to a few offers from other moderate/big schools. But on the surface, you have to like his size, around 6-0, 180. The gurus list him with the proverbial 3-stars...which seems fair considering he's pretty new to the scene for whatever reason.

According to Rivals [$], taller corners are a rarity in college football because the taller they are, the less "swivel" they have in their hips. So to find a good CB/S who's over 6-feet tall is a truly nice find.

Other Offers:
Akron, BGSU, Cincy, Colorado State, Iowa, Minnesota, No Illinois, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Toledo and Western Michigan.

Hype Video: