Big Ten Bloggers Preseason Poll

Penn State blogger Mike from the conglomerate PSU blog Black Shoe Diaries was able to pull together a very respectable collection of Big Ten bloggers, yours truly included, to take a whack at putting together a picture of how us know-it-all bloggers think the predicted order of finish will be for the 2011 season. No divisions, no conference title game prediction. Just rank the teams 1 through 12.

First, the participating blogs...
And now, here's how we think it's all gonna go down...
The poll is based on the lowest point total, with each ranking assigned by the voter equaling the number of points assigned. First-place votes indicated in parentheses. Black Shoe Diaries did not have an entry in this poll.
Rank Team Points(1st)
1 Wisconsin 17(10)
2 Nebraska 29(2)
3 Ohio State 54
4 Michigan State 57(1)
5 Penn State 62
6 Iowa 80
7 Northwestern 91
8 Michigan 96
9 Illinois 106
10 Purdue 129
11 Minnesota 143
12 Indiana 150

Mike breaks down the voting...

  • Wisconsin is obviously the runaway favorite among us blogger know-it-all folk. The Badgers got the most 1st place votes, and only one blogger voted UW lower than 2nd in the conference.
  • Nebraska didn't get the expected attention, with only the two 1st place votes, and three votes lower than 2nd place. The Huskers low rank was 5th.
  • Ohio State only received one vote higher than 3rd. The rest varied from 3rd all the way down to 8th.
  • Michigan State was all over the map as well, but generally fell between 3rd and 4th. The same blogger who voted Nebraska 5th voted MSU 1st. The Spartans' low rank was 8th, from two bloggers.
  • Penn State is about where many expected. The Nittany Lions did get two 2nd place votes. The low PSU rank was 7th, by two bloggers.
  • Iowa's highest rank was 3rd. The Hawks' low rank was 9th.
  • Northwestern's high rank was 4th. The Cats' low rank was 10th, but generally most were in the 7-8 range.
  • Michigan's high rank was 4th. The low rank was 9th.
  • Illinois came in much lower than expected. The Illini's low rank was 12th! Another was for 10th. The high rank was only 6th. 
  • Purdue only received two rankings in the single digits. However, no one picked the Boilers last.
  • Indiana wouldn't have beaten out Minnesota even if a certain homer pick (though, not sure how homerish a 9th place rank can be) did help out the Gophers a bit. Still, the Hoosiers high rank was a single vote for 10th place. Minnesota only received four last-place votes.
How did I rank the teams in my prediction?  Let's just say I had the top two teams the same as the poll, and the bottom two teams the same as the poll. The 8 teams in the middle were slightly very different.

Which blogger ranked Michigan as high as #4??? I'll never tell.

Brady Hoke B1G Media Day Video

Video of Brady Hoke's Big Ten Media presser (7-28-11)

B1G Media Days Info

The Big Ten media days start today in Chicago, signalling the unofficial start to the 2011 season. However, it will be without one of it's more interesting aspects this year. Via ESPN's Brian Bennett...
The Big Ten will not announce a preseason favorite during next week's annual media days event. The league confirmed to ESPN.com that the head coaches voted at the conference meetings in May to eliminate the media voting for top three finishers that had been conducted for years. Forget about preseason offensive and defensive players of the year, too.
So...what exactly are the coaches/players/media going to do these next two days? Well, a lot of talking, for one thing. A lot of canned responses to the media's questions. But one interesting thing that will be "predicted" is the "players to watch" list which was released this morning. This is a list of 10 players from the league that we should "watch". Frankly, I don't understand the point of this list, but here you go.

Via UM media relations:
LEGENDS DIVISION
Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State
Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska
Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern

LEADERS DIVISION
Nathan Scheelhaase, QB, Illinois
Damarlo Belcher, WR, Indiana
Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State
John Simon, DT, Ohio State
Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State
Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
James White, RB, Wisconsin

CHICAGO, Ill. -- The Big Ten Conference announced its inaugural football Players to Watch list Thursday (July 28), with University of Michigan junior quarterback Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach) appearing as the lone Wolverine.

The 12-player list, originally set to feature five players from each division, is composed of five players from the Legends Division and seven players from the Leaders Division, due to a tie.

This list, which was selected by a media panel, was formed after Big Ten coaches voted to institute a preseason recognition list for the upcoming season as the Big Ten’s first with two divisions.

As the defending Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Robinson ranked first in the Big Ten and second in the nation in total offense per game (328.6 yards) in 2010, while becoming the first player in NCAA history to pass for 2,500 yards and rush for 1,500 yards in a single season. The dual-threat quarterback, who finished sixth in the 2010 Heisman Trophy Balloting, became the ninth quarterback in NCAA history to rush and pass for 200 yards in single game, while becoming the first to post that feat twice in the same season.
Consider this the equivalent to a trophy watch list, except with no restriction on the Big Ten Player of the Year needing to come from this list. Honestly, this list of players is simply just an honorary exercise so the league can give the fans something to look at.

But, how Mike Martin was left off this list is beyond me. Now I'm pissed!

The Big Ten Network and ESPNU will have live coverage of the festivities starting at 11 Eastern on their networks. BTN will have a live network feed on their website. Here's a rundown of the schedule:
Leaders Coaches
Illinois coach Ron Zook: 11 a.m.-11:15 a.m. ET
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema: 11:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m. ET
Purdue coach Danny Hope: 11:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m. ET
Ohio State coach Luke Fickell: noon-12:15 p.m. ET
Indiana coach Kevin Wilson: 12:15 p.m.-12:30 p.m. ET
Penn State coach Joe Paterno: 12:30 p.m.-12:45 p.m. ET
BREAK
Legends Coaches
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald: 1 p.m.-1:15 p.m. ET
Michigan coach Brady Hoke: 1:15-1:30 p.m. ET
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini: 1:30 p.m-1:45 p.m. ET
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz: 2 p.m.-2:15 p.m. ET
Minnesota coach Jerry Kill: 2:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio: 2:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m. ET
Big Ten Officials
Big Ten coordinator of football officials Bill Carollo:
2:45-3 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman: 3 p.m.-3:15 p.m. ET
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany: 3:15 p.m.-3:45 p.m. ET 
More media dais coverage as it trickles down the pipe.

'Under the Lights' Hype Video

[HT: AdamEvensVideos]


I'm not going to be able to sleep the entire week leading up to this game.

Outgoing: Kellen Jones. Terry Talbott, Christain Pace, Teric Jones All Out with Injuries

We don't know much other than junior RB Teric Jones, incoming freshman Kellen Jones, DT Terry Talbott and redshirt freshman OL Christian Pace will not be on the field this season.

What we're hearing is that Kellen Jones is no longer enrolled at the University. While Talbott, T Jones and Pace are all out this year (and maybe their careers) with injuries. Talbott has a history of back issues since coming to Michigan, while Teric Jones has suffered a serious knee injury. Pace has also had rumored knee issues since stepping on campus as well.

Incoming: Sione Houma

39 days until Michigan football. 20 commits for the 2012 class. Here is the 2012 recruiting board.

Rivals: NR RB
Scout: ★★ RB/FB
ESPN: NR RB
24/7: NR FB

The pipeline from Utah to Ann Arbor isn't one that we see used very frequently. But Hoke is on the recruiting warpath, and this is evidence that no recruit in any state is safe from Hoke-a-mania!

Okay, I digress...sorry about that.

Houma, who is slightly off the radar, is listed by most of the recruiting sites as a RB. However, he is being recruited by Michigan exclusively as a fullback as far as we know. We had heard some message board rumors that a scholarship FB could be making it's way back onto the Michigan roster. I just didn't think it would be so quickly. His 6-0, 215 stats would lend us to believe that he must have some room to grow...as that is rather small for the prototypical B1G FB.

I would assume that is the case. But this commitment speaks to a larger sense that a move back towards a pro-style offense is definitely in the cards for Michigan down the road.

For further bio and analysis, mgoblog's Hello:.

Other Offers:
Utah, Utah State, Washington.

Hype Video:


Excessive Examination: Media Guide Roster

First things first, to obtain your very own digital PDF copy of all 208 pages of the 2011 Michigan Football Media Guide, click here.

Now, on to the excessive examination.

Incoming freshman numbers:

No.NamePositionHeightWeight
3Russell BellomyQB6-3178
5Justice HayesRB5-10175
8Blake CountessDB5-10175
20Tamani CarterDB5-11175
21Raymon TaylorDB5-10170
24Delonte HollowellDB5-9170
35Greg BrownDB5-10180
36Joe Kerridge*FB6-0239
38Thomas RawlsRB5-10220
40Antonio PooleLB6-2210
44Desmond MorganLB6-1225
45Matt WileK6-2210
47Frank ClarkLB6-2210
58Chris BryantOL6-4330
60Jack MillerOL6-4268
61Graham Glasgow*OL6-6316
62Dallas Williams*OL6-3312
71Gary Yerden*OL6-5328
79Tony PosadaOL6-4330
82Chris BarnettTE6-5250
92Keith HeitzmanDE6-3237
95Chris RockDE6-5250
97Brennen BeyerDE6-3225

First thing that stands out to me is where is redshirt-freshman OL Christian Pace and where is incoming LB Kellen Jones? It is rumored that both have been battling injuries, Pace at UM, and Jones in HS. There is no word on this yet, but expect this to address at Big Ten Media Days.

Second thing I notice, they assigned #21 to DB Raymon Taylor. This signals to me that there is no plan to retire Desmond Howard's number. Sigh.

Also, UM has added some walk-ons. Including a FB, Joe Kerridge. And a trio of OL, including Graham Glasgow who was just recently said he would be walking-on at OSU. [HT: TWB]

And of course, there are a few jersey number changes to existing players, bullet style:

• CB JT Floyd switched from 18 to 12.
• CB Terrance Talbot switched from 37 to 22, which is now the same # as LB Jake Ryan and Darryl Stonum (who is on the roster, so those off-the-field issues haven't ousted him from the roster so far). Stonum is not such an issue because Talbot will not play offense. But it is an issue on defense because Jake Ryan is expected to see the field extensively this season.
• S Josh Furman switched from 14 to 6.
• Teric Jones was 14 last year, he has no number on the current roster.
• QB Jack Kennedy was 25 and is now 14. How and why a Michigan QB was #25 in the first place is beyond me.
• S Thomas Gordon was 30 and is now 15.
• LB Isaiah Bell was 34 and is now 26.
• LB Merell Evans switched from 9 to 51. This could be so he can see some special teams action as Martavious Odoms will be wearing his #9 on punt/kickoff returns.
• G Ricky Barnum was 56 and will switch to outgoing Stephen Schilling's 52.
• TE Brandon Moore will now be 89, he was 88.

Caught Ira doing a nice rundown of roster changes and going into great detail on each player this morning on WTKA. It's worth a listen:

  Ira Discusses 2011 Media Guide Roster by MaizeBlueNation 

2011 Michigan Football Fan Day Info

I've been receiving some emails lately asking when Michigan would be holding it's annual Fan Day event. Well, here it is. Thanks to UM media relations.

Fan Day Slated for Sunday, August 14, at Michigan Stadium
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan football program will hold its annual Fan Day on Sunday, Aug. 14, at Michigan Stadium. The autograph session and opportunity to meet the 2011 Wolverines team will run approximately from 2-3:30 p.m. EDT.

The event is free and open to the public. All gates at the Big House will open starting at 1 p.m. Parking will be available in the lots adjacent to Michigan Stadium and Pioneer High School. In order to expedite the autograph process and accommodate as many fans as possible, players and Head Coach Brady Hoke will autograph one item per person.

Hoke will sign autographs on the Michigan Stadium field.  Michigan players will be signing autographs along the north and south concourses at the concession stands by position groups. The offensive players will be located along the north side of the Big House between sections 29 and 38, with the defensive players residing on the south side between sections 8 and 18.

Check MGoBlue.com for player autograph locations which will be determined at a later date.

Big House Available for Weddings, Private Events

I take you, Big House, to be my stadium; and I promise before God and these witnesses to be your loving and faithful fan; in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health; until death do us part.
In a move that will certainly be a popular one among about-to-wed die-hard Michigan fans everywhere, the Big House is now available for weddings and other private events. Not just "the hole that Yost dug, Canham carpeted, Crisler paid for, and Schembechler filled each and every Saturday " but other Michigan athletic facilities will be offered for private use as well.

Here's the official UM release:
Michigan Athletics Offers Special Events at the Big House
U-M Website: Special Events
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Are you interested in getting married at Michigan Stadium? Having a corporate event at the Big House or other athletic venues? Do you want to take special photos at the stadium? For the first time, the University of Michigan Athletic Department is offering you the opportunity to host your next event on our turf.

Michigan Athletics offers many unique settings to host your next event. From weddings, meetings, luncheons, showers and banquet receptions, your next event will give a lasting impression to all guests with the history and tradition of the University of Michigan as a backdrop.

Premium spaces available for rent include, but are not limited to, the Jack Roth Stadium Club, Regents Guest Area, Athletic Director’s Suite, Junge Family Champions Center, Michigan Stadium Press Box and the Golf Course Clubhouse. For our wedding clients, you can have your wedding at the 50-yard line of Michigan Stadium.

In addition to rentals, guided tours will be offered through many of the athletic facilities. Michigan Stadium guided tours will guide guests through the Big House, including the field, game day locker room, press box and club and suite levels. The deluxe tour will include all elements of the Michigan Stadium tour as well as taking guests through Yost Ice Arena, the Wilpon Baseball and Softball Complex, Crisler Arena (construction permitting), Cliff Keen Arena and Schembechler Hall (if available).

Photo opportunities at Michigan Stadium are also offered in one-hour increments. You can spend time in and around the stadium, as well as on the field.

For additional information about holding your event with Michigan Athletics, contact Special Events Coordinator Katy Hepner at (734) 647-1261 or katjacks@umich.edu.
Opinions are likely to be divided equally down the middle on this one, but honestly, I like it. From a purely financial perspective, any revenue that comes in from this venture is probably just enough to cover the costs of staffing said events.

But the mere prospect of offering a one-of-a-kind facility that only gets used for roughly 8 days a year for anyone who is willing to ante-up only makes sense to me.

Costs for facility rentals can be found here. Special tours, and photo ops are also available.

Scoreboard Update (Photos)

MBN reader and dear friend "Silky P", who just happens to live within shouting distance to the Big House, sent over these photos taken yesterday of the scoreboard construction. You can check out the construction webcam here, but I think these photos really give a good representation of the scale of the new boards. As do the staircases that will be enclosed inside the structure once it's finished.

Thanks Silky P!

The north scoreboard:





The south scoreboard:




Saint Tressel to be Honored by Ohio HS Coaches

All Hail Me!
The Ohio High School Football Coaches Association (OHSFCA) has voted unanimously to honor Jim Tressel on the first week of the season by mandating coaches wear ties on the sideline. [Source: AA.com, USA Today]

Yes, you read that correctly. Please pause for a moment to allow this information to sink in.

.......

This guy was just a football coach, right?

Did he rescue children from flaming buildings on the side? Did he donate his entire salary to the Red Cross? Was he a covert freedom fighter in Latin America? Was he Pope at one point?

I'm being serious here. What the hell did Jim Tressel do to warrant his god-like status in the state of Ohio? Really? What?! He beat Michigan? Okay, I get that. But I would warn OSU fans that the "He beat Michigan" argument is quickly going to mean less and less as time goes on. OSU took away last year's win...and I would expect the NCAA to take away a few more before this is all said and done.

I'd say if the Ohio HS football coaches really wanted to honor Tressel, they should play their first week's game, and then pretend it never happened. That would be a more fitting tribute.

The antics at OSU and the reaction from Buckeye fans has kept this off-season very interesting. I say keep it up! The Michigan blogs thank you.

Big House, Yost, Crisler Scoreboard Update

The new north endzone scoreboard/video screen as of this posts date.
A while back we posted a link to a webcam mounted somewhere on the pressbox that is running a 24/7 feed of the scoreboard installation. It was up and running when the old scoreboards were torn down, but once the boards were gone, they turned off the webcam. Of course once the old boards came down, there was little need for a webcam showing part of the Ann Arbor skyline (unless you really love the AA skyline).

Well, now that the new boards are in the stage of being constructed above the rim of the stadium, the webcam has been reactivated for your endless viewing pleasure. Click here to check it out.

While we're at it, you should really follow Michigan Basketball and Michigan Hockey on Facebook. Both have been updating their pages with photos of the scoreboard updates as well as the face lift that is the inside of Crisler Arena.

The progress inside Crisler is impressive. It looks like a modern basketball venue all of the sudden.
The new scoreboard at Yost is night and day compared to the one it replaced.
And while you're at it following Michigan sports on Facebook, follow us too. A lot of content ends up on our FB page that never sees the blog. Follow us on Twitter too.

#GoBlue

The Time is Now to Honor #21

Helloooo Heisman!


One million helmet stickers for that.
Joe Raymond | AP Photo
Desmond Howard, recipient of the 1991 Heisman Trophy award, should be regarded by all Michigan fans as one of the greatest ever to put on the winged-helmet. Over the weekend Desmond was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame, ironically, in South Bend, IN. Nice write up by AnnArbor.com's Kyle Meinke.

I say "ironically", because one of his greatest highlights took place against the Irish the same year he won the Heisman. Whatever great catches I'll see for the rest of my life, there will only be one that I consider, "The Catch".



Now that Desmond's place in college football history is firmly intact, it is finally time for the University of Michigan to step up and follow suit. This year (say September 10th perhaps) would be an ideal time for Michigan to formally and with tremendous fanfare, retire the number of Desmond Howard.

Ace from The Wolverine Blog, who shares a nice personal story of #21, points out Desmond's quote from his press teleconference last Thursday when the question about retiring his number came up.
“I believe it’s time, without a shadow of a doubt,” the former wide receiver and kick returner said. “It’s just a huge honor. For what I do, traveling around (as an ESPN analyst), I see a lot of players at other schools with jerseys retired who have not accomplished what Woodson and I have. Oklahoma even has wooden statues. Florida has statues.”

Now don't get me wrong, I love Desmond, but a statue might be a bit much. However, retiring his number is the least Michigan can do. And I feel the time is right for such an announcement. A total of five numbers have been retired throughout the storied history of Michigan football, honoring seven players. Six of players honored were linemen, and all were two-way players. Three brothers...Francis, Albert and Alvin Wistert all wore #11. Bennie Oosterbaan wore #47. President Gerald Ford wore #48. Ron Kramer wore #87. And the great Tom Harmon adorned #98. To date, no African-American has had their number retired at Michigan.

Greg Dooley from MVictors asked Dave Brandon the question during the uniform unveiling last month, with all of the other things planned for the night game against Notre Dame on September 10th, if a jersey retirement of #21 was being considered for the night's festivities.

Brandon answered quite truthfully that any such announcement involving an event of such significant proportions as a jersey retirement would most certainly have it's own press event, and would not be wrapped into the legacy jersey unveiling.

I do not second-guess Greg asking the question. It should have been asked. And I think DB answered it the best way he could. But my take on that exchange was that the fans are thinking about it, and now the university should be thinking about it, if they weren't already.

It is time. Do the right thing and retire #21.

We're Talkin' Schedules - Michigan

Going in order in each division, this brings us to Meechigan.

Previously:
Woody Division: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Bo Division: Iowa

Now: Michigan

2010 Overall Record: 7-6
2010 Big Ten Record: 3-5

Non-Conference Opponents
9/3: Western Michigan (6-6)
9/10: Notre Dame (8-5)
9/17: Eastern Michigan (2-10)
9/24: San Diego State (9-4)

Divisional Opponents
10/1: Minnesota
10/8: @ Northwestern
10/15: @ Michigan State
11/5: @ Iowa
11/19: Nebraska

Crossover Opponents
10/29: Purdue
11/12: @ Illinois
11/26: Ohio State

Do Not Play
Indiana
Penn State
Wisconsin

If You Only Watch One Michigan Game in 2011 (Other than The Game): First of all, how could you only watch one? What kind of Michigan fan are you? But for the sake of doing this the same for each B1G team...

Smart money would be the Notre Dame game on Sept 10. It's the first night game at Michigan Stadium, both Michigan and the Irish are programs that are on the rise, and this matchup is pretty much guaranteed to be a great game every time.

You could make the argument for Michigan State on Oct 15, or maybe even Nebraska on Nov 19. Both of those games would be great picks. But I am going to have to stick with Notre Dame. The hype for this game is already off the charts. It's going to be an amazing atmosphere and will likely deliver with a great game. The throwback jerseys will also add a bit of pomp and circumstance to the festivities. I mean, come on, this game already has it's own t-shirt and logo!

Non-Conference Loss: See the game referenced in the above question.

We already know that Notre Dame is one of the programs that is ascending quickly (at least we assume based on how they finished 2010). But, we're not sure about Michigan yet. We've had their number the last two years...both wins coming in dramatic fashion, so it's likely that if there is one non-conf game on the schedule that scares me, it's this one.

But I do have to mention that the game two weeks later against Brady Hoke's former squad San Diego State, is very compelling for obvious reasons.

It's a Trap!: Purdue on Oct 29. Much like Iowa's trap game, this Woody division game falls between 4 Bo division games. However, this game...the only home game during a 5 week stretch is Michigan's homecoming. Michigan will be coming off a big game in East Lansing (and then a bye week) and about to head out to another equally difficult game in Iowa City. That bye week could be a blessing for Michigan, and could also make this Purdue game less of a trap than it looks on paper.

The Game Destined for ESPN3.com: Eastern Michigan on Sept 17. Former Michigan DC Ron English brings his squad back to the Big House where he watched his them lose to Rich Rod 45-17 back in 2009.

Final Analysis: The previous two years have been a tale of two seasons. Two straight undefeated starts out of the gate against non-conference opponents have set Michigan up for at least a moderately successful year. But when the rubber met the road in the Big Ten portion of the schedule, Michigan struggled against superior talent. The measuring stick for this year's team is going to be the Michigan State game on Oct 15. Brady Hoke at least understands that coaches at Michigan are judged based on how well they do against their rivals. Circle that game on your schedule. I think how well we do in that game will go a long way in determining how successful Hoke will be in his first season as head coach.

It should also be noted that not playing Penn State or Wisconsin is a much-welcomed added bonus for 2011.

Fearless Predictions
Non-conference record: 3-1
Division Record: 3-2
Crossover Record: 2-1
Overall: 8-4

The Helmet Stickers Debate: Poll Results


Its been nearly 24 hours since we polled the MB Nation, asking how fans felt about the idea of bringing back the famous helmet stickers that Michigan wore from 1969 through 1994. The response to the question "Should Brady Hoke bring back the helmet stickers?" below...


Results: Mixed. The majority of the votes cast were in favor of bringing the stickers back (55% yay versus 36% nay). Only 9% of the total votes so far were indifferent. Hard to believe such a large percentage don't really care one way or the other. Don't people realize how important this stuff is?!

Here is a state-by-state breakdown of the votes.


However, on our Facebook fan page, the few comments to my post were all in the negative.

So what did we learn here?
Given the fact that when asked a yes/no question, the majority of responses were yes. But if given the opportunity to discuss or comment, fans who feel the stickers should stay retired feel adamantly so. What does this mean? It means that if I were Brady Hoke, unless I really wanted those stickers back, I'd leave them off the helmet. Why run the risk of disturbing one of the greatest icons in sports, and suffer the fan backlash that would most certainly ensue?

Support Moe's, Support Bo, Support Healthy Hearts

Our good friends and sponsors over at Moe Sport Shops and Underground Printing have just announced a new partnership with the Bo Schembechler Heart of a Champion Research Fund.

These two brand new t-shirt designs (with a rumored 3rd on the way) can only be found at Moe's, and the great thing is, a portion of the proceeds of each shirt will go directly to the research fund. Click here to shop at Moe's!

Helmet Sticker Reprise (Fan Poll)

Almost since the day Brady Hoke took the reigns as the head coach at Michigan, there has been a steady amount of speculation about whether or not Brady will re-institute the famous helmet stickers that once adorned Michigan's winged-helmet throughout the Bo and Mo areas.

I'm guessing Desmond received a sticker for striking this pose.
Thanks to Greg Dooley via MVictors, who penned a very nice piece a few months ago regarding the famous stickers, their designs throughout history, and their origin...we now know a few more details of the true story of the helmet stickers.

Greg refers to a piece from Hail to the Victors 2010 by John Kryk (and Steve Sapardanis) in which the idea for the stickers did not originate from Woody, as many assumed it did, but rather from Bo.
Kryk described the scene in 1969 when Schembechler announced that the Wolverines would be placed stickers on their helmets after games:
“Oh, like Woody?” a reporter asked.
“Uh-uh.” Schembechler grinned triumphantly.  “Woody got the idea from me.”
Kryk goes on to trace the start back of the “big-play” stickers to 1965, Bo’s third season at Miami, OH (then still nicknamed the Redskins).  They used little red tomahawks.
A visual of decal designs and dates used:

Also in Greg's article, a quote from an interview Brady Hoke did with DetNews' Wojo shortly after his hire:
Q. Many fans crave a return to old Michigan ways. You’ve talked about being tough in the trenches, having a pounding defense. What about the little traditions, like helmet stickers again?

A. I don’t know about the helmet stickers yet. I’m gonna get some counsel from ex-players, from coach (Gary) Moeller, coach (Jerry) Hanlon. We are going to have captains, I can promise you.
Just the mention of coach Moeller and Hanlon leads this blogger to believe that both of those men will likely lend their favorable recommendation of bringing the stickers back. However, we're not one to jump the gun around here...so we'll just have to wait and see.

However, that won't stop us from asking you, dear reader, your opinion.


Incoming: Kyle Kalis

We're serious about recruiting, the proof is in our 2012 recruiting board.


Rivals: ★★★★ #4 OT
Scout: ★★★★★ #6 OT
ESPN: ★★★★ #20 OT
24/7: ★★★★ #8 OT

Make one thing clear, Kyle Kalis is not Justin Boren.

Okay, now that that is out of the way, let's welcome the once Ohio State commit turned decommit Kyle Kalis to the 2012 Michigan recruiting class. Ohio State fans are coping with this huge loss the way you would expect them to...by rationalizing that he was never truly 100% committed to OSU in the first place, and that UM really didn't "steal" him away. That may be true, but I would argue that had he remained committed to OSU, Buckeye fans would not be discussing how close Michigan came to getting him.

Anyways, Kyle is a tremendous commitment for Michigan...which is already stacked pretty well at offensive line. The recruiting sites all agree that he's 6-5 and around 300-305. The sites are in a bit of disagreement in his rating. Scout tags the lucrative 5-star rating, while the others list him as a 4-star. Scout and Rivals list him as one of the top-25 prospects in the country (and all of the prospects listed above him on Rivals site have a 5-star rating).

Some guru ratings like him a lot, some more than others. ESPN's guru was the least impressed saying that he lacks the arm-length needed to be a great pass blocker. However many of the other guru's say he's a big tough guy who likes to hit and just generally loves playing football. Tim at mgoblog does a great job breaking down the guru ratings and comments.

Other Offers:
Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Cincy, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, LSU, Miami (FL), Sparty, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, West Virginia, Wisconsin

Hype Video:

Incoming: Jarrod Wilson

A little late getting to this one, but never-the-less, here it is. Make you parents proud and visit our 2012 recruiting board today!

Rivals: ★★★★ #13 S
Scout: ★★★★ #10 S
ESPN: ★★★★ #12 S
24/7: ★★★★ NR S

Jarrod Wilson is a huge get for the Michigan defensive backfield. Listed as a safety by every recruiting site, and a good one at that, generally around the top 10-20 in the nation at that position. His size should increase from 190 once he steps on campus and likely sees the field in 2012. mgoblog likes his pass coverage in deep zones, but has some work to do with covering slot receivers well. But his skill set is built-in, and can focus on the parts of his game that need work. Also, he currently holds a near-4.0 GPA in HS, and plans to enroll early.

Other Offers:
UConn, Illinois, Indiana, Kent State, Sparty, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pitt , Stanford, Syracuse, Toledo, UCLA, Vandy, West Virginia, and a strong interest from Ohio State.

Hype Video:

Autumn Weddings: Love's Epic Majesty


Real Life. It's a pain in the rear sometimes. Especially when someone close to you, or worse, someone you've never even met plans a wedding for a Saturday in the fall. Don't these people know that your consumption of Michigan football, no matter how painful it has been lately, is far more important than some random wedding?!

But attending weddings are a fact of life, especially for people in their mid-20's to mid-30's who find themselves constantly dragged to all corners of this country to see some second cousin marry someone you've never met on the same day as the Michigan-Notre Dame game.

However, I must preface this post with a bit of a confession. You see, I too am guilty of committing such a heinous travesty.

The year was 2006. Young a blindly in love, I made the tactical error of not having a copy of the schedule with me when my lovely fiance and I were visiting reception halls in the winter of that year. We found the perfect place. Old, but not in a bad way. Huge classic Spanish stone building with big windows and a tile roof. Air Conditioned(!). Catered with nice bar "flow". Right in that slightly unaffordable price range but not too bad. It was perfect.

We desperately wanted an autumn wedding, but knowing that Michigan didn't have a bye week, I held out for hopefully Central Michigan on September 9, or maybe Minnesota on the 30th which was a night game on the road. But they only had one open Saturday...

...September 16th.

When I heard the reception hall coordinator say the date, I drew a blank. Central? Wisconsin? Notre Dame? Michigan State??? ARGH!!!

Where's my iPhone? Oh, wait...those haven't been invented yet. Where's my wallet schedule? It's on the fridge! My fiance is looking at me...eyes brimming with excitement. The coordinator is looking at me. What do I say? Say something!!

"Umm...yeah, that sounds great. I'm sure it will be awesome."

The rest of the day I'm going over the schedule in my head. I get home, race to my fridge schedule magnet to see what I had just done.

Notre Dame.

Sigh.

At first, I rationalize.

"It's cool. It's a road game. No harm done. Notre Dame is going to be good this year anyway. So I'm saving myself the anguish of having to watch it live. We never play well in South Bend. I'm glad I don't have to watch it."

The cherry on top is that the wedding and the kickoff were both set for 3:30.

We all know the rest of the story. 47-21 over the #2 ranked team in the country. One of the greatest wins for any Michigan team in South Bend. A offensive masterpiece. An defensive show of force. It set the table for an eleven-game winning streak that year.

Looking back, it was actually sort of fun getting score updates after the wedding. I couldn't really believe it when people would tell me what the score was. 20-7 in the first quarter? 34-14 at the half? What!?!?!

Now if Michigan had laid and egg that day, those score updates would have been brutal. But as it turned out, it wasn't. It was an awesome feeling knowing that Michigan was smacking around the Irish on the road on my wedding day.

As for my guests. As it turns out, I later discovered that in a tiny room in some random corner of the reception hall, a small group of dedicated Michigan men found a television which was able to receive the over-the-air NBC broadcast. Hence, the instant score updates which I never questioned where they were coming from.

---
My wedding was not my only Michigan gameday wedding I've attended. Central Michigan 2003. Minnesota 2005. Eastern Michigan 2007. Purdue 2008. Notre Dame 2009. Spring game 2011.

What can I say? People like to get married. And they like to have people watch.

The advent of smart-phones has been a true blessing for those displaced sports fans stuck at weddings. Live audio, updated stats, even streaming video if you're lucky, have made the fall wedding much more tolerable.

Just remember though...you're wedding date, often your spouse or significant other may not appreciate an unsightly earbud, or your attention being drawn away from love's epic majesty. So tread lightly.

If you find yourself in the wedding party, it can be a hit or miss. If the bride is a stickler, and would notice if her new husband's buddies attention is not on them, she might get irritated (and you don't want to irritate a bride on her wedding day). Or, you could get lucky and get a relaxed bride and groom (or even better, two Michigan fans) who just want their party to have fun. In that case, whip out that iPhone/Droid/Blackberry and cheer on the Maize & Blue.

---
On a related note...not to make every married Michigan fan jealous, but Dave Brandon has come out recently and said that the Big House would be an ideal venue for a wedding between two Michigan love-birds.
“This stadium is one of the assets we have. We have this beautiful structure that’s being used predominantly seven days a year. If we can come up with occasional opportunities to host other events that will draw the attention of folks and will be interesting and fun and financially viable, we’d love to do it.”
The Brandon vision would be the field would be used for weddings, and the suites being used for the receptions.

I was at the unveiling of the night game throwback jersey last month which was held in the east-side structure of the stadium in the Jack Roth Stadium Club. It's a posh lounge decked out in Maize and Blue with plenty of space for a few hundred guests. I remember thinking it would be as an ideal place as any for a wedding reception.

I can pretty much guarantee that renting out that space would have sent our wedding budget in a tailspin. However, I can also guarantee that I would have certainly investigated that opportunity thoroughly.

So, what say you? How do you cope with being a Michigan fan stuck at a wedding on gameday? Share your stories in the comments or email me, and maybe if there's any good ones, I'll follow up this story with another post with your autumn wedding day tales.

We're Talkin' Schedules - Iowa

Continuing on with the schedule breakdowns, we head into the Bo (Legends) division.

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

Now: Iowa

2010 Overall Record: 8-5
2010 Big Ten Record: 4-4

Non-Conference Opponents
9/3: Tennessee Tech (5-6)
9/10: @ Iowa State (5-7)
9/17: Pitt (8-5)
9/24: Louisiana-Monroe (5-7)

Divisional Opponents
10/15: Northwestern
10/29: @ Minnesota
11/5: Michigan
11/12: Michigan State
11/26: @ Nebraska

Crossover Opponents
10/8: @ Penn State
10/22: Indiana
11/12: @ Purdue

Do Not Play
Illinois
Ohio State
Wisconsin

If You Only Watch One Iowa Game in 2011 (Other than Michigan): The game against Penn State in 2009 was wildly entertaining. Last year was a blow out thanks to Iowa's sudden confidence against the Nittany Lions. This year will be a gut-check for Iowa. Penn State is improved and Iowa is in transition.

But that's not the game to watch.

The game I want to see is Michigan State on Nov 12. Sparty comes calling again to Iowa City, and will be looking to avenge the devastating and embarrassing loss from last year's 37-6 debacle. Both teams are a bit of a question mark in terms of taking that step from mid-level B1G team to upper-tier team. Michigan State looked great except for the Iowa loss last year. I will be really curious to see how well they respond in a hostile environment that clearly rattled them last year.

Non-Conference Loss: As always, Iowa State provides a non-conf challenge for the Hawkeyes. Iowa handled them well last year 35-7 at home, and I suspect they will have success on the road this year. But it could be a good game if Iowa is having a hard time adjusting to life after Ricky Stanzi. The Pitt game on Sept 17 will also be a good non-conf game to pay attention to.

It's a Trap!: Purdue on Nov 19. This game is against a Woody opponent sandwiched between 4 Bo opponents. Its on the road after two huge home games, and before a tough season-ending road trip to Lincoln. Iowa's schedule lays out pretty nicely, so this is really the only trap opportunity on their schedule.

The Game Destined for ESPN3.com: Louisiana-Monroe on Sept 24. Zzzzzzzzz.

Final Analysis: Iowa is going to have to adjust to some new faces on defense, especially the front 7 where there are some gaping holes. That said, the schedule is nice to Iowa for the first 4 weeks of the season. But roads tests at Happy Valley, Lincoln and a trap game in West Lafayette will be a challenge. The back-to-back Michigan and Michigan State home games in November are going to be interesting for many reasons as well.

Fearless Predictions
Non-conference record: 4-0
Division Record: 2-3
Crossover Record: 1-2
Overall: 7-5

Sir Teflon Lives!

I love Ohio State fans. I really do. Just when I think it's July and there's nothing interesting to post about, they keep giving us gems like this. How do Ohioans celebrate the 4th of July? By creating a parade float celebrating Jim Tressel, of course.

[HT: MZone]

MZone's Yost writes:
But my absolute favorite part of the " tribute" are the two riding lawn mowers at the end.  You know, because what's a parade without rolling yard care equipment?
Further proof that Jim Tressel, who essentially dug the grave for Ohio State's football program, can do no wrong in the eyes of Buckeye fans. I have a feeling that the reality of what he did wrong will finally set in once the NCAA delivers their verdict. But until then, now that everyone can agree to hate Pryor and praise Tressel, Jim's legacy as Sir Teflon will remain intact.

Related Posts:

Happy 4th of July

I hope that everyone has a safe and very happy 4th of July. Throw some brats on the grill, enjoy some brews, kick back with friends and family, and enjoy a beautiful Michigan summer day! Go Blue!

The Big Ten is Now the Big Twelve, But Still The Big Ten. But now with Twelve.

Please welcome, the Huskers from Nebraska.
July 1, 2011. From this day forth, the Big Ten now stands twelve schools proud. But it will still be called the "Big Ten". We also now have two divisions, "Legends" and "Leaders". However, from this day forward, we will be referring to these divisions as "Bo" and "Woody". Why? Because that's a much easier way to remember which division has the school you care about.
Here's Nebraska's brutal inaugural B1G schedule (Bo games in bold):
Sept 10 - Fresno State
Sept 17 - Washington
Sept 24 - @ Wyoming
Oct 1 - @ Wisconsin
Oct 8 - Ohio State
Oct 22 - @ Minnesota
Oct 29 - Michigan St
Nov 5 - Northwestern
Nov 12 - @ Penn State
Nov 19 - @ Michigan
Nov 26 - Iowa

We'll take a closer look at this schedule in a later post, but first impressions are that Nebraska is going to be welcomed into the league with a monster schedule...probably the toughest in the conference. Not only do they get all the Bo teams, which are pretty strong this year, but the Woody games are against the three toughest squads in that division...with trips to Madison and Happy Valley. Ouch.

It's going to be a great year to be a Big Ten fan.

Cue History of Nebraska football YouTube video:


Bonus! The full text of the Big Ten's official press release:
UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA BECOMES OFFICIAL MEMBER OF BIG TEN CONFERENCE

Cornhuskers begin athletic competition as a Big Ten school in August

Park Ridge, Ill. — The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) became an official member of the Big Ten Conference today, increasing the Big Ten’s membership to 12 institutions for the first time in conference history. The addition of Nebraska marks the Big Ten’s first expansion since Penn State University joined the conference in June of 1990.

On June 11, 2010, the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors announced unanimous approval of the University of Nebraska’s application to join the conference effective July 1, 2011, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2011-12 academic year. UNL has already been granted admission into the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a consortium of the Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago. These world-class research institutions have advanced their academic missions, generated unique opportunities for students and faculty and served the common good by sharing their expertise, leveraging campus resources and collaborating on innovative programs.

Nebraska’s first Big Ten event as an official member of the conference will take place at the 2011 Football Media Days and 40th annual Kickoff Luncheon. This year’s event will be held on Thursday and Friday, July 28 and 29, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. The Big Ten Football Media Days and Kickoff Luncheon feature all 12 head coaches and some of the nation’s top returning players.

Nebraska’s first athletic competition as a member of the Big Ten Conference will take place on August 19, when the women’s soccer team hosts North Carolina. One week later, the Cornhuskers volleyball squad will open its first campaign as a Big Ten program against New Mexico State on August 26 in Albuquerque, N.M. The football team kicks off its first season as a Big Ten school on September 3 against Chattanooga. Nebraska’s cross country, golf and tennis teams will also begin competition in September.

The Cornhuskers will open Big Ten competition in September, with the women’s soccer team hosting Northwestern on September 18 and the volleyball program welcoming defending national champion Penn State on September 21.

Nebraska’s football program will open Big Ten competition with back-to-back games against two of the three teams that shared the conference title last season. The Cornhuskers will make their Big Ten debut at Wisconsin on October 1, followed by a home matchup against Ohio State at Memorial Stadium on October 8. Big Ten football teams will now play in two divisions: the Legends Division and the Leaders Division. The Cornhuskers are joined in the Legends Division by Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern. The Leaders Division is comprised of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. The winners of each division will play in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game, with the victor earning the Big Ten Championship and the conference’s automatic berth into the Rose Bowl Game or Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game. The 2011 Big Ten Football Championship Game will be played in prime time on December 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and will be televised by FOX Sports.

Nebraska’s cross country teams will have the first opportunity to compete in a Big Ten Championship, as the Cornhuskers will take part in the 2011 Big Ten Cross Country Championships to be hosted by Illinois on Oct. 30.

About the Big Ten Conference: The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in student-athletes’ lives and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. With the addition of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the broad-based athletic programs of the 12 Big Ten institutions sponsor 298 teams competing for championships in 25 official conference sports, 12 for men and 13 for women. Big Ten universities provide in excess of $120 million in athletic scholarship aid to more than 9,500 men and women student-athletes. For more information, visit www.bigten.org.