Saturday, April 30, 2005

BlogPoll Comprehensive Voter List

Voter Count: 57
Schools Covered: 36
Conference Distribution: Big Ten 12, SEC 11, ACC 8, Big Twelve 7, Big East 5, Pac Ten 4, Independents 4, MAC 3, CUSA 1, Mountain West 1, WAC 1.

Team Breakdown:


Eagle In Atlanta BC
Clemson Tigers Sporting NewsClemson
Sporting Fools Florida State
Section Six NC State
StateFansNation NC State
Heelsblog North Carolina
Sexy Results Virginia
Dave Sez Virginia

Big East

WV Law Dog Blog WVU
Pitt Sports Blather Pitt
Knight Hawk Rutgers
Orange Juice Syracuse
Heelsblog North Carolina
Before I Get Old Louisville

Big Ten

mgoblog Michigan
Straight Bangin' Michigan
ParadigmBlog Michigan
Rob in Madtown Michigan
iBlog For Cookies Michigan
Football OutsidersMichigan
50-Yard Lion Penn State
The Nittany BlogPenn State
Bruce Ciskie Wisconsin
The Bemusement Park Iowa
The Enlightened SpartanMichigan State


Frank McGrath Tulane
Wyoming SportsWyoming
mdgcfbFresno State

Football: Herrmann hilarity

IBFC has turned it up a notch. He's taken it to the next level. He's giving 110% percent, and taking it one game at a time. In a stunning piece of skullduggery, he's managed to get INSIDE THE FORT(!) and procure an interview with embattled genius Jim Herrmann. All right, all right... a completely fictional interview with Jim Herrmann. But it's awesome.

Both teams played hard.

Terry Foster robot slang!

I point out Terry Foster's new blog for various reasons.

First, he nicknamed himself "the Truth, " which is totally unfair. You can't nickname yourself, and you certainly can't nickname yourself "the Truth" unless you're a boxer or streetball legend.

Second... good God! It's like a beautiful trainwreck over there. Blackened shards of sentences have buried themselves into the surroundings, blown free from grace and elegance by tremendous forces that render the shrapnel, well, humorous. I mean, sure, I'll throw something up with the occasionally wince-worthy typo. My sentences will have some clunk to them on occasion. But I head over to Foster's new home and I see paragraphs without spaces between them, the word "pixie" spelled "pixy," and this goofy little passage:
All of a sudden you have a Philly team that did not believe, thinking it can win at The Palace. It is a can of worms you do not want to deal with.
Hurray for extraneous commas! Hurray for sentences that sound like a robot attempting to master hoonam slang!


It's just so... so... bloggy, in the pejorative sense of the word. Bloggy in the precious 14-year-old on Livejournal sense, the "you are such an amateur" sense. I'm shocked, because I actually thought his column was one of the better ones in the News/Free Press. Now I come to find that a team of editors was probably working overtime to correct his broke-ass prose. (Foster's column got axed recently. ("Axed" as in cut, Foster. No, I'm not asking you anything.))

Well, that's great... good job, Brian. Now you get to put a checkmark next to Terry Foster on your "Detroit Sports media who hate you" list, assuming that he reads this (highly unlikely).

More offseason basketball stat wonkery on the way.

Task shirking

I note with shame that I have not been writing on the Pistons as promised. I hope to repair this failing by pointing out "The Pistons," a fledgling blog about... uh... The Pistons.

Pros of "The Pistons":
  • Content

Cons of "The Pistons":

  • Orange and black color scheme is probably radioactive
  • The guy who writes it is Canadian
  • Insert joke about Canadian dollar here
  • Insert joke about being eaten by bears here
  • This is all very postmodern

Worth a visit, it is.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Football: More BCS trashing

The NCAA's hypocritical decision to allow a 12th game every year but continue with the creaky, broken BCS is catching flak from all over. The Daily Quickie is resorting to italics. CNNSI has not one but two columns up today trashing the BCS. Arash Markazi summons up the ghost of Jim Mora and his "Playoffs?!?" rant. Michael Bradley calls on Myles Brand to step in like Vince McMahon and deus ex machina up a solution.

Over in the blogosphere, The Blue-Gray Sky has an interesting take on the BCS revamp and what it means to Notre Dame. ND's arrangement with the BCS has gone from an all-or-nothing deal where ND would receive a full ~14 million dollar conference share if it made a BCS game but nothing if it missed to a less extreme system that pays ND ~4.5 million dollars if they're in and one million if they're out. BGS correctly diagnoses the new system as a surrender by Notre Dame. If ND makes the BCS only one year in ten, they still lose $500,000 dollars with the new system. I think they're hoping to visit a bit more frequently than that.

The BGS post also raises the spectre of--gasp!--Big Ten membership. If the Big Ten rolls round once more the financial details will be very different from the last time ND turned the Big Ten down like hot blog groupies after my Title IX post. The faculty clamors to join the Death Star of academic cooperation. The AD may come around if the numbers are good. This prospect, of course, horrifies ND fans. Come to us, precious... we wants it.

Football: Twelve games for really real

Yeah, that 12 game thing? Totally official. Also, you can count wins over I-AA teams every year, and the playoff thing is not happening for yet another year. Aaand the NCAA "strongly urged" schools not to adopt the new Title IX "Internet-based surveys" that have the very real potential of actually balancing athletic department spending with relative gender interest in sports. mgoblog hasn't had the opportunity to pontificate on Title IX yet in its brief run in the sun, but let it be known that this blogger thinks Title IX is the worst example of idiotic "gender equity" crap currently in existence in this country. No one gives a damn about women's sports... with good reason. They suck. No offense, women. I love your sinuous curves, etc. But I do not love the fact that you can't dunk or run fast or be interesting while competing athletically.

Crap. There goes my chance at getting hot blog groupies. Oh, wait. They probably don't exist.

Update: No, they don't. If Google don't find it, it don't exist. Yo.

Basketball: Lighty (very) likely a Buckeye

I have no link here, but scan an OSU or UM message board anywhere and you'll see someone claiming that Michigan target David Lighty has committed to the Buckeyes. I am a seasoned diviner of message board rumor accuracy, and this one seems very likely to be true. Lighty will announce officially on Monday. Expect it to be bad news.

If the news is indeed bad, this is a more a huge get for OSU than a huge loss for Michigan--Amaker has already secured a commitment from wing K'len Morris and prospective commitment DeShawn Sims plays a similar position, leaving little room for a third wing in this class. Not that Lighty is anything to sniff at--he's currently ranked as a five star by Rivals and a top-20 recruit nationally, though that ranking may dip since he tore his ACL a few months ago. OSU has already secured a commit from a five star shooting guard/small forward prospect in Daequan Cook, who committed about a month ago. A commit from Lighty would get the ball rolling in a major way. OSU is still in on Greg Oden, a center who is the consensus #1 overall prospect for the class of 2006, and his teammate and friend Mike Conley, a highly recruited point guard himself. Picking up commits from those two and a fifth top-100 recruit (any top-100 recruit) would result in a class that would at least equal the Fab Five. It's safe to say that new OSU coach Thad Matta is off on the right foot.

I wouldn't panic extensively, however. All indications, er, indicate that PG Tory Jackson and Sims are Wolverines in all but name and that center Tom Herzog is very likely to follow. Those three plus Morris are a certain top-10 class nationally. A fifth recruit, hopefully a post who can vacuum in rebounds and flagrantly elbow people, could push it up into the top five. Michigan isn't at the point where it has to worry about other Big Ten programs... get the house in order, make the tournament, and then look around warily. Still... Matta looks like a guy who knows what's he's doing. Maybe we can hire his defensive line coach.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Big Ten Football Season Preview

Welcome to mgoblog's unified Big Ten season preview page. As of right now, we have just the barest outlines of the goofy-ass glory that is to come. Each team will get a full season preview. Michigan, of course, will get coverage that should frighten and alarm Lloyd Carr. He may want to take out a restraining order.

Before giving me both barrels, be sure to check out this explanatory post.

Update 5/23: Indiana preview up.
Update 5/30: Minnesota is done.
Update 6/13: Penn State. Yo.
Update 7/11: Michigan State. Goddammit I need to do these faster.
Update 7/14: Iowa.
Update 7/26: Northwestern. A note: the text on this page was written before any of the previews and thus represents some ignorance, especially re: NU. I will fix when complete.
Update 8/7:
Update 8/17: Ohio State.
Update 8/28: Wisconsin.
Update 9/01: Michigan.

To start, let's shamelessly steal from Bill Simmons. I've grouped the teams into three tiers, given them snappy names, and assigned each an official quote from The Big Lebowski, the official movie of mgoblog.

Indiana: Hoep for the Futuer?
Official Big Lebowski Quote: "Shut the f*** up, Donny."
Why? Because they're out of their element, that's why! Because they have no frame of reference, that's why! Because the rest of the Big Ten can treat them with the same respect that Walter treats Donny... that's why. Gerry DiNardo is out and Terry Hoeppner is in, but the forecast for Indiana football remains mostly cloudy with a 10 percent chance of bowl.

Official Big Lebowski Quote: "Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man."
Why? Ron Zook got run out of Gainsville on a rail but landed on his feet... well, knees in Champaign. He'd love to prove those guys at wrong. Real darn tootin' wrong. Starting this year? Uh... probably not.

Wisconsin: Divest Your Stocco
Official Big Lebowski Quote: "Five thousand years of beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax? You're goddamn right I'm living in the past!"
Why? On November 12th, 2004, the Badgers were 9-0, #4 in the polls and riding an intimidating defense to either the national championship game or the Rose Bowl. Badger fans would do well to wistfully remember that moment. Wisconsin was annihilated 49-14 by MSU the next day and proceeded to lose its next two games to finish 9-3. This year? That intimidating defense is in the NFL, smoking pot, or smoking pot in the NFL. Wisconsin's entire starting defensive line and three-quarters of their secondary was lost to graduation. Brett Bell, the only returning starter in the secondary, tore his ACL in January. Only five starters return on the other side of the ball, and one of them is quarterback John Stocco, who sucks. Close your eyes and think of Koufax, cheeseheads, because this year is going to be ugly.

Northwestern: Spectacularly Average
Official Big Lebowski Quote: "Jackie Treehorn treats objects like women, man."
Why? Northwestern appears to be relying on Brett Basanez's shaky arm (53.8 completion percentage in '04) to win games next year. They are confused. Basanez is "heady" and "a gamer" but in his case those are just nice ways to say "incapable of throwing straight." The vastly underrated Noah Herron is gone and Northwestern will badly miss his pass receiving and knack for squeezing out just enough yards. The bad parts of a horrendous defense return (so does injured DE Loren Howard, however, giving Wildcat fans some cause for hope). Never fear, Wildcats, there's always basketball season... uh, the hockey team... um... alums bashing everybody in newspapers nationwide. Yeah. That's the ticket.

Penn State: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Robinson
Official Big Lebowski Quote: "Phone's ringing, dude."
Why? Penn State is entering its fifth year of attempting to deny the plainly obvious fact that Michael Robinson is a wide receiver. Robinson is scheduled to bounce passes five yards in front of his intended receivers for the Nittany Lions this year, and no amount of eye-closing, ear-plugging, and "I can't hear you"-screaming will transform him into anything resembling a quarterback. The good news is that the paper version of PSU's defense is a monster and staggeringly fast WR recruit Derrick Williams got drunk on root beer and faxed his LOI to Penn State. Expect Williams to throw his hands up in frustration a lot this year, just like Beaver Stadium attendees. Also expect a lot of repeats of the Iowa game, a 6-4 abortion that had viewers nationwide clawing their eyes out.

Michigan State: O Stanton Without Whom We Are Naught
Official Big Lebowski Quote: "Nobody f***s with the Jesus."
Why? If there's a Jesus in this conference, it's Drew Stanton. The Spartans will live and die on the feet and arm of Crazy Legs Drew. With him, they're an explosive offensive team capable of hanging 51 on you and overcoming their awful defense. Without him, they're Indiana. John L. Smith should tranquilize Stanton until the fall, and then wrap him in styrofoam before sending him out on the field. Expect Michigan State to win a game or two it shouldn't, lose to Kent State or Indiana, and finish in the middle of the pack, just like always.

Minnesota: Take The Over
Official Big Lebowski Quote: "Stay out of Malibu, Lebowski! Stay out of Malibu, deadbeat!"
Why? Minnesota has made it a yearly habit of approaching the bare-bosomed promised land of conference championships and New Year's Day bowls without ever actually coming anywhere near them. Expect this year to be no different. Glen Mason will hop out to a hot start and crumble under the bright lights of teams without two or three directions in their name. Pasadena (which is metaphorically Malibu for purposes of this conversation) will remain forbidding and aloof.

Purdue: Quaker Oat Rampage
Official Big Lebowski Quote: "Jeffery. Love me." "Maude? That's my robe."
Why? Purdue recieved a gift from the gods above when both Michigan and Ohio State rotated off their schedule for the next two years. That alone won't make them a contender, but combine it with the return of every defensive starter and the makings of a promising offense and you have a team will surprise unobservant pundits nationwide.

Iowa: Not So Fast, My Ferentz
Official Big Lebowski Quote: "That rug really tied the room together."
Why? Iowa's stingy defense was built around its defensive line. All four starters graduated, causing chaos in Iowa's spring practices instead of opponent's backfields. Iowa returns Drew Tate, a potent passing offense, and two incredible linebackers, but... that rug really tied the room together. Iowa will have to find a new rug or get run over by Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio State. A shaky ground game almost has to improve but Iowa will live and die on Tate's arm and keeping blockers off of Abdul Hodge and Chad Greenway.

Ohio State: OMGINN
Official Big Lebowski Quote: "Say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, but at least it's an ethos."
Why? Ohio State began last year fully committed to offensive nihilism. Midway through the year they converted en masse to to the Church Of Ted Ginn. The Buckeye's season depends on whether Ginn can morph from a freakish drag-racing novelty act (25 catches in '04) into the centerpiece of an effective offense. There is no established running back. The quarterback position is still up in the air--Troy Smith annihilated Michigan and then immediately got into booster trouble, leaving Justin Zwick to annihilate Oklahoma State. AJ Hawk and the defense should be able to shepherd the offense through some early-season growing pains, but when Tate, Stanton, and Henne come calling Ohio State will have to score often to win.

Michigan: A Tale Of Two Units
Official Big Lebowski Quote: "The Dude abides."
Why? The Dude has abided at the top of the Big Ten standings the past two years, but there has been something missing for Michigan fans. The program has reverted to its standard operating procedure after its 1997 national championship... consistently very good, never great. Can this change? Yes. Michigan returns more offensive talent than most teams see over the course of four years. The special teams look to be a strength. The consistently underperforming defense has the raw material to be an intimidating unit. But Michigan always seems to blow it. The next two years will either see Michigan emerge into a true national power or feature more teeth-grinding frustration. The Dude can't just abide any longer--he has to excel.

Holy Crap!!!!!!

I use a lot of exclamation points, usually with ironic flair. I've got nothin' on The Wizznutzz. I've been adding site feeds and links on the left instead of content. Content's overrated, anyway. What you want is links to content. That's my theory.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Football: Oh.

This was going to be a big exciting update with a ton of exclamation points pondering the direction of Michigan football and life in general, as I was under the erroneous impression that Michigan Stadium would host a night game next year.

Er... except it's at Northwestern. So nevermind the exclamation points.

Football: Tebow interview

Haven't discussed football recruiting in a while, largely because absolutely nothing has happened other than QB target Zach Frazer commiting to Notre Dame. I'll probably update the board in a few days with some guys who have emerged as targets and remove some of the more speculative "well, this guy might be interested" names I had up earlier.

There's a interview with Tim Tebow up, if you're interested. Tebow is either the #1 or #2 quarterback in the country and appears ticketed for Florida, but Michigan is in the chasing group with FSU, Miami, Georgia and Nebraska(?).

Michigan's summer camp will be the next big football event of the year. Usually there are at least a couple commits from the camp and this year it's looking like there could be several--many of Michigan's prime targets this year want to decide on a school before September. Last year Michigan picked up commits from Mister Simpson and Zoltan the Inconceivable.

Football: Iowa LT out for season

Iowa's lines have taken another hit. Lee Gray, who started at left tackle for 11 of Iowa's 12 games last year, has undergone surgery on his knee for the second time and will miss the 2005 season.

Sounds like Iowa will be able to replace Gray with another experienced lineman--5th year senior Ben Gates--but after that they'll be faced with playing JC transfers, converted TEs, or true freshmen (although they would be highly touted true freshmen).

Football: BCS manages to get worse

I didn't think it could be done, but they did it. There's now a fifth BCS game a week after the existing ones at one of the four sites. Does it match two of the four BCS bowl winners in a playoff-ish game? No. It's just the national championship game, like it was this year, except on something like January 8th. Two more teams will be BCS teams.

The "formula" is going to remain the same except the AP poll (which withdrew from the process and will crown its own champion) will be replaced with an as-yet-to-be-determined new poll. Auburn fans everywhere have died in vain.

What's so bad about a single added game? This is the same organization that stridently opposes a playoff on the grounds that it will compromise athletes' ability to keep up academically. mgoblog (and most people who are paying attention) call shenanigans. Shenanigans! The college hockey season lasts from October until March and even April for teams who make the Frozen Four, a full two months longer than the football season. I don't have any numbers in front of me at the moment, but I'll bet dollars to donuts that hockey players graduate more frequently than football players. Can we dispense with the obviously untrue, patronizing "it's for the children!" excuse for the bowl system?

There's one good reason to oppose a playoff: the Rose Bowl. That's it. The tradition and oft-referenced pagentry of college football make it what it is, and the Rose Bowl is the regal center of the whole enterprise. There's definitely an argument to be had about the pros and cons of a playoff, but let's be serious here: nothing on the pro or con side has anything to do with a few teams playing for an extra week or two. These kids are already majoring in football.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Salute to you, mystery googler!

mgoblog got a hit today from someone who typed this into Google:

"what the hell happened to Shazor and Browner"

I hope I answered at least half of his question.

Update: Two more good ones: "adam jones pacman bling" and "wtf shazor." Shazor should go undrafted every day!

Football: Long strange journey

And it all started with googling "Jason Avant." I ended up here:

That's Lamarr Woodley as a high school senior. Yes, he's eating a football.

Also, check the column headline from this edition of the Daily immediately following the UM-MSU basketball game that UM actually won:

Yeesh. (I grabbed both these photos from dude used to work for the Daily. Hire him, so he doesn't sue me.)

Then there's this:

Uh. No comment on that one. It exists. That is enough. Also, did you know that the Purdue student newspaper is actually called the Exponent? I shi'ite you not. I feel much more secure in my belief that I am nowhere near the dorkiest person in a three state radius.

What does any of this have to do with Jason Avant? Very little. Also, mgoblog showed up on page 29. I find this disappointing, both in that I got to page 29 and that I didn't find me before then. Goal for football season... page 20!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Football: Draft... 2006!

Are you interested in a cracked-out 2006 mock draft? YES? You have severe emotional issues. Nonetheless, I provide.

Why do I say this draft is cracked out?
30. New England - Pierre Woods, LB, Michigan
Where's that damn emoticon... ah yes.
Also, infinitely more plausible, is this:
18. Kansas City - Jason Avant, WR, Michigan

And even that's a big stretch. I love Avant, but you can't expect him to run well enough at the combine to leap into the first round.

Update: Here's another draft, this one from CBS Sportsline. Watson at #16, and Avant (again!) at #24.

Football: Draft Articles

Jim Carty managed to write something that didn't call out Lloyd Carr. Ernest Shazor calls himself "the best safety in the country" in the Detroit News (except for that one dude from Albany... he's good!).

This Cleveland Plain-Dealer article features this bizarre passage: "By the time Edwards was 12, Stan knew he'd play in the NFL. Instead of fighting it, he joined him." Um... I don't think many parents who 'know' their kid will play in the NFL freak out and say "oh no! He's going to buy us Bentleys! Quick, break his legs!" It also says this: "[Edwards] also aspires to be a model." I need that {whoah} emoticon from the RCMB.

Found it!

This article from Indianapolis... well, I excerpt:
[Jackson is] the first cornerback taken by the Colts in the first round since 1984 when they used the first pick in their Indy era, No. 8 overall, on Vanderbilt's Leonard Coleman. Ironically, the only other time the team used the draft's 29th overall pick, in 1992, it also opted for a corner -- Mississippi Valley State's Ashley Ambrose.
Don't those two sentences directly contradict each other? Am I crazy? I had to read that paragraph three times... thanks for nothing, Indianapolis Star!

Update: I am crazy. In 1992 the 29th pick was a second-rounder. That's still confusing as hell.

Update II: This AA News article has more on Shazor and notes that he's signed with Arizona. It also mentions that Markus Curry signed with the Chargers and Roy Manning signed with Green Bay.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Football: Draft Review

The draft has ended, and the big story for Michigan fans is Ernest Shazor going completely undrafted. In fact, no Michigan player was chosen after David Baas, who went with the first pick of the second round to San Francisco.

Why did Shazor fall completely out of the draft? A number of reasons. He ran poorly (4.75) at the combine, leading teams to doubt his ability to play safety at the next level. After he nearly tore Dorien Bryant in half and ended the Purdue game, most of the Michigan defense decided to take the rest of the year off--Shazor was a part of that. The truth was that he ended up badly overrated by college football fans and media after the Bryant hit, which ended up one of the iconic plays of the season. His season-ending vacation got overlooked.

There were also rumblings that Shazor had... character issues. There had to be character issues, and severe ones, or someone would have taken a chance on him making the shift to linebacker or being able to play safety even if he is a tiny bit slow. There's no other reason a player projected in the fourth round by the most pessimistic analysts would drop all the way out of the draft, behind approximately 20 other safeties (including players from mighty Albany and both Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana-Lafayette). After the defensive implosion at the end of last year, insiders strongly implied that there was a lot of dissent and acrimony between a number of defensive players and the coaches, and the events of the past couple days point the finger squarely at Shazor.

Moving on... Let's check those predictions I made. And, hey, IBFC posted some predictions too. Let's have a contest!
Braylon: MGB wins by predicting him 2nd instead of 1st, since he went 3rd.
Jackson: IBFC got this one exactly right--29th to the Colts. Two points for IBFC.
Baas: I said #37 to the Titans. IBFC said #35 to the Eagles. IBFC wins.
Shazor: We were both really, really wrong. Call this a push.
Dudley: Both predicted him to go somewhere in the 7th. Both wrong. Push.

Final score is 3-1 for IBFC. Damn you, Khan!

I was basically wrong about everything else except "Aaron Rodgers drops like a stone," and I wish I was wrong about that because I could really have done without the four hour Rodgers infomercial/melodrama. So we'll gloss over the rest of it. Suffice it to say I'm not going to rush to Vegas to bet on the '06 draft.

Football: Sign that kid up!

Notre Dame, like a number of schools, has an official football t-shirt which they, in typical Notre Dame fashion, simply call "THE SHIRT." This year it's maize, and has this on the back: "If you could bottle the Notre Dame spirit, you could light up the Universe," which is totally dumb.

A poster named "Bluey" has proven this beyond a shadow of a doubt with his Top Ten rejected Notre Dame "The Shirt" slogans, which I seriously considered posting here unaltered and claiming as my own so that people would think I'm awesome. Instead, I link to it here, because it's less effort.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Football: Sporadic Draft/Pistons Liveblog

Right. Since I'm going to be half-watching the draft and then watching the Pistons game, I may as well live blog. Because it's snowing outside, dammit.

12:48 PM: First wrong prediction when Ronnie Brown goes to the Fins at #2. I had declared Braylon would go there after a Tampa trade up. Where is the excitement? We need the Vikings on the clock.

12:49 PM: Oh my god. Andrea Kremer looks like she got the Joan Rivers Face You Could Bounce A Quarter Off special at her local plastic surgeon. And Mike Vrabel, who went to OSU, is speaking coherently. The wonders never cease.

12:54 PM: Braylon goes to Cleveland at #3, so I wasn't horribly wrong. Torry Holt is actually on the set, by the way, instead of Michael Irvin. That's an upgrade. A six-year-old running his fingers over a blackboard is an upgrade over Michael Irvin.

12:57 PM: Holy crap. Braylon brought approximately 40 family members. One of them is wearing what looks to be a fedora.

12:59 PM: I'm not a huge fan of this Holt thing either, no offense to Torry. He's basically prohibited from saying anything interesting because he's a current player. He's going to play against these teams and players and Martz will kill him if he says anything remotely critical.

1:29 PM: Benson and Cadillac Williams go off 4-5. You know, for all the talk of how everyone lies constantly and you have no idea what anyone's going to do, the top five in this draft has been chalk. Tennessee could be the divergence point, though. They have a lot of directions they can go. A good start for the Lions, with all three RBs off the board already (as expected). Hopefully two of the three CBs go and maybe Troy Williamson. Then the Lions will be sitting at 10 with a ton of options and a number of teams scrambling to move up.

1:43 PM: Pacman Jones redefines bling with what looks to be a 85 carat diamond Pacman necklace. MTV's "Cribs" SWAT team is scrambling.

1:46 PM: From what I've seen, Merrill Hodge is the one guy who will call out players and make contronversial statements based on his beliefs. He absolutely tore Rodgers a new one a couple days ago, proclaiming him to be a certain bust, and now he just dissected Mike Williams.

1:48 PM: Vikings go with Williamson. Huge mistake. You take a guy who played in Lou Holtz's neolithic offense over Mike friggin' Williams? He's not as fast as Williamson, but come on. Arizona and Washington next with Rodgers, two corners, and Williams on the board. Lions are sitting pretty.

1:52 PM: I mean, seriously. Williams is 6'5", 230, and runs a 4.5 The absolute worst thing that can possibly happen with him is he's Herman Moore II. I think I'm talking myself into having the Lions take him at #10.

1:56 PM: Holt talking about Kurt Warner is interesting, and he did a good job of not being too easy on him. Thumbs up Torry!

Arizona is on the clock. Sounds like they're going CB... Rolle probably. Then Washington has an interesting choice between Williams, Rodgers and Carlos Rogers. Yup. It's Rolle. No matter what happens the Lions will have an interesting 15 minutes.

2:00 PM: T Minus 1 hour to the Pistons. I'm predicting a sweep and the mysterious disappearance of Carlos Delfino.

2:03 PM: Commercial, but remember last year when Irvin dogged Roy Williams for returning to school? Irvin somehow spun it into him fearing the NFL or something. That was the moment I wanted to be on ESPN the most, so I could say "maybe he was just enjoying college. You wouldn't know what that's like. You went to Miami." What does this have to do with anything? Nothing.

2:05 PM: Aaah! Andrea Kremer's back! Hey, and John Jansen talking about the 'Skins and the Jason Campbell hootenanny. John's eyebrows seem unnaturally far apart. Jansen's pushing for Williams, dammit. I want the Lions to take him. Seriously. Now Jansen's talking about Gibbs' offense being a "1992" offense. Kremer thinks Rolle's still on the board when he went with the LAST PICK. Maybe she was getting some more surgery done.

2:09 PM: That probably wasn't Kremer's fault. She's getting fed questions by someone and doesn't have time to really think about what's coming out of her mouth. Rolle seems significantly less of a punk that most Miami kids. Two minutes left for the 'Skins. Debate? Possible trade down? They're taking their sweetass time.

2:11 PM: Mort is talking about someone moving up for Jamaal Brown of OU... a RT, which is certainly a need for the Lions. Skins pick... Rogers! Mike Williams on the board! Rodgers on the board!

2:13 PM: Wow. Mort was talking about someone maybe moving in front of Dallas for DeMarcus Ware... this could be that point. Someone could move up for Williams. Derrick Johnson's sitting there. Aaron Rodgers is sitting there. Trade down. Trade down. Or take Williams.

2:18 PM: Lions pick in 2 minutes? Williams! Sweet!

2:21 PM: I find it hard to believe they couldn't find any better highlights for Williams. Other than that one-hander against Oregon State those weren't close to being his best plays. Mostly just really bad coverage and wide open catches. ESPN guys immediately speculate on Charles Rogers' future. Fair enough. I think the best part of this pick is that it will immediately lead to Harrington getting deep-sixed if he doesn't play well this year and there's a good possibility the Chargers will be forced to do something with their Brees/Rivers situation.

2:43 PM: 3-4 OLBs start flying off the board now. 12 picks deep and not a single trade. Shouldn't ESPN be popping up a stat about the last time this happened?

2:51 PM: There we go, and we get our first "Kawasaki Trade Recap." Kawasaki must be pissed. Saints hop in front of Carolina to grab Jammal Brown.

3:00 PM: Pistons! Oh. It's just the pregame garbage. Jalen's on the ABC coverage, though. Did I predict a sweep already? Yes. Screw it. Pistons in three! Rose is now talking about HWNBN, and Walton is trashing him. Damn you, Walton! I hate you! Stop being right! Whoah. The old guy says that if AI doesn't *average* 45 it will be a sweep.

Meanwhile on ESPN, Thomas Davis is the first linebacker off the board. Rodgers and Derrick Johnson continue to drop. Rodgers can't go any earlier than 24th to the Packers at this point. Johnson has to go right now to the Chiefs, though, right?

3:08 PM: Bill Simmons would probably be inagurating some sort of Aaron Rodgers Face at this point.

Meanwhile on ABC, a shot of Rasheed walking with that WWE-style championship belt on. Oh, Rasheed, you're a nutball but you're our nutball. Tipoff on the way.

3:11 PM: This isn't as interesting as I thought it would be. The livebloggin', that is. The game is four seconds old. And I don't mean the actual act of livebloggin', I mean the result. Sorry kids.

3:39 PM: Internet snafu prevented updating... hey, that's not Donovan McNabb's mom! I seen her, I seen her in the Chunky Soup commercials, and that ain't here. Meanwhile the Pistons are playing like stinkypoo, down 12 after 1. Prince just got dumped on a "clear path" foul, which is a rule I don't understand. How is one shot and the ball any better than just two shots?

3:43 PM: Meanwhile, there have been two picks in the NFL draft.

3:49 PM: Michael Phelps is getting interviewed by Jim Gray. Did I fall asleep and wake up in 2008?

3:51 PM: Pistons bench is making a bit of a run against the Sixers. Their lead is down to six. Arroyo is in Dr. Jekyll mode tonight. Jansen and his UNNATURALLY SPACED EYEBROWS are back on ESPN. Trent Green looks like Ralph Reed, if you're interested. Jansen and Green are ripping Moss; Vrabel defends him. Vrabel just said "arguably the best player in the league, Peyton Manning, hasn't won a Super Bowl." Wonder how Brady feels about that.

4:00 PM: Jack Ramsay keeps calling HWNBN "Chris Wallace." He is old. Pistons down down one after a HWNBN drive and finish, probably his first since 1998.

4:11 PM: At least I'm not this guy, Pete McEntgart:
2:41: Berman claims that his New York cab driver this morning was wearing a powder blue Chargers hat and told him San Diego would take pass rusher Shawne Merriman of Maryland, which is exactly what happens. Cute story, but we're betting it's purely Albom-esque. I've ridden in hundreds of New York cabs and have met only a few who could even identify the Chargers, let alone correctly pick their draft selection while wearing a San Diego hat. Now, if this was the National Cricket League draft, Berman's story might be plausible. At least it's mildly diverting, which is about all we can ask at this point.
Doesn't this guy know that this is Berman's "I talked to some dude in the front office and this is what he told me" schtick? He does it every year when it's the Bills' turn and always gets the pick correct. Why have someone covering the draft who clearly has no idea what's going on? I mean, look at the guy:

Nice hat.

Pistons claw back from 16 down to take a 2 point halftime lead, led by McDyess's 13 points on 6 of 7 shooting. I salute you, Joe D! Anyway, we've played a half of basketball and seen six picks in the NFL draft.

Matt Jones goes to the Jaguars at #21, and Mortenson goes into full Dick-Vitale-on-Duke mode. I think he's got a shot, but at #21? I know he's tall and can run fast, but he's never played WR.

4:36 PM: ESPN has been actively rooting for Rodgers to go off the board since about the 5th pick. It's getting a little tiresome. The Packers and the elderly Brett Fav-ruh are a possibility, but don't you want to give Favre some immediate help? If I'm the Packers I think you just have to accept that when Favre retires you're just going to suck for a couple years.

Also, Randy Mueller looks more like a choreographer than a former GM.

And there goes Rodgers, to the Packers. ESPN celebrates, and can move on. Prince gets called for goaltending. That's obviously wrong. Pistons up six.

4:46 PM: The amount of bitching in this basketball game is incredible... and most of it is absolutely deserved. Prince got as animated as I've ever seen him after the goaltend call, pointing at all three referees and telling them they were wrong. And now HWMNBN (thanks, Mr. Commenter) OBVIOUSLY bounces one in off the shot clock and that's not called. Is this Jim Hightower?

4:50 PM: Detroit is going to get a technical before the end of the third. HWMNBN is bricking everything in sight, and the Pistons lookg like the Pistons now, up 11 and suffocating Iverson. Iguana or whatever for the Sixers has Graham Brown bunny-missing disease. Aaaaaand they're still talking about Rodgers on ESPN. Christ!

5:03 PM: I failed to mention this earlier, but this year's equivalent of "Let's Get It Started" (i.e., song you'll hear 40 times each playoff game) is "Lose My Breath" by Destiny's Child. If you're interested. It could be a lot worse.

5:26 PM: Pistons crusing. I should retract my HWMNBN comment, since he has 27 points on something like 11-18 shooting. Lo siento. Draft continues apace with the Seahawks taking a center at 26, which is kind of odd, since interior linemen aren't usually high priorities. I mention it because it means that Baas is not the first interior lineman off the board.

Still a number of possibilities for the Lions in the second. Still on the board: Roth or Dan Cody at DE, Jackson, Browner, Miller, Webster, or Green at CB, Pool at S, and Heath Miller at TE.

5:30 PM: Darko time!

5:43 PM: Jackson goes #29 to the Colts. (I predicted him 32 to the Patriots... not *terrible*.) Well reviewed by the panel, saying that his lack of tremendous speed isn't a huge factor in the straight cover-2 the Colts run. Also, my mom went to high school with Tony Dungy. Funny how Berman knew that.

6:11 PM: It's guardfest at the NFL draft! Some dude from Fresno goes off to the Pats and then David Baas is the first pick of the second round to San Francisco. And of course, Gene Washington calls him "Davis Baas." Way to go, Gene!

6:16 PM: Heh heh heh. There's a company advertising on ESPN called "Michigan Power Rodding." Six picks before the Lions go again (and I sign off). Roth, both Codys, and a bunch of the corners are still on the board. Looks likely the Lions will pick up a useful defensive piece. WR goes off to the Eagles. Now it's definite.

6:22 PM: Berman keeps calling this Mankins guy a "football player" as if this distinguishes him from the other players today, who presumably play shuffleboard or croquet. Currently rooting hard for Roth to drop.

6:25 PM: One of the Auburn running backs, not sure exactly which one, has an absolutely uncanny resemblance to Marlin Jackson. Maybe he's the one who hit that guy with a bottle. Mike James and Jon Barry currently comprise the Houston backcourt.

6:33 PM: Hey, the Lions moved up to pick up Shaun Cody. I was hoping for Roth but I'll take Cody. Millen probably got two guys he really wanted... the Williams pick was sent at hyperspeed and the Lions moved up for Cody. They'll probably be pretty torpid the rest of the draft, though. They were already down a fifth and they probably gave up another pick this year to jump up for Cody. QB, OT, or CB in round 3.

And that's it for me. I've been sittin' here too long. Time to go do something else. Later.

Hockey: CCHA to change playoff format

The CCHA has decided to scrap its current playoff format in favor of a new one, according to the Omaha World-Herald (way to stay on top of things, Pitts!). The article does require annoying registration, so I'll summarize here:

The top four teams get first round byes. The bottom eight meet in first round playoff series at the higher seed's home ice. The four winners meet the four top teams at their rinks. The top four end up at the Joe.

  • This is pretty obviously another CCHA money grab, replacing the two sparsely-attended Thursday games at the Joe with two additional three-game series at someone's home rink.
  • The change will hurt Michigan's chances to win the playoff title, since they'll have to play a better team in their home playoff series and then play a fresher team at the Joe. The overall impact will probably be pretty insignificant, though.
  • The change should help Michigan's RPI a little bit, since they'll be playing that better opponent in the second round.
In summary, interesting... not earth-shaking.

Friday, April 22, 2005


As you can see above, mgoblog's disgusting, ichor-filled tentacles have engulfed a sleepy, peaceful fishing village and transformed it into yet another Internet message board.

Check it out at and, uh, post something, why don't you?

Football: ND D

The Blue-Gray Sky, a rather good Notre Dame blog, has a lovingly detailed post on ND's new "Apache" 4-2-5 defense. It's got pictures and everything.

In summary, they expect a defense that will disguise itself extensively before the snap and help address ND's recent deficiencies against the spread offense. Sounds like the D is heavily dependent on both the strong safety and 'weak' safety (the half-linebacker, half-safety that is the "Apache" position) being able to successfully contest both run and pass. It places a lot of pressure on the cornerbacks, too, as they have just one safety behind them playing the middle of the field and can't be too aggressive. Will it work? I dunno. The Irish should be pretty bad on defense this year after losing 8 starters. Michigan should be able to exploit a young, inexperienced defense with Hart, Henne, Avant, Breaston and company, especially since they'll only have one game under their belts. John L Smith discovered last year that taking a linebacker and giving him a fancy name ("Bandit" in MSU's case) and additional coverage responsibility can't cover up a severe talent deficiency.

The Notre Dame game will provide the first bellwether for the Michigan season. Michigan should be aiming to match the 38 they put up in '03, though ND will definitely not end up with the same 0 they had after that game. It could be a shootout if the Irish can grasp Weis' offense quickly.

Oh. My. God.

So, I graduated about two years ago. I still live in Ann Arbor. I still have friends who are students, so things sort of drift to me second and third hand, weeks after they happen. I have my finger on the pulse of someone who has his finger on the pulse of the University of Michigan. I have come to you today to talk about "," which is sort of like Friendster. Only different. My interest in Friendster lasted just long enough to create a fake Lloyd Carr profile, but then I sort of drifted away. I didn't see the point. So I didn't understand what all the hoop-de-do was about "facebook," but my friends who are still in school reference it nearly as much as The Family Guy.

Then came yesterday. There has been discussion of Braylon Edwards on the RCMB lately, because they are bored and when you get bored on the RCMB it's time to trash Michigan. (Say what you want about the place, but it has its merits... minutes after someone posted a thread with the title "Why isn't anyone talking about Braylon Edwards being a headcase?" someone posted a thread titled "The official thread to talk about Braylon Edwards being a headcase.") Anyway, one of the BE threads had a mention that Braylon's "facebook" profile had a picture of him on his Bentley. So I, armed with an email address from the university which will never, ever expire, went ahead and signed up to see if this was in fact true.

And what do you know?
bling blang
It is!

I thought this was odd. Why would Edwards have a facebook profile? Isn't he busy beating the crap out of sliced bread? Then I noticed a group called... "Michigan Football Players." No. It couldn't be. There is no frigging way.

Oh. My. God. Probably 70 to 80 percent of the football team has extensive facebook profiles. Garret Rivas is president of a group called "Henne's Hair." Gabe Watson is CEO. Braylon is a member of... "Braylon Edwards for Heisman." Prescott Burgess' girlfriend is unbelievably hot. A group called "Steve Breaston is my hero" is composed of about fifteen random Michigan students and... Gabe Watson. And then there's... this:

Sean Sanderson and Tom Berishaj Fan Club's Profile

Group Description: This group is dedicated to two of the most outstanding athletes to ever play Michigan Football.

#1 FAN Jeff Clancy
Berishaj autograph collecter Garrett Rivas
Sean Sanderson nutritionist Matt Studenski
Official Berishaj thigh massager Michael Mandich
Promotional Affairs Andy Stejskal

Words cannot possibly justify the way I felt, so let's just grab Tyler Ecker's profile photo:

Yes. That's exactly right. Thanks, Tyler.

And, though I knew what I was doing was definitely creepy, it sort of dawned on me that the whole enterprise was designed to facilitate, enhance, and provide creepy stalking opportunities to college students and that I still have my student ID, so I may as well stalk away.

I simply don't have time now to point out every bizarre, hilarious facebook artifact at the moment (I have 23 Internet Explorer windows open), but I promise that I will document these things in time, assuming I am not mysteriously assassinated for peeking INSIDE THE FORT or Lloyd doesn't just make everyone yank their profiles.

(Note for the fainthearted: in the interests of anthropological veracity or whatever, no editing will be done to what follows. Bad words appear! Hide the children!)

I will leave you with this, though... a snippet from Max Martin's profile. You can leave messages on people's profiles, sort of like Friendster testimonials. Michigan State offensive lineman Roland Martin left this beautiful sentiment:

fuck blue!!!!! GO GREEN!!!!
we goin to beat that ass this year and u no it nigga u watch
GO WHITE!!! Roland Martin #73 nigga ask about me!!!
Click on this profane haiku and it takes you to Martin's own profile, and... and... this...

Oh. My. God. I have to go have a lie down now.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

New Commentin'

I added trackback, if you're interested. And by "added trackback" I mean "clicked a few buttons." But it's here. All previous comments have gone to comment heaven, but I'm confident the new generation will carry on okay.

Football: Good bling, bad bling

Braylon Edwards... well... see for yourself:

Yow. Bling bling bling! Blingity-blangity. Blingy-blingy-blang-blang. Uh. I'll stop now. There's an article about him, too, at the Detroit News.

Meanwhile, Tom Friend over at ESPN has caught Scoop Jackson disease. (What's Scoop Jackson disease you say? Scoop's conveniently provided a stellar, unreadable example just today.) Friend has an article up about who he would pick if he had his druthers in the top ten. I mention it because Friend is fawning about Braylon, who he has at #1, but the whole thing is an excellent example of the sort of sportswriting that should be taken out behind the barn and shot. It contains a lot of this:
Cedric Benson's a con, Ronnie Brown isn't. Cedric Benson cut off his dreadlocks to impress NFL people; Ronnie Brown simply ran at the combine.
That is, sentences that substitute know-it-all bravado for intelligent conversation and make bold pronouncements with absolutely nothing behind them. Benson a "con" because he cut his hair? I bet he wore a suit, too, the phony! The whole thing is Friend pulling facts about players' lives outside of football and using that to justify his selections. As such, it gets the (new!) official mgoblog Mark of Sportswriting Disapproval:

The Old Yeller Award! For stories so obviously pained at their suckosity that the only humane thing to do is put a (metaphorical) bullet in their (metaphorical) heads!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Feature Creep

You may notice that the left side has rearranged itself. Do not be alarmed. If you know of any relevant sites that I'm missing, especially other (regularly updated) blogs about Big Ten teams, please drop me a line above for at left.

Also, because I feel like it, I'll cover the Pistons playoff run. Because I like the Pistons. If this bothers you extensively, just pretend the Pistons-related posts never happened, like that Orange Bowl loss against Wake Forest. What Orange Bowl loss against Wake Forest? Exactly.

Football: News roundup

First, the most relevant: Clayton Richard will return in the fall, according to the Detroit News. He's also sporting a 0.46 ERA so far for the baseball team, which I hear is good. Richard will almost definitely be the #3 QB since he has taken the spring off and Gutierrez has recovered enough throwing ability for the coaches to be confident enough to throw him out there.

And with the draft closing in this weekend, everyone is talking about it. Including Marlin Jackson, who had an extensive chat at I usually skim these things since they don't contain any piercing questions about the defensive breakdowns at the end of last year, and when they do, they work out like this:
guenther(ann arbor): What happened to you guys in the Rose Bowl this year? It seems like you guys couldnt stop Vince Young

Marlin Jackson: You nailed it. We just couldn't contain him and he won the game by himself.
But if you're interested, it's here.

NBCSports, long the eeevil propaganda arm of the flagging Notre Dame football program, has listed Braylon Edwards as a top-5 bust candidate. The snippet on Edwards then damns him by comparing him to... Keyshawn Johnson? Um. The same Keyshawn Johnson with almost 9,000 recieving yards? Weird. It does not mention Edwards' tendency to drop routine balls, which should be the #1 negative mentioned by everybody. No research! Just like I said!

Stewart Mandel at CNNSI has come down on the other side of the coin about Ernest Shazor, labelling him underrated in his latest column. This I am not so sure about, since he's probably going to go in the second round, which is about as high as safeties ever go. One or two a year slip into the first but it's usually the late first. Shazor's valued about where I would take him.

Finally, the Ann Arbor News has an mgoblog-worthy brick of a story on the new trend for players to ship themselves off to specialized NFL-draft boot camps in the hopes of pushing their numbers in the right direction. It contains a quote sure to set some of the strength-and-conditioning doom-and-gloomers' heads afire:
NFL agent John Drana, who represents 2004 draft choices Navarre and former Michigan offensive lineman Tony Pape, said, "If my son was a University of Michigan football player looking at the prospect of being drafted, I would tell him to stay put, don't leave campus. (Michigan strength and conditioning coach) Mike Gittleson is one of the best, if not the best, in the country."
Now, he's an agent so there's no reason to believe he actually believes anything he says. But I like tweaking people who think that the reason Michigan hasn't won 10 straight national championships is Gittleson. The parade of offensive linemen who leave Michigan and immediately claim starting jobs in the NFL should make it clear that Michigan's S&C program is at least as good as the ones at comparable schools across the country. The S&C is not a pressing concern in light of the fact someone like Cato-friggin'-June is the leading tackler of the Colts. June couldn't tackle a dead goat at Michigan, and it wasn't because he was lifting weights differently than the guys at USC.


Football: Draft prediction time

The NFL Draft is this weekend. I plan on half-paying attention for a while, then checking back on what happens later. But now is the time where I must put my life... er, my reputation, uh... nothing in particular on the line! I'll do this by making predictions related to the draft which will be unerringly incorrect.

Michigan Predictions:
Braylon Edwards - goes second to Tampa or the Vikes after a trade. Miami has a glaring need at RB but there isn't a whole lot of difference between the top guys and they'll get one after a trade down.
Marlin Jackson - falls a little bit. Ends up last pick of the first round to the Patriots.
David Baas - goes to the Titans at #37.
Ernest Shazor - Taken in the 2nd round by the Steelers at #62.
Marcus Curry - undrafted.
Roy Manning - undrafted.
Kevin Dudley - goes in the 7th. No idea where.

Lions Predictions:
First Round: They'll take LB Derrick Johnson if he's around, otherwise they'll try to trade down into a good spot to take one of the defensive ends or offensive tackles.
Second Round:DE Matt Roth of Iowa or LSU's CB Corey Webster
Third Round: QB Adrian McPherson from FSU or OT Mike Munoz of Tennessee.

General Stuff:
Rodgers falls like a stone. One of the big three running backs, probably Benson, slips out of the top 10. The Bengals take someone way too high. The Raiders take Clarett in round 6. I giggle and pretend I'm retarded when/if Timmy Chang gets drafted. Someone jumps in front of the Redskins at #25 to grab Jason Campbell. Andrew Walter is the best quarterback out of this draft. Alex Smith is a bust of epic proportions.

Check back Monday to see how flagrantly wrong I was. Except about the Alex Smith busty-thing. Check back in five years for that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Pay attention, EA!

EA didn't get the memo on Mike Hart. IGN has some screenshots up of the latest version of NCAA Football and included is this beauty:

Run, David, run! Uh. That dude should be much smaller and wearing number 20. Then there's this one:

This picture is very wrong--it shows Agim Shabaj actually in possession of a ball. The picture should show the ball bouncing along the ground and Shabaj trash-talking for no apparent reason. Also, Shabaj is being tackled by a guy wearing either 12 (decidedly non-black Matt Gutierrez) or 17 (Carl Tabb). The picture does show Ernest Shazor wildly out of position, though, so it has some accuracy to it.

Apparently the big new added feature this year is going to be a "Heisman" mode where you progress through a career as a player instead of a coach, going from a passing camp where your performance will dictate whether you get offered by Trojans of USC or the Trojans of Troy. I think I'd settle for a difficulty level between the incredibly easy All-American and the maniacally difficult Heisman. I can't really get into NCAA any more because I have a choice between annihilating everyone I come across or swearing repeatedly, throwing the controller, turning the Playstation off, and hiding the game so that I don't play it any more (this is NOT an exagerration). Can we have a difficulty level where I can win at home against Vanderbilt but not on the road against Florida? Maybe?

Hockey: Another news roundup

Interesting hockey stuff is coming with great frequency these days. May it last all summer... er, as long as it doesn't include stuff like "Tambellini signs with LA. (You bastards!)"

There's an interesting thread on discussing incoming recruit Andrew Cogliano. HF's boards are an interesting mix of idiotic Canadian 13-year-olds and people who really know what they're talking about, and you can see the difference in that thread. Two people chime in on Cogliano who know quite a bit about hockey.

Canadian hockey journalist extraordinare Bob McKenzie's take:
...I watched him play about 60 plus games this year and let me assure you it is my opinion that there isn't a scared bone in his body (very, very competitive when it matters most) and he regularly pays the price to score goals or to set them up. As with all offensive players, his defensive game needs some work, but I would not say it's a really weak part of his game at all. IMO, the only knock he's going to get is his size, but a lot of scouts I've talked to about him aren't all that concerned for two reasons. One, world class speed. Two, very, very strong, both in terms of strength on his skates and strength (core stability) in fending off hits and playing in traffic. Lots to learn, but he's a great kid from a great family and the upside on this kid is tremendous. If there's a draft, I'll be shocked if he's not a solid first rounder in spite of his height. Dynamic speed, good goal-scoring ability, great playmaking ability, fearless, competitive and a character player, IMHO.
Now, it should be stated that McKenzie is not a disinterested observer here. His son Mike plays on the Buzzers with Cogliano (he's heading to St. Lawrence in '06), so he probably knows Cogliano quite well.

Second is a guy known only as "moosefan." I've been reading HF's boards for years and it's clear that he is a scout of some sort, probably for a junior team. He attends all the important events for kids in Cogliano's age range. He's seen him... a lot. His take:
I have seen Cogliano play many times, I really like him myself. IMO he is possibly up there with Brule, Ryan for overall talent. He and Bertram are the two fastest in the draft, and I would put Coglianos goal scoring ability up there with Brules. I think Cogliano is one of those players that if he goes around 15th to 25th overall in about 4 years teams are going to look back and say "why wasn't he drafted in the top 10 of the draft"

I think myself he would have been better off playing in in the USHL. But he can't change that now so...but this guy proved himself at the U17s last year in NFLD and at the U18s in the summer as one of the best offensive talents that Canada has for his age really I don't think there is going to be much to worry about with him. The only concern I had with him and I don't know if he fixed it or not was his emotions on the ice...I found when I seen him play that he would sulk alot to the ref and try to get his way on the ice, and I found he would overract sometimes over nothing...he may have fixed this I don't know. But I do know that it was said he is scared...well to me I never seen that as he was in traffic and everything so I wouldn't worry about that.

But to me this guy is going to be a world class talent.
That should get you *very* excited to see this kid in a Michigan jersey. He was regarded as a top-10 pick when he committed to Michigan a year or so ago and he has that talent. Concerns about the level of competition he's facing and his size may knock him down to the late first round, but Cogliano will be coming in with more talent than anyone since Brendan Morrison.

Also, the NHL is going to try to bump back their draft age by about nine months so according to, uh, that Bob McKenzie guy. Right now anyone born before September 15th of the appropriate year is draft-eligible, which is extremely confusing to a lot of people. The NHL would like everyone born in a particular year to be draft eligible the same year, and they aren't keen on having 17-year-olds in the draft, so back it goes.

This should be a net benefit for colleges, as most players will now have the opportunity to prove themselves in their freshman year of college before being drafted. This should reduce pressure on players to take the pro-now CHL route. The USHL's emergence is also helping in this regard, as obliquely referred to by moosefan in the above cut and paste. They've moved to "Tier 1," which basically means they're spending more money, and that coupled with the collapse of the NAHL has really improved the level of play in the USHL. The hockey community is picking up on it, too. The USHL is clearly a notch above other junior leagues like the BCHL, AJHL, OPJHL, and NAHL and is attracting a fair share of top-notch talent. If the USHL continues to improve another incentive to head to the CHL--the ability to play high quality hockey at age 16--will evaporate and more high-end kids will find the NCAA route attractive.

Finally, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has an extensive article on goalie recruit Billy Sauer with good news and bad news wrapped up in one little factoid: four colleges were recruting Sauer for '05, Harvard, BC, BU, and Michigan. That's a hell of a list of colleges pressing you to enter school early, which speaks well to Sauer's talent. It also implies that if Montoya returns and Sauer is asked to defer his enrollment a year that he'll have at least three sets of coaches in his ear about pulling a Lerg. Will he? Eh... probably not. And Michigan sounds like it has another excellent goalie coming in in Steve Jakiel, so losing him would not be a disaster, but it would certainly be a blow.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Football: Official Post-Spring WAG At Depth Chart (Defense)

Defensive End
1. Lamar Woodley (Jr.) / Tim Jamison (R. Fr.)
2. Pierre Woods (R. Sr.) / Jeremy Van Alstyne (R. Jr.)
3. Rondell Biggs (R. Jr.) / James McKinney (Fr.)

The spot opposite Woodley is one of the biggest tossups on the entire team--expect the battle for that spot to last well into the season. Van Alstyne, Jamison, and Woods all have legitimate shots at the position. The prediction here is that Jamison emerges by midseason, Van Alstyne gets a share of time, and that Woods rides off into "what could have been" history, taking his place in the Colossal Waste of Talent hall of fame next to David Bowens and Kelly Baraka.

Defensive Tackle
1. Gabe Watson (Sr.) / Pat Massey (R. Sr.)
2. Alan Branch (So.) / Will Johnson (R. Fr.)
3. Marques Walton (R. Fr.) / Will Paul (R. So.)
4. Terrance Taylor (Fr.) / Marques Slocum (Fr.)

All eight of these players could see time this fall. Branch was impressive in limited time as a freshman and continued his strong play into the spring. He will probably see extensive time spelling the two starters. Will Johnson seems healed from an ACL tear and has a size/speed combination rarely seen in defensive tackles. Walton and Paul have generated a minor amount of buzz.

Then you have the two freshmen. Taylor will be ready to play in the fall. He'll step on the practice field as Michigan's strongest defensive lineman. Slocum is also a candidate to see immediate time. With six linemen capable of playing in front of them, Michigan will have to quickly assess whether its worth burning redshirt years for Taylor and Slocum.

1. Chris Graham (So.) / David Harris (R. Jr.) / Prescott Burgess (Jr.)
2. Jacob Stewart (R. Jr.) / Scott McClintock (R. Sr.) / Shawn Crable (R. So.)
3. Brandon Logan (Fr.) / John Thompson (R. Fr.) / Pierre Woods (R. Sr.)

The linebackers were far and away the team's most disappointing position group last year. Pierre Woods went AWOL, Lawrence Reid was slowed by a degenerative neck condition that eventually ended his career, and Scott McClintock was all right but nothing special. Next year Michigan seems prepared to throw out three super athletes and see what sticks.

Graham has generated immense buzz since his arrival at Michigan and has a solid lock on the weakside linebacker position. Graham's probably only 5'10" but can fly and arrive with a pop. Harris was looking very good two years ago when he suffered an ACL tear. He's a better athlete than McClintock and will probably split time with him this year; McClintock is the most proven linebacker in pass defense (2 interceptions and 6 PBU's last year) but lacks big-play ability. The strongside position will be Burgess's first opportunity to prove that his five-star rating was for real. He's more of a weakside athlete but since Graham has a death-grip on that spot he'll have to play over the tight end. Crable will also figure in here and potentially as a pass-rushing defensive end.

1. Leon Hall (Jr.) / Grant Mason (Sr.)
2. Brandon Harrison (Fr.) / Charles Stewart (R. Fr.)
3. Darnell Hood (R. Jr.)/ Morgan Trent (R. Fr.)

The thinnest area on the team by a country mile. Lloyd Carr did recently say that Leon Hall "had a chance to be one of the best cornerbacks we've ever had here." mgoblog isn't buying that, but Hall has the capability to be a solid All Big Ten-type in the Jeremy LeSeuer mode. Grant Mason has a season's worth of experience as a nickel/dime back and will probably be all right in a starting role. Past that there is a lot of nothin'. Michigan WRs have been torching the DBs all spring and while it would be nice to think that everyone on the offensive side of the ball is Jerry Rice, the truth probably isn't so nice. Michigan has a major depth issue at CB. Brandon Harrison will be given every opporunity to leap into playing time this fall. Johnny Sears will also be given a close look, but he's probably headed for a redshirt since he's so raw.

1. Ryan Mundy (Jr.) / Brandent Engelmon (R. So.)
2. Willis Barringer (R. Jr.) / Jamar Adams (So.)

The strong safety position is another that probably won't be resolved until midseason. Jamar Adams seemed like Shazor's heir apparent last year but made a couple of glaring errors when he saw the field late in the year. Engelmon has made a push. Michigan seems to want to give the physically imposing Adams the job, but Engelmon is probably the smartest kid on the team and would be the safer choice. After the spate of huge plays the defense gave up last year, Michigan will likely err on the side of caution and Engelmon will win the job.

Mundy will be the free safety. He'll have to improve his tackling and angles to become a net benefit. There has been some mention that Mundy has been playing well, but not a ton.

Football: Official Post-Spring WAG at Depth Chart(Offense)

That's Wild Ass Guess for those of you needing some unabbreviation help. This two deep is largely unchanged from the one posted right after the season's end. The major differences lie in the offensive line, which has been shuffling people all over the place due to injury, and fullback, which has the notable omission of Ryan Allison, who is unlikely to play this year with a nerve condition. At least, it's probably Allison... Carr referred to someone sitting out for an extended period of time, and all signs point to Allison as the unfortunate player.

1. Chad Henne (So.)
2. Matt Gutierrez (R. Jr.)
3. Clayton Richard (R. So.)
4. Jason Forcier (Fr)

No surprises here. Forcier will redshirt unless something catastrophic happens. Gutierrez has returned to the field but is unlikely to unseat Henne as the starter.

Running Back
1. Mike Hart (So.)
2. Kevin Grady (Fr.)
3. Max Martin (So.)
4. Jerome Jackson (Jr.)

Also no surprises here. Grady has come in and impressed. He keeps getting smaller and heavier (probably about 5'8", 230). At this rate by the time he steps onto the field in September he'll have an event horizon.

1. Obi Oluigbo (R. Jr.)
2. Brian Thompson (R. Jr.)
3. Mike Massey (R. Fr.)

Allison's disappointing injury situation has thrust Oluigbo into the starting spot for the time being, but reports are that he is strictly a blocker--as was Dudley. Mike Massey has practiced some as an Aaron-Shea-esque H-back but blocking isn't a strong suit for him yet.

Wide Reciever
1. Jason Avant (Sr.)/ Steve Breaston (R. Jr.)
2. Doug Dutch (R. Fr.)/ Carl Tabb (R. Jr.)
3. Adrian Arrington (So.)/ Mario Manningham (Fr.)
4. Antonio Bass (Fr.) / LaTerryal Savoy (Fr.)

All accounts of the spring have had Dutch as one of the standout performers. Tabb over Arrington is a guess. Tabb is a burner who's made some nice plays in the past--most notably a couple of key catches against OSU in '03 when Avant got injured. He was banged up last year. If healthy I think the staff will go back to him.

Tight End
1. Tim Massaquoi (R. Sr.)
2. Tyler Ecker (R. Jr.)
3. Mike Massey (R. Fr.)
4. Carson Butler (Fr.)

No movement in this position group, either. Carson Butler will definitely take a redshirt.

Offensive Tackle
1. Adam Stenavich (R. Sr) / Jake Long (R. So.)
2. Mike Kolodziej (R. Jr)/ Jeremy Cuilla (R. So.)

Cuilla is a real shot in the dark here. Kolodziej is obviously the primary backup at both tackle spots, having started the '04 season at RT and having played LT in the Rose Bowl. But past him there isn't really anyone else on the roster who looks like a backup tackle, given that there's no chance in hell any of the three freshmen coming in play this year. If two tackles should go down to injury Ruben Riley will probably end up shuffled out to tackle and one of the interior line backups will draw into the middle.

Interior Line
1. Leo Henige (R. Sr.)/ Ruben Riley (R. Jr) / Matt Lentz (R. Sr)
2. Alex Mitchell (R. Fr) / Adam Kraus (R. So.) / Brett Gallimore (R. Fr.)

Major guesswork here as well. Henige hasn't gotten through a season yet without his knees giving out and so must be regarded as a question mark. Lentz will start at RG. Riley will start at LG or C. Kraus was believed to have the inside track to the center job but an injury has halted his progress. Mitchell was singled out for praise by Carr.

All in all, things look settled almost everywhere on offense. FB needs to be addressed and the interior of the line still needs sorting out. Other than that, Michigan looks loaded. One spot that looks thin is RT. Long is a great player, but there isn't much behind him. Kolodziej doesn't have Long's run-blocking power.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Hockey: WTF?

Michael Spath has an information-laden post up over at the Wolverine. To summarize:
  • Three Cs next year on Montoya, Tambellini, and Ebbett. No alternates. What the sam-hell is that? I have never ever in one hundred billion years heard of such a strange captaincy arrangement on a hockey team. Further indicates that Tambellini and Montoya are returning (although Mike Van Ryn did get an A immediately before his departure).
  • Pat Kane and Blake Geoffrion are "not in the fold yet" but are "potential commitments," which is phrased in an odd way that makes it seem like he's backing off a previous strong statement that Kane and Geoffrion are coming. That information must have slipped past my radar if that is indeed the implication. Getting Geoffrion is important, as most of the high end '06 forwards have been snatched up already and Michigan hasn't acquired any of them. Kane is an '07 recruit, and you know what that means. The worst player to commit that early to the Wolverines was Dwight Helminen, who was damn good. Others who have done so: Jack Johnson, Andrew Cogliano, Tristin Llewellyn. Blue-chippahs.
  • Not in said post, but being batted around on USCHO is this: if Montoya returns Sauer will return to Chicago of the USHL. He and Jakiel will both enter as freshmen in '06 and stage a spirited battle for the #1 goalie spot.
  • Left unstated is this: Swystun should come in with the '06 class. He has not ripped up the AJHL this year and is still extremely young. Coming right now would probably mean fourth-line duties or a redshirt year, neither of which seems appropriate for someone with Swystun's latent talent level. Will Michigan ask him to? Almost certainly not after the Bryan Lerg and Matt Nickerson defections. They may ask, but they've made room for him in this class and will take him if that's what he wants.
  • Packer487 has been posting informative updates on our recruits in their playoff series. Check them out here, here, here, and here.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

A vow

Let it be known far and wide that this blog shall never, ever use the phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" except perhaps to mock it or people who use it.

That is all.

Basketball: Recruiting panic subsiding

Do you have a pencil? Suggestion... print out this handy list of Michigan's '06 recruits:
  1. K'len Morris

And write in "Tory Jackson." (In pencil, mind.) At least, that's what the Wolverine would have you believe, what with the title of this($) article: "Tory Jackson: I was ready to commit." That's a strong statement, especially for the title of an article. Usually they're like "Tory Jackson: Does he still have all his limbs? FIND OUT INSIDE!"

Also, the Rivals 100 dudes think DeShawn Sims is "Michigan's to lose." So things are back to the status they were a couple weeks ago, before a day with a couple of articles that sent those who follow these things into a tizzy.

Now for the standard disclaimer: Crawford blah blah blah Hairston blah blah blah Horford blah doesn't mean anything until they sign doesn't matter until they step on the court anything can happen recruiting is a crazy game.

The summer AAU circuit is now in full swing and the gurus are watchin'. Rivals' Top 150 will be updated soon and it sounds like you can expect Sims and Jackson to rise. Sims may end up in the top 20. Michigan target Matt Shaw will probably drop like a stone. David Lighty will probably drop as well--he tore his ACL a few months ago. Herzog? Probably static.

Also: Michigan PG target Scotty Reynolds beamed up to Oklahoma. Har har har.

2005 Michigan Football Preview

Hello, traveller. Immediately after the Rose Bowl I found catharsis by typing up a lot of words about Michigan's prospects for the upcoming season. The events of spring practice have obsoleted portions of the preview, especially when it comes to the linebacking corps, but I still believe it to be reasonably intelligent. There are some cracking good bon mots in there, too. I like the bit about the punters dunking their legs in Gatorade.

Read away:



Special Teams

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Hockey: Goebel departs MSU?

File this under "unsubstantiated rumor," but there is a post on the RCMB that claims MSU forward Tom Goebel has left the team. I mention it because the same RCMB poster had accurately posted that AJ Thelen had left the Spartans the day before the news officially broke.

If this is true, it bodes very poorly for Comley's future. Goebel was a Comley recruit who was the centerpiece of the MSU class a couple of years ago. He had an impressive freshman campaign with 15-17-32 in 34 games but regressed as a sophomore, notching only 21 points. Goebel was supposed to be part of the wave of talented, creative players that would transition MSU from Mason's trapping style to a more upbeat game that presumably wouldn't get shut out in 800 straight NCAA tournament appearances.

Now MSU is left to wonder if getting shut out in the first round is really all that bad.

Football: More draftery

CFN still thinks that Braylon should be #1... mostly. Jeffri Chadiha on CNNSI has a tidbit about Jackson in a story on the "Five People You'll Meet On Draft Day" (weird Albom reference? You make the call). iBlog For Cookies has a Michigan draft-stock summary that I believe to be accurate, though I think that some GM will see Shazor in a good light and grab him somewhere in the second.

And something almost draft related, but not really. An emailer to Peter King asks thusly:
"When it comes to quarterbacks --watching film, working them out, giving them intelligent tests --that's all good. The one question I'd ask is, when your team is down by six with two minutes left in the game, who is going to lead you down the field? What team over the last couple of years has been in that situation and been successful? That's who I would go with.''

Amen. This leads to discussion of Brady vs. Tim Rattay and Spurgeon Wynn, which of course favors Brady. My personal memory of Brady was formed around the Penn State game, the Alabama Orange Bowl, even that Plaxico Burress MSU game we lost but were charging back at the end of. Brady was stone cold killing people in incredible pressure-cooker situations with nary a flutter. That's a quality you don't find in many quarterbacks. The ones you do--Montana, Elway, Brady--well, you remember them. Anyone like that in this draft? No. At least not someone who looks like they're first pick material. Both guys look more like Cade McNown than Brady. BE, maddening though he may be, is the closest thing to a lock this draft has.

Football: Spring practice news roundup.

You're probably a busy, on-the-go type without much time to scour the various dusty corners of the interweb in search of the tiniest motes of information regarding Michigan's 2005 football team. Luckily for you, I'm not.

The Good

Gutz Not Dead Yet
With Clayton Richard playing baseball and erstwhile starter Matt Gutierrez recovering from a torn labrum, an injury to Chad Henne seemed certain to derail what could be a promising season. Never fear, as Gutierrez appears ahead of schedule and ready to handle any work that comes his way. He still has a way to go in terms of arm strength, but any panic about a prospective Henne injury can be minor panic.

Hello 4-3, My Old Friend
Michigan has abandoned its one-year experiment with the 3-4 and returned to a more conventional alignment, one that better takes advantage of the personnel along the line (and was predicted by mgoblog immediately after the season). New defensive line coach Steve Stripling--liberated from East Lansing--is an actual defensive line coach instead of a converted LB coach. He is also bald, fat, and moustached, three critical attributes when making broad generalizations about coach quality.

Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Aye, they said Grady would be a monster. They said Max Martin was an excellent back in his own right. And Mike Hart is Mike Hart. All three had excellent springs. The two prospective backups bring something that Hart does not--Grady (now apparently 5'2", 320) cannot be stopped on third and short, while Max Martin has the precious "breakaway speed" that Hart lacks. If Dudley can be adequately replaced and the offensive line worked out, Michigan will have a backfield reminscent of the early 90s.

Guided Missile
Michigan will feature a heavily revamped linebacker corps in the fall. Pierre Woods is playing defensive end. Roy Manning has graduated. Lawrence Reid had a career-ending neck injury. The only holdover appears to be MLB Scott McClintock. Flanking him will be sophomore Chris Graham, who has been getting raves from the day he stepped on campus. Graham is short, fast, and mean and looks to have a kung-fu death grip on the starting weakside LB spot. Hopes are high that he and junior Prescott Burgess will turn last year's horrifying weakness into a strength.
Braylon who?
All right, that's going a little far, but a healthy Steve Breaston is looking more like his freshman I-can-walk-on-water self. Jason Avant is Jason Avant. Redshirt freshman Doug Dutch has impressed in his pursuit of the third WR position. Expect little drop off in performance from this position group.

The Bad

Offensive Line Chaos
The offensive line has had several players banged up and held out of practice. Other players have been shifted around, taking snaps at positions that they may or may not start at in the fall. Despite the fact that Michigan only graduated a single offensive lineman last year--center David Baas--there will probably be some unpleasant moments in the fall as the line works itself out.

DBs As Deep As Paris Hilton
Leon Hall is a good Big Ten corner and Grant Mason will probably be all right. Past that there is a great wilderness of nothing in particular. Darnell Hood, Charles Stewart, and Morgan Trent do not look ready to play. Incoming freshman Brandon Harrison has the opportunity to be the nickel back by the time he steps on campus. If Hall gets injured, panic.

Watson Is Fat
Reports vary on how Watson is playing, probably because he's looking unstoppable half the time and just damn fat the other half of the time. Carr has publicly badgered Watson about the shape he's in. Is that just a ploy to get him in better shape or is there reason for serious concern? It's hard to believe that Watson can stare a potential top-ten draft pick in the face and not get motivated to, you know, do some running and stuff. Michigan will have to have a dominant line to keep heat off the shaky secondary and Watson is the center of that effort, literally, metaphorically, and gravitationally.

The Indifferent

Position Switches
Pierre Woods is now a defensive end opposite Woodley. Jacob Stewart, who you may remember streaking towards the endzone during the epic comeback against Minnesota two years ago, is now a weakside linebacker. Crable has been competing with Burgess at strongside linebacker and has been tried at defensive end. Redshirt freshman WR Morgan Trent, who is totally way faster than Ted Ginn, is now a cornerback. Redshirt freshman S Keston Cheathem is now a WR. Bodes unwell if anyone was banking on him getting signficant playing time ever.