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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Iowa's lost two players who were in the pre-spring two-deeps, defensive end Richard Kitrell and safety Jonathan Zanders. Iowa fans seem unsurprised by Kitrell's absence; he barely scraped past the NCAA academic minimums and the coaching staff seems to have planned for his absence. Zanders' departure might be a bit more serious down the road but both guys were expected to be strictly depth this year.

Meanwhile, Troy Smith got away without further embarassment/suspension from the whole Steve McNair charity camp thing, as expected.

Hoity-toity mediamen have weighed in on a couple of pressing college football issues. The Washington Post addresses the NCAA's academic reform, which Sports Biz says is already in need of reform; The New York Times, home of Dreamy Warren St. John, addresses the fact that Urban Meyer is probably David Koresh or something. (Annoying reg, use BugMeNot, HT: Football Outsiders.)

The Wolverine Den is dying so I suggest you click on the upcoming link real fast. It's poster dillongp's report on a friendly conversation with the most unlikely Michigan alum to start in the NFL in recent memory: Cato June.

I took a shot at Lou Holtz whilst breaking then news to Irish fans that they're permanently irrelevant, saying he cheated everywhere. That was partially in jest... but partially not. Blue-Gray Sky addressed Lou's trail of tears yesterday; you can read and decide for yourself. Personally I find articles like this one in The State (We love the tacos... there's just no room for the mail?) indicative of a major pattern that I doubt Holtz stopped at Notre Dame:

When academic advisor Kara Montgomery contacted USC’s compliance office to let them know about the tutoring, she said she was called into Perry’s office and required to make a tape-recorded statement acknowledging that in the future she would take compliance issues to Perry.

Shortly after the incident in his office, Perry sent out a memo informing his staff that anyone with a compliance concern should see him first.

McGee told the NCAA that Perry’s initial duties at USC included “close oversight” of some compliance matters. According to McGee, when he learned of Perry’s memo he asked Perry to retract it. But Perry’s staffers told investigators they did not recall seeing a retraction.

Instead, Perry called a meeting during the summer or fall of 2001 in which Perry told his staff how to deal with NCAA inquiries, according to the report.

“That the easiest way to say is, ‘You don’t have any knowledge or recollection, please refer to my supervisor,’” Shane Olivett, who left USC for Georgia Tech,told investigators. “That was explicitly stated in that meeting. ... Do not keep memos like that. Do not keep a file in your office about those things. Delete e-mails that could be harmful, was the way he described it.”
Obviously I have nothing to back that up with, nor do I intend on proving it to myself either way--I appear to have bitten off a bit more than I should have with the Big Ten preview and now that August is approaching I'm scrambling. But I don't find Holtz's narrow escapes and minor infractions to be all that minor, nor do I find BGS's explanations convincing. I find them to be evidence of a persistent and willful disregard of the rules that spans over twenty years. Just because he maintained enough plausible deniability to avoid the NCAA noose doesn't mean Holtz didn't know exactly what he was doing. He knew the rules. He broke them everywhere he went.

So, maybe BGS is right. Personally I doubt it, and I'd love to see someone take a really objective look at the Legacy O' Lou (HINT HINT VIJAY)... but I call not it.

Speaking of IBFC, Vijay address both sides of the WE GOT SCREWED/YOU GOT SCREWED refereeing coin as relates to Michigan football. As always, worth reading. Blah Me to Death has helpfully pulled the stats of Michigan QBs over the past ten or so years to provide some idea what to expect from Chad Henne next year. I know what I expect: 75% completion percentage, 5000 yards, 40 touchdowns, -2 interceptions, and Gino Torreta's Heisman retroactively.

Someone needs to lock Ian from Sexy Results in a room and force him to write more about college football. Latest is an authoritative response to the Great Rap Question of Blogpoll Roundtable #3 which I have watched juuuust enough MTV Jams to understand about 75% of. For example (hide the chilluns, there is a swearin'):
Miami/Eminem: When they're on, really, truly ON, absolutely no one can stop them, but they've been known to coast on their rep alone. Unlimited reservoir of talent, often used in very questionable ways. Very likely to give a complete shithead his big break.
Ian also touches on the game (The GAAME). He's playing Race for the Heisman for some reason. Things have not gone as swimmingly with The Old Ball Coach on Heisman. The 4-0 start of the first season was followed up with three straight losses, largely humiliating, against Penn State, Iowa, and Purdue, then a loss to an eminently mediocre Wisconsin team and a towel throwing. Simmed Ohio State (win), bowl game (loss against #5 FSU... why is #5 playing a 7-4 team?) and everyone in fictional NCAA land is muttering to themselves about how they miss Lloyd Carr after a 7-5 finish.

In year two things are going a little better. Michigan is 9-2 heading into the Orange Bowl against Virginia. One humiliating loss to Penn State and a closer one against Iowa and its two impact player running backs and 88 speed QB. Final score: 49-32. I gave up about 550 rushing yards, including this sequence: grinding 10 play Michigan touchdown drive, one play, 80 yard Iowa rushing touchdown, grinding 10 play Michigan touchdown drive, one play, 80 yard Iowa rushing touchdown. I finally broke and started screwing with the sliders, especially because on Heisman the 10-30, 5 interception day has returned with a vengance.

The good news as regards realism: my somewhat disappointing Michigan squad travelled to the horseshoe to meet the 10-0, #3, BCS #2 Buckeyes and won going away, 35-17. Some things never change.

The bad news: my money play on third and long is a spread shotgun weak off-tackle run. My running back ran for 2300 yards (and finished second in Heisman voting, the bastards)... things are broken a bit. The flaws in the game's AI are really beginning to grate.