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Monday, January 23, 2006

Our month long farewell to Jim Herrmann is going to look stupid if this whole thing ends up like a extended remix of "Steven's Last Night In Town," but hey, that's life. The latest nail is a USA Today article in which his name is floated as the next Dallas Cowboys linebackers coach (non-permalink, sorry):

The Cowboys seemingly have been bracing for Gibbs' departure, as they supposedly have been in contact with Michigan defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann about becoming the linebackers coach.
Also, kids: know when to say when in adverb-land.

Update: Reader Patrick Sickels points out a squib in the latest Pro Football Weekly "The Way We Hear It" column:
With the Saints expected to fill their defensive coordinator job with Cowboys LB coach Gary Gibbs, Dallas has been in contact with University of Michigan defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann about potentially replacing Gibbs.

Hockey continued its Sad Panda ways on the weekend, splitting with a meh Bowling Green team. Michigan--sans Jack Johnson--dominated the Falcons at Yost on Friday, then yielded 49 shots on goal, 3 shorthanded breakaways, and five goals in Bowling Green with Jack in the lineup. It's ugly out there, and with an away-and-Joe weekend against Michigan State upcoming Michigan is going to be in dire straights unless they snap to it very quickly.

Also in the Michigan hockey coverage thing, Bob Miller has expanded his worldwide reach to Hockey's Future. Check out extensive interviews with Jason Bailey and the four Michigan players who attended the WJC. Also on HF, the ISS had this to say about '06 recruit Trevor Lewis in their latest update:

Trevor Lewis / Des Moines (USHL)

Position: Center, Height: 6-1, Weight: 192

With his excellent play at the recent Viking Cup, Lewis convinced ISS scouts that he is the complete package, meaning he has the size and skill to make him a high draft pick. Lewis is fearless cutting to the net, and likes to cut in off the wing. He has good speed in the neutral zone with or without the puck. He has a hard snap shot and gets it away very quickly. He is a very good skater and is tough to slow down considering his size. He competes hard for the puck in the corners and along the wall.

Part Two of RBUAS's season-end awards is up and, as they say, poppin'. It's outstanding; go!

The means to this particular end are highly questionable, but EDSBS used a strange Atlanta Journal-Constitution article that claims Tressel is owning northeast Ohio to spin a comparison of unmatched hilarity:
Items carried in pocket.

Tressel: Lollipops. Unmarked bills. Keys to cars he doesn’t own. A gun. Spare clip-on tie.

Carr: Wallet. Keys to car he owns. Twenty-eight dollars. A packet of McWhorter’s “Essential Vitamins for the Bitter and Grizzled.”
I heart, etc. I get called a "maze and blue queer" in the comments, fun for the whole family(!).

Back to the AJC article, which may as well be titled "Ted Ginn's Dad Likes Ohio State." It makes a sweeping, specious claim that

Talent-rich northeast Ohio — where Michigan found Desmond Howard, Elvis Grbac and Ricky Powers — appears to belong to the Buckeyes again.
Why? Well, Ted Ginn, Troy Smith, Chris Wells, and Robert Rose are all current or future Buckeyes. You may note that three of those players (all save Wells) attend Cleveland Glenville, coached by this man here...

...who happens to be Ted Ginn's father. And wearing hundreds of dollars. NTTAWWT.

Tressel may, in fact, be doing a better job keeping Ohio players in Ohio, but the article cited provides nothing approximating proof of it. It was written backwards: Michigan's having an unusual run of high-profile success in the south. Why? Well, they must be hurting somwhere else. Where's a logical place for them to be hurting? Ohio. Let's go get a quote from a guy who works for Ohio State's Scout site! I wonder what he'll say? And thus a meme is born, as this stupid, unresearched idea is given the imprimatur of the AJC.

Notice how carefully constricted the search criteria are: "Northeast" Ohio... Christ. Thus the whole Manningham issue can be glossed over. Next up in the AJC's Tenuously Justified Articles series: "LSU Blowout of Miami Shows Tigers Greatest Team of 2015."

That same article also has this fascinating quote on quarterback David Cone:
"They've [Michigan] had a good run of quarterbacks of 6-5 or better," Statesboro coach Steve Pennington said.

Cone had offers from Ball State, Eastern Kentucky and Mississippi State when he committed to Michigan in September. He dazzled the Wolverines during their summer passing camp.

"They were impressed football-wise with his mechanics, his footwork as well as his throwing motion," Pennington said. "They like his maturity and I guess you would say h."

I guess I would say "h." H.

I don't know why "Statistically Speaking," which listed its affiliation in the BlogPoll as Wake Forest, decided to break down the homefield advantage in the Big Ten, but this is a gift horse situation so I'll shut up real good about now. The numbers over the past six years defy the conventional wisdom; for example, a list of relative point differential home versus away:
  1. Minnesota 354
  2. Penn St. 312
  3. Indiana 287
  4. Iowa 282
  5. Michigan St. 269
  6. Purdue 254
  7. Ohio St. 209
  8. Michigan 203
  9. Illinois 198
  10. Northwestern 152
  11. Wisconsin 82
(SS offers a caveat on these numbers for consistently elite teams like OSU and Michigan: their differentials tend to be depressed because they perform very well on the road.)

So... who thought Minnesota and their antiseptic Metrodome would top the list? Or that Camp Randall would be at the bottom? Liars! Remember: Iowa fans tore down the Metrodome goalposts in 2002 and carried large hunks of it out of the stadium; at Wisconsin they had to rein in fan behavior when people died. Fascinating. Whole post is recommended. Any theories for these inexplicable numbers?

I would be remiss if I didn't point out Jack Shafer's latest article for Slate. In the course of discussing Daniel Synder's media consolidation efforts he echoes themes expressed in this space's ill-tempered media rants:
...on the continuum from pure entertainment to hard news, where does sports journalism reside? Where should it reside? Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, and other pro games are nothing if not entertainment. While it's possible to mine hard news from the entertainment industry, most sports coverage is entertainment about entertainment. ...

Sports page coverage of the hiring and firing of coaches, the juggling of lineups, the trades, the drafts, and the disabled lists tends to follow the conventions we associate with quality news journalism. But the primary duty of sports sections, sports magazines, and sports news on television is not to be impartial and objective but to delight and divert the audience, no matter how boring the game or dismal the team. Beat reporters routinely skirt journalistic objectivity to subtly pull for the home team because for fans, reading a neutral account of yesterday's game is like kissing your mother. Many of journalism's best writers are assigned to the sports pages in order to entertain. The ones who don't make the grade can always be retooled into war correspondents.

Seconded, though I wonder how much sports journalism Shafer actually reads or how divergent the DC and Detroit markets are. It's dire in the D.

(via Romenesko)

Also... this is totally offtopic, but the late, lamented Suck got a massive profile in a slick quarterly webzine called Shafer pops up in quotes semi-frequently. I continued checking Suck for months after they declared they were going on "vacation" until it became very clear that their vacation was really a dirtnap.

Etc: Eli Zaret has a Pistons blog. Ask him if he's mad a Rip Hamilton for usurping his laser eye surgery commercials. has scans of Michigan tickets dating as far back as 1894. Ken Pomeroy has released individual player stats for teams nationwide. Hallelujah; here's Michigan. Chauncey in the NYT (HT: Sweaty Men Endeavors). I'm A Realist takes a look at OSU next year.