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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Many people have tried to capture Tom Lemming's unique creepiness. There's a small doctoral program at Colorado State dedicated to the subject. Well, that program can cease its operations, as SMQB has found the perfect phrase:

If top five receiver Vidal Hazelton never catches another pass at USC, it won't invalidate the overall success rate, which consistently shows these guys do actually have a clue. A big one. Tom Lemming actually has a raging clue about New Jersey defensive end Justin Trattou right now.
Just FYI.

Some industrious Michigan fan pulled together a vast array of touchdown passes from John Navarre...

...and Tom Brady:

Only one complaint: Navarre's legendary buffalo stampede against Minnesota is omitted. Technically that's not a touchdown pass, but it is to date the only play that has elicited an incredulous phone call from friends of mine.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves. No, actually, let's. Maize 'n' Brew has decided that the rest of the basketball season isn't happening and has already started speculating on Michigan's next coach. Billy Gillespie heads the list. Guys omitted that might be good candidates: ex-Nuggets and current Air Force head coach Jeff Bzdelik -- spelled that right in one try -- and ex-Stanford/Golden State HC Mike Montgomery, currently unemployed. Also, crazy UK fans may force Tubby Smith out after the season. Come to Michigan, Tubby, where we have no expectations! Not that this is anything but idle speculation.

Meanwhile, Tommy Amaker had some pointed words for those who have leveled criticism:
"I'm a little disappointed that we're the only team people talk about needing wins,'' Amaker said.

"It seems like we have that arrow pointed at us in that regard which is perplexing to me in a lot of ways. I think everybody is in the same boat we're in. I don't see any difference. Maybe we're a team that doesn't have a signature victory. That's what the case may be.''

Michigan's ratings percentage index (RPI) ranks fifth in the conference. Six of the team's final nine games are against teams ranked in the RPI's top 50.

But Michigan has lost its three games against Top-25 teams by an average of 21.7 points. The closest things to "signature wins'' would be home victories over Illinois and Purdue earlier this month.

"I just feel like everyone is making our team out to be like we're the only team to be on this type of road,'' Amaker said. "I'm looking at what are the signature wins for some of the other teams that are fighting for an NCAA Tournament berth? I don't know. I haven't studied it.''
Since the bubble is not well defined yet that's a question I can't answer. But what I've been looking for, personally, is a Signature Loss in which Michigan does not trip my twenty-point rule (go down 20 == no more liveblog) at some juncture. Michigan's been awful against teams that aren't Northwestern or Penn State aside from a couple decent wins over Illinois and Purdue. The Purdue win was offset by a hideous Purdue loss.

To reach the tournament, Michigan has to reach 10-6 in conference, IMO. That's the cost of scheduling only three semi-legitimate nonconference opponents and getting blown out by all of them, including an NC State team that blew Michigan off the floor after losing its best player and only point guard. NC State is now #154 in the RPI, 1-5 in the ACC, and 11-8 overall. And where do you find six more wins in this schedule:
  • Gimmees: @ Minnesota, Minnesota, Iowa
  • Tossups: Indiana, @ Illinois
  • Good luck: @ MSU, @ OSU, MSU, OSU
Without stealing one from MSU or OSU (and thats if Michigan doesn't blow any of the five games in the other categories), Michigan is going to be a bubble-at-best team with an embarrassing non-conference schedule, one good win versus Indiana at home, and a whole host of blowout losses to actual teams.

Anyway. To answer Tommy Amaker's question: Michigan is criticized more than other potential bubble teams because it, alone amongst BCS conference teams, starts four seniors. It has also not made the NCAA tournament since 1998 and blew a sure bid in spectacular fashion last year. Since his arrival, Michigan teams have been wildly turnover prone, fundamentally unsound, and painful to watch. Every senior on this team is either no better (Harris, Petway) or worse (Sims, Abram) than they were as freshmen. Also Michigan's coach insists on wearing silly turtlenecks.

Etc.: Subscribing to search terms in your RSS reader can lead to odd results. Witness this Bursley Hall-based Terry Tate ripoff in which the "M-Train" dispenses rough justice to perpetrators of dorm mischief.

Branch draft diary; JJWalker's "Mihmpossible Dream," an NBA blog, takes time out to call Carr a hypocrite for bitching about excessive money while being, you know, rich and stuff.

Update: 2007 opener? Not Vandy:
Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor David Williams said the school has declined an opportunity to open the 2007 football season at Michigan.

The Commodores lost to the Wolverines 27-7 on Sept. 2, 2006. on a game nationally televised by ESPN. Williams said the network inquired about a rematch, but Vanderbilt chose to keep its 2007 schedule intact.

“I’m looking for a heck of a good year next year, and I just don’t want to spoil anything,” Williams told the Vanderbilt Hustler.

VU will open the season against Richmond on Sept. 1.
Thanks to commenter Korea Blue.