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Monday, February 12, 2007

Big Ten Network hardball. Yeah, if this Big Ten Network thing doesn't get picked up on the main tier of cable channels across the Midwest there are going to be a lot of pissed off fans, since existing syndications deals are going away:

The newly formed Big Ten Network has informed WXSP and other over-the-air stations around the state not to bother bidding for the league's telecast package. It will instead start to hoard most of those events for itself, beginning in the fall, when the conference launches its new digital channel on cable and satellite systems.
Hopefully this is not ESPNU redux, shunting previously accessible games into a DirectTV ghetto that no one cares to bother with.

Did I link this story just to highlight the worst haircut in the history of the universe?


Critical news for 2007! Make sure you rush over to GBW and read all about it:
Michigan grabs a top long-snapper for its 2007 recruiting class.
It's chest-bump time.

Mark Wilkins refereed Michigan State’s 5-1 win over host Nebraska-Omaha on Friday. It was the first college hockey game with zero penalties since Lake Superior State beat Notre Dame, 3-0, on March 5, 2004.

Wilkins did that game, too. But it’s just a coincidence, he says.

I know this, like, happened a week ago, but still. Expect brimstone meteors any time now.

(WCH hates the PWR too.)

Various recruit signing articles: Donovan Warren in USA Today; Mallett in the Texarkana Gazette. An interesting one on Avery Horn in the Hanford Chronicle. Evidently, the idea of a "commitment" is as foreign to Pac-10 coaches as it is to Jerimy Finch (oh, snap!):
"He's still certainly a hot commodity," Hanford athletic director Beau Hill said. "He declared to Michigan early on to alleviate some of that pressure, but the recruiters kept calling. Those guys can be pretty persistent."
Also of note: he doesn't expect to redshirt (grumble grumble: he's at best the fourth option, and that's only if Carlos Brown ends up in the secondary, something that's but an ephemeral rumor at the moment). The qualities that made him a major recruit:
"He's fast, fast, fast and really, really fast," Hill said. "He has very elusive speed and he can change directions in a hurry. If you sit back and watch him on the field when he plays, his football speed is so much greater than every one around him. It looks like the other player's feet are stuck in mud."
Insert south-to-north joke here, except he's from Fresno so he's probably already north of the Mason-Dixon line (or at least a hypothetical extension of it from coast to coast).

Artis Chambers is already on campus, so his signing day was uneventful.

Woo. Jim Stefani has a huge post on his blog taking a look at the Michigan recruiting class from another angle:
The recruiting rating universe is “star-centric” and a prospect is typecast as either a 5-star, 4-star, 3-star, etc. In my opinion, assessing a prospect is a lot more complicated than that and what I have tried to do is come up with a different paradigm in identifying the potential of a prospect.

When I look at players I try to determinewhat sort of ceilings and floors they have. By that I mean what is their upside and what is their downside. Nothing novel in that concept, as players are often referred to as being high ceiling types.

Michigan-related upshot:
This years class, although lacking in five and four stars, has more than its fair share of High ceiling/Low floor types. THAT is what I REALLY like about this class. Some of these kids will not pan out, but others will emerge as NFL type talents.
I would RTWT if you're interested. Varsity Blue has also picked up on the ceiling/floor thing and has attempted to quantify each recruit on a five-point scale.

Etc.: Entertaining collection of recruiting stories from Ivan Maisel; Larry Lage revisits the Fab Five.