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Friday, July 13, 2007

Note: no idea why there are useless "read more"s at the bottom of my posts now. There was a feature I implemented (and used once) that did auto-show/hide that seems to be inserted on each post automatically now. Don't know why, I haven't made any changes. I'm looking into it.

I had no idea this was part of Big Ten bylaws:

Big Ten football has revenue sharing, in which each school has to contribute into a pool a percentage of its revenue from each home conference game. The minimum amount is $300,000 per game and the maximum is $1 million.

For the 2006 season, the Gophers contributed over the minimum amount for every home league game -- $450,424 for Michigan; $345,076 for Penn State; $335,888 for Indiana and $681,161 for Iowa. So the Gophers contributed $1,812,549 to the pool. But each school wound up getting back $2,805,819. Minnesota ended up with $993,271 more than it contributed. Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State contributed $4 million each to the pool, Iowa contributed $3.5 million, Wisconsin $3.2 and Michigan State $3.1.

So we got docked $1.2 million from this pool. Why does this happen? Is it not enough to share all bowl and television revenue evenly? Bleah.

The Wit and Wisdom of Charlie Weis. I am permanently indebted to Braves & Birds for clearing up the exact sort of blustery nothing that is the vast bulk of Charlie Weis's public utterances: Grayson Moorhead Securities. For some reason, journalists just lap this stuff up. If I had to speculate I would say it's a combination of the generally low intelligence levels possessed by generic pundits (I swear the next time I see something like "numbers are for eggheads and nyyyyyyyeeeerds" I'll scream; wanton ignorance seems downright prized by large portions of the chattering class) and their panting desire to be insiders. If you are not that bright the fake inside baseball Weis provides seems a telling glimpse inside a major college football program instead of irritatingly grandiose fluff.

Anyway, the free Blue Ribbon preview of Notre Dame has a few classic Grayson Moorhead moments:
"When guys graduate you replace them. That's why you give scholarships to other guys."
But wait! There's more!
"It's very, very important that you treat everyone the same if you're going to be fair."
This longer passage perfectly illustrates Weis's ability to transform the banal into ephemeral genius:
The buzzword for the offensive line in the spring was "cross-training." That doesn't mean there was a glut of 6-5, 300-pounders on Notre Dame's racquetball courts. It means because of depth issues across the line, several linemen trained at more than one position.

Take for example sophomore Dan Wenger (6-4, 282). He is a promising center but is stuck behind senior John Sullivan (6-4, 290) on the depth chart. So Wenger spent the spring competing with classmate Matt Carufel (6-5, 295) at right guard, while at the same time working as the backup center.

The idea of moving a player stuck behind an established starter to another, nearly identical, position? While still having him take some reps at his previous, nearly identical, position? I... wow. Let's just say that never would have occurred to anyone else in the history of coaching.
Junior Mike Turkovich (6-6, 299) is the starting left guard, but he is also a candidate to move to tackle if anything happens to either sophomore right tackle Sam Young (6-8, 315) or junior left tackle Paul Duncan (6-7, 292).


Um... no?

N... no?
But it's necessary, Weis says.
I wonder if he can explain this mystery to us.
"[Wenger] is not beating out Sullivan at center, so if he's going to get on the field it's going to be at guard," Weis said.

About that preview. About the only thing it's convinced me of is that you should not buy Blue Ribbon. It's not so much the understandable factual errors like this:
Right guard should be settled by the preseason, with either [Dan] Wenger or [Matt] Carufel earning the job. If Carufel were to win the job that would bring cohesion to the line, because he and Young played together in high school at St. Thomas Aquinas High in Coral Spring, Fla.
(It's actually Wenger who was a teammate of Sam Young.) Rather, it's the junk that passes for analysis like "Wenger and Young have cohesion." This is most obvious in the section on Notre Dame's defense, which is frankly ludicrous. I mean... seriously:
Apart from Zbikowski, the Irish are well stocked at defensive back, a position that won't be too affected by the switch to the 3-4.


Cornerbacks abound, giving the Irish plenty of depth. Senior Ambrose Wooden (5-11, 190) is back in the starting lineup after playing a reserve role last year. He'll be opposite senior Terrail Lambert (5-11, 191), who started the final 10 games of last season, finishing with three interceptions, including the game-winning touchdown against Michigan State. [links are mine; you can see the glory of "depth" for yourself. -ed]
Shockingly, there is no mention that the abundance of cornerbacks is an abundance of cornerbacks who happen to be complete crap at football. This is a secondary that finished the year 90th in pass efficiency defense despite playing almost entirely teams that couldn't pass.

Seriously. Michigan (27th), LSU (4th), and USC (30th) were all pretty good. Air Force was shockingly 17th, but against a Mountain West schedule. Purdue (46th) was all right. But the entire rest of the schedule was a disaster: MSU (61st), UCLA (81st), GT (82nd), Navy (85th), PSU (92nd), Stanford (94th), UNC (102nd... leading passer JOE DAILEY!), and Army (116th) were all bad. To finish 90th against that murderers row means you were lethally bad.

And yet this preview somehow makes it out to be as strength:
Defensively, the Irish will be running the 3-4 under first-year defensive coordinator Corwin Brown. What that meant in the preseason was that several linemen and linebackers found themselves either switching positions or learning new ways to play their old positions. Despite the controlled chaos, the defense is better off then the offense. There's depth at every position, especially the secondary where no fewer than eight players have legitimate claims to a starting job. One player who won't have to worry about competition is safety Tom Zbikowski, who appeared leaner and more focused on football during the spring.
(Emphasis mine.) Then, the topper:
Notre Dame's defense will keep it in games.
So... a unit that's switching to an entirely new scheme, had possibly the worst major college secondary in the country last year, and might be starting a 270 pound nose tackle is going to "keep it in games"? Corwin Brown might have an enormous penis but that's asking a lot. Blue Ribbon looks over the majesty of all this and concludes:
If the offense can find a consistent rhythm, be that with the passing or the running game, expect to see the Irish vying for their BCS bowl tie-in.
Ha. Ha. Ha. This is probably why Blue Ribbon's Oregon preview scared the living daylights out of me, then projected the Ducks to go 6-6 again: Blue Ribbon is run by crackheads.

I don't think Rickey Hampton of the Flint Journal has any super secret inside information that everyone else lacks, but he puts out a nice column on Carr that says this:
When Lloyd Carr retires from coaching, which he will almost certainly do at the end of the 2007 season, he'll miss moments like his encounter with Kevin as much as the heated action with his Big Ten rivals.

"One of the great things about my profession is I have literally met thousands of people, like Kevin, that I wouldn't have met if not for this profession," said Carr. "And so many of those people have had a tremendous impact on me."

Carr, who turns 62 later this month, won't say he is retiring. But it would be a huge upset if he doesn't.

Dunno about "huge upset", but the column has some interesting quotes from Carr and some insight into the recent 1997 reunion.

Etc.: Burnt Orange Nation has a great post from Chris from Smart Football, a site which I've referenced in this space before (though I can't find it). Looks like there's more coming. This is real inside baseball, so to speak, not that Weis stuff.

Also: vicious, monkey-headed, cow-eating badgers who are "swift as deer" plague Iraq. I thought we had a "where are they now?" for Booker Stanley until that "swift as deer" bit.

Also also: the Orange Bowl catches fire; Japanese announcers take over.