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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Clarification: Yesterday I told people wishing to enter the BlogPoll that they should contact me, but I was not entirely clear. The BlogPoll is a college football poll much like the AP or Coaches polls (except, like, thousands of times better) voted on by college football bloggers. You have to have a blog. Sorry for the confusion.

Noooooo, my precious piƱatas. Every once in a while -- usually when it's slow -- I come across something that reduces me to a gibbering rage machine. When this happens the result is usually something like "Matt Hayes looks like a horse" or "Stewart Mandel wants to sexytime Troy Smith" or "Tom Dienhart should be tasered and locked far away from the internet." These are not productive, per se. They do not advance the general understanding of football. And Peter Bean's got a point when he winces at them:

I sometimes cringe these days at some of the more inflammatory posts in the blogosphere these days - at least the ones which purport to be criticisms of mainstream media.

Mainstream media criticism is an important part of what a lot of sports blogs do these days, but I really do wonder whether it does anyone any good to write that ESPN "licks monkey balls" or something like that. Unfortunately, that’s more the norm than the exception.

I think the next big step for sports bloggers will be to maintain their edge and personalities but to get over the little guy complex that seems to motivate so many to lash out angrily at the big kids in the park.

Sometimes even I wince at the nasty things I write even before I publish them. But once the red mist has lifted it's like 1:30 and I've got this screed and my blog has seven mouths and no bottom so up it goes. So, yeah, I see where he's coming from. But but but... someone randomly linked an old post of mine in the comments at EDSBS and I went back and read it. "Litmus Lloyd" deals with the odd response to the mild opprobrium Carr offered Urban Meyer in the wake of the BCS fiasco:
I just think that based on some of the comments the Florida coach has made in the last two weeks, he has been campaigning strenuously for a berth in the championship game and making some statements about Michigan that I think were inappropriate. That certainly is going to stir a controversy, and who knows what that's going to lead to.
Mandel made this into something else indeed:
I wasn't particularly thrilled with either coach's approach, and I think the whole exchange marked a particularly ugly moment for the BCS. ... [Stuff criticizing Meyer snipped]

All that said, I thought Carr's response to Meyer went completely overboard. Never once during the final two weeks of the season did Meyer say anything derogatory about the Wolverines. He never even said his team was better than Carr's. All he said was that Michigan had its shot at Ohio State and that he felt his team had earned the right to get its shot at the Buckeyes. So don't give me this "Carr took the high road" nonsense.

This was totally wrong. Meyer:
Should the Wolverines upset the Buckeyes in a rematch, Meyer would not consider Michigan the champions.

"Absolutely (there would be no national champion)," he said. "If I'm Ohio State, I go get a bunch of rings and say, 'We won the national championship.' That's not right."

And I read this over again and just.... ooooohhh. Mandel had no idea what the coaches were saying in the biggest story of the year. WTF. This is a highly visible national columnist who has no idea what's going on.

See, the thing is: there are no Ivan Maisel rip jobs floating out there. No one's fisking Bruce Feldman or Pat Forde (at least not on a regular basis; exceptions made for credulously following Jim Harbaugh around on a leash) every time they publish something. The guys who really get it on a regular basis -- Mike Freeman, Dennis Dodd, Mandel, maybe a few others -- deserve it. They aren't getting heat out of some little guy persecution complex (which I do think is responsible for 90% of the Simmons complaining), they're getting heat because they suck so badly that college football would be covered better if they evaporated and were not replaced. They get more stuff wrong than right, constantly use the most banal shtick available to lend their opinions weight without actually doing any of that research stuff, and permanently implant memes into your rival's fans that will never go away despite their total lack of validity. Who looks worse: the blogosphere for caterwauling about it or the actual employers of these guys? I dunno. I feel that every time someone points out that Stuart Mandel never writes anything worthwhile is an opportunity for someone with some power to read it, agree, and send him to prep volleyball.

Hey, I'm with Peter: blogs versus MSM is tired. I don't have a problem with beatwriters or even most columnists. But I do have a problem with wastes of time and space and think they're worth a pillory or two every once in a while, if only because one of these days Mandel's head will split and tootsie roll pops will come spilling forth.

Beilein out on the town. Fluffy video from a Detroit charity basketball thing featuring Beilein and Duke's coach:

No big deal, but he's certainly more visible than Amaker ever was.

SMQB considers the Brennan. He asks "How good is Colt Brennan?" He concludes "not amazingly" after checking out the stats he put up against actual teams, of which he faced three:
More than anything, Brennan is a product of his environment and its benefits, namely a week-in, week-out dose of the crappiest defenses the Bowl Subdivision has to offer.
Why SMQB didn't come to this conclusion months ago when he voted Brennan the second best player in all the land and helped contribute to his totally unjustifiable victory in the inaugural MaxwellPundit we'll never know. What we did know at the end of the year: certain players were very good indeed against other players who were quite good themselves. You knew Darren McFadden and Reggie Nelson and Calvin Johnson and Alan Branch were amongst the best football players in the college ranks last year; all one knew about Brennan is that he was an improved version of Timmy Chang who is way better than the very worst defenses in I-A, which means we knew nothing.

If only SMQB had come to this epiphany in time and dumped Kliff Kingsbury 2006 off his ballot, the eminently deserving and completely awesome Reggie Nelson would have won, Sports Illustrated would have collapsed, and blogs would have overrun the mainstream media, triumphant. Or something like that.

This is a long way of saying that I don't care what Brennan does against this schedule...
Northern Colorado: I-AA (1-10 last year as "re-classifying/provisional" from Div. II)
Louisiana Tech: 118 [<---pass efficiency D] UNLV: 113
Charleston Southern: I-AA (68th; allowed 300-plus yards to Wingate and Coastal Carolina)
Idaho: 101
Utah State: 119
San Jose State: 67
New Mexico State: 111
Fresno State: 107
Nevada: 48
Boise State: 30
Washington: 74
...I ain't voting for him for anything, not even "Best Brennan," as there's no way he can prove as much as a dozen players around the country who will face actual competition and excel against it. Brennan's victory last year was so dumb it made me weep. Mandel could have done that! We did something that Mandel could have done. Fie on us if we allow it to happen again.

Well, yeah. Kirk Bohls has an on-point column about the whole Texas-Big Ten thing, though I'd like to see this report:
Texas was immediately rushed to the forefront as the prime object of the Big Ten's affections, even though there wasn't a single credible source behind it. One circulated report hinted that it was a 95-percent certainty the Longhorns would be swapping leagues.
Um... circulated where? I hate blind leads like that. A circulated report hints there's a 95 percent chance Jim Tressel is an alien from Trafalmadore. A circulated report suggests there's a 95 percent chance monkeys are made from rubber bands. Etc. Anyway, it tells everyone what we already knew -- no Texas -- suggests Missouri, and is generally reasonable aside from that. Note of particular interest to Michigan fans:
"We're happy," DeLoss Dodds says.

The athletic director says Texas hasn't even been able to persuade Michigan to schedule it in a home-and-home series. And frankly, Texas would never think about bolting to the Big Ten because of the excessive rigors such a move would place on its athletes and fans.

I wish we could make this happen, especially in like 2009 or 2010 when Mallett and McGuffie and maybe Stonum are Michigan's new era Hart-Henne-Manningham. Chances of that: zero. Sigh.

(Someone else's) mailbag! The Game addresses that traffic stop from earlier in this year:
So I remember hearing at the beginning of the summer that there was a random traffic stop in Michigan that apparently had Mr. Manningham in the car along with what was suspected to be prescription drugs and maybe marijuana. Did anything ever come of this? I remember most of that story was pure speculation but didn’t some local news station report that the drugs were Mario’s but not in his possession? Was Mario not in the car afterall? Is this still under investigation?

The incident Matt is talking about is linked here. As you can see in the somewhat vague write-up, Manningham’s name isn’t listed, nor are any of the players’. That’s because names were never put on police reports, nor were formal charges ever filed. At the time, I spoke with an athletic department spokesperson, who assured me that charges had not been filed and that I’d be notified if they were. There were some reports in blogs (I don’t think any actual newspapers speculated it was Manningham, though a few newspaper personalities may have hinted Manningham’s involvement on local sports television shows), but nothing has come from it.

Whether I think Manningham was actually involved in this incident would be strictly my opinion and I don’t think it matters. I don’t know if he was in the car, and speculating further would blow things out of proportion — kind of like what happened in May when the story was first reported. To my knowledge, the case is essentially closed.

So that's good. Nothing came of the stop, but since I was the guy who said it was Manningham I feel I should defend myself. A few days before the incident became public knowledge with the publication of an article in a local newspaper, I received a tip from someone stating details confirmed by that article -- three guys, football players, traffic stop in Monroe county, some drug suspicion -- that named Manningham as one of the players. Even though this seemed totally credible I didn't want to just run with it in case it was an elaborate hoax; a friend and I spent a couple hours calling the various law enforcement branches of Monroe County attempting to verify. We could not, so I sat on it until the publication of said article proved the source's validity beyond a shadow of a doubt; thus the post from which that impression was gleaned.

This blog does deal in rumor, as internet rumors have proven to be highly accurate predictors of future events, but those things are always denoted as such and when I come out and break something -- these posts are tagged "actual news" -- it's because I have multiple sources or one proven source indicating the same thing. My credibility is critical for this endeavor, and I want to make it clear that I do not run around printing stuff without good reason. End unnecessarily paranoid self-defense.

(Side note: MGoBlog welcomes all tips, no matter how peripheral or totally unusable due to salacious content, and the proprietor thinks well of the tipsters during his nightly prayers. Email address can be found on the left sidebar near the top, or:

Etc: MVictors points out a rip job from the husband of Michigan academic support honcho Shari Acho -- often approvingly cited as a major factor in impressing recruits' parents -- that is way over the line. I mean... I called Harbaugh a name or two, but... wow.

CFN is stupid; CFN still stupid; CFN causes birth defects in fetuses. RBUAS on Henne.