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Monday, August 20, 2007

Hey, wow. Mere days after I exhume an old piece that beat Stuart Mandel about the head for vastly misrepresenting Lloyd Carr's actions in the BCS voting mess an excerpt from his book restates this inanity:

Jilted Michigan coach Lloyd Carr blasted Meyer for his lobbying tactics, calling his comments "inappropriate," and pointed out, correctly, that had USC won, voters likely would have kept the Wolverines ahead of the Gators.
I say this again: euthanized koala bear. Ugh.

Bizarrely, Corn Nation has a positive review of the Mandel book that contains this sentence:
Consider "Bowls, Polls And Tattered Souls" as a highly concentrated version of [Mandel's] 'Mailbag" column.
Next to "is full of anthrax" I can't imagine a less appealing thing to say about any printed matter. And yet... a positive review. There's also this:
Say what you want about Mandel. Call him an idiot because he doesn't rank your team high or has a different point of view, but he knows how to kick-start a conversation.
Unfortunately, that conversation is usually "how is this person SI's most prominent college football writer?"

Pre-hindpsychology. Michigan and Ohio State's defenses both ended the year in the same fashion: giving up gobs of points and yards.

Kirk Herbstreit on one:
I really want to see where their defense is psychologically after the [final two games].
Kirk Herbstreit on the other:
I think the defense was embarrassed by [the bowl game] and will have a chip on their shoulder.
You're reading a Michigan blog and Herbstreit is an Ohio State alumnus, so I probably don't need to tell you that the former describes Michigan and the latter Ohio State. Ah, television analysts. I don't mean to jump unduly on Herbstreit here since everyone who's ever been paid to say anything about college football on ESPN breaks out similar rationales constantly, but just... yeesh. That's a perfect exemplar of the nothing fluff that passes for useful words constantly: defense A is shattered psychologically! Defense B has a chip on its shoulder! I've referenced this term in the past; Fire Joe Morgan pegged this phenomenon perfectly a while ago:
The day after a sports team loses in the playoffs, people suddenly have a lot of (typically intangible) insights as to why that team was always destined to fail in the first place. It's a combination of hindsight and psychology that I am deciding to call hindpsychology, because I am a fan of sports portmanteaus (or as I call them, sportmanteaus).
A perfect example of this is the infamous 51-day layoff that, since Ohio State got rolled, is cited as a cause of rust and woe that would have been time to get healthy and prepare had the Buckeyes won. Herbstreit doesn't actually have a reason for saying anything in the cited article, but he does have opinions that require justification so he drags out this junk. Said junk is handy because no matter the situation the team finds itself in, you always have some explanation for your wack opinion. Unless it's this...
"If I were ranking them I would probably put Penn State as the team to beat," he said. "(Quarterback) Anthony Morelli has a year under his belt. They have a great group of receivers and a solid offensive line, so the offense should be good."
...which is just plain unjustifiable aside from the incontrovertible fact that Morelli existed last year. (Note: I do think PSU will be a quasi-contender, but "the team to beat" == pshaw. He ranked them #7, his top Big Ten team, in his poll. A friend suggested that Herbstreit feels burned by his OSU-M rematch pimpage at the end of last year and is having his own personal backlash against the Big Two in an effort to recover some cred, a plausible theory.)

Another example of inanity passing itself off as analysis can be found at Gunshots.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Lloyd can be found in this enormous interview from Scholastic Magazine. Carr's full life history unfolds:
can remember right after Bo had hired me, Don Canham, the great athletic director here, always met with new hires. I'll never forget what he told me. He said, "Lloyd, there's only one way to lose your job at Michigan, and that's if you cheat. We run a program with integrity. So recruit hard, do a great job coaching, and you'll love this place." Of course, working for Bo Schembechler, who at that age, he was still a guy with a lot of energy and fire and passion. That experience provided me so many valuable lessons, many of which I never appreciated until I became the head coach. Because Bo was not only a great friend, he was a great competitor, and a great coach.
Note that "great" has seemingly replaced "tremendous"; I miss the old adjective.

Seriously? Via the M Zone comes this project to determine the most successful program of the last decade. The answer... Michigan? Uh. Not even I think that. The ranking was arrived at by combining hard facts -- winning percentage, conference and national titles (did you know Texas only has one Big 12 title over the past ten years?) -- and then adding in nebulous items like tradition and dirtiness and such. Michigan wins by a healthy margin largely because of said nebulosity, but the winning percentage stacks up against even Texas and USC over that timespan. And yet Carr is mocked relentlessly.

Crack investigative reporting! Free Press:
U-M tackle Long: Great player, no shot to win Heisman Trophy
Gap filling. There is not going to be an appreciable Appalachian State preview in this space, though after last year's Ball State near-debacle I assure you there will be a few brief, respectful paragraphs expressing deep concern at the possibility of humiliating defeat. So I encourage you to visit Varsity Blue or NKOTB Maize and Blog for your Mountaineer knowledge needs. 5'7" starting corner! Must... remain... respectful... Spock.

Revoke the offer! Bucknuts has an oft-silly column by "Mr. Bucknuts," but rarely does it get quite this ridiculous:
Many of you opined that OSU needed to recruit Sam McGuffie, a human highlight film (smaller version) and teammate of OSU offensive line commit JB Shugarts. Some folks at Bucknuts thought McGuffie was an even smaller version of Maurice Wells and not a Big Ten kind of pounder. But what do we know?

So, it was with more than middling interest that I read an e-mail from my new friend, Ronnie, who sent me the following unsolicited appraisal:

Mr. B:

I really want to share with you some info on new Michigan commit Sam McGuffie. I know Buckeye fans are probably questioning why we didn't pursue this kid since he's such great friends with JB, but they shouldn't worry about it. I go to Cy-Fair with Sam and have seen him make his highlight reel plays since fifth grade. I'm a regular at games and I won't lie some of the things he does are jaw-dropping, but this kid just won't make it in the Big 10. I'm just barely 5' 10" and when I walk past him in the hallway I have at least an inch on him. He's really small and if Michigan plans to keep him as a tailback (as they said they would), he will just disappear on the bench. He's not made for a zone running attack, and won't be able to stand up to Big Ten caliber defenses. Me and my buddy always thought he would be best fit for a Texas Tech like offense where he'd be offset and would get to work mainly out of the shotgun. The recruitment of this kid is a perfect example of why Tressel has been pounding LLLLLoyd during his tenure as coach, he just makes better decisions. He knows who fits his system, and he develops them into world class football players, whereas Carr just goes for whoever's the flavor of the week. I'm also pretty good friends with J.B. Shugarts. I played on his AAU basketball team from 6th through 9th grade, and I knew early on even asa naive middle-schooler that he would end up being a great offensivetackle. I remember that he was 6'4" in seventh grade. I also remember always getting paired up with him during charging drills in practice and barely being able to get up after he plowed into me. I'd also like to mention that JB is one of the nicest kids you'd want to meet and has a terrific sense of humor. I know you may think it's weird that I wouldn't stick up for McGuffie,but my Buckeye pride shines a lot brighter than my Cy-Fair Bobcat pride. Thanks and keep up the good work. Ronnie

Now, there’s someone very very close to the situation. Thanks for the op-ed, Ronnie…

What? A sixteen year old named Ronnie who spells "Lloyd" with five Ls thinks McGuffie is too small? Fie! We shall disregard the opinions of the Michigan, USC, Notre Dame, Texas A&M and many other coaching staffs who thought he warranted an offer plus the opinions of every recruiting site and tell this midget who ran for 3,200 yards against the toughest high school competition in the country to head to Baylor or Division II or Michigan State or something. Thank you for bringing this pertinent information to our attention, Ronnie. We shall call you Prodigal Scouting Ninja and bring you gifts of gold and jewels, yea.

Oh, and, um...
Perception still trumps reality when it comes to stats and the tight end position at Ohio State these past few years. Think not? Second example: Last year, the leading receiver as a tight end for Michigan was that Ohio kid, Mike Massey. He had eight receptions for 72 yards. And Ohio State’s leading TE receiver? That would have been Rory Nicol, with 13 catches for 151 yards. So, when Michigan trotted out the old negative recruiting tactic that the TE’s get the ball more in their offense, perhaps Kevin Koger and Brandon Moore should have done some better due diligence.
Not only was Mike Massey not Michigan's most prolific tight end -- Carson Butler had 19 catches for 166 yards -- he wasn't even second. Tyler Ecker had 12 catches for 155 yards despite missing half of the season injured. Total TE catches last year for Michigan: 39. For Ohio State: 15. Someone should certainly be doing their due diligence, but it isn't either of Michigan's tight end commits.

Etc.: Max Martin surfaces at Alabama A&M hilariously claiming that "homesickness" was the major motivator in his departure from Michigan; Marques Slocum's finally made it; cool USA Today article on the Wing-T of the Bellvue Wolverines -- the offense originated in Michigan and Bellevue is the former home of probable starting RT Steve Schilling.