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Thursday, June 12, 2008

It is for quiz. Clay Travis throws down the gauntlet to blog-bashers in his latest CBS Sportsline piece:

Five bloggers that have agreed to participate will take on a team of five of the most talented, educated and intelligent mainstream sportswriters that are willing to compete against them. Hopefully the roster will feature at least a few of the recent blogger insulters (Bob Costas, Buzz Bissinger, Rick Reilly, Michael Wilbon) you name the mainstream media members who are willing and there's a blogging team ready to play them for charity.

And, as a bonus, we'll let the captain of the mainstream media team select a charity they would like to raise money for. So, for example, if he's willing to participate, we would be happy to send all the proceeds to fund more of Reilly's mosquito nets in Africa. In fact it would be ideal if Reilly, given his frequent and vituperative criticism of sports bloggers and his new boffo column deal, was willing to put together his own team. Even if Reilly's not a member of the mainstream media we'll be willing to let him join.

There's more, including a brief section on yrs truly, one of the distinguished panelists. If anyone who's taken a shot at blogs is reading this, 1) your father was a hamster and your mother smells of elderberries and 2) seriously, step up to the plate. Money goes to a good cause and I can't answer any questions except those about my mother's basement. (Example Q: who did you cut open during the Great Lego Battle of Thanksgiving 2005? A: Tom.) You will wipe the floor with us. I can barely spell.

O ZOMBIE RLY? Penn State fans are super-excited that they've raided Maryland something wicked in this recruiting cycle, but, uh...

Pos Stars Ht Wt 40 RR Hometown
Eric ShriveOL6-72855.16.0Scranton, PA
Darrell GivensDB6-01704.465.8Indian Head, MD
Sean StanleyDE6-22504.75.8Gaithersburg, MD
Brandon FelderWR6-21674.435.7Oxon Hill, MD
Ty HowleOL6-2290-5.7Bunn, NC
Derrick ThomasDB6-01764.495.7Greenbelt, MD
Mark ArcidiaconoOL6-4289-5.5Philadelphia, PA
Stephon MorrisDB5-81724.485.5Greenbelt, MD
Stephen Obeng-AgyapongDB5-101744.55.5Bronx, NY
Malcolm WillisDB5-112014.645.5Indian Head, MD
Curtis Drake QB
6-01754.49-Philadelphia, PA
Frank FigueroaOL
6-42825.2-Alexandria, VA this recruiting to be excited about? Dominating Maryland football recruiting is like doing a killer job finding hockey players in Ohio.

Shrive's their only top 100 recruit and of their 12 commits only three have four stars. This looks exactly like 2008, when they had one non-linebacker pick up four stars, or 2005, when the Justin King-Derrick Williams duo overshadowed a class long on signees (19) but short on talent (only four of them got more than three stars. Penn State has gone back to its recruiting style from the early portion of the decade, when they would lock up a host of marginal prospects -- "QB" recruit Curtis Drake's only other offer was from Northwestern -- early.

You can get away with that stuff here and there when you uncover a diamond in the rough -- talented if somewhat asshatted DT Chris Baker was a two-star, Braylon Edwards, all those anonymous guys from Ohio State's secondary -- but in general you either recruit like a national contender or you don't, and Penn State isn't.

If you believe recruiting rankings matter (and you should), Penn State's lining itself up for more of the same. This is a complete list of offensive skill position players with more than three stars acquired since 2006:
  • Chris Bell (off the team after machete incident)
  • Pat Devlin
  • Andrew Quarless (hanging by a thread, their Carson Butler)
  • Brent Carter
  • Brandon Beachum
  • Michael Shaw (snake oil enthusiast)
That's one QB, one TE, and two RBs in three and a half classes; Michigan has locked down that many four star skill position recruits in the 2009 class. I think I might harp on this a bit more than I should, but this article in the Inquirer set me off. It unrealistically portrays everything as hunky-dory in Penn State land, when I, and most other Michigan fans, would be freaking out given the last four years of results on the field and in the star realm. Hell, I'm still a little freaked out about this year's class, and it features seven four-stars amongst nine recruits so far.

Ohio State? Killing it. They are not going away, not like you expected them to.

Assistant to the. Fluff on Mike Debord has this paragraph embedded:
DeBord was a candidate to replace Lloyd Carr as the head coach at the University of Michigan, and when that did not pan out, he opted to take a job as assistant offensive line coach for the Seattle Seahawks.
I was also a candidate to replace Lloyd Carr but opted to not wear pants.

I drive a Benzing. Spectacularly named new MLive author "Philip Zaroo" provides a post detailing John Beilein's latest appearance on WTKA:
"Robin would only be an emergency center/big man type of kid," Beilein said. "He's a straight-out forward. He could play either the three or the four at 6-10 1/2.
The comparison always made is Dirk Nowitski, so expect him to hang out on the perimeter a bunch. Most expect Benzing will have to sit out 2008 after playing on a professional team (but not getting paid) in Germany.

Dude. Sporting News is relaunching, and amongst their new contributors:
Lloyd Carr and the Legends Football Coaching Association
See a different game with Michigan's Lloyd Carr, UCLA's Terry Donahue, Alabama's Gene Stallings and dozens of famous college football contributors.
Hopefully he writes a media-crit column.

Etc: UMTailgate takes a look back at Moellergate; Tim from VB 1) fell four stories, 2) isn't dead, 3) has a broken spine. But he's answering mailbag questions. Hardcore. (FYI: this QB we've offered is 2010.) Michigan has not one top 25 vote across ten preseason polls.