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Friday, August 19, 2005

Michigan article etc: Pitts on Max Martin. Michigan is QB U. No doubt about it. The djl Zone talks some Northern Illinois in the course of previewing the MAC. I don't expect the Huskies to seriously challenge Michigan--their power running attack is basically the exact wrong offense to run against Jim Herrmann--but they aren't going to roll over and die like Notre Dame or Eastern Michigan.

Thank God we have a 12th game so that we can squeeze that third MAC team on the schedule. CSTV has an article that slams major colleges for playing way too many games against teams without a chance that I agree wholeheartedly with. I'm completely depressed by the mad dash for cash being undertaken by athletic departments across the country. Part of that is undoubtedly due to Title IX mandating a vast array of nonrevenue women's sports that the football programs of successful schools inevitably end up supporting. But a far greater drive for revenue is created by a frankly repellent tendency to skirt the letter of the NCAA law by building lavish palaces reserved largely for athletes that further obliterate the quainter-by-the-second "student" part of "student-athlete." (Though ND, UGA, Texas, and Oregon are cited by the links above, there's no school in the country with big-time aspirations that is not guilty of the same thing, including Michigan.) At what point to you step back and say this is excessive? About ten years ago would have been good.

I'd love for the NCAA to step in with a hammer, mandate six home games maximum, outlaw megadorms and athlete-exclusive palaces, and generally take an evil socialist approach to the whole thing. But they have neither the jurisdiction nor the inclination to do any such thing, so I get to spend hundreds of dollars a year on tickets for games against various directional Michigan schools and the kids playing the game seem less like students and more like loosely affiliated mercenaries every day. Yay.

Warren St. John pointed out an article from across the Atlantic on that other sort of football that's blunt in its assessment: "Football fans are idiots." That's hard to dispute when this fall I will be looking at an $80 ticket that says "Eastern Michigan" on it.

Big Ten turmoil continues at Michigan State and Iowa. MSU redshirt freshman RB Tony Howard has been granted his release and will transfer. Impact is near nil. With Jason Teague and Jehuu Caulcrick 1-2 on the depth chart and incoming freshmen AJ Jimmerson and Javon Ringer expected to contribute, Howard was probably no better than fifth on the depth chart.

More relevant is Iowa cornerback Antwan Allen's situation. Allen was convicted (noreg C&P)of a pretty serious-sounding assault charge:

The 22-year-old was convicted of hitting a man on the side of the head, knocking him unconscious, and breaking his jaw. The victim, Maurice Payne, is a City High School graduate and current Iowa State University student.
As a result it's likely he will be suspended for part of the year. How much is up to the University and Kirk Ferentz.

Faithful Rivals posters dug up a little bit on the Children's Hockey Crusade that signed up yesterday. As expected, they're amongst the top players their age.

CNNSI's John Walters outed himself as a Domer in his latest Campus Blitz. He also makes an impressive leap from "David Givens caught five passes in a Super Bowl" to "Weis E. Coyote is 31337." Not to be missed is this textbook example of setting yourself up for massive disappointment:
Last year Notre Dame scored as many points as its opposition over the course of the season, 289. Although they were only 81st nationally in total offense and 72nd in scoring offense, anyone who watched the first 20 minutes of the Southern California game witnessed what this offense can do when it's in sync.
Uh... 20 minutes of a game you lost by 31 or an entire season? Which of these things is more indicative of reality... hmmm.

I, of course, plan on doing this exact same thing when discussing the Michigan defense.

Elsewhere in the MSM, the Sporting News preview with the incendiary quote about Michigan from an opposing coach has finally been posted on the Interwebs. FTR, the quote:
Michigan doesn't show up every week. I think they're pompous, over-recruited, arrogant-type kids. Who has better players: Michigan or Ohio State? Michigan. The Michigan kid has more talent, but the Ohio State kid plays harder. ...
Everyone assumes that this was Tiller or JLS, but I note that the article makes no mention of "head" coach. It's probably some assistant somewhere. More notable is how dumb Matt Hayes comes off, regurgitating every piece of conventional wisdom he can get his hands on:
Ron Zook, meet the physical and punishing Big Ten. Now ditch that sissy offense, and recruit some tough linebackers at Illinois. ...
Why can't Purdue win close games? It's not a mental hurdle or bad breaks that have caused the Boilers to lose 14 games by a touchdown or less over the past three years. It's the lack of a consistent running game. You close out games by jamming the ball down a defense's throat -- not with a five-wide offense. ...
And then topping himself with total incoherence:
How hard will Glen Mason kick himself when Minnesota RB Laurence Maroney runs for 2,000 yards this season? Maroney was misused for two straight seasons -- having to share time with Marion Barber -- and still reached 1,000 yards each year. ...
Uh... yes, let's rip on one of the country's best rushing attacks for not rushing well enough and then imply that Glen Mason's going to be pissed if Maroney cracks 2,000 yards this year all whilst pretending that Minnesota's struggles have anything to do with letting a very effective Marion Barber III carry the ball and keep both backs fresh. Hayes deserves every mouthbreathing email he receives and responds to condescendingly.