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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Visual evidence. Baxter Allen -- winner of the ill-fated banner contest -- sends along an artists rendition of yesterday's "M as dinosaur" flight of fancy:

It's uncanny!

It is I. Interviewed at The Big Picture, if you have interest in that sort of thing.

Hockey approacheth. Yost Built has the first inklings of a great season preview with profiles of defensemen Steve Kampfer and Chris Summers. One crab: I disagree on Kampfer's importance level, which he pegs a 7 out of 10. To me, Kampfer is the biggest swing guy on the team. Yost Built rightly notes Kampfer's extremely generous defending last year and his measly +3 plus-minus are at odds with his mid-rounds NHL draft selection, something noted here as far out, man, when it first became apparent Kampfer was something other than an undrafted free agent. If he can play up to his draft position we're likely to have two solid pairings (I assume at least one of the freshmen will show up ready to play, probably 2006 third-round pick Kevin Quick). If he dishes out enough turnovers to satisfy Charlie Weis, we're in trouble.

Also: Josh Blackburn, last seen yielding a goal on an unscreened slap shot from just inside the blueline, has been "hired" as a volunteer assistant coach to help out Billy Sauer's mental game. This is the exact equivalent of hiring Ron Powlus to coach Jimmah(!).

Maybe this is why the suck? NKOTB Shooting Blue takes a look at the 2004 recruiting class -- now juniors and redshirt sophomores -- and finds a total dearth of defensive contributors. These are the guys who are contributing in any way:

  • starting DT Terrance Taylor
  • Nickelback Brandon Harrison.
Yuck. (If you want to count Marques Slocum in this class, it's likely he contributes something eventually, but not now.) The rest of the defenders:
  • OLB Chris McLaurin: moved to TE.
  • DE Eugene Germany: knucklehead. Off team.
  • DE James McKinney: transfer to Louisville after undisclosed medical issue.
  • CB Chris Richards: booted in aftermath of St Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre.
  • CB Johnny Sears: booted for never covering anyone failing a drug test.
Mmm, that's ugly.

Pile on. Even Buckeyes are getting into the Notre Dame hate. Ramzy at Bucknuts has a column that proves it's not just Michigan fans that love the Nation:
NDNation, the greatest form of online amusement that doesn’t offer any nudity or cash prizes, was shut down to the unregistered public for the entire Michigan game. This was probably done preemptively to keep the millions of Irish haters from polluting their otherwise bat-feces crazy discourse with ironic jest like, “Your an idiot”. Since the game ended, the board has been non-stop jack-knifed semi-truck on the edge of a cliff entertainment.
Bon mots and zingers abound.

Cartoon by Joel A. Morgan. Click for big.

MAD MONEY. Not Jim Cramer, but equally bats is this guy who attempts to link Michigan's crappy start to... Michigan's crappy economy. No. Seriously:
-Lack of Innovation
A wonderful memory of mine is the 1972 Rose Bowl, when underdog Stanford kicked a last-second field goal to beat top-ranked Michigan 13-12. What made the upset delicious was the complaint of Michigan fans that Stanford didn't play "real football"--i.e., Stanford passed the ball. The Michigan economy is locked into an old-world combination of union labor and high taxes--and pays the price.
The sucky part is that even though this man is obviously insane he has a point.

Brains imbue humor! JoePa's Michigan press conference is kind of awesome:

A lot has been made of the losing streak to Michigan, now at eight. When the players are asked a question, obviously they can't go back that far. You obviously have been there for all eight. Is there something about Michigan that just makes Penn State tighten up?

Well, the first time I coached against Fielding Yost (1901-23, '25-26), it was tough (laughter).

Every year's a little different one. We've had some good luck and bad luck. No, Michigan's a good, solid football team. Playing at Michigan is a lot of fun. It's a great crowd, and I think you ought to enjoy it. I don't look at it the way maybe some other people do.

Lloyd Carr said that Chad Henne may come back this week. How do you prepare for two quarterbacks, especially with the kid, Ryan Mallett, who has made one start and is 250 pounds?

[WTF does Mallett weight have to do with anything? lolmsm. -ed] I don't think you do that. I think you've got to realize what kind of a football team Michigan has. Mike Hart, the wideouts we just talked about, a very, very fine offensive line, are the things that you worry about. Henne at quarterback, has experience and everything else and has played well against us, and is a good quarterback.

Now, whether he's not playing or the other kid's going to play, I think you got to be careful about that. For all I know, they could put Hart as quarterback. Put him in an empty backfield, shotgun, like everybody else is in the country is doing these days. All of a sudden you have a whole different ballgame on your hands.

This is the first Michigan game that you've played since Bp Schembechler died. What was his legacy and how did he improve Michigan football and help the Big Ten?

I never coached against Bo. I can tell a story about Bo calling me up after we were in (invited to join) the Big Ten. He said, "You sneaky little son of a..."

I said, "What are you talking about, Bo? He said, "you sneaked in there and the athletic directors and coaches never had a vote because it was all presidents."

I said, "Bo, nobody sneaked in. " He started screaming and ranting. I started screaming and ranting at him. I liked Bo. Bo is the kind of guy you had to like. You know where he's coming from, no hypocritical statements. He never pontificated, said some things. I always had a lot of fun with him.

I never coached against him. I think you have to figure that he and Woody Hayes, at a stage of the Big Ten, probably dominated a lot of things. I've said this before, you guys get tired of hearing me say it, I think when Joe Tiller came into the league with a little different type of offense, that people say he can't do that here. I never forget the quote Joe Tiller made when they said about throwing the football. He said, "Don't you think it snows in Wyoming?"

I think then it started to change. This league's got a lot of great young coaches. The kid at Wisconsin (Bret Bielema). Ron Zook is going to make Illinois really good. Kirk Ferentz...I could go down the list.

I think Bo and Woody dominated the thing for a while. I think right now there's so many darn good young coaches. I think the league's got a little different personality than it did when maybe Bo and Woody were running the show. I'm not sure, because I wasn't in the league when they were running it.

Actual newsbits: projected starting DT Abe Koroma is still out. Jon Shaw will miss the game and true freshman Steven Wisnewski will take his spot. Wisnewski was a moderately shirtless recruit that Michigan also went after. Austin Scott has already fumbled four times and will split time with kick returner Rodney Kinlaw. And PSU plans on going full bore "eff you, try to stop this, oops you did let's punt" mode:
You mentioned Clark earlier. With the problems Michigan has had with mobile quarterbacks this season, is there any plan for potentially any place for him to try to take advantage of his mobility?

Michigan had a little problem with the mobile quarterback at Oregon, but that wasn't their big problem. Their problem was they spread them out so much, they couldn't do some things they like to do defensively because the kid could throw the ball.

No, we're going to play our game. We're going out to Ann Arbor and find out just how good are we. We're going to play them our game. I'm sure Lloyd will be in the same way with his guys. They're going to play their game and let's see what happens.
So bully for that.

Cartoon by Joel A. Morgan. Click for big.

Are we done? Now? How about now? Now? Now?.... no. We are not done piling on Notre Dame. Vijay has awakened from long slumber in recent weeks and has put together a Charlie Weis fact sheet analagous to the Ty Willingham Fact Sheet NDNation put together in their quest to keep the black man down return to glory. It is glorious. Selected excerpts:
Notre Dame is currently on a 5 game losing streak, their first since late 1985, early 1986.

Notre Dame has given up at least 30 points in each of those games. That's the first time that's happened since ... well, ever.

Notre Dame has scored 51 points over that 5 game stretch. That's the worst 5-game output since the tail end of the 1980 season ... but at least they won two of those games in 1980. Of course, the defense was a bit better then. Notre Dame has given up 187 points during this current 5 game stretch (a Notre Dame record) and has been outscored by 136 points (a Notre Dame record). They've been beaten by 20+ points every week of that stretch (a Notre Dame record). It would be tempting to say "at least they are losing to good teams," but Michigan was coming off a loss to 1-AA Appalachian State and a 32 point home loss to Oregon.

This is possibly the worst 5 game stretch in Notre Dame football history.


The 38-0 loss to Michigan ties the record for the most lopsided game in series history (tied, of course, with Michigan's 38-0 victory in 2003). The 3rd most lopsided loss in series history was last year's 47-21 Michigan win, giving Charlie Weis 2 of the top 3!


Trivia question: how old do you have to be to (truthfully) say that Notre Dame has a better record in your lifetime than Michigan does?

Answer: 87 years old. If you're younger than that, Michigan has a better record in your lifetime
The whole thing is highly recommended.

Etc.: South Bend Tribune article on Scott Driesbach; Pickin' On The Big Ten; the MZone checks out the latest Russell Crowe movie; BTN review; the Cal student newspaper so knows they're losing Tedford at year's end and is lashing out at anyone they can find.