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Friday, October 19, 2007

All right, I know this internet rumor stuff is extremely distasteful to a certain segment of the audience, and frankly I'm a little uncomfortable with it, too, because the consequences if I say something strident and I'm wrong will be bad. Last year I reported that Morgan Trent had broken his hand and would miss the Minnesota game. Rivals' Inside The Fort column-type substance pooh-poohed this as patently ridiculous. I vacillated back and forth before just laying my cards on the table and stating what I thought: Trent was out and Rivals was wrong. Those 24 hours before Michigan took the field sans Trent were nervewracking, but eventually I was proven correct. I'll do the same here.

The story:

  • Hart limps off against Purdue, doesn't play the rest of the game, seems fine, teammates guarantee he plays.
  • Carr circumspect.
  • Mom says if he's 80% he'll play and will definitely play against Minnesota.
  • Carr circumspect.
  • Yesterday a guy with an insider rep posts that Hart is a no-go for Illinois on GBW; this is widely reported in the McGuffie liveblog/chat thing. I can't evaluate this for myself.
  • Carr circumspect.
  • Yesterday afternoon the line on the game moves from -3 to a pick-em, maybe because of this "Doctor Bob" guy and maybe not.
  • Other message boards have conflicting information: Tuesday/Wednesday reports are that he will play. More recent updates are skeptical, with one definite no-go report.
  • I receive an email from a tipster like 45 minutes ago stating 1) Hart will not play and 2) expect more Hemingway ISQDs. This tipster is a Class C tipster: no track record but has emailed me before (a year ago) and is unlikely to be looking to perpetuate a hoax. Especially what with the ISQD thing. I mean, seriously, you can't make this stuff up.
Fin. You can evaluate all this as you please and come to your own conclusions.

My conclusions: there are at least three recent, separate indications from insiders ranging from purported to (apparently) established and a big line swing. Previous optimism about his play has not been updated since Tuesday/Wednesday. I think Hart is either out or extremely limited. If I see an ISQD early, I will swear quietly and pray for Carlos Brown ball security. Caveat: if Michigan finds itself in trouble I would not be surprised to see Hart pull a Willis Reed, even if it's just to stone J Leman blitzes.

I am now off to Champaign and will not be able to update this further tonight; I'm sure the commenters will keep everyone abreast of developments. Please subtract four points from my projected Michigan score in the preview.