Monday, April 26, 2010

Let THAT Be a Lesson To You

Donovan Warren.

They should put his name up in bright lights at the University of Michigan. Big bright lights that say,


You're coach can't tell you this. Your parents, if they're smart will tell you to stay in school...And if you're smart, you will figure it out after talking to some other objective parties. Clausen and Tate both should have stayed one more year. Their value would have spiraled up. And they would have become better playing against younger, less experienced athletes.

It kills me, actually, to have to see this. After Thursday night, which was pretty anti-climatic, if you ask me, the draft got BORING. If they actually expect people to tune into this on Friday and Saturday, they are going to have to jazz it up a little more than that...But again, I'm wandering. I was staying tuned in and watching the bottom line for names that I would recognize and say, "Yeah, they deserved to be drafted." And when Donovan's name didn't pop up in the 5th round on Saturday, I started to get susupicious. I was thinking maybe I missed him. Of course, Kiper didn't even have him on the big board. So that tells you something.

What this SHOULD teach everyone that's playing in their junior year that the lure of money needs to be ignored. It needs to be put aside and dismissed. And then one can truly focus on achieving something great. I believe Brandon Graham exhibited this all by himself this year as Michigan's Defensive leader. Putting aside the riches for something more important, something meaningful.

Yes, Donovan signed as a free agent with the Jets. My guess is he gets cut early and might have a one or two year career playing a back-up roll or as a league journeyman. One more year at Michigan might have changed all that.

Other notable local talent that went undrafted and subsequently signed free agent deals:

Carlos Brown - Undrafted free Agent - Signed with Saints
Brandon Minor - signed with Bears
David Moosman - Cardinals
Greg Matthews: - Signed with Bears

MSU Blair White - Signed with Colts
MSU Brett Swenson - Signed with Colts

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Delaney Throws Ice Water on Expansion Woody - er, Excitement

I know, this is a family read and there are kids out there that might ask their Dad, "Hey, what's a woody?" To which Dad can reply, "It's what used to happen before you were here and when your Mom gave Dad a funny look and we would, well, I'll explain it to you when you're 18..." Of course, Dad could just point them to the nearest Cialis commercial and let them figure it out on their own...But I digress..

So, what exactly did Delaney say today, if anything? I think he said, "We are moving forward with our original plan of 12-18 months before we do anything. The accelerated time table rumor is false." Which, when you allow the MMQ to read between the lines, means:

The Big 10 University Presidents all called Delaney and said, "COOL IT, YOU IDIOT! We have people calling us 24-7 giving us their opinion as to who we should bring in and if we're going to let 5 teams join than this should be one of them! I haven't even looked at the earlier proposal and you have everything in the press going absolutely apeshit! KNOCK IT OFF!"

Of course, again, I'm speculating here. But my guess is there were one or two conversations that went exactly like that. And I'm sure there are several universities in the Big 10 that are wondering if expansion makes sense - in other words, we don't need any more money than what we're currently getting. (I won't speculate on which, but I'm sure there are dissenters).

Suffice it to say, this will be a huge decision, because once you're in the Big 10, you're in. And it's not going anywhere, not unlike the Big 12 and BEast brethren that are wondering if they will survive the calendar year. And the president's simply aren't going to rush into this herky-jerky and start handing out Big 10 passes to whoever has their hand up. I think, based on all the data that's available now, that even the Grand Ole' Dame will need to "lobby" its way in, if in fact it wants in given the alternative of trying to make the BEast work without several key institutions.

I stated this earlier and I'll state it again: The Big 10 holds all the cards, money, chips and goodies in this show and you can bet that they won't rush into anything until they've explored every facet of the issue in excruciating detail. And, for what it's worth, I thing that's just the way it should be.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Big Ten Expansion - More Information

Okay, if any of you are still following along, check out the latest entry on Frank the Tank's Slant on Big Ten Expansion.

Patrick is a person with a lot of knowledge about the television industry and has provided invaluable insight into this expansion process and has no doubt revealed what many of the Big 10 universities probably already know:

Expansion is the key to riches and future revenue growth beyond their wildest dreams.

What it basically states is that the BTN and Fox are going to make boatloads of money on under televised Collegiate Athletic Sporting Events that casual fans will tune in and watch. I have often thought that if there was a live college sporting event on that I would tune in. And frankly, I'm right. I often find myself watching a college Big 10 baseball or softball game on the BTN. The lesser sports, not so much, but I am watching. And the BTN knows that people are watching and can sell that advertising.

So, where the money and power once prevailed are now shifting and the Univeristies have the product. And the only way to make that product better and more plentiful is to expand. Plain and simple.

One thing Patrick did note that Frank doesn't agree with (but I do) is that the Domers are out of the picture. I'm pretty sure of that, also, but for entirely different reasons. I have been delving deeper into the psyche of the average Domer and I believe that the President, $warbuck$, and everyone else knows that to make a decision to join the Big 10, while absolutely correct from a commercial and financial standpoint, would in essence be political suicide. And while it may in 10 or 20 years be looked at as the best decision that was ever made, there will be heads that need to roll in the interim as "those that gave up our independence", not "Visionaries that had the ability to see the future of college sports and revenue generation."

So, yes, the Domers will turn down an additional $25-$30Million annually to maintain their indepence...And they might not have anything left to show for it once it's all said and done.

So, based on the Patrick Info: Top 3 candidates for 14 Teams: Nebraska, Rutgers, Pitt....Sorry Syracuse(I know, I had them in yesterday - but that was yesterday)....
If it goes to 16: Nebraska, Rutgers, Pitt, Kansas, Missouri....

Monday, April 19, 2010

Big Ten Expansion - Accelerated

If you have been following along, you know that I read Frank the Tank’s Big 10 Expansion Index regularly. I also try to follow the news. Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Big 10 would be accelerating the process in order to have things in process before most Universities’ fiscal years end on June 1.

This is an interesting development and allow me to “Read Between the Lines.”

If the Big 10 wants to discuss this at the Association of American Universities (AAU) in Washington, which Notre Dame is not a part of, then Notre Dame is out. I don’t think there’s any other way to state it. It’s really that simple. Notre Dame is not an AAU member and the Big 10 is sending a message to everyone else that the Domers are out by announcing this “open” discussion at the AAU meeting.

So, how do I feel about that? I would feel great if it meant that Michigan didn’t have to play Notre Dame any more. Seriously. I love beating them, but I hate adding to their financial bottom line in Big 10 country when there are better and more deserving teams within the footprint that would benefit from playing Michigan. That’s my honest assessment. I also don’t like the fact that they get to enjoy playing the Big 10 teams that they play and it keeps the money in the region – or rather, at Notre Dame, but not in the Big 10.

Anyway, while this is pure speculation on my part, it’s the way I’m reading it.

So, what does it mean to the Big 10 overall? I will change my earlier position (I more or less have to, right?) that Notre Dame was going to be part of this expansion to not including Notre Dame. I still believe it’s going to be 14 teams, but I am not sure who the 3 will be. For those believing that it’s going to be 16 teams, I will say this: There has never been a 16 team football conference that has ever succeeded long term. Hence, 14 teams – at the max. But I will now shift my opinion and state that it will be two Big East Teams and 1 Big 12 team. 7 teams per division with 6 division games and 3/4 non division rotating games with the other division teams. There will be two non conference games on the schedule as well.

All right - I'll speculate - that's why you read this drivel, right?

BEast: Syracuse, Rutgers
Big 12: Nebraska (no, not Missouri)

Why Nebraska over Missouri? Better national footprint for the BTN.

This gives the Big East at least a chance at surviving, even though I really don’t believe they can or will want to after the Big 10 decimates them to the point of having to take C-USA dregs or whoever else is left. The Big 12 will survive and will most likely add TCU – even though most of the Big 12 won’t like that decision. But, caution for the Big 12 is warranted here: If you start making the Big 12 look to much like the SWC, well….We all know how THAT turned out…

More as it comes.

Michigan Didn’t Lose!

The Spring Game was Saturday and while I was not able to attend, I was able to watch it on the BTN in prime time on Saturday night, right after catching the University of Michigan Softball squad defeat Northwestern.

Some immediate observations:

1. Our defense looks A LOT better when we know what plays are coming. (I guess that kind of goes without saying.) On the QB’s:
-Denard Robinson is some kind of freaking fast. Granted, Denard had the luxury of playing the 2nd string D and Tate was up against the 1st string, but I cannot get over how quickly the kid can accelerate. He goes from, “I think I will run,” to like, 5th gear where everyone else is operating with 4. We need to find more ways to work him into the offense – or hopefully his passing improves to the point that he’s the starter over:
-Tate. Tate was Tate, and I mean that in a not so good way. He had the first turnover and first stupid mental mistake when he threw a pass that shouldn’t have even been attempted. I mean, if the kid can’t throw it away when the game doesn’t matter, will he ever figure it out?
-Gardner looks a whole lot better to me now than he did at the State Finals. The only time I’d seen him play was at the state’s where he admittedly did not have a good game. He threw a couple of nice passes and it will be nice knowing he’s on the bench as a redshirt…
2. And the most concerning issue: IF we don’t find or manufacture a kicker between now and September, it’s gonna be a long season.

I really don’t know how much you can take away from a Spring Game, which for all intents and purposes is a glorified practice where they keep some sort of whacky score, that even the announcers couldn’t describe as it wasn’t explained to them. They are fun to watch and you get to see things you don’t normally see. However, as I stated before, familiarity breeds a “knowing” on defense that makes it easy to guess what’s coming and what the other guy is going to do. So, unless you have superior athletes on the offensive side of the ball, you probably won’t see much.

After all that is said…It seems like I saw things offensively that I hadn’t seen before. I actually saw the QB’s taking snaps under center, which I didn’t even think was in the spread offense manifesto. So that was new. I saw some tailback promise, but no one really stood out. Yes, there were some long, broken plays, but still, it gets back to that athlete thing.

And I still think this defense is suspect. There’s going to be pain this year. And it will hurt bad for Michigan fans that consider themselves traditional “Defensive” minded fans. But, how much worse can it really get? Actually, I don’t want to go there, not yet.

And I will also say that somehow, Michigan again finds itself in the extremely unenviable position of NOT HAVING A KICKING GAME! What the hell…I thought at least that part would end with the change to Rich Rod, but to me anyway, it looked worse than ever. We need a golfer or soccer player to try out for the position.

So, I will continue to post on Big 10 expansion - which had some interesting news over the weekend and anything I hear until the Pre-Season Spectacular.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bucket Lists...Theirs and a Few of My Own

The Michigan Daily recently ran a "pretty good" bucket list of things to do before you graduate. For all of them, you can click here and see what they had as worthy of doing before leaving Ann Arbor.

I will say, that out of the 38, I am happy to admit to accomplishing the following:

1. Taking a Final without Studying: But it was Anthropology and the Final Exam couldn't hurt my grade as I had aced the three mid terms. But you could take the final to see if you could improve to an A+. Of course, I had some engineering finals it felt like I hadn't studied for....

2. Get in Trouble with the Department of Public Safety: While not one of my proudest moments, I felt it necessary to occassionally challenge the shanty town on the diag that stood for God knows what and in a drunken stupor, go knock the shanty over. This was, get this, a punishable offense via ticketing and fines! Yes, I ran from Public Safety and Ann Arbor's finest once or twice. Stumbling out of Dooley's with a beer in my hand and a record sprint through the Nickel's Arcade is still quite memorable.

3. Farmer's Market: Yes I did it. No, it wasn't worth it. Maybe now, but then, no.

4. Attend a Small Sport Competition: Always fun. Baseball, wrestling, and a gymnastics event, not to mention an indoor track meet (Big 10 invitational) and outdoor track as well.

5. Main Street Bar Crawl: Well, yeah....

6. Laundry: Come on...If you weren't doing your own, you were a loser...

7. Mud Bowl: Usually too hungover to care, but stumbled down for one or two of them...

8. Quality Time with a Professor: IOE Professor Miller. Invited into his "inner circle" and to his house on the Huron River. Hung out, drank his beer and listened to him tell stories of chasing ski bunnies at Sun Valley. That was a great semester!

9. Gettin' Down and Dirty in the Stacks: at the Graduate Library...Yes, another moment I would prefer my daughters didn't hear about... But some great memories none the less! (yes, that's plural....) So there are some daughters out there that will make fantasies come true.

10. North Campus time: Come on, I was an engineering student...I logged more hours there than I care to remember.

11. Sneak into the Big House After Hours: (And get down and dirty on the 50). Yes, I managed to pull that one off, too. I was a summer camp counselor one summer and managed to get into all sorts of trouble. But the 50 yard line under the moon light is a great memory.

12. Toga Party: Yes, did that too...South Quad with Helen Newberry house (that's the all girls dorm on State St.)

13. Attend Game at Yost: Still do...

14. Go to An Away Game: Well, yeah....

15. Drink only keg beer at a Frat party to get drunk: Well, yeah, again....What else would you do?

16. Streaking through the Diag: Okay, I didn't really do this one (in the Diag), but my girlfriend and some of her friends dared me to strip down and run through the Arboretum at night...Which I did.

17. Knock on Mary Sue (or President's) door: Summer counseling, Dominick's Strawberry Daquiri's ($5 a pitcher, at the time) and midnight. And some dares. Actually, we might have urinated on the shrubbery and then knocked.

18. Intramural Sports: Yep...Been there, done that. Actually managed to play in the practice facility for the flag football "finals" in our division. That was the 175 lbs. and under division...but it was fun, none the less.

Now, the list wouldn't be compelete if I didn't add at least a couple of my own.

19. Hanging out, partying and getting down (again) on the roof of South Quad in the summer time...Camp counselor thing again...

20. Rapelling off the 12 story school of dentistry building...yet I still seem to have a somewhat irrational fear of heights.

21. Sneaking beer and a bottle into the State Street Theater and catching a porno flick at at Midnight with the South Quad troop. Imagine 25 or so drunks chanting "Go! Go! Go!" along with a bunch of other drunk guys (and some gals) and it was a great party atmosphere, believe it or not.

22. Picture Man. Oh, the stories I could tell being a Picture Man. Best Friday-Saturday night job on campus, by far. Bartending and waitressing might be fun, but this job allowed you to not only photograph drunks, but you made money doing it.

23. Catching a Monty Python or Looney Tunes flim festival at any of the Student Movie nights in the auditoriums around campus...

24. Catching a Summer Time Movie at the Power Center.

25. Walking around Art Fair and stopping at all the pubs along the way...

26. Stumbling across town to hang out at the Blind Pig for $2 beers...

27. Participating in the "Tug" as part of living in South Quad....

28. Canoeing on the Huron River - with friends and a case of beer (counselor thing again...)

29. Going to a Michigan Football Player's Party.....And a Michigan Marching Band Party.

30. If you're fortunate enough, go to a Rose Bowl. (or any bowl for that matter)

That's a pretty compelete list, for me anyway. I only wish I had a chance to relive a couple of these as they were memorable, but memories do fade over time. And of course, you can never go back, but that's not always the point. Live for the moment and enjoy. You never get a second chance.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In Theory, The Only Way It Could Happen.....

In a dark hole in the wall Bar in St. Louis….

Unknown Voice: Thanks for coming. Mr. S, Scotch and water?
Mr. S: Irish Whiskey, neat please.
Unknown Voice: Mr. P., what are you drinking?
Mr. P: Call me Bill.
Unknown Voice: Okay Bill, what’ll it be?
Bill: And by the way, I’m calling you Jim. This whole Mr. Letter of our Last Name thing is ridiculous.
Jim: Fine. Can I get you a drink?
Bill: I’ll have a beer. (Jim waves a waitress over and makes the order)
Jim: So, gentlemen, you all know why you’re here.
Mr. S: Uh, just for the record, I’m not officially here. I’m just here for the booze.
Jim: Yes, we know that Mr. S. (under his breath) Dumbass….
Mr. S: What was that?
Bill: Jim said that you’re all class, Jack.
(There’s a commotion as Jack and Bill start to grab each other’s lapels. Jim separates and calms the two as the drinks arrive. Jack gulps his drink and immediately orders a double. Jim sips his vodka rocks as Bill takes a long pull on his draft)
Bill: All right, Jim. I’m going to put my cards on the table. We’re in if they’re in. (he nods to Jack).
Jack: I’m not here.
Jim: Shut up, (again – quietly) Dumbass….Okay. So, the state will let you make the move if A&M can come, right?
Bill: (nods) Yeah. We didn’t even have to push to hard with the legislature. They were on board with it based on the annual opportunity to pound on the two schools in front of us for all time wins. One in particular.
Jim: Michigan and present company?
Jack: I’M NOT HERE! (grabs the waitress and orders another double)
Bill: Yeah. (turns to Jack) So, what’s it going to be?
Jack: I’m in a difficult situation with a fan and alumni base that believes the college football world revolves around a golden dome in northern Indiana. We want – no, we NEED TO MAINTAIN OUR INDEPENDENCE and not tarnish ourselves in the football cesspool known as the Big 10.
Jim: But you make the decisions. You are the man in charge.
Jack: (gulping his drink) Who told you this? What makes you think I make decisions? Has he spoken to either of you? (Jim and Bill look at each other)
Jim: Has who spoken to us?
Jack: You know. (points up) “Him.” (Jim calls the waitress over and orders another Vodka and Beer)
Jack: And another double for me, thanks. (Tries to grab the waitress around the waist – she dodges the grab.)
Waitress: Is your friend okay? We don’t usually get big drinkers like that here.
Jim: He’s fine. Whiskey is like mother’s milk for him. (she walks away)
Bill: (Gives Jim a knowing look) You know, Jack. I actually did have a conversation with Him the other Sunday in Church.
Jack: (slurring) Are you serious, what did he tell you?
Bill: He said, “Join the Big 10. It’s the right thing to do.”
Jack: Seriously? Really? Oh, man! Wait till I tell Father! (Jack texts a quick note – there’s an immediate response.)
Jack: Father says you’re full of shit…no offense.
(Bill and Jim stare at Jack for a few minutes. Jack quaffs another double. Bill swipes Jack’s blackberry and starts typing under the table. He hits send and slides the device back in front of Jack after Jack tries to squeeze the waitress’ ass and cop a feel on her boob. It buzzes about 5 seconds later.)
Jack: (after looking at his blackberry and turning a little pale) I’m in. I mean, we’re in.
Jim: (glances at Bill speaks to Jack) What changed your mind?
Jack: I just got a text from “Him”. He says it’s okay.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Big 10 Expansion, The Masters and Vacations

Big 10 Expansion

It’s been awhile since I posted and I wanted to let people in on the fact that the Big 10 Expansion discussion on Frank The Tank’s blog is great reading, thought at times it does get a little long. However, I am currently still of the belief:

1. There will be an expansion announced at some point this year.
2. That expansion will include the University of Notre Dame.
3. The expansion will also include one Big East Team and one Big 12 team.
4. The Big 10 will never expand beyond 14 teams. 12 teams (Notre Dame) would be great, but 14 gives Delaney the “Seismic” change that he needs and provides many years of continued growth for the BTN.

If you want all the details of my prediction, well, read my other blogs and take about a day to sift through Frank’s blogs and all the comments. While there aren’t too many “U suck” and “There’s no way ND will ever join a conference” it has become apparent, to me anyway, that the $$$$ surrounding expansion simply makes too much sense. And the administrations will see that expanding into new markets will effectively insure increased revenue and growth opportunities for years to come. Read that last sentence again: Years to come. How I finally came to the conclusion that it will be 3 additional teams takes some time to summarize, but suffice it to say it’s about the aforementioned $$$$.

There aren’t many Big 10 schools that will ignore that as ticket prices have gone about as high as they can go and even Michigan “rolled back” their prices on certain games last year. The fans have cried uncle on ticket pricing, PSL’s, and the rest, but if you tack an extra buck on their cable bill, that seems to be something everyone can agree with and manage from a fan perspective.….

The Masters

I don’t usually get too emotional over athletic events. Yes, I shed a tear of happiness when Michigan beat OSU in 1997 and clinched the Rose Bowl berth with National Title Implications. But usually, I just watch the revelers and smile. However, anyone who watched the Masters this past weekend and watched Lefty finish up on Sunday got an opportunity to witness something really special. I guess in the back of my mind, I have always been a huge fan of Mickelson. It just used to really piss me off (I mean, REALLY PISS ME OFF) when I would watch this guy play well for three days and then completely melt down on Sunday. It was frustrating, but at the same time, if you play golf, you know how quickly the wheels can come off your game, and you’re not even playing for anything. So Lefty always has this human quality that he brings to the game and lets the fans see….Not to mention that 1 year ago, his wife and then his mother are diagnosed with breast cancer and he takes considerable time off from the tour.

Tiger’s mis-deeds are all in the headlines and Phil shows up to Augusta somewhat out of the limelight. He’s not on the pedestal and doesn’t have to answer all the media’s questions as they’ve all been asked. He goes out and plays well. But then he does something uncharacteristic of Phil: HE DOESN’T HAVE THE CLASSIC MICKELSON MELT DOWN! I was pulling for him all the way and while I watched the 2nd shot on the 13th, I wasn’t sure (and he later confirmed) that the shot was all that tough – for a pro, not for me – and he puts a great stroke on it and sticks it. I announced to my family, that wasn’t paying attention, that Phil had just won the Masters! And then of course, he missed the putt.

I can only say that if you pull for Phil, you have to get used to the roller coaster ride. And after the final putt, when it was all said and done, Amy was there. No one, not even Phil knew she would be coming, but he caught a glimpse of her on the 18th and he let himself smile and made the birdie. Then he walked over and hugged her. That was it, I was a mess – And I’m not afraid to admit it as I am sure there were several of you out there overcome as well. Don’t know why, but I do understand how important it is to have someone to share a moment like that with.


Took the longest vacation that I have ever taken in recent memory and to say it was worth it was an understatement. However, coming back really sucks. I am convinced that if I was retired (with an income of some sort) I would not be bored or find myself looking for productive things to do. I know I would be a great professional goof off and also maintain some productivity along the way – just enough to feel that I’m making a contribution.

I guess I should have been a school teacher. I have several in the family and I don’t think they appreciate exactly what they have.

In fact, I need to find a job that will make it seem like I’m on vacation and then I will never have to work another day in my life….

That’s the ticket!