Monday, August 30, 2010
Why am I excited? 6th and 4th grade. Nervous? My oldest gets the "sex talk" this year at school. But with the music she listens to, I'm pretty sure she has it all figured out, anyway. Elated? Well, they're finally done with the vacation at Club White Lake where they believe every day of life is a boat ride, swimming, and a fun filled olio of excitement and God forbid they have even one day of rain or a chore to do or the "whole summer vacation is ruined". Depressed? Homework starts up again in the evening. And I hate having to come home from work and dive into homework. I know I'm supposed to enjoy that kind of thing as a good parent, but just between me, you and the internet, I can't stand it....
But, it's also Game Week. Michigan finally gets to unveil a new stadium, a better offense and a "hopefully" serviceable defense. The defense has me even more worried than before as more coaches are talking it up about how much better it's going to be...Talent equals victories and right now, I'm not counting a lot of W's coming from the defensive side of the ball....
Am I going to change my pre-season prediction? Well, that would be kind of unfair, wouldn't it? However, I will state that Woolfolk was starting and Turner was still here when I made the prediction. But I'm sticking with my gut and saying that Michigan will win more games than people are giving them credit for right now. Can they win 10? Not sure....
Check out mgoblog.com for details, but it sounds like there's going to be two flyovers at the stadium on Saturday. It should be a big, glitzy, commercial for the University of Michigan. Get in your seats early and drink that last beer standing in line at the gate.
And, in a line from "The Shawshank Redemption", one of my "guilty pleasure" movies, I hope Rich Rod can either "Get busy winning...Or get busy losing..." to put us all out of our misery.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
My biggest issue? The Craig Ross observation. If you are Michigan or Ohio State, you're screwed. You are going to have to play the 5 teams in your division. No exceptions. Then, to get to 9 games, you have to pick 4 teams from the other division. So, Michigan has to play OSU every year. No exceptions. My guess is Nebraska somehow becomes a "regular game" for Michigan as well. So, that leaves Minnesota (The Oldest Trophy in College Football), Illinois and Northwestern on a rotation in and out of Michigan's schedule. I'm sure there will be some odd ball year where we don't play Nebraska, but expect that to be about once every 10 years.
OSU is in the exact same boat. Figure that MSU, Indiana, and Purdue get the rotation nod with Michigan and Wisconsin as the premier protected games. What does this mean?
If either Michigan or OSU end up winning their division, they will have played a much tougher conference schedule - without question based on historical evidence. Which is fine if you win your division. But here's the rub scenario that scares the hell out of me and makes this look and smell and awful lot like the Big 12 fiasco that we had with Texas - Texas Tech - Oklahoma in 2008:
Michigan beats Sparty by 59-0. Michigan barely loses to Ohio State and PSU, one in OT and the other by a last second Figgie.... Sparty beats everyone else on their schedule (but hasn't yet played West Division Champ OSU) and goes 8-1 conference. Michigan is 7-2.
Who's the Champ? Clearly, head to head Michigan DESTROYED SPARTY. Emasculated them. Ripped the old stones off right at the root....And somehow, Sparty manages to squeak out 8 victories and seals the Eastern division championship....
I know - This begs the question of "How often will that REALLY happen??" Well, it happened quite a bit in the former Big 12 where the head to head matchup didn't mean diddly...
Yep...This is the problem I see. I'm sure it will go along fine until we have an issue and there has to be some rule or some provision in there for head to head match-ups vs. a single win or loss separating the top two teams. If you somehow get lucky enough to upset the division champ but lose three other Big 10 contests, go home...You've got no bitch. But, in the case where we're talking about a single game separating the two...Well, no I have a big Problem. And I'm not sure how I make it go away. But head to head has to count for something in the system. One extra point if you're both in the top two? Craig suggested counting division games as two points and cross division as 1 point...No good. It seems like it's too confusing and opens up the possibility of an undefeated division champ with up to 3 losses in cross division (you would be 10-3) and then a 2nd place division team could have the better record with two division losses (7-2) and be 9-4...Or is Craig thinking the points are cummulative and not a "record" per se?
It's going to get confusing folks...Just letting you know...
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
(Click on the Image for a larger view)
But I can never just leave well enough alone...And I know Mike was trying to win points with Moe's...But I just didn't think they were that big a part of the tradition...Even though the Original Superfan and Bud worked together on the Bullwinkle Bumperstickers...
So, here's what I changed...A little bit...
(Click on the Image for a larger view)
Any other ideas???
Because right now, I know which one's my favorite...But I need to hear from you if you have any other wishes or anything we might have missed...
Monday, August 23, 2010
Some design ideas have trickled in and MT submitted a version of this design that the MMQ has taken and modified slightly. If there are more ideas out there, get them in and we can have a vote. However, I must admit, I feel a certain connection to this one....
But let's see some other ideas!
Moe's Sport Shop selected The Tailgate as a finalist in the Tailgate Competition! We will get to pick a game for our tailgate, get free T-Shirts for the Tail gate, and hang a Moe's Banner at our spot!
Here's the note from Dusting DeSnyder at Moes:
Just wanted to let you know that I loved your website and tailgate stories! I have chosen your tailgate for one of our tailgates of the week however I wanted to give you a bigger game than the UMASS or BG game so you can either choose between MSU or Iowa (homecoming) games.
In addition to the shirts we are offering discounts to use at Moe's. The number of discounts you receive and the percentage off of these discounts will depend on how many of your tailgate members, friends, and family members "LIKE" us on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/MoeSportShop.
So spread the word and recommend our page to those people!Congrats!
Dustin DeSnyder Moe Sport Shops
Get on Facebook and hit "Like" when you visit Moe's.....
So, instead of reporting other news...Our tailgate is the news!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
After having puked up breakfast, lunch and dinner yesterday I have finally gotten past what can only be still lingering in the mind of Troy Woolfolk. "Why did this happen?" Why a freak accident in his senior season that looked to be extremely promising has taken him out? Who knows....
Which got me to thinking about what I would do if I were the head coach in that locker room. Everyone knows you're going to be bad in the secondary. Now they know that not only are you going to be bad, but you don't even have decent personnel to be bad with. And I started thinking some more.
Is this a great motivation tool or what?
Whenever you are faced with insurmountable odds or the biggest pile of stink that you've ever encountered and "EVERYONE IS EXPECTING YOU OR THE SITUATION TO RESULT IN UTTER FAILURE!", any success that you manage to pull out of it is going to be looked at as, "Impossible! He (or they) defied all the odds and succeeded!"
That's kind of my credo in the working world. Find a big problem that's destined for failure and get associated with it. Throw in your best knowledge and effort. You might be surprised that big problems really aren't that big at all and if you address them as a series of little problems, maybe, just maybe, you'll experience a little success. Than a little more. And before you know it, the big "Oh Shit!" has turned into a working solution and people are looking around wondering who was on the team that made that work. Granted, the secondary is a monumental problem, but Maize and Brew addresses the issue and offers hope. So, forget the message boards, the offers of hemlock and cyanide tablets and look at the positive. We still have to play the games, folks and its better to be optimistic than otherwise. Besides, it's too damn early to start feeling lousy....
On to other news: I don't know whether to add this here or not, but mgoblog.com has posted a twitter from sideline hottie and Penns State Communication Grad Melanie Collins on the Big 10 network that claims Tate Forcier has requested a transfer.
So much for a quiet pre-season..... By the way, if you're on the ledge, welcome to the club. I haven't jumped yet and my pre-season prediction remains....But I really, desperately want to change it. I'm just still extremely hopeful that all isn't lost. And that the Rod is a good coach and can manage this....
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Troy Woolfolk breaks leg in practice.
I'm literally sick to my stomach right now. I know that he's not the entire team, but he was going to be a major part of the defense. A blow like this could either devestate the entire season or create something to rally around.
I guess we'll see what kind of Coach the Rod is now....Can he keep them together?
Turner would certainly be nice to have around right about now....
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
So, there you have it. Play them twice. Let the chips fall where they may.
Also, in case you haven't been following along, RR confirmed that the all blue helmets are on players that have "NOT earned their wings!" I like it. I really do. I am starting to believe more and more that Rich Rod gets it. It's taken longer than anyone would have liked, but I do believe that Rich Rod is slowly becoming a Michigan Man. Is it too little, too late is the question.
Which Maize and Brew attempted to answer with a poll of their own. Out of the 1,000 votes cast to the question: Should Rich Rod be fired as the head coach? 85% believe that YES! He should get canned.
15% of us believe that Rich Rod is doing what he can with what he has.
And while I'm not ready to fire him yet, there's apparently a very large, vocal contingent that are ready to get the torches and pitchforks out and send this guy packing....
It's time to win, Rich. No Excuses.
I follow recruiting, but at the same time, you don't know what you're getting until you see the product on the field, regardless of how highly regarded or how many stars are slapped next to their name in some magazine or on some website. Yes, I know that the schools that recruit and land the best talent are often in the top 10 in the final rankings. Save me the education.
Finally, in Part III, he gets to a point that I believe makes all the difference in recruiting:
There are some kids that are playing for universities out there that simply took what they thought was "The Best Deal" they could get, whatever that means. If they're looking to make it to the pros and this school needed their position this particular year, well, that's where they're going, whether or not they believed in the school, the coach, the system, whatever. Then there are guys that somewhere, early in their childhood, decided that there was only one place they would play. And they never lost sight of that goal.
When I was a student manager you saw it all the time. Guys that wouldn't give up in practice or "touch out" when Bo would be pushing the offense on the 35th straight snap of the same stupid play that they would "run till you get it right!" And the guys who hung tough, puked up lunch, refused to come out, were the ones everyone else looked at and wondered what was keeping them up...What was making them do this snap after snap?
Jamie Morris was a perfect example of Heart in action. If there was a guy that ever wanted to be a Michigan Man more than Morrise with every fiber of being in his body, I don't know who it is. Jamie would punish himself. Jamie's favorite end of practice drill? 3 on 1. Two linebackers and a safety. The field was 10 yards wide and 10 yards long. Get past them, go for 10 yards and score. Jamie thrived on that drill. I watched as time and time again he'd get stood up, smacked and tackled about 4 yards into it. There were multiple practices where he never scored. But then he would make that move - that one little stutter step and juke that split the linebackers clean. And the safety, well, let's just say that Jamie one on one was more than a lot of guys could handle. Low to the ground and once he had a head of steam....Score!
But it was a silly drill. Against your own guys. And I used to stand there, rooting those running backs on, hoping somehow they beat the triple team. I don't know why. I just got into it.
It was Heart. Pushing beyond what makes sense. Finding a way when the odds are impossibly stacked against you.
Find a way to measure that and give me a team of middle talent and I'll go up against your 5 star recruits every time. Will I always win? Nope. But I know I will have given it 110% and not question the results.
Monday, August 16, 2010
There has been little if any real "news" coming out of Seattle and the NCAA hearings. Suffice it to say, no news is good news and I believe that in light of "USC Gate" and other agent--player related issues at Florida, Alabama and North Carolina, the NCAA wants to put the issue of practice gate behind them and focus on real cheating for a change.
My guess is that not much in addition to what Michigan has already self imposed is going to come out of this. If anything, based on earlier statements by David Brandon, maybe the NCAA re-writes the practice times rules to make them simpler and easier to understand. If they go the opposite way and try to "re-regulate", meaning, they write more rules and force a higher level of compliance, you may see Univeristies start to push back and tell them to go to hell....Just my thoughts...
Second - The Wingless Helmet
mgoblog.com is reporting via the Big 10 Network football analysts that were invited to practice that Tate Forcier isn't wearing a winged helmet. There are several players that are not wearing winged helmets and no explanation was given. However, Brian points out that it could have something to do with the Rich Rod statement, and I'm paraphrasing, that "anyone not in condition and out of shape will not wear the winged helmet out of the tunnel for the first game against UConn." So, is Tate being penalized? It would appear yes. Also, these guys had nothing but praise for Robinson and Gardener, but Tate wasn't mentioned a whole lot. Take it for what it's worth. But don't be surprised if you're starting QB on Labor Day is Robinson.
Third - An Interesting Auction
Another loyal reader forwarded this on. I am surprised that the estate and heirs would be willing to let this stuff go. I can only imagine that there is some pretty good swag in a collection like this. Granted, it might not go cheap and an auction will always up the price on some otherwise benign, but might be considered "cool" to own stuff. So, if you're collection needs a little sprucing up, you may want to check this out.
It's this Wednesday night, August 18th, from 6-8 PM. Two hours only. Click here for the link to www.americanaestatesales.com. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the slide show to come up, if it exists. But this does look really cool.
Is it September yet????
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Below, you see the imagination of a true Michigan Fan at work. Not to mention hours of painstaking labor!
Click on the photos for close ups of the seats. If we ever schedule the Home and Home with Tennessee, The Tailgate Crew is more than ready!
Nice side Shot. Original Motor cover had a winged helmet! I'm not sure if the owner has any photos or not.....
Can't forget the Block "M" on top!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Those are the facts. But the fact also remains that bad teams get better and I believe that Rich Rod was hired because he succeeded where others had not. Is it all going to come together this year? In the past, his third year has traditionally been his best year. Not to mention that the Wolverines were close to two more victories last year (MSU and Iowa) that would have gotten them to 7 wins. So that's two sides of the argument - Worst ever records and you can always get better.
There's also the game by game analysis for the 2010 season. I am borrowing some content from something I read from Rob White that supported my case. He ranked the games as the "must" wins, or easy games, followed by the middle games and finally, the hard games. Ranked, not precisely in that order, but you'll get the gist of the idea is the season.
So, suffice it to say, we need to win the 4 easy games. And I think that's achievable. Indiana was a scare last year and the Illini had their way with us, but I'm optimistic that we're better than those teams, period. Chalk them up as W's.
The middle 4 games were where Rob and I differed in our opinion. The reason being is that he believed that we should win 3 out of 4 games in the middle. And when you consider that MSU - a critical in conference rivalry game is in your "middle" game rank, well, you know you have a pretty tough schedule. And while I understand the reasoning, I don't think he took into account one cricital thing - Momentum.
Momentum, as everyone knows, in the college game is huge. Building on wins is important. The hardest 4 games are luckily in the last half of the season. IF (That's a big IF) we haven't stumbled and are possibly 6-0 after beating MSU, I believe Iowa is winnable in the Big House for Homecoming. This assumes we have escaped from South Bend with a W and UConn hasn't upset us in the opener. Now, your 7-0 heading into Happy Valley where not only the Wolverines have had some good luck, but Rich Rod has some memories from there as well. (And he led that team in Happy Valley two years ago, so he knows how to make things happen). Given that we're on the roll and PSU (based on their schedule) may already have a blemish, it's going to be a big game. But winnable none the less.
Now, it's a 4 game schedule with 1 must win (Illini) and a middle game (Purdue) with two tough games. 0.500 in the last 4 would make most fans pretty happy. But I think we can do better. Wisconsin has trouble in the Big House. And we're due at OSU.
Can we get there unscathed? That's unknown, but I like the way the schedule unfolds as far as building the big Mo' and getting some confidence.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Split them up?
Twice in one season potential?
Is this wise?
It appears, according to Adam Rittenberg, the Big 10 Blog reporter on ESPN, that the Big 10 is favoring putting Michigan and OSU in different divisions. Now, while reading Frank the Tank's insights and all the comments on his blog, it became apparent to me at least that splitting these two into different conferences violated about 20 different traditions and would undoubtedly take a lot of shine off the once a season match-up.
But, would it really? What if we opened the season with OSU and then played a round robin 9 game slate and found oursleves on top of the division opposite the Buckeyes, also on top of their division? Would the first game matter all that much? Really? I mean, win or lose, by the last game of the season (or the championship game) the teams have morphed into something altogether different and probably a lot better than that first game would lead you to believe, either way it came out.
So, while I was in the "They have to be in the same division" club, maybe, with open eyes, I can see how it could be great both ways - play OSU early - kick their ass - and earn the right to kick their ass again by winning your division....
But losing to them twice in one season would also really, really, really, suck.
We may have to make a temporary voting poll on the side bar for this one....
Monday, August 9, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I am constantly appalled as what goes on in the SEC as "acceptable" practices to over recruiting, over committing, and general disregard for honoring a 4 year scholarship. I have harped on and provided multiple links to the Satan tactics of telling Juniors and Seniors that haven't contributed or had any significant playing time that they are going on a medical scholarship to complete their education, but they are essentially getting kicked off the team for not developing the way the coaches wanted.
Yes, it's a business. But isn't all of this just a little sleazy? Not to mention - how do you think that kid feels?
And while I can understand Brian's wrath for Les, I'm personally not convinced that he won't be wearing Maize and Blue at some point in the future. But with all the other rumors flying around about Les, it's hard to believe at this point it would ever come to fruition.
And of course, his story immediately hit home with me. Actually, Ivan Maisel's story, quoting the new QB coach Rick Neuheisel at the University of Colorado after the first "horror" game involving Kordell Stewart and Michael Westbrook, two names I would rather not have committed to memory, hit me even harder. Because, anyone reading this knows and has had to live with that scene with 0:00 on the Michigan clock and seeing a 70 yard bomb find it's way to the South End Zone for a Colorado victory.
If I had to measure the euphoric high against the all time lows, I'm not sure how I could do it or to explain how the "punch in the gut" feels. Yes, beating the Suckeyes in 1997 was euphoria. But, it almost seemed like sweet relief, too. All the years of rooting for and supporting your team culminating in what you had hoped for since you watched your first Michigan game. An undefeated season to hang your hat on. To be part of the "Us too!" club of National Champions. Of course, that would come later in Pasadena, but every Michigan fan knows that we won the National Title in the Big House on that 3rd Saturday in November. But that 70 yard bomb, the App state horror, Sparty's cheating ways for last second victories, a Texas Field goal from 38 yards or a lateral to Breaston that wasn't against Nebraska are all painful reminders of the humiliation and agony of losing. So, why is losing so gut wrenching? Why is the pain of loss so much easier to recall? And why is a devestating loss so much more hurtful and lingering (App State) than a huge underdog victory (Notre Dame - 2009)? I really don't know. Except I will agree with the sentiment in Forde's article:
We are wired to be winners. From the time you're born, if you have good parents, teachers and coaches, you're instructed and shown ways to win. And you start to believe you're a winner - until you lose. When you lose, it reinforces the goal of why you wanted to be a winner in the first place. So winning becomes acceptable and expected; Losing is intolerable to the point of depression and ultimately, pain.
So, is it better not to compete? Or rather, should we all take being fans a little less seriously than we currently do? I for one cannot turn it off. I have rationalized and reasoned with myself that the athletic activities of a University should have absolutely no bearing WHATSOEVER on my well being or the relationship with my Wife, children, friends and coworkers. Winning and losing simply aren't that big a deal. Get on with your life. You have a lot to be thankful for and a lot going for you: Family, health and home.
Yet, deep down, I know it's all a lie. I know that I will be internally miserable for exactly one week if we lose until we get a shot at winning again. But when we win, I simply exist and believe that's what SHOULD have happened in the first place. I'm a winner. Michigan's a winner. They should win.
So, when Forde suggests that we need to take ourselves a little less seriously and look at the fact that for every conference champion there's at least 7 losers and for every National Champion there's 119 losers so there's a lot of company for the misery out there.
To that I say, "PPPHHHHHHHTTTTT!"
I could give a shit about the other losers. I want to WIN AND WIN RIGHT FRIGGIN' NOW!
Sorry...Internal rationalization just doesn't work for Slappy's....
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Tom Harmon Pre-Season Questionairre
Apparently, Fritz sent this one page questionairre to all his players. What's classic is that ole number 98 was a smoker! But, what did anyone know in the 40's about the full impacts of cigarette smoking?
I am always fascinated with what Greg and company finds over there. I wish I had his research staff...Or better yet, his time. I think my favorite answer by Harmon has to be this (With respect to soul):
So, if anyone asks me if I'm going to do my best as your MMQ this season,
"I KNOW DAMN WELL I WILL!"