Thursday, December 16, 2010

Can Cuban Do The Impossible?

Mark Cuban, the calm, cool and collected owner of the Dallas Mavericks, wants to "fix" the college BCS situation. Which got the MMQ to thinking which is always a dangerous thing. I penned just a week ago that we would never, ever see a college playoff if it were left up to the devices of the Conference Commissioners and Universities. However, this definitely puts new life into the idea.

Check out this article which is only one of many that have been penned on the subject of Mark's latest desire.

Interestingly, Mark is taking the approach that this will, "Require a lot of Capital", of which he himself stated he has almost unlimited resources. Which, translated into terms you and I can understand, means "bottomless wallet of cash". Mark suggested starting with around $500Million in order to get the effort rolling.

Folks, and I mean this in all seriousness, if Mark Cuban is going to offer to throw $500,000,000 (did you hear that collective, "Woah" from all the university presidents and AD's around the country?) at a Division 1 Playoff with 16 teams and that all Division 1 schools will get some sort of cut, you can bet that he's going to make a whole lot of people listen. Sure, there will be opposition because the commissioners will want to protect the bowls and the bowls will want to protect the rivalries and relationships that have been established over time.

But on a side note, Let's take a brief look at that this year, shall we?

Rose Bowl - sold out it's ticket allotment. It is the Rose, after all.
Sugar - Getting close to selling out.
Orange - Not even close... (Remember? This is Stanford and Va Tech. One team is 3,000 miles away and the other team's fans are pissed they are not in the National Title game.)
Fiesta - Worse than the Orange. (I talked about this, too. UConn fans are 3,000 miles away - all 43 of them - and Oklahoma fans have had more then their fill of the Fiesta.)

So, of those "relationships" and conference tie ins, I would say that the Big 12 is kind of in the, "Eh, whatever" mode when it comes to the Fiesta. The Orange recently has been stuck with some duds and are the Defacto ACC destination, not something that I'm sure they are all that thrilled with. Although it did manage the JoePa - Bobby Bowden showdown recently. So, if you asked these two bowls if they'd rather host a semi-final play0ff game on the same date, January 1st, that they are hosting these to match-ups, my guess is the response would be a resounding yes! The Rose is different, and everyone seems to know it, but can't explain exactly why. I guess it has something to do with those flowers...

Anyway, back to the point: If these major bowls start having difficulty filling the seats, and more importantly, "putting heads in beds" at their respective locations, well, you can bet that there will be an abrupt renogotiation as to how much anyone is going to get paid from future BCS match-ups. The sponsor of the Orange and Sugar (Fed Ex and Nokia) pulled out because they were losing money - BIG MONEY. It won't take long, relatively, for these, pardon the expression, "Turdy" match-ups to kill fan interest and Mark Cuban's offer will start looking better and better all the time.

After all, the only bowl anyone really "wants" to see is the National Title Game. I mean, I'll tune in for the other games, but I will be able to easily walk away and do something better with my time if the urge strikes me. Even that Michigan match-up will be something I can easily walk away from. Who cares, really, if they beat MSU? However, if you had 8 games starting say, this weekend between 16 teams, then they also played 4 games on Sunday or Monday after Christmas followed by two games on New Year's and a National Title game on January 10th (Same bat time, same bat channel), I'm betting you'd find that a whole lot more people would be tuning in - AND GOING TO THOSE VENUES!

And if Cuban can somehow pull this whole thing off, as guys with lots of money, time and resources have been known to do, well, look out. Cuban just might be the guy that could de-rail the whole bowl train and lead the D1 football world into something entirely new and different.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

TMQ - The Legends and the Leaders??????

Sorry for not posting yesterday. Life was a little hectic with this early winter storm…But so much has happened that I really don’t know where to begin. So let’s begin with the most obvious:

The Legends and the Leaders instead of the East and the West - or anything else for that matter. And Michigan somehow didn’t get the Leaders Division? The word “LEADERS” is in our fight song for @!#$%@^’s sake! I mean…are you kidding me?

Really? I have typed that word so often lately I think it’s losing some of its impact…but never the less…ReallY??

Jesus Tap Dancin’ Christ…Our Tailgate could have come up with a better logo (check the T-shirt) and names for the divisions than what the Big 10 and Jim Delaney paid big money to an outside consultant to come up with. And I guarantee you they would have been better. But you need to take some risk and then sell it.

That’s the thing about taking risk. You have to take a little every now and then and back it up with support. That’s what the Big 10 did when they added Penn State and they managed to come up with a pretty good logo in that process. This is an abomination and the name’s of the Divisions is simply unacceptable. No matter how you market it…I heard Brandon on the radio last night during my two hour commute on the icy by-ways and he stated that he had “nothing to do with it” which I believe 150% but then he added that he “fully supports” the Big 10 office, which I know is a load of doo-doo that’s simply too big to ignore.

First, if Delaney has the audacity to just “spring” this on everyone, which is what Brandon claimed (he stated he heard about it on Twitter – same time as everyone else), how on earth can that not be defined as a dysfunctional process? Wouldn’t the AD’s at least get a say in this and vote yea or nay? I mean, if there was at least a vote, Brandon could at least say, “Hey, I voted, but it was 7-5 in favor of this…” or whatever. Now, he simply looks powerless in a conference where the two major powers, Michigan and tOSU should have some say in at least the naming of the divisions…

I could rant on this quite awhile, but I will stick with what Brian has suggested over at mgoblog which is: We’re going to call it East and West, Period. Deal with it, Wisconsin.

The Rest of the Mess

Wow, the coaching carousel is in full rotation and it’s going so fast that little kids are flying off the thing. For those of you that haven’t been paying attention, within the last 7 days we’ve had firings, hirings, and quite frankly, rapings of certain D1 schools by other D1 schools. There is truly no honor when it comes to picking a coach from another institution. So, in some particular order, at least the way your MMQ sees it, let’s review the biggest surprises and non-surprises:

Biggest Surprise: Muschamp from Texas to Florida. Yeah, we all know that Muschamp was originally from Florida and he also coached under Saban. But he was the heir apparent at Texas…And that’s saying something. I believe, as do others, that Florida is a step down from Texas. Sorry, Gatorland, but in the pecking order, that’s simply the way it is. My feeling is that Muschamp would have been at Texas for life after Mack decided to hang up the whistle. Now, he’s immediately going to be under the microscope and have to deal with the comparisons to Urban. And my feeling is he will fail in those comparisons. Don’t be surprised if Muschamp gets canned after 3 years of lackluster performance and ends up in the Big 10 like Zookie after trying to replace the legend Spurrier. And speaking of Texas, there’s a melt down going on there unlike anything that institution has ever seen. I’m not sure what they will do, who they will get, but suffice it to say now that Gatorland has opened the “Rape and Pillage” door to assistants, Texas more than likely will be calling some high profile coaches in waiting looking to see who wants a better deal. And they have the $$$$ to do it. Uh, hey DeLoss Dodds and Mack– Rich Rod might be looking…You interested?

2nd Biggest Surprise: Al Golden from Temple to Miami. I guess Miami has just thrown in the towel? I mean, it’s not that I’m not an Al Golden fan…I just don’t know that much about him. Yes, he took Temple from 1-11 the year before he was hired to two winning seasons, but…is that a resume for the once proud U? I mean, I really thought Mullen (Former Florida O-coordinator at Mississippi State) was a better candidate. Did he turn them down? And…

3rd Biggest Surprise: Mullen doesn’t go anywhere? MSU has been the SEC stepping stone for a lot of coaches. Just doesn’t make sense that Mullen didn’t end up getting a better gig for himself (Florida or Miami) while his stock is up. Not that MSU is bad or anything, it’s just not a university you think of when you think top 25.

4th Biggest Surprise: Malzahn turns down Vanderbilt. I’m not sure that was too smart. Head coaching jobs in the SEC are not few and far between, but at the same time, when one does come along, I think you grab it. Everyone agrees to a man that Cam Newton is the best college player ever (sic)! So do you think your offense works in spite of him or because of him and should you capitalize on that while the getting is good? That was pride talking…even though Malzahn got some big money out of the discussion with Vandy…

5th Biggest Surprise: Indiana hiring Kevin Wilson. Yeah, he’s got Oklahoma experience, but I think there were better candidates available and frankly, I think Lynch was a better overall fit for the program. It will be interesting to see if that works or if Indiana is looking again in 6 years…

6th Biggest Surprise: Jon Embree at Colorado. This was a job that had the following names attached to it at one point in time: Harbaugh, Gruden, McCartney (unretired), Les Miles (assistant at Colorado under McCartney), Houston Nutt, and Mark Richt. And they “settle” for a former player in the 90’s and Washington Redskins Tight End coach…Hmmmm, did Colorado finally come to the realization that there “Big Time” head coaching job really wasn’t that Big Time?

7th Biggest Surprise: Pittsburgh forcing out Wannstedt. I mean, I get it. Wannstache has routinely disappointed with what everyone calls top shelf talent. And I understand the frustration. But, the catch 22 is will they be able to land the top shelf talent without Wannstache and his prior NFL experience? That remains to be seen and until they hire someone, it’s putting recruiting in a tough spot.

8th Biggest Surprise: Jerry Kill from Northern Illinois to Minnesota. Here was another search with big names like Harbaugh, Gruden, Dungy, Nutt, and the end up with a guy that everyone had to do a Wiki search on to see what he’s done in his career. If Minnesota ever gets back to glory, it will have to be with a really hungry young coach that wants to make it happen.

1st Biggest Non-Surprise: Urban retiring. Look, I almost didn’t put this as a non-surprise and the whole fiasco last year smelled a lot like, “Don’t quit on us now because you didn’t give us a chance to prepare and we’re going to lose all our recruits. Give us one more year.” So, Urban agreed and the results of a half assed season as far as coaching was concerned were pretty self evident. So, yeah, when he announced again he was done, I was surprised, but then again, I wasn’t surprised.

2nd Biggest Non-Surprise: No one has grabbed Brady Hoke. Brady has done some good things everywhere he’s been and had his team close to beating some big names this year. But maybe there’s something in the resume that just doesn’t scream top tier progam. I can’t help but think he will land in either of the following: Pittsburgh or Vanderbilt. Both of those jobs would be a step up unless he’s waiting for the Stanford job which brings us to:

3rd Biggest Non-Surprise: Dick Rod is still the coach at Michigan. I’ve heard Brandon on the radio 3 times in the last 2 days. I heard him on WJR with Beckman, Albom, and also on the FAN or the ticket. And he had to answer the same stupid question every time: What are you going to do about Rich Rod? He must literally be sick and tired of having to deal with it. But his answer is always the same: He will evaluate the Rod after the Gator Bowl. I really don’t see how he can keep him at this point. He’s in a real tight spot: If he’s going to keep him, he knows it and can come out and say it to keep the recruits from wondering, right? If he’s going to can him, he has to continue to say what he’s saying. So, if he keeps him, he’s going to catch holy hell for not simply coming out and saying that. And then, what does he say (exactly) to the fans about year 4? We are expecting better results and some wins over some of our arch rivals. Will the year hinge on that or will it still hinge the ever ambiguous “getting better”? It’s frustrating, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Rod still get’s the ax late in all of this…

Idle Thoughts From Saturday

-Will Michigan win it’s bowl game?
-Will everyone please stop asking Brandon what he’s going to do about Dick Rod when you already know the answer?
-You think you’re special and he’s going to give you a different answer than he’s given everyone else?
-Gatorland literally sacks Texas.
-Texas has been gutted…All that’s left is Mack Brown.
-Major Applewhite looks like he’s staying…But is that enough?
-Muschamp was a big part of that defense and the defensive recruiting.
-Think Miami will name the visitor's locker room after their new coach?
-Wait for it....Wait for it...Get it?
-The Domers must like being out of the lime light, at least for now.
-MSU (ours) must still be pissed that they didn’t make a BCS game.
-Delaney IS PISSED that the Big 10 was shut out of the Rose Bowl.
-No offense to the Sugar, Orange or Fiesta, but they AIN’T the Rose Bowl.
-And everyone knows it.
-I think Wisconsin vs. Stanford in the Rose would have been great.
-Let TCU have a shot at Va Tech in the Orange.
-They’re going to the Big East, anyway.
-Keep the Big10-Pac10 tradition on New Year’s afternoon alive.
-If it’s not about tradition, then have the stinking play-off…

The Hot Seat
All right! The masses have spoken and Julie Bowen is the 2010 Hot Seat Mascot of the Year! Thanks to all who voted and we will be displaying a shot of Julie on the side bar until the 2011 season starts! Some of the shots we used of Julie over the season...Hmmm...Picking one for the sidebar could prove to be a challenge! I'll decide, but I'm always open to suggestions!

I still think we have coaches on the Hot Seat, but without any moves coming to this point, do all these guys get an additional year?

1. Dennis Erickson – Maybe he survives? Who else are you gonna’ get?
2. Rich Rod – Hotter again, One last chance to change the Fire Rich Rod Chorus…
3. Butch Davis – North Carolina…I just don’t see how he survives with everything that’s happened.
4. Richy Rich – 6 losses in the SEC? And still the coach…
5. Zookie – Heh-heh…Bowling…But could have been so much better

1. Brewster – Did you hear they are trying to get Peterson from Boy’s State to interview? Riiiiight…..
2. Dan Hawkins – Colorado’s been winning since he left. Go Figure.
3. Randy Shannon – Miami: Hadn’t even made our hot seat, but I guess if you’re not playing for ACC titles in your 3rd year, you’re gone…
4. Bill Lynch – Indiana: Didn’t see this one coming, either. Figured he had a job till someone saw him and figured he might do better at their school…
5. Urban Legend – nough said.
6. Wannstache – Didn’t see it coming…

Hot Coach Search
Brady Hoke
– actually had TCU sweating a little
Harbaugh – It will take the right job to make him leave…
Gruden – This guy’s name comes up for every vacancy….
Houston Nutt – See Gruden…
Steve Mariucci – Not doing anything constructive now…


I’ll have some bowl bets come Friday. Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

BCS Playoff? EXTREMELY Doubtful....

Well, because the coaching carousel has begun and there's nothing else really relevant to discuss before the bowls begin, I guess it's time to look at why the BCS sucks again and do my annual rant as to why we need a playoff. And offer this time instead of workable solutions as to what makes complete sense in a couple of different scenarios, we'll take some time and analyze why, no matter how logical the argument from a competitive standpoint, it'll never happen.

Maize and Brew has a relevant log on this with some links to Ty Duffy and Dan Wezel's suggestion for a play-off. While I like the idea of an 8 team and see the logic of it and small probability of eventually stumbling and bumbling our way into it, we will never see (at least in our lifetime) a 16 team D1 football play-off.

Ain't gonna happen.

The key is to follow the money. The major DI AQ conferences couldn't be happier with the current arrangement. They get loads of dough from the 5 BCS games and the have a built in line item in the budget of "BCS income" that they can count on every year. The other bowls also have pockets to line and the lesser bottom tier bowls make money due to the fact that schools have to "pay their own way" to play in the bowl and guarantee a specific amount of ticket sales. All for 20 more days of practice and a competitive edge in recruiting by stating they have a X number of years in a row bowl record. And the D1 AQ schools get bottom line impact regardless as the BCS money that gets distributed still nets out to a positive that they can count on every year.

That's worth repeating: They can count on that money every year. Without adding or doing one damn thing. And everyone knows that if your the CEO or CFO of a major corporation, income that's generated without having to lift a finger or add content is a great thing. Even if you have to spend a little to get it. Its a really great thing. And it gives the politically correct arguments that additional play-off games would adversely affect the "student athlete", even though DII schools have 4 weeks of play-offs before Christmas. IE: During finals.

So, unless you can dangle an extremely large amount of $$$$$$ in front of all the D1 AQ schools, no one (that matters) is going to be too eager to do anything about it. That's the first dagger in a Playoff argument. And that's what were stuck with. I was actually excited when Orin Hatch decided to challenge the BCS and what the "National Title" moniker stood for. Unfortunately, the BCS had all the answers and Orin looked like a complete boob when this thing actually came under testimony in the Finance and Commerce committee. Had Orin completed some minimal research, he could have painted a much worse picture of what's really going on. Instead, he came off looking like the idiot and the BCS was in fact given a shot of confidence from the US Government.

So, there's a second dagger in the ole D1 Play-off argument.

Finally, the current arrangement works. Yes, Va Tech was screwed from Labor Day after losing to Boise State and compounded their predicament with the James Madison loss. And they have certainly been the comeback story of the year in College Football and would probably benefit more than anyone else from a Play-off as a chance to redeem what has been an extremely successful season otherwise. I would have also enjoyed a play-off in 2006. I firmly believe that the best two teams played in Columbus in November, regardless of what Gatorland did to tOSU in the National Title game. There was simply too much time off for tOSU that year for them to be effective in that game. But everyone was happy with that game at the time and it was likely the game we would have seen anyway. But the circumstances might of how the two teams got to the final would have been entirely different. And there might have been a Wolverine team in there that would have made an impact as well. As well as a USC team. And the list goes on.

But this year is certainly a banner year for the BCS argument. You can't deny that Oregon and Auburn are two of the best teams in college football. Yes, TCU was undefeated (in the WAC) and while that's impressive President Gee had it right when he talked about relative conference strength. I'm actually a little pissed off that he backed down when he could have used the opportunity to defend the strength of his conference and the rivalry game argument. I was surprised that a few others didn't chime in, but I understand the whole "political un-correctness" of the statement Gee made. It might not have been appropriated, even though everyone knew it was the truth.

Don't hand me SOS of other schools based on some rating. Historic rivalries and trophy games in the big conferences are more difficult to play than any Strength of Schedule that a computer can spit out. You want to argue about it?

What about an undefeated WVU against a 4-7 Pitt 2007?
How about a 4-7 UCLA vs. an undefeated USC in 2007?
How about all the years tOSU was undefeated and had to play Michigan when they were 8-4?

The meat grinder of the AQ conferences is why they are up where they are today. Sorry Boise. Sorry TCU. But until you can beat Virginia in the last game of the season (and Nevada) you're argument simply doesn't hold water. And you're going to have to do a lot more in order to be deemed worthy.

Especially without a play-off to make you the Cinderella.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

And So It Begins....

Well, I hope you're all taking the Hot Seat Voting seriously as we have two new spots to fill on the list:

The WannStache Resigned from Pitt before they could force him out. I really think this was kind of a raw deal. The BEast and Pitt didn't know what they had, but I guess Pitt figures they can do better...

Urban Legend Meyer has resigned. Not a HUGE Suprise, but I figured he'd wait until Christmas day again...So, after the worst part of recruiting is over, will he come back like last year?


Jerry Kill to Minnesota. The All Name team just got one added to the list.
Oklahoma's Wilson to Indiana. Unusual that they signed a 7 year deal.

That is all....

Bowl Conspiracy Theories Thwarted? But What Will the Future Bring?

Nevada beating Boise State was a BIG deal for the avid and casual football fan alike. For the avid fan, it meant that we wouldn't suffer through a night of Boise State potentially playing in a BCS bowl against a, as President Gee from tOSU stated, "Worthy" opponent that paid it's dues in a major Automatic Qualifying (AQ) conference. Boise State beating Oklahoma was fun and everything, but do we really want to see the "blue field" team in a BCS game every year? I know I don't. But that's the fan in me talking.

However, something else really big happened when Nevada beat Boise State.

Nevada cost Boise about $5M in Bowl revenue. And they cost themselves about a $1M share if Boise State would have in fact made a BCS game.

Now, I'm not saying that in the future teams will lay down for other teams in the event that their rival has a chance at the "big time" and everyone gets a nice slice from that game. But it certainly is enough to make you go, "Hmmmm" if there's a questionable call or if someone makes a totally absurd mistake late in a game. The question is, what would you do for $1M? Especially if your Athletic Department was broke or needed the funds? When there's discussions of boosters paying $180,000 to Cam Newton, can game fixing and "preserving the perfect record" strategy for conferences be far behind? Can we at least have the discussion?

The toothless, powerless NCAA could step in here, but to what end? They have absolutely no control over the BCS. The BCS is the group that oversees all of this and decides what payouts and who gets invited to the games. More or less. Which is why we'll never have a play-off. The AQ conferences not only won't allow it, but they in essence control the purse strings.

When you go back to the days before the BCS, it was the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta. Those Bowls took the champions from what we call the AQ conferences and could demand the highest revenue and therefore afford to pay the highest payouts. The integrity of those 4 bowls is what in essence makes the BCS work. That and the fact that everyone in the AQ world now makes more from the National Title game as well and they figured out a way to make that work.

However, when you start getting "upstarts" in the mix, well, the revenues aren't what they used to be. The TCU vs. Boise State Fiesta bowl, depending on what you read and who you believe, was proof of that. Yes, attendance for the actual game was great. But it was the lowest rated BCS game of all the BCS games in 2009. There in lies the problem. And that's what the has the Big 4 Bowls the most terrified when it comes to the BCS rules.

While the revenue itself from the Fiesta wasn't enough to kill it, don't be surprised if the BCS takes a step backwards after this year's Rose Bowl Matchup.

TCU? Really?

If people tune out for the Granddaddy of the all because of the match-up, well, you can bet that the BCS will change it's tune about how the "top 4 in the final poll" make a BCS game. The Rose would have pitted a perfect "National Championship" game this year with undefeated #1 Oregon and a 1 loss #5 Wisconsin. #2 Auburn would have been up against #4 OSU or #5 Stanford in the Sugar. The Orange would have had UConn and Va Tech and the Fiesta would have had Oklahoma and tOSU/Stanford team that didn't make the Sugar.

Folks, these all would have been extremely satisfying match-ups for the TV Viewer (Okay, I'm making that up with respect to the Big East in the Orange). But never the less, it would have left the possibly of a split National title between Auburn and Oregon.

And TCU isn't anywhere in the mix.

And wouldn't that be a nice "Plus 1" game matchup on January 10th? Which is EXACTLY what we have now without TCU in the mix in the Rose Bowl (or Boise State, had it come to that?)

So, if I start seeing MWC or WAC teams going undefeated time and time again in an effort to get into the Big Games, well, you can bet I'll start my only little conspiracy circle that questions everything BCS. But maybe the Big Games figure out a way to not let it come to that.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Championship Wrap

“Those Who Cannot” makes the Gator.


I’ll be in Florida (The South End). When I was a fan (a mere 5 days ago), I was going to this game if Those Who Cannot made it to Florida – I was waking up and making the 3+ hour trip. With Dick Rod still in charge, my mind is changing…But I’m a Michigan fan…I have to keep telling myself that.

Yes, I’ve been ranting lately. For those of you that only read me on Monday (I don’t send out weekly notices as it would become overload for some of you) I have a tendency to log on during the week to just let it out. And there’s been a lot of venting.

The whole Josh Brogan thing has left me spent. I’ve never, ever felt about Michigan the way I’m feeling right now. In the past, as I wrote last Friday, We Were Champions! Yes, we may have had a down season or a bad game, but we were still champions…

Now I feel like were just part of the Rest of the Mess…It’s not even a hate thing. It’s an embarrassment to be associated with anything having to do with Dick Rod. It’s all about Dick Rod. It’s not about Michigan anymore. And therein lies the problem.

David Brandon could fix this thing. I learned over the weekend that the Dick Rod contract requires a 30 day notice prior to firing in order for the University to not be sued by Dick Rod over the amount that we technically owe him. So, “technically”, the notice would (should) have to be issued on December 2nd to fire him January 2nd. And I don’t think that’s happened.

I know David is a smart guy that inherited a HUGE mess from Big Boob Martin. Would this have been any different if Les were here pulling the same stunts? I dunno…Would I want DeBored or English’s heads right now if they had the same results as the Rod? Probably. And would it make a difference next year? Unlikely.

That, unfortunately, is the conundrum I keep coming back to. What makes us better next year? And that answer is unfortunately Dick Rod. They are his guys now and they will leave everything on the field for him. However, I’m not 100% convinced it’s the answer that is the best answer long term for Michigan. And that’s where I’m hung up right now. Do I want to have a shot at being successful next year or give all that up (along with the players that are currently here) and build towards whatever the “next” future is? Michigan still has to pay this clown regardless. 2008 was truly a throw away year, in every sense of the matter. If this were Dick Rod’s 2nd year, I might not be inclined to dump him right now, but the Josh Brogan thing is now out there. What’s the problem with Josh Brogan, you ask?
What kid in his right mind want’s to play for a guy that’s the laughingstock on the internet? If I had been committed and people were sending me half the stuff that’s out there on Dick Rod right now, that would probably be enough to say, “Adios…” So, the recruits aren’t coming anyway…Why wait?

See the dilemma? What would you do? I’m strongly leaning in one direction that starts with, “Hello, Jim? Its David.”

The Rest of the Mess

Anyone who read last Wednesday’s Cam Newton rant knows how I feel about this issue. It truly burns my ass that the NCAA comes out, declares that Cam was shopped around for 6 figures, and then states that Cam is briefly ineligible, but then still eligible. I tried protesting in my own little way and I tried to watch the Oregon – Beavers game instead of watching the Auburn – USC game. However, my lust for competition finally got the best of me and I turned the channel. Just in time to hear the traitor Danielson talk about how well Cam has done this year with everything swirling around him. If I had a Heisman vote, Cam simply wouldn’t get it.

Sorry. Yes, he’s the best player. Without question. But the issues surrounding him make me question his character, which I’m allowed to do. It states it right in the Heisman voting rules.

BCS Standings:
Who cares…

This week’s biggest GAINER: Stanford. Oregon’s victory forced the flip flop between them and Wisconsin. And it made sense. I would really like to see that game played again. When the Pac 10 goes to a championship, it will be a good thing.

The Wrap:
Auburn vs. USC:
The ole Ball Coach really let me down. I figure Spurrier to run the ball and keep it close, but Auburn simply proved to be too much and demonstrated which team has improved the most over this season. I think I like Auburn over Oregon…but more on that in a minute.
Nebraska vs. Laters: This one killed me – it really did. I was actually pulling for Pelini and the Cornhuskers and I was hoping they would have the last laugh. But Stupor managed to pull it off and after the country wrote off Oklahoma, they’re BCSing..(is that a word?)
Oregon vs OSU: I’m really starting to think that Oregon might have its hands full with Auburn. Auburn might go up early and we’ll see exactly who the 2nd half team is.
Va Tech vs. FSU: Yep. I was right on one thing this season: Va Tech wouldn’t lose another game. But do I stick with that prediction in the Orange against Standford?

Idle Thoughts From Saturday

-If one more sports mouth mentions Josh Brogan one more time…
-I wonder if homeowner’s covers bricks launched through big screens?
-It would be a handy rider to have during football season…
-I have tried to dismiss the whole thing from my mind, but someone seems to send me something on it everyday.
-In other words, this story has legs.
-I hope they’re copying Brandon on all those nice e-mails.
-Maybe I should be forwarding to him….
-Auburn is a good team, but the most improved aspect is the defense.
-Oregon, not so much
-NEBRASKA! Hang on to the GD Ball!
-You guys are gonna mess up and lose this thing…
-No need for conspiracy theories when you beat yourself..
-Hee-hee…Heard a true story about a grandmother trying to console her 13 year old granddaughter who had just been dumped by her first puppy love. The boyfriend said she wasn’t as pretty as another girl he was interested in. Grandma’s consoling words?
-“Don’t worry honey, in three years you’ll be beating them off with both hands!”
-Grandmother’s try to help, I know…but you gotta keep your eye on them all the time.
-Bowl Matchups?

The Bowls
I gave up on the names of the Flea bag bowls, remember? So I’m not even going to try with some of these…But here’s some interesting and not so interesting match-ups:

National Title: I like Auburn over Oregon. Haven’t see a spread yet. Let’s look: Auburn (+3) over Oregon. Auburn getting points? Really…
Rose: Wiscy (+3) vs. TCU: Wisky is getting 3 from TCU. I like Brett WITH points for sure….
Sugar: OSU (-3) vs Arkansas: Is Arkansas really that good? OR is that simply the Vest point spread in a Bowl Game?
Orange: Stanford (-3) vs. Va Tech: Hmmm…this one is a tuffy. I mean, it’s really hard. I am going to wait before I make a call. I do think Stanford is the best team and the ACC is one notch about the Big East. But when it comes to Va Tech, the story is a little different.
Fiesta: Oklahoma (-17.5) vs. UConn: Yawn….I’ll be in bed before they kick this one off….
Citrus: MSU vs. Alabama: No line. I like Satan to beat his old team. Dantonio has not impressed in the bowls.
Gator: Those Who Cannot vs. MSU: Not another MSU…and with a hot new offensive minded coach against a defense that can’t tackle me. I know why there isn’t a line…
Outback: PSU vs. Gatorland: Hmm…This one is semi interesting. But I think JoePa might come out on top in this one.
Domers vs. Gangstas: Shannon canned, one program heading in the right direction, the other looking for a coach…
FSU vs. South Carolina: I like FSU. Spurrier can’t seem to get it right at USC.
Nebraska vs. Washington: Really? You’re going to make Washington and Nebraska do this again? Didn’t Nebraska already DESTROY Washington this year? Oh yeah…56-21. Washington coach Sarkisian to do list: Get AD a REALLY NICE Christmas present. Maybe a piece of bronzed dog doo-doo…

I might comment on the bowls some more next Monday…We do have a game this week and if you’ve never taken the time:

Watch ARMY – NAVY! The opening ceremonies are worth it!

The Hot Seat
Wow! In a record vote, Kate Hudson makes Championship Week! All right sports fans! This is the week you’ve TRULY been waiting for this College Football Season as we crown a Hot Seat Mascot for 2010 and have her take us through the Bowls and the Coaching Carousel that has already begun. Not Only that, but your vote will determine who's photo gets on the side bar until the 2011 season begins! Choose wisely, my friends....

This years top 5 Qualifiers through weekly voting are:

Julie Bowen
Marissa Miller
Veronical Hamel
Katy Perry
Kate Hudson

And because she has demonstrated incredible staying power week over week, I am also adding an MMQ’s choice into the mix:

Sophia Vergara – Next highest cumulative vote receiver.

Here's a "visual reminder" of our Weekly Champions!

My personal biggest disappointment? Jamie Edmundson. I stuck with her for a week or two, but she just didn’t do it for you guys….Here she is as the best also ran for 2010!

Hot Seat Rankings:
1. Dennis Erickson – Maybe he survives? Who else are you gonna’ get?
2. Rich Rod – Hotter again, One last chance to change the Fire Rich Rod Chorus…
3. Butch Davis – North Carolina…I just don’t see how he survives with everything that’s happened.
4. Richy Rich – 6 losses in the SEC? And still the coach…
5. Zookie – Heh-heh…Bowling…But could have been so much better
6. Les Miles – only 2 loss coach on the list….
7. Urban Legend - Still waiting to see what Florida paid 1st time around for Cam… then he’ll move up on the list.

1. Brewster – Did you hear they are trying to get Peterson from Boy’s State to interview? Riiiiight…..
2. Dan Hawkins – Colorado’s been winning since he left. Go Figure.
3. Randy Shannon – Miami: Hadn’t even made our hot seat, but I guess if you’re not playing for ACC titles in your 3rd year, you’re gone…
4. Bill Lynch – Indiana: Didn’t see this one coming, either. Figured he had a job till someone saw him and figured he might do better at their school…

Hot Search List
Brady Hoke – actually had TCU sweating a little
Harbaugh – It will take the right job to make him leave…
Gruden – This guy’s name comes up for every vacancy….
Houston Nutt – See Gruden…
Steve Mariucci – Not doing anything constructive now…



Oregon @ Oregon State (+16): Take the Ducks and lay the 16 for $80
Thank you Ducks! Bank $172

Nebraska vs. Oklahoma (-4): I guess I’ll take the Cornhuskers and the 4 for $50.
Thank you Cornhuskers! Bank $95

Auburn vs. South Carolina (-5.5): I’ll take South Carolina and the 5.5 for $50.
Lose…No thanks to Steve…

Virginia Tech vs. Florida State (+3.5): Take the Hokies and lay the 3.5 for $60
Thank you Beamer’s Boys! Bank $124

Best 3: Oregon – Nebraska – Va Tech: $40 pays 6 to 1 or $240.
Finally….Nailed one! Bank $240

Almost back to where we started…Will the Bowls make it a green year?

Bank: $912.50

Friday, December 3, 2010

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? The FMQ Nearly Loses His Lunch...

I didn’t go to the Football Bust last night, but all I can say is thank GOD for Cam Newton and the NCAA being in the headlines. If you haven’t heard and you’ve been on some sort of weird fence regarding Rich Rod, well, I believe you now have everything you need to get on the band wagon to send this guy packing.

Apparently, according to all the eyewitness accounts, Rich Rod got up at the end of the banquet and quoted the lyrics from a song by Josh Brogan. I had to admit, I had no clue (even faintly) as to who Josh Brogan was and what this “You Lift Me Up” song was all about.

I do now.

That we are the laughingstock of Big 10 Football due to our performance on the field is one thing. Look Rich, I don’t know and at this point I don’t particularly care what goes on inside that WVU mellon of yours or how you deal with your problems and the stress that I know you are under. But Winners never Quit and they certainly don’t rally from being down by listening to THAT piece of garbage (With sincere apologies to anyone that enjoys listening to Josh). Apparently, this is one of the number 1 funeral songs now played at memorial services…

That Dick Rod did this at a Michigan Football Bust is something entirely different – and hopefully it was HIS memorial service...

We are Michigan Wolverines.

The Michigan Fight Song is all the Inspiration you need.

The words and traditions of Michigan’s past leaders should be all the inspiration you need.

That you played a touchy feely song and then had the audacity to stand up, raise your hands and “rock the room” as one report put it has me convinced you are NOT a Michigan Man.

That David Brandon in some sort of show of solidarity (hopefully only because he hasn’t truly made a decision yet and didn’t want to fuel any fires in the media) stood up and rocked with Dick Rod is another utter embarrassment.

IF (Big IF) Bo Schembechler were alive today, I’m really not sure what he would have done. But I guaran-damn-tee you he wouldn’t quote “You Lift Me Up” after going 6-6 in 1984. If he was alive and he had been invited to speak to this group, he would tell this group that next season is a brand new year. A Brand New opportunity and ask each and every one of them:

"What are you going to do this off season to become a Champion? What have you learned about being leaders? And regardless of whoever is leading next year’s team, you must remember that you are first and foremost Michigan WOLVERINES that will take that field. Everything you do this off season will go towards helping you to earn the respect that WOLVERINES deserve…Now stop feeling sorry for yourself and be The Champions of the West that you came to Michigan to BE!"

I’m sick. Sick and tired of this crap. Get him the hell out and get Harbaugh in before its way too late...and we are singing Kumbaya with OSU after they shellac us again…

I almost considered canning the FMQ today as I can barely think straight, but I will survive this…somehow. After all, I'm a Winner and Winners DON'T QUIT.

Oregon @ Oregon State (+16): This one’s a tuffy, but I like the Ducks walking away in this one. They let me down (by 1 friggin’ point) last week, but they came on strong in the 2nd half. Take the Ducks and lay the 16 for $80

Nebraska vs. Oklahoma (-4):
Nebraska getting points in the Championship game…Hmmmm. This is another tuffy, but there’s not that many games this week and I’m trying to get some back. Is the Nebraska must lose “conspiracy” true? Do you believe that Nebraska must overcome the refs? I guess I’ll take the Cornhuskers and the 4 for $50.

Auburn vs. South Carolina (-5.5): Oh boy…I love the Ole Ball Coach getting points, especially in the championship game. I’ll take South Carolina and the 5.5 for $50.

Virginia Tech vs. Florida State (+3.5): FSU is on a mission, but so is Beamer’s Boys. I have to stick with my 3rd week prediction and take the Hokies and lay the 3.5 for $60

Best 3: Oregon – Nebraska – Va Tech: $40 pays 6 to 1 or $240.

Total Wagered: $280
Bank: $311.50

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cam Newton Did Nothing Wrong - Let's Start Pimping Out Our Stars!

Okay, let me get this straight....It's so incredibly stupid that this can actually happen that my mind simply refuses to accept it:

The NCAA stood up and not only declared Cam Newton eligible to play Saturday, but he's more or less been absolved of any and all wrong doing according to NCAA bylaws. On top of that, Cam's old man is now LIMITED (Whatever that means) to Auburn Athletics.

I'm sure that's just breaking Cam's old man up...

Wojo over at ESPN, Andy Staples and others have an opinion on this. They were much more appros pos in their comments. Allow your own MMQ to express EXACTLY what I think this means:

What a crock of steaming, wet, sloppy, stinking BULLSHIT!

So, the NCAA is now telling me that Michigan has to go on probation for having about 23 hours of too much practice and also having a paid assistant help out and observe some practices, but Cam's old man can go around and pimp his son to the highest bidder and Cam can bounce along stigma and penalty free so long as he "claims" he had no knowledge of what the old man was doing?

Really? REALLY? I mean, REALLY?????

I don't mean this to be disrespectful to Cam Newton in any way. I'm not saying that he should be ineligible for what he has or hasn't done. I'm also not saying you shouldn't vote this guy for the Heisman if you honestly believe that's the end of the story.

But if I'm SUPPOSED to believe that Cam has some long distance relationship with his father and he really has no clue as to what the crazy old coot is doing, why not come right out and state that from the GET GO? Why not decnounce this crazy old F@#($^er for what he is?

Please - answer that simple question? Do you know your father or don't you? Is he a respectable guy? Would he do that? And why didn't Cam just out him for what he was? Didn't he owe that to Auburn and his team mates?

What's happened is not only a loss for college football, but it's also demonstrated exactly how stupid and weak the NCAA is when it comes to policing anything that actually matters in the world of the student athlete. I'm not going to sit here and say I have a better idea or a better way to do it. All I'm saying is that if the athletic association is going to have a governing body, for Jesus Tap Dancin' Christ sake,


Just to illustrate what a frickin' loophole this is, let's say I'm an uncle of a really talented prospect. Hell, let's just say I'm a good friend of the family. I find a school like, oh, let's say MSU for the sake of argument. (Sorry, Sparty - that's just what came to mind when I thought "cheaters").

Now, let's just say that an assistant coach from this school shows up at this superstar's game and I see the coach. I saunter over and have a little discussion. Introduce myself. Make eye contact with my nephew and he shoots me a little wave, as always. And I let this coach know that for $100 G's, I'll see to it that the superstar goes to MSU even though he really wants to go to Michigan. So, he puts me in touch with a booster. That booster negotiates with me and we agree to a price. I get paid.

Whether or not the superstar goes to MSU or not. What's the school or booster gonna do? Hunt me down? Take me out?

I'm sure this crap goes on all the time at certain schools. I mean, it's not like it would be the first time this ever happened. Problem is, anyone who was thinking it has now just been given a blueprint by the NCAA to show you EXACTLY HOW TO GO ABOUT DOING IT to make sure if anything ever surfaces, there's plenty of deniable plausibility on the part of the superstar.

Sigh...This just rubs me wrong in so many ways that I don't know what to think anymore....

The Case For and the Case Against Rich Rodrigues

I was reading through some of my old posts in a effort to get a feel for where I was (mentally) when we hired the Rod back in 2007. Was it really that long ago? Has it been 3 plus years that we've suffered? It seems longer and in a weird way, shorter too... It's longer when I think about how long it's been since I have truly thought that we were a team that could compete with anyone in football. And it's shorter when I think about...well, I guess it isn't shorter. But I do believe the time is getting short when you look at what Rich Rod has and more specifically, HASN'T accomplished since he's been at the helm.

Here was my take on the hire in 2007.

Now, there are literally dozens of blogs that have either evaluated, tried, measured, or told us how good or bad Rodrigues is. A sampling:

Attention to Detail - Genuinely Sarcastic (admittedly not his own work, but a good read, anyway)
The Trial of Rich Rodrigues - Zach at Maize and Brew
The Illusion of Progress - Maize and Brew Dave
Time for Change or Why Progress Has Not Been Made - Beuaford at Maize and Brew
Aren't We All Michigan Fans? - Yost at the MZone...
And they all have extremely valid, well thought out points. There's more out there, and mgoblog has his usual "BUT LOOK AT THE NUMBERS!" take on why we need to keep Rich...

Look - it's simple, really. When Michigan was a winning program, we didn't have the flashiest offense or the most incredible defense...Okay, there was 2006. And 1997. But I'm talking about in general, year in and year out, we were COMPETITIVE. We were never out of a game before it started. We played tough, hard nose Big 10 football. We were competitive. We had skilled athletes at critical positions. And because we were never out of a game - okay, 2007 Oregon - we always had a shot. Or it seemed like we had a shot. But the 2007 (6) Rose Bowl against USC changed my mind about a lot of things. That and the 2008 Citrus Bowl when we came out in the spread and I observed how effective it could be! I remember thinking that there was no way that was the same Michigan team that lost to App State and Oregon...No way...

And I started thinking that Michigan maybe needed to change it's ways from a play action - 3rd down pass offense to a something a little less predictable. Oregon literally had their way with us. And we didn't exactly have a bad defense at that point. Was this the direction of college football?

In comes Rodrigues, one of the father's of this offense, after a couple of successful years at WVU with two offensive athletes that wowed everyone with pretty, shiny things that make you go, "oooooooohhhhhhhh!" And I'll admit, being on the receiving end of those pretty shiny things can suck when you lose (Again - Oregon and Northwestern come to mind) and you start to think that maybe there's other ways...

So everyone gets on the bandwagon and exclaims that the athletes we have are too big and slow (but that didn't exactly make sense as I had just watched a bunch of big, fairly quick athletes take down an SEC power in the Citrus bowl) and it will take at least three years of conditioning, recruiting and learning for the personell to "get" with Rich Rod's program.


I got it. I needed to support this team when everyone else is going to long for the days of Carr. Long for the days of 10-2 when we were, "This close!" to something bigger and better. Becuase the way of the future requires that you completely rip up the sheet and start from scratch to get to the promised land of National Titles every 2 to 3 years. So I did what loyal Michigan fans are supposed to do: I kept my head; I said give it time and I patiently waited for this elixir of smaller size, speed, and trickery to establish itself and for Michigan to take over and dominate college football. Everyone said by year 3 there would be vast improvements and visibile signs of the future with a 9 win season and some crushing losses...

I was ready. I was prepared. I wasn't going to like the 2008 season where we went to a lesser bowl..I didn't accept the fact that Michigan wouldn't win at least 6 games as "anyone could come in and coach Michigan's talent and win 6 games". Well, that was quickly reduced to a 3 win season that had everyone bent over hurling up their Maize and Blue lunch. But I kept reminding myself and reading the "believers" blogs, looking for the things that they said were happening. And some good things were happening. Yes...I believe!

In 2009, I was ready for a return to a bowl, assuming that the defense simply couldn't get any worse and that with a better defense, well, the offense would take care of itself. And frankly, we were in a lot of games in 2009. Iowa was winnable. MSU was lost on a terrible offensive mistake in OT. OSU and Wisconsin were again different matters, but once the DEFENSE improved a little more, clearly the offense was there to take us where we needed to go. And I finally saw improvement and realized that maybe Rich Rod was getting it. You need a defense with heart and desire. And they have to improve as much if not more than your offense. Offenses will take care of themselves with great defenses, right? Had the Rod figured it out? Yes...I believed...

This year, my hopes were high. Everyone else was looking at the offense, but clearly, the biggest pile of dung in the Michigan camp was the defensive mess that we were trying to dress up, slap on some lipstick, and make it work. If I was a head coach, I would be spending 100% of my time there, or as much as possible, working with kids that might not be as good, hoping that they could learn quickly and using the knowledge that no one expected us to be good on defense as a surprise tactic. I would be teaching and coaching the fundamentals: Tackling, leverage, being in position. And I would give them the best scheme that I could give them to make it work. Nothing too complicated. Basics. Man to man. Well timed blitzes. Defensive calls that I would have prepared and gotten ready for from watching hours and hours of the opposing teams' films. Knowing and recogninzing any tells that they might be giving that would help my defense overcome their deficiencies.

That's what Head Coaches that are coaching kids are supposed to do. They don't make excuses. They build kids up to more than was advertised. Yeah, it's about talent, size and skills. But it's also about heart and determination.

I got a chance recently to witness something special. It might not seem like much to a lot of you. And frankly, I really didn't understand what had actually happened until after it occured. And then I was really impressed.

A group of young girls in 6th grade were playing against another 6th grade team. These girls were all shorter than the other team by nearly a head for every player. The small school only had a total of 8 kids on the bench. The large school had 13. In fact, the large school started the 2nd and 3rd string figuring it would be easy to dismiss this little team. The small team left their starters in and they took a 6-0 1st quarter lead. It definitely looked like a bad omen when the larger team's first string came in and they towered over their opponents. But a funny thing happened. Those little girls - the short ones - stayed scrappy. They pressed. They played aggressive DEFENSE. There was no offense. Because unless the little team scored a transition or press basket, there was simply no way to get the ball inside and get a shot off. And if they did get a shot off and they didn't make it, rebounds rarely got down to their level. But you know what? That little team simply didn't know they were smaller. And they were coached to believe that the other team's size made absolutely no difference. And they played that way. They stayed scrappy. They pushed and pressed. They ran hard. They lost the lead in the 3rd quarter, but continued to listen to their coach. They went up by a bucket in the 4th quarter and held on to beat the obviously more skilled, more talented team.

And I found out after the fact that this team of Giants, this program of Titans, this team everyone figured would destroy this little team, hadn't lost a game in over 2 years! They had seen personell changes of course, but their program hadn't known defeat for that period of time...Until they ran into a gritty little team with heart, conviction, and was coached to WIN! To not let anyone's size or "skills" get in the way of playing like a team with conviction!

Where am I going with all this? Rich Rod simply doesn't inspire - you can see it, or rather, the lack of it. And these are still young, college age kids that will believe ANYTHING! It's one of the main points Schembechler felt worthy of putting on the wall:

"What the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve and those that stay will be Champions!"

Nope...I haven't seen that kind of heart or desire on a Michigan defense in a long time that 5 little girls showed me still exists...when the right coach is coaching.

So, it's simple. Yes, he's a great offensive strategist. He no doubt will be successful again. But if you can't coach their hearts and get them to believe, well, you can't be the head coach at Michigan.