Thursday, March 31, 2011

Will the Stories EVER Stop?

Talk about a busy week in the blog world...And my real job has been one headache after another. And as I know there are quite a few of you that only read this blog for your collegiate sports updates, I believe it's imperative that I post again this week, if only to make sure that you are aware of every thing that's happening. And as always, I'm eternally grateful that SB Nation exists to put all of this into believable context without the journalistic integrity getting in the way!

1. St. Tressel - CONSPIRACY!

If you haven't been following, last Friday, OSU released information that Tressel in fact forwarded the "confidential" e-mails to Terrelle Pryor's Main Man, (read: Booster) Ted Sarniak, in some sort of helping gesture. I guess Tressel figured if he couldn't rein Pryor in, who better than the guy that holds Pryor's leash? Unfortunately for St. Tressel, that information is now out and visible to the world. So, let's run down what the NCAA has on Tressel and tOSU:

1. He lied about knowing when he knew about the sale of the items to the Tat-Shop.

2. He lied about keeping it to himself as it was a federal investigation.

3. He lied again when the story came out and the players were subject to getting kicked out of the Sugar Bowl.

4. Gene Smith and Gordon Gee lied at the press conference announcing Tressel's intial punishment stating that they understood that he had kept the e-mail confidential. That's Conspiracy

5. tOSU must now be looked at as being in alliance with Tressel on this, or, more or less, part of the cover up.

The problem with lying is you have to keep lying to support the first lie. It's always there, just aching for support. Which leads to the next one and the next one...And St. Tressel and tOSU are still telling them. George Castanza, in one of the greatest lines in TV history, once told Jerry how to beat a lie detector by stating,

"Jerry, its not a lie if you believe it."

Aparently, all of the hierarchy within tOSU "believes" that St. Tressel should not be blamed for any of this as he didn't really do anything wrong. Corruption, lies, old boys's all great fodder for the NCAA meat grinder that has to deal with this and make tOSU an example. If Tressel manages to keep his job after everything in this ordeal is said and done, well, we will all then know that it's not about how you do it, it's whether your winning or losing.

2. The End of the Fiesta?

This is something right out of a Hollywood movie script. The CEO of the Fiesta Bowl, the guy's last name is John Junker (seriously), was so blatantly open about the financial abuses that he was committing with the Fiesta Bowl's revenue that he tried to openly justify, and get this:

1. A weekend birthday party for himself in Pebble Beach for $33,000 that he expensed to the Bowl.

2. A $1,200 strip club tab that he attended with friends because, "big athletes like to hang out at these places and business was definitely conducted." Business was definitely conducted....I'm thinking (insert the word or pleasure of your choice here) : _____________JOBS. Your list to choose from: Hand, Blow, and Booby

3. $46,000 or so in political contributions (read: bribes) and subsequent hush money paid to cover it up.

I'm not sure what Junker could have been thinking. Bowls are supposed to be non-profit organizations that "do good for the community". After this fiasco, and there's really no other term for it, I'm willing to bet that investigative journalists countrywide are going to start looking up the collective rear ends of the Rose, Orange and Sugar and find all sorts of juicy tid bits. Whether or not they find anything that even begins to compare to the sins of Junker is a moot point. They'll find something. Is this a portent to the end of the BCS? Wetzel seems to think so... You know, the guy who wrote the book "Death to the BCS." And the alternative?

The Cotton Bowl at JerryWorld. Yeah, sure....That'll fix all the corruption and abuses that are occuring in the BCS. I can't help but wonder if Mark Cuban isn't somehow behind all of this....

3. Auburn = Cash

MSU = Cash

tOSU= Sexual Favors

Remember the above equations as there will be a test later. HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel ran a show about former Auburn players being offered all of the above in exchange for playing with the respective teams that were recruiting them. The biggest problem I had with the story was the fact that the former players were paid for their appearance and several players that played with these guys have come out and said that they were more or less all liars. Not that I mind MSU and tOSU's names getting dragged through the mud some more and Auburn is part of the "Super Excellent Cheaters" conference anyway. But Auburn's reputation of "throwing duffel bags full of cash" at kids is getting a lot of play in the media. Where there's smoke, there's bound to be a small fire. I just wonder if anyone will eventually be able to make anything stick at that institution. A few choice cuts (Provided by SBN): McClover says there were money handshakes from boosters at other football camps too. At Auburn for a couple hundred dollars and at Michigan State. All the schools denied any wrongdoing. And things really started heating up a few months later when he went to Ohio State for an official visit where schools get a chance for one weekend to host prospective athletes.

McClover: "They send girls my way. I partied. When I got there I met up with a couple guys from the team. We went to a party and they asked me to pick any girl I wanted."

Kremer to McClover: "I think in one game you had four sacks, what did you earn in that game?"

McClover: "Four thousand. Against Alabama."

Noice.....Maybe Michigan should start paying for sacks against tOSU?

4. And Finally, one that slipped most noticeably under the radar except by your alert MMQ (MANY THANKS to Greg over at M-Victors) we have this photo:

Don't panic and don't get excited. Apparently the Former Gator Coach turned ESPN special analyst wanted to tour the Michigan facility and see the Wolverine operation up close and personal.

Hmmmmmm....What a gig for a couple of years. Go tour all the major Division 1 programs, look at what they have, what they do best, investigate the traditions and then go back to work after your recuperative hiatus and take it all with you. Urban Legend is a genius....unfortunately.

Phew...I think that's it for awhile....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Michigan Makes the Frozen 4!

IT’S GREAT TO BE A MICHIGAN WOLVERINE! After seeing the team in person this year (Thanks Chris K!) and watching them a couple of times on the tube, tracking them as they backed into the CCHA Championship when all Notre Dame had to do was win once at home, I had mixed feelings going into the NCCA Hockey tournament. I mean, Hockey is a fickle sport and you simply can’t handicap it, no matter how hard you try. But Red has them back to College Hockey’s ultimate event. Next Thursday, April 7th, is a Big Match-up for the Wolverines against (Denver) Correction: North Dakota in Minneapolis…And thanks to Dean G, I have an invitation to go. But I also have other commitments that will keep me from attending. It would be great to see this team win the whole thing. They play with a lot of heart and grit. I just wish it always showed up on the ice… If we can get past Denver into the final game, anything’s possible.

Speaking of handicapping, did you here about this guy? Somebody had the (audacity) foresight to bet VCU at 5,000 to 1 odds for $10 bucks back before the season started. That’s $50,000, folks, for a $10 speculation. The Vegas Hilton had VCU at 9,999 to 1 at one point. But no bets. Granted, VCU has to win the thing, but still…I wouldn’t mind having that ticket in my hand right now. VCU has to win 6 games which is what the old Vegas odds makers are counting on. Thinking out loud as a gambler, IF VCU makes the final game, the sports book may want to have a little talk with you and offer you a little less for your marker and you might be wise to take it if the offer was say, $20,000? Anything less, say $15,000 and I think I would have to decline. At that point, you could simply bet ½ of the $35,000 difference ($50,000 winner -$15,000 offer = $35,000) on Kentucky/Uconn winner ($17,500 total wager) and you will end up with either $17,500 or $32,500 in your pocket with only a $2,510 “total” bet and be further ahead. (That would be the difference between the casino’s offer and your championship bet – with either outcome). That’s 6 to 1 on the $17,500 and 13 to 1 on the $32,500. Of course, this implies that you have $17,500 laying around…and I haven’t figured in the vig and I’m assuming you can get a money line bet that is close to neutral and just lay it on the Kentucky/UConn winner.

If the offer was $20K and you declined, the new bet would be $15,000 ($50K-$20K = $30K) and you’d be looking at a net gain of either $15,000 or $35,000, or a $5,000 bet for $20,000. That’s a worse deal for you because it's a potential $5,000 loss albeit with better odds on th $35K (4 to 1 and 7 to 1) and it makes a difference to the casino…They are either paying you $15,000 - their first offer or $35,000…And they might take you up on the counter offer and you would be wise to simply take the $20G’s… No more gambling. And that’s a good thing. Too much math? No worries…I’m not entirely sure I’ve got it right, either. But if I had that ticket, you can bet that there would be a deep dive into this with about 10 spreadsheets doing the math on everything when I walk into the casino explaining the situation. That’s how you need to think about it when you’re holding a ticket like that and you have them by the “short hairs”.

If VCU wins one more game and that guy is probably done gambling and thinking about how to secure some dough.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One More Time - WITH FEELING!

When I published my last post, I received an e-mail from a Domer that will remain nameless, stating that the average Domer Fan’s expectations this year for Hoops was quite high. In fact, it was a Domer inner circle feeling of, “Final 4 or Bust” mentality for most of the fans that follow Domer Hoops.

And this particular Domer stated he liked the direction of Michigan’s Basketball program a whole lot more than the Domers, even though the Domer's was a successful season, albeit in the B-East. Which got me to thinking: Where would this year’s Domer team have finished in the Big 10 and would it have made the tournament (assuming a lower seed)? And would they have been more battle tested against better teams from the Big 10?

More importantly, the Big 10’s share of Basketball revenue (figuring in the Big 10 Network and NCAA split) is way higher per team than what the Domer’s get from the Big East and the NCAA.
Also, in case you haven’t heard, the Big 10 will be forming its own Hockey conference of 6 teams in the 2013-2014 season after Penn State drops the first puck in 2012. Why is that a big deal? If you’re a casual hockey fan, it doesn’t really mean much to Michigan, OSU or Michigan State, other than they leave the CCHA (that has managed to endure through thick and thin). Those three will start having to play Wisconsin and Minnesota who, believe or not, are HUGE Hockey powers in the WCHA, which will also get weaker as a result of this “New Conference” in College Hockey. Everyone is guessing that the remaining powers in the CCHA (Miami, Domers, Bowling Green) will jump either out east or to the WCHA and the CCHA will die an ugly and brutal death. But that remains to be seen. Why is this important? Domer Hockey will need a home and the WCHA would require a lot of travel time and more importantly, cost. Where as Big 10 Hockey would have been pretty much the same road trips that the Domers take today – with ultimately HIGHER revenue than they will ever see in a diminished WCHA.

So, the question of the day is:

How bad has the Domer decision making team screwed up the rest of Domer athletics with respect to competition and championships and athletic revenue for the sake of its football team independence???

Yes, everyone at this point knows that the Domers could have easily been the 12th team in the Big 10. And that would have brought Basketball and Hockey and actually freed the B-East of a team that would not participate at the football level and allow them to court someone that truly brings something to the table with respect to revenue. Moving Villanova up to FBS level is just dumb for Villanova, and they know it, which is why they are dragging their feet.

And the Domers would have enjoyed a revenue split of equal value from the BTN, but chose to ignore that for the simple fact that they believe they can continue to leverage their football product into higher and higher returns from NBC.

Problem is, even if they can leverage that one product at NBC into a lucrative contract that creates a surplus for all athletics, there’s still the small problem that all the athletic teams are playing in lesser conferences with fewer opportunities for National Titles.

Or worse, they are playing as independents on the outside looking in with other conferences sitting with AQ status (in Football).

And mark my words, the day will come when the Domers are sitting on an undefeated season and the Big 10 and SEC champs are sitting with ether a no loss or 1 loss record after having won their Conference Championship (which, by the way, also gets some additional revenue). And the Domers will be left out in the cold because they didn’t “Earn their way in” to the Championship. There will be protests and howls then, but the record will state very clearly that the Domers could have been in a conference and it would have been different.

On a side note (But could have been it’s own Blog entry – and probably will if this Domer somehow ends up on the field against Michigan in September):

Michael Floyd, Team Captain and returning Senior, has been “indefinitely” suspended from the Football Team resulting from a DUI. If you haven’t seen the story, here’s a link.

Why do I think Kelly has to boot him? Well, maybe he doesn't...but Notre Dame does. Res Life has to, at least, according to every precedent that’s been established:

Notre Dame's Office of ResLife has a history of coming down hard on students in these situations. The student handbook says that if a student has a DUI and has at least one prior alcohol violation, that student must be separated from the university for at least one semester. It also mandates that the student submit to an alcohol assessment.
Floyd has two previous underage drinking citations from his time at home in Minnesota.

Better yet, go over to NDNation and go to Rock’s House. The Green(Blue?) and Gold are shitting bricks at the thought of losing Floyd. Everyone is defending him and stating that the University can’t kick him out…But apparently, the University does in fact kick you out for repeated violations. And the fact that Michael was already on probation probably doesn’t bode well for him or the Football team…

Hee-hee…First St. Tressel and now the Domers have made my Month. And to think I never used to really like March all that much…

Monday, March 21, 2011


It’s GREAT to be a Michigan Wolverine!

I type that with some melancholy in my fingers and the knowledge that Michigan was a back of the rim shot away from tying a fading Duke team (that won’t make it past SDSU – or they might after having received a Maize and Blue wake up call, but more on that in a minute) and playing an additional period for a ticket to the Sweet 16. For a young team without a senior that no one was picking to finish higher than 11th in the Big 10, I have this to say: Fellas, You MICHIGAN MEN among Men,

You did a helluva’ job.

There is nothing more satisfying than watching a bunch of Duke crazies rubbing their worry beads with the head Devil himself sweating bullets wondering how in the hell to attack a 1-3-1 zone. With one more satisfying exception of course: Beating the same bunch of Duke Crazies.

My hatred of the Blue Devils began early but clearly peaked during the Fab 5 Era about the same time that Duke was coming into it’s own with Coach K leading the way. Maybe I'm wrong, but I saw Duke as an Eastern incarnation of Indiana with Coach K being a robotic droid of Bobby Knight that simply didn’t use the F-word. I didn’t care a whole lot for Knight, either, and it’s now a whole lot more obvious why we all should have been questioning some of Knight’s antics. He was an abusive guy that had a real problem with authority. Which kind of makes you wonder about the soft spoken Grecian formula haired guy that sits on the sidelines of Cameron arena? Can that apple have fallen that far from the original tree?

I personall don’t think it did and I have never believed that Duke is as perfect as everyone would have you believe. Think Domers version of Basketball.

So, needless to say, as I was watching yesterday, I uttered the phrase, “JEEZ, I HATE THESE GUYS!” only to hear my older daughter ask, “But Dad, I thought we hated Notre Dame?”

Ah, youth.

I explained to her this connection and as Duke got a favorable whistle with my eldest questioning the foul, I explained that sometimes you have to play against the refs, too, when you play Duke. This, she understood immediately.

“So its Michigan against the world, right Dad?” I only nodded and watched the come back begin. The Novak 3-pointer. The Hardaway 3 that closed it to 1 point. Could this be happening?

REALLY? I believe…I believe…I believe...

And to watch it fall short was tough. Incredibly tough. Tear shedding hoping that this group of overachievers could pull off the impossible and rid the world, or at least the 2011 NCAA’s of one more number 1 seed.

I know some of you don’t hate Duke. In fact, you have openly expressed the fact that you like Duke and you think Coach K does it right and you would like to see more teams do it like Coach K does it. To that I say – you are entitled to your opinion. But in my house, if you are a Michigan Fan, you simply have to hate Duke.

In happier news, the Domers went down in flaming style to FSU as did Texas, Syracuse and many other hated teams, not to mention a B-East team that has to be feeling pretty stupid still this morning, two days after a disaster.

The "Pitt-Butler 2 seconds" at the end of the game will be replayed multiple times. And not only on ESPN. It will get locker room scrutiny and chalk talks as to what and what not to do in the closing moments of any game. I chatted with several people regarding this outcome. Basketball people that all stated that the action that decides a game should not happen 94 feet away from the basket that wins the game in the final second. Well, again I say, “You’re entitled to your opinion.”

That the ref got the call right is indisputable. Pitt fouled Butler. And Butler also fouled Pitt 1 second before that putting Pitt on the line with a chance to win – another indisputable call. You can’t have one without the other. If you don’t call the last Pitt foul, than you can’t call the Butler foul. But they called them both. Each team got the same opportunity.

Michigan won a National Title in ’89 on the free throw line. I can’t be a hypocrite here and state that Rumeal shouldn’t have had a chance to win it at the line.

If you want to change the rules with 10 seconds left, change them. Otherwise, get off the referees’ backs and let them do their job. It’s not an easy job and everyone can second guess it from here to eternity. But they called both fouls right. Should they have not blown the whistle once the game was tied and let it get decided in OT? You could argue that…and that would be your opinion.

But it would be wrong.

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Tressel Makes a BAD Move

In what can only be described as openly begging for NCAA mercy, St. Tressel has asked for and "Surprise!" received a five game suspension from tOSU.

SOOOOOOooooooooooo.....Let me get this straight, just so I understand:

Smith and Gee believe St. Tressel did "everything he could" initially and reviewed the situation and determined that a $250,000 fine and two games was "more than enough." Only after the nuclear fall out in the blogosphere, the national press and little known corners of the world insisting that Tressel be suspended for an entire season or, at worst, dismissed for his unacceptable actions does St. Tressel come forward and state that he should be held to the same punishment as his players.


St. Tressel, I have a news bulletin for you: The NCAA smells fear and can sense weakness. You just made a river card post oak bluff that you are somehow hoping the NCAA sees as "enough" of a penalty to let you off easy. Or easier than what you suspect might be coming at you in the dark tunnel you find yourself in....

But guess what? I think this little bluff probably just gave them the ammunition they need to push all in on your sorry behind. And frankly, you and your institution deserve it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Herbstreit Moves to...Nashville?

In case you haven't heard, Kirk Herbstreit has picked up and moved himself and his family from Columbus to Nashville due to, "Abuse by the local minority of fans that he and his family has suffered through for the last three years."


It's funny. Kirk was a pretty well liked and respected athlete when he played for the Suckeyes. It wasn't until he went into broadcasting and tried to maintain an objective approach in his analysis of College Football that he became hated in South Bend.

I suspect Dierdorf probably lost his job on MNF because of his constant references to the University of Michigan during the games or when an alumni would make a great play. Yet, somehow, he didn't seem like a total homer when he did it. I'm sure others viewed the comments differently. But I don't have any issue with Spielman or Bob Griese making references to tOSU or Purdue when they do a game...

Home grown Gary Danielson, who went to Dearborn Divine Child and then on to Purdue, I have grown to hate simpy because of his love for the SEC. And he is therefore never welcome in my house, even if he apologizes at some point. So that's out there.

And I guess that makes me a Hater...But I haven't called Gary or sent him an e-mail telling him how I feel. Because I understand he's doing his job and it would be wrong.

At this point, all I can say is Haters are going to be Haters. And some of them are going to be vocal. I put these clowns in the same category that after having the greatest sexual experience of their life would complain that it, "Didn't last long enough." Or after giving them a drink of water that saved their life, they would ask where the ice was in the glass...Some people just weren't brought up to understand that it's not OK to express every thought, feeling and opinion you might have to others, or worse, towards that specific person or their family members. And the technology that's available today only makes that worse. Before you can even think it, you can Tweet it....

And where has it gotten us?

Herbstreit moved because he and his family simply couldn't weather the storm anymore. I'm sure there's a faction of Suckeyes celebrating today thinking they accomplished something. And I'm also sure there is a silent majority wishing that these dumbasses would simply shut the hell up and let a respected and nationally liked alumni do his job.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Maisel on Tressel - BRING THE AXE DOWN!

ESPN writer/reporter Ivan Maisel finally gets it right after his first attempt at crucifying Jim Tressel and more or less echoes what I stated initially.

The NCAA looks REAL BAD after the Cam Newton incident, and no one is completely sure that we've heard the end of that deal. But this one, this coach lying to the NCAA, signing (falsely) that he knew of no infractions, and then trying to hide behind the president and AD of the University is a great example of how serious the NCAA wants to treat this.

And don't think the University of Michigan isn't watching this one very closely. Not to mention USC. After being the most recent major Universities that got put through the NCAA wringer, I'll wager that they want to see tOSU get it just as bad if not worse than they got it.

If the NCAA really wants to re-establish itself and get a handle on some of the college football activities that are less than above board, they'll start right here, right now.

This is the example.

The evidence is clear.

No one can argue the facts.

Bring the hammer down and make it hurt. I'm not saying this because I hate Ohio State (well, maybe a little). I'm saying it because I love College Football and there needs to be something that resets the bar and level of integrity that the game needs. Without it, it's not only a game on a 100 yard playing field, but it becomes a game to "see who can get away with the most shenanigans and not get caught. And if you get caught, oh well. Do your time and move on to the next opportunity."

Nobody wants to see it come down to that. Especially the guys that are trying to do it the right way.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dance, Dance, Dance!!!

It’s GREAT to be a Michigan Wolverine!

I will admit here and now that I actually missed the University of Michigan getting their tournament announcement last night. I had flipped over to watch ESPN as the CBS guys are usually quite irritating to watch and I figured Michigan, if it was coming, would be announced down in the 7-10 or 6-11 half of any region we were announced in anyway. So, imagine my surprise when ESPN starts talking about the 8-9 match up of Michigan and Tennessee! From being on the bubble (meaning at least an 11-12 seed) all the way up to an 8 seed?


Which got me to thinking about who got screwed in this deal and it really didn’t take long to figure it out. Colorado and Va Tech have legitimate – LEGITIMATE – beefs and something needs to be done with respect to looking at how the committee deals with the 11 and 12 seeds and head to head match-ups, not to mention the play in games. VCU? UAB? Yeah…Those were schools in the middle of every bubble discussion out there...NOT. Why am I bitching? Look – kids go to big schools because of this very opportunity – a chance to go to the Dance. VCU and UAB are legitimate basketball venues, but they are “Big Schools”. And while we all love and fall all over the George Masons, Butlers, and other Cinderellas that make deep runs in the greatest college event ever (at least in March), it would certainly piss me off if I was sitting on the outside this year looking in at teams that I had beaten 3 times (Colorado vs. K-State) and Va Tech with a win over a #1 seed and 2 wins over another ACC team (Duke, FSU - TWICE). It makes me sick that the committee looks at UAB (didn’t beat anybody worthy of the mention) and VCU (same) and says they deserve it.

I say bullshit. Bilas and Dickie V had it right. It doesn’t even pass the laugh test…

But then of course, you see that it’s the Suckeye AD Gene Smith that chairs the committee and you figure we’ll here about the payola from UAB and VCU soon enough. Especially if Smith is driving a nice, shiny new car come April.

And if you didn’t watch the Fab 5 movie on ESPN at 9:00, I would HIGHLY recommend tuning in for a repeat of it. Having lived through that as a fan that followed that team and went to Minnesota for the Final Four when they were Freshmen, it was fascinating to see it and hear it in their words. The footage that Dutcher shared from the Euro-trip is good stuff. And I earned a whole new respect for Jalen Rose. I always knew he had an attitude, but I didn’t realize how down to earth the guy was, or at least how he was portrayed in the moive. And everyone’s comments on Duke should be etched into stone for posterity! Those were classic.

I guess I was a bit taken aback by some of the alumni of Michigan that had the audacity to send letters condemning the school and Fisher for letting these “types of players” take over the team. I was more embarrassed by that segment after watching the whole thing than I was by anything else. And the Ed Martin fiasco, while I think we all now know it happened, was explained pretty succinctly by Jalen and Albom: Kids in poverty or with nothing are going to take handouts, plain and simple, regardless of what NCAA rule is written somewhere... Ed Martin was in his own way trying to do something charitable. Yes, he ran an illegal gambling ring. And I’m pretty sure that Webber took a big loan from Ed with the promise to pay it back once he made it to the pros. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink....But did he take it during his active playing time? I agree with Mitch – you certainly couldn’t tell from the way he lived.

Catch all of it if you can and you can sort of identify with how these 5 guys viewed themselves and how the press made the Fab 5 into the Fab 5. What’s really shocking is how Uof M merchandise sales skyrocketed when they arrived. 10 fold. And you can sort of see their point of view: Why do superstar athletes get treated like revenue streams without the promise of reward (from the University)? Anyone of those 5 guys goes down with a knee injury and all that’s left is the memories. I mean, I’m not saying we should pay athletes as the Pandora’s box that opens is simply too difficult to think about and if the NCAA goes there, it can never go back. But still, would you deny your kid the ability to generate income if they were blessed with any other skill or in any other endeavor? (Music, medicine, etc.?)

By the way, Michigan Hocky SWEPT Bowling Green in the best 2 out of 3 and marches on in the CCHA tournament. Michigan already has a berth in the Frozen 4 so winning the CCHA would improve that, but I won’t pretend here and stated that I know how. Please read the Blog that Yost built for details….

And St. Tressel was still in the news, even though tOSU has been trying to down play EVERYTHING from the President Gee comments at the press conference (more non-compliance ammo if the coach isn’t even afraid of his ultimate boss) and whatever else comes from the affairs of Tressel. It’s finally good to see that University getting some of what it deserves, even if our higher ups need to stay on the high road when addressing it.

Tournament Picks!
My picks for the tournament? I thought you’d never ask! And what’s a good strategy for wining the office pool? Here’s what I do:

Strategy: It used to be the 12-5 match-ups were the pesky picks – now the 5-12 pick’s seem easy. It’s the 13-4 and 14-3’s, not to mention the 6-11’s being the play in game upset picks that are the challenge. I think you need at least 4 or possibly 5 upsets in those 16 first round "middle" games to have a chance at winning a bracket. 7-10’s and 8-9’s are a coin flip and I always consult the Vegas line for clues or close match-ups. If you have the guts to pick a 15-2, go ahead. I’m just not that brave unless I get a whole bunch of bonus points for picking an upset early. And also pick against the Big East….After 7 of last year’s 8 teams getting knocked out before the Sweet 16, they simply aren’t a good bet in March.

EAST (Hey, What happened to the new names?)
Look for a UK vs. OSU Sweet 16 Match-up with OSU coming out on top. I AM NOT a B-East fan, even in basketball, but the Orange and the much hated Boheim are rolling. And that means I have to write that miserable name down (Syracuse) over Isaiah Thomas and Washington and also take them in a mild upset of Roy Williams and UNC. However, that Washington-Syracuse pick could change at any time. Meaning I’ll take Washington to the Elite 8 vs. OSU. Otherwise, I like the chalk with the exception of Clemson possibly sliding in and knocking off WVU…But No – WVU makes it to the 2nd round. Marquette is sliding and was the last BEAST team to make it into the field. Xavier should handle them. OSU in the Final 4….

WEST – Hail to the Victors????
Why the ESPN or CBS guys are not giving San Diego State any love is beyond me…Were they simply keeping them (and that upset pick) to themselves? SDSU plays defense and only lost (twice) to a BYU team that was in some estimations an easy #1 seed and had a chance to win it all. I’m taking SDSU all the way to Houston, folks. Duke actually goes down early to the #8 Seed in that region after that seed knocks out a CHEATING Tennessee team…(Ahem – Yes, that’s my Homer pick – So I’ll get that out of the way right now). I’m tempted to take the fashionable upset (but won’t) and go with 13-seeded Oakland over Texas. Texas is trying to get to the Final 4 in their Home State city of Houston and won’t go down easy…. One more mild 10-7 upset: PSU over Temple. Otherwise, stick with the seeding when the time comes. (NOTE: Do not fall for the MIZZOU hype…Cincinnati ain’t that good either, but I think they see Mizzou coming) Yes, that means I have Michigan as the 8 Seed losing to Fisher…Wouldn’t that be poetic? And I would have truly mixed feelings about it if it happened….SDSU in the Final Four.

KU – Are they the most over rated #1 or is Duke? Or is this Bill Self’s year? After last year’s dismal showing, I have to believe that Kansas makes a much better run this year…But the bracket isn’t easy. Kansas will beat UNLV and have to beat Pitino’s Cardinal to get to the Elite 8. Vandy loses to Richmond…Yep…that’s another 13-4 I simply can’t ignore. Georgetown has injuries and will lose in the 1st round to whoever wins the play in game and that play in game winner might just beat a Purdue Boilermaker team that has been horrendous at the end of the season. No – scratch that, Purdue and the Domers meet in the Sweet 16… I’ll take the Domers (JEEZ I HATE THESE GUYS!) to the elite 8 and into the Final 4…Sorry, Kansas. Fool me once….Domer’s toughest game MIGHT be the first one against Akron – they scared somebody last year…And wouldn’t that be a cool, good ole fashioned 15-2 upset on Friday afternoon??? But I can’t force myself to pick it, as much as I think it could happen.

Let me state right here that Pitt has to have the easiest road to the Final 4 and that to me is a travesty. I think that the BEAST should not have received the #1 seed in this bracket. But it is what it is now. Hold your nose and take Pitt to the Final 4. K-State may make the early exit when they get on the floor over a much less and more hungry Utah State. Not sure if I can do that 12-5, but it’s right there…. Do not, I repeat: Do NOT fall for all the of the St. John’s Red Storm talk. Upsets: The Zags are the darlings of the Southeast and will play Pitt in the Elite 8. Wofford over BYU will be incredibly hard to ignore and I might have to take it just because. But that would give me too many 14-3 upsets (4) and that really bothers me…The Cheeseheads will go down to Belmont (Belmont has the highest margin of victory of anyone in the tournament and they can SCORE!) and Wisconsin is on the same downhill slide as Purdue – they looked putrid in the Big 10 tournament…KSU meets Pitt in the Sweet 16 and Sparty finds a way to beat Gatorland but loses to the Zags….Pitt to the Final 4….

Best Upset Picks (of the 14-3, 13-4 variety) (2 picks): Belmont over the Cheeseheads, Wofford over BYU….But don’t say I didn’t warn you about Oakland-Texas...

Best 6-11 upset Picks (2): The Zags and whoever plays Georgetown.

12-5 Upsets (2): Richmond over Vanderbilt and Utah State over K-State

Only 7-10 Upsets: PSU over Temple and Sparty over UCLA

Cinder Fella that no one saw coming: Gonzaga

Biggest Sleeper: I know they are a 2 seed, but they are the most unheralded 2 seed out there – San Diego State


Final Two: OSU vs. PITT

Winner: OSU….I don’t like this one little bit and anyone that could ruin it would make my day.

Friday, March 11, 2011

More Presents From St. Tressel...

As I started to get into Tatoo-Gate a couple of days ago and I was reading what the mainstream press was telling us, it came across as a "final chapter" on the issue and it would in no way come down on St. Tressel, the man who writes books on how to do things the right way. It's funny. A lot of the journalists in the sports world believed that Tressel's "actions" in Tatoo-Gate were for the most part dismissible.

At first.

It was almost as if tOSU was bringing this information out and reading the last page of a history book, holding a press conference and sternly reprimanding St. Tressel with a two game suspension and a fine and that would simply end the matter. Once the NCCA approves of their internal punishment, of course.

But then the blogosphere started jumping on board. And even certain blogs that are pro-OSU started questioning whether or not the long arm of the law known as the NCAA wouldn't demand a whole lot more from the OSU, not stopping with vacated wins and scholarship reductions. Depending, of course, on what other potential cover-ups are discovered while St. Tressel has been at the helm. (And my guess is were going to see a bunch of them... )

Then, and only then, if you were paying attention, it seemed like the mainstream media finally got it. They started to understand that St. Tressel might not just be the lily white, ultra-clean coach that he leads everyone to believe he is. And the avalanche of the mainstream media finally began. Along with the blogosphere.

Avalanches are funny things. If you've ever seen one up close and in person, you don't even hear it at first. It's actually in the background noise...And then the thing picks up momentum and starts to take on a life of it's own. Then you hear the rush and sense the movement and it's fast and ferocious. And it doesn't quit until it decides it's done.

Cam Newton's situation was almost believable in that the distant relationship between Cam and his Dad were sort of well known. You could understand that the NCAA didn't want to punish the kid for the sins of the dad. AS flimsy as the argument was, I think we all kind of got it. I still don't like it, but in the end, I got it. I think.

But this, this is an avalanche that old Tressel simply can't get out of the way of. Here's why:

If it comes out that Tressel had forwarded or copied an e-mail to anyone in tOSU...well, now you have a classic textbook case of conspiracy. And I'll bet that's what the OSU is trying to avoid right now.

Why is conspiracy such a big deal? That's what they more or less got SMU on. A 10.1 Violation of the NCAA Ethics Code and Compliance. Multiple, repeat offenses of known violations.

What was OSU's unfair conpetitive gain?

11 wins with ineligible players. BCS Bowl Victory and money with same ineligible players. And a coach that knew about it the whole time, not to mention someone else within the walls of tOSU may have known as well.

That's a Big Deal. Big enough to bring down a univeristy? Probably not...But big enough to bring down a coach?

We'll see.

My guess is tOSU is already lining up some fall guy that got the e-mail from St. Tressel and they are considering paying him off to keep his mouth shut, take the fall, and tOSU will get to keep it's coach and look like they "Cleaned house" in the process.

I can only say this: Had this been Bo, Woody, Lloyd, or any of the old school guys that we know to play by the rules, the players probably would have been kicked off the team as soon as the e-mail hit the head coach's screen.

Clearly, St. Tressel is not in the same league as these guys, regardless of what he's accomplished on the field. And I think the world now knows this.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!!!


I apologize. I look at the football off-season as an opportunity to refresh the collective juices that are required to write something on a weekly basis. I have been doing this now for the better part of 13 years and sometimes it makes you scratch your head and wonder why do it at all when you see the body of work in it’s entirety and wonder what else you could have done with your time…

But then there’s Maize and Blue days like today!

If you haven’t heard, Tressel’s goose is about to get cooked, in the media, anyway. Luckily for the Vest, he just participated in and won a BCS bowl against Arkansas and has the longest winning streak of any OSU head coach vs. Michigan, ever.

But, in the end, will that be enough? My guess is that the NCAA will act on this with a lot more vengeance than a 2 game, $250,000 fine that the OSU has handed down to ole Jimbo.

Why will it come down so hard? First – the e-mails. Give them a read. It’s highly entertaining.

So, the Vest knew and he knew DETAILS! And the BS about who do I talk to? I was protecting an investigation... and I was scared! that he spewed in the press conference?

Please…Don’t belittle our intelligence.

The Vest is supposed to be a guy that does everything right and by the book. He should have made it public to God and the world as soon as the first e-mail came across his desk. Instead, he didn’t tell anybody.

Second, and this is even more damning than not telling anyone about the initial e-mail: He lied about when he became knowledgeable about Tatoo-gate. He openly told the press when it came out that he had no prior knowledge some 9 months later. And he let the kids participate and play the entire season and the bowl game.

I’m sure the NCAA will have a field day with that.

The fact that some kids went off the page and sold some crap is really immaterial at this point. It’s the fact that The Vest knew, he wrote at the time it was wrong, and then he tried to distance himself from the entire thing will give the NCAA even more reason to question the integrity and morality of the program.

Not to mention that this kind of thing brings out the other little cover-ups including player gifts, cars, and who knows what else the never ending Booster Stream of Cash that fanatical buckeye fans have lined up and handed to players under Tressel’s watch. All you’ll need is one pissed of Booster to decide to do a tell all (think: Ed Martin) to save his own bacon in some sort of sting operation or tax scandal and you’ve got a problem that The Vest simply won’t be able to overcome.

Especially if he has a 3 or more loss season in the next year or two…with a couple of those losses to that “School up North…”

The NCAA came down hard on Lane Kiffin and Bruce Pearl at Tennessee. Pearl’s infractions (in case you aren’t familiar with them) were fairly innocent and by no means unforgiveable if he would have just admitted to it up front and taken the heat at that moment in time. But he lied about it. Then he lied about why he lied. That was Pearl. Granted, the Vest has way more cache than Pearl...But still…

And based on the fact that President Gee has come out in full support of the Vest, this will undoubtedly set up some sort of showdown between tOSU and the NCAA. To the point where the teeth of the NCAA will be tested as to what they can really do to a MAJOR Division 1 program.

If you didn’t get to see the ESPN expose on SMU and what went down in the 80’s-90’s, it was compelling stuff. But it was SMU.

This is the Ohio State University.

I’m not saying that the OSU will come right out and thumb their nose at the NCAA. But, much like USC, they’ll probably continue on with their illicit ways with whatever infraction is handed down.

At this point, I don’t really see how the entire 2010 season is not vacated. In addition, as a penalty for taking the BCS money by playing a bowl game with ineligible players, I’m sure the NCCA will impose some sort of post season ban and possibly scholarship reductions. The scholarship reductions may be multiple years. And, as that is the only weapon at the NCAA’s disposal, they should be.

It’s funny. I just re-read what I’ve written and while I never really hated Tressel, I never fully respected him, either. Not as a head coach. I always thought there was something that wasn’t quite right. I mean, I'm obviously biased and I know that... But how he was landing guys to play in that “conservative” offense? And how did he manage to do it year in and year out without any hiccups along the way? It's those little nagging questions that will all be answered shortly.

Maurice Clarett should have been the tell, and in many ways he was. We just didn’t read the hand right. But now all the Vest’s hole cards are about to be exposed and my guess is his stack isn’t big enough to pay off everyone sitting at the table. It's going to take a little time, but the Vest Death Watch has commenced.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Put On Your Dancing Shoes!

I hate to put the cart before the horse...But I'm going to go out on a limb here and do it anyway. Michigan is in the Field of 64 (68-whatever) and they're going to get to strap on their Dancing Shoes!

It simply feels to good to not talk about and comment on and once again,


If you didn't or couldn't watch Saturday's game, I feel for you. I truly do. Michigan went up early (12-1 at one point) and you had the feeling that they were in charge and the kids knew what they were doing against a more experienced squad. The Michigan Men of the Hardwood have definitely come of age and whatever seed they end up getting in the Big Dance, I'm sure they're going to present other coaches with a lot of headaches.

Morris is a frosh phenom and Novak is the epitome of work ethic. I would like to see an interview of the former coaches of Zach just to hear what they say about him. Something along the lines of: "Well, he wasn't a big or glitzy guy, but he got the job done!"

Hardaway, Smotrycz, and the rest of the crew are to be commended. A sweep of Sparty and that hadn't happened for almost 15 years ('96-'97). A return to the Dance when everyone was picking them to finish in the bottom of an incredibly strong Big 10.

The first round bye is a blessing in disguise. If you're truly on the bubble, you want to play in the first round in order to impress. I now think we can stumble against Illinois (BTW - We Won't) and still get an at large invite...Unless the unthinkable happens and Sparty (or someone else) has the incredible run and gets the automatic bid and forces Michigan out....

Oh, why did I even type that?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How Big of a Game Is It NOW?

Well, a lot of you have been paying attention and I finally have the courage to put words through the keyboard and into the blog after last Wednesday's heart ripping, gut wrenching episode at Crisler. If I hadn't waited, I'm truly afraid that I would have never been able to let my daughters eventually read my blog as the profanity that would have ensued may have actually gotten me barred from internet blogging....Turns out loyal MMQ reader Chris K was there and had to witness the "bank shot" first hand. The silence in Crisler was apparently overwhelming as Wisconsin celebrated the victory. I'm still not completely over it...

But that's the beauty of College Hoops. You get an immediate chance to right the wrong that someone else lays on you. And unfortunately Minnesota was Michigan's victim on Saturday. Which brings us to this Saturday, March 5th.

I have been thinking and saying for some time (since late January - right after we beat Sparty the first time) when I looked at the schedule and started figuring out wins and losses) and saw that the final game in Ann Arbor was going to be pivotal for these young Wolverines. I knew we would probably be on the cusp of 0.500 in the Big 10 and I believed at that point we would need to beat Sparty again to clinch a tournament spot.

Jeez...I hate it when I'm right. What makes me even more nervous is that even though most prognosticators have Sparty "Safely In" the field of 64-68, whatever, is that if you've watched Sparty in any of their last 10 games, they've kind of looked like warmed over puke on moldy bread. They are that hard to watch. I can't recall a season where it seemed like Sparty has just given up with respect to trying to keep games close. Other teams get out in front of them and Sparty goes defensive but can't stop anyone. And you aren't going to catch up from behind trying to trade 2 pointers when the other team is lobbing and making 3's. It just ain't goona happen. So, if I'm on the committee (I'm not) and I'm looking for an exciting team in one of the low match-ups, who would you rather have? A young upstart team that can drain 3 pointers, has kept games close with 4 of the top 10 teams in the nation (OSU - 2x, Kansas, Wisconsin) or an older team that seems to have lost all desire to play and loses by 20 to a rival, even though their coach has a reputation as a bracket buster?

In my opinionated mind, it's a no brainer.

But, I'd rather have the win over Sparty under my belt heading into the Big 10 tournament. I believe that gets us in.

And if Sparty wins, well, I doubt the committee can deny the Strength of Schedule (SOS) and the huge risk that Izzo takes early every year to get his guys ready and battle tested.

It's a Big Game!!!