Thursday, February 23, 2012

Basketball and Hockey Dreaming...Among Other Things....

Well, now that the NFL is over and we're all allowed to start watching college hoops, I must say that it's been a LONG, LONG time since I've been this excited about saying and thinking Michigan Basketball and NCAA Tournament in the same thought or sentence.  And I'm eagerly anticipating the NCAA 64-5-6-7-8 seeding and the B1G Conference Tournament as well.  All should be grand fun and provide a lot of later winter early spring entertainment...

After watching Michigan take down the Suckeyes on Saturday and then play Northwestern to OT (which - note to J. Belien: Win the stupid game in regulation with a better shot selection. Chances are that'll come in damn handy in the NCAA's...) I'm thinking they've got a real shot at the B1G Regular Season Conference Championship which they haven't won since 1986...Folks, to let you know how long THAT has been, I was still a student! And Frieder was the coach....

Not only that, but in case you haven't been paying attention, your other Michigan Athletics that normally don't get a lot of love are doing some really great things.  The Michigan Hockey team is on a roll and looking at another CCHA Championship.  And they weren't supposed to be that great this year.  THAT'S the beauty of College Hockey.  Even when you think it might be a bad season...BANG!  You've got 1996 all over again...

Yes, it's Great to be a Michigan Wolverine in the Winter Months again! 

And don't look now, but the Men's Baseball Team is 2-1 and Women's Softball is 8-1!  The Women's Basketball team is also 19-8 and looking at their own seed in the Women's NCAA tournament...That's still 64 teams, by the way.

So, yeah, there's lots of stuff to be paying attention to.  In a way, I'm kind of glad football is over and we've got that Sugar Bowl Victory/Trophy tucked away in Schembechler hall.  It gives us a chance to enjoy everything else Michigan Athletics has to offer!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

B1G Talking Home Field Play-Offs? PLEASE BE TRUE!

Don't look now:  B1G 10 leading the way for a College football playoff that would (like your MMQ predicted) have home field advantage for the first round games!

Here's the link to the Tribune story...,0,4747499.story

What's most interesting is that Delaney and most of the Big 10 schools are for looking at something that would force the southern and western schools to play in the midwest come December.  That has always been something that would level the playing field, at least in the MMQ's mind...

But there is a sinister side to this as well:  Follow the money.  A home football play-off would more than likely bring in as much dough (if not more) than a B1G Championship appearance.  Rumor has it that the B1G Championship game brought in more than the $8M it projected and will be a premier play-off game in the college football arena.

That being said, it probably didn't take long for a few of the AD's to sit up and say, "Hey, play-offs is where we're headed and if we're going to break the model anyway, why not at least be in charge and say what's what?"  Not only that, but the BTN is probably in EVERYONE'S ear (who'll listen) telling what potential projections are, etc.

So now that the B1G is leading the charge, where is this headed?

I wouldn't be surprised if some sort of "alliance" between the best of the PAC12 and the B1G end up going head to head at the end of the season as a way to dismiss the notion that the two best teams in College Football are ever again seen as being in the SEC.  If there is a play-off, you can bet that only teams from the B1G, PAC12, SEC and (right now) the ACC will be in it...The Big 12 and BEast will bust their collective hiny's and try to get back up and up to play off level conference numbers, but my guess is we're on the verge of very big change in the collegiate football landscape.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Signing Day - The NCAA Equivalent of the NFL Draft

Every year, on February 1st, ESPN has nothing but 12 hours of Signing Day Coverage for NCAA football recruits.  It's turned into a media event, with class rankings and "top 10 recuiting classes" named and cited in every major publication.

Frankly, I've never gotten into the whole recruiting thing (that much) but I will admit that it's almost impossible to ignore anymore.  I mean, there's simply so much information out there that you have to glean something in the process of reading about sports every day. 

And here's the thing I've taken away from it:  IF you had a lousy season, say 3-9 up to about 8-5, well, you're highly rated recruiting class is the new savior to your program and in three years you'll be reaping the fruits of that labor.  If you had a great season and you have a highly rated class, well, you're just re-loading.

Everyone has recruited "exactly the guy they needed" to fill a gap or gaps in their future line-up.  And everyone has a National Champion on paper on February 1st, just like everyone in the NFL has a Super Bowl ready team after Draft Day...Problem with all of this is, how are they going to develop and perform as their careers progress?  No one can simulate that.

Thankfully, after today, its over and we can get on with more meaningful discussion....