Monday, September 30, 2013

After The Bye.....

So, I hope everyone got a chance to watch some purely objective football over the weekend.  I know I did and I learned a couple of things:

Michigan ABSOLUTLEY needs to win its next three games (Minnesota – PSU – Indiana) in order to eve be considered a contender for the B1G Championship much less any NC hopes, which, I’ve realistically already kissed good-bye, but hey, a guy can dream.

Of Michigan’s last 5 games, I believe a 2-3 record is possible (Wins over Sparty-Iowa), a 3-2 record is probable (Add –Nebraska), a 4-1 record would be great (Add either Kitty Kats or ohio) and a 5-0 record…well, that would be incredible, but I’m not looking that far ahead yet.  Even though I just did…..What’s scary is that based on the last two games…well…..0-5 in the last 5 games is possible, also.  Not to mention what could happen in the next three games….Yikes….

Wisconsin dropped and turned its way over into a loss to the suckeyes and if I was a Wiscy fan,  I would be so angry with my team and its execution that I would be all for my teams' execution.  Thank you Coach McKay.....Talk about a fanbase that has probably dropped from denial/isolation and skipped all the way down to bargaining…

Add Ole Miss to that turnovers galore statistic or else they would have had a puncher’s chance against Bama….

LSU and Georgia may meet again in another BIG GAME later in the year.

The domers….Ahh, the domers(JEEZ I HATE THESE GUYS!).  Tommy Rees has never met a potential turnover he didn’t like.  It was kind of funny…I knew that game was on at 3:30 but forgot to turn it on right away and when I did turn it on, it was alreay 14-0 in the 1st quarter…I felt kind of like a kid waking up on Christmas morning!

Seems like something else happened to a Maroon and Gold team this weekend…what was it….Oh yeah – Minnesota dumped it’s home B1G opener in terrible fashion to Iowa…Meaning Michigan better be ready.

Was that all that happened?  Oh yeah..The Ducks rolled.  Texas A&M beat the Razorbbacks….

Seems like I’m missing something….

WAIT!  I’ve GOT IT!  Lane Kiffin is the first head coaching casualty of the young football season! 

That one was kind of hard to believe and when it popped up on the screen yesterday, I flipped around and Fox Sports, which had ABSOLUTLEY NOTHING ELSE TO TELEVISE on Sunday, broke in live to the press conference where Pat Haden was making some remarks.  Talk about your unceremonious DUMPING of a head coach..And the decision was made in the 3rdquarter and of course..Lane was the last guy to find out.  Lane was not allowed on team bus at the airport where the driver was told to head back to USC…Pat didn’t come right out and say it, but he implied that Kiffin “begged” to keep his job….Wow.  I guess that “I’m behind my coach 100%” comment is good….Until it ISN’T!

Let’s face it:  Kiffin was in way over his head and in many ways was a dolt…From Inflate Gate to managing the media, or rather, no attempt at all in managing the media, he was a loose cannon and an idiot…a combination that never works in any endeavor except for maybe kamikaze pilot.  But even they had to hit the ship.  In some small way, I feel bad for Kiffin.  Like 1% of me….It’s not like he had some guarantee, at least not one that’s been made public.  Wuzzles got the ax and was good on salary for the next 10 years.  In fact, I still think he’s collecting a domer pay check.  Kiffin, on the other hand, somehow stumbled into a good thing at Oakland, parlayed that into a head coaching gig with the Vols where he alienated everyone, and then bolted for a very shaky situation at USC.  If he had established himself as a proven commodity, well, that would have been one thing.  But  to go there without any kind of track record and face a 30 scholarship reduction….All I can say is you better have a couple of locks in the ole contract before you make that move.  And Kiffin challenged everyone from the AD to the training table cook and more or less pissed off the World of Troy…Not smart.  Especially after Haden showed up.  But, at the same time:  Why now?  If Pat Haden knew he didn’t like Kiffin and all these things were sitting there simmering…why wait till the season starts?  Why not the end of last season?  Was he thinking “Get through the NCAA penalty phase?”  I mean, it’s clear now why Haden went to the NCAA to ask for lenience.  He could sell that aspect to a new hire.  But when he got shot down?  Not so much…So, who wants to jump into that mess now?  Haden has a big problem on his hands and wants to bring a class act in…And it is a mess with the scholarships, locker room discontent, etc….

Speculation on replacements:  The blogs are abuzz and former player Jack Del Rio is the name everyone is throwing around….While I don’t think the pro to college thing works all that well, there’s one market it’s okay to try it in:  Los Angeles.  Mora is making it work at UCLA and Carrol made it work at USC.  City environment on the ocean and it recruits itself.  An X and O’s guy can make it there…Just not sure if I was Pat Haden I’d go that route – which is why I’m not Pat Haden…But I think Pat sees the differences in the college and pro game and wants someone that the program can hold up as an example of doing it the right way. 

The other names in the ring:  Peterson (When ISN’T his name out there) and Franklin at Vandy.  That last one makes some sense and don’t be surprised if that’s the way it goes….

Add Paul Pasqualoni from UCONN and that’s two Head Coaches that have made the gone list already this year…..Sad….

5 Stages of Slappy Fan Grief

  1.  Denial and Isolation – ¼ of the domer fan base is still up here in the denial and isolation stage.  They now have some friends and I would say that there’s a ¼ of the LSU fan base that has fallen into this area due ot the fact that they don’t have a defense like the LSU defenses of old…but they have a QB.  The LSU loss wasn’t tragic which would have taken them down to Anger.  Just disheartening.  But LSU needs a better defense similar to what they used to have in the Bayou….
  2. ANGER  - There’s a WHOLE LIST of fan bases in here that you can either empathize or sympathize with.  Starting in no particular order:  Trojans, Cheeseheads, Razorbacks, Gophers, domers, Okie State Cowboys and Gamecocks….The Cocks and Cowboys had the most miserable performances of the weekend…even when you look at the pile the domers dumped on their fans at home.  The Cocks won at UCF, but they shouldn’t have and the cowboys…jeez….somehow that Okie State team manages to LOSE AS A DOUBLE DIGIT FAVORITE EVERY SEASON to someone that they have no business losing to…and that fan base is ticked off this AM….
  3. Bargaining – The majority of the Trojans and domers are in this phase.  The Trojans just lost their head coach, and while many are celebrating, now the collective is looking at the schedule and talking about a “successful season if we could just beat X”.  And one of those big X’s is the domers….and the domer collective is thinking the same thing.  Who’s season can we ruing by beating “X” and that will make our season.  Unfortunately, the domes already lost one of those games to Michigan leaving only 1 or 2 left.  But the bargaining in those fan camps has begun. 
  4. Depression – Trojans, Texas, Wiscy, domers.  I can make an argument for a lot of fan bases down in this section, but it’s only the truly slappys that think their team has a shot at an NC every year.  But Wiscy is more or less out of the B1G race with the suckeyes loss and all they can be is spoilers….Which, before the calendar even says October is a tough way to live a college football fan existence.
  5. AcceptanceU-Conn remains….Arizona is probably sitting here as well…..and maybe a couple of in the know Trojans or two now that the coach is gone….
Idle Thoughts From Saturday

-Okay…some football for a change without an emotional connection..
-Well, maybe a couple of connections of teams I hate and love to see lose..
-Game Day crowd in Athens seemed a little subdued…
-For an SEC crowd, I mean….
-Usually those fan bases are completely off the reservation.
-The Fargo crowd last week looked livelier..
-LSU-Georgia setting up to be a slobber knocker…
-Laters up on the domers by two TD’s???
-What’s going on?
-Oh…Tommy Rees up to his usual tricks..
-Quick – What color purple is Kelly’s face?
-Hee-hee….I wish I could have seen his reaction…
-I love to see certain guys lose it…
-Just cause they lose it so well….
-Okay – I see an 8-5 season for the Domers coming…
-Their fan base did NOT see them losing until October…..
-Meaning:  Same old Domers
-That should knock them out of the top 25…
-And all will be right with the world!
-Hawkeyes – Gophers getting embarrassing for Kill…
-Jeez, I hope he upped his meds.
-Georgia-LSU is really back and forth.  I wonder what the Over/Under on this game was?
-FMQ needs to keep that in mind the way the SEC teams are lighting up scoreboards now…
-Wiscy…What are you doing?
-Stop turning the ball over..
-Ole Miss:  The same goes for you! 
-Score for pete’s sake…
-Saban looks more rattled on the sideline this year than he usually does..
-He’ll probably retire in Crimson…
-Just can’t see him doing it all over again…
-But if Kirby Smart gets an offer…well, what’s to stop him?
-Wiscy!  Would you guys hang on to the damn ball!
-Oh well, I guess it will be the suckeyes….Unless the Purple Kittys bring it to Columbus…
-But that’s a tall order.
-There’s a lot of Wolverine and Northwestern fans in Madison right now…
-USC is getting killed…And I thought the defense was supposed to be the Trojan STRENGTH this year…
-Trojans…how far the once mighty have fallen…
-Makes you think if anything comes out of Agent Gate, maybe Saban would leave and avoid a loss of scholarships.
-But that’s crazy….

The Hot Seat

Kate Upton finished the week out strong in the Hot Seat Mascot Voting!  Wow, it wasn’t unanimous, but it was close.  So, five finalists in the running and without further ado, I will introduce the Hot Seat Mascot for Week # 5:  SI swimsuit model Irina Shayk! 


GONE LIST:  (It’s not the EARLIEST we’ve ever had a gone list….but it’s the earliest “in season” we’ve had a Gone List…)

  1.  LANE KIFFIN:  And this is bad because he doesn’t have the BS personality you need to do TV. In fact, he doesn’t have any personality…at least not one anyone can locate.  Now that USC has shown the world how to do it, it kind of makes you wonder who’ll be next….
  2. Paul Pasqualoni:  I’m surprised UConn made this move when they made it….seems like they could have waited…but maybe they are worried their guy will be gone if they didn’t act now…

Hot Seat Rank

  1. Mack Brown:  Has to be nervous as all media eyes can now move off the coach they love to hate (Kiffin) and look at Mack….
  2. Brian Kelly:  He’s no threat to be fired, just a hot seat….And he’s angry at Rees, of course….
  3. Gundy:   When you lose a double digit game to an inferior opponent, well, the fan base is going to let you have it….
  4. Holgorensen:  But he just won?  And his fan base is screaming because they got blanked by Maryland and then beat the #10 team in the country…what gives?
  5. Weiss:  Why not? 
  6.  Hazell:  I know it’s his first year…but Purdue is really, really bad…
  7. Rodriguez:  I’m sure his shtick is getting old in Arizona and getting hosed by the Huskies isn’t going to help…
  8. Fisher:  Again, no threat of getting canned, but he had better wake up FSU’s defense…Clemson will walk all over them….

FMQ Betting Results:

I love it when a best bet weekend comes together!  However….You know,  there are certain teams I simply should not bet.  Michigan and Okie State are on the list...Okay, I know I have to bet Michigan....maybe I will get it right at some point.  And I’ll add others as they come along.  But I’m not going to complain too much when we get a weekend that gets us closer to our overall goal. 

Cal Bears @ Oregon (-36): Take the Ducks and lay the 36 for $60
It was a squeaker, but the Ducks cover by 2!

WIN!  Bank $114
Sanford (-10) @ WSU:  Take Stanford and lay the 10 for $60.  Another Squeaker, but I will take it!

WIN!  Bank $114

Wiscy (+8) @ ohio:  A Take Wiscy and the 8 for $60.  ANOTHER 1 point squeaker for the FMQ, but a win is a win!

WIN!  Bank $114
Oklahoma (-3.5) @ the domers:  Take Oklahoma and lay the 3.5 for $40..This was like taking candy from a baby…

WIN!  Bank $76
Ole Miss (+17) @ Bama:  Take Ole Miss and the 17 for $40

LSU (+3) @ Georgia:  Take LSU and the 3 for $40

PUSH….Which means…LOSE…..
Okie Sate (-19) @ WVU: I hate Okie State……Take Okie State and lay the 19 for $40

Ducks – Cardinal – Wiscy - $10

WIN!  Bank $60
Starting BANK:       $933.50
TOTAL WIN:            $478

BANK:                       $1,411.50

Friday, September 27, 2013

APU Thoughts and We're in Full Conference Swing

Tuesday Follow-Up:  I posted Tuesday about the NCAA reducing the penalty at PSU a mere 14 months after the famous Emmert speech where he stated that “There will be NO reduction in the penalties and if there had been a Death Penalty, I would have exercised it.”  I was part of the outcry then.  Now, US Senator George Mitchell jumped into the fray after reviewing the ongoing restructuring and management at PSU and told the NCAA, “Look:  PSU is doing a great job managing this issue internally and via the legal system.  You need to review the penalty that you handed down and do what’s best.”  I think Emmert, like any of us, would take a Senator’s counsel seriously and “do what’s best.”  However, I will never agree with the Group Think and the dangerous gut reaction to this issue that led the NCAA down the path they went in the first place.  Public outcry and the Torch and Pitchfork mentality is the reason you need SOUND LEADERSHIP and a voice of reason in these situations.  Emmert could have been that guy, but instead piled on the bandwagon and simply wanted to erase football at PSU in a demonstration of power. 

Wrong move Mark Emmert….
Another potential land mine that universities and the NCAA alike are going to need to deal with sooner rather than later is the APU “All Players United” movement.  Players are finally getting their act together and realizing that the product they are responsible for putting on the field, albeit through the organization, branding, and effort of the parent institutions that they are playing for, is worth more to the players because the resulting product is worth a LOT more to the institutions than it’s EVER BEEN in the history of collegiate athletics.  A little quick research revealed that the athletic budget for the University of Michigan in 1975 was less than $4,000,000.  That’s not a typo….$4 million.  In 2000, Michigan’s AD budget was $35,000,000.  Today, Michigan’s 2013 Athletic Budget is $133,000,000, a 4X increase from 13 years ago.  (The BTN alone gives each B1G conference member an annual cash in-flow of $25M and growing)   I’m not saying that student athletes, for the most part, aren’t receiving just reward (education, health care, room & board, etc.) while playing for a university in any sport, and that cost annually at Michigan is somewhere between $75K-$100K for each athlete that’s on scholarship.  I’m saying that the amount of money involved for the Big 6 Power Conferences has never been greater on a relative basis (money per student athlete), and it doesn’t look like that curve is about to tip in the downward direction.  But, instead of coming out and acknowledging that fact, what do a collective of D1 Athletic Directors do instead?  They comeout in unified voice that Pay for Play is not only wrong, but it will NEVER bepart of what is otherwise a highly managed system of integrity…..for the student athletes, of course…by the Universities. 
WRONG MOVE University AD’s!
The statement, if you read it in its entirety, reeks of attitude and can only be described as incredibly self-serving.  Translated:  “Student Athletes:  Knock this crap off right now or we’ll show you!”  I only wonder how long it will take the student athlete collective that generates the income for these institutions (Football/Basketball) to figure this all out and decide that for their future and the future of their kids that may one day become collegiate athletes, “Today we’ll just sit on the field in front of 100K fans and on national TV for 3 or so hours.  We’re not gonna do much…Just sit.  We are going to watch you watching us.  And we are not going to play this game today because while we are benefitting from the education we receive, we are making a whole lot more money for the Universities and we are not seeing a dime of that while we physically take all the career ending risk and at times life threatening risk…And we don’t believe that’s ‘Fair’.”
If there isn’t a public outcry at that point….Well, let’s just say that there WILL be an outcry (That the MMQ will support) and AD’s, presidents and regents across the country will react and this problem will get solved in some way, shape and form once and for all.  Whether its pay for play, additional monthly stipends, accrued deposits that can be collected post graduation, some or all of the above or WHATEVER, the matter will get resolved.
The first 3rd of the season is in the books for most teams out there with the exception of some teams that had early byes.  I’m not going to hand out quarter term grades, just glad that some of the harder to watch games are behind us and we are now into the “Elimination” phase of the contenders.
I’ve postulated before that only about 20 teams have a shot at the NC and of those 20, there’s probably only about 10 that have a real chance.  And for 2 of those 10, well, you know how this goes.  The planets have to align and magic has to happen in order to find yourself as one of the last “Highlanders” left in the end…As we all know, there can be only one.
That being said, let’s look at this week’s match-ups!  Again, I like too many games and I’m spreading myself thin…I could/should just load up on the best bets, but I’m leery of those…So, spread it around.
Cal Bears @ Oregon (-36):  Normally, I loath laying this many points…But it’s the Quack Attack and they have not disappointed yet this year against the number. Even though this is a conference opponent that usually plays the Ducks close, who am I to argue with success?
Take the Ducks and lay the 36 for $60

Sanford (-10) @ WSU:  Look – WE ALL KNOW THAT MIKE LEACH CAN COACH.  But one win doesn’t a season make and Stanford is the real deal.  My guess is that Leach still doesn’t have the right personnel on the field to slow down the Cardinal….But it’ll be close.  Even so, I’m happy going with the Trees here and laying the points….
Take Stanford and lay the 10 for $60
Wiscy (+8) @ ohio:  Hmmm…do you realize that the last 2 years this game has been decided in either OT or in the final seconds?  And did you ALSO know that Wiscy was AHEAD of ohio in both of those instances?  Just asking….Do you think Wiscy is really TICKED OFF about that and they want to beat ohio?  Yeah….Me too…
Take Wiscy and the 8 for $60
Oklahoma (-3.5) @ the domers:  When I first saw this spread, I was a little surprised….A little.  I figure it would be more of a pick-em number with the Laters coming into South Bend looking for revenge.  In fact, I recalled that Gholson was the difference in the game last year in Norman…And he’s not on the team this year.  IF the Laters want to re-establish who’s the boss in the Big 12, it should start with this out of conference foe, just to get things rolling in the right direction.
Take Oklahoma and lay the 3.5 for $40
Ole Miss (+17) @ Bama:  I really think Bama’s Achilles Heel this year is their defense.  And we saw some of that when A&M lit them up for 40+.  Now, I believe that Ole Miss has a bettr defense than A&M and that might be the difference. 
Take Ole Miss and the 17 for $40
LSU (+3) @ Georgia:  Georgia is the Michigan of the SEC this year.  Playing down to opponents and the Texas Mean Green was in the game in the middle of the 4th quarter.  With LSU having a passing game and a defense, well, the Hatter might just run the table in the SEC.  And it’ll have to start in Georgia where he’s getting 3…
Take LSU and the 3 for $40
Okie Sate (-19) @ WVU:  WVU didn’t score ANY points last week against MARYLAND…Let that sink in for a minute.  This is the same West Virginia, well not exactly the same as Geno Smith has left, but the same coaching staff that was rolling up 50-60 points on opponents last year.  Getting blanked while giving up 37 makes me think that Okie State can do the same thing….

Take Okie State and lay the 19 for $40
Ducks – Cardinal – Wiscy - $10

Starting Bank:           $1,2,83.50
Total Bet:                   $330
BANK:                        $953.50

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

NCAA Announces a Reduction in PSU Penalties

Regardless of how you feel about Jerry Sandusky and what happened over a 10-15 year period at Penn State under Joe Pa, I believe the NCAA has righted a terrible wrong by increassing the number of scholarships and scholarship players over the next two years leading up to 2016-2017.  In addition, there may be a lift in the bowl ban as well.

You can read all about it here.

Why the MMQ believes this is the right thing is simple:  The collective now at PSU both in administration, in the coaching staff and on the field had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT HAPPENED in what was an atrocity of immeasurable proportions!  Not only that, but you are taking an education away from student athletes which is what the NCAA is supposed to stand for!  The utterly dispicable acts are being accounted for in the only way we currently have as a society, the US legal system.  Whether you like that or not.  It's a legal issue, not an NCAA issue.

I'm not saying the NCAA should not hold PSU accountable.  That the $60M fine wasn't reduced was more than satisfactory to this fan.  In fact, I would have preferred a trade-off of sorts (an increase in the fine) for the increase in scholarships, but I'll take what I can get.  I've never agreed with the penalty of punishing a shool and current players for the sins of players and coaches from the past.  That the University should go unscathed is not what I'm saying at all.  Punish PSU and make it hurt so bad that they will never fall into the same situation they found themselves in with a legendary coach calling all of the shots when it came to his staff.  For that, PSU (the University) should suffer.  But the students, coaches and players in the here and now should be allowed to enjoy the PSU experience to it's full extent. 

I hope that makes sense.

At least PSU will be able to field some semblance of a team in a year or two.....And they will be ready once they are eligible to go to a bowl. 

So, while I agree with this, the MMQ can't help but have some trouble when it comes to the sniff test and the question of, "Why now?" 

Why is this coming when the NCAA is at the crux of what many of the in the know bloggers are saying is a critical point in time for the NCAA?  Meaning that the power schools are ready to hand the NCAA their own set of rules on just about everything and tell the NCAA organization to get lost.  Is this a political move to gain some sort of public support for an institution that realizes that once it loses the power conferences in football that the only true revenue generating event, the NCAA Tournament, probably won't be far behind?  Are they concerned that the beuracracy they operate under is so overwhelming that they cannot get administrators to come to the NCAA Enforcement and Investigation Departments, much less stay in those assignments for any extended period of time?  IS the NCAA coming to the ugly realization that what they stand for, "Amateurism in Athletics" and the "Student Athlete" are a thing of the past? 

I think they are slowly starting to realize it...but like anything else the NCAA does, it will take too long before they react.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Total, Complete, Humiliating, Unmitigated Disaster....Averted Part Deux

I am frankly appalled, bewildered, confused and in an utter state of denial/anger over what is happening to the Michigan Wolverines at this point.  They are incredibly lucky to be 2-0 the last two weeks against teams that are a combined 1-6.  That alone should be a great reason to panic in Ann Arbor.  I’m not sure where this goes from here, but expectations have fallen and I feel like I’m on a run-away roller coaster ride where the power to the brakes is out, but the chain that pulls you to the top of the first big drop is still working just fine.  Every week, we’re going to get pulled up and there’s no way of knowing when or how the car is going to stop….And we know we simply can’t jump off the ride and ignore what is happening….

There’s a bye this week, and while that can either be a good or a bad thing, I believe this team has a lot of soul searching to do.  And I’m not the only one as e-mail and texts poured in Saturday night and Sunday morning with multiple comments and concerns.  One of the most compelling titled, “Thought Starters” , from the Original Super Fan, I figured was worth putting in here and commenting on as it seems like it should cover just about every concern the average Michigan Slappy and Non-Slappy Fan has at this point.

  1. Gardner is suddenly making D-Rob quality decisions……So is it the QB coaches fault?  Great question.  My initial thoughts on Gardener have come FULL CIRCLE since Central and the domers.  Meaning, where I initially thought Devin could overcome or at least compensate for a weak and inexperienced O-Line, I’m now starting to think that it’s too big of an Achilles Heel for him to manage on his own.  The offensive woes can’t all be put on the QB or the QB coaches, however.  There are certain coaches that need to take a hard look at certain positions and make sure that they are playing the best possible players at those positions, regardless of class rank.  There is a serious problem and while I’m not making excuses for Devin and poor decisions on his part-or the coaches at that position, it can’t all be on him.  He’s forced into making decision he shouldn’t have to make….
    2.  Gardner almost never tucks the ball properly, even after crossing the LOS or on obvious run plays; This WILL LEAD TO DISASTER!  Agreed.  Gardener is NOT D-Rob in that respect and while he can make plays using his feet and mobility, he is not a “run first, pass second” QB.  In fact, sooner or later, Devin will either A.  Drop the ball on a crucial drive  (see first drive after half time with respect to the “Fumble – 6” and you get where this could all go) or B.  Get hit so hard that he’s knocked out of the game or worse (See Driscoll – Gatorland).  That being said, Shane Morris isn’t ready to lead this team….and that is scary in and of itself. 
3.   Gardner is NOT THE ONLY problem on offense.  AGREE EVEN STRONGER!  See answer to number 1.  Everyone in the mainstream media seems to be laying this mess at the feet of Gardener without probing a little further or just watching what’s actually happening on the field.  I counted at least 10 plays where Gardener was rushed or forced out of the pocket early and into a difficult decision of running or getting rid of the ball.  Granted, Michigan ran on 1st down against U-Conn over 90% of the time!  This play mix is not a recipe for success and that falls squarely on the O-Coordinator.  I get that the coaching staff watched U-Conn film and probably saw opportunities where the run could have been established, but clearly the U-Conn staff decided that Michigan would not have the luxury of big gains via the rush on 1st down.  After the first tipped INT, I felt (and texted) that Gardener was getting gun shy.  The short arm INT when Funchess was a step ahead of his defender was clear evidence of that… He needs to re-develop/re-discover his confidence and the only way that’s going to happen is with offensive line protection and open receivers. 

4.   Did you notice that UNCONN defenders HIT while our boys barely tackle?  While I thought that U-Conn was playing well on Defense(And we were making them look better than they were), I thought our Defense in the 1st quarter was playing exceptionally well.  However, I do think that U-Conn made some great adjustments offensively and started to figure our defense out.  I think there are times when all Michigan fans think that every tackle should destroy the enemy, but the defense played admirably and was on the field way too long based on the opponent.  The best defense is a ball controlling offense.  Plain and simple.  And the Defense was what got us back in that game – Thanky You Desmond Morgan. So while I see some open issues on D, they pale in comparison to what has happened to the Offense.   Hitting and tackling not withstanding.

5.   Did you notice that our boys go down upon initial contact by one defender while UCONN players almost never went down immediately!  I am so sick of watching O players of teams I hate gain 5, 10, 15 yards after contact while M guys go down like power windows.  On the rare occasion that they don’t, it seems that the ball ends-up on the ground?????  I say anybody but "Fritz" in the backfield next game.  Keep rotating in other RBs until we find a guy that can gain some YAC without giving up the ball.  Oh, and from a coaching perspective, ANY loose ball should be considered a FUMBLE.  There’s multiple complaints here and I will try to address it all by simply stating that I think everything goes back to a root cause which is the offensive line.  “Fritz” has never shaken off the first tackle, has a tendency to get the “dropsies” and I think if you go back to a couple of years ago, you’ll find that the MMQ made those FT observations along with the statement:  “I miss Mike Hart”.  And while that is a Fritz problem, when there is good (or even decent) blocking, I think Fitz is one of the better open field runners we have.  And the coaching staff has confidence in him.  Plain and simple.  So while Fitz is perhaps part of the concern, it all starts up front. 

6.  An illegal motion penalty after a TO IS A COACHING PROBLEM!  Either that player is just too stupid to be allowed to play or the coaches are not focusing enough on such stuff!  See the answer in number 5.  The Offensive line needs to be the major focus in the bye week and Hoke has eluded to a change on the line and I think he needs to make it rather than wait.  I’ve seen what the upper classmen can do;  I’m ready (I think) to see what the depth chart looks like, even though that’s never a good thing when it comes to either line.  But something needs to be shaken up.

Minnesota is in the Big House in two weeks and they will have already played a B1G game.  Either way, win or lose, they will be coming to the Big House hungry for the Brown Jug and looking at two games worth of film of weaker Michigan opponents defensively taking advantage of an anemic Wolverine offense.  You can do a lot in two weeks, however, and I simply hope that whatever adjustments are made for Michigan, it’s enough.  My expectations have fallen and while I’m not in the Bargaining Phase of Slappy Fan Grief yet and I’m still in the Denial/Anger tweener position (“Deni-anger”???), it’ll only take 1 loss to push me over the edge….So let’s review where some other fan bases are in that spectrum. 

5 Stages of Slappy Fan Grief

  1.  Denial and Isolation – Sparty – ¼ of the fan base.  I was watching the Michigan game in a relatively public location, the St. Pat’s End of Summer Festival Beer Tent, where there was no shortage of Spartys and domers.  In fact, Michigan fans were outnumbered by about 4-1. And I caught the end of the domer-Sparty debacle there.  Sparty fan was so upset with the referees (and I concurred with Sparty, strangely enough) that they forgot that they were still in the game with a shot to win at the end.  “JLS” Dantonio then made, what was later learned, a coaching decision to “switch” out Cook and bring in Maxwell who hadn’t played in two weeks.  We all thought that Cook was injured in the prior series.  But no.  Sorry, Sparty... that’s a “JLS” move if I ever saw one.  A lot of Sparty fans agreed with me…Scary…The domers on the other hand are still solidly up in this phase as they also are somehow an incredibly lucky 2-0 (Spoilers and Sparty) after their Big House loss and believe that every pass interference call was justified.  Some even believe that undefeated from here on out is possible…How wrong they are….Others in the Denial/Isolation:  Hawkeyes – up from Bargaining/Anger due to 3-0 run over mediocre opponents, Suckeyes, Badgers, Bulldogs, Wolverines and others….Later or domer fans after their game will be here next week in droves….and someone from those two will slip down to
  2. ANGER – the other 75% of the Sparty fan base falls here.  But they simply have so much to be angry with, as one fan in the beer tent said, “God…I’m pissed at the refs, Dantonio and the offense.  I don’ have enough rage inside me to yell about everything….”  I get sparty’s anger and actually shared some of that as it seemed like every PI was on a very KEY play for the domers….and there was a couple that I thought that could have easily gone the other way – and normally I love it when Sparty get jobbed by the refs.….Other fans in the anger category that have figured out that they are simply not that good or know they have problems that “coaching” isn’t addressing:  Trojans, BYU, Huskers, some Hokies, domers and a lot of Wolverine fans….but some Wolverines have already slipped into the
  3. Bargaining – phase.  Michigan fans seem to enjoy seeing the worst side of the coin or the glass half empty and thinking that the coaches can’t possibly see what they see as fans and that there is “no way the team can learn and get better.”  With 4 wins, there were fans in the ole’ beer tent that were stating that 8-4 would be an “acceptable outcome” for 2013….Now, to that I have to say, “Wait a minute.”  MAYBE this is just the MMQ “bargaining” with himself, but I believe that there’s a good chance that the Wolverines somehow find a way to right the ship on offense and continue to improve and they are still undefeated at this point.  And while none of the first 4 wins get you to Indy, the B1G Title game is still out there looking for a Wolverine Debut appearance.  But it will need to be won and the road is getting more difficult every week unless the problems are fixed.  Other teams with a large part, if not the majority of their fan base in the Bargaining phase:  Gatorland, Cremesicles, Hoosiers, Sun Devils, some spartys and Va Tech Hokies immediately come to mind…..
  4. Depression – While their team won, Texas Fan has to have the most representatives in this category.  They know that they aren’t that great of a team and while they can be somewhat happy about beating K-State, well, the North Dakota State “Bizon” also beat K-State this year…so that’s not saying much.  Gatorland has some fans in this area as does the aforementioned K-State, but there’s definitely still a broad range of grief levels amongst all these fan bases. 
  5. AcceptanceSurprisingly, even though U-Conn lost, there’s definite hope that came out of the game against Michigan.  And while there aren’t many teams down here yet, it’s all going to start piling up in October.  K-State fan, - objective ones – are already here and hoping to play spoiler for the rest of the season.   Not to mention USF…
Idle Thoughts From Saturday

 -Fargo ND featured on Game Day….
-(I’lll admit now I had to look it up on the map….)
-A little slice of Americana…
-I was surprised when they rattled off the list of people that had appeared on the stage of the downtown Fargo Theater…
-It was kind of impressive.
-Louisville puts up 72….Wow…
-Suckeyes run up 76!  Holy crap…and it was 55-0 at the half…
-QB controversy in Columbus?  Or just a wonderful luxury for Urban Legend?
-One that Urban DOES NOT HAVE on Defense…next week in C-bus will be the test…
-Somebody in Columbus will be an unhappy camper next week…Bucky or Brutus…
-I’m leaning towards brutus here….They’re gonna’ be sad…
-And yeah, for obvious HATE reasons….and a couple of stats that lead me to believe that ohio is a paper tiger right now…
-And Wiscy could be for real….and it’ll be strength on weakness – both ways.
- ohio is a tough place to win….
-Sparty is hanging in there against the domers….
-The reason it’s a great game:  either way, somebody I hate is gonna lose!
-Spoilers against Wiscy….Not so much.
-Wiscy has a lot of tailbacks….I wish Michigan had one solid one….
-Volunteers are hanging tough against Gatorland…
-Utah State sealing Lane Kiffin’s fate….nobody in Coliseum….
-Pass Interference AGAIN?  I mean, I hate Sparty…but come on…
-And it’s a B1G crew?  SERIOUSLY?
-I know that the home team should get a call every now and then…
-Sparty got their shot to tie or win and “JLS” Dantonio blew it….
-If Sparty fan doesn’t hate Dantonio yet, after another couple of shenanigans like that, they soon will.
-What is Michigan doing on offense?
-Come ON Michigan!  Block somebody…
-Oh no…tipped INT’s suck…QB loses some confidence and momentum shifts…
-What is going on?????
-Devin getting gun shy….I hate that….
-Jeez….Look for the BALL ON A PUNT! 
-What is going on?   Why do we look so inept?
-Great….Why not just score FOR THEM DEVIN?
-It’s not all his fault…it’s not all his fault…
-Is this the game that we shouldn’t lose that we lose?  Can it be?
-To a team that hasn’t won a game? 
-GO DEFENSE!  Great one handed INT Desmond!!!
-Player of the game – Desmond Morgan!
-Now score…Okay….
-Great stop!  Score again…Okay….thank you Fitz….and the line.
-It shouldn’t come down to a Figgie against an 0-2 U-Conn…
-Hoke has a lot of work to do.
-And the press he gets for the next two weeks is well deserved.
-The Gophers in the House in 2 weeks.
-I hope a different team shows up or it’s going to be a long B1G season….

The Hot Seat

Jessica Perez of SI swimsuit fame easily won week #3 in the Hot Seat Mascot voting and will be in the finals with Amanda.  That’s 2 finalists out of 4 potentials.  I can’t believe I had never had the next nominee on the ballot, but I scoured through 5 years of mascot nominees (I know!  I couldn’t believe it had been going on that long, either!) and could not locate even a mention of her.  And she dated one of the Detroit Tigers for a while!  Without further ado, Hot Seat Mascot nominee for Week # 4:  Kate Upton!


Hot Seat Rank

  1. Mack Brown:  I have to leave him here because I can’t make anyone else number 1 at this point, but
  2. Lane Kiffin:  is close to number 1 and whoever loses next will have secured the 1 seat for the year. 
  3. Brian Kelly:  Getting lucky against MSU gets you some rants from the domer fan base…but not firing rants…just rants…
  4. Dantonio:  On the other hand…There were some ANGRY spartys in that beer tent…and it wasn’t just the beer talking.  I heard a lot of great arguments as to why the Italian Stallion has to go after the end of this season…SOS…But I still think they’re a little premature…
  5. Ferentz:  Moving down after beating on little sisters of the poor…however, the children of the corn may be lucky to go 1-4 in the next 5 games in the B1G….It’s murderer’s row for them…
  6. Weiss:  Why not?  
  7. Pelini:  He’s safe and the staff is behind him…but fans are restless…
  8. Hoke….Losing that close to U-Conn keeps you on the list for a week…
  9. Beamer – I heard Va-Tech fan over the weekend…they are not happy…
  10. Graham:  Winning close over Wiscy and laying an egg against the Cardinal doesn’t bode well for ASU and the “gun for hire living out of a suitcase“ coach…
FMQ Betting Results:

Wow….what a miserable weekend for the FMQ.  And he was SO CONFIDENT in several of his picks.  I have a feeling he might go into conservative mode this week and only bet what he really believes are locks and don’t be surprised if he doesn’t bet the Michigan game….Hee-hee…yeah, Michigan doesn’t play this week so that’s pretty safe assumption.

Sparty (+7.5) @ domers:  Sparty Covers…but should have won..
Take Sparty and the points for $75
WIN!  Bank $142.50

KSU (+4.5) @ Texas:  Okay…K-State Sucks…
Take KSU and the points for $40
Cremesicles (+17.5) @ Gatorland:  Cremsicles Cover! 
Take Tennessee and the 17.5 for $30
WIN!  Bank $57

Maine @ Northwestern (-28):  Not enough defense Kittens…piss me off again
Take Northwestern and lay the 28 for $60

Akron (+8) at Louisiana Rajun Cajuns:  Covered, but didn’t win…..
Take Akron and the 8 for $30
WIN!  Bank $57

Stanford (-7.5) @ ASU:  Wow…Easy cover…Graham already looking for a new gig…
Take Stanford and lay the 7.5 for $60
WIN!  Bank $114

Michigan (-17.5) @ UConn:  The FMQ may never, ever, EVER bet Michigan again….
Take Michigan and lay the points for $60

Starting BANK:         $913
TOTAL WIN:              $370.50
BANK:                        $1,283.50
Final Note:  While this blog only covers college football, I have to add here that “Breaking Bad” is now down to its final episode next Sunday.  As a fan from the very first show, I’ll be incredibly sorry to see it go…There’s not much on regular TV that I look forward to every week any more.  Walter White has to be one of, if not the most compelling character on TV.  Ever.  I know that’s saying a lot, but frankly, I would love to see a list of characters and we could compare him top to bottom.  I have a feeling if you’re bringing up somebody else, you haven’t seen the Walter White evolution from “Mr. Rogers to Tony Montegna in Scarface” over the 5 seasons “Breaking Bad” has been on.
I’m gonna’ miss it….