Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Northwestern - Mid Week Round Up!!!

THE CFP Committee Makes a Bold Statement

I was surprised last night, to say the least.  I figured that Ole Miss losing by a shoe-string tackle that resulted in a fumble at the goal line on what was the last play of the game that mattered and a receiver breaking his leg would only drop Ole Miss a couple of spots.  Meaning, I thought they would put Ole Miss right above Sparty.  Instead, the Committee dropped them DOWN TO 11th!!!  I was surprised, to say the least.  If that had been Michigan (or anyone frankly) that had lost to a 3rd ranked team under those circumstances getting dropped that far…well, I guess the committee is saying “Perfect or close to perfect record is more important that style points or who you lose to.”  In other words, don’t expect the SEC to go to 9 conference games any time soon.  In fact, I think it will put other conferences on notice that a 9 game conference schedule could really put your at large teams in jeopardy.  Again, I was very surprised by that move…Very.  Let’s see what the committee does with the conference champions and how they deal with the Big12 when the time comes.  But that move was pretty telling.  They are looking at the loss column in a big way, but right now, I find it hard to believe that Ole Miss is that much worse today than they were after a split second play on Saturday.    Sorry – just sayin’.

Pat Forde beat me to this, but I’ve been looking at the SEC West and the remaining games and there is a possibility where there are 5 teams with identical records – all 6-2 – and no clear picture as to who the best team might be.  I’m not going to go through the remaining schedules, but it can happen – Miss State, Bama, Auburn, Ole Miss and LSU…and that thought warms my heart.  The tie breakers get even uglier as it goes to a cross divisional record and if there’s still ties?  Oh yesThis is the truly wonderful part:  A Coin Toss could decide who plays in the SEC Championship!  That, would be priceless….
The NEW Athletic Director – A Rubrik by the MMQ

Going into the Nortwestern Game, The MMQ is feeling better than usual.  I guess the impact and knowledge that BranDictator is gone and where ever the Michigan Athletic program is going, it has taken a needed step in that direction.

If I was going to write the “Master “M” Plan” for football and overall athletics recovery (not that it all needs a complete recovery – mostly football), I guess I would start with something like this.  (Prez Schlissel – Feel free to use as a straw-man and add or delete where you see fit):

  1.  Find an AD that gets athletics, but has a feel for the money side of the issue, too.  But athletics first.  It has to be athletics first.
    1. That AD should have a handle on the Football Coach potentials that are out there.  If he comes to the interview without a list, well...’nuff said.
    2. What is his relationship (if any) to those coaches on that list?
    3. Ask him directly if he believes he can hire the right coach and why?
    4. That’s a very open ended question with literally an infinite number of answers, but one that needs to be asked regardless.
    5. Is he willing to work “Behind the scenes” and simply do what’s necessary as an AD?
    6. He may need to play second fiddle to a big time football coach that may or may not have previous ties to the University and an even bigger ego than what’s seen in the public eye.
    7. Oh – By the way, you’ll need to be able to manage a $150M budget and all the other athletics in UofM’s line-up.
  2. Hire said coach
    1. Pay him whatever.  Too many articles, blog-posts and analysis all over the internet that more or less says that the big, splashy hire is the way to go as they get proven results.  Michigan has done both recently, and unfortunately, Michigan whiffed on both.  But when in doubt, the odds favor the big name splash.
    2. Make sure he has all the support he needs – assistant salaries, whatever. 
    3. If it’s necessary to cut sports in other areas to support the MAIN REVENUE GENERATING SPORT of this university, do so.
    4. The BTN will find something else besides Women’s Field Hockey to either re-run or air live.
                                                              i.      (There’s Billiard and Pool Teams at most if not all of the B1G Universities…Just Sayin’)
                                                            ii.      ESPN has made millions televising “un-paid” poker players playing in tournaments.
                                                          iii.      Think about that for a minute…What else do Universities have that people would watch on TV that goes on for free?
                                                          iv.      And we’ll watch pretty much anything…
    1. Stand back and get out of the way (of football).
    2. Manage the rest accordingly.
  1. Start re-building the fan base in all the sports of this once great institution.
    1. That may require a re-vamp of the entire ticket sales process/pricing for Football season and individual tickets.
    2. PSL review, concession pricing review –the whole shebang.
    3. Basketball (men’s) seems to be on stable footing for the moment
    4. But Belien is no spring chicken and a replacement men’s b-ball Coach in 3-5 years may be on the agenda.  Stay alert as to who’s doing what.
    5. Figure out what to do about Hockey.  Has Red overstayed his ability?
    6. Stop having games outside of Yost. 
                                                              i.      The Big House “BIG CHILL” was cool.  Do THAT again.
                                                            ii.      But NOT CHICAGO
                                                          iii.      You have Detroit and the GLI at Christmas – New Years
    1. Get fans excited about Michigan Football again.  Again, fans are excited about basketball season, even though Michigan is not expected to finish in the top 5 of the B1G. 
    2. But they’re excited none-the-less.
    3. Follow that process.  Good Coach + success, repeat.
  1. Re-Align the athletic department to get student and fan feedback as much as possible to confirm that what you’re doing is the right thing and that the fans are happy.  COMMUNICATION is a two-way street.  If the fans are unhappy, you may want to re-think the plan.
    1. Your predecessor believed that if he “Told everyone what he was doing and that he was raising prices” that was communication.
    2. Bad Move
    3. Worse Move-See all the stuff under “The Case Against BranDictator”
    4. Don’t tell or e-mail people that are life-long fans to find another team to root for, quit drinking and go to bed, or to “Have a Nice Life”.

It’s a start and by no means a complete plan, but when is there EVER a complete plan in place for any endeavor?

ESPN Game Day – Herbstreit vs. Desmond

During Saturday’s Game Day from Morganton, the crew did a review of the Brandon situation and the current coaching situation.  Desmond went off on some sideways rants about certain “factions” going against Coach Hoke and this was the same Michigan Mob/Mafia that also went against Rodriguez.  Des really came off looking like one of the problems that surrounds the Michigan program.  Herbstreit, OTOH, nailed it, and the Freep captured most of it which I’ve copied here (with MMQ comments in parenthesis throughout the conversation):

Herbstreit's primary criticism is that the football program has descended year by year in Brandon's tenure, with Brandon's hired coach, Brady Hoke, at the helm, calling the 3-5 program "abysmal, humiliating, embarrassing.”


Herbstreit:   "Outside perspective, he didn't do a good job at Michigan, he ran it like a corporation," Herbstreit said. "He was a very successful businessman who tried to run an athletic department like a corporation. He might have been able to create a lot of funds, a lot of revenue, but look at the product on the field. He has to be accountable for that.
"This is the first domino. Eventually they'll bring in a new athletic director, a new staff. Michigan football, this is the darkest era in the last six years. Not Brady Hoke, since Lloyd Carr left, this has been abysmal, humiliating, embarrassing to the Michigan people, including guys like Des. Whoever they bring in, bring in a football athletic director, bring in a sports guy. Retire the corporate AD please."
The segment was introduced by host Chris Fowler talking about Brandon's resignation, using and saying it with "air quotes" to imply that he was forced out.
Howard responded: "Why can't a man just resign? Some people get fired and some people are allowed to resign."
Herbstreit didn't let that slide, saying "Some people are forced to resign."
Howard gave as impassioned a defense of Brandon as anyone has in the past 24 hours, saying the timing surprised him.
Desmond:  "Dave Brandon's going to be okay," Howard said, presumably referring to Brandon's financial stability built in previous Fortune 500 CEO jobs. "My reaction to this is very simple. Dave Brandon as the athletic director has done a very good job as athletic director.
(MMQ - ?????? WTF???)
Desmond:  I spoke to a booster who has contributed millions to the university. He said he didn't know – this was about three weeks ago – whether Dave could survive. Because some of the people he angered we pretty high up and it was more political than anything else. So for it to happen this quick, when the season is still underway, I'm kind of surprised it happened.
"I think Dave has done a tremendous job raising hundreds of millions for the athletic community. Not just for the revenue generating spots. He had an effect on women's sports, we're talking field hockey, lacrosse, soccer the list goes on and on. But Michigan's football, his No. 1 hire, Brady Hoke, they've struggled on the football field.   Big opportunity, people took advantage of it, the mob mentality, and because they struggled on the football field he's out. He resigned.
(If ANYONE can translate Howard’s thoughts above to something coherent…please let me know – MMQ)
After Herbstreit pointed out with his statement that football is how he will be assessed, Howard agreed that the program has struggled, but didn't pin that on Brandon.
"When he brought in Brady Hoke, I thought he brought in the right coach," Howard said. "He's not responsible for the product on the field. It's like calling Dave to task for the whole (Shane Morris) concussion thing. They've tried to blame Dave Brandon for that. I think there's some things he's responsible for and some things he's not. They tried to link him to it so they could get him out. I think Dave said under these circumstances, it's best for me to step aside, not just for the athletic community but for the athletic department as a whole. That's what he did."
 (MMQ – I kind of disagree with this statement, Desmond.  Brady might have been the right hire, but has long since proven otherwise.  And nobody was blaming BranDictator DIRECTLY regarding the concussion, but rather, WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG FOR THE MEDICAL REPORT TO COME OUT, and why did it come out at 1:00 AM, DESMOND?  And why didn’t Hoke know anything about anything in his Monday afternoon presser???)
The back and forth between the pair continued as Fowler, who covers tennis in his offseason, watched the volleys.
Herbstreit: "What do you want me to say?"
Howard: "He's dressed as the mayor of the Buckeyes."
 (MMQ – Okay – that was a good one!)
Herbstreit (a former Ohio State quarterback): "I may be dressed like a Buckeye but I'm a Big Ten fan and I'm a fan of Michigan being Michigan. Michigan has not been Michigan since 2007."
Howard: "I'm not saying it's Dave's fault, that's the coach's fault."
(MMQ – Desmond, Please see the list to the right in the MMQ’s Blog.  DB had to go for a whole lot of reasons and a lot of those are why Michigan isn’t Michigan anymore!!!  But, let’s make it clear:  The reasons are not limited to what has happened on the Football Field.  In fact, I believe the main reason can now be the e-mails that were obviously noted by the Prez saying all fans need to be treated with respect.)
Herbstreit: "No one wants to get Michigan back to being Michigan more than me.   Maybe the guy over here.” (pointing at Desmond)
So, what amounted to a spirited back and forth finally culminated in what appeared to be victory in the succinctness of Herbstreit’s observations.  Des, on the other hand, is bleeding Maize and Blue and doesn’t want to see the program thrown back into turmoil…which, yeah, I think we all get that – no one does.  But there’s no other way at this point.  Brady had his chance.  It’s not working.  And I don’t see it getting better.  Desmond needs to see that, too.
Harbaugh, Harbaugh, Harbaugh?
I think everyone needs to take one small step BACKWARDS and take a 30,000 foot view of the “Football World” as this country knows it.  First, rarely do NFL coaches – SUCCESSFUL NFL Coaches  (Not Satan) – make the backwards step of heading back to college where the job is tougher (Yes – the college job is tougher than the pro job due to the fact that its 365 days a year), the pay is USUALLY less (Exception: Satan – Bama, others…Michigan could pony up and make Jim the highest paid coach in the B1G or in all of college sports, if they wanted to) and the glory is fleeting.  If Jim Harbaugh is going to even pretend that he’s interested in the Michigan Job, it’s going to take a lot on Michigan’s part to land him.  Money, genuflection by many, and maybe some out-right begging by the right person/people to make it happen.  Therefore, Michigan fans need to take a deep breath and realize that the chance that Harbaugh is NOT Michigan’s next head coach is more realistic than being the next head coach. If Jimmy had won the Super Bowl…Well, maybe then I would be saying something else.  But right now, he’s probably looking at other NFL teams and their personnel and wondering if he’s not with San Fran next season, who could he win with? 
And frankly…there’s way too many to list.  New York – pick one, Oakland, etc.
MMPG - Indiana Basketball

Wow…If you thought Michigan Football was in dire straits….Tom Crean is overseeing a disaster of biblical proportions down Bloomington right now.  One IU player gets drunk and runs over another player with his car – and neither one is of legal age and two more players are booted for failing drug tests.  That’s a total of 6 players at IU in the last 6 months that have been suspended from the program or from games…Fortunately, the B1G collectively seems to have weathered the IU shit-storm over the last 5-10 years and is as healthy as ever when it comes to hoops.  Maybe IU being down is part of that reason – kids just don’t want to go there or IU is no longer the name it used to be when it comes to basketball.  I guess the question is:  Crean brought these individuals in…should he be allowed to continue coaching them?  This is a program going in a bad direction…so I dunno.  But if I was an Indiana Basketball Fan, I might have a different opinion.

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