Monday, July 11, 2016

And He's BAAAACK!!!!!!

While it’s still way too early for a 2016 Pre-Season Spectacular, there’s been a lot going on in the news lately and I figured, “Gosh darn it, I’ve been gone long enough!  Time to put fingers to the keyboard and see what comes out….”

So, while I’ve missed countless news stories, events, Harbaugh news items (I think JH averages 1 news item a day) and God only knows what else, I’ll see if I can’t sum everything up from the time I took off blogging till now.  But in an extremely short, succinct fashion.

A Michigan school lost to 15th seeded Middle Tennessee State in this year’s NCAA tournament.  I’m not saying that’s embarrassing, but….Aw, Hell, let’s just say it:


Yep!  It’s embarrassing and it’ll never get old! 

I love the fact that Sparty is now in a class of approximately 7 Universities that have lost as a 2 seed since the tourney was increased to 64 teams.  Sparty shares the air with some big names, so I guess you could say it could happen to anyone.  I’m just tickled it happened to Sparty!!!

Harbaugh pissed some people off.  I believe when Michigan hired him I stated that he’s an Asshole, but he’s OUR KIND of Asshole.  In that sense, Harbaugh has NOT LET US DOWN!!!!

Harbaugh’s first season was a rocky but successful one yet Michigan has still not defeated their Arch Rival and have yet to put Little Brother back in his place.  I’ll take the 10 wins.  But I can’t wait for this season and the opportunity to avenge so many, many wrongs that have transpired over the last few years!

Did I mention that Harbaugh pissed some people off?  And also made other newsy type people look like complete dolts (Finebaum, Dodd and others) for coming out AGAINST satellite camps and giving the smaller D1 schools a chance to look at players while visiting the larger D1 camps.  What really cracked me up?  The NCAA, and this shouldn’t have surprised anyone, came out against the satellite camps once they “felt” that they were somehow being abused by Harbaugh.  And this speedy ruling was led by the MAN himself, Mark Emmert, President of the NCAA. 

And was immediately overturned by the oversight committee and University Chancellors.

And camps are back and Harbs looks like a Hero-Genius for wanting to do the right thing for all the players of this great game of football.

What’s funny is the SEC coaches were doing all the bitching and complaining and Emmert saw to it that this villain of college football (Harbs) be dealt with quickly and any of the illegal activities that he was conducting be squashed like a bug.  But cooler heads prevailed and yet there’s no talk of Emmert resigning his post, even though he was clearly WRONG and did not have the greater good of the Sudent Athlete in mind. 


When in doubt, remember this:  Mark Emmert was the Chancellor at LSU and he’s the guy that originally hired Satan away from MSU.  Emmert and Satan are very good friends and talk often.  They still visit each other regularly with their families and have done so since they were both at LSU. 

Have I ever mentioned in this blog or in person that I hate the hypocrisy of the NCAA and what they stand for?  That a big part of the reason that I hate schools like Bama, LSU and Ole Miss is that they routinely cheat and never, ever get caught and punished for cheating?  That the NCAA is essentially a con game; a way to collect and distribute money that in no way has the best interest of the student athlete in mind, but rather has the interest of the large universities that pay the bills in mind whenever they make a decision….Sigh…If I have mentioned, sorry for mentioning it again.

 PSU is back in the news cycle.  OR should I say, Joe Pa, may he rest in peace, someday, is back in the news cycle.  Hatin’ on Joe is back in vogue with one sentence in a written deposition that tries to pin everything on him.  I quote, “a child allegedly reported to PSU’s head coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky” in 1976.  Some 40 years ago.  Granted, the insurance company is just doing their job.  Trying to show the judge and everyone in the judicial system that PSU was negligent 40 years ago and therefore, the insurance company is off the hook and everything is on PSU and their internal system failures. 

This deposition statement (and that’s all the detail there was) just doesn’t pass the sniff test for oh so many reasons….How does a child get an audience with the Head Football Coach at PSU?  How does that child even enter into that conversation if he was in fact molested?  If the kid has figured out that he’s been molested and is ready to talk to someone, ANYONE, why doesn’t that child go first to his parents or some other authority and tell his tale vs. going to the head coach and telling him about the encounter?  Because the head coach would be more accessible and easier to talk to?

Somebody’s lying here.  In a sworn deposition to the court.  I’m not saying the above didn’t happen, I’m just saying that as a gambler, I’d be a lot more inclined to bet that this DIDN’T happen vs. that it DID happen.  The meeting with Joe.  I’m not saying a child couldn’t have been molested in 1976.  I actually kind of believe that.    

I guess what really grinds my stones is that it’s a great big fight to determine who’s on the hook to pay all this money to the real victims.  And that’s a shame.  PSU and the insurance company both ought to take a long hard look in the mirror and figure out a way to get through this mess quietly and without dragging the Paterno name and the PSU name through the mud anymore. 

What happened was criminal.  That particular individual is paying for that with his life for the next 30-60 years behind bars (and for some people, that’s not nearly enough punishment for this individual).  The guy he reported to that may or may not have been complacent in letting the perpetrator get away with this crime for years has passed away.  Other people who were considered negligent in the process are still waiting for their criminal trial(s).  PSU (the institution) has paid the monetary penalty ($60M), damages to victims (undisclosed) and also suffered through several seasons with post season bans and the loss of scholarships.  So, to all the renewed voices, haters and general fans that want to see the PSU name and institution scrubbed from the face of the Earth and stricken from all the history books (and I get it – it was a heinous crime.  As cringe-worthy as they come):

Let it go. Just let it go.

Let PSU become great again and stop wanting to destroy an institution that has done a lot more good than this harm would lead you to believe.  It’s over.  We need to assist the victims, get them made whole, and move on.  Continuing to bring this story up every couple of years or so is not doing anyone any good. 

Michigan Women’s Softball clinched another out right B1G Championship on Saturday.  I think they had actually won it before the Rutgers game, but Saturday sealed the deal.  I believe there was a scenario where the Golden Gophers could have won out and Michigan would have needed to lose 3 to Rutgers (Wasn’t going to happen) and there could have been a tie for the B1G?  Anyway, congrats to the Soft Ballers and Hutch on 9 STRAIGHT B1G TITLES!!!!  I doubt that a similar accomplishment in NCAA softball will ever be achieved again.  History has been made.

Unfortunately, the Michigan Softballers couldn’t get the job done at the CSWS where they came up just ever so short in securing another National Title!  Gotta score runs to win ladies!  Nevertheless, it was a great season and I’ll miss a lot of those players! 

John Belien did the best he could with what he had to work with this past hoops season.  I’m still excited for next year, but it’s going to be weird (and really, REALLY hard) watching Spike Albrecht in a Purdue jersey next season.  Something about that just doesn’t’ seem right.  And it’ll probably make me a little ill….

 The Big XII recently paid BIG MONEY to a research/consulting firm that more or less told them the same thing all of my loyal readers and I could have told them for a couple of pitchers of beer and some simple math on a bar napkin: 

The Big XII has a 10-15% better chance of making the 4-Team College Football Play-Off if they have two more members and a Conference Championship game.


When I see stuff like this it really, really makes me sad to think that there’s people in charge of stuff for no other reason than they happened to be around when someone needed to be put in charge of stuff.  If I’m a president or AD at one of the Big XII universities I’m seriously questioning the conference commish Bowlsby and wondering why in the hell he’s in charge and spending our money foolishly on such nonsense. 

Anyway, The MMQ is here to tell you everything you need to know about Big XII expansion (AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN) in several easy to follow bullet points that will assist you in ANY discussion that comes up regarding the idiocy that seems to continuously surround this issue.

1.     Texas is very happy with the current arrangement that they have with the Big XII and the LHN (LongHorn Network – ESPN based).  First, they get an equal share of all revenue generated by the Big XII (something on the order of $10-$15M/year).  Second:  They will collect $300M over the next 20 years from ESPN on the LHN deal, and it’s back loaded.  So UT’s only getting around $10M/year now and they will get more as time marches forward.  Yes, the LHN (ESPN) is losing money.  Lots of money.  Due to the un-recovered high launch costs and the paltry amount they charge per household ($3.50 in Texas, $0.29 outside of Texas) with somewhere between 6M and 12M households that are buying it (ESPN claims 20M subscribers…..and admits that number is falling) - they’re losing somewhere between $7M to $13M annually, for a total loss of $50M+ since the network was launched.  Add to that the lack of watchable content for a 24 hour day cycle which often shows UT women’s field hockey, UT women’s tennis, and back to back re-airings of the National Title game against USC and actual viewership is not measurable.  Therefore, ESPN can’t sell advertising, and what they do sell they can’t charge a lot for.  Doesn’t matter.  ESPN is paying UT and UT is Happy.  Result:  Nothing will happen in the Big XII until UT decides it needs to happen.  Unless ESPN reneges on the deal as the losses continue to mount….which, it could happen.  Just not today.  (Ironic note:  Same article I pulled LHN data from cites that both Mizzou and TA&M will make $5M-$7M more per year from the SEC Network than UT and will be seen in 65M households, which adds to recruiting and brand recognition.  If that isn’t a slap in the face, I don’t know what is.)  But, barring a collapse of the LHN, Texas isn’t going anywhere. 

2.    The only other Big XII player, Oklahoma, is at war with itself.  The Prez wants expansion and the regents don’t want to bring in a “lesser” member and have to dilute the pie even more.  Meaning:  Any University that Oklahoma thinks is good enough for the Big XII probably figures they have just as good a shot at joining the PAC, B1G, SEC or ACC.  So why look at the Big XII?  Currently, only UT has a stadium with over 100K.  Oklahoma is 80K.  Everyone else in the Big XII drops down to below 70K with Baylor and TCU being the smallest (I think) at 45K.  The most realistic candidate, Memphis, lacks the “Increased footprint” appeal that the rest of the BigXII desires, even though their stadium size (60K) and enrollment (20K) sort of qualify them for inclusion.

3.    In addition, Oklahoma has an Okie State problem.  IF (big “if”) Oklahoma would get an invite from someone – ANYONE – they probably have to bring Okie State and the smaller revenue/brand that they generate along with them or face the wrath of T. Boone Pickens and the governing body of Oklahoma.  That’s not going to sit well with any conference.  And don’t forget that Oklahoma is still NOT AAU accredited (at least to my knowledge) which more or less immediately rules out the B1G and the ACC (Except that the B1G did take a non AAU Nebraska)…Leaving the SEC and the PAC.  Granted, the best move forward for the B1G (After a Norte Dame/Texas combo) would be Oklahoma and Kansas, probably, and tell Okie State to pound sand.  Which I think Oklahoma would do and thumb their collective noses at anything the state guv of Oklahoma would take away from them.  And the B1G is the one conference with that kind of power.  The B1G really wanted Maryland and North Carolina in the last adder, but settled for Rutgers once UNC threatened it’s “big-little private brother Duke” with leaving tobacco road and taking the rivalry with them and also going with fellow power ACC school Maryland.  Duke gave up some control and UNC got a little more ACC control out of that deal.  You’re welcome, Tar Heels.

4.    Possible candidates that are constantly thrown around for Big XII inclusion (kind of in order depending on who you read and trust – and the guys I read and trust nailed WVU to the Big XII and Maryland and Rutgers to the B1G):  Memphis, Houston, Cincinnati, BYU, UCF, Colorado State, UConn….But again, while this would help expand the Big XII footprint, some of these schools have to ask themselves, “Do I really want to join a conference that could potentially go the way of the SWC and Big East in 10 years, if one of two power schools leave???”  Granted, I believe that most, if not all, of these schools would jump at a Big XII Power 5 Conference offer, but should they?  Think of the famous Groucho Marx quote, “I don’t think I want to join a club that would have me as a member.”  Immediate contradictory thought:  If the Big XII were to make a REALLY BOLD MOVE and add ALL 6 teams (taking them to 16) that included everyone listed above in order to create more content and a truly national footprint, well…then Big XII expansion MIGHT happen.  And frankly, that’s probably the best way to do it.  That would be a 60% content increase in a conference that is starving for relevant content when it comes to TV rights negotiations.  That would be a lot of wheeling and dealing to pull off, and I just don’t think Bowlsby has the chutzpah to make it happen.  But then again, I was in the original camp that Harbaugh wasn’t coming….so there’s that. 

5.    Re-read the first paragraph of this Big XII summary and the answer lies in the Consultant’s advice, it’s just not obvious because it’s the opposite side of the coin. Instead of “adding members” in order to have a conference play-off, the Big XII should hang on to their “advantage” of having to play one less game annually.  And they would be much better off fighting City Hall and the “4-Team Playoff”.  Meaning:  Force the CFP to expand to at least 6 games in order to include an automatic bid to all the Power 5 conferences and one at large bid.  But City Hall includes the Big Bowls as the addition of two teams to the CFP will “probably” result in a home play-in game(s) at the stadium of the team having the better record or higher rank.  And you can bet that the Bowls will fight that with everything they can throw at it because the first time it happens and everyone sees the fan attendance and atmosphere that a “home play-off” game generates, you can bet that the semi-final teams (Money Grubbing AD’s) will be screaming to play the semi-final games at home as well. 

So there you have it.  In a nutshell:  In the MMQ’s humble opinion, Big XII expansion won’t happen anytime soon.  But, maybe CFP expansion happens sooner than we think!  I also don’t think Texas or Oklahoma are bolting for another conference, not immediately, anyway.  CFP expansion to 6 teams is more of a reality than Big XII expansion.  I originally said it would take 10 years for the CFP to go to 6 teams and that time table would only accelerate if the B1G or the SEC were left out of the play-off for multiple seasons in a row.  But I think the CFP Committee is slightly wiser than we give them credit for and they know where the viewers eyes are (and are not), not to mention the money.  With the Big XII getting left out repeatedly, there’s just not quite enough anger and angst to move the needle to expand to 6 teams.  And that suits the other Power 4 conferences just fine.

Getting ahead of myself (should save this for the Pres-Season Spectacular):  Michigan is 7:1 odds of winning a National Title in Football this season (Alabama is the favorite at 5:1).  Which puts Michigan at Number 2.  Does the FMQ (recall the gambling version of the MMQ) agree with this?  Well, I WOULD have grabbed 15:1 or 20:1 odds that Michigan opened with only because I thought Michigan would end up ranked in the top 10 at the end of this season.   7:1?  Nuh-uh….Not even if you were letting me bet with your money.  I mean, yes, I think Michigan will be a very good team and the pre-season will go into why but winning a NC in Jimmy’s 2nd season?  With the luck you need and the chance of losing any game at any time in college football it’s just hard to predict…..but wow….Hmmmmmm….I’m dreamin’ and I’m believin’ and that NC would just be SLAPPY!!!!

The Domers (JEEZ I HATE THESE GUYS!) are Back on The Schedule for 2018-19.  Away and Home. Frist:  An acknowledgement to for a wonderful collection of memories of the Michigan-Domer series.  Here’s the link:

Arkansas gone and Michigan has to pay $2M for the right to dump the Razorbacks meaning everyone believes there’s more money to be made with a Domer Game that will cover that buyout.  So, okay.  I’ll go with the good first:  Even though I gripe about hating these guys (and I do – more on that in a minute) I guess I’m glad to see the Domers back on the schedule so Michigan can go back to routinely pounding them mercilessly and killing their dreams early in the season.  That’s about it on the good….

The Bad list is somewhat more compelling:  First, the odd years of season Tix just got that much better for two huge gaffes by Brandon and now I’ll say Manuel:  Sparty, The Suckeyes, and the Domers are all in the same season leaving 4 or 5 homegames that will pale in comparison!  Unfortunately, the even year season tix just look sick without any decent B1G game or Non-Con opponent.  Let’s give Ward a little more time, but he needs to fix that and quick. 

Bad Item #2.  2018 is early in the season at the domers (September 1), but the Home game is right in the middle of the B1G season on October 26th!!!!  Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!  I’m not sure why Michigan accommodated the domers – the Arkansas game was scheduled for September, but Michigan felt it was necessary to make the move and put the domers right in the middle of the B1G season.  Kind of a slap in the face to the B1G, but maybe they had it coming anyway for screwing Michigan’s odd year season schedule…Dunno

Bad Item #3:  This one is ticky-tack, but if I had been Ward, I would have wanted that last home game imbalance back for the indignity that the Domers had the audacity to walk away from Michigan with.  I’m sure Ward tried, but there’s no way Swarbucks was going to let that happen – not on his watch.  And I doubt there will ever be an early out clause in any contract between the two schools ever again.  You’ll see a lot of this in the future – two game deals that waste a lot of lawyer’s time and money….but then you’re protected, I guess.

And yes, I hate the Domers…I know I’ve penned it before, but the days of my formative youth where you spent the end of summer reading every little thing you could get your hands on about the upcoming season of promise and hope only to have it upended by the domers is probably what did it for me.  I mean, Michigan always beat Sparty; it never an issue and the Suckeyes was a coin flip.  Yes,  I hate them both, too.  But beating or not beating the Domers was huge.  I remember sanding and painting the bottom of the ole Chris Craft with the Old Man on a September afternoon in 1978 and listening as Ufer painfully announced the 51 yard Figgie that was good at the end of the game to beat Michigan…To Hell With Harry Oliver. Then in 1982, Steve Smith and AC went to south Bend to play in a night game that I had to listen to on the radio while I was driving the family home from a wedding in Kokomo, Indiana.  Best part of the evening was driving right by South Bend and seeing the lights on.  Worst part:  Michigan lost and there were iffy calls throughout the game….Yes, I hate the Domers.  For ruining promising seasons, their hypocritical nature and all the catholics that seem to side with the domers for no other reason than they’re a catholic school….

Anything I missed?  I don’t know how the College Sports world managed without me all this time!   I’m finally back to restore order and make sense of everything goofy!

Or not….

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