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Saturday, April 29, 2006

UNITED 93

Saw UNITED 93 and...wow. While at times it was almost painfully difficult to watch, it's one of the most powerful and emotional films I have seen in a long time.

Curious to know what others who see the film think.

Jimmy "Emu" Clausen

In response to our second "Seperated at Birth" segment below, M Zone reader Gino sent us this dandy for future ND QB Jimmy Clausen and his twin, the emu. It was so good, it deserved its own post.

Note: Clausen is the one on the right.


The $54,000 Question

Oops.

No wonder Reggie Bush didn't want to say who paid the rent on his parents' $757,000 house near San Diego. Because it wasn't his mother or stepfather.

According to Michael Michaels, the owner of the house and founder of New Era Sports, he paid the rent with the understanding that he would eventually be paid back when Reggie Bush started earning NFL millions. Most damaging, Michaels claims Reggie Bush knew about the situation.

Granted, the word of this Michael Michaels guy and/or his gang-member partner Lloyd Lake (now back in prison) is probably as reliable as that of former Enron execs but it certainly looks worse and worse (for a picture of the bolo tie-wearing Mr. Michaels, check out EDSBS).

Does this count against SC, too?

We didn't realize at the start of the week that this would end up being USC Troubles Week here at the MZone. Starting with Reggie Bush's family's questionable stay in a suburban San Diego home, to Mark Sanchez' arrest on rape charges, this hasn't been a good week for the Trojans and their fans.

And when it rains, it pours.

As was pointed out by a couple of MZone readers yesterday, one of SC's biggest fans and "boosters," Snoop Dogg, was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport yesterday. Snoop is a regular on the sidelines at home games in the Coliseum and, while his arrest won't affect the Trojans on the field, after the week SC has had, you have to admit the timing here, uh...sucks. If this incident leads to jail time for the ex-Crip associate, maybe the Trojans can get another role model like Suge Knight to roam their sidelines.

EDITOR'S NOTE: While looking for a good picture of Snoop in SC garb, we came across the following, from SoonersFans.com, which was just too clever not to post.


Friday, April 28, 2006

Separated at Birth - Redux

OK, our first Separated at Birth earlier this week was a bit of a dud. As was astutely pointed out by Brickeye, hot shot Notre Dame QB recruit Jimmy Claussen is far more of a dead ringer to Deryck Whibley 0f Sum 41, than to Billy Idol as we proposed.


What the football equivalent for Claussen would be of Whibley being engaged to fellow Canadian Avril Lavigne, I'll leave up to the readers.

But we're confident that we have a better Separated today. Keeping with our Trojans in Trouble theme for the week, we present embattled USC quarterback Mark "Dirty" Sanchez and HBO's Entourage star Adrian Grenier. Hell, we can barely tell which is which!
After taking a look at these two together, I wouldn't be surprised if Sanchez's alibi for the rape charge is that it was Grenier who did it.

Muck Draft

The NFL Draft is usually a day of interest for Michigan fans, as Wolverines are often highly-touted pro prosects.

Not this year.

Few mock drafts list any Michigan players being selected in the first round. Some have Gabe Watson being a late-first round pick, though his profile typically mentions the terms, "underachiever" and "questionable work ethic." Jason Avant is expected by many draftniks as a third-round/possibly second-round pick. After that, not much.

The good news is it appears Michigan isn't losing many players with elite-level talent. The bad news is, as approximately a quarter of the team leaves Ann Arbor, Michigan hasn't developed many players with elite-level talent.

From Bad to Worse at USC

Forget about winning three national titles in a row, this week, USC seems to be going for a three-peat of a much more dubious nature. First there was the controversy involving Reggie Bush and "Housegate." Then offensive tackle Winston Justice's name surfaced in the scandal. Now, back-up QB Mark Sanchez has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a female student Wednesday.

According to the Associated Press, Sanchez, 19, was arrested around 4 p.m. at an apartment complex near campus and was booked for investigation of sexual assault. Bail was set at $200,000.

And speaking of "Housegate," in case you haven't heard the latest, the "landlord" of the Bush family house and his "business" partner both have (shockingly) past criminal records.

Not to say, "We told you so," but these sorts of things are the "institutional control" issues we alluded to our previous post.

Of course the biggest question about all the controversy swirling around the Trojan program is, if true, does EDSBS's FULMER CUP have a mercy rule?

The M All-NFL Team 1980-2005


With this being NFL Draft Week (and with more than four months until the kickoff versus Vandy) I decided to spend far more time than appropriate to put together this list of Michigan All-NFL Teams.

The criteria for selection are the following: 1) The player was drafted or signed from 1980-2005 2) Placement on the team is based ONLY on the player's performance in the NFL. Please note that my recollection of the early 80's may be fuzzy due to the facts that it was long ago, I was a kid, and sadly there was no Internet so I could only follow two or three games every Sunday.

Review these selections and let us know what you think.

OFFENSE
QB:Tom Brady

Several others at this position have had solid careers, including Jim Harbaugh, Elvis Grbac, and Brain Griese. Even Todd Collins, Scott Dreisbach, and Drew Henson have had lengthy careers in the NFL and Chad Henne is considered a likely high draft pick in 2007. Other than Miami, is there another school during this period that comes close to this impressive list of pro QBs?
RB: Tyrone Wheatley and Leroy Hoard
Hard to believe that this is the best Michigan could produce, considering the team's success running the ball and its reputation as a ground-game program. Tim Biakabatuka was the highest RB pick, but injuries derailed his career.
WR: Anthony Carter and Amani Toomer
There are other solid choices here (Derrick Alexander and Desmond Howard, though he stayed in the league as a returner.) Toomer has been very steady for the Giants and AC spent much of his prime in the USFL, but still managed to display his special skill with the Vikings.
TE: Jay Riemersma
Like RB, this is another position I thoguht would have bigger NFL stars. Jerame Tuman never did much and Bennie Joppru has spent most of his career on injured reserve.
OL: Jumbo Elliott, Jon Runyan, Jon Jansen, and Steve Hutchinson
By far the deepest of M-in-the-NFL positions (1980-2005). Players left off this list include Greg Skrepanek, Steve Everitt, and Jeff Backus.

DEFENSE
DL: Mike Hammerstein, Josh Williams, Glen Steele, James Hall
Please tell me I'm missing people. With the exception of Hammerstein, these guys weren't even dominant in college and they had marginal careers in the NFL. Poor production from this position killed us last year and will doom us this year if it does not improve significantly.
LB: Mel Owens, Ian Gold, Dhani Jones
Larry Foote and Cato June could very well replace Owens and Jones on this list if they contnue to have seasons like they did last year.
DB:Keith Bostic, Corwin Brown, Ty Law, Charles Woodson Bostic and Brown were decent pros and hung around for a while; Law and Woodson of course have been perennial stars, though each appears to be chugging along to the end of his career.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Separted at Birth

Brian over at MGoBlog was the first to point this out, and he's right. Five-star QB recruit, Jimmy Claussen, who committed to Notre Dame this week is a dead ringer for '80s rocker Billy Idol.

Since he committed to the Irish, Claussen will have to learn the words to the Notre Dame Victory March. He could have saved some time by committing to Ole Miss or UNLV since he already knows "Rebel Yell."

How to Piss off a Buckeye

It's not easy being a Wolverine fan living behind enemy lines in Ohio. From what we've been told by those that live there, the abuse is constant.

Well, a couple of M Zone readers and M fans finally had enough. And they came up with a very funny and clever way to get back at their Buckeye brethren who surround them on a daily basis.

The guys contacted Eastbay, a large online athletic supply company, and had a couple of custom #58 Clemson jerseys made up with the name "BAUMAN" put on the back. As the guys said in their email to us: "It's a small moral victory but we do enjoy wearing these whenever we happen to be in Columbus for OSU home games. Yes, it's pretty childish but it makes us laugh. Especially when OSU fans recognize the name and jersey, and become very, very upset."

So who is Charlie Bauman and why would this piss off Buckeyes so much? Well, for those that don't already know...

Charlie Bauman was the Clemson football player who had the audacity to intercept Buckeye QB Art Schlichter's 3rd and 5 toss in the waning moments of '78 Gator Bowl. He then ran out of bounds in front of the Ohio State bench. Woody Hayes became enraged that somebody had the nerve to intercept one of his rare pass plays and decided national TV was a great place to slug Mr. Bauman. As a result, Ohio State fired Hayes the next day (and Hayes went to his grave never having apologized for "The Punch").

Needless to say, one can now understand why Tosu folks bristle at the sight of these jerseys.

Ah, the art of the subtle - but highly effective - taunt. I think I can speak for all the M Zone staff by saying, "Well done, gentlemen. Well done."

Michigan Lands Top QB

Ryan Mallett, one of the top quarterback prospects in the high school class of 2007, committed to Michigan yesterday. GoBlueWolverine Magazine broke the story on their Web site after talking to Mallett during his lunch hour at Texas High School in Texarkana, TX. They didn't reveal if he was sitting at the jock table or the nerd table.

The 6 foot, 6 inch Mallett reportedly can throw the ball 70 yards and is smart on and off the field. However, his 40 time is a Clarett-like 5.13, which prompted Brian at MGoBlog to make the frightening comparison of Mallett to John Navarre.

Whether Mallett is more like Navarre or more like Tom Brady remains to be seen. And it's silly to put too much stock in a guy who just got his driver's license and whose biggest concern is who to take to prom. But it's a good thing for Michigan that it can still attract five-star talent, particularly from a place like Texas, beating out Alabama, Florida State, LSU, and USC for a top QB.

Furthermore, this is the highest rated QB recruit the Wolverines have landed since The QB Whose Name We No Longer Mention in '98. I just hope the kid doesn't play baseball.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

12 Years Later It's Still Hilarious

Watching the NFL Draft on television, as I have done several times, is really inexcusable.

It takes place in the middle of Spring, so the weather is usually pretty good. There is almost never any real drama, with the relentless stream of mock drafts leading up to the event usually accurately predicting the genreal order of selctions. There is also the drudgery of the 15 minute span between each pick. Can't these NFL execs wuss out on potential trades in five or ten minutes? Do they really need a quarter of an hour to pick a player whom they have literally spent months scouting, intetrviewing, working out, and projecting in their own mocks?

And of course, worst of all, there is the insufferable blowholeitude of broadcast host Chris Berman, whose status as America's Most Intolerable Person really deserves its own post. Or even its own blog.

But there was a brief moment of television gold supplied by the NFL Draft. It happened in 1994 and it has become football's equivalent to Lloyd Bentsen slamming Vice President Dan Quayle with the "You're no Jack Kennedy" line.

It began following the Indianpolis Colts' selection of Nebraska linebacker Trev Alberts with the fifth overall pick. Young draft guru upstart Mel Kiper, Jr. criticized the selection, explaining, "To me, this was a mistake. You cannot go with Jim Harbaugh and pass up Trent Dilfer. Forget it. That's why the Colts are the laughingstock of the league year-in and year-out" (20 monthls later, Harbaugh led the Colts to within one tipped pass of the Super Bowl.)

That comment didn't sit well with Colts executive Bill Tobin, who appeared shortly after Kiper and, while holding a glass of either water, 7-Up, or Tanqueray, derisively snapped,"Who in the hell is Mel Kiper, anyway? He didn't play college or pro football. I don't know about high school, and to my knowledge he's never put on a jock strap, so all of a sudden he's an expert? Mel Kiper has no more credentials to do what he's doing than my neighbor, and my neighbor's a postman."

The Smell Test

Reggie Bush is either not very smart or he's not telling the truth. Because the brewing controversy regarding the house his mother and stepfather leased, rented, borrowed, had squatter's rights to INSERT OTHER BULLSHIT STORY HERE from a would-be sports marketer angling to steer Reggie to an agent doesn't pass the smell test. Not even close.

In his latest comments on the situation, Bush said it was "kind of funny" how the whole situation was "blown out of proportion." Really? I can think of a lot of things about this story, but if you're a USC fan facing an NCAA investigation, funny probably doesn't come to mind.

Bush then goes on to say his parents "leased a house like any other parent" but then declined to say who paid the rent. Uh...is this sort of arrangement really how most parents do it? Guess again. Besides, they're not "most parents." They are the family of the best college football player in the country. So even IF this "lease" was on the up-and-up, don't you think Reggie might have had this conversation:

REGGIE: Hey, coach.

PETE CARROLL: What's up, Reggie?

RB: Listen, my folks are renting a house from a some guy who's trying to start a sports marketing firm called New Era Sports to rep me and steer me to some agent near him in San Diego. Thought you should know because people might take it the wrong way.

PC: Gee, thanks for telling me that, Reggie. Because on the surface, that could look really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad. Thus, it was smart of you to tell me up front so it doesn't potentially hurt the program and those of us who see how that might look incredibly, incredibly, incredibly, incredibly, incredibly, incredibly stupid.

But wait, you say. Reggie didn't know, right? Because it only gets worse when Bush's attorney tries to explain it away with that excuse: "Reggie Bush was a full-time student at the University of Southern California and never lived in the house. As is the case with most 20-year-old college students, Reggie was not aware of personal or financial arrangements relating to his parents or their house."

So, besides the conversation above, I guess that means this little chat never took place either:

REGGIE: Mom, wow! Nice house. How did you and stepdad afford going from an apartment here in Spring Valley, California, which run from, oh, $1,000 to $1,500 a month, to buying this two-story $757,500 house with 3,002 square feet...which, in mortgage payments alone, not including taxes and insurance, would cost $3,631 a month...and that's with 20% down!?

MRS. BUSH: Shut up and eat your breakfast, dear.

Seriously, folks, common sense here. And keep in mind, this is coming from a site that has been very supportive of USC in the past. But, as mentioned, this doesn't pass the smell test. Not even close.

I guess the reason I get so upset about situations like this is, like Michigan's Fab Five fiasco, punishment, if meted out, never falls on those that cause the problem. Instead, the hammer comes down only on innocent student-athletes (and the fans) left behind to deal with the mess. Chris Webber is a multi-millionaire while Michigan basketball is only just starting to recover from his deeds of over a decade ago.

Same goes here. If rules were broken, Reggie Bush will be in the NFL counting his millions and buying his family an even bigger house. But like a rude houseguest, all the clean-up will be done and faced by others.

Finally, we hate to give anybody any ideas and start another billboard controversy but...


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

King Carter

Loyal reader Chris of Dangerous Logic posted a comment in our MZone History Lesson post from last week that included a link to the Bob Ufer call of Anthony Carter's incredible game-winning catch against Indiana in 1979. We were looking for this last week to include in the orignal post, but couldn't find it. Thanks to Chris, we're happy to link to it now.

If you're a Michigan fan who listened to games on the radio with Ufer behind the mic, this will bring back a rush of memories. While listening to the three minute clip on the site, I smiled, laughed, got chills, and almost welled up with tears. The clip contains a number of Uferisms and clearly displays his love of Michigan and his ability to capture the moment and paint a picture of the action.

For those who aren't Michigan fans, it will still be an enjoyable listen. Many schools have had old-time radio announcers who were as much a part of the tradition of the program as the fight song and the helmets. If you have never heard Ufer, give it a listen and hear how maize and blue emanated from his great pipes.

It's a sobering thought that this amazing play took place over 26 years ago. Those who were there can remember it like it was yesterday. Thanks to Chris, we all can experience again it today.

The Clippers of College Football

The success this season of the NBA's perennial punchline franchise, the Los Angeles Clippers, got me thinking of which team would be their college football equivalent: a program that was always lousy before finally putting it together to enjoy some victories and respectability.

So I did a little research on the team that came to mind: the Northwestern Wildcats. From 1972-1994, NU failed to have even one winning season, going 46-204-2 for a staggeringly bad winning percentage of .183. Remarkably, in 1995 Coach Gary Barnett's Wildcats went undefeated in the Big 10 on their way to a 10-1 regular season record (in their only loss, a 30-28 game at home vs. Miami of Ohio, NU blew a 21-point fourth quarter lead before several special teams screw-ups led to a last-seconds field goal by Miami-O.)

Northwestern pushed the Keyshawn Johnson-led USC team in the 1996 Rose Bowl before falling 41-32. If the Wildcats had managed to win that game, they would have finished the season ranked #2 in the nation. Pretty amazing for a team that hadn't had a winning season in well over two decades.

Although hardly a powerhouse, Northwestern has sustained the respectability they established in 1995. In the ten years since that magical season, NU has made four bowl appearances and has defeated Michigan and tOSU a total of three times.

So, who's going to be the next team to turn that magical corner from laughingstock to respectability?

TO OUR READERS

We had problems with the site today and couldn't post for 11 hours or so. But, alas, things seem to be working again. Thanks for your patience.

Could Things Get Ugly for SC?

CLICK ON PICTURE FOR LARGER VIEW


Scandals often start in the strangest ways. The disgrace of Michigan's basketball program began when a car flipped off the road during a recruiting trip for Mateen Cleaves in 1996. In the aftermath of that accident, it was discovered that recruiting trip included a stop at the home of infamous Wolverine booster Ed Martin. School officials then began to investigate his ties to the program and rest, as they say, is sanction-filled history.

Could USC's football program could be staring at a similar fate due to a housing situation?

According to Yahoo! Sports, since early 2005, Reggie Bush's family has been living in a $757,500 San Diego-area house bought and paid for by a wannabe sports marketer who allegedly was trying to steer Bush toward an agent he knew. Correction: Bush's family was living in that house until this weekend. When Yahoo! Sports approached Bush's mother about the situation, the family packed up and moved in less than 24 hours!

Twenty-four hours? Ever moved, folks? It took me longer to move out of my dorm room freshman year. So if a family high-tails it out of 3,000 foot home in less than a day, something is rotten in Denmark.

Also interesting is the fact that, until moving into the house in question, Bush's family was living in a nearby apartment. Sure Southern California's housing market is crazy, but most people don't go from renting an apartment to an almost $800,000 starter home. Apparently SC officials agree because controversy surrounding the arrangement has prompted USC to refer the matter to the Pac-10 conference for investigation.

Don't be surprised if it turns out to be as bad as it looks.

And if this is true, what does this say about Pete Carroll and the way he runs the program? I'm not talking about X's and O's. Pete Carroll is a great gameday coach. I'm talking about discipline and control. Players talk about what a great guy Carroll is and how he's a "player's coach" but could that be a problem? Like a parent who is too often a friend rather than a father, maybe the need to be "liked" by his players is instilling a permissive attitude in 18-21 year old college kids who are already treated like gods. That was part of Michigan basketball coach Steve Fisher's problem. Could the same atmosphere be brewing at SC?

I for one was appalled a few years ago when I heard Carroll allowed OJ Simpson to attend a practice before SC played Iowa in the Orange Bowl. I thought it sent a bad message. You think Woody Hayes would have allowed that? And I scratched my head when I saw Snoop Doggy Dog roaming the Colesium sidelines last year. Is this the sort of person Bear Bryant would have allowed on his sidelines and associating with his players?

Yes, this could get very ugly for the Trojans.

UPDATE: For a different perspective on this scandal, check out EDSBS. They feel the controversy won't amount to much.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Practice-gate

A West Virginia student was busted for spying on a Marshall practice this month. The kid was confronted after he was spotted in the bleachers taking detailed notes.

When asked who he was, first the kid lied saying he was a member of the media covering a story. Next, he said he was a Univeristy of Alabama-Birmingham student (a Marshall Conference USA opponent). Then, he tried to run.

Turns out, not only is he a WVU student but he works in the building where the Mountaineer football offices are located.

UPDATE: In a reporting coup, WVU blog Mountainlair has obtained a copy of these highly detailed practice notes.

Is Tony Soprano a Michigan Fan?


On last night's episode of the HBO mobster drama, THE SOPRANOS, when Christopher asked if he could go out of town, Tony said it was a bad time because it was the "Michigan-Notre Dame weekend."

The way things are going, maybe Tony's "help" is what Michigan needs to win this year.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

How Dumb Do You Have to Be?

Not football related in any way, shape or form, but we had to put something up about the following:

A 76 year old man was arrested after he went door-to-door in a Florida neighborhood offering, we're not making this up, free breast exams. He was charged with sexually assaulting two women in their 30s who accepted the offer.

According to investigators, one woman became suspicious after the man asked her to remove all her clothes and began conducting a genital exam without using rubber gloves.

THAT is when she became suspicious?! Really?! The free door-to-door breast exam didn't raise any alarms? Are you serious?! I get suspicious when people show up at my door selling magazine subscriptions. So I'd think I might be more than a tad wary if somebody suddenly showed up on my porch offering free prostate screenings.

This is so sad on so many levels.

What about our Blog Co-ed Showdown?

Baylor University in Waco, Texas, the world's largest Baptist college, has threatened to discipline female students if they pose for Playboy, which is trying to recruit for its upcoming "Girls of the Big 12" photo spread.

Since the school didn't mention the M Zone in the email the school President sent to female students warning them about "associating" with Playboy, might we suggest that any Baylor co-eds who were sexy enough to think Playboy was an option to instead send those pictures to us. That way, you still get a little exposure but you get to stay in school. And we, we live happily ever after.

In addition, if you fall for that one, please know Wangs will be conducting free door-to-door breast exams on campus next week.

Friday, April 21, 2006

M Zone History Lesson

Recently, we posted about Braylon Edwards establishing a scholarship for the Wolverine wearing Braylon's old #1 jersey. Most Wolverine fans associate the #1 jersey with the best player to wear the number, Anthony Carter. But there have been 14 Michigan players to wear the number 1, including nine in the modern era.

Numbers weren't used on the Michigan jersey until 1915. Typically, players would change jersey numbers from year to year and there weren't any standards for numbers by position are there are now. For example, the first Wolverine to wear #1 was Sault Ste. Marie's Angus Goetz, maybe the best name for someone who wore #1. Goetz was a left tackle. In 1921
guard Robert Dunne wore #1, followed by end Paul Goebel in 1922. Halfback, and future Michigan head coach, Harry Kipke wore #1 in 1923, though he was an All-American wearing #6 in 1922.

There was then almost a 50-year period where no Wolverine donned the number 1. Finally, from 1973-75, DB Dave Whiteford wore the jersey, followed by kicker (a KICKER!) Greg Willner from 1976-78. Christopher Grieves was the first WR to wear the #1 in 1977.

Then, in 1979, a skinny freshman from Riviera Beach, Florida put on the #1 jersey and made it what it is today. Anthony Carter was a three-time All-American and the standard by which all other Michigan wide receivers will be measured by. Carter is often credited for bringing the passing game to Ann Arbor, though he suffered with mostly mediocre to poor QB play. AC also was a gifted punt and kick returner and will always be remembered for his game-winning TD catch against Indiana in 1979. He was the Big Ten MVP in 1982.

Due largely to Carter's greatness, the number 1 went into mothballs for the next three seasons until Bo Schembechler promised it to big-time recruit Greg McMurtry to help in his decision to attend Michigan. McMurtry was decent, but never lived up to the hype - or the number 1.

After wearing #40 his freshman year, Derrick Alexander was given the opportunity to be #1 in 1990. He wore the number through 1993, though he missed the '91 season with an injury. Alexander was an All-American in '92 and played nine years in the NFL.

Junior College transfer Tyrone Butterfield was inexplicably given the #1 jersey in 1994, though he sat out the season as a redshirt. Butterfield is best remembered by Michigan fans for dropping a pass short of the end zone in Lloyd Carr's first game as head coach with time running out. If Butterfield had hung on, he would have been tackled short of the goal line and the game would have been over. Instead, with one more play, Scott Dresibach hit Mercury Hayes just inbounds for a touchdown on the final play and Michigan beat Virginia, 18-17, in what was at the time the greatest comeback in Michigan football history.

David Terrell wore the jersey starting in his freshman year in 1998. Terrell only played three seasons in Ann Arbor, but was the 2000 Orange Bowl MVP, was an All-American in 2000, and held most of the school's receiving records when he left for the NFL.

Braylon Edwards played four years at Michigan, and craved the number 1 jersey, but did not wear it until Lloyd Carr felt he deserved it, which was in 2003, Edwards' junior season. By the time Edwards left for the NFL he held every receiving record in Ann Arbor, was an All-American, played in two Rose Bowls, was the 2004 Big Ten MVP, and almost single-handedly beat Michigan State in one of the greatest game ever played at Michigan Stadium.

Since Carter made the jersey the honor that it is today, there have been seven football season where no one wore #1. included in those seasons are the two worst years in the past 37 seasons ('84 and '05). There has been only one Rose Bowl season since '79 - that National Championship year of 1997.

The Pride of the Buckeyes


A restaurant just outside Columbus "won" a national award for having the nation's best restrooms. Wendell's, in the suburb of Westerville, was chosen in an online poll sponsored by a bathroom supply company.

Coincidentally, they beat out an eatery in East Lansing.

Lloyd for President?

ED. NOTE: Ok, have to admit, I'm still scratching my head a bit over this one. But IC wanted to try out his Daily Show hat.

The title for this post may seem out-there, but after reading the following breakdown of embattled U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfled and former Michigan Defensive Coordinator Jim Herrmann, perhaps you'll think maybe President Carr wouldn't be so bad.

POORLY-EXECUTED HAIR CHOICE
Rumsfeld: Pursuing Rigid Brylcreem Comb-back
Herrmann:Rejecting Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Formula




IRRITATING PHYSICAL GESTRUE
Rumsfeld:Condescending Eye Squinting








Herrmann:Frantic Hand Signaling












HATED BY RETIRED
Rumsfeld: Generals
Herrmann: Alums

NEMESIS
Rumsfeld:Insurgen-C
Herrmann: Prevent-D

PERFORMANCE LED TO RESPONSE FROM BOSS
Rumsfeld:
"I hear the voices and I read the front page, and I know the speculation, but I'm the decider and I decided what is best and what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the Secretary of Defense." President George W. Bush, April 18, 2006
Herrmann:
"Ron [English] is well prepared to be a coordinator. He's got a real passion for the game, I think the players really respond to him." Coach Lloyd Carr, March 16, 2006

How Buckeye Parents Punish Their Kids Who Like Michigan


Time again for another M Zone caption contest. We came up with the one we used for the title. Leave us a comment with your best for the photo above.

Thanks to reader SG for the original pic.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

It's Time Someone Talked to Florida

ED. NOTE: You know how the Discovery Channel has Shark Week? Well, for regular M Zone contributor IC, this has been Helmet Week. Today, he caps his three-part series with a little rant about Florida's lids.

Hey, Florida. Look, I've been wanting to talk to you for a while about something. It's a little awkward, but I need to just come out and tell you how I feel.

Your helmets suck.

They're really bad.

And the thing is, you deserve so much better. You're a perennial national power. You're always sending guys to the NFL. You've produced Heisman Trophy winners and a national championship team.

You also have good colors and such a cool mascot--that puffy-chested gator wearing a sweater. Oh, and I love that catchy horn thing your marching band constantly plays that I can't get out of my head.

But your helmets look like a bottle of Sunkist Soda, circa 1981. Why are you still wearing those things? And don't tell me how other schools have script on their helmets too. Do you really want to be lumped in with those programs? Would Urban Meyer have blown off Notre Dame for Maryland or Illinois?

Come on, man, you're Florida.

I appreciate you hearing me out. I know the Zook Era was tough. And I know that it was upsetting after that "Simpsons" episode when everyone was calling Florida "America's Wang." But trust me, we were saying that about the state, not about the university. Everyone still respects you.

It's just that we'd all respect you a little more if you ditched those crappy helmets.

The Red Cedar Reader

Wednesday's Detroit Free Press featured an article about a new book "Innocence in the Red Zone: The Adversity and Opportunity of Bobby Williams: the Story of an African-American Coach in Big Time College Football," written by the former Sparty coach and his lawyer Roger M. Grove. This book interests me not only because I'm a college football fan, but also because I want to find out if it really warrants the inclusion of TWO colons in its title.

You may recall that Williams assumed interim head coaching duties at Michigan State following Nick Saban's departure for LSU after the 1999 regular season in which the Green and White finished 9-2, highlighted by a 34-31 win over Michigan. Williams then led State to an exciting last-second victory over Florida in the Florida Citrus Bowl and he was named head coach prior to the 2000 season. In three years at the helm in East Lansing, Williams compiled a record of 16-19, incliding a disatrous 2002 season which featured several off-field conduct problems among his players.

Based on this quote from co-author Grove, it seems that reading the book will leave one with the same bewildered expression found on the soon-to-be-fired Williams's face while Michigan administered a 49-3 drubbing to his team in 2002.

"This isn't a journalistic news story," Groves told the Free Press. "I started with facts and that is it. I suppose on one side it's journalistic. It's important for there to be credibility with the facts and to be accurate. When I have an opinion, I hope there's one well supported by the facts. There's some objectivity -- I talk about things Bobby wishes he had done differently."

Proving that the Good Old Boy Network isn't limited solely to incompetent white coaches, Williams is currently in his second year as the running backs coach of the Miami Dolphins following a stellar one-year stint as the wide receivers coach with the 5-11 Detroit Lions.

Pimp My Lid

In a recent post, I examined a few of the best helmets in college football. Today, I turn a critical eye to the protective headgear worn by collegiate grid iron warriors that can most generously be described as "lacking." These are not the worst helmets (notice no further mention of Illinois or Central Michigan), but rather these are the unfortunate schools that have badly missed opportunites to make their helmets great. Thankfully, the MZone is here to show you how good these helmets could be with just a little imagination.

Let's start with:

Indiana - Face it Hoosiers, when someone mentions IU and sports three things come to mind: the storied basketball program, the gritty tenacity of the Cutters in "Breaking Away," and the perennial 3-8 football team. So why not bring a little distinction to the football team and perhaps mooch some positive vibes from the successful hoopsters by making the helmets resemble the basketball team's warmup pants? It will allow IU to stand out from the crowd and infuse some crazy into a football program that has been devoid of it ever since Sam Wyche left Bloomington.

And then there's:
North Carolina - Despite a unique and striking color scheme, NC has average-at-best helmets. They could go with something that has their inexplicable ram mascot, but I think they would do better to simply have the Carolina blue helmet with that tar-smudged foot depicted on each side. A foot. It's like Clemson, but human. Plus the story of the tar heel is generations-old and has about 100 different versions.

Finally:
Auburn - The Auburn helmets are pretty good right now, but wouldn't these be even better? In addition to integrating the team mascot (Tigers) with the favorite chant of their passionate fans ("Weagle, Weagle. War Damn Eagle!") the freakish animal hybrid featured on this new helmet would definitely confuse and frighten opponents.

Tennessee Plane Gets Stuck

(from M Zone wire reports) The University of Tennessee team plane became stuck on the tarmac yesterday with its nose up in the air due to uneven weight distribution during take-off. Sources tell the M Zone that as the aircraft was taxiing down the runway, Vol coach Phil Fulmer suddenly got out of his seat and went to the back of the plane to use the bathroom, causing the problem.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

About Michigan's Helmet

In IC's post about the Best College Football Helmets, some folks have claimed that Michigan "stole" their famous winged helmet design from Princeton. So let's review the facts behind Michigan's helmet according to the Bentley Historical Library...

In 1938, Michigan hired Herbert O. "Fritz" Crisler from Princeton to replace Harry Kipke as head football coach. In 1937, his final year at Princeton, Crisler switched the Tigers to a "winged helmet design" that was not "Princeton's" but simply the FH5 model helmet that the Spalding Sporting Goods Company first advertised in the 1937 edition the Official Intercollegiate Football Guide (shown here).

According to the Bentley Library, "Spalding marketed a number of helmet models that featured the "wing" design. The wing provided additional protective padding and helped bind the earpieces to the crown. The FH5 model was the only one featuring three straps running from front-to-back. One model featured a single strap running front-to-back and another running side-to-side. Other models had a one-piece crown. Michigan's FH5 model came only in black and tan while those with a one-piece crown could be ordered in any school colors for an additional fee."

When he arrived in Michigan in '38, Crisler introduced the new Spalding helmets and changes to the Michgian uniform to inspire his team and mark the beginning of a new era (since the Wolverines had gone four years without a winning season). Crisler's innovation that first year at Michigan was to paint the helmet maize and blue. His hope was that the Wolverine QB might be able to better see his receivers.

At the time, a number of schools used Spalding's "winged" helmet design. But as leather helmets gave way to other materials, those schools changed their design while Michigan kept it and simply painted the distinctive "winged" look on the new helmet materials.

New Goalposts for FSU

Very funny post over at Six Degrees of Bowden that shows the new NCAA-approved goal posts to be used for all Florida State home games.

Hat Tip to EDSBS.

Best College Football Helmets

The tOSU Uniform Change Crisis has forced many college football fans to confront what has for too long been its most shameful secret: Bad Game Day Garb. However, while our despondant adversaries in Columbus continue to lament being unfairly forced to bid adieu to the gray on their team's unifrom sleeves, I choose to look higher--to the helemts--that adorn and protect the heads of college football players across America.

In this Part One of a three-part MZone special examination on helmets, I submit this list of the best college football helmets, complete with a totally subjective and half-assed analysis explaining each helmet's placement on the list. (thanks to Charles Arey of the "Helmet Project" for the images.)

1.
Michigan-Clearly the leaders and best when it comes to helmets. Even tOSU fans who have "Fuck Michigan" tattoed across their chest will concede this point if they're being honest.

2.
Texas-You remember how Prince adopted a symbol to represent his name a few years ago? I think the state of Texas should drop the T-E-X-A-S and replace it with the unique simplicity of the perfectly-designed burnt orange longhorn head.

3.
Florida State-Politically incorrect? Perhaps. Striking color combination, distictive design, and three decades of winning tradtion? Definitely.

4.
Clemson-You've got to admire the bold decision by some past Clemson big shots to go with the orange and purple color scheme. I'm picturing a few Strother Martin looking fellas drinking Wild Turkey straight out of the bottle growling, "Fuck it! Let's make the helmets orange and purple. And we'll have giant goddamn paw prints on each side!"

5.
Arkansas-How could anyone not love that rampaging piggy? Seriously, look at that feisty little guy. I imagine he's solid yet slippery and it doesn't seem like he's much in the mood to have hands put on him--traits that are very beneficial for a football player.

Any glaring omissions? Unworthy inclusions? Let us know what you think.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Texas Stops Arresting Drunks in Bars

The state of Texas has halted a controversial program which sent undercover cops to arrest drunks while they were still in the bars. The plan, dubbed "Operation Last Call," was met by a hail of public protest.

In a related story, Oklahoma QB Rhett Bomar said he will now only drink at bars in Texas.

Yes, folks, we are going to beat this story to death.

Why Vanderbilt?

So why is Michigan opening their 2006 season against Vanderbilt in September? Is it because the Commodores provide a major conference opponent without the likelihood of losing? Is it because any Michigan student from the South probably considered applying to Vanderbilt as well? Or is it because the V on Vandy's helmet would provide a perfect symmetry to the Michigan Marching Band's playing of "The Victors?"

Nope, none of these. The reason Michigan will be hosting Vanderbilt on September 2nd is because ESPN promised to broadcast one of the Commodores' women's basketball games. According to SI.com's John Walters, Vanderbilt vice chancellor (they don't have an AD in Nashville) Dave Williams wouldn't commit to the trip to Ann Arbor until ESPN vice president of programming and acquisitions Dave Brown offered up the broadcast for the women hoopsters. So a Vanderbilt vice chancellor and the ESPN VP of programming and acquisitions have as much, or more, say in the Michigan football schedule as Bill Martin does.

The article shows one of the more seedy sides of college football - the scheduling world, "A world in which the sanctity of a contract means little." So if the Wolverines blow a 4th quarter lead in that opener, we'll have someone new to blame. Not Ron English, but, rather, the Lady Commodores.

Another Great Look at the Spring Game

As usual, Brian over at M Go Blog has some great observations regarding Michigan's Spring Game Scrimmage.

Monday, April 17, 2006

M Go Pez

This summer, PEZ - yes, the candy company - will launch seven college football dispensers. The company has contracted with Florida, Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Penn State, Texas, and Michigan to produce the candy dispensers with the school's athletic logo on a football. Also included will be a logo card.

When I first heard this, I thought I might actually purchase my first PEZ dispenser since I was about 9. But then I had a look at them and I have to say I'm disappointed. With the schools involved, it would have been much cooler to have the helmet at the top of the dispenser. That's what PEZ did when they contracted wtih NASCAR. With just a generic football with the Michigan logo, I think I'll save my $2.50.

Braylon Honors #1

Former Michigan All-American receiver Braylon Edwards, who now plays for the Cleveland Browns, is honoring his and U-M's famous #1 jersey with a $500,000 scholarship. The scholarship will go to the Wolverine player wearing #1. If no player is presently wearing the number (as is currently the case), the scholarship will go to another player.

Edwards will pay for the scholarship, the largest endowment by ever given by a former athlete, over five years. In addition, he and Coach Lloyd Carr decided on three requirements for the recepient: no freshmen ("The number holds too much significance and too much value," says Edwards), a certain grade-point average and proper off-the-field conduct.

The decision to fund the scholarship stemmed from Edwards' respect for Anthony Carter, Michigan's All-American receiver from 1979-1982 who first brought fame to the #1 for the Wolverines. Edwards strove to earn both the number and Carter's respect while at Michigan, doing both.

"We wanted to pay tribute to him for revolutionizing the position," Edwards said. "He was the front-runner."