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Monday, December 31, 2007

But we're 8-4, I thought for sure we'd be here

Got the email and picture below from our pal Andy...

Yost:

Went to the Alamo Bowl last night. Although I was with MANY Aggie supporters (it was essentially an A&M home game) I quietly rooted for Penn State and the Big 10.

I guess I was not the only Wolverine fan there. I captured this image from my seat. Note the "M" flag in the upper right hand corner.

That guy had it waving the entire game. It was pretty funny.

Go Blue,
Andy

Friday, December 28, 2007

WVU to Rodriguez: I will not be ignored, Rich!

And now it gets ugly.

West Virginia's Board of Governors sued their former-slash-Michigan's new football coach Rich Rodriguez yesterday to collect the $4 million buyout in his old contract.

According to the lawsuit, the university believes R2 simply doesn't intend to pay up.

The AP story linked above states that the buyout clause requires Coach Rod to pay the $4 large (as in VERY large) to WVU over two years with one-third of the total due 30 days after his employment ends. Which means, since he resigned on December 19, he's got about three weeks to come up with a shitload of coin.

Another interesting tidbit is that the lawsuit claims that WVU officials were not aware of and did not consent to Rodriguez talking to Michigan about its head coaching vacancy.

Ok, I get WVU is pissed and thus wants to sue to get its $4M, but putting in that last part makes WVU look a tad like a bitter ex.

WVU: But you said you loved me! That I was your dream job!
RICH RODRIGUEZ: You were, but...I've changed. It's not you. It's me.
WVU: I did everything you ever wanted! I gave you the money for your assistants. And look at me - I just upgraded my athletic facilities for you!
RR: I'm sorry.
WVU (getting hysterical): We can work it out. Please. Just give me another chance. It can still work. I know it can! Please, Richard. Please.
RR: Don't do this to yourself. We had seven good years together. But it was time.

WVU picks up the Big East Championship trophy off a nearby table.

WVU: Doesn't this mean anything to you?

Rodriguez just looks down.

WVU: Doesn't it?
RR: I...I have to go.

WVU heaves the trophy at a nearby wall - CRASH! - smashing it to pieces.

WVU: Michigan will never love you the way I did! NEVER! DO YOU KNOW THAT! As soon as you have a three-loss season, she'll start looking around. For somebody else! And when you lose to Ohio State, that'll be it. She'll leave you! Then you'll know how I feel! YOU'LL KNOW!

Rodriguez turns to leave. But WVU won't stop...

WVU: Do you hear me, goddamnit! DO YOU?! And you were never any good in big games! Never! All those times I said how good you were, and gave you a contract extention - I WAS LYING! LYING! Because I knew your ego needed it. You lost to Pitt with the National Title on the line! PITT! Coached by Dave Wannstedt! DAVE FUCKING WANNSTEDT! HA! You call yourself a man?! You're a joke. A pathetic little--

The door slams.

WVU: You'll be back! Just wait! YOU'LL BE BACK!

But Rodriguez is long gone.

Beer Bong Friday: A Cautionary Tale

Sometimes this...



...Doesn't have a happy ending.

M Go Kitty

Pro Michigan or not, this deserves to be mocked. Oh...my.



If cats could talk, the look on this kitty's face seems to be screaming, "Please stop. For the love of all that is holy. Stop."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Will they stay or will they go? And should they?

Articles in both the Detroit News and Free Press discuss the possibility that QB Ryan Mallett along with receivers Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington might not be back next year. Manningham and Arrington are weighing whether or not make themselves available for the NFL draft while pocket-passer Mallett is deciding if he should transfer in the wake of Michigan hiring spread-offense guru Rich Rodriguez as its new coach.

So, what will each player do and, more importantly, what should they do?

RYAN MALLETT

With all the injuries to Chad Henne this season, the consensus #2 high school QB in the country last year (behind ND's Jimmah Clausen) got more playing time than even he could have imagined. However, the year turned out to be a mixed bag for Mallett.

After Michigan opened the season with two ugly defeats, Mallett started against the suck-ass Clausen-led Irish and brought home a victory that anybody probably could have brought home. The following week was even more impressive when Mallett helped the Wolverines up end 10th ranked Penn State. Suddenly, it looked like a QB controversy was brewing in the Big House.

Not so fast, my friend.

From that point on, it Mallett seemed to struggle the rest of the season. And I mean really struggle - like just taking the snap from center. Even worse, rumors swirled that there was an attitude problem.

WHAT WILL HE DO: Transfer. With Rodriguez in A2 and Terrelle Pryor - a Vince Young-esque dual threat QB and #1 recruit in the country now considering Michigan - Mallett sees the writing on the wall. However, since he does have the game experience - and if Pryor doesn't come to UM - Mallett could be the BMOC on a wide open attack if he sticks around.

WHAT HE SHOULD DO: Transfer. Even though he played in a shotgun-centered offense in high school, his lack of running ability will never make him The One in Rodriguez's eyes - and he knows it. Mentally that will be tough...coupled with the fact that Michigan will be only recruiting QBs in the VY mold, further making it obvious that, "Damn, we wish you weren't here." Plus, if the offense struggles, the fans - unfairly - will blame him for "slowing" Rich and his spread down. Sadly, this talented

MARIO MANNINGHAM

Remember ND game in 2006? When Manningham seemed to explode onto the scene, going from mere talent to superstar? Since then, while he's put up some big games (MSU, anybody?), he doesn't seem to play at that top level each and every time he takes the field. He's also had some dropsies (OSU, folks?) and seems reluctant to lay his body out there or take the tough hits across the middle.

This season, Manningham was benched a game for violating team rules and seemed to run half-ass when the play wasn't to him. But man oh man, is that talent still there as evidenced in the MSU game.

WHAT WILL HE DO: Declare for the draft. Manningham has always struck me as the sort of guy who's playing for the M on his driver's license and not the one on his letterman's jacket. Furthermore, reading his quotes makes him sound like he's gone (Manningham said, "The decision I make will be based on this next game" which I frankly don't believe and, when you think about it, doesn't make sense in terms of what he should be basing his decision on).

WHAT SHOULD HE DO: Stay. He needs to prove he can produce week in and week out, as he'll need to do in the pros. One more year, especially in an offense where - while he might not see as many deep balls - he will see a lot of quick routes that will showcase his gamebreaking abilities. I also think a lot of scouts would like to see him take the tough hits and hang on to ball when it counts.

ADRIAN ARRINGTON

I always liked him. He's a hard worker who never got the pub of a Manningham, but his work ethic and attitude, in my opinion, will take him farther. The fourth-year junior was Michigan's second leading receiver (behind Manningham) and made the tough, non-glamorous, "keep the drive going" catches on a regular basis.

WHAT WILL HE DO: Declare for the draft. However, as mentioned in the News, if his position coach, Erik Campbell, is rehired by Rodriguez, I think the odds shift in favor of Arrington staying. I truly believe he is torn and is going to really go back and forth on what to do. Yet if Campbell doesn't come back, he's 100% gone.

WHAT SHOULD HE DO: Toss up. Arrington is never going to be a first round pick. That's not a slam, it's just the type of receiver he is. Yet such a possession receiver will always find a home on draft day. So, since he's not talking about the big money of passing up first round dollars, it comes down to how much Arrington is enjoying the college experience.

U-M Recruit Injured; Father, Girlfriend Killed

This is one of those horrible stories I wish I didn't have to have to pass on: 2008 Michigan commitment Elliot Mealer, 18, was injured in a car crash Christmas Eve that killed his father and girlfriend. Mealer's mother was treated for injuries and his brother, 22, was in critical condition as of yesterday.

According to the Toledo Blade story linked above, a 90 year old man ran a stop sign and plowed into the SUV driven by Mealer's father. The SUV flipped, went off the road and landed on its roof.

Mealer is an offensive tackle from Wauseon, Ohio who committed to Michigan in April, although none of that really matters one damn bit right now.

My sincere thoughts and prayers go out to the Mealer family at this time of unimaginable grief.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Be safe, have fun and see you in a couple days.

Yost

PS I looked for a Michigan-themed Christmas vid on YouTube for this post and couldn't find squat. So for shits and giggles, I tried a Tosu search. And, well, let's just say Buckeye fans are a different breed...



Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rich the Grinch?

New Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez did his best Donald Trump impression yesterday, firing all nine current Michigan assistant coaches.

While that's certainly his prerogative, I thought for sure a couple of the assistants would be retained. But none? Not even to keep a little continuity? Wow (According to the Detroit News article linked above, O-Line coach Steve Stripling may be rehired).

A house cleaning such as this really drives home that the Bo-Mo'-Lloyd Era at Michigan is no more. I can only hope that's a good thing.

UPDATE: Fred Jackson is being retained. This is very good in terms of keeping Sam McGuffie.

Please don't blow this...

The Detroit Free Press is reporting (via Rivals.com) that new head coach Rich Rodriguez has yet to contact Michigan uber-recruit RB Sam McGuffie.

"I really don't know what's going on," McGuffie told Rivals.com. "I haven't talked to coach Rodriguez yet or anything so I'm just kind of chilling and waiting to hear from him."

Yet while he waits, it seems others aren't. McGuffie has apparently been contacted by new A&M coach Mike Sherman and UCLA - even though they don't even have a coach yet!

Uh, Rich, please put this at the top of your "to do" list. Stat.

Friday, December 21, 2007

New Michigan Logo

After luring Rich Rodriguez from WVU - the second coach U-M has pilfered from the Mountaineers in less than a year - reader DTW2PHX sends us a sneak peak at potential new Michigan logo...

Not So Rich Anymore?

Got an interesting email from MZone reader Ron regarding new coach Rich Rodriquez and the tax consequences of his rumored $4M buyout clause...

I am a CPA and a tax lawyer as well as a football fan. RR has a famous $4,000,000 buy-out in his West by God Virginia contract. It is rumored that UM will directly or indirectly pay this.

This brings up what tax professionals call: "Phantom Income". Money he will have to pay taxes on that he never gets.

If anyone other that RR pays it, RR will owe income taxes on the $4,000,000. In his bracket, that going to hit at 45% to 50% including state and local tax. So that $1,800,000 to $2,000,000 in AFTER TAX cash that he will need to come up with. If UM pays it or it is paid on UM's behalf, he and UM will also have to pay 1.45% Medicare taxes.

Even if WBGV agrees to just drop it, it is "forgiveness of indebtedness" and he will be liable for the taxes on the money.

RR is making money that most people have difficulty imagining and has probably put a nice chunk aside by now (he has had little opportunity to spend much in Morgantown -- how much can a double-wide cost? and Bentley doesn't make a pick-up.) but after paying his taxes in 2008, he will probably have -0- take home pay.

Lots of times, phantom income gets ignored because the IRS doesn't learn of it. But RR's phantom income has got a lot of media attention and there are probably some Mount Near (to use their pronunciation) fans in Compliance and Audit that hold a bit of grudge against Rich.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Should have known this was coming...

Anybody who shows his anger by making a video with John Denver playing in the background is, well, uh...yeah.



And then there's this beauty below: "Dick Rob is a fraud." Yea, they're pissed.

#1 Song in Morgantown?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

First Impressions: I Like Him

Watched Rich Rodriguez's introduction/press conference in A2 yesterday and was very impressed with what I saw. Yes, he might need a little lesson about M history, but he's an engaging guy and his football record reflects that of an outstanding coach.

Basically, if we're going by Gut Feeling 101 - I liked him. A lot. How could you not after watching that?

Welcome to A2, Coach. Best of luck. I'll be cheering my ass off for you next season.

Les Miles: I'm still not coming to Michigan

(from MZone wire reports) Baton Rouge, LA - Mere hours after Rich Rodriguez was introduced as Michigan's new head coach in Ann Arbor, LSU's Les Miles hastily called a press conference yesterday to once again deny he has any interest in U-M's top spot.

"There was some information on ESPN that Rich Rodriguez has been named the new coach at Michigan and I think it's imperative that I straighten something out. Just because Rodriguez was hired, their reverse psychology ploy to really try to get me won't work. I'm the head coach at LSU, I will be the head coach at LSU and I have no interest in talking to anyone else about why I still have wet dreams about my days in Ann Arbor," said Miles who had been frothing at the mouth until he uttered the words "Ann Arbor," which caused his eyes to mist over.

Dabbing at them with a maize and blue hanky he pulled from his pocket, Miles continued, "I'm only excited about the opportunity of my damn strong football team to play Ohio State in a few weeks for the Big Ten championsh-- the BCS championship. It's unfortunate I had to address the Wolv-- my team with this information. With that being done, we'll be ready to play. There will be no questions for me. I represent me in this issue. Please ask me after. I'm busy. Thank you very much and have a go blu-- a great day."

Unable to stem the waterworks, Miles then stormed off the stage and scheduled another denial press conference tomorrow.

In a related story, Brady Hoke's interview for the Michigan job has been picked up for use in a future episode of NBC's Bloopers, Bleepers and Practical Jokes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Rodriguez Era Begins

What a weekend.

From the depths of despair for many Michigan fans as the Wolverine coaching searched dragged on almost four whole weeks (which is equivalent to 8.3 years in today's Internet-fueled sports world) to the heights of ecstasy as U-M landed a coach who apparently believes the quarterback is allowed to stray outside the pocket by more than 4 feet (and not just to take a sack).

So, is it a great hire?

It's too early to tell. Just as it would have been impossible 48 hours after the fact to tell if the hiring of Mike DeBord would have been the first sign of the Football Apocalypse. We won't know how good this hire is until about three years down the road.

'Bama fans nearly wept with joy after their school lured Nick Saban to Tuscaloosa. But after a 6-6 season, including a loss to Louisiana-Monroe, now they might just be weeping, period. Pete Carroll was USC's 38th choice when he was hired to coach the Trojans. Southern Cal fans wanted the AD run out of town for picking some failed NFL coach to lead them. The end was near - the end of being average as Carroll returned the team to new found glory. And after Bo Schembechler was hired way back when, the headline of the Detroit Free Press screamed, "Bo Who?" Gee, I didn't know Drew Sharpe was that old.

So while we can be excited, whether or not it was great is yet to be determined.

I will say that our offense is going to be like nothing you've ever seen in A2 before (unless you're talking about Oregon, Syracuse, Appalachian State or any of the other spread offenses that have shredded the Wolverines in recent years). The only problem is, do we have the personnel to run it next season? If Rodriguez tries to reinvent the wheel too soon, well, talk to Husker fans about that one.

I will say that I like the hire better than Miles (who, hopefully, will stop holding press conferences now). From all I've heard, he's a great guy and a good coach. My one nagging concern is his record in big games, which is the main issue many folks had with Carr the last couple of years. West Virginia usually played a non-conference schedule that would make the K-State non-con cupcakes from the Bill Snyder era look like murder's row. Then they duked it out in the still-a-bball-league Big East. Yet they still managed to struggle in key or big games.

This season, the best team from a ranking standpoint they played was 18th ranked South Florida. They lost. They only had to beat 28 point dog Pitt - coached by Dave "Has he EVER had a winning record?" Wannstedt - at home to reach the BCS title game. They lost. Yeah, I know Pat White was hurt. But they were playing 28 point dog Pitt at home - a team coached by Dave Wannstedt! WVU's big wins this season were over Cinci and UConn (yes, in football).

And there are some nagging questions about his defenses. While known for his offenses, stout defense, a Michigan staple (except against teams coached by guys running offenses like Rodriquez), weren't his forte.

So, while I'm optimistic, I'm also realistic. Coach Rod, as he is known, has my full support (except for his nickname. He sounds like a porn star). I sincerely hope this is the genius hire the "sky is falling" crowd thinks it is (who apprently thought Michigan AD Bill Martin was going to pick a name out of a hat containing only Pop Warner youth league coaches once Les Miles didn't work out). Whatever happens, it's going to be fun as hell to watch.

Now only time will tell if that fun translates into something much, much bigger.

The Unhappiest Man in Ann Arbor

Not every Wolverine was happy to hear Michigan hired Rich Rodriguez as its new football coach. Below is the transcript of our exclusive interview with U-M QB, Ryan Mallett...

MZONE: Ryan, what do you think of Michigan bringing in Rich Rodriguez and his spread offense?

MALLETT: Fuck cocksucking sonofafuckingbitch ratballs fuckknuckle assfuck shit motherfucker cockstain anal beads fuck cockshit hairyballnuts fuck piss shit fuck fartsucker cum jabber dick fuck me with a spoon ball farts ass wiper munching piss fuck taint grabber whore fucker asshole shit licker fuck fuck FUUUUUUUUUCK--!!!!

CLICK!

MZONE: Hello? Ryan? Are you still there? Ryan?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Rich Rodriguez Rumor Mill is Our Coach!

UPDATE: WVU coach Rich Rodriquez is set to become Michigan's new head coach. As excited as I am, I have to say, I'm sad for WVU's current players who are getting hit with this weeks before a BCS bowl berth. I know, I know, that's just the way it is these days. But still, as good as it is for us, it sucks for them.

Well, lot's to write about this in the upcoming week. But must go try to find the press conference on TV.

Since poor Bobby Petrino's post is getting plastered with comments on the possibility that U-M might swipe it's second WVU coach in as many years, wanted to open up this thread to track thoughts on the Rich Rodriguez rumor.

Tim Tebow's Custom-Made Heisman Trophy



(HT: CS...although it was emailed to him and he didn't know its origin)

UPDATE: An MZone reader first saw the pic above on Loser With Socks. Hope I'm giving proper credit where it is due.

Bobby Petrino: No Great Loss

As the Wolverine head coaching search continues, some U-M fans were aghast that, in their opinion, another "great" coach got away without Michigan so much as even having him on their list: Bobby Petrino.

But in the hysteria now swirling in some quarters surrounding the search, did any of those folks stop to consider if they really want a guy like this at Michigan?

In case you haven't heard, Petrino up and quit in the midst of his first season as the head coach of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons in order to take over the top spot at Arkansas. Classy guy that he is, he did so without even telling his team face-to-face.

According to the USA TODAY article linked above...

"The Falcons watched him on television the previous night, yukking it up at a giddy, late-night news conference in Arkansas, then showed up at their lockers to find a 78-word letter from their ex-coach, whose tenure in the NFL lasted all of 13 games."

Seventy-eight words? Good God! Les Miles issues longer statements on a daily basis saying he's really, really, really not interested in Michigan. And if you doubt him, he'll tell you again tomorrow. But I digress as there's more to the Petrino story...

"Falcons owner Arthur Blank sounded as though he had just been stabbed in the back. He got a call late last week from Dallas owner Jerry Jones, an Arkansas alumnus, to say the school was interested in talking to Petrino about its coaching vacancy.

Blank said he told Jones the Falcons had no intention of letting the Razorbacks speak with their coach, and general manager Rich McKay confirmed that position in follow-up calls with Jones.

That was followed by a series of meetings over the weekend in which Petrino laid out some areas of concern, and the Falcons thought they had addressed them all. In fact, Blank said he met again with the coach on Monday, just hours before Atlanta's 34-14 loss to the New Orleans Saints, to make sure he wasn't planning to leave.

"He stood up, we shook hands and he said, 'You have a head coach,' " Blank said.

Twenty-four hours later, Petrino submitted his resignation, hopped on a plane to Arkansas and signed a deal as Razorbacks coach."


Now, some people make fun of Michigan's "old school" request that our football coach have something called integrity. They mock U-M's antiquated expectation of a coach with character. How quaint. It's 2007, just win, damnit!

But I don't want the Bobby Petrino's of the world roaming Michigan's sidelines. I want a guy who's not constantly checking his cellphone to see if his agent called with a better deal. I want a guy who's excited to coach in Ann Arbor, not simply excited because he was able to get a bigger paycheck.

Am I naive? Maybe. Arrogant? No. I simply believe there are still some ingredients in a coach that are just as important as knowing about X's and O's.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Les Miles to LSU: Michigan and I are just friends

Was reading over on MGoBlog about Les Miles' latest press statement denying he's interested in/thought about/ever even heard of Ann Arbor so why would he care about the Michigan head coaching vacancy. Here's the text...

BATON ROUGE -- LSU football coach Les Miles issued the following statement on Tuesday regarding the conversation he had with Michigan last week:

“I had a conversation with Michigan last week that covered a wide range of topics. I was doing nothing more than helping them with their search for a football coach, just as any loyal alumnus might do. It was nothing more than that.

“I’m not a candidate for that job and I will not be a candidate for the job. I was only assisting them in their search for a coach. I have a great job at a wonderful place, a place that my family calls home. It’s time that Michigan goes on with their search for a football coach. I’ll say it again, I’m going to be the coach at LSU next season.”

Oh brother. Is anybody buying this?

"I was doing nothing more than helping them with their search for a football coach, just as any loyal alumnus might do. It was nothing more than that."

Somebody doth protest too much (and hold way too many press conferences and issue way too many press statements for something he's not interested in).

Is it just me or is Les starting to sound like a guy who just got caught by his new girlfriend hanging out with his old girlfriend?

"What's the big deal, LSU? We were just talking. I swear. Michigan and I are just friends. That's it. She just needed some dating advice. She's going through a rough time right now. Remember I told you about that Greg guy who blew her off? What a dick. So I was just, you know, helping her find somebody else. Like any old boyfriend would do. As a friend. A platonic friend. And that's it. I swear. Just friends. Because I don't even like her anymore. I love you, LSU. Only you. Honest."

Gee, can't wait for his next press conference which should be in, oh, about five or six minutes.

As if winning the Heisman wasn't enough...

MZone reader B2 sends us the pix below of Tim Tebow's alleged girlfriend...




UPDATE: I hate when facts get in the way but...these are two different women. The top is a UF student who is apparently not Tim Tebow's girlfriend and the bottom picture is of a British model. God save the Queen? Forget the Queen, save this girl! Wow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Big Dicks at Wisconsin



Yeah, yeah, I know: this is a lazy-ass excuse for a day's worth of posts. But, alas, I have a ton o' stuff to wrap up on the work end before the holidays.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pro Abortion Video

Behold Beavis and Buckhead...

Just pick somebody already

Seems legions of Michigan fans who clamored for Lloyd Carr's head every year except those in which he didn't go undefeated are now in an uproar over the coaching search. U-M, in their eyes, has blown the best in Miles and been blown off by a guy who never was really interested to begin with in Schiano.

But why are they so worried? I thought anybody could do it.

I mean, wasn't that the knock on Lloyd? That with the talent the Wolverines always had, the weak Big Ten, the melting of the polar ice caps and really cool helmets, any sap who ever watched Madden Football on an XBox could lead the maize and blue to just five Big Ten titles and one national title in 13 years. Anybody.

So what does it matter who we get, as long as it's not someone on Lloyd's staff, right? I mean, if fucking Lloyd Carr - you know, Lllloyd - can never have a losing season, why are Michigan fans losing sleep. The good news is, whoever we get, it'll be ABC - Anybody But Carr. Good Christ, don't these people understand that simply by being ABC, we're guaranteed 9 wins next season?

So why all the sky is falling articles in the Detroit papers and panic on the Michigan websites? Just replace Carr and get on with it. The hard part is over. Sheesh. Any idiot can take it from here.

Interesting Obit

In an online obit to poker pro Chip Reese, the following paragraph caught my eye...

I was only vaguely aware of his blossoming campus reputation as a poker player, but I could tell he was a shrewd sports bettor. Early one college football season (probably 1970) he advised me to bet heavily on Ohio State in the Michigan game that would take place many weeks later. Michigan had defeated Ohio State the year before, ending a long OSU winning streak, and was widely considered the nation's best team. Chip told me that his grandfather was a friend of Woody Hayes (Ohio State's legendary coach) and that Hayes been gunning for Michigan since the end of the previous year's upset defeat. Hayes had privately expressed confidence that his Buckeyes would beat the Wolverines. Ohio State won the game, Chip made a ton of money, and I won a few bucks.

(HT: Steve)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Best of the MZone

My non-blogging life has been, sad to say, intruding on my MZone time of late. My apologies. But, alas, sometimes things can't be helped. Thus, below is one of my favorite posts from the "Best of the MZone" archives until I can get back on track.

Thanks for reading,

Yost


BEST OF THE WORST COLLEGE FOOTBALL BLOGS

This is the first in an occasional series on the M Zone where we highlight the Best of the Worst College Football Blogs the Web has to offer. We start with a classic.

It's April, 2005. You're such a big college football fan, you can't wait for the fall to start your college football blog. It must be started now. Today. In the spring. You simply have too much to say before September rolls around.

So, you adopt the moniker PoDunkU and try to think of a name for your blog. And think and think and think, you do. Because the name is key. Without a good name, people won't be enticed to show up, read and comment. So you think some more and come up with a beauty. But it's so good, you figure it must be long gone. Some other college football fan surely must have snared it long before your April 2005 foray into the blogosphere. Slowly you type your name choice into Blogger and - Holy shit! - it worked! You somehow, someway got it: College Football Fanatics. Beware Deadspin. Look out Every Day Should Be Saturday. With a name like this, cyberfame, glory and a million hits a day are just around the corner.

In a state of euphoria and on a creative roll, you come up with another dandy for your sub-headline: All Football all the time! Which only makes sense. I mean, you're a college football fanatic, for cryin' out loud. There aren't enough hours in the day for all the football all the time that you're going to be blogging about.

College Football Fanatics: All Football all the time!

Wait. Something's not right. Something's...off. But what? Then it hits you like a Woody Hayes sucker punch in the Gator Bowl: the exclamation point after your sub-headline. Just one? No. You need two. No, fuck that. Three. Three exclamation points. Anything less and you wouldn't be a college football fanatic, would you now?

College Football Fanatics: All Football all the time!!!

There. Now it was perfect. Like Captain and Tennille, the two to be forever joined as one.

With your sweet name now safely secured, you sit down to write your first entry. The date, April 8, 2005. Even writing that first entry, you just know someday folks will look back on this day the same way Silicon Valley looks back on the moment Google came online. It will be like the day Hewlett and Packard cleaned the shit out of their garage to start HP. It will be like the time MicroSoft first illegally put another company out of business using its monopoly. Yes, April 8, 2005. A date which would live in blog - dare you say sports? - history.

You decide to start small at CollegeFootballFantatics.blogspot.com. No big or multiple posts. Not on the first day. Just a quick simple blurb talking about the 2005 Florida Gators. Your team. By the time the 10,000th visitor stops by on day two, then you'll really begin cranking out the posts. They will spew forth like water over Niagara Falls, flowing from your magical keyboard unabated. Remember, we're talking "All football all time time!!!"

And thus, with this screenshot below, capturing the moment for all to see, a shining star of the Internet was born. College Football Fanatics was here. And sports fans everywhere rejoiced saying, "PoDunkU, lo' thy name is genius!"


But, sadly, it was not to be. After that single solitary post of pure, unadulterated brilliance, PoDunkU packed up his laptop and disappeared into the cyber ether. Never to post on College Football Fanatics again.

Some speculate, like Orson Wells after CITIZEN KANE, his genius spent on that first post, PoDunkU had nothing left to give. But what he did give reverberates to this day, almost a year later.

"Hey, I'd be lying if I said CollegeFootball Fanatics wasn't the inspiration for our site," said M Zone founder Yost. "What we try to do - and fail most days - is live up to the bar PoDunkU set. But it's tough. His site, even though it was only one post, was like that first Hootie and the Blowfish CD: Flawless. So how do you follow up perfect? You don't. At least I guess that's what PoDunkU thought."

Thus, with the great name, the brilliant sub-headline and the most auspicious debut since TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, CollegeFootballFanatics...All Football all the time!!! was no more. But the memory, oh the sweet memory, lives on to this day. A memory and also a burden. A burden of expectations. Which all of us who write about college football and put up pictures of semi-naked ASU cheerleaders try to live up to each and every time we post.

COLLEGEFOOTBALLFANATCS.blogspot.com

R.I.P.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The sky is not falling, Michigan fans

Let me start off by saying I'm a big fan of Brian Cook and his blog, MGoBlog. It is hands down the best Michigan site on the web - including this one.

However, I couldn't disagree with him more regarding the current U-M coaching search.

Over the last couple of the days as The Les Miles Incident played out, Brian has been near apocalyptic in his assessment of Michigan's actions - or inaction - with regards to "losing" Miles, calling what happened - or didn't happen - a "fiasco" and a "colossal screwup by Bill Martin, aided by Lloyd Carr."

I know we bloggers are in the business of hyperbole, but Brian's remarks constitute the biggest overreaction and misrepresentation in the history of recorded human existence.

Look, I'm no fan of Bill Martin, but the only thing he's guilty of is keeping his word and not contacting Miles before he said he would. I know, shocking. Keeping one's word and ethical conduct in a coaching search are so...old school. Of course the conspiracy theorists (aka Miles backers) see some Machiavellian motive in this. I guess nothing will change that opinion. I however prefer a school that follows rules and a man's word is man's word.

Bri also had a problem with Martin not having already interviewed Miles face-to-face long before Carr retired and, short of that, suggested Martin should have simply talked to him on the phone...

"How do you not have an extended one-on-one interview with the man obviously most qualified for the job at this point? Michigan has known Carr was retiring since September, and Martin knows literally dozens of Miles' friends. Hell, John Wangler is his BFF. Call Wangler into your office, have him call Miles, and have a goddamn interview on the phone. There is no excuse for failing to hammer out whatever potential differences existed months ago. All this interview stuff is purely for show if we are operating under the assumption Martin has an IQ above 60."

Again, love and respect Brian, totally disagree.

You don't have an interview like that because word would get out. In this day and age? Such a meeting would have been all over every college football blog in by the time the check dropped (except this blog as we'd have been asleep at the wheel posting nudie pix).

And I'm sorry, but I don't care if Vince Lombardi himself comes back from the dead - you have a face-to-face meeting with him. Period. Just imagine if U-M hired Miles and it didn't work out. People would be going ape-shit if they found out that a school which hires coaches once a generation didn't even sit down to talk about things before hiring only its 4th coach since the Johnson Administration.

Finally, to blame Carr in any way, shape or form in this is ludicrous. If he's has shown anything in all his years at Michigan, it's that he's a man of integrity. If he wasn't, he'd be telling the whole world and every ESPN host what his beef was with Miles. Yeah, he obviously has a problem with him, but he hasn't said a word publicly.

Just what is that problem? We don't know.

Outside the same sort of unfounded rumors and innuendo surrounding the coaching search to date, nobody knows for sure just what the problem is that Carr has with Miles. Maybe, just maybe, it's legit. Yet we - the Internet echo chamber - will never know for sure because Carr will never tell.

So no matter what Carr's dislike is based on, he has it and thus isn't going to support or back a person he doesn't believe in. Watch his retirement press conference again and tell me if this is a man who would purposely screw up a great thing for his beloved Michigan just to "get back" at someone he has a personal beef with. Hell no.

Thus, should Carr fake his opinion to appease others, even if he disagrees or it goes against what he believes? Hell no. And to ask - or expect - that from him would be both wrong and unfair.

USC didn't get their first choice (or second or third) last time they went looking for a coach and it worked out okay. And if you recall, Tressel wasn't exactly the top choice in Columbus yet that hasn't sucked for them. So let's all just take a deep breath and let this thing play out. It's okay. Everybody step away from the ledge.

P.S. Bri, I still hope this means I get to vote in the Blogpoll.

UPDATE: Due to some comments received, I sincerely hope readers realize this isn't intended as a bash at Brian or MGoBlog in the least. I simply disagree with his POV on this subject. I would hope people understand that one can have a difference of opinion and still like, respect and admire the person holding another viewpoint.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dumbest Stat in College Football

In all the talk Saturday night about who should play in the BCS title game, I kept hearing from those pushing LSU that they were 6-1 against ranked teams.

But in the immortal words of Lee Corso - not so fast, my friend.

That 6-1 is the ranking of those teams when LSU played them, not a team's ranking at the end of the season. Meaning, to "credit" a team for such a stat is highly misleading.

Two of LSU's six "ranked" victories are against 6-6 South Carolina and 6-6 'Bama. Should anybody really be including a squeaker victory over a Crimson Tide squad that lost to Louisiana-Monroe and a 'Cock squad that lost its final five games as marquee wins?

On the flip side, the Tiger loss to "unranked" (at the time) Arkansas, which climbed back into the rankings after beating LSU to end their season, doesn't look the same anymore either.

Thus, while 6-1 sounds great when trying to a make a case for a team at the end of a season, it's bogus as hell.

Looking at some other schools, should USC get credit for being "3-1" versus ranked teams when two of those "ranked" teams turned out to simply be rank: 5-7 Nebraska and 6-6 Cal, loser of six of its last seven games?

On the flip side, Mizzou, poor astro-fucked Mizzou that got hosed out of a BCS game, should get some love for beating an Illinois team that turned out to be damn good. They shouldn't be punished just because a bunch of overweight pollsters thought - in the middle of summer - that the Illini would suck come fall and the team was thus unranked when the Tigers played them to start the season.

I could go on, but you get the point. This is just one of those "stats" that has always bugged the hell out of me. Especially when it's used at the end of the season to justify one team's inclusion in this or that bowl game. Once the season is over, you have to take a better look at the body of work out there, not continue to base the shit on incomplete info.

Then again, what else can you expect from a sport that uses this craziness to crown its champ to begin with?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Benny - The Nostradamus of CFB Blogging

In his Know Your Foe post on Ohio State the day before the M/Tosu game, my blogging cohort Benny wrote a line about the game being important for OSU because they still had an outside shot at the National Title game.

When I read that line in his draft before posting that night, I thought he was so full of shit, that OSU making it to the title game after losing its second-to-last game at home, was such a long shot and such a crazy thing to even bring up, I deleted it from the final post.

As a result, the CFB Gods have smited me for questioning the Great Benny Friedman by making his horrible vision of a Buckeye title run come true. Damn them! I will never doubt his magic prognostication powers again.

Ed. Note: For a small fee, Benny is available to pick Lotto numbers, locate missing pets and predicate the next time Les Miles will blow a gasket on national TV.

A Quick Note on My Blogging Schedule

Sorry blogging was so sporadic last week but apparently real life doesn't give a shit about my hobby. Rat farts!

Anyhoo, hope to be back to normal this week. If not, blame The Man...whoever that is to you.

Root for OSU, root like hell

Yes, you read the headline correctly: When it comes to the BCS title game between Tosu and LSU, Michigan fans should be pulling as much as they can for our Big 10 Buckeye brethren without triggering their gag reflex.

I know, they'll be even more insufferable than ever if they win, but the fact is, it's actually worse for Michigan if they lose.

It really is.

The Big 10 is still reeling from the losses suffered by U-M and OSU in last season's BCS games. Yeah, I know Michigan's nosedives against Appy State and Oregon didn't help, but the Big 10 had already been branded as barely a step up from a junior high touch football league as a result of the previous January's bowl games.

That's why Michigan fans, as painful as it is, should be pulling for OSU come January 7th.

And for all those folks getting ready to post their "You don't know anything about rivalries!" comments? Save it. I do. Trust me. But I also understand big picture thinking.

Look, an Ohio State loss isn't going to make Michigan better. It isn't going to suddenly erase the pain of our recent bowl stumbles and losses to the Bucks. Hell, we're going to be hearing about those November losses until we do something about them.

But a Buckeye victory - and a Michigan victory against Florida - would go a long way toward shutting up the rest of the country. Enough is enough. It's time for the Big 10 - which includes OSU - to step up and reclaim its rightful place among college football's elite.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Michigan vs. Florida: First Thoughts

Don't be fooled - there's a lot more on the line when Michigan squares off against Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators on January 1st in the Capitol One Bowl in Orlando than sending Lloyd Carr off with a victory.

Much more.

Like Ohio State's chance at redemption a few days later in the BCS title game, the game against the Gators is an opportunity for Michigan not only to salvage its 2007 season but a chance to prove that the Mighty Gators - and by extention, the SEC - aren't.

This second tier bowl featuring an unranked 8-4 Michigan squad is a statement game. Make no mistake about it.

A spanking by Florida will not only erode the perception of U-M's football fortunes in the eyes of the Maize and Blue faithful, but such a loss would go a long way in solidifying the view among college football fans around the country that Michigan, while the winningest program of all time, simply isn't among the nation's elite when talking football as it's played in 2007.

So get ready, team. Practice hard. And play like the former UT Invitation means something.

Because it does.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A final thought on Miles

If you're a regular reader, you know I was never sold on LSU's Les Miles for the Michigan head coaching job. Not at all. Frankly, I don't think he's a great coach and, as the country saw last week, there's a bluster about him that borders on bullshit.

The histrionics on display last weekend, when he "angrily" said he was staying at LSU right before the SEC championship game, was a load of crap. If Miles was so concerned about his team and such a distraction, why didn't Les call a quickie press conference the day after Lloyd retired and state unequivocally that he was staying at LSU? Would have saved poor Les a lot of stress from the bad, evil rumor people.

But he didn't. Because he was interested. He himself invited the circus and played people.

So spare us all the forced indignation, Lester.

Mitch Albom put it best in his excellent column, Les Miles was the wrong coach for a great job. Talking about the Tiger coach's press conference, Albom writes:

"Right. Stop. So long, Les. We've put up with a lot of baloney this past week in the Michigan coaching search. But getting belligerent about a process he encouraged, he invited -- and he ultimately parlayed into a jackpot? Sorry. Not swallowing that meatball."

Bingo.

But nice (over) acting job. You almost looked like you believed it because you said it really, really loud.

BCS Title Game: Ohio State vs. ???

Back to regular posting on Monday. But wanted to get something up in the wake of another weekend of college football chaos. Wow, wow, WOW!

Some people will point to what happened Saturday as exactly the reason why we need a CFB playoff. But I think such losses are a stronger argument to leave things alone.

Seriously, would any of us with a life have been watching WVU vs. 4-7 Pitt if there was a 16 team playoff? Hell no. The loss would have simply meant that instead of being a top 2 seed, the Mountaineers would be, oh, an 8 seed or so. Ho hum.

Instead, West Virginia's season came down to a 4th down call with under four minutes left. And I was glued to the set.

Same with the Oklahoma game. The entire college football loving world was also checking out that game to see if another BCS slot opened up.

Is it perfect? Hell no, as Michigan found out last year. But it sure as hell is exciting.

So who should face OSU in the title game? Personally, I'd love to see OSU play LSU and - believe it or not - I hope OSU kicks their ass. Bad. Real bad. For the Big 10...and for a couple other reasons many U-M fans can probably figure out.