Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Ohio State and Iowa, 2023

Who knows what Jim Harbaugh is up to.  After resurfacing he mostly talked about paying players.  A more distasteful, unlikely, and unwanted topic is hard to imagine.

But the team keeps winning.  Ryan Day looked really stressed, particularly in the beginning of the game.  That has to be the major motivation in winning.  These people are just too obsessed.  

What I remember most is reading 11 Warriors after the game.  I did so beforehand too and it was mostly about SCUM and cheaters.  Afterward it was no confidence and extremely critical.  "Honda" McCord is unfit and Ryan day (56-7) needs to go too.  Of course you cannot trust loudmouths and dominant characters, but very few cast a reasonable vote.  It was really curious behavior among supposed fans.

Some folks on the site did mention Ohio State playing not to lose--timidness to the point of being afraid.  That I agree with.

Overall it was a bit like Penn State in terms of, why did Ohio State lose?  In the second half they comfortably marched down the field running every play.  At other times they did it with passing (i.e., receivers) who Michigan could not stop.  Ohio State won in terms of total yards and first downs.

The loss and the Michigan win, however, was no fluke.  Michigan had the mojo--made the plays--when Ohio State did not and could not.  Those included a few big pass plays, Corum touchdowns, a couple of scrambles, a sack, and two interceptions.  Just like against Penn State, Michigan did it.  

Forget the off the field nonsense--Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State, and 12-0 is an incredible season and the best thing about it is more games.  Next up is Iowa on a cold, dark winter night.  Michigan-Ohio State will continue, but this is the last hurrah for a team like Iowa.  No longer will they cruise through a cupcake Big Ten schedule.  In the future it will truly be the two best teams in an empirically-chosen, all-inclusive way and such a lopsided game will not happen.  Iowa is going to get killed again.

It can hardly be enjoyable for Hawkeye fans.  Cade and Erick All are lucky to be sitting it out.  The Michigan defense will smother the Iowa offense: Deacon Hill was 11 for 28 and 94 yards against Nebraska and the rushing attack is not going to outrun Michigan defenders.  But Iowa has a good defense!  History, like the 2021 game, has shown Michigan's athletes will break through there too.

Time to put the distractions aside.  For Michigan and its fans the Big Ten Championship is the perfect warmup for the real test.  It is Tuesday 11//28/23.  Four more days and there probably won't be another scandal or suspension.

Enjoy it while you can.  Reading the NFL mock drafts, J.J. McCarthy is a first round pick; the rule is, if first round, you go.  There will still be experience next year, but most of the stars will be gone.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Ohio State and the Five Things

For the studious and devoted reader, I predicted an Ohio State win in a previous column.  Here are five things to make me look bad.

Michigan will win at home if one or some of the five things happen.

J.J. McCarthy is the biggest variable.  If he plays great, Michigan will win.

Next, the offensive line vs. Ohio State is a question mark.  This makes for reasons two and three as to who will win. If McCarthy is well protected as a passer Michigan may win.  If the offensive line opens holes and the running game flourishes, Michigan will win.  Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards are going to do their part regardless.

Number four is Michigan is without its head coach.  You cannot argue about any team or person who has not lost, which includes Sherrone Moore.  Can he do it?

Finally, if the Michigan defense contains Marvin Harrison, Jr. my prediction is wrong and Ohio State will lose.  

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Mayland 31-24

Jim Harbaugh is leaving his mark.  He is wearing out his welcome.  Winning in the woeful Big Ten (except Ohio State and Penn State) is not the only thing.

He doesn't explain.  He doesn't even show up for the games.  I know, he is not allowed to.  Whose fault is that?  In an age when the NCAA lacks power and investigations drag on with little or no repercussions, he has been suspended for half the season.

What has he done?  The schedule is a joke.  Recruiting is at a standstill.  Every day it is looking more likely that the season, the whole year, is nothing but foreplay.  Sure it is an easy schedule, but we're looking toward the post-season.  

I think they are going to lose to Ohio State next Saturday and the season will be over.  The luxury of an extra Big Ten game will be gone as will the added game(s) and prestige of being one of the four best.  There will be no more news and expectations.  There will be a bowl and announcements about who will or won't participate and who is going to transfer.  Attention will return to the declining  recruiting class rankings.  Who even knows anymore when the portal becomes active again at it may even be year-round.

There will be rumors or news either way of whether Harbaugh will stay or go, extension or nothing at all.  My guess is the NFL attention was already waning and events this season cannot help.  My attention, and I won't be the only one, will be nonexistent.  It really seems most of the Michigan attention these days is negative; some of it is aggressively negative..  Fans complaining about the suspension(s) only make it worse.

Ah, but he didn't know.  He doesn't know.  What, exactly, does he know?

It is not until a Big Ten or NCAA investigation that anything is revealed. 

Even the coaches on the other side--Josh Gattis--are sleazy ex-Michigan assistants.  Tell us, Mr. Harbaugh, what is the problem?  Why are FBI agents at your co-offensive coordinator's home?  You hired Chris Partridge twice, why does he have such a problem with rules and investigations?  You are Connor Stalions boss and hired him, why, why, why?  It sure seems like a lot of people on your gigantic staff are in trouble or do dumb things...  Sherrone Moore, I am not sure you are being put in a position to succeed nor are you ready to be head coach.  For those who do not know, big-time college coaches, football and basketball, are despots and egotists.  They have huge salaries, budgets, and power.  Now Jim Harbaugh is even making the school's president and athletic director look bad for defending him.

Today, Sunday Nov. 19, Michigan is a 4-point favorite against Ohio State.  That is equal or less than the home field advantage.  I think, Ohio State will be better prepared and focused.  That is because, watch and read above.

After the jump, the Maryland game.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Spygate and Penn State Part 3


A promise is a promise.  I'm reminded of this:


Mr. Rym, I'll start with you.  The name escapes me--at one point he volunteered as a source for Michigan's vehemence.  Today Harbaugh the University/legal geniuses surrendered.  There was no explanation; it was complete capitulation.

On the face of it, Mr. Rym is wrong.  Per something on ESPN the gist was "a motion asking for an emergency temporary restraining order along with a breach of contract complaint."  I learned something--a preliminary injuntion is even more absurd in that it, the awful suspension, hasn't even started yet.  Breach of contract--and an emergency?  Michigan wasted a lot of money and it and they look foolish at this point too.

I thought it was weird right from the start.  Who sends a letter before a meeting (Ono)?  The Michigan legislature should have better things to do.  The facts were clear (idiot Stalions) and Michigan didn't deny it.  Even their high-priced rebuttal and court action were terrible.  

The sportsmanship policy has teeth and the commissioner has the power.  It is similar to what used to be said of the MLB commissioner--virtually unlimited power for the good of the game.  I thought it was refreshing to see a quick investigation and punishment.  That will put the fury of the league and ultimate question--did Michigan get where they are because of the signs--to rest.  For Jim Harbaugh it comes with the territory and role and an in-game suspension only is pretty harmless anyway.

The other link sticks in my mind.  It is a failed, inappropriate conspiracy by lawyers.  Sam Bankman-Fried's parents...  More lawyers run amok.  Perhaps I'll write more and finish this another time. 

Update as Mr. Rym is at it again.  Still.  He had an amicus brief ready to go with 1,700 signatures..  But he is going to keep courting the media and fighting.   My guess the plaintiffs realized there was a very good chance the judge would say What?  You're wasting my time with this!  And, Mr. Rym, your amicus brief is probably the worst, dumbest, most contemptuous thing I have seen in (fill in years) on the bench!

There are follow-up posts on Mgoblog and he just won't let go.  It does no good to drag his firm's name into it.  I can only imagine hiring a lawyer in a time of need who will stand before a judge and say, "But judge, they violated Rule 32. of the handbook!"  Maybe the term is rulebook; at least I didn't write codebook.  I'm dubious of even calling it a contract, and exactly who, and how were they, damaged?  

I would expect Michigan athletics could receive better counsel in-house--from someone employed by the school.  Maybe they did, and that is why they went to a costly outside firm.

It is just a really bad time when the lawyers, who are supposed to be responsible counselors above all, make things worse.

Maryland should be fun because as with everyone on the schedule, Michigan is always the opponent's biggest game of the season, and this one's at home.  They fell all the way to 6-4, but that is better than most in the Big Ten.

Then, OMG, the potty-mouthed, very emotional former offensive coordinator will be coaching at home against Ohio State.  It will likely be 11-0 vs. 11-0.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Penn State Aftermath

The question is why did Michigan win or more precisely, why did Penn State lose?

But first the obligatory Jim Harbaugh comments.  I still have one more document to read:  the diary by the Michigander/Santa Monica lawyer.  The argument for a them against us conspiracy, with respect to Spygate only, is a strong one, i.e., theirs too is unsportsmanlike, plus collusion and conspiracy.  That's the downside of being the champion.  And it is a byproduct of Harbaugh and Michigan people rubbing people the wrong way.  The argument is procedural at best.  It is not about us vs. them when you break the rules.

It is not and was not so bad for Michigan with Harbaugh partying seven miles away (and on video) with his entourage.  You got caught.  Hopefully, serve your penalty.  Much more importantly, own up to it.

As for the game, it was an unusual one.  Michigan football carried its audacious attitude into it in a show of bush-league coaching.  Penn State, they are so talented, how did they lose at home to a team undergoing all that?

Blake Corum is healthy and back and that is the main reason Michigan won.  Sprinkle in other running--Donovan Edwards and J.J. McCarthy--and Michigan's running attack was awesome.  Defensively they were good enough to stop two outstanding running backs and harass non-freshman Drew Allar enough to make him look awful.

Allar isn't that terrible, and he may even turn out to be very good.  The Penn State defense was so good against passing Michigan smartly avoided it entirely.  This killed Penn State's speed and secondary too.  Harbaugh of course set it; it was a brilliant execution of strategy.  Like a basketball team, Michigan can play it different ways and adapt given their depth and that is why they are so good.

The first big reason Penn State lost is the failure of Allar.  Penn State didn't put him in a position to win and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich was fired soon after the game.  Many of his passes were not close and Allar fumbled too.  Allar is known as a strong-armed passer and not a runner and Penn State has two top backs anyway.

The other reason Penn State lost is James Franklin just can't do it.  His long-term record against top teams and in big games is atrocious.  In this game a trick pass play to Allar and a risky-against-getting-clobbered run by the qb right up the middle for a touchdown worked for the head coach.  Aside from that, what can you say?  His calls and coaching didn't win the game.  Once again a really talented Penn State team lost to Ohio State (by 8) and Michigan (by 9) in similar games.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Penn State Prelude 2023



In a statement released Friday afternoon, the league said it has found U-M in violation of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Policy "for conducting an impermissible, in-person scouting operation over multiple years, resulting in an unfair competitive advantage that compromised the integrity of competition."


Jim Harbaugh has found (and earned) a cushy existence.  I don't know all the perks of course, but he earns about $10 million a year now and made tens or hundreds more before that.  These suspensions are really goofy--earlier this season he missed one-fourth of the schedule, but only for games.  Now he is seemingly suspended for threee more, which makes for half the season.  The season is only about three months or a fourth of the year anyway.  

Obviously it is longer than that with training, practices, recruiting, and all the other functions.  Harbaugh has an enormous staff and budget for that.  Still, it all hinges on him, his leadership, experience, expertise, network, and all that goes with it.

Will he and they damage that?  As noted, he is already comfortable and situated in his life.  Think about Sam Bankman-Fried and risk.  What are he and they risking?  Perhaps it includes bad blood from the season-beginning suspension and everything before that.   

He and they are taking that risk.  They all feel it is worth the smaller downside.

They know fully they are the "big boys" in any fight.  They are Michigan, the biggest game on everyone's schedule.  They provide the ratings.  More to the point, they know everyone is gunning for them, especially when they are good on the football field.

Even realizing that, they feel a legal fight is something they should or have to do.  It goes all the way up to the president and the board.

Read the first paragraph of this column.  These are serious infractions.

It is 7AM Mountain Daylight time in Colorado.  The Penn State game starts in three hours.  You know, it doesn't matter much for the game.  It is more or less a figurehead, symbolic penalty anyway.  Jesse Minter and Sherrone Moore are capable of running the team and they have done it before.  The actual players in the game have done it before too.

One thing, before I close.  Connor Stallions is an idiot of epic proportions.  Michigan should sue him instead of the Big Ten.

Everyone is expendable.  The game stars in 2 1/2 hours.

Friday, October 20, 2023


Well, Jim, they are starting to pile up.

This guy Connor Stalions is a self-confessed Michigan football and warfare fanatic.  He has volunteered for different positions and traveled around at his own expense.  He is a "low-level" staffer in reports.  No age is mentioned; I assume he is at least a generation behind me and tech savvy.  They (the NCAA and probably others too) are asking for his computer because he and they are accused of going too far in their competitive analyses.

Harbaugh has said he doesn't know anything about it.  Once again, that is not an answer and it is not relevant either because he is required to know and he is responsible either way.

I can't really call myself a fan of Michigan sports anymore, I'm just a watcher.  They are all so totally void of caring about anyone else but themselves that they are an embarrassment.  I am writing specifically about coach Harbaugh and AD Manuel.  They keep getting themselves into these messes and you'd think by now they would know how to get out of them.  Their continued lies and cover-ups are a disgrace.

Anyone who doesn't care or notice because they are undefeated and #2 is blind.  Sorry, that is disparaging to people who actually have lost their eyesight.  

At least get the message right.  The suspensions--suspensions!--of the head coach and at least one top staffer still have not been addressed.  Current news says they are still being investigated by the NCAA.  The beginning of this year (1/20/23) Michigan fired co-offensive director Matt Weiss for what appear to be similar, electronic spying, offenses.  

The football season is barely eight weeks in--two-thirds over.  I don't even care about the specifics.  Can you do anything without an incident, scandal, or lie?

First you ruined the start of the season.  Now you did it during Michigan State week.  And in between was the Shemy Schembechler affair.


Sunday, October 15, 2023

Michigan 52 Indiana 14

 I did extensive research for this column by Googling "Indiana coach."  Mike Woodson is 65.  Recently Indiana basketball has had a few high draft picks and big recruits but the team has been a disappointment. But Woodson has been better than Juwan Howard.

Michigan only has one big-time sport because Howard has been such an embarrassment as well as a disappointment. 

I like Tom Allen.  He is smiling in his picture.  Maranatha Baptist University.  He makes $4.9 million.  Granted, I don't have to work with or play for him, but I like his optimism and communications skills.

First, the game.

Indiana won the first quarter.  That says something, but it didn't matter in terms of the outcome or the rest of the game.

Second, the accolades about J.J. McCarthy and the offense are overblown.  While he is excellent--almost certainly one of Michigan's best or most productive since Henne, Rudock (overall offense), or Denard.  It is also true that when McCarthy improvises it usually works.  Still, he does get sacked, fumbles, and is intercepted in some fairly stupid plays.  To me he is the biggest big-game question mark.  If he is off or rattled, and Blake Corum and the running game is stopped, Michigan will be in trouble.

Aside from the explosive offensive players, Michigan's biggest strength is it's defensive line.  Six to seven strong they offer run stoppers, rushers, strength, speed, and endurance.  Against Indiana's redshirt freshman quarterbacks they were a constant threat.  And they stopped the running game.

Fourth, Indiana is not very good.  In Big Ten power rankings they have been at or near the bottom all year.  I don't know if Jack Tuttle acted like a Cade or not (transfer in the middle of the season) but he and A.J. Barner are valuable additions at Michigan.  I cannot recall any real stars on the team.  In the age of a market economy and transfers Indiana is not getting the players.

Finally, this Michigan football team is remarkable.  They stand out; they look different than any team I can remember.  

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Minnesota Week

I should have been a criminal lawyer, except that I don't like crooks.  

My education used to lean more toward psychology but now it is closer to law.  When I see something rotten I usually start with criminal law.  It is documented and it stems from mens rea or intent.  You can't really be jailed for being dumb or making a legitimate mistake.  You certainly cannot be convicted if a disability caused the incident, or if you acted lawfully or correctly.  The prosecutor has to show you did it with intent.

An allocution, a confession or admission, may be considered the solution to the criminally-illegal act.  In psychology it is the admission, the acknowledgement, and the coming to grips that leads to healing.

Today I was trying to read real news on washingtonpost.com; more like, instead of watching videos I wanted to learn something and preferred to read.  I even logged-in to my old account.  Scrolling down the page for more I learned Pat Fitzgerald is suing for a huge amount.  At least in terms of the football team and program, when they're gone they're gone.

Personally, I always thought Pat Fitzgerald was an average coach and a weird guy, sort of like PJ Fleck.

Quick Google search:  how did Hugh Freeze leave Mississippi State?  He resigned.  As I recall, he admitted, and now he's back in good graces as the head coach at Auburn.  Typically, when you resign you have either agreed to something or you now agree to go away.

Same goes for Mel Tucker.  Please recognize the destruction you have caused.

For Pat Fitzgerald, the memory becomes fuzzy or opinionated.  There was enough.  There was enough there to embarrass a university paying millions of dollars.  The best thing for everyone is to take your lumps and move on.  And it doesn't have to be about criminal or even civil guilt.

I think Minnesota is going to lose big this week.  It'll be pretty and well-attended in cold Minnesota.  It will not be a close game--like Nebraska and Rutgers, get used to your place in the new Big Ten.  The best of the West is coming.

MIchigan 45 Nebraska 7

This was written days ago and not published until days later.  Never delete, I write.  I had to remind myself I do not want to write about the football team, I mean, the players.  Deep down, I don't think it is the right thing to do with your life, your career, your college opportunity, and your health.

This game, Nebraska, is still worth remembering.  It is an example of the Big Ten as a few strong programs, with more to be added, and all the rest in a league of their own.  It is hard to comprehend why anyone would "play" a sport like major college football if they don't want to be, or never will be, or cannot be, for a myriad of other reasons, a champion.  Aside from Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State the only other Big Ten team with chance to be better than average is Maryland.

Most importantly, this game shows the Michigan difference.  The game was widely publicized as the biggest game of the season for not-yet rebuilding Nebraska team.  It is going to happen again this week in Minneapolis--the place will be rocking, everyone will be optimistic, and it is in prime time with a huge Michigan audience.  If the Golden Gophers win they'll be famous.  Maybe they're calling it their biggest game of the season too.


NFL-video is the site and these 100 minutes are precious.  It is nearly impossible to watch them live because of the ads, programming, and studio shows.  And you cannot tell until you watch the whole game, with replays and tolerable if not better announcing.

Finally, nearly halfway through the season, the season and the landscape are taking shape.  Remember, the thirteenth game is a bonus, as is anything beyond that.  There are only 7 games left.

Them guys ain't dumb, as the old Dire Straits goes, I can hardly wait for next year.

Everyone, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and undefeated Maryland plays the same ridiculous schedule against themselves, the East bottom-feeders, and the West.  It is not yet apparent if Maryland will survive; last year they were pretty darn competitive against OSU, whom they play next Saturday.  Penn State could absolutely be the real deal.

Michigan sits in the catbird seat by virtue of the fact that they have stayed the same or improved over last year.  Players at this stage or age get better, and Corum, Edwards, McCarthy, Wilson, Keegan, Zinter,Jenkins, Grant, Graham, Colson, Barrett, Johnson, Moore, Sainristil, and Paige were all starters/stars last year.  Several Michigan players from last year--Barnhart, McGregor, Loveland, etc. have virtually reached this stage as have transfers Nugent, Henderson, Stewart, Hausmann, and Wallace.  The kicking game has been solid.  Now, finally, we are seeing new or old/new names emerge as part of this year's team:  Semaj Morgan, JD Barner, Derrick Moore, Quinten Johnson, Fredrick Moore, and QBs Tuttle and Denegal.  I have failed to mention quite a few names, of course.  These players know the limelight and their role.  It is impossible to predict who will stay or go.  For the next seven games there is depth behind the many stars.

One thing that needs to change is Nebraska talking or thinking about the Big 8, past days, and a return to glory.  The stats don't show it--Nebraska had two or three big plays amounting to nothing.  Many predictions suggested Nebraska has settled and improved under Matt Rhule; they have a top running defense; and to bet against Michigan and the spread.  The stadium was beautiful and all red.  It is possible Rhule will succeed but it may be just as likely he will fail.  Michigan destroyed Nebraska.

Add Washington, Oregon, and USC.  The Big Ten is going to be an upper division and a lower division. 

Sunday, September 10, 2023

The Fall of Mel Tucker

Update Saturday 9/30/23 12:43 Mtn

Waiting for the Nebraska game.  The Fall colors are amazing.  But I wouldn't want to travel through--doesn't google the distance--miles of wind and dust just to go there.

We had to wait a short while for the story of Mel Tucker to conclude.  It went very fast for these things--we're going to fire you, I claim this and that as a defense, and you're fired anyway.

For those who are arguably not as old as I am nor as proficient a typist, this is the decade-and-still-going of empowerment.  Who the hell is Brenda Tracy?  She is someone who brought down Mel Tucker all by her lonesome.  Hers is an unusual route to such heights but that is exactly the point:  anyone can do it and for any reason.  She may be the most successful rape victim protagonist in college football history, and what that means for her future is anyone's guess.

We may never have to deal with the question of who is in Mel Tucker's coaching tree.  His resume of a year or two at college and pro levels, and with pedigreed names, is meaningless because if he survives in football it will be as starting over.

He leaves Michigan State with an overall win.  They are rid of him quickly and at a reduced cost.  Most of the noise about how the administration covered it up and it is the same old same old is just that.

MSU holds the high ground in what is left.  This is what contracts are for.  They are defending whoever or what authority did the smart for the short- and long term-thing.

All that is left is Tucker and his money-grubbing lawyers.  They are all whores. 




This is an enlightening crafting of Brenda Tracy's story.  It is uplifting in that she seems to have found solutions to her problems and purpose in her life.  These include her work, her therapy, her communicativeness, and her realizations about herself.  These are of course work-arounds and the self esteem problems are still there.

There are people who just won't read it.  For others maybe it will be a light skim--it is long and not always pleasant--and support for beliefs they have about just about anything conceivable.  

For me and even more of us, it is a difficult read or listen and that is exactly Ms. Tracy's point.  She also has learned it is a story that can get through noise and clutter because it is comes from a real person.  

Something still bothers me--she told Mel Tucker she wanted a boyfriend to pay her?  She is still consorting with the likes of Mel Tucker.  I have concerns or questions.  What is her motive?  She put herself on that 36-minute call.  All for an annual speaking gig?

For Mel Tucker it is clear his future at Michigan State University is over.  He has already shown a tendency to fight and prolong and that will just make it worse.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

M in 2023

It is starting--Navy at #13 Notre Dame.  Quick!  What conference is Notre Dame in?

God, what a disaster.  It could hardly get any worse.

Washington, Oregon, Southern Cal, and UCLA. are all exciting football teams that are likely to stay that way.  Michigan always could have played them if they were willing to give away their their cupcake, revenue-producing, cinch starts to every season.  Now even the rest of the schedule doesn't matter much.  Yes it will be nice to get rid of Rutgers, Indiana, and Maryland all the time and not to have the likes of Nebraska, Purdue, Minnesota, etc. as replacements.  Wisconsin and Iowa are pretty much off the schedule.  Uh oh, who is left in the former B1G West?  Maybe it isn't such a bad thing schedule-wise.  

But they're still going to have those dumb out of conference games, and now far less incentive and opportunity to schedule big "out of region" games.  There is no region.  Inter-conference isn't needed because everyone is in the playoff anyway.

Back to Michigan, the schedule is, who cares?  It is all just, what's the word... foreplay.

Seriously, there is nothing until Ohio State.  Who ever heard of a season where it doesn't matter if the coach is suspended?  It is a horrible shame because they are going to have a great team.

Long ago I wrote Blake Corum is a tough guy to like and I could not have been more wrong.  I did it because he seemed to, when he scored touchdowns (which he does often) he seemed (past tense) to shun teammates for fan adulation.  That--high-fiving the fans--doesn't make sense as a criticism either.  Anyway, he is completely the opposite.  His quote, an audacity, in claiming he "Thought Tuck was coming" is a classic.  Then, while there is a little chance that his injury could linger, he came back.  If he wasn't there, Donovan Edwards would be an even bigger star.  But Blake Corum is back, and he is one of the best, all-around, ever.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Immovable Man

Juwan Howard.

Illinois is coming up in basketball.  It is probably the biggest event in Michigan (men's) sports since the football team pooped-out.  I am anxious to see the outcome.  I may even watch.

A while back I tuned in for 20 minutes of the Wisconsin game.  I was aware that they had won some improbable games--I watched the boxscores.  Then I watched the second half.

Will Tshetter is terrible, you can see it in the stats and the game.  Joey Baker, generally speaking, same goes.  Jace Howard is aware and can spell a guy, but his minutes or contributions have never increased.  Terrance Williams, he too was better as a 5-minute guy off the bench.  Tarris Reed, he of recent fame, looked awfully slugish and immobile to me.

Michigan won the game on a lucky play.  Wisconsin is nothing to write home about.  Still, Michigan could have won in regulation and did win in overtime with three players.

Hunter Dickinson has been the go-to guy since he arrived.  Last season was depressing all-around.  Michigan basketball is going to be lost next year without Dickinson regardless how many freshman or transfers they bring in.

Dug McDaniel--this was my first look and I'm a big fan of top of mind reactions--is capable and much needed as a ballhandler.  Against Wisconsin he had zero assists and rebounds.  He has some hot dog.  He is lucky to be in the spotlight and playing big minutes.  He is young and inexperienced but overall, is is doing okay in an important role.

Last of the three players, in no particular order, is Kobe Bufkin.  Someone has to shoot when Dickinson is triple covered.  Like I say, first impressions--when I turned on the game Bufkin was diving for a ball, a player, and the floor for no particular reason.  He takes a lot of bad and very quick shots. Quick checks boxscore again--he had some rebounds, assists, and steals against Wisconsin.  I think he is a very good all-around player, but this is just his first year of extensive minutes.  Like McDaniel, there is no evidence yet he can handle different teams, defenses, and all the rest that goes with playing in the NCAA tournament.

Dickinson is simple.  Don't even mention being confined or limited, he has improved everything from his motivation to game.

There you go.  That is the Michigan basketball team in 300 words or less.  They still play hard and win.  Now they are in second place in the Big Ten and with a strong finish against Illinois and Indiana...  They could win a couple games in the tournament (and in the Big Ten tournament).

Sorry, then there is more of the Howard family, Jett.  Right.  Good call. A real memorable addition to Michigan basketball lore.  Everything I have read is that he is going to be a NBA lottery pick or at least a first-rounder; when that happens, you go.  I can't even remember the names of the two from last year.  Everything else I have read about Jett Howard is that they run a lot of plays for him and he is a capable scorer while the rest of his game, especially defense, is terrible.  I cannot write positive things until I see them.  The team has had their biggest wins, including Michigan State (he played, injured, 23 minutes), without him.  He was 1/7 3-point shooting. 

Illinois is apparently without their point guard.  They are 4.5 point favorites.  I saw an unusually confident preview:  bet the under, it is going to be a slow, grinding game.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Weiss and others

"Matt Weiss already exists.  Do you want to overwrite it?"

It is not worth doing again or even finding the image.  But co-offensive coordinator Matt Weiss, he of the $850,000 salary, is gone.  It was one of those things--you don't get two weeks notice, severance, or even a lot of (unsupervised) time to clean out your office.  "For cause" will forever hang over it.

In the image, he appears disheveled, unshaven, and lacking sleep.  They think you are smarter if you look like that.  Plus, it makes it look like the job is almost impossible to perform and it requires 20 hours a day 24/7.  Only the best and the brightest can do it with that kind of stress and work load.

The position could otherwise be described as a cakewalk.  "Catch the ball and run" might be the extent of the required verbal skills.  Despite all the hiring and firing news, it is not a meritocracy; instead it is all about fitting-in, following instructions, and getting along.  How else could the same person be brilliant one year and effete or incompetent the next?  But of course all the uprooting, moves, and family tension has to be worth it.  Just don't mention that word...  It is not inconsequential!

Entitlement is the word, not empowerment.  It comes with a fat head. The facts are not clear because Harbaugh and Manuel haven't said a thing. I am trying to cure the addiction of following stuff like this, but at least I can claim it purely as a non-vocational diversion.  I do not get paid.  It is a way to relax.  Probably is is also a continuing effort to rationalize why I never liked the place anyway.

Weiss was accused of unauthorized computer access and breaking the university/employee agreement, code, or online user agreement.  Per journalists and gossip, an IT employee reported it.  The breaches occurred more than once and over several days.  They were tracked to Schembechler Hall and Weiss.

I infer it was a university system as campus police responded to Weiss's home.  I also assume no serious harm was done because nothing else legal occurred.  It appears it was intentional and proven.

How stupid is that?


Thursday, January 12, 2023

Harbaugh and Manuel

You can go through the posts here if you are either suicidal or really bored.  They point to Jim Harbaugh as difficult to understand.  

In retrospect, the only times he has been really annoying is when he doesn't say anything or explain or when he is portrayed as something somewhere that is untrue or only partially true.

A quick Google search of "former michigan mississippi" leads to Chris Partridge, Matt Dudek, Devin Bush, Sr. and others.  Josh Gattis, also, has not proven to be a loss for Michigan and Miami has yet to prove anything resembling a turnaround.

Those schools that have seemingly come out of nowhere include TCU, Kansas State, Florida State, Washington, Oregon State and others.  And Michigan can be added to that list.  Three, four, five years ago there was no indication Michigan would win the Big Ten, get to the CFP, and win against Ohio State and Michigan State.

If Harbaugh was similar to the individually-created, now despicable former Prince Harry he would go on every talk show, write management or self-help books like Jim Tressel, or smash motorcycles with slut staff to prove himself.  Or, like Nick Saban, what is it, insurance commercials?

Thankfully, he doesn't do any of that.  It just isn't him.

Remember when he first started as Michigan coach, all the things he was involved in.  First, there were the camps, tryout, expos, or whatever they were called.  They were harmless and completely voluntary.  Who would have known that would be controversial in any way?  There were some other fights or issues too, maybe with the school or NCAA.  I don't remember--he was jetting off with the likes of Hillary Clinton and he was sticking his nose in things and getting a lot of attention.

That all changed or stopped. 

Then, the seasons went well but they always finished poorly.  Call it the Karon Higdon syndrome.

Concentrate on football.  13-0.  Throughout, Jim Harbaugh has been the one constant.

Michigan football has weathered the NIL, transfer, crime-probe environment pretty well and better than most.  How is Texas A&M doing on the field?  Transfers come and go for a while or a bit longer; Cade McNamara and Erick All turned into distractions.  Transfers out are overwhelmingly players who can't crack the lineup or for whom it is time to move on.  Harbaugh--a lot of contacts--and staff have found ways to plug holes and deal with the university.  Aside from the one psycho linebacker several years ago, Michigan football has been criminal and major-distraction free.

Blake Corum, probably Michigan's most dangerous player since Denard, is coming back.  Last year too, there have been quite a few rational, best-for-the-long-term decisions.  Everyone cannot play at once; player development is working.  There is relatively little disharmony.

The other day I read a comment somewhere that the only thing Warde Manuel has done right is hire Juwan Howard.  The Michigan football team is doing a whole lot better than the basketball team and it doesn't have a team comprised of family, BLM patches, a violent coach, or players who don't give a sh*t about...

That's the thing.  The Michigan football brand is complex.  It was way too much for, you know the former athletic director's name.  Every opposing coach says it:  "They're Michigan."  

It is kind of like, either you understand and you are in, or you are not.  Either that amorphous thing draws you to it or it does not.  And when it doesn't, it is a great new world with plenty of options.

FWIW, Harbaugh is less crotchety than Lloyd Carr, who wanted to leave and couldn't/didn't.  Overall, he is the best coach and Michigan representative since Bo Schembechler.


My $.02.  

I don't think there is any question that being an NFL coach is rosier--private practice complex, first class everything and, like college, complete control.  In the NFL the only one(s) you have to please are the owner(s).  Huge dollars but likely only a few years.  We have all been there:  sometimes it is hard to get it out of your head.

Those following this second NFL courting have speculated, or proven, that it is more or less a ploy.  That is in theory because all the news is rumor or tidbits anyway.  

Harbaugh:  'I've someone gives me the keys and the bucks, I'm gone.'

Why not?  Who wouldn't.