Monday, January 23, 2012

Miscellaneous Minutiae, 1/23/2012

If the focus on basketball of late in this here space hasn't given you enough of a hint, it is now in fact the horrible, empty thing known as "the offseason." As such, I will try to have one newsy/links-saturated post a week. Most of the topics will be Michigan-centric, but I do plan on taking about general college football a decent bit as well. Until I think of something less lame, these types of posts will go by the above title, lifted straight from the last section of my football posts

Recruiting. National Signing Day approaches, a time of both excruciating pain and inexplicable glory for unathletic middle aged men across this great land. First, a preface: it is this blog's policy to talk about recruiting as little as possible. Having recently turned an age that would make me a year older than almost all college football athletes--minus the Weeden and Bauserman types--it hit me that the whole business is incredibly strange and definitely somewhat creepy. As far as I'm concerned, the halcyon days of my youth were the best times of my Michigan fandom; I never knew who the players were before they came in, I never knew what accolades or star-rankings they came in with, whether they were good fits for the system, had character/grade issues, and whether or not they think that NIKE Pro Combat jerseys are "sick." RoJo, the Terrelle Pryor sweepstakes, the great safety strikeout of 2010 (Knight, Parker, Dorsey), Bri'onte Dunn, and a plethora of other highly-charged stress-inducing recruiting inflection points have slowly soured me on the whole thing.

However, in this age of hyper-informed fans, it's impossible to completely ignore recruiting lest you have your fandom questioned by other Michigan Men (particularly on the cusp of NSD). My general philosophy is "trust the coaches and whatever happens, happens." It was that way when RR was still around ( and Lloyd too). I have no problem talking about where committed or officially signed/early enrolled players fit into the scheme of the next season and beyond. Even if it's impossible to tell how a player will turn out--particularly in light of the fact they will grow appreciably, mentally and physically--at least this type of talk is limited to the field. All of the aforementioned can henceforth be considered the OFFICIAL POSITION on recruiting.

With that said, the recent decommitment of long-time commit Caleb Stacey leaves a hole in Michigan's class that must be filled by another OL. As a general note, I wish him well (as all Michigan fans should), and any and all other rhetoric (e.g. "he wasn't that good anyway", "he opens up a spot for a more highly-touted recruit", "he wasn't sure if he could get playing time", etc.) is simply wrong. As one of the earliest commitments of the Brady Hoke era, it's obvious that the coaches liked him, and that's good enough for me.

However, Michigan seems to be in the discussion for a number of quality offensive lineman. Josh Garnett is one such option, and he is announcing this Thursday ($), deciding between Michigan and Stanford. This would give us a 5th OL, a position of desperate need, and one in which we can probably take one more if Garnett picks Michigan.

Mo' Money Mo' Coordinators. In Clemson's continuing effort to rain cash on coordinators, the Tigers hired Oklahoma DC Brent Venables after Bob Stoops brought brother Mike in to co-DC with Brent. This is an excellent hire for the Tigers, who now have two well-respected and well-paid coordinators in Venables and OC Chad Morris. OU did have some trouble on defense this year, particularly through the air, but a heavy slice of that blame probably goes to DB coach (and former UGA DC) Willie Martinez.

When a school like Clemson is capable and willing to pay for coordinators like they have, it makes me increasingly happy that Michigan has joined the rest of the college football landscape in this respect. No longer is Michigan paying their coordinators in Big Ten Burrito gift certificates*.

About Last Night. So, I went to bed thinking about a NATIONAL. FOOTBALL. LEAGUE. featuring one Chip Kelly and all of the hilarity that that would entail. As I watched the Giants and 49ers duke it out in a classic gritfest of offensive ineptitude, the concept of Chip Kelly in the NFL was absurd and outright hilarious, albeit incredibly interesting. And, yet, it seemed that it had all been confirmed.

Wisely, Chip checked out of that play overnight, electing to remain in Eugene and continue to operate that Death Star of an offense despite rumors of supposed NCAA violations being the incentive to get out of Dodge (and a canceled Sacramento recruiting trip looking like evidence that his departure was imminent).

As interesting as an NFL game coached by Chip Kelly might have been, we all know how that would have ended. The NFL is not a place for systems, no matter how brilliant. As such, Kelly staying is a win for college football. While I still have my doubts about Oregon actually winning a national championship (I think an Auburn team with a fairly mediocre defense might have been their best chance), at least he will continue to give us exciting football instead of having to watch him fight the derp-laden stodgy reactionism of the NFL for 2 years.

Wolverine Historian. WH with the 1998 Big Ten Tournament championship game...vacated but not forgotten.

On The Road Again. Speaking of basketball, Michigan heads to West Lafayette tomorrow night in what might be the most winnable game of this upcoming 5-game stretch. Read that sentence again. The next two weeks might not be very fun.

On the bright side, the Boilermakers did just get handled by the Spartans this past weekend, and they have looked like a shell of their former selves throughout this entire season. At this point,  I have very little faith in Michigan's ability to have success on the road, but we'll see (I think I'll have a preview at some point tomorrow). Maybe this is the game that THJ finally breaks out for good. FWIW, here's Hammer & Rails with a brief rundown of the performance in East Lansing.

Mentioning East Lansing=another excuse to post this

*Which, if they exist, would be the worst gift/form of payment ever...PANCHERO'S UBER ALLES. 

More? Lefty to interesting hire, not exactly ideal that he's attempting to replace Gus Malzahn. Virginia basketball drops one at home to Virginia Tech; that's 2 losses out of their last 3 for UVA. UMHoops with efficiency margins and a roundup of the last week in the conference. INFINITE RON SWANSON. I'll take "Headlines Connected To College Football That I Thought I'd Never See" for 1,000, Alex. 

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