Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Miscellaneous Minutiae, 2/7/2012

First, A Sad Note: Maybe I missed this, but I haven't really seen any discussion of this around the Michigan corner of the Internet (it's possible I missed it). Junior Hemingway's home was burglarized Friday morning, and among the lost items lost are jerseys and bowl rings from Junior's time at Michigan. It's simply bizarre that somebody is currently running around with things that took a lifetime of hard work for somebody to acquire.


A month ago, Junior was crying at the podium. Little bits of colored paper fell. It was the perfect ending to a 5-year journey, the type of storybook ending so purely good that it escapes even cynical accusations of melodrama. Last Friday served as a reminder that this is still a world where bad things happen: randomly, inconveniently, senselessly.

I don't want to get into the psychology of theft (there might not even be any "psychology" beyond "this is a thing I can steal and turn into money"), but the most absurd part of the whole thing is that the thief left the Sugar Bowl MVP trophy, which was lying on the coffee table, unobscured and prone.

Less Saddening News: Michigan gained its third commitment of the new recruiting cycle in the form of Detroit Crockett TE Khalid Hill. He is yet to be ranked by any of the three main recruiting services, but, he is coming to us from the same high school that Brandon Graham did, so that's nice.

"How am I supposed to determine how happy or sad I should be without STARS, guys? I mean, as far as I'm concerned he might as well not even be a real person without a star ranking. HOW DO WE EVEN KNOW HE EXISTS?"-People who follow recruiting

So, yes, a tight end. Who knows how good he will be, but at minimum this commitment partially fills a position of need that will actually become important going forward. TOUGHNESS. TREMENDOUS. TIGHT ENDS. This is Ann Arbor, and this is what we (now) do.

Meanwhile, In Iowa: Kirk Ferentz is likely nervously chewing the heck out of some gum somewhere as he sits in his office, hiding under his desk while trying to determine how he will remedy the whole "not having coordinators" situation. Former Michigan assistant Soup Campbell is a name being thrown around for the OC position, but the buzz around the DC spot is more interesting in that one Jim Herrmann is being mentioned. Yes, that Jim Herrmann. Could you imagine a more Kirk Ferentz thing to do than this? Ferentz would covet somebody that was last considered a good thing in 1997. Kirk Ferentz is the Des Moines of football coaches.

I can see it now. The scene: Iowa City, some fall Saturday in 2012. Iowa leads late in the game but has just elected to punt from its opponent's 34. Ferentz furiously chews the same piece of sugarless gum he's been chewing since 1999, the mustachioed Herrmann standing next to him. He rushes 3 time after time, cordially conceding--nay, aggressively allowing--yardage to be gained, points to be scored, and the happiness of all that are present. End scene.

I have a feeling that this is just too perfect to be true; therefore, it won't happen. From a more general, conference-wide perspective, this would be another development on "the Big Ten is slowly reverting to the 1970s order of things" front (i.e. as top-heavy as Dwight Howard). With PSU and Iowa seemingly headed for tough times, Wisconsin's unimpressive recruiting haul despite going to two straight Rose Bowls, and the rest of the conference, save MSU, being generally mediocre...I have a feeling there might a much larger percentage of fairly uninteresting conference games the next few years or so.

Things That Are Surprising: The stodgy Big Ten might, just might, be leading the charge of change (emphasis is Hinton's):
Sources told the Tribune that a Big Ten plan would remove the top four teams from the BCS bowl pool and have semifinal games played on the college campus of the higher seed.That would do away with the facade of "neutral" sites such as New Orleans, Miami and Pasadena, Calif., and ease travel concern for fans.
Of course, these are "words, words, mere words," as some really emo guy once said. The whole "SEC/PAC 12 teams coming to the Midwest in December" thing is particularly appealing. Of course, the SEC contingent will protest this indignity. Whenever this scenario comes up I recall the Miami Hurricanes players bundled up like they were playing on Hoth for the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl against Wisconsin, which was played in...49-degree Orlando. Good times. I generally avoid the comment sections of articles on big sites like Yahoo, but I couldn't help myself here. A couple were essentially equivalent to "PAWWWLLLLLL THEM YANKEES ARE SO DUMB THEY AIN'T GOT THAT DOME TECHNOLOGY LIKE WE DO."

Whether it's 4 teams or 8 or 16, there will always be somebody with a grievance to air. I'm of the opinion that any playoff that allows any more than 8 teams to compete for the title would be excessive. You can't please everybody, but I think everybody can agree that there needs to be something different than what is currently in place. That consensus needs to be reached amongst the People In Charge, so it's nice that Delany of all people is the one saying this. Again, though...words. A little less conversation, a little more action please.

Things That Are Not Surprising: The almighty dollar ruling the day vis-a-vis college football affairs
The move would essentially prohibit schools from scheduling games like last season's LSU-Oregon matchup at Cowboy Stadium in Dallas. Cases such as the upcoming USC-Syracuse game on September 8, 2012 at Met Life Stadium would be permissible because they are the Pac-12 team's away game in a home-and-home series while matchups like the UCLA-Texas game in 2014 would no longer be allowed unless the Longhorns agreed to come to Los Angeles.
Larry Scott is undoubtedly sliding down a water slide made of gold bullion into a pool of hundred dollar bills, and good for him and the PAC 12. However, anything that eliminates the possibility and/or feasibility of new, exciting non-conference matchups is a net negative. I know that Larry Scott has to look out for his conference's coffers, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

You know, it's times like these that I actually sort of miss the Bowl Alliance days. Teams weren't afraid to go play other teams outside of their respective regions, bowls games were yet untainted by the plague of awkward sponsorships, and the system itself: a) wasn't even a "system" and b) didn't even pretend to provide a definitive and coherent end to a college football season. Unlike the BCS, at least it was an ethos.

More? Jon Merrill "eludes description"...as awesome as last season's turnaround was, this year's has been equally impressive and then some. Michigan gets OL prospect Dan Gibbs as a preferred walk-on; at 6'7'' 315 pounds, "Brobdingnagian" is probably the only adjective ridiculous enough to describe him. The "Do Your Job" slogan has apparently applied to everyone but Head Coach Bill O'Brien for the last month. The least surprising thing ever: John Calipari likes Nick Saban and Alabama football.

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