Thursday, March 8, 2012

Miscellaneous Minutiae, 3/8/2012

Things We Coulda Done: Our very own offensive coordinator appeared on the Huge Show, and although generic sports talk aspersions apply vis-a-vis Huge, this interview, and sports talk radio in general, there is one quote that, in this bleak stretch of the offseason, can be considered at least moderately interesting. When asked about whether or not there was anything that he would have possibly done differently:
Well I think from a schematic perspective we probably--you know early on we were still kinda testing the waters with how much under center play we would have and we knew that we wanted to do some of that because we wanted to feature some of our tailbacks a little more and take a little pressure off Denard...and I think that had we to do it over again we would've been a little more spread offense early on and gotten better at that.
He goes on to expand on that, using the appropriate word "weaning" to describe the process of slowly filtering out the I-form/under center/non-spread part of the offense in favor of the spread that Michigan had begun to perfect with Denard under RR. The point itself isn't necessarily that interesting but it is kind of cool to hear Al (or any coordinator at a high profile program) say that sort of thing out loud. The coaching business is one in which mistakes--or even talk/intimation of mistakes having been made at some point--are anathema, and so it's refreshing to see that he is humble enough to admit that he would've have even done anything differently at all.

Who knows what would have happened had Michigan not spent the first three quarters of the Notre Dame game uselessly plugging away under center. In an alternate universe where Michigan decided to spread 'n shred all game, that game likely doesn't turn out to be the exercise in coronary-inducing horribawesomeness that it was. Clearly, Borges realized that a combination of 75% derp, 25% DENARD is the perfect mixture if you want to produce a game for the ages; he is obviously some sort of alchemist and/or sorcerer. Don't ask him about bubble screens, though, because that stuff's basically his hemlock.

Also, in case you were wondering and didn't feel like listening till the end, there are not "Brady's Bunch" signs anywhere in the hallways of the Michigan coaching offices. So, there's that.

Dolla Dolla Bills Y'all: Are you a person with not very much money? Would you like to have more money? Well, you're in luck! As part of a 6-day "executive education program,"Dave Brandon, Brady Hoke, and John Beilein--and others, including softball coach Carol Hutchins--will be disseminating their leadership experience to the great unwashed masses. Perhaps after consuming the boundless business acumen of these figures, forged in the competitive fires of modern collegiate athletics, you can have more money than you currently have. Profit! Unfortunately for you, person with no money, this program will set you back approximately $15,000. Oh, there's always a catch.

This will of course spark the usual "DAVE BRANDON IS AN EVIL BUSINESSMAN ARGHHFHF" yelling match across the Michigan Internet, which is an argument that I am generally not too concerned with. It's not that that I don't care or think that everything Dave Brandon does is in the best interest of the maize and blue rather the green, it's that the only salient point here, in my opinion, is what Brady Hoke will say during said program. My idealistic expectations for what a Brady Hoke-led seminar on business and/or "how to get paid, son" does not include bland power point presentations, corporate buzzwords like synergy and leverage (although leverage may pop up under a very different context*), or other such empty theatrics. No, Brady Hoke's presentation would simply be him calling up each member of the audience, lining up before them and yelling "Set...HIT." Over and over again. That, and a brief message on the importance of brand marketing:


Third Time's a Charm...OR IS IT?: As Big Ten tourney time is upon us, I got to thinking about Michigan's potential opponents in the quarterfinal round. Most would agree that Northwestern would be somewhat of a nightmare of a matchup, given the closeness of the two regular season contests and the Wildcats' unique offensive stylings. I feel confident enough in saying that the Wildcats will win, meaning that we will end up facing them for the dreaded third time in a single season.

I did some aimless Googling around to find the answer for why beating a team three times in one season is notoriously difficult. I did not find anything substantive, as most of the results were simply articles containing quotes from players and coaches saying that "beating a team threes times is difficult." As you might suspect, it is pretty much just another one of those sports-isms that we could do without. It's sort of like when a child asks their Mom or Dad to explain how something like gravity works: it just does, honey. Why is it hard to beat a team thrice in one season? IT JUST IS, OKAY.

Having engaged in two OT contests against the Wildcats, Michigan is literally more familiar with Northwestern than they are with any other team. If Michigan loses, it will be likely for these reasons in this approximate, extremely unscientific order:

1) Poor outside shooting/too many threes (i.e., 38 of them)
2) THJ reverting to Evil Handlebar Mustache-wearing Three Point Attempting THJ
3) Morgan's shoulder still being even vaguely stingery
4) John Shurna looks like Steve Novak from outside
5) Luka Mirkovic

6) Some mystical force that somehow prevents teams from defeating the same opponent three times in the same academic year

Times They Are 'A Changin': As the college football world continues to drift in the ether of non-action, the only comforting thing is that, at the very least, the People That Matter are talking about change. Larry Scott, who has seemingly been running point on the playoff discussion amongst the relevant ADs, says:
"Once we start to get to the point where a consensus is emerging around a model or two, that's when conferences will be asked to kind of officially vote on something," Scott said. "It's a little hard to predict when exactly but it's probably summertime.
"I don't know if there will be a point where our conference declares exactly what it supports until there's a specific proposal in front of us. We're kind of far from that point and there's a lot more work that I need to do and my colleagues from other conferences need to do to narrow options and think of all the implications."
Yes, this process will continue to be incredibly annoying in every way. There will probably be many stupid things along the way, and you should not be surprised when you hear these things. For example, Mike Slive's insistence that a potential playoff system accept all qualified teams, regardless of their status as champions--or not--of a conference. This is obviously stupid, but did you expect anything else after the SEC West Title Game Redux to which we were all painfully subjected? I can see it now: a 4/8 team playoff, all SEC. I just shuddered, as you probably did.

The point is, this will happen slowly, like all things in life that involve bringing together people from all over the country to deliberate over a thing that nets certain people unbelievable amounts of cash, which, come to think of it, is just like our...yeah. I will say that a world in which Mike Slive is the primary focus of the ire of pro-playoff folks, as opposed to Jim Delany, is a much better world.

Here and There: The continually nonsensical parade of conference realignment has gotten to a level of insanity that makes the term "realignment" seem hilariously misapplied in light of everything. This senselessness has continued on for so long that I read about Temple re-joining the Big East in 2012--after having been kicked out unceremoniously and didn't even think twice about it. After all, this is a conference called the Big East, a conference which will eventually include teams like Boise State and San Diego State. Irrationality and bitter survival instinct reign supreme here.

Still, we are talking about TEMPLE, here. I know that they've gotten better and that the Big East is not exactly in a position to be choosy, God. The Big East has essentially turned into a trip to Golden Corral/Old Country Buffet/insert other purely AMURICAN eateries; you put everything on your plate at the same time, or at least as much as you can fit on the first go around. Macaroni and cheese? Yeah! Mashed potatoes? Yup! Fried chicken, a vague pile of "salad," and a scoop of ice cream just to save time once the shame starts to hit and getting up again becomes not only a physical impossibility but a literal walk of shame? Oh boy! Then the gravy starts leaking into the salad and the ice cream melts onto the cheese and beets in your salad and the liquid from the soggy broccoli you heaped onto your plate reluctantly advances into the adjacent corn bread and OH GOD THIS HAS BEEN A HORRIBLE MISTAKE.

The only person that finds any of this expansion/realignment business to be rational or generally pleasing is of course Bill Cosby, noted Temple alum.*

The following is a pictorial representation of the process that is realignment:

Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Fin. 

*Fun fact, but Bill Cosby is the only Temple alum you are aware of because he is the only Temple alum that actually exists. This is fact.

More? A sure way to make someone that is young feel old is by saying that he is "entering his third decade of life." BTT roundtable on MnB for which I was a contributor. I'm looking forward to Olmec's continuing service as the mouthpiece of Temple athletics.

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