Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Miscellaneous Minutiae, 7/18/2012

Jeremy Lin, money, and more money. This is only tangentially relevant, but MSG's--the Knicks ownership group--decision not to match the Houston Rockets' offer sheet for Jeremy Lin and the preemptive justification of this decision by MSG made me laugh and then reminded me of Brian's post from yesterday about the Rose Bowl: yes, in the end, it's all about the money. Sometimes certain stories pop up and for a little while make you believe that at least some infinitesimal portion of the experience is reserved for things other than money (pride, tradition, passion, etc.) Unfortunately, it becomes increasingly obvious that it is always about the money, 100% of the time, every time.

According to Chris Marangi, a portfolio manager at MSG's third-largest shareholder, Gamco Investors, Inc.:

“We like it when companies shop for bargains, and Ray Felton looks like a bargain compared to Jeremy Lin,” Marangi said. “We’re value investors.”
Like the people in change of running college football, it seems that the people in charge of decisions made my professional sport franchises are equally as out of touch and myopic. You could make an argument for the riskiness behind keeping a guy like Lin at that cost, but there were many more reasons in favor of keeping him.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that people who only care about money, besides not understanding how sports team work and operate, often only care about short-term returns. Without venturing into a rant about this being symptomatic of Knicks ownership's complete ineptitude since the beginning of the new millennium*, it's frustrating to see monied interests continue to be short-sighted, especially when it would seem against their own interests.

To be honest, I'm actually kind of shocked that this whole playoff thing even happened in the first place given the aversion to change among most people in sports with money and a position of power. This calls to mind the constant reference to how "the bowls have been good to us" by various Big Ten folks throughout these playoff negotiations.

Then again, it remains to be seen how different the new playoff structure will actually be; from were I stand, it seems as if it will be not that different.

*And I'm not even a Knicks fans (I'm a Bulls fans). So, really, this is actually a good thing, but my point still stands. James Dolan and whoever else was in charge of this decision are being extremely short-sighted at best and potentially petty and vindictive at worst (if rumors of jealousy within the organization coughCarmelocough are to be believed).

Tony Barnhart on Alabama's biggest losses. Tony Barnhart briefly addresses Alabama's significant defensive turnover and which players will end up being the biggest losses for Saban's Gradgrindian, buzzsaw of a defense. Alabama lost two starting corners from last season's team, first round pick Dre Kirkpatrick and DeQuan Menzie. As such, Saban dipped into the nebulous pool of JUCO talent and emerged with two corners, Deion Belue and Travell Dixon:
Based on my last conversation with Saban, both Belue and Dixon will be ready to play against Michigan on Sept. 1.
"Our system is not as complicated as some people make it out to be," Saban said. "Both guys picked it up well, and I expect them to contribute."
The rule of thumb in the SEC is that you don't bring in juco players to sit on the bench.
 If there is a light at the end of the tunnel--as I mentioned in the Alabama preview posts--it's that Saban felt the need to grab not one but two JUCO corners. The Crimson Tide do return Dee Milliner, a former 5-star who has logged a significant number of starts in his own right, but it doesn't seem like Alabama has much in the way of experienced depth after Milliner. Either way, Belue and Dixon will definitely be on the field on September 1st, which should be a good thing.

Personally, I think that Mark Barron will prove to be Alabama's biggest defensive loss. The Tide lost a lot on the front 7, but they do return a lot of talent and athleticism. I do like Vinnie Sunseri and Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix as players, but asking them to replicate Barron's play at strong safety in week 1 is asking a little much, IMO. Both are excellent talents receiving some of the best (if not the best) defensive coaching in the country, but if Al Borges and Michigan are looking for some potential weakness to target and play off of, the strong safety spot might be it.

Spencer Hall on Day 1 of SEC Media Days. You would think that I, a Michigan fan and alum, would feel above the notion of watching even one solitary second of SE Media Day coverage. You would think that, and you'd be absolutely wrong.

As much as I hate to say it, the B1G's collection of coaches are fairly bland compared to the SEC's, which can be good or bad, a dichotomy that directly correlates to how many people you've forced off of your lawn in the past year or so. If the answer is "a lot of people," then you probably find this to be a good thing.

Whatever your opinion on the matter, it's undeniably true that media days are infinitely more entertaining when coaches actually say things. After day 1, Steve Spurrier openly made fun of Ole Miss, Kevin Sumlin and Gary Pinkel spent much of their time at the podium being all "hey guys we've played competitive football before you know", and James Franklin literally made me want to put on helmet and tackle random people while quoting Shakespeare. It was an eventful day.

Instead of blabbering on any more, just read Spencer's account of the proceedings. It is very good.

True freshmen contributors: hopefully there are less of 'em. Kyle Meinke and Nick Baumgardner run down the list of potential true freshmen contributors, debating an arbitrary O/U of 6. As Meinke notes, Michigan returned 14 starters and played 7 true freshmen in 2006 (Michigan returns 15 starters this year). I find it hard to believe that Michigan plays less than that number this year.

Pipkins, Darboh, and Chesson are the candidates that come to mind first. After that, Kalis and Bolden seem like pretty good bets (although I think that everyone would hope for a redshirt for the former). Dennis Norfleet should get on the field in some capacity. Safety depth is not exactly tremendous; Jarrod Wilson will probably see the field. An injury to either Kovacs or Thomas Gordon--KNOCK ON WOOD--and Wilson is becomes understudy #1 after Marvin Robinson slides into the starting lineup.

That's 7 already, and I'm sure there will be others. Devin Funchess and AJ Williams probably aren't ready to play yet, but Michigan's TE two-deep is pretty grim. Other than that, who knows. This isn't NCAA, so there will always be guys losing redshirts that you, the all-knowing fan, might not agree with. In any case, I think it's safe to say that the less true freshmen that end up playing, the better.

More? If you didn't know anything about this whole situation, you'd think that Mizzou's and TAMU's tackles were preparing to block literal forces of nature this fall...stinks to be them, PAWL. Darius Morris picture in the excellently named Laker blog Silver Screen and Roll captioned "No more turnovers!" FWIW. Ramon Sessions's departure means nothing with Nash coming in, and Darius still has to beat out Steve Blake for the backup spot.

Bill Carmody has been recruiting surprisingly well of late for the Wildcats...I'm starting to get behind this Northwestern team as one that can grab a tourney berth even in spite of John Shurna's departure. I agree with Lake the Posts; this team, somehow, seems deeper and better equipped to avoid those late season failures than in years past.

Although I almost stopped reading after the Ayn Rand reference in the beginning, this just about sums up the folly of the Knicks' decision to not retain Lin's services.

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