No Live Blog...sad face

I have been called to another house tonight and they do not have internet access. I have no idea how their 3rds make it through the night. Its gonna be a long night for myself. Looks like a night of Pepsi and xbox for me. So sorry, no live blog. If SCS is feeling it, he is more then welcomed to start one tonight. See you guys tomorrow.

-The Shred Head

The Final Four Blues

Geez. It's time for the Final Four and I am not the least bit excited. I change the station whenever anyone even talks about it on ESPN. Other than Butler having the proverbial "snowball's chance" at winning, there really isn't much to watch.

If Michigan hadn't gotten, uh, "forcibly entered" by the refs against Miami, at least we would still have a "dog in the hunt" for hockey. Instead, though, as Michigan fans, all we have is hockey teams we normally wouldn't give a shit about and basketball teams whose schools, fanbases, or both have aroused our collective ire at some point.

Usually, the NCAA Tournament has someone you really want to cheer for who has a realistic chance of winning it all. Instead, we have the following:

MSU: Bitter rival, turned UM in for Ed Martin scandal (even though it took the FBI to find evidence in a seperate investigation), took advantage of the resulting recruiting advantage to build a dominant program, and has been bragging about it ever since.

Duke: Normally the "team you love to hate" for most fans outside of NC, but they haven't really been good enough to hate lately.

WVU: The hatred of their fanbase toward Michigan is enough to want to see them lose, and while Huggins might be a good coach, the most flattering adjective I can come up with for him is "unctuous." But I just can't muster the energy to truly "hate" them.

Butler: The "Little Engine that Could," and one I have used as an example of UM's upside with no elite recruits. It's nice that they are there, but I can't see them winning it all, and I just don't find them compelling enough to actually follow and spend a lot of emotional energy on.

This is like watching a WWE "tournament" between three main event "heels" and a mid-carder who doesn't belong there. You'd like to see the mid-carder win, but you know there's no way it's going to happen, and you don't feel like cheering for any of the "heels."

So, you decide to switch the channel and watch something else. And that is pretty much what I will be doing this weekend. This is really the least excited I have been for a Final Four since the UCLA years of the 70's. I wonder what the WWE show will look like on Monday?

Midnight Maize 83

Midnight Maize 82

So, That Happened

Am I even going to attempt to explain what happened? No. Instead, I'll impart you with an expression of my current state of mind:

I have no issues with losing in OT to a team that deserves to win, but yikes, don't blow calls! First Bemidji State, and now this. Hockey East refs are not refs.

On a more positive note, there should be nothing but praise for what Michigan did this year. Many people (including myself), left them for dead right after the Ferris State series, or even earlier. What they achieved to reach the NCAA tournament is incredible, especially their performances against State and Miami. Hopefully next year will not end on such a sour note.

Midnight Mai....

Nothing to see here... Move along.

Midnight Maize 80

Midnight Maize 79

Well ____ me

Remember yesterday, when I was crying about the the possibility of having only one of my sure fire, never can go wrong, predictions come true? Well the final prediction failed tonight, when Butler upset Syracuse. My only hope of redemption is now to hope that Northern Iowa, plays Cornell in the championship game. Will it happen? Of course it won’t, now that I have wrote those words on paper, both teams are sure to lose.

This leads me to another idea, you see, I’ve have always made predictions about UofM athletics. Everything started out well for me, as we sat on the top of the NCAA sporting universe, and let’s be honest its pretty easy to predict that M beat EMU. Things started going horribly awry in 2007. In the opening game of the Year, which happened to be Appalachian St., I predicted a huge blow out and was so confident in said prediction, I didn’t watch the first 3 quarters of the game. Of course we all know how this game ended. This started a long line of failed predictions from me. Now I know what you are thinking, could these last two years of terrible M athletics be Dark Blue’s fault? I don’t want to put myself up there next to God(I’m not a Notre Dame fan for God’s sake), but yeah maybe all of this is my fault.

So how do we rectify these transgressions? Well I am going to make a prediction right now, about our football team in 2010. Now bear with me for a second because I believe this idea is fool-proof. I predict right now that Michigan goes 0-12 in 2010.( you see what I did there, now Michigan is sure to go 12-0 because teams typically do the opposite of what I predict. And because I wrote this in parenthesis, God won’t know that this is a trick, because God never reads things in parenthesis.) So yeah 0-12, you heard it here first.  


Alright this isn't a monster truck rally but JC one of our great late night readers will be going to the spring practice on Saturday. Sunday night JC will be on Midnight Maize's Live Blog to share his day with UM and who stood out at practice. The special live blog starts at 12am est. Come join and see how well JC "lurked" at spring practice.

in other news....

-Coming up on the 100th Midnight Live blog. Punch and Pie will be provided for the celebration.

-We have a new writer if you didnt notice. I would like to welcome "Seth9". Seth will be doing Michigan stories outside the Big House. Sorta like "outside the lines" type of deal. He already "kilt" it with his first post here. So welcome Seth to our foot clan.

-I have gotten a few e-mails asking about ms paints and if I am still doing them. I have two in the works but slowed down due to the off season. Just keep an eye out.

-I will also be at the spring game(I've been asked a few times). I can't wait. I hope for a nice day like last year. That can really make or break for a lot of people.

Midnight Maize 78

Shout outs to the rest of the world

First I’ve got to give a shout out to Les Miles. LSU recently reported recruiting violations , under Miles watchful eye. What I’m really waiting for is the NCAA to come down on them with the hammer, Oh wait this is the real world we live in, SEC teams, and USC cannot have violations, what in God’s name is a matter with me? However if you practice to much and graduate most of your players, the NCAA will bitch slap you into 2027.

Secondly a big shout out to Midnight Maize’s newest member, Seth9. If any of you have yet to read his first post, I would highly recommend doing so. It was a very informative read, I think he brings a lot to the table.

Third, a shout out to Northern Iowa’s hoops team. Yes you have messed up my bracket, but here’s to you and all of you grittiness kicking the crap out of MSU in the sweet sixteen. Michigan State, I hate you more than these meaningless words could ever express.

Lastly, a shout out to me, yes me. A while ago I made some Big Dance predictions. Well every single one of those predictions were wrong, save the Big East prediction, although that one becomes wrong if either West Virginia or Syracuse loses. So yeah I fail, never again should you count on me for predictions.

Midnight Maize running points total:

  • Shredder: 17,456,856,035,001
  • Tater: 19,254,789
  • SCS100: 7,865,789 (welcome back)
  • Seth9: 7,865,788
  • Dark Blue: –485
  • Jen: 36,258
  • OSD: –12
  • JC: 32
  • ToB: 4,999,999,998

Midnight Maize 77 Woodland Critters

Woodland Critters Theme tonight. Please pick one as a handle or Dark Blue will neg you points.

Merits of Championships Part 1: College Hockey

Greetings to all from the newest member of Midnight Maize. I am the first person to formerly join this blog in what will hopefully prove to be the post-curse era that began with Michigan getting through the CCHA tournament and earning a highly improbable berth to the NCAA tournament. I will be providing commentary on Michigan sports and sports in general on topics that nobody else here covers. We'll see where that takes me.

This post will be the first in a series of eight posts about the merits and problems of how championships are decided for the four biggest sports in the United States at both the professional and collegiate levels. For the record, these sports are football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and not soccer. In honor of Michigan making it to the NCAA Hockey Tournament in one of these sports, we will cover college hockey first.

Before beginning, I will lay down the criteria by which I will evaluate individual methods of determining championships. Championships ideally should accomplish three things. Firstly, and most importantly, they should crown the most deserving team in the country. Secondly, they should crown the best team in the country. And thirdly, they should be entertaining, which after all, is the purpose of sporting events in the first place. Also, I will be evaluating the methods by which teams are selected to the postseason, in addition to how the postseason itself is run. Now, onto evaluating the NCAA Hockey Tournament.

The NCAA Hockey Tournament is a sixteen team single-elimination tournament. It is also perhaps the worst system of determining a champion in the country. It's ability to crown the most deserving or best team in the country is questionable and it isn't really that entertaining either. Also, the method by which it selects teams for the postseason is simply awful in every respect. To be fair, however, the system isn't entirely bad, so I'll start off with the positive aspects of the tournament.

The NCAA Hockey Tournament concludes with an event called the Frozen Four (which, as you probably have guessed, is a rip-off of the Final Four). Every year, the Frozen Four showcases some excellent hockey and highly exciting games. The chosen venues are almost always NHL stadiums (this year it's at Ford Field, which is also decent), and great places to watch hockey. Furthermore, the tournament itself generally features numerous exciting games and several upsets and is generally enjoyable to watch.

Now onto the tournament's many negatives. First of all, the first two rounds of the tournament are incredibly mismanaged and unfair. The first two rounds (the regional games) often lack television coverage and fail to sell out. Now, the television problem is difficult to solve, although the games are now broadcast on ESPNU and ESPN360. However, the attendance problem is. The NCAA has done several things to improve attendance at regional games. First of all, any team that hosts a regional and makes the tournament gets to play in their home regional. This system has greatly benefitted lower seeded host teams (including Michigan*, to be fair), by giving them de-facto home games against clearly superior teams, making upsets much more likely. Second of all, the NCAA will reseed teams in an attempt to boost attendance at games (this year, they put Michigan, the overall 12 seed up against Bemidji State, the overall 8 seed, in Fort Wayne so that the attendance there would be higher). The thing is, attendance is still often a problem, with the regionals that do not include home (or nearby) teams often failing to even come close to selling out. So basically, the NCAA Hockey Regionals are often a poor draw attendance-wise, despite sacrificing fairness in an attempt to boost attendance. What I fail to understand is why the NCAA just doesn't give the higher seeded team a home game, because that way the higher seed gets the advantage automatically and attendance would become a non-issue.

Second of all, the single game elimination system in the early rounds is something of a problem. It certainly makes upsets more likely and the games more exciting in some respects, but there are problems with this model. First of all, there is a lot of parity among the upper tier teams in college hockey. To illustrate this parity, let us look at one of the 1-4 seed match-ups in this years tournament, Boston College v Alaska. Using the best existing statistical model for college hockey (the KRACH), Boston College would win a neutral ice game between these two teams about 3 out of every 5 times. So while it would be an upset if Alaska won, it isn't exactly something earth-shattering. Furthermore, the overall top seeded team in hockey this year, Miami University (as in Miami OH), amassed a winning percentage of .7439, meaning that they averaged winning less than 3 out of every four games. The problem here is that hockey has a lot of parity and because there are only two bids that go to lower tier conferences (one of which will disappear next year), the top teams get a highly difficult road through the tournament. What this basically amounts to is a system where your champion is whoever played well for a four game stretch, rather than which team is the best team. It seems much more logical, giving the existing parity in college hockey, to either add a week to the tournament or shorten the season by a week, so that the opening rounds at least can be best of three series, rather than a 1 and done deal where the 1-seeds get few advantages. That said, of the tournament's negatives, the single elimination format is probably the smallest problem.

Finally, the biggest problem by far is the system by which teams are selected for the tournament. Often, the last teams into the tournament have a shot of winning it. For instance, the last team into the tournament in the 2007-08 was Notre Dame, who made it to the championship game against Boston College (where they mercifully lost after beating Michigan in the first round of the Frozen Four). So picking them fairly is important.

Currently, the NCAA Hockey Tournament Selection Committee selects teams through a rigid set of criteria that form what is known as the Pairwise Rankings. The general idea of the Pairwise Rankings is that you take the top 25 teams in the RPI and compare each team with every other team. Each comparison takes into four factors into account: RPI, record against other teams in the top 25 of the RPI, record against common opponents, and head-to-head record, with RPI being the tiebreaker. The teams are then ranked based on number of comparisons won (For a more in depth explanation of the Pairwise Rankings, see USCHO).

This system is completely idiotic. First of all, taking the top 25 teams into the rankings is purely arbitrary. The point of doing so is to take the teams that would be considered for the tournament. However, no team ranked 21-25 has ever come close to receiving an at-large bid, so including those teams makes no sense and simply boosts some teams records against teams-under-consideration and downgrades others. However, this practice is not nearly as bad as including the records against common opponents in individual comparisons. The Common-Opponents component to the Pairwise Rankings has two effects. The first is to give absurd weight to non-conference schedules. For instance, Vermont and Michigan shared one common opponent this year (Boston U). Michigan lost at Boston U early in the season, which ultimately caused Michigan to lose the comparison to Vermont. Vermont made it into the tournament by virtue of winning one more comparison than Ferris State. Meanwhile, Ferris State lost a comparison to Michigan State because they had a 14-10-6 record against common opponents and Michigan State had a 13-9-6 record against common opponents, meaning that Michigan State had a superior winning percentage against common opponents and thus took the comparison, which knocked Ferris State out of the tournament. And then there's Minnesota-Duluth, who lost a single game at Vermont, which caused them to lose comparisons to UMass-Lowell and Boston University, both of whom played three games against Vermont. Boston University actually went (0-2-1) against Vermont with the tie coming at home. Those comparisons cost Minnesota-Duluth a spot in the tournament. There were even more incidents like these this year, as there are every year, which led potentially deserving tournament teams to lose out on spots in the tournament based on some extremely obscure reasoning that defies any sort of rationality. It is this system that makes the College Hockey Championship so incredibly bad.

(Other complaints about the Pairwise can be found at Western College Hockey)

*Michigan hasn't hosted a regional since 2003, allegedly because the NCAA does not appreciate the student section at Yost due to the penalty cheer. I cannot verify the accuracy of this, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were true.

Midnight Maize 76

Musings From the NHL

Anyone who saw tonight's Wings-Penguins game might see where this piece is going, but someone really needs to deliver a few wake up calls to both league executives and the players themselves. Crosby's stupidity at the end of tonight's game only magnifies the problem that has existed for a while: a lack of respect between players. The best example of this would be Matt Cooke, who inexplicably got away with no suspension after delivering a head shot on Marc Savard that landed Savard with a grade 2 concussion. As video evidence, I provide Crosby's actions from tonight, as well as three head-shots from Matt Cooke over the last two years, James Wisniewski on Brent Seabrook, and Mike Richards' hit on David Booth that ignited the head-shot debate earlier this year.





Oh, and for good measure, this is retaliation gone wrong (Bertuzzi)

The league really is spiraling out of control when it comes to discipline, not that Colin Campbell has ever known how to do his job when it comes to this. They may have started on the correct path with suspending Wisniewski being suspended for 8 games for a head-shot on Seabrook. In the meantime, players need to respect each other, Crosby (still) needs to grow up, and Colin Campbell is still a dumbass.

Oh, and if Don Cherry gets mad, you've messed up.

Don Cherry on Cooke

Midnight Maize 75

The Great Debate

Last Night Tater's post about amateurism sparked a good debate with Seth9 and gs85(from WLA). Lots of good points and worth a skim or read. I would post more of these but most our Live blogs are cage battles with Jen and TOB trying to one up each other.

Seth9: I take issue with the point that we should just make it open season on paying everyone however much they want
Seth9: College football is special partially because it isn't the NFL
The Hulk: I agree that athletes should be paid. I think it should be a set amount, not whoever wants to pay anybody.
The Hulk: I also think that they should have to go to class as they do now.

The Shredder: I would like to travel to a alternate 2011 where college players are paid.
Seth9: Also, it would have to be an NCAA standardized thing

The Shredder: It would kill recruiting.

The Shredder: If you were paying someone any set amount that wanted
Seth9: And I would delay payment until after college
Seth9: Agreed Shredder
The Hulk: Nah, I think it would get it back to what its supposed to be. Which school fits me best, and you can't use money as a reason then.
Seth9: That's why it should be an NCAA wide standardized deal
The Hulk: I agree

The Shredder: I work with a former MSU WR and he said times were tough in college sometimes. He said he was doing a full time job and it was hard
Seth9: Make a deal where all players get a stake in things like video game sales

The Shredder: But I do see how a free education is a serious thing
The Hulk: I also don't agree with the 5 year holding rights thing. Who the hell knows how good someone is gonna be by their 3/4/5th year in college as to a freshman.
Seth9: That's what they do in hockey and baseball,
Seth9: I'd expand it to basketball too
The Hulk: Footballs alot different than those sports tho

The Shredder: If someone would have told me "hey if you play football at UM we will pay for all the schooling and books ect" I would be like hell yea.
Seth9: And football could have a draft in which all players are elligible but cannot sign a contract until 21
The Hulk: Keep it the way it is IMO.
Seth9: It's a tricky situation
Seth9: I think you're right
Seth9: An early draft for football could turn college football into an NFL minor league
Seth9: I would design a way to explore draft status without committing to leaving though, in an ideal world
The Hulk: at 18, players in basketball/baseball/hockey can compete with older guys. Theres no way in hell a freshman in college would succeed in the NFL.
Seth9: As in, the players could go to the Combine and stuff, then decide

The Shredder: yeah that very well could happen. I dont think there is a right way of doing it. I am on the fence. A free education is a big deal but I also see the players side of it
The Hulk: I agree, move the declaring date to right before the draft or so, so players really get a good feel for where there going.

The Shredder: How much do you think UM made off the Fab 5?

The Shredder: Or anyone. Charles Woodson
Seth9: A monstrous amount.
Seth9: OTOH, how much exposure would they have gotten had they gone to a lower tier school that doesn't get nationwide coverage

The Shredder: Yeah but would that have killed their draft hopes?
Seth9: Not necessarily
Seth9: But by going to Michigan, their exposure was higher
Seth9: And thus, they had a better shot than they would have otherwise
Seth9: I mean, look at Tim Tebow
Seth9: If he went to a school that wasn't winning championships, would he even be considered for the draft?

The Shredder: No he is a bit different. C-Webb and Woodson had zero questions about them being pros

The Shredder: They were freaks from day one. Tim is a system QB. He found the right system. He was never billed as a future NFL stud
Seth9: True, but C-Webb at least could have gone to the draft after freshman year (or out of high school)
Seth9: He chose to go to Michigan even though there were other options
Seth9: Woodson is a trickier situation, but he too probably doesn't win the Heisman if he goes to, say, SDSU
Seth9: And thus would have likely fallen lower in the draft
Seth9: I personally think that the NCAA should give uniform compensation to all players of the same sport
Seth9: They should get a cut from all revenue generated directly by individual players, but not the collective team

The Shredder: I dunnno man. The NFL finds you no matter where you go. I have seen many small school players go high. Alex Smith? Carr from FSU?
Seth9: They were on ranked teams with a national profile. Furthermore, their supporting staffs were pretty good.

The Shredder: Would he have won the Heisman? No thats for sure. OSU and UM along with a great year did that for hiim

The Shredder: It's a good debat for sure

The Shredder: debate
Seth9: And I'm not saying that going to a weaker school stops you from going high in the draft, just that it makes it less likely that you would
gs85: i disagree with that seth...
gs85: in fact i would say its almost the opposite
Seth9: If you take two players of equal skill, and one goes to Alabama and one goes to UCF, who gets drafted?
Seth9: which point?
The Hulk: yea, Carr and Smith aren't really good examples. They were both on pretty damn good teams, and Fresno and Utah aren't really nobodys
gs85: how many kids have come from small schools becasue they had unbeleivable numbers playing against less than top tier competetion... they probably get lost int he shuffle at a higher profile team where they arent the man...

The Shredder: I think Woodson was so elite it wouldnt have mattered where he went.
gs85: with all the combines, and pro days now.. nfl has scouts all over the county... and when they hear about kids dominating they pay closer attention... its not like the nfl is only watching tv...
The Hulk: gogo Jared Veldheer
Seth9: That's true, but I'd argue back that the NFL is more skeptical of kids at smaller schools because they go up against inferior competition
The Hulk: scouts are usually pretty good at spotting stuff that will work at all levels
gs85: maybe but every year small school kids get tons of attention at pro days and work outs , and you always here about how they play on the football field...
gs85: i say if woodson plays against inferior competetion he has even more amazing numbers.. and perhaps gets drafted even higher, who knows...
Seth9: I'll admit that there's definitely room for questions here
gs85: level of competetion is always a thought, but we hear that so many times, its obvious that they are getting the looks at the opportunites...
gs85: kircus is a great example...
Seth9: I'm looking for some statistics on the issue, but I can't find any
gs85: put up unbelievable numbers in college and gvsu....
gs85: got drafted becasue of it...
gs85: he wouldnt have ever go off the bench at michigan...
gs85: seth i think stats would be hard to find, because remeber there is a disportionate amount of the higher level athletes at the bigger schools than the smaller schools... so you would expect the alabamas to send more to the pro's since they are getting the best of the best...
The Hulk: I think someone did a diary on that subject on mgoblog seth
The Hulk: let me see if i can find it
Seth9: Also notable is that when you go to a big name school, you generally get superior coaching and facilities to work in, so you develop more at big schools
Seth9: Which is beneficial come draft time
The Hulk: hmmm i guess it was a study on 2 and 3 star players and if one was from a premier school, if he would be more likely to go in the draft.
gs85: it would ber impossible to judge how a kid WOULD have been drafted if he went to small school instead of a big one, of vice versa... im arguing that for drafting purposes its more important to dominate a lower leve..., then it is to be average at a big school... assuming all things are equal
gs85: again seth i dont agree...
gs85: ha
gs85: rry
gs85: sorry
Seth9: lol
The Hulk: i have the link if you want to look at it
Seth9: No, I remember the diary
gs85: DIAA schools in the south have much better facilites than michigan had up untill the newest imporvements were made...
Seth9: It was interesting, but ambiguous in the conclusions that you could draw

The Shredder: you dont have to agree. It makes for good convo
gs85: the better training methods were used down here way before they made the way to the pizza eating big ten...
Seth9: I was referring to the combination of coaching and facilities
The Hulk: I want to be right dammit!
gs85: some of the best coaches are guys at the lower levels that simply dont have the pedigree or the name recognition to get a big time job...
Seth9: And I could argue back that DIAA schools develop training methods that bigger schools implement if and only if they actually work better
gs85: seth, would you argue that michigan was'nt about 25 years behind the times?
Seth9: True, but on the whole, I think that it would be foolish to argue that FCS coaching is superior to FBS coaching
gs85: seth you would be suprised....
Seth9: Michigan might have been, but was Florida or USC?
gs85: well the argument was about michigan, so im merely pointing out michigans problems...
Seth9: Yeah, but I don't think that Michigan is truly emblematic of the FBS institutions at large
gs85: smallere schools are willing to try unortodox things, to think outside of the box and to explore new schemes in order tomake up for drastic differences in tallent levels...
Seth9: I chose Michigan as a proxy by default, which was dumb in this case
gs85: almost ever major development over the past 50 years in football have trickled up, not trickled down...
Seth9: True, and some unorthadox things work
Seth9: Many don't
gs85: im not sure what you are arguing here...

The Shredder: Two QB system!
gs85: in most cases by the time you get to big time football, coaches are more like adminstrators and manajors as opposed to teachers... thats why the true teachers of the game of football so so highly coveted and hard to find...
gs85: are so
gs85: sorry
Seth9: The trickle-up development system is good for FBS institutions because they generally don't have to risk using unorthadox systems that may or may not work. Instead, they can view the FCS schools as a development center for new ideas and only utilize those that prove successful
gs85: so who is the better coach then, the one who devleopes and tries new things, or the one that takes the idea that someone else develops and implements it...
Seth9: Obviously the one who successfully develops a new system is superior
Seth9: However, the ones who fail are not
gs85: remember all im doing is resonding to this comment "I think that it would be foolish to argue that FCS coaching is superior to FBS coaching"
Seth9: I meant that in the collective sense
Seth9: Poor phrasing on my part
gs85: i dont like being called foolish,
gs85: when it comes to football theory
gs85: well yeah, obviously statistically the jobs that pay the most are going to attract the best tallent...
Seth9: I didn't mean to insult you. I was making a general point about the system, not about anything you specifically said

The Shredder: (eats popcorn)
Seth9: And yeah, that's basically the crux of my argument
gs85: my point is that the really high profile schools arent neccesarily looking for the best coach, they are looking at the best administrators...

The Shredder: What would you call RR?
Seth9: agreed
gs85: so saying that a kid that goes to a bigger school is going to get better facilites and better coaching, again isntn quite neccesarily true, imo...
Seth9: In my opinion, RR is something of an innovator
Seth9: I meant that statistically, a kid that goes to a school with higher prestige is more likely to get better facilities and coaching
gs85: in fact i have know of several nfl scouts who targetd particular players because the the reputation of the HIGHSCHOOL that they played at, and the coaching that they got there, as opposed to their college of choice...
gs85: RR, KIffin, Meyer, Stoopes... all great great teachers of the game...
Seth9: My verdict on RR as an administrator is still out
Seth9: Some of his hiring decisions have been questionable

The Shredder: How bout HARBOUGH?
Seth9: And the practice debacle raises questions there as well
gs85: i think most of that falls on mr sailboat...

The Shredder: Yeah he ahsn't helped himself in this witch hunt
gs85: RR just took the brunt of the fall
Seth9: Mr Sailboat?
gs85: the biggest problems were caused by people that report to the Ad's office, not to RR specifially
The Hulk: Martin was reportedly on a sailboat when Miles was the main candidate.....
Seth9: That's why I question his administrative abilities. As head coach, he's still ultimately responsible
Seth9: Ah yes, I'd forgotten

Midnight Maize 74

The End of Shamateurism: a Good Thing

It seems that a lot of time and money are spent on enforcement of NCAA rules. In addition, many NCAA fans and media members spend a lot of time decrying the exodus of star players to the NBA and the effect of "one-and-done" players on college ball. Teams that win championships with the "wrong" players consequently have to worry for seven years before the NCAA statute of limitations make their championships "official" by exempting them from prosecution and vacation of results.

The NCAA needs to be fixed, and the answer is really simple: allow players to be paid by anyone who wants to pay them.

The NCAA would be much better off without the constant bad publicity generated from the sheer volume of investigations and violations under the current rules. In an ideal world, the majority would follow both the letter and spirit of all the rules. In the real world, though, everyone tries to find every possible loophole to gain a competitive advantage.

Basically, the problem lies in the NCAA rulebook, which is impossible for even those with doctorates in administration to decipher within a hundred percent certainty. The rulebook is a series of knee-jerk reactions to those in search of loopholes, and his become an inscrutable patchwork quilt of quaint artifacts that have no bearing on what athletes, coaches, agents, boosters, and other interests are actually doing in this era.

As I see it, there is one solution: throw out the rulebook and start over. Here are a few things I would like to see:

1. Players get as long as they need to attend classes and graduate.
Give a player four years of eligibility and as long as he needs to use them. Classes would not be mandatory, but a player would be allowed a lifetime pass for as many classes as he needs to graduate with a useful degree. If a player chooses not to go to class while he is playing, so be it. Players are a lot more like employees than they are students, anyway.

This way, a player is ensured that he will eventually graduate if he wants to. Players who don't want to go to class don't have to, and a lot less of a school's resources will be wasted on kids who don't want to go to class. When the player finally realizes that he should have gone to class, he will be able to make up for his mistake, even if it takes until he is forty years old.

If a player plays for a team and never chooses to attend class, I see no problem here. It is much better than the alternative of them getting worthless degrees and "graduating" unable to read or write, as has happened to numerous players over the years. It is already happening; this rule would serve to bring it into the open and honest instead of being a case of rulebreakers getting "swept under the table."

2. Players can be paid by whoever wants to pay them.

Critics would say that this would open "Pandora's Box," but the box has already been open under the table for a long time. Those who think it would give some schools a competitive advangate need to open their eyes: there are already a lot of schools with a competitive advantage. This might redistribute the wealth a little bit, but most of the same schools would end up on top and most of the same schools would end up on the bottom. Most of all, though, the players would get their share of the "pie."

Let's look at a hypothetical situation: the next LeBron James decides he wants to play at Michigan straight out of high school. He is allowed to accept the $40 million in endorsements that is offered to him, thus providing quite nicely for his family. He plays for UM for two or three years, leading them to two Final Fours and one Championship. Most of all, it is all above the table and legal.

The NCAA benefits because they have a great player on TV for two years. Michigan benefits because they win championships. The NBA wins because the next LBJ doesn't have to learn on the job, but comes to their team much more ready to withstand the rigors of an NBA season.

In football, one player doesn't mean as much, but it would be great if they were just allowed to provide money for their families while they were playing. It may keep some in school for an extra year or two if they were getting money above board from boosters and apparel companies. Those with an eye on a TV career could make a little extra appearing in commercials. A cut on those shirts with their numbers on them at the sports shops would be nice, too.

As for boosters, so many of them currently pay players anyway that it might as well be in the open instead of as a "golden handshake." Let the boosters have "bragging rights" to "their" players and let the players make appearances in the workplace to build the morale of their boosters' companies.

3. Teams draft players out of High School and keep their rights for five years.

This would not, of course, be an NCAA rule, but it would benefit everyone. The NCAA is pretty much a de facto minor league for the NBA, NBA, NFL, and MLB at this point, but only MLB and the NHL are doing it close to this way. This rule would make it tougher to draft but ultimately more fair for all parties involved. A player could stay in school as long as he and his drafting team feel fit. It would keep the Korleone Youngs from ruining their lives by jumping too early.

In conclusion:

No system is perfect, and this wouldn't be, either, but the end of Shamateurism is something that is long overdue in college sports. The NCAA either needs to make amateur sports truly amateur, or they need to allow the players to be paid instead of being exploited. The current "in between" system is a joke, and is in severe need of repair.

Throwing out the rulebook would be a great place to start. Imagine how much money there would be for the players if the multi-million dollars spent on enforcement and compliance were freed to pay the people who are producing the actual product.

I'm for throwing out the rulebook now. I'm sure players will start getting paid next January; I know it's going to be a "cold day."

On to Day 2 of the Dance

Well Cinderella struck twice yesterday, bitch slapping their evil step mothers into another bitter offseason. How many of you forecast the Ohio Bobcats upset of Georgetown? That game really hurt my bracket, go figure a team from Ohio screws things up for me again.

We were treated to a fantastic day of action. Three games went into overtime which is more than the tournament had all of last year. Montana pushed New Mexico right to the edge, as did Robert Morris with Villanova. Wake Forrest won on a buzzer beater in overtime and BYU v. Florida was one of the most exciting college basketball games I’ve seen since Michigan’s early exit in the Big Ten Tourney (sigh).

So what does day two hold for us. Hopefully more of the same. I’ve always thought that the first weekend of March Madness was easily the best weekend in sports period. I look for my Temple Owls to get things done today, beating everyone’s sleeper Cornell by double digits. I also look for NMSU to give Sparty a run for its money. And maybe just maybe, could one of the two remaining 16 seeds, show what Cinderella is hiding in her purse. Beat a 1 seed and we will talk about you forever.

First Look at Michigan's Special Night Jersey's!

In my very first MS Paint I wrote about my trip to the future. I saw the first Michigan Night game with players wearing maize jersey's. I saw it with my own eyes. Was I in the wrong future? Maybe while I was jumping around living great Michigan moments I stepped on a butterfly or my old self stole the almanac from me that I bought while in the year 2025. Now that I think of it I did see an old man wearing a tin hate with rusted blades on the shoulders.. Could it have been me? If so he stole the almanac and it made an alternate timeline where Michigan plays it's first night game in 2011! Not 2025. Great Scott! What about the jumbo HD trons? Hmmm Many questions little answers.

The good news is that, I got the early scoop on the what jersey's Michigan will be wearing for the 2011 night game. I got a mole inside Adidas that got me a spy picture of Tate coming in and trying out the night game jersey's. It's just what the fans want. A few user over at the Mgoboard have asked about having black jersey's. Well Adidas listened...

This is the only spy photo we could get but the jersey's look to be black with a black helmet and wings on the shoulders. Word is these will only be used for night games. These will fly off store shelves for sure.

Midnight Maize 73 Under the Lights

tonights theme.. Night time. So anything to do with night time. Since UM has now entered..the now. Night Game! woo woo!

Night Games and Stadium Update

Well, the rumor floating around for the last day or so has come true. Night games are coming to Ann Arbor in 2011, with Michigan facing Notre Dame at 8 PM on September 10.

I cannot stress how much of a step forward this is for Michigan football. Michigan has finally joined the rest of the country in having night games, which are a completely different culture compared to day games.

As for the stadium update, there are no pictures this time, owing to the short time lapse between the last update and this one. The only note of importance is that S. Main St. has lost one lane and that the western side is now gaining its facade. Bricks will start to go up shortly.

Midnight Maize 72

Merda ad infinitum: The Apology

While perusing the replay of last night's chat, I noticed a request for my opinion on the "apology" from Ann Arbor dot com. So, by request, here it is:

When is an apology not an apology?

The short answer is, "when someone else makes it for you." And that is exactly what has happened at Horse Pucky dot com. Dave Birkett's remarks were not only inappropriate in the sense that he stereotyped Demar Dorsey as a criminal, but the original comment is very, very close to having racial overtones. I know it might sound absurd, but think about it: when was the last time you heard a white person referred to as someone who would bring a crowbar to your door? I'm sure Birkett didn't think about Dorsey's color when he made the original comment, but after 24 hours I can't shake the feeling that he wouldn't have said this about Corey Tropp.

Are the cases different? Of course they are. But I have never heard or seen Birkett refer to Tropp as someone who would bring a hockey stick to your door and use it to attack you from behind. Since he hasn't referred to anyone on the Misdemeanor State football team as someone who would come to your door in a ski mask, I should probably give Birkett the benefit of the doubt and say that his comments are "only" grossly inappropriate and not racially insensitive, but there is a very small nagging doubt in my mind about this.

If Birkett were to actually write an apology on his own and clarify his remarks, I would tend to be a lot more charitable toward him. Let Birkett himself tell us what was going through his head when he made the reference. Birkett's silence speaks more loudly than anything he has written so far.

Today, his UM football articles were decent. He reported on practice and didn't refer to NCAA violations, impending probation, or crowbars. That is a step in the right direction, but I would still like to see something come directly from Birkett.

If Dave Birkett the reporter was interviewing the Dave Birkett who made the inappropriate comment, would he let him off as easily as he is getting off right now? I think we all know the answer to that question.

So, what do I think about Dave Birkett's "apology?" Here's another short answer:

"What apology?"

Midnight Maize 72

Want a taste of Spring?

We are all so thirsty from the long off season. We are all wondering in the desert looking for just a taste of UM football. Well we have now wondered onto a old bottle with a few drinks of water in it.

The first video from Spring. A lot of linemen drills and a Gardner throw at the end. You want more dont you?

Let the dance begin





* Apologies to Espn for using your bracket

So March Madness is once again upon us, Cinderella is waking up after her year long slumber, getting ready to put on her glass slipper and go dancing.

So which Cinderella is poised to make a run this year? Personally I like Temple although I don’t know that you can consider a 5 seed a Cinderella. How far can the 5 Big Ten teams make it in the dance. I think that you can forget all about Purdue, without Robbie Hummel I don’t see this teaming going past the second round. Wisconsin could make a run, but they have to play my Temple Owls (okay they really aren’t my Temple Owls, I’m not a fan, I just think that they could make some noise) in the second round. Ohio State could make a run to the Elite Eight but I don’t see them beating Kansas.

This is my favorite multi-day sporting event through out the course of the year. It is a blast trying to predict the unpredictable. So here are my predictions that you probably shouldn’t listen to.

  • Temple makes a run to the Final Four
  • Michigan State gets knocked out in the first round, signaling an end to Tom Izzo’s dominance
  • Purdue get upset in the first round by Siena
  • The Big East sends two maybe three teams to the final four

So there you have it. DB’s predictions that are sure to be untrue after the first weekend of play.

Midnight Maize 71 (A)

Midnight Maize 71

WTF are they thinking over at A2 dot com?

Gee. It's been almost a month since any negativity toward the University of Michigan was published in Ann Arbor dot com. Apparently, they thought that was too long. Today, they printed four "articles," all with gaudy headlines, with most of the work done by MSU grad Dave Birkett, about "practice-gate." Plenty of people have dissected this already over at mgoblog, but I would like to cover a few things that piss me off about this.

1. It shows up as four gaudy headlines in mlive, thus keeping the story alive as if it had just happened yesterday.

I can't understand why A2 dot com would do this. An mgoblog poster who calls himself "aamichfan" speculated that the series is a reaction to the newly-restricted access to spring practice. This may be true, but if it wasn't for the University of Michigan, nobody would care about A2 dot com's sports section. If it wasn't for UM sports, all they would have to report on would be local high school sports.

2. The headlines misrepresent a lot of the material.

The material is semi-solid, but the headlines make it look as if the sky is about to fall. The worst of these contemplates "grave consequences." I would imagine that Birkett wants fellow MSU grads reading mlive to click on to his work, but what they did today is utterly absurd.

3. Possible negative effects on recruiting.

Recruits and their parents read this stuff. D Hart from Florida probably changed his mind because of the first round of "reporting" about this. If A2 dot com was trying to have a negative effect on UM recruiting, they couldn't do a better job than they are now. Keeping this story alive, not only in their little rag, but in milve and whatever blogs or MSM outlets pick the stories up, only serves to make RR's job more difficult.

If the MSM has an axe to grind with RR and/or UM, using "objective" media isn't the way to go about it.

4. The relative coverages of UM and MSU.

From A2 dot com to mlive to the freep, it seems like all of the media are simultaneously trying to prop up Misdemeanor State University and tear down the University of Michigan. Close to fifteen percent of MSU's scholarship players don ski masks to commit multiple misdemeanors and it gets treated like "dog bites man" or "business as usual." The University of Michigan gets nit-picked as the result of a freep "reporter" with a personal agenda and it is given more coverage than the tragedy in Haiti.

While I must admit that MSU players running afoul of the law happens a lot more than UM committing even the smallest of "violations," the coverage is still slanted toward Misdemeanor State. It was noted by a national blogger whose name escapes me that the relative coverage of the incidents at MSU and UM are so slanted that they would give a casual observer or one who is intellectually challanged the perception that UM was an "outlaw school" while MSU is a great school that gives second chances to "deserving kids."

So, what can we do now?

Sadly, if anyone boycotted every MSM outlet that has treated Michigan like shit in the last twenty-four months, he/she would not be able to read any instate media. I have mixed emotions about this. Whenever mlive or A2 dot com print stories like this, the trolls have a field day. If they post enough and nobody defends UM, it gives the appearance that the majority opinion is that Michigan sucks.

So, I click on the stories and write my rebuttals, knowing that they fall on deaf ears at the outlets but at least hoping that enough people defend UM that the casual reader doesn't decide that UM sucks because he read it on mlive or A2 dot com. This gives me mixed emotions. I think it would be great for UM fans to not click on negative UM stories, thus encouraging the bean-counters to tell the "reporters" to knock it off, but I can't stand to see such ignorance go unrebutted.

I am at a total loss at this point. There are two choices, and both suck. Sorta like A2 dot com.

Midnight Maize 70

Damn you Angry Michigan Hating God, Damn you to hell!!

With our loss to OSU in the Big 10 Bball tourney, the misery of the 2009-2010 athletic season is over. Well unless we accept an invite to the CBI. Thank God, but not you Angry Michigan Hating God. You have yet again ruined another year for me and the millions of other UofM fans across the globe. What in the hell is your problem? What did we ever do to you to make you hate us so much? Is it because of all of the great years we experience in football? Did you start to feel like maybe we had grown too arrogant? ‘

Well hopefully the 2010-2011 athletic season is better for us.

I can honestly say that this loss to OSU, ranks right up near the top as far as heartbreaking Michigan losses go. I would put it right up there with the 2006 loss to OSU in football, and the Rose Bowl loss to Texas. Yet I’m not angry, I’m just heartbroken. I love our Wolverines as much as I love anything on this planet, to see them lose in the fashion that they lost, is like a knife in the heart.

All that being said, I think we can take some good things from this loss. Michigan should have got beat by this team, but for 40 minutes they grinded away, and almost came up with the upset. The player for maybe the first time this year, seemed to play Beilein’s system and guess what, it worked. They didn’t fire up the three on their first touch of a possession, they moved the ball well and found the open man. I think even with us losing Deshawn Sims and possibly Manny Harris (please come back Manny) the future is going to be bright in Ann Arbor.

Goodbye Deshawn Sims, you will be missed in Ann Arbor. You gave us some tremendous performances and battled like a warrior against bigger men. Whoever is lucky enough to draft you is in for a treat.

Midnight Maize 69... Don't be dirty

Midnight Maize 68

Stadium Construction Update- March 9th

So I went for a walk due to the nice weather and decided to take pictures of the stadium construction so people can see how it's going. Here are 3 pictures of the stadium exterior plus one of Pioneer High School's construction and the Campus Skyline.

North Endzone

Western Side

Eastern Side

Pioneer HS

Campus Skyline

As a side note, during my time around the stadium, a plane was circling overhead. I would be willing to bet that MGoBlue will have aerial photographs up sometime soon and that they were the ones using the plane.

I still love you Michigan Basketball

Before the MSU game I told myself it was gonna be a 20 point beating. Just so I wasnt let down. I had no idea it was gonna be a Murder. So it was. A Blood bath. It's no secret that we are less then good. We packed it in and watched as I watched at home as MSU ran up down playing basketball. Dunking,pushing,scraping. We were zombie's.

You know what they say.. You can't bring a Nerf sword to a Knife fight.

We are mismatched at every position. They are stronger,faster and foul the shit out of us. At the end of the day that makes them better. MSU plays like it's a battle ground. They bring sharp objects and we bring Nerf toys. Why can't we bring sharp objects? For many reason. We have no swagger,no big man and no leader. That is gonna kill any basketball team. Oh and we can't shoot to save our lives but that's besides the point. So what went wrong? Everything(I refuse to dive into that question).

Is Coach B our guy?

For all the yahoo's asking if Coach B is the man for the job...Yeah he is. He took that team plus two walk ons and made it to the 2nd round of the NCAA's. That took a great deal of mother f-in coaching.. and some luck. We know that now after this years bust. He can coach. UM right now has the 23rd best recruiting class so he is getting some good kids. He is our coach. So either support him or shut it.

What about next year?

I know we have the big 10 tourney coming up and could beat Iowa and maybe...maybe Purdue but I just don't see it. I see an Iowa win and then a Purdue winning by 10-15 to end the season. So what about next year. Lots of people saying that if Manny goes pro(If he goes pro he will live in the D League) how in the world will we be any better? Well it's simple. Make shots. Get a big man(anyone anyone?) and just win. UM gets a shit ton of open looks but just misses. John B is one of the best X and O coaches around and does get open looks for his players. If they can get the mojo back and some new comers can hit some shots, you may be surprised what a new fresh team can do. Morris never hit that Frosh wall and just got better.

Trey Trey coming?

Well seeing that he was at the MSU game.. I wouldnt hold my breath. MSU is coming on strong for him. Just so we dont end up with him and his dad wants him to play for the Chips. Loosing + Manny staying=Try going else where IMO. After the year we had... I just dont see it.

I still love this basketball team.

I have been cheering on this team since 1990. I haven't stopped. Yesterday I whore my 90's fab five maize shorts to open gym. Yes I heard shit from my fellow man but I didnt care. This is my team. I stick with my coach. Things can only get better from here. All the people that hate on this team and the coach...

Chris Webber isn't walking through that door... Not because he doesn't want to but... because he's not allowed to.

Midnight Maize 67

Sometimes even I don’t know

I hate the football offseason. So many questions were left unanswered after  last season, and now we have to wait until September to finally see them answered. Will this be Rich Rodriguez’s last year coaching the University of Michigan? is probably the most asked question in the universe these days. What will it take for him to keep his job? Who is going to be our starting running back? How many questions are too many questions? \

I am going to try to answer all but the running backs question, as Shredder dove into that topic a few days ago. What does Rich Rod have to do to remain the coach at Michigan? Well I think he has to do a couple of things. First lets make no mistake about it, he is on the hot seat. There is an awful lot of alumni who spend big bucks on the University of Michigan’s athletic programs, most notably football. These people demand success, and we haven’t seen much success from Rodriguez since he has been here. Now don’t label me as anti Rich Rodriguez because I am not. I fully support what he is trying to do, and I can see the forest for the trees. However if he is going to remain at the University he has to do a couple of things.

  • Make a bowl game, this is the bottom line. If we go bowl-less again in 2010 there will be a regime change, there is no doubt in my mind about this.
  • We must beat either Ohio State or Michigan State. He cannot afford to go 0-6 against Michigan’s top two rivals.
  • He must do whatever he can to ensure that there is never again rumors of NCAA violations in his tenure at Michigan. I honestly feel that this is something we won’t have to worry about, as I think he has heard the message loud and clear.

Now I think every single one of these things is achievable. In fact I think winning 9 or 10 games and competing for a Big 10 title are not out of the question. We are going to have an offensive powerhouse next season. If we can find a little bit of improvement in our defense then we should have a successful season.

Where does the basketball team go from here?

I have to be honest here, as usual: when I watched MSU's freshman center shoot over Sims like he wasn't even there to open the game today, I turned on the DVR and stopped watching. So, while I can't really comment from the POV of someone who watched the entire game, I can definitely say that it was obvious after just one basket that MSU would do what every big team that has played UM this season has: exploit their height advantage and force Michigan to drain a lot of treys if they were going to have a chance at winning. Obviously, it didn't happen that way.

What Michigan has tried to do this year is like a middleweight fighting as a heavyweight. If everything else is equal, the big man is going to win most of the time. The middleweight may get in a few lucky punches, or even avoid being knocked out and win a few decisions, but the bigger fighter will win more often than not.

Until Michigan gets some big guys who can play, they will continue to be what they are now: a small team that can win a few games here and there, but not seriously compete for titles and probably struggle against elite competition. People can whine about JB all they want, but Michigan is going to have to find some bigger players if they are going to seriously compete for titles in the Big Ten or the NCAA Tournament.

This team's upside in two years is to do what Butler did a few years ago: have four seniors who hit a lot of outside shots and get to the second weekend of the tournament. They might even win a game the second weekend if they hit enough outside shots. But there is no way this team is going to compete for anything worthwhile until they get some taller players who can give them a semblence of an inside game.

JB is a very good coach who deserves enough time to get enough players to execute his system. But this team won't win without at least two players who are at least 6-10 who can score inside, rebound, and play decent defense.

They will have a couple of bigs on the floor soon, but you never know how they will turn out. What they really need is one elite player who is a legit 6-10 or taller to commit in the next two years. If it doesn't happen, we may be in for some more lean years. If it does, we may see the glory return to Crisler sooner than it looks right now.

Here's hoping it happens soon.

Midnight Maize 66

Speedo Guy

I know this has nothing to do with Michigan but today is the UM/OSU game of college basketball. UNC vs Duke. I will never forget Speedo guy. This is what makes Cameron indoor the best college basketball area around. I enjoy watching this game even though it's not Michigan. UNC might be worse then our team this year but it should be a fun game to watch.

Enjoy Speed Guy

And his clones

Midnight Maize 65

Midnight Maize 64

Must of got lost…



Fellow Michigan and more specifically Midnight Maize lovers, I must apologize for my absence, sometimes you take a wrong turn and end up where you least expect it. Anyways I’m back and look forward to continuing to blow your mind with the random nonsense I spew.


So when I last posted something our beloved hoops team was getting ready to beat Minnesota for the first time. Now our beloved hoops team has just SMACKED the crap out of Minnesota again. It was perhaps the most complete game our Wolverines had played all year.

As we all know the NCAA has hit our football team with 5 violations, IMO who really cares, the RichRod haters are going to hate until he does something positive, those of us that can see past the negative bs that has been written or said about him, know that our program is on the right track, no matter what some pencilneck with the NCAA has to say.

Finally before I put my keyboard down I want let all of the haters out there know, that when this ship rights itself, we are COMING FOR YOU!!

Will the Real Slim Running Back please stand up?

Who will be our starting running back come UCONN? Michigan has a stable of young and capable running backs who could break out. We could have a running back by committee but that's sorta boring in my eyes. I love you B.Minor but we haven't had that stud Michigan RB since Mike Hart. Minor could have been but he was hurt too much and being made of glass isn't a Michigan running back trait. I think for Michigan to have the season we all want them to have, someone needs to break out of the pack as that stud Michigan back. Lets take a look...

Michael Shaw

Shaw now a Jr has had his highlights(08 Minn game) and low lights(passed on the depth chart by V.Smith). I like Shaw a lot. More then most. Some fans have written him off in favor of V.Smith and Fitzgerald Toussaint. I on the other hand think Shaw can become that stud we have wanted since Mike Hart. I love his power for how small he is. He seems to explode into holes,LB and everything else. He may lack a bit of vision but I am hoping by year three he can make strides in this area. A big part will be if Tate can improve his zone reads and get Michael Shaw the ball at the right times. You also gotta love Shaw's passion as you can see how much he hates to loose(He was the kid on the bench tore up after Iowa). Don't give up on Michael Shaw everyone.. He may surprise you.

Vincent Smith

The true frosh showed a lot of guts last year and played well in the OSU game. Here's the catch going into 2010. He got injured. He will be coming back from a torn ACL. It could stunt his growth going into year two. On the flip side, how could you not love Smith? He is most like Mike Hart. He's got great vision and can move the chains. He also pass blocks very well and catches out of the back field like a champ. He was one of the few to show up in the Wisky game. Smith is the slowest of the RBs. He may even be slower then Mike Hart but... He's a RB who just moves the chains. I will take that any day over the home run threat. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back from his injury. He maybe the number one come UCONN.

Mike Cox

Mike is that wild card that I like. He maybe our next banger if given a chance. He has shown a lot in little chances. Sure most have been vs The Washington Generals football team but I expect him to get a fair chance to be in the mix. I hope Mike gets a fair chance because he could turn out to be better then we all know. If his RB gig doesn't turn out he can always turn to his modeling.

Fitzgerald Toussaint

If Mike Cox is a wild card then what is Fitz? Right now he is a practice hype machine. Some have said "FITZ WILL BE THE STARTER BY GAME FOUR OMG!!". There has been so much crap to come out of UM practices over the years that I don't buy it until I see it. He has yet to take a game snap and some have placed him as our number one back. I am a show me person. Running backs coach Fred Jackson who hypes someone every year has done that with Fitz.

“He’s a good player,” Jackson said. “I’ve seen enough. I didn’t have my blinders on.”

Alright maybe this isn't a ton of hype but many people on the boards have added to his hype. I know he can be good and I hope he is but I just wanna see it.

As for the new kids Austin White and Stephen Hopkins. I don't see them getting snaps unless one comes out of no where and shows some great stuff in the spring and fall.

So who is the our starting back come fall and vs UCONN? If I had to guess right now I say Shaw shows and does enough to be that starter come game one. It won't be by much and will have to show a lot to keep his starting job for the first three games.

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