TV Alert

Cy-Fair vs. Cypress Falls tonight at 8pm EDT on ESPN2. As Brian put it, Sam McGuffie gets more national coverage than the University of Michigan. I’m going to try to watch at least halftime through the beginning of garbage time and give my impressions.

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Mike Hart for Heisman

Michigan’s star running back, Mike Hart, has distanced himself from the pack at this point in the Heisman race. Fans are erecting websites for this man, as they feel he is the clear front-runner. An appropriately-titled post on a popular Michigan blog describes the way Michigan fans feel about their #20.

Hart leads the nation in rushing, at 154 yards per game, and he is the only I-A player who has thus far eclipsed 1000 yards.

Hart has never been a speedster, and many thought this would hurt him in his Heisman candidacy, due to his inability to break the “highlight reel” runs. However, Mike has completed many runs which could qualify, including his 54-yard touchdown run against Appalachian State, putting the Wolverines ahead with 4:36 left in the game, and his acrobatic rolling touchdown against Purdue, which buried the Boilermakers by the first quarter.

Many critics would state that Hart was of no help to his team during losses to Appalachian State and Oregon. However, as evidenced above, Michigan’s loss to Appalachian State was despite a superhuman effort from Hart, and he could have done little more than his 23 rushes for 188 yards and 3 touchdowns. Against Oregon, Hart was injured, yet still managed to carry the team on his back, rushing 25 times for 127 yards despite the complete lack of a Michigan passing game, and the the fact that Michigan was playing from behind all game. Even in the two Michigan losses, Hart carried the team on his back. One man can only take a flawed team so far.

Hart’s fellow contenders also play on teams with losses. Darren McFadden’s Arkansas team lost to Auburn in part because of his ineffectiveness, as he rushed 17 times for 43 yards (2.5 ypc). Andre Woodson was sacked 4 times (for 50 yards!) and threw a pick in Kentucky’s loss to South Carolina, in addition to the two bad laterals he threw that ended up as USC touchdowns. My intent is not to drag down Hart’s competition, but rather to demonstrate that no individual has a open-and-shut case for the Heisman.

As far as Hart’s status for Saturday’s game against Illinois? At this point, not even Mike’s mother knows how healthy he’ll be come Saturday night, but all indications are he will play – even if he’s at less than 100%. Co-captain Jake Long has complete faith that Hart will hit the field in Champaign on Saturday, going as far as to state “There’s no doubt in my mind he’ll play.” If he has proven nothing else in his four years as a Wolverine, it is that #20 is a warrior, and if he is physically capable of walking out onto the field, he will give his all to deliver a victory to the University of Michigan.

In fact, if loyalty to one’s team was a criterion in the Heisman voting, Hart would be without competition for the award. In the summer, when former Michigan Quarterback Jim Harbaugh spoke ill of his alma mater, Hart didn’t hesitate to fire back, asserting, “He’s not a Michigan man. I wish he’d never played here.” Hart’s loyalty to his team doesn’t stop with such defense of the program, he even went above and beyond guaranteeing victory of Notre Dame, despite the team coming off back to back losses to App. State and Oregon.

Hart is certainly the most deserving Heisman candidate at this point. Expect a highlight video in this space sometime in the next week or so.

All photos © 2007 Tim Sullivan

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Eligibility Chart Update: 10-17

Redshirts used/not used:

2007 Eligibility Expiration:
Jamar Adams
Chris Graham
Michael Hart
Chad Henne
All of these players have played this year, and will not be able to redshirt. Therefore, all 9 players with 2007 eligibility expiration will graduate this year.

2008 Eligibility Expiration:
Kevin Grady
Brandon Harrison
Brandon Logan
Mario Manningham
Austin Panter
Terrance Taylor
Kevin Grady has not played this year, and will likely redshirt unless there is a huge problem with healthy running backs later in the year (more on that later). His eligibility will likely be moved back to 2009 expiration. All other players will remain at 2008 eligibility expiration.

2009 Eligibility Expiration:
Justin Boren
Carlos Brown
Stevie Brown
Greg Mathews
Brandon Minor
Adam Patterson
All of these players have played extensively this year, and none will be eligible to redshirt.

2010 Eligibility Expiration:
Zion Babb
Artis Chambers
Toney Clemons
Marrell Evans
Vince Helmuth
J.R. Hemingway
Brandon Herron
Avery Horn
Mark Huyge
Ryan Mallett
James Rogers
Renaldo Sagesse
Steven Threet
Ryan VanBergen
Donovan Warren
Steve Watson
Martell Webb
Michael Williams
Troy Woolfolk
Babb and Chambers have played this year, but probably not enough to be ineligible for the Trademarked Michigan “injury” redshirt. Chambers’s status is more up in the air because of his academic issue. Clemons, Helmuth, Hemingway, Mallett, Rogers, Sagesse, Warren, Webb, and Woolfolk have played enough (and late enough in the season) that they will not be able to redshirt.

This leaves Evans, Herron, Horn, Huyge, Threet, VanBergen, Watson, and Williams who are likely to redshirt (Threet has to because it is his transfer year).

If you notice anything wrong with what I’ve laid out here, please let me know.

Posted under Personnel

Saturday Night Musings

Wondering what Paul and I were talking about Saturday night? Here is your chance to find out. Moderately edited version of our conversation follows.

LSU v. Kentucky

Paul: that [LSU/Kentucky] was a crazy game
Tim: yeah
Tim: i can’t decide if i’m happy about the result or not
Paul: i now have no clue what my ballot will look like
Tim: no joke
Tim: i probably have osu #1
Tim: cal #2 [pre-Cal loss]
Paul: les miles threw rock
Tim: yeah
Tim: which is what lloyd haters hate
Tim: but…
Tim: i guess he is a true michigan man
Paul: kentucky wasn’t exactly paper against rock all game
Tim: truf

Play-by play Announcers

Tim: cbs announcers are terrrrrrrrible
Paul: i don’t hate verne
Paul: that would be like hating your grandpa
Tim: they are frontrunners to promote the SEC. Whoever is winning is doing so because they are just that much more awesome than the almost equally-awesome team they are beating
Tim: i’m going to be honest
Tim: the SEC, Pac 10, and big 10 are about the same on a multi-year basis
Paul: yeah
Tim: =-o
Paul: and also… there’s no way to compare conferences
Tim: the SEC thing comes from an exclusive-ish contract
Tim: because CBS promotes the SEC like its their job
Tim: whereas ABC/ESPN is split amongst all conferences
Tim: pac-10 gets bonus cred from the fox thing, but not much
Tim: when BTN is national, B10 will get more respect [I believe this to be inevitable ay this point]
Paul: i watched a bit of the nd game
Tim: yeah
Tim: ND sucks
Tim: BC was unimpressive
Paul: nbc seemed to be thinking “fuck. first hockey, now this”
Tim: yeah
Tim: they were still pathetic ND homers though
Tim: per usual
Paul: i only get so mad at the homerish
Paul: i mean…
Paul: it’s basically like the announcers on fsn for the tigers
Tim: yeah
Paul: if they only cover one team… i guess it’s allowed
Tim: but vastly different
Paul: it’s that it’s a national network rather than an rsn
Tim: because FSN uses tigers-specific people
Tim: nbc is a national network
Tim: and should theoretically be bias-less
Paul: i bet a vast majority of their audience (esp. this year) appreciates the bias
Paul: and if they were non-biased, they would be accused of hating
Tim: haha espn throws hart a bone in heisman race
Tim: in case you aren’t watching ak/auburn
Tim: ak being my hilariously erroneous “arkansas” abbreviation, rather than its accurate “alaska” abbreviation

Michigan Injuries

Paul: any word on mhart’s condition?
Tim: he’s fine
Tim: was going to come out soon anyway
Tim: could have come back otherwise [prior to the high-ankle sprain news]
Paul: i kind of felt like it was a 30pt lead injury
Tim: and, apparently mouton isn’t so much injured as he gets beaten out by chris graham
Tim: ouch
Tim: that’s like getting beaten out by jason gingell
Paul: i know
Tim: sorry, bryan wright
Tim: but you suck
Paul: apparently wright has a groin injury
Paul: at least that’s the excuse
Tim: really?
Paul: except he’s doing kos
Tim: i had no idea
Tim: he’s not having distance issues
Tim: which i would think would be the probem with an injury
Paul: i know
Tim: especially since an injury like that wouldn’t last 8 weeks, without getting either better or worse
Paul: what happened with englemon?
Tim: ?
Paul: was it just “blow out- get him out?”
Tim: dunno
Paul: stevie was in with the rest of the 1st team
Tim: i didn’t notice he went out
Tim: i think it’s “try to prepare for the future” time
Paul: which could make sense for learning
Tim: in that particular case
Tim: i didn’t feel like staying for the press conferences
Tim: so i don’t know for sure
Paul: gotcha
Tim: but englemon was walking fine after the game
Tim: so i’d assume it’s getting brown starting minutes
Paul: i bet it was learning
Tim: esp. considering he was really the starter at the beginning of the year
Paul: yeah
Paul: good choice…

Michigan Special Teams

Paul: what’d you think of our ko strategy?
Tim: especially since an injury wouldn’t last 8 weeks
Paul: some kids behind me were bitching
Paul: yeah
Tim: i wasn’t upset
Tim: when they are #2 in the country in yds/ko
Tim: plus the first one
Paul: by the way… zoltan has mind lasers
Tim: you do what you have to
Tim: it’s an example that lloyd doesn’t just throw rock while ignoring the results
Tim: zoltan has all sorts of lasers
Paul: this team has made so many adjustments throughout the season
Tim: including fuck lion lasers

The game itself

Paul: so do you ascribe to the “we’re actually a pretty good team at this point” reasoning or the “purdue == straw man” argument?
Tim: a bit of both
Tim: though i definitely believe in each
Tim: so more like a lot of both
Paul: the thing is… michigan didn’t just win
Tim: we could have put up 80 if we wanted
Paul: they were like, “I’ll see your shellacking, and raise you a walloping, OSU…”
Paul: so… can we say that the D didn’t give up one legit TD?
Tim: whether you give them a 6 yard drive or not, you still gave up a td
Tim: especially since you allowed them to tie the game
Paul: it was 4…
Tim: but the only legit td was definitely on the offense
Paul: yeah
Tim: sorry i was on the field where i couldn’t see exactly how many yards


Tim: the crowd was actually pretty fucking good
Tim: especially for a blowout
Paul: it was pretty quiet after hart went out
Tim: hart went out when the game was long over
Paul: and when we couldn’t find him after half
Paul: it’s true
Paul: it was nice to have a full on wave in kind of garbagy time
Tim: yeah
Tim: and it was early 3rd too
Paul: it was nice to have garbage time


Tim: i hate comcast fyi
Tim: i fully intend to call and bitch at them wasted tonight
Tim: though BTN has them by the balls if they get the UM/MSU game
Paul: yeah
Tim: as both talent and the exec producer and producers think will happen
Paul: the comcast OD lady gave me the company line when i was talking to her
Tim: oh yeah?
Paul: yeha
Paul: i bit my tounge

Posted under Analysis, Coaching, Personnel

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Varsity Blue Top Ten

1 OSU (6)
2 BC
3 USF (1)
5 OU
6 UK
7 Ore
8 SoCar
10 ASU

VT, Kansas, and Florida also received votes.

Posted under BlogPoll

My WOLV Top 10

I thought last week was the hardest was going to be the hardest top-ten list I was going gto make, but then everything I thought I knew went to hell. The one constant I still had was made variable with LSU losing to Kentucky.

I really don’t know how to set it up. Do I go by the teams I think are better (e.g. USC vs. BC) or straight resume (have USF in the top). What follows will be kind of a mish-mash of the two ideas. There aren’t 10 top 10 teams in the country, so without further ado:

  1. Ohio St.
  2. Louisiana St.
  3. Boston College
  4. South Florida
  5. Oklahoma
  6. South Carolina
  7. Oregon
  8. California
  9. Kentucky
  10. Arizona State

Feel free to tell me what I did wrong, right, etc.

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Postgame thoughts: Purdue Edition

Here are some things that I noticed:

  • Joe Tiller was really, really unclassy in this game. He went out of his way to extend the game, potentially getting some guys hurt, so that it wouldn’t look as bad on the bottom line.
  • If you think Henne is too quiet on the field, you should have heard the way he layed into Mario for dropping that hitch.
  • No highlight video this week, because the person I sent to film the game managed to lose the sideline passes before getting there. This also puts doubt on whether or not there will be one for the Minnesota game, in addition the last home game on the schedule (yes, that last home game on the schedule).
  • Geriatric cheerleaders are really awesome.
  • Apparently Jonas Mouton hasn’t been too hurt to play, he just got beaten out by some guys who aren’t very good.
  • I saw a sign in the student section for Hart4Heisman.com. Check it out.
  • Hart was walking around after his injury, so I don’t believe it was that bad.
  • The student section (and the fans in general) was as loud as I’ve ehard it in a long time – maybe since Penn State ’05. Is the fall break status a factor?

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Impending BTN/Comcast shitstorm

For those who aren’t quite aware of the coverage situation, it basically breaks down like this:

  • ABC gets first choice for every weekend in terms.
  • Big Ten Network has 2nd choice half the weeks, 3rd the other half.
  • BTN gets to”play the second choice card”at their discretion.
  • Each Big Ten team must be on BTN at least once per month.

There are more nuances, but these are the relevant aspects of the deal for now. The Big Ten Network played their second choice card this week, and they have 2 of them left. Michigan must be covered in November. Their November games are as follows:

  • November 3 Michigan @ Michigan State
  • November 10 Michigan @ Wisconsin
  • November 17 Ohio State @ Michigan

These are all big games, with Ohio State definitely slated to appear on ABC, and one of the other two having to be on the Big Ten Network. The November 3rd weekend Big Ten schedule looks like this:

  • Wisconsin @ Ohio State
  • Michigan @ Michigan State
  • Purdue @ Penn State
  • Illinois @ Minnesota
  • Iowa @ Northwestern
  • Ball State @ Indiana

…I think you can figure out where this is headed by now. The Wisconsin @ Ohio State game is already locked into ABC. The Big Ten has a second-choice card left. They will play it in a week that a) gives them the bet game they can get, and b) puts a ton of pressure on Comcast.

The Michigan/Michigan State game is almost guaranteed to be on the Big Ten Network. Please note that this is mostly speculation, but it is not without good sources.

Posted under Misc., Personnel

Depth Chart updates

For the Purdue game:

Steve Schilling will start at right guard, and Mark Ortmann will play left tackle.
Minor and Manningham are both back in uniform this week. Minor will start on kickoff returns. Lloyd specifically avoided calling their absence last week “suspensions,” saying “They didn’t play.” instead.
K.C. Lopata is your FG kicker, but Bryan Wright will kick anything longer than 50 yards.

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The Joy in the Journey

If Michigan were to win 12 straight games, and lose in the National Championship game, fans would be upset. The expectations at Michigan are such that anything less than a national championship will inevitably lead to disappointment.

This article on ESPN’s Page 2 most definitely applies to Michigan Wolverine football fans (and college football fans on the whole).

In college basketball, this may not be the case. When George Mason reached the Final Four in 2006, they were upset to lose, but simply making it that far was an accomplishment in and of itself. Is it time for a culture change? Are people taking sports too seriously? I don’t know the answer, but it’s certainly worth thinking about.

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