Michigan will be bowling in Orlando

As many experts predicted, Michigan’s bowl game for this season will be played in Orlando – though it’s not yet clear which Sunshine State bowl will feature the Wolverines. The Capital One Bowl, on January 1st, and the Champs Sports Bowl, played on December 28th, are Michigan’s two options. How did it get here?

Illinois and Michigan tied for second in the Big Ten, with Wisconsin in fourth, and Penn State tied with Iowa for fifth. The Big Ten’s bowl tie-ins (in order, excluding BCS bowls, which have first choice) are: Capital One, Outback, Alamo, Champs Sports, and Motor City (with a host of eligible teams, a Big Ten team may also garner an at-large bid to another bowl). With Michigan tied for second, it would follow that they would likely be selected to either the Capital One or Outback Bowl.

However, Wisconsin has already accepted a bid to the Outback Bowl, and Penn State has done the same with the Alamo. This leaves Illinois and Michigan alone near the top of the Big Ten standings, with the Capital One and Champs Sports Bowls between them. Illinois will be selected before Michigan, but that selection may in fact be for an at-large BCS bid, allowing Michigan to get into the Capital One Bowl. However, if the BCS does not select Illinois, Michigan will be left to the Champs Sports Bowl. This means that Michigan fans should be rooting for Illinois to make it into the BCS.

What has to happen for the Illini to get their first such bid since 2001? Let’s examine the current BCS situation. There are 5 BCS bowls, meaning ten bids. BCS conferences all have a minimum of one (conference champion) and a maximum of two (conference champion plus one at-large) teams that will go to the BCS. At large bids are available to teams in the top 18 of the BCS rankings.
1. Missouri 11-1
2. West Virginia 10-1
3. Ohio State 11-1
4. Georgia 10-2
5. Kansas 11-1
6. Virginia Tech 10-2
7. LSU 10-2
8. USC 9-2
9. Oklahoma 10-2
10. Florida 9-3
11. Boston College 10-2
12. Hawaii 11-0
13. Arizona State 9-2
14. Tennessee 9-3
15. Illinois 9-3
16. Clemson 9-3
17. Oregon 8-3
18. Wisconsin 9-3

Big Ten and Big East – 1 or 2, 1
Ohio State and West Virginia, champions of the Big Ten and Big East respectively, are guaranteed BCS berths. The Big East will not send a second team, and the point of this exercise is obviously to see if the Big Ten can. Illinois will be the second Big Ten team.

Big 12 – 2
If Missouri beats Oklahoma, winning the Big 12, they will go to the BCS championship game, and Kansas will get an at-large berth to the BCS. If Oklahoma wins, they will get the Big 12 auto-bid, and either Mizzou or Kansas will get an at-large. Either way, the Big 12 sends two teams (remember, they cannot send three).

SEC – 2
Georgia, idle this week, is high enough in the BCS rankings to be guaranteed a BCS bid. The winner of the LSU-Tennesse SEC championship game will get the conference’s auto-bid. The SEC will send 2 teams to the BCS. Florida, while ranked ahead of Illinois, will be shut out from the BCS due to the maximum of 3 teams per conference.

ACC – 1 (or 2)
Virginia Tech and Boston College play for the ACC title in Jacksonville on Saturday. The winner of this game will get a BCS bid. If Boston College wins, VT may stay high enough in the rankings to be considered for an at-large bid. If VT wins, Boston College will certainly drop from consideration. Either way, it is unlikely that the ACC gets more than one bid.

PAC-10 – 1 or 2
USC is a shoe-in to the PAC-10 title, unless rival UCLA pulls a massive upset (don’t count it out – they upset USC last year, and Stanford(!) managed to pull it off this year). Also under BCS consideration is Arizona State, who faces rival Arizona this week. Arizona State is ranked two spots ahead of Illinois, and it would certainly be possible for them to get a bid over the Illini – assuming they get past the Wildcats. If both teams lose, the Oregon Ducks have a chance to go to the Rose Bowl by beating Oregon State.

Others – 1
Hawaii (ugh schedule ugh) is ranked 12th in the BCS, which is the cutoff for non-BCS conference teams to get an automatic bid to the Big Dance. Therefore, if they defeat Washington on Saturday, they will earn the right to get pasted in a big time bowl.

Add up those totals, and there are 12 teams that have BCS potential. Clearly, they can’t all make it in. Thus, the Illini (and, by extension, Wolverines) will have to cheer for a select few teams this weekend to end up where they want. The best case scenario is VT winning the ACC, either USC or Arizona State falling (or both, for that matter), and Washington beating Hawaii. If all those things happen, look for the Illini in the BCS, and Michigan in the Capital One Bowl.

(…and to think, I started this post with the intention of noting that Wisconsin and Penn State had already accepted bids…)

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Miles tells players he’s leaving

(Thanks to MGoBlog, among many others.)

Internet rumor of the day comes to you courtesy of TigerDroppings, an LSU sports/recruiting site (a la Scout or Rivals, but to the best of my knowledge, unaffiliated). Various members of their message board claim to have heard directly from LSU players that Les Miles has announced to his team that he is leaving LSU to become the head coach at Michigan.

Of course, this is internet rumor until a source other than anonymous message board members confirm it.

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Coaching Search Update

At this point in the coaching search, a lot of information has become available, and a lot of same information has ceased to be relevant. So where does the search stand now?

  1. Les Miles appears to be the #1 candidate, with no clear #2 after the elimination of Kirk Ferentz from contention.
  2. LSU has granted Michigan permission to talk to Miles about the coaching job. This permission isn’t necessary, but it shows Michigan’s willingness to do things the “right way.” The permission is also a good indicator that Miles will be the next head coach of Michigan, as information of this nature typically doesn’t leak out unless something is imminent.
  3. Carr has been against Miles for a while, but if nothing else, it seems as though he is resigned to the fact that Miles will inevitably be the next UM coach.
  4. Les Miles’s LSU Tigers play Tennessee for the SEC championship on Saturday. Assuming the Miles-to-Michigan rumors are a done deal at this point, Michigan fans will likely be rooting for the Tigers.
  5. After this game (again, assuming Miles has reached an agreement with Michigan), it is unclear whether Miles will stay on to coach LSU in the bowl game, or (perhaps more likely), cease head coaching duties at LSU immediately, and begin some of the head coaching duties at Michigan. An announcement may be made as early as next week.
  6. What duties would Miles be responsible for? First and foremost, reaching out to recruits to establish a stability on that front, as well as assembling a staff. Then, being around the current team during their bowl preparation (without actually being involved), will assist him in getting accustomed to his personnel, their strengths and weaknesses, and what schemes will work best for them, etc.

More on the Miles story as information becomes available.

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Michigan given permission to speak to Miles


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Coaching Search: Committee Revealed!

Courtesy of the Detroit News.

The News reports that the coaching search committee is believed to have seven members, including Desmond Howard (former Heisman winner and current ESPN analyst), Ted Spencer (director of undergrad admissions), Percy Bates (athletic faculty representative), and 4 mystery members.

Thus far, however, Martin has conducted the interviews without the search committee.

Although it still is relatively early in the search process, Martin already has conducted two interviews for the vacancy.

He interviewed Ron English, Michigan’s defensive coordinator, on Monday, and Mike DeBord, the offensive coordinator, on Tuesday.

Martin conducted both interviews.

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Low turnout this week. Interestingly, WVU is second, despite getting more first place votes than Mizzou. This is courtesy of a fourth-place vote (behind OSU and, mind-bogglingly, LSU).

1. Mizzou (2)
2. WVU (3)
3. OSU
4. Georgia
5. LSU
6. USC
7. VT
8. Kansas
9. Oklahoma
10. Florida

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Carty Questions Ferentz’s Character

I wonder who Jim Carty does(n’t) prefer for the Michigan job?

The Ferentz-to-Michigan thing has gained quite a bit of steam, mostly via MGoBlog (though off-the-record, I have spoken to insider-ish people who certainly believe he’s the #1 choice, if nothing further than that).

Jim Carty tries to show that Kirk Ferentz is not the man of integrity that those in the Michigan world would like to think. In fact, he’s a scummy cheater whose son steals from poor people and gives to the rich (himself), like some sort of twisted reverse-Robin Hood. Carty certainly seems to be stretching here, trying to go out of his way (and the realm of relevance) to dish some dirt on Ferentz.

As for the assertion that 10% of Iowa’s team is in some sort of legal trouble? Glass houses, buddy. That does raise a point, however, that even Lloyd Carr, bastion of all that is right in this world-gone-wrong, can’t control all of his players perfectly.

As for the search? It is quite clear that Ferentz is probably the #1 choice right now (with support from Mary Sue Coleman and Carr), with Miles somewhere behind him, and everyone else playing catchup.

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Recruiting Board Update

A new commit and a lot of changes in other areas (read: coaches) combine to necessitate a recruiting update. All previous commits who haven’t reaffirmed their commitment to Michigan are moved into the newly-renamed “near lock” category. “Presumed leans” and “longshots” are combined into one category, as few people are leans, what with the new coaching staff and all.

QB 1 Commits Near locks Prospects Longshots
Steven Threet (07) John Weinke
RB 1-2 Sam McGuffie
Mike Cox
Christian Wilson
OL 4-5 Dann O’Neill Kurt Wermers Trevor Robinson Zebrie Sanders
Elliott Mealer Rocko Khoury Zac Hueter
WR 2-3 Darryl Stonum Elias Kos Vaughn Carraway
Jon Baldwin
TE 1-2 Kevin Koger Brandon Moore
DT 1-2 Mike Martin
DE 1-2 Nick Perry
LB 2-3 Kenny Demens Marcus Witherspoon
J.B. Fitzgerald
S 1-2 Vaughn Telamaque Rahim Moore
Brandon Smith Spencer Adams
Herman Davidson
CB 1-2 Boubacar Cissoko Robbie Green
J.T. Floyd
ST George Morales (LS) John Potter (K)

The new head coach will obviously have an impact on which recruits stay, and which new guys commit, etc. Threet is obviously already enrolled, O’Neill, Mealer, Koger, and Demens have reaffirmed their commitments, and Morales committed after the Carr retirement. Cissoko reaffirmed his commitment to the Detroit News, then said he would look around the next day. All the other previous commitments are currently in limbo, but don’t be surprised to see most of them recommit. State will go after the Michigan guys, is Illinois hard on Cissoko, Moore is being courted by Ohio State and a bevy of southern schools. If certain assistants leave (Szabo for the two linebackers, DeBord for some of the linemen, English for defensive guys), some commits may be lost that way.

There’s also the possibility that a new c
oach (i.e. Les Miles) will bring some recruits with him who had Michigan in their top list, but picked someone else (i.e. LSU or other southern schools).

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Random-ish commit alert

George Morales, a long snapper from Las Vegas, has pledged to become a Michigan Wolverine.

It’s hard to evaluate special teams players, especially long snappers (their only job is to get the ball to the punter/holder and get downfield; they don’t have to block), but there’s a little information on Morales available here. It will be interesting to see if the new coaching regime will honor his offer.

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MGoBlue gets shitty makeover

Witnesses in the Ann Arbor area have reported to Varsity Blue that the Michigan Athletic Department’s official website, MGoBlue.com, recently began looking “unlike itself.” Varsity Blue, acting on this tip,sent an investigative team to the site.

Upon arrival, suspicions were confirmed. MGoBlue, formerly functional, unique, and aesthetically appealing, has been stripped of these key features. Instead of the previous design, which could be described as “pragmatic, yet cute,” the site now features a near-replica of the CSTV format (used for such sites as those of Notre Dame and Michigan State), which observers have noted “makes my eyes want to kill me” and “sucks.”

Varsity Blue will provide further details in this story as they unfold.

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