Showing posts with label Michigan Wolverines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michigan Wolverines. Show all posts

Wolverines Grab Two Seed in Midwest; Will Open Against Wofford

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The brackets are out and the selection committee has spoken. The Michigan Wolverines have been selected as a two seed in the Midwest Region.

Also included in Michigan's region are #1 Wichita State, #3 Duke, and #4 Louisville. A deep run in this year's tournament will be a tough task, as three of the four teams from last season's Final Four will match-up in this region.

Banish the Twitter Recruiters

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Earlier today, class of 2015 five-star running back Damien Harris announced that he would be de-committing from the University of Michigan, sparking outrage from the lunatic fringe on social media.

We see this every time a recruit chooses against the University of Michigan. Recent examples are when five-star wide receiver George Campbell de-committed and when the number one recruit in the 2014 class, defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, chose Alabama.

Most are supportive and understanding of the decision, but there is always the very vocal minority that absolutely destroys your faith in the advancement of the human race.

No Surprises Here; Ann Arbor Still Silent After Bowl Game Disaster

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The definition of insanity is "something that is very foolish or unreasonable," according to the Miriam-Webster dictionary.

Following an embarrassing 31-14 loss in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl to end 2013, it appears as if things will remain as they were in 2013 going forward, with Brady Hoke and his entire staff remaining intact.

Devin Gardner possibly out for BWW Bowl, pray for Shane Morris

Monday, December 23, 2013

After playing the role of a tackle dummy for opposing defenses all year, the wear and tear of playing behind Michigan's dreadful offensive line has finally caught up to Devin Gardner, who is missing out on valuable bowl preparation time with a turf-toe injury.

Gardner has been walking around in a boot and using crutches for aid as he tries to heal himself in time to get back on the playing field. His efforts in the late-game stages against Ohio State were absolutely brilliant and gutsy. Watching that game, though, you got the idea that the entire season was finally catching up to him. He was hobbling in every which direction, leading his team in a fourth-quarter rally that just barely fell short.

Who You Got? Top Five Michigan Players in the NFL

Friday, August 2, 2013

By Guest Writer, Parker Jones

Each year, the NFL Draft looks at the best and brightest from the college ranks. Combing meticulously through hundreds of young players via combines, workouts, interviews and the somewhat controversial Wonderlic Test, there’s never a guarantee of employment in the NFL -- or as some would say: Not For Long.

But who has moved from the Big House to the big time? Which five active Michigan Wolverines are having the best success in the NFL today? Here’s a look:

First, let’s take a quick visit to the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. Here we find an “average” quarterback from the University of Michigan named Tom Brady.

Many draft gurus didn’t even have Brady on their boards at all, and most had him going undrafted. Robert Kraft’s war room took a chance that day in April and has given the league one of the winningest quarterbacks ever – one who will one day be enshrined at the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Appearing in five Super Bowls, with three of them wins, the Patriots Tom Brady is still lighting up the field in Foxboro.

As far as top ex-Wolverine players, it doesn’t get any more successful than him. Yet for every great quarterback like Brady, he needs a solid lineman.

The number one NFL Draft pick from 2008 was Jake Long. He has the ideal physical requirements for an offensive lineman -- standing nearly six-foot-eight and weighing well over 300 pounds – but also boasts incredible quickness for that size.

The fierceness he learned as a Wolverine translated nicely to the NFL when he became a starting tackle for the Dolphins in 2008. Such dominance on the line earned him a title of fan favorite when he was selected to the Pro Bowl for four straight years. His durability is also remarkable, considering he has started and played in all 74 games since he came to the league. Long recently signed a $34 million contract with the St. Louis Rams.

Keeping with the offensive theme, one of the top wide receivers in the league right now is Mario Manningham, who plays for the San Francisco 49ers. While playing at Michigan, Manningham was a relatively unknown player on the national scene. Manningham was drafted in the third round, which was higher than some analysts expected because of his somewhat lackluster junior year and questionable knee injury.

Yet Manningham possesses that rare prototypical slot receiver size -- at just 6-feet tall and 180 pounds. Looking like a young Marvin Harrison, he earned a Super Bowl ring in 2012 when the NY Giants beat New England. Another Wolverine, another championship ring.

The adage of “defense wins championships” certainly holds true when it comes to Wolverine players. One of the most feared and respected linebackers in the NFL is Lamarr Woodley. His vicious hits in the Big House landed him as the Steelers’ second round pick in 2007.

It took the former Lombardi Trophy winner only two seasons before he led his team to a Super Bowl win over the Arizona Cardinals. He is still an anchor for the Pittsburgh defense and has accrued almost 300 career sacks since being in the NFL.

Finishing out the Top Five Wolverines in the NFL is Larry Foote, another Pittsburgh Steeler. A fourth round draft pick in 2002, Foote didn’t come to prominence in the NFL until 2005 when he started the entire season as a linebacker. He is most noted for a game-winning interception in the AFC Championship that year.

After a brief stint in 2009 with the Lions, Foote is back with Pittsburgh (alongside Lamar Woodley) and is responsible for the Steelers having one of the most dominant run defenses in the NFL. His roots as a Wolverine (think Michigan could use him this year?) connect him strongly to other top former teammates in the NFL.

Needless to say, when you consider these five guys and their high level of play in the NFL, Michigan should be proud of the championship-caliber products it has produced.

Opponent Preview: Central Michigan

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Last Season: 7-7
Top 5 Returning Starters: RB Zurlon Tipton, WR Titus Davis, OT Jake Olson, LB Shamari Benton, S Avery Cunningham
Key Losses: OT Eric Fisher, QB Ryan Radcliff, WR Cody Wilson, WR Jahleel Addae, DL Joe Kinville

Fire up, Chips. It's go time.

Michigan welcomes their in-state brethren from Mount Pleasant to kick off the 2013 campaign. Arguably, this is most likely the easiest game on Michigan's schedule this season, though a case can be made for Akron as well. Since last season, CMU is a team searching for its identity. Can it be a consistent winner where they won five straight games to end the season last year? Or a team struggling to stay within the .500 range by giving up 50 points in consecutive weeks to Northern Illinois and Toledo a season ago. At any rate, expectations are always high after coming off a bowl victory the following season. For Dan Enos and his Chippewas, this is no different.

The Offense

The obvious area of the offense that sees the biggest change from last year is the offense line. Tackle Eric Fisher, who went number one overall in the NFL Draft last season, will no longer be paving the way for the Chippewas. Taking his spot is senior Jake Olson who has some experience under his belt -- nine games total -- but has a history of injury problems that cut his seasons short. Redshirt sophomore center Nick Beamish, a welcomed addition of youth and experience to line, started all 13 games last year and will anchor the offensive line at center.

The most exciting and electrifying player on offense is senior running back Zurlon Tipton. Tipton had an excellent 2012 season who rushed for nearly 1500 yards and 19 touchdowns. His talent may cause
SR RB Zurlon Tipton is poised to have a big 2013 season.
problems with the Wolverines defensive line and having to adjust without Jake Ryan as well. Though, his success depends on his offensive line. It helps that Michigan misses out on facing Fisher.

The biggest question mark with this Chippewa offense is the quarterback position. With Ryan Radcliff moving on, there is a considerable amount of drop-off with experience on the depth chart. The two frontrunners to win the starting position is junior Cody Kater and senior A.J. Westendorp. Each have been on campus for awhile, but game experience has been limited for both players as each have a total of four passes to their statline. At this point, the battle could go either way.

CMU also has to recover from losing their leading wide receiver from a year ago in Cody Wilson. Wilson caught 74 passes last year. Luckily, the Chippewas have a returning WR who is a legitimate threat to make big plays. Titus Davis, who averaged 20 yards per catch last season - which topped the nation with receivers over 40 catches - will be looking to fill the void Wilson. Davis finished 2012 with 43 receptions for 860 yards and eight touchdowns. Also returning is Courtney Williams who is expected to have a bigger role this season compared to last as he finished with 260 yards.

The Defense

The heart and soul of the Chippewas defense last season, All-MAC safety Jahleel Addae, is no longer on the team. It's a big loss to fill and returning safety Avery Cunningham is expected to resume the role Addae left. Which, in all reality, are fairly big shoes to fill.

Returning LB Shamari Benton lead the team in tackles last season.
Replacing Addae's leadership and experience on the defense is returning senior linebacker Shamari Benton. Benton, who had a team leading 126 tackles last season, will be expected to have the same
quality year this season. Also adding experience to linebacker position are Cody Lopez and Justin Cherocci. Both have game experience and are expected to see considerable playing time this season.

On the defensive line, the Chippewas are returning their tackles Jabari Dean and Leterrius Walton. The biggest loss on the line are at the end positions, as CMU will have to replace both.  Though the positions are up for grabs, it is speculated that senior Alex Smith will likely win one of the end positions.


To be frank, Michigan's overall talent and experience in the skilled positions will overpower this CMU team, making this week one match-up much more enjoyable than last year. The inexperience and question marks on the Chippewa offense will doom them week one. Though Michigan has question marks and issues of their own, I don't see the Wolverines having problems with this team. This is the first serving of Michigan's two-course meal with the MAC this season. The Wolverines will be looking to continue their success against the conference week one and also a few weeks later against Akron.

The "Wal-Mart Wolverine"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I think it is safe to say that every Michigan fan has heard of the “Wal-Mart Wolverine.” Check out Urban Dictionary, where there are many different definitions of this term (some content NSFW). There are some listed from State fans, Ohio fans, and even a few from Michigan fans. I had a gentleman from Minnesota on Twitter call me a "Wal-Mart Wolverine" not too long ago, and if I felt like finding my tweets from January, I’d show you.

Sorry to break it to you folks, I don’t buy clothes at Wal-Mart, so I can’t fall under that description even if I don’t attend the University. Personally, I find the concept of the "Wal-Mart Wolverine" hilarious, simply because the rival fan that is using it, thinks it’s the most clever insult ever created. It is most often a term used out of jealousy. Pay attention, when you hear it, something good has usually happened in Wolverine Nation. The most common perception of a "Wal-Mart Wolverine" is a bandwagon fan, or someone who is trashy and/or didn’t attend the University.
Fans of college teams can come from all over, and if fans were only allowed to be from the organization, then there wouldn’t be very many fans at all. It is safe to say that all schools have giant fan bases that have no connection with the institution other than watching its sports teams.  This means there will be a big range of people, both classy and trashy, all sharing one love: The Michigan Wolverines.

Michigan Stadium is built to hold 109,901 screaming fans, so there is bound to be great mix of people. Especially in comparison to a stadium that holds, say, 75,005 fans. To name a few, there will be thousands of students, alumni, local residents, passionate Michigan football followers, the girlfriend who is only there to be nice, rival fans, and yes, even “Wal-Mart Wolverines” in attendance at the Big House. The University of Michigan has the greatest college fan base in the world; any negative term towards our fan base is just out of envy.

I’ve had an opportunity to sit all around the Big House, and have met a bunch of passionate fans from all types of backgrounds. When I am present on game day, I don’t really care who is around me; I am just there to cheer on my team, and high five anyone who is within three rows of me after a big play. I don’t care who you are, or where you are from, if you love Michigan Football, then I like you. Go ahead deck yourself out in a Wal-Mart snapback, XL T-Shirt, and Starter shorts. It doesn’t make a difference to me as long as you are passionate about your team. If you rep Michigan, then you are already doing something right.

By the way, if you have noticed what Michigan Wolverine apparel is in fact from Wal-Mart, then you must be shopping there yourself, right?

As a Michigan fan, I welcome the term “Wal-Mart Wolverine.” Go ahead rivals, use it as much as you want. I don’t mind that you pick a select few to make fun of when there are thousands of other Michigan Faithful that have their backs.

Besides, can you pick out the “Wal-Mart Wolverines” from here?

Didn’t think so.

2012 Michigan Sugar Bowl Ring Appears on eBay

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Only being two seasons removed from the magical 11-2  campaign that brought Michigan fans a Sugar Bowl victory, a little piece of history from 2012 can now be purchased.

The price tag runs a little steep.

A Sugar Bowl championship ring has appeared on eBay and it could be yours for a measly $4,999 before shipping and taxes.

According to the listing, it has a suggested retail price of $5,750, a slight savings compared to listed price or best offer. Other details include an appraisal letter, original lighted presentation box, and an approximate size of 9.5.

Now, before you scream conspiracy, the owner's identity has been edited out of the pictures displayed on the eBay listing. So, you won't be able to find out who it is until you purchase the ring.

Considering the anonymity of the ring owner, it could simply be a player looking for some extra cash. Which doesn't necessarily have to mean that he is still enrolled. It could simply be someone who isn't well known (like a Martin or Robinson) -- or not even a player at all -- and is looking for full value.

Move along now, nothing to see here.

If you're interested in looking at the listing, here is the link.

Henschke's Wednesday Rants Talks Timelines

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Joshua Henschke
At Michigan, the expectation for a successful season is always competing for the Big Ten Championship, participate in Rose Bowls (and winning them, hopefully), and beating Ohio State. Some unreasonable Michigan fans expect Michigan to go 12-0 every season, running the likes of Alabama out of the stadium, and dominate Ohio State every year. Though these thoughts make them all warm and fuzzy inside, especially beating Ohio State, it's not just realistic.

So, with the foundation that Brady Hoke is laying, when does everything combine to make Michigan yearly contenders for National Championships, no-brainer selections to be conference champs, and victors over Ohio State more than every once in awhile? When does it all mesh?

This isn't an open blast to Hoke and what he has done so far at Michigan. After experiencing the Rich Rodriguez experiment go awry, Hoke has done a wonderful job picking up the pieces and changing the public mindset of laughing stock, to recovering powerhouse. Michigan football is what it is, you can't deny it.

When does the proverbial "Honeymoon Period" end? Or does it ever end? Sure, beating Ohio State your first year as head coach en route to a 11-2 season and BCS victory surely cements your place amongst the good graces of your superiors, but when does the success of conference championships and beyond start to become a necessity to keep those good graces?

Personally, I give Hoke one more offseason to pull together another stellar recruiting class (which, by all means, sure looks like it will happen) and get "his guys" into the fold before I can really judge the Michigan football product Hoke and his excellent staff of coaches will bring to the table. It's obvious that Ohio State will be a huge roadblock and damper on these big plans each year. But, no matter how much they reload, Michigan needs to beat them. Even if it seems impossible, find a way. Urban Meyer will have his Buckeyes ready every year, and I expect them to compete amongst the juggernauts in college football every season, much like Michigan will. No matter how lofty the chances may be, Michigan needs to start pulling together some wins against Ohio State.

Now, don't get me wrong, this is not a plea for Michigan fans to start judging Hoke's performance. I'm also not calling for Hoke's head if he does not succeed. I am merely discussing timelines as to when Michigan fans should expect Big Ten Championships (realistically) and see them win it like years of old.

Eight or nine win seasons won't cut it. The days of Lloyd ball are long gone, and I expect big things to come for the Wolverines. Only time will tell if Michigan pulls it all together and returns to it's rightful place as a football powerhouse, just like Ohio State already has. Michigan and Ohio State together again fighting for national prominence, like the good old days. Just how it should be, and how it always should be until the end of time.

Player Profiles: Devin Funchess

Sunday, April 28, 2013

WHO: Devin Funchess
CLASS: Sophomore

ROLE IN THE OFFENSE?: I'm sure many Michigan fans, and also those who bet on, feel that Funchess that will see an increased role in the offense this season. With only 15 catches for 234 yards and five touchdowns, it is safe to say that those numbers will increase in 2013. The most alarming fact of last season is how little he saw touches during the latter half of the season. Going back to the Purdue game, his production was minimal. With more pieces being added to the offense, this might allow Funchess to let loose on the offensive side of the ball this year.

POTENTIAL STATS: Considering Funchess finished with only 234 yards, I feel confident in saying that his numbers will see a dramatic increase. It is a possibility you could see Funchess seeing around 30-40 catches and around 700 yards. Also, I can see Funchess getting anywhere from eight to ten touchdowns. I believe with the weapons coming in this year that he could get free and see a lot of touches out there this season.

DARKHORSE PREDICTION: Devin Funchess will see All-Big Ten honors. Whether it is first or second team honors remains to be seen, but I feel that he will get numbers in order to get them the honors. Like I said before, Michigan is adding a lot of potential firepower to the offense this season, something has to give. Who is the person to step up and take advantage of it? I think Funchess will be that person.

Player Profiles: Jeremy Gallon

Monday, April 22, 2013

WHO: Jeremy Gallon
CLASS: Senior

ROLE IN THE OFFENSE?: Like I've said before, I'm no betting man -- but you can place bets on online sports betting sites --  but it's safe to say that Gallon is THE MAN, yes THE MAN, in this Michigan offense. Last season, Gallon and Gardner seemed to make a great duo with Gallon emerging as a legitimate downfield threat in the process. This emergence would add a huge dynamic to the offense that would occassionally lack the "homerun ball". Gallon has supreme athleticism that allows him to make the big-time leaping grabs. Though he does lack the height to be the "traditional Michigan wide receiver", he has shown significant progress throughout his entire Michigan career and it is plausible that he ends it with another solid season.

POTENTIAL STATS: What is a solid season you ask? Considering Gallon had 800 yards receiving with 8 TD's with a mish-mash of quarterbacks (Robinson, Bellomy for one game, and Gardner the rest), I feel like he can easily reach 1,000 yards and over 10 TD's. Of course, these numbers and where Gallon lines up all depends on who emerges in the receiver/tight end corps that could possibly steal some passes away from Gallon. But, considering his speed and athleticism, he'll see plenty of action this season.

DARKHORSE PREDICTION: Jeremy Gallon will be wearing the #21 jersey by the first game against Central Michigan. Why? Because it just makes sense. Roy Roundtree has graduated and moved on leaving someone to come in and take it. Why not Gallon? He's arguably Michigan's best receiver right now and also a senior. He could provide leadership to the younger receivers and I feel he could be the best candidate to represent Desmond Howard's honor out on the field every Saturday this season.

FUN FACT: They left him alone.

The Big House Diaries: Spring Game

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Saturday, April 13th brought new excitement to Ann Arbor. On the cusp of a National Championship game loss to Louisville, and pending announcements from star basketball players whether to stay or go, Michigan fans needed a savior.

This savior came in the shape of one final spring practice at the Big House.

It was a cold April Saturday -- which felt like a normal football Saturday in November -- which was the consensus around the stadium. But, you couldn't stop the weather from bringing down the brave souls who withstood it just to get a small sample size of Team 134.

A new season brings new hope, and Michigan fans are hopeful.

To me, the spring game means nothing. Especially considering there isn't a game going on. Just situational drills that provide false hope to all fans. But, there is one thing that holds true. This is Devin Gardner's team.

There's no denying the growth Devin Gardner has shown over his time at Michigan. All the patience that he has shown waiting for his moment to shine has finally come to fruition. You could see the poise, see the leadership, and see the undeniable swagger knowing that this is HIS team. Finally.

I saw football, I "heard" football as Brady Hoke likes to say it. It was glorious. Any type of football is enough for me. The stats, the plays, and everything else in between doesn't mean anything until fall. Seeing the maize and blue in action will be enough to quench my thirst for football for just a little bit longer.

But, here are my biggest observations from the Spring Game yesterday:

- They're not lying, Ben Braden is a beast. But, for being 320, he is a slim 320. If that is even possible.
- Tight end is a position of strength. With the addition of Jake Butt, that position is going to be is a strength and a useful tool in the offense this season.
- Taco Charlton is hungry, no pun intended. Charlton looks like a beast out there. Even though he is not supposed to hit the quarterback, he burst through the line and had a couple sacks, literally. He tackled the quarterback.
- James Ross is a monster. Frank Clark is a beast. Quinton Washington looked really good as well.
- Taylor Lewan has a 10 mustache -- on a scale of 10.
- The biggest area of concern, for me, is running back. Obviously with the way Michigan was practicing you aren't going to hit any home runs. But I didn't see anyone in particular look the part of a starter out there. Things will begin to take shape in the fall.
- I'm really excited for the young receivers to go out there and see what they can do. Amara Darboh to be specific. I've always loved how that kid plays.
- My biggest observation of them all: FOOTBALL IS BACK!

No Cheering in the Press Box

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I remember it like it was yesterday. Christmas Eve, 2005. I was standing on the sidelines of Raymond James Stadium watching the Buccaneers play the Atlanta Falcons. At that time, reporters and columnists from sports betting sites were allowed to enter the sidelines with less than three minutes to play to get a head start to the locker room. This was the last season the Buccaneers allowed media on the sidelines.

The Falcons had seemingly won the game on a TJ Duckett touchdown with four minutes left. As the game waned, Tampa Bay slowly began to march down the field. Could they tie it up?  Could they force overtime? Thirty seconds left. Fourth and one from the 1-yard line. Chris Simms turned and handed off to eventual Rookie of the Year Cadillac Williams.  He surged through the line and burst into the end zone. Tie game.

At the time, I was working for a magazine that covered the Buccaneers. They were seen as outsiders in the press box. So when Williams scored, and I nearly jumped in the air in excitement and shouted aloud my editor, who was standing next to me at the time, shook his head ‘No’. Other stoic, stone-faced media types surrounded us. They looked down on us. They had been trained. The joy of sports had long been sucked from their veins. There was no cheering in the press box and there’s no cheering on the sidelines. We’re media, we have to be unbiased.  Objectivity. That’s the name of the game. Well, that’s what they tell you in journalism school, anyway.

I stumbled on to journalism at 22-years-old after endless paths of failed majors. I was 24 and finally a senior in college. A lot of people go to college for seven years. I was the Editor-In-Chief of my college newspaper. I had great friends who were also writers. (They’re still my best friends.) We felt like kings. After much persistence and constant e-mails, the editor of the magazine that covered the Bucs finally relented and allowed me to come on board and write as an intern. My press badge was approved. My first day at Buccaneers practice, Bruce Allen, then GM of the Buccaneers told me I was the youngest person to ever be granted a press badge for media access with the Bucs. I don’t know if that was true, but it made me feel incredibly special.

When I decided to become a sports writer, it was because I loved sports and I loved writing. What the hell, might as well combine both, right? I’d never be unhappy again. I’d be doing what I loved. Writing and sports. Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life. I’d heard that cliché yearly from my parents, teachers, professors and even my friends. I thought I had found my calling. Finally. FINALLY. I had found something that would make me happy.

Suddenly, everything that I had associated with the joy of sports writing was happening right before my eyes. It was a Christmas Miracle. Overtime. A series of heart wrenching turns for good and bad went back and forth. Atlanta lined up for a game winning 28-yarder. BLOCKED. Matt Bryant missed a field goal of the same length about six minutes later. The game was heading for a tie.  The Bucs had one last shot. They got within Matt Bryant’s range. He lined up for a 41-yard field goal to win the game. This game story was going to be brilliant. So many story lines, so much drama. Playoffs on the line. First place on the line. My face lit with excitement. Bryant put toe to leather, and the ball soared through the uprights. And at that moment, I lost control. The crowd exploded. I jumped up and down screaming over the dramatic come-from-behind victory. All journalistic integrity melted away at that moment as I leapt and screamed in joy. I grabbed my editor and screamed in his face, and he smiled and screamed back. We jumped up and down together. It took us a moment to recollect ourselves.

When we looked around, all the other sports writers had smiles on their faces too. It was as if, for a moment, they all got caught up in the moment with them. This young kid, dumb with a smile from ear-to-ear, just lost his mind on the sidelines. It took less than five seconds for them to wipe that look of their faces. They returned to their sneers and looked down on the feeble specialty magazine reporters leeching their press box food and ruining their press conferences with awful questions.  

The rest of the evening I went through the motions of being a normal journalist. Press conference, locker room questions, feverish writing in the press box as the sun went down. It was work, it was exhausting, and it never came nearly as close to the incredible feeling that surged through my body when the Buccaneers won that game. I looked around at all the other writers on the row. They looked just as miserable. It hit me then. I knew I didn’t want to do that job any more. No cheering in the press box. NO CHEERING? What are we here for? Everyone in that room probably started out in the same fashion that I had. But as the years wore on and the bottled up excitement had to be pushed down into their bowels, they slowly just became boring game recap artists. That wasn’t going to be me. I loved sports so much that I had to give it up. I wouldn’t write another story after that day. I was done with sports reporting. I vowed that I’d never become those zombies in the press box.

On the way home, my editor looked nervous. He was embarrassed for his outburst I assumed. The magazine was his living and he didn’t want to let his hard work crumble. I apologized for my actions. He told me not to worry about it, and I didn’t. I resigned from the internship the week after Tampa Bay was bounced out of the playoffs by the Washington Redskins.

After graduation, I took a job as a copy editor at a small newspaper. That lasted for about two months. It wasn’t for me. My heart wasn’t in it. The initial reason for being a journalist in the first place was gone. I changed careers and haven’t looked back.

Whenever a feeling of excitement runs through my body because of a sporting event, I always think back to Christmas Eve, 2005. I wanted that jolt again. I had that jolt last night watching Michigan in the national title game.

That long-winded explanation has a means to an end. The Michigan Wolverines, the school I’ve devoted countless hours of time to since I was eight years old, lost a heartbreaking game to the Louisville Cardinals last night. The game was full of those incredible, exciting moments that sent that jolt through my bones time and again.  Two powerhouse teams leaving everything they had on the court. Both exchanged haymakers and withstood the body blows. Louisville landed more punches in the end. I didn’t want it to end.

We journeyed with that team through heaven and hell and almost made it to the Promised Land with them. They were inches away from a historic, unlikely title. A perfect bow on a perfect season after so many years of basketball mediocrity.

As Mitch McGary tossed up that useless prayer to end the game, I felt the gut-wrenching feeling punch me in the gut. I collapsed on the couch and placed my head in my hands. It was deflating, but necessary. My wife came over and kissed me on the head and said, “They’ll be back, honey. Don’t give up hope.” I smiled, said thank you, and gave her a kiss as she retired to bed.

I sat up for a while, unable to shake the defeat. For the amazing highs that sports can bring, they can also bring unimaginable lows. The Bucs game was an amazing high. This was the lowest I’d felt about a sporting event in a long time. (2006 Ohio State Michigan will always take the cake, but 2005 Ohio State Michigan comes in at a close second. Damn you, Lloyd Carr. You punted.)

The most prominent thought in my head, though, was simple: Thank god I didn’t have to cover that game as a journalist. Thank god I didn’t have to hide my emotions. I’d have died. I’d have been kicked out of the press box, possibly the arena. I don’t have the best control over myself when my teams lose. Check my Twitter feed, you’ll see.

Games like that remind me why I’m a fan in the first place. It’s fun to lose yourself in something. To suppress that almost seems unholy. Your body shouldn’t have to do that. I guess that’s why I’ll always love bloggers more than actual journalists. Bloggers still wear their fandom on their sleeve. They still can be irrational despite overwhelming evidence that disproves their arguments. They, to me, are the lifeblood of sports reporting because they still maintain the humanity of it all. That’s not to say that there’s no place for sports reporters anymore. Far from it. Some of my favorite writers are still pulling the grind everyday. Kyle Meinke and Nick Baumgardner come to mind. But bloggers, I guess you could call me a blogger, will always have a little Kerouac in them. We’re the mad ones. We wear our emotions on our sleeves and get in arguments over ridiculous things. We follow our teams  around the country under the guise of journalism. We’re not journalists. Thank god for that.

I’ll always remember this season as one of the most entertaining, fulfilling journeys in my history as a Michigan Wolverine fan. Thank you, Michigan Basketball. Thank you, Coach Beilein. Until next year.

Wolverines back in Final Four for first time since Fab Five, F4 ticket demand strongest in four years

Friday, April 5, 2013

By Dan Groob, TiqIQ

It has been exactly 20 years to the day since Chris Webber’s infamous timeout-that-wasn’t quite possibly cost the University of Michigan Wolverines the 1993 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

Fast forward to tomorrow and the Curse of Chris becomes at least partially lifted, as the Wolverines will be making their first Final Four appearance since Webber’s ill-advised decision to trap himself in the corner and call for timeout with none remaining.

Tomorrow evening’s contest against the Syracuse Orange will mark the first time in NCAA history that two four seeds have faced each other. But these two teams are most certainly not your average four seeds. Both squads spent a majority of the season ranked among the top 10 teams nationally, with Syracuse ranking as high as No. 3, and Michigan even reaching No. 1 for a short while.
Although both the Wolverines and Orange dropped a few games down the stretch leading to their respective under-seeding, there is no question now that they are among the very best teams in the country. In fact, this season proves as well as any that records, rankings, and seeding don’t mean nearly as much as level of competition and being battle tested. While Gonzaga finished the regular season with the best record in college basketball at 31-2, Michigan and Syracuse lost 7 and 9 tough fought games, respectively, and used the experience to win some tough ones in the tournament when it counts.

Because Michigan carries such a large and devoted fan base that hasn’t seen their team in a Final Four in two decades, demand has absolutely skyrocket for tickets in Atlanta. Also contributing to elevated demand is the relatively close proximity for the basketball-crazy fans of Louisville, the large fan base of Syracuse, and the Cinderella/one-time appeal of Wichita State as well. Add it all up and you have the most expensive average NCAA semifinals ticket price of the past three years according to TiqIQ, checking in at $801.35 dollars. Simply getting in the door will set fans back $312 dollars a pop.

Final Four Semifinal Games

  • Average price = $801.35
  • Get-in price = $312
As has historically been the case, the price for a one game championship ticket is slightly less expensive than a two game semis ticket, at an average of $502 dollars. But with get-in prices of $312 for the semis and $124 for the championship, fans are almost certainly better off purchasing an All-Sessions pass. One of these passes to all three games currently carries an average price of $1,006 dollars, representing a 23% discount to purchasing both tickets individually. The cheapest available All-Sessions pass prices at just $330 dollars—barely above the get-in price for the semis alone.

All Sessions

  • Average price = $1,006.28
  • Get-in price = $330

NCAA Championship

  • Average price = $502.09
  • Get-in price = $124

For the fan who really wants to get the full NCAA-experience, Final Four tickets are also available for the Official NCAA Mens Final Four ELITE Hospitality program. The hospitality program takes place for three and a half hours prior to both Saturday’s and Monday’s games, and is a celebration of Atlanta, southern culture, and the Final Four. Hosted by John Salley and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the hospitality program features an open bar, live music, and plenty of ATL BBQ. 


Hospitality Package

  • Average price = $1,103.83
  • Get-in price = $447

The Curious Case of Reon Dawson

Friday, February 8, 2013

Crazy doesn’t discriminate. Crazy comes in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t care if you’ve had a bad day or if things at home are going poorly. It doesn’t care that you’ve committed to play football for the University of Michigan. Crazy certainly doesn’t care when you misspeak. Crazy sure as hell doesn’t care when you try to clear the air. Crazy gon’ Crazy.  If you step out of line, say something that Crazy can’t deal with, Crazy will come after you like a pit bull.

Such is the case with Reon Dawson, a recent commitment to the class of 2013. Dawson, originally an Illinois commit, switched over to the good guys soon after Michigan missed out on consensus five-star Leon McQuay. Dawson faxed in his Letter of Intent without a lick of drama. So why is everyone up in arms about Reon Dawson these days? Well, you’ll have to ask the Dayton Daily News, who ran this article about Reon Dawson yesterday. His comments in the article got the twittersphere in a tizzy when he was quoted as saying he was a “Buckeye for life”.

As you can imagine, that didn’t sit well with the Michigan fan base. Not soon after, the story started bouncing around and has shown up on the Detroit Free Press, SBNation, and Deadspin.

Try to see below the surface, just once. Dig a litter deeper. I know that's a crazy idea in this day and age. But you’ll see what Reon Dawson was trying to say. He’s from Ohio. He was born in the Buckeye state. So when he says he’s going to be a ‘Buckeye for life’, he means that he has pride in his home state. At least that’s what he told Sam Webb. You can read that article here.

I’m not here to defend Reon Dawson. I’m the kind of person that believes if you say something you better be ready for everything that goes with it. If he was misquoted, he’s owed an apology by the Dayton Daily News. (That won’t happen) If he wasn’t misquoted, then he’s better off just owning the comments. He’s since said through multiple venues that his comments were taken out of context. The original story, because of the rivalry and allegiances, will continue to float to the top.

Social media is a breeding ground for severe reactions. When something catches ablaze, you’re better off just getting out of the way. Rightfully so. We’re a society that wants instant access and we’re not afraid to share our irrational opinions without trying to get the full story first.

When you mix irrational responses with stupidity and erratic peculiar behavior you get a fantastically awful cocktail of embarrassment. People and various media outlets trying to capitalize of the absurdity of the moment further reactions. This is what I like to call “Davey Pageviews” syndrome. Davey Pageviews doesn't care about the message whether it's true, false or fully researched. Davey just wants you to click the links. It's working. This story has been retweeted thousands of times. (yes, I checked.)

As you can imagine. Crazy came out in full force. Before I continue, there's something I'd like to point out about crazy folk. Crazy has existed forever. There have been nutballs just itching at the opportunity to spew hate but never had the opportunity. But with the popularity of social media, Crazy often finds itself standing in front of a giant open mic attached to a megaphone with direct access to people that, in the past, they would never have had access. So let’s take a few moments to read some of the things floating around about Reon Dawson in the wake of his comments.

These first two aren't that crazy, but I had to screen cap these two. Nice shades bruh...

This guy above is a Michigan blogger. He's tweeting at a recruit, who he probably thinks he's friends with, asking him to 'straighten out' a kid who because he's not a 'true Michigan Man'. 

Sizzlin' hot take. 

Keep clinging to that baseball dream, sport. 

You hear that, "bro"? He's embarrassed for you. Seriously. 

A Michigan Man does not speak in the same breath as those heathens from beneath us, Reon. You'd better learn that soon... /handwank

Dawson took to Twitter to try and clear the air and was met with more resistance. I'm not going to screencap all the hate but here was his attempt to get the chum out of the waters:

Fellow commit and Trotwood teammate Mike McCray also stood up for his friend via Twitter. It didn't help either. 

I realize that a lot of this will fall on deaf ears. Crazy don't care. Lord forbid he cracks the starting lineup and gives up a big play to Ohio State. Twitter will probably melt with the crazy conspiracy theories. But to all the 'fans' out there giving this kid flack and spoiling what should be a momentous event in his life, go die in a fire. 

Road to B1G Title for Team 134

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

After the outstanding start to the Brady Hoke era in 2011, I'm sure many had their sights set on a B1G title last year before the season started. It didn't quite live up to expectations as a couple of key losses (Ohio State & Nebraska), and a few very close calls (Michigan State & Northwestern) left much to be desired heading into 2013.

Here are some of the issues Team 134 will need to tighten up if they want to get to the Rose Bowl.

1.) Improved secondary play: This pertains to one team for the most part, Ohio State. Michigan will likely have to beat Ohio State once and maybe twice to reach the Rose Bowl and be crowned B1G champions. Last year against the Buckeyes it was obvious that Michigan was overmatched  in the secondary. Urban Meyer's spread offense is predicated on taking what the defense is giving you based on the safeties. If there are two deep safeties, Ohio State will run the ball as it has the numbers advantage in the box. If it's a single deep or no deep safety look, Ohio State will throw. Last year Mattison decided to force the issue and bring the eighth man into the box with safety Jordan Kovacs. The problem was Thomas Gordon got sucked in by the play action fake and JT Floyd was beat deep to the post by Devon Smith. (Aforementioned play is at the :33 mark in the video sequence below)

This led Mattison to be much more conservative on the early downs the rest of the game, allowing Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde to rack up 146 yards on 26 carries. Another problem was the inability for the defensive backs to get off of blocks on bubble screens. Those are a staple of Meyer's offense.

2.) Transitioning to the Pro Style offense: With Denard departing, this is the year we will see what direction Al Borges and Brady Hoke really want to take the offense in. Devin Gardner proved last year that he is a capable passer and is adept at knowing when to pull the ball down and scramble. The offense has a great starting point with Gardner. In order for the offense to function at an optimum level the offensive line and running backs will have to take a big step forward. If Michigan can run the ball effectively it will make Gardner much more efficient.

Taylor Lewan deciding to come back for a fifth year along with Michael Schofield back at guard bode well for an improved rushing attack.. Those returnees coupled with some of the elite offensive line recruits Hoke has brought in should help in the transition. Michigan should also have running backs more suited to a downhill running game with Deveon Smith and Derrick Green, if Green commits to Michigan on January 26th.

3.) Having a capable backup QB: Unfortunately Michigan had to find out the hard way this year the value of having a capable backup QB. Had Gardner been ready to play at Nebraska, I believe Michigan would have been playing in Indianapolis in December. It was obvious once Bellomy entered the game that Michigan was going to struggle to move the ball and had little chance to win. That can't happen again this year. You have to have at least have one QB who is serviceable and ready to play. I think everyone in and around the program would like to see incoming five star freshman recruit Shane Morris get a redshirt. But if he is by far the second best option then he needs to be ready to play should Gardner go down. The coaching staff cannot risk another chance at a B1G title by anointing Bellomy the backup, only to find out he is non functional once again when thrown into the fire.

You can follow me on twitter @JamesALight

Visit Reaction: JJ McGrath

Friday, January 11, 2013

JJ McGrath (Lutheran North HS, MI), a 2013 kicker target for the Wolverines has just completed a visit with head coach Brady Hoke and special teams coordinator Dan Ferrigno.

McGrath took some time with to discuss his visit and where the Wolverines currently stand in his recruitment process.

JH: The obvious first question is how did the visit go today?

McGrath: The visit went really well. I managed to meet with with all of the coaches I haven't been able to meet yet. I also met Fitz (Fitzgerald Toussaint), Cam Gordon and Countess. During my visit I saw the field, academic advisory for my potential major, the dormitories and the football facilities. I loved it all with one exception, they don't have a cold tub (laughs).

JH: I know the coaches offered you a preferred walk-on spot on the roster. Is there legitimate interest in offering you a scholarship?

McGrath: I spoke to Ferrigno and Hoke and they want me to earn it IF (emphatic if) I am going to be apart of the team. It won't be long after I come in that I will earn it, though. Once Gibbons' eligibility expires, I hope to receive a full scholarship.

JH: Now that you've finished your visit, where does Michigan currently stand and when will you be announcing your choice?

McGrath: I'd say Michigan is definitely top three, including LSU and Southern Miss. I will be announcing my college choice this Friday.

It appears to me that McGrath had a positive visit. Anytime you can snag a talented kicker, especially one in state, you don't hesitate to do so. With the 2013 recruiting year coming to an end in mere weeks, we shall see what McGrath likes to do. To me, it appears Michigan is in a good spot. But only time will tell.

TBHR Michigan Fantasy Football Draft!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We at The Big House Report decided to do something a little "off the beaten path", so to speak. A few of our contributors participated in a fantasy football draft with all Michigan players! I pooled together what I felt represented the best players in their respective positions (offensive only except choosing one IDP and throwback defense).

We then chose our players one at a time -- draft order done at random -- to come to our final results. The pool of participants and players are as follows:

-       Josh (Picks Second)
-       Lance (Picks Third)
-       Mark (Picks Fifth)
-       Pete (Picks Sixth)
-       Ken (Picks First)
-       Kasidee (Picks Fourth)

Quarterback (Choose ONE):
-       Drew Henson
-       Chad Henne
-       John Navarre
-       Elvis Grbac
-       Tom Brady
-       Todd Collins
-       Brian Griese
-       Jim Harbaugh

Running Back (Choose TWO):
-       Chris Perry
-       Anthony Thomas
-       Tim Biakabutuka
-       Mike Hart
-       Jamie Morris
-       Ricky Powers
-       Tyrone Wheatley
-       Butch Woolfolk
-       Rob Lytle
-       Tom Harmon
-       Willie Heston
-       Gordon Bell
-       Billy Taylor
-       Lawrence Ricks

Wide Receiver (Choose TWO):
-       Anthony Carter
-       Braylon Edwards
-       Amani Toomer
-       David Terrell
-       Mario Manningham
-       Tai Streets
-       Desmond Howard
-       Mercury Hayes
-       Jason Avant
-       Roy Roundtree
-       Bennie Oosterbaan
-       Derrick Alexander
-       Marquise Walker
-       Jim Smith

Tight End (Choose ONE):
-       Ron Kramer
-       Jim Mandich
-       Jerame Tuman
-       Bennie Jopru
-       Tim Massaquoi
-       Derrick Walker
-       Jack Clancy
-       Jay Riemersma

Individual Defensive Player (Choose ONE):
-       Charles Woodson
-       LaMarr Woodley
-       Marlin Jackson
-       Ernest Shazor
-       Alvin Wistert
-       James Hall
-       Larry Foote
-       Jarrett Irons

Kicker (Choose ONE):
-       Garrett Rivas
-       Remy Hamilton
-       Jay Feely
-       Ali-Haji Sheikh
-       Mike Gillette
-       Bob Bergeron
-       Hayden Epstein
-       Mike Lantry

Defense (Choose ONE):
-       1997
-       2006  
-       1947
-       1901
-       2013
-       1971 

Here are the finished products as far as teams go:

Tom Brady 
Anthony Thomas 
Mike Hart
 Anthony Carter 
Desmond Howard 
Jerame Tuman
 Charles Woodson
  Jay Feely 
1997 defense

Brian Griese
Chris Perry
Tim Biakabutuka
Braylon Edwards
Bennie Oosterbaan
Ron Kramer
Ernest Shazor
Garrett Rivas
1901 defense 

Jim Harbaugh
Tyrone Wheatley
Tom Harmon
Mario Manningham
Mercury Hayes
Jay Riemersma
Jarrett Irons
Remy Hamilton
2013 defense

Chad Henne
Jamie Morris
Butch Woolfolk
David Terrell
Marquise Walker
Tim Massaquoi
Marlin Jackon
Mike Gillette
1947 defense

Elvis Grbac
Ricky Powers 
Billy Taylor
Amani Toomer
Derrick Alexander
Jim Mandich
LaMarr Woodley
Hayden Epstein
 2006 defense

John Navarre
Rob Lytle 
Willie Heston
Jason Avant
Tai Streets
Bennie Joppru
Bob Bergeron
Larry Foote
 1971 defense

You've looked at the teams and see where they rank. In your, opinion, who
wins? Leave a comment below or come and find us on Twitter! @TBHReport

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