Dantonio to ESPN's Brian Bennett: "We've beat Michigan the last four years. So where's the threat?" That's going to get some play.— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) April 18, 2012
If there are two things we know they are A) Mark Dantonio has a fiery temper and B) the man has nothing but contempt for the University of Michigan. This comment made to Brian Bennett in regards to Michigan's recent recruiting success falls right in line with that and it caused quite the stir yesterday as it made the rounds on twitter. There were, as always, message board posts about "bulletin board material" and jokes about Dantonio's previous comments toward Michigan.
What I didn't see is any admiration for this kind of attitude. Consider:
"We've beat Michigan the last four years. So where's the threat?" -- Mark Dantonio.
"That's a dang coaching mistake...the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up" -- John L Smtih
Michigan fans may not like Mark Dantonio, and for good reason (the last time he lost to Michigan he made short jokes about a student athlete and he has so little respect for Michigan that he recently cut off Michigan assistant Jeff Hecklinski at a coaching clinic), but it is impossible to argue with his logic: Michigan State has beaten Michigan four straight times, two of the games weren't even really close at halftime, and the last was the most Michigan's offense was pushed around all last year. Michigan State is set up to have a great deal of success in the near future. The defense is young and very strong, the offense has been solid for most of the last few seasons, and long gone are the days of the "Sparty No!" collapse that we all delighted in so much.
This is what happens when you're on the losing end. You listen to one of your rivals run his mouth and take potshots and you shut up and take it until you get him on the field. Recruiting victories and positive press don't chance the balance of power. Only wins do.
Michigan doesn't need any extra bulletin board material. The last four years are more than enough.
Over at Tremendous, Aquaman thinks that Dantonio Played It Right, but for a different reason. He ascribes to the theory that Michigan's runaway recruiting success is once again going to widen the gap between Michigan and Michigan State, and that Dantonio needs a power platform when dealing with recruits. While I agree, I think it gives way too much credit to Dantonio for something essentially said in the heat of the moment.
Lots more links on the way:
Denard Robinson cuts down turnovers, grows passing game 'immeasurably' in Michigan spring camp - More breaking news from AnnArbor.com: Turnovers = Bad*.
*(No offense to the guys at AA.com who do marvelous work, but this time of year lead to a lot of unanimated equine assault if you will. I've seen this same turnover article on Denard at least half a dozen places this spring. Call me when it gets real.)
It's Big Ten title or bust for Michigan, Hoke - High standards. Let's see how it works out for 'em.
4 questions surrounding the Michigan basketball team as it enters the offseason - Two of which basically boil down to "who replaces Novak and Douglass in the locker room." No surprise there.
Derrick Walton recaps Germany trip, looks ahead to AAU season - Michigan's next PG, 2013 recruit Derrick Walton talks about his year so far and what is coming in this summer's AAU season.
Rating the Raters: Reviewing Recruiting Services for Success and Bias - The Mathlete takes a look at recruiting rankings across the sites in order to figure out who does it best. Little surprise that Rivals narrowly inches out Scout, 247 doesn't have a long enough track record to register, and ESPN is too busy overrating everyone within earshot of the SEC to worry about accuracy.
The big news yesterday in the college football world was ESPN's shocking discovery that some college football players, gasp, smoke marijuana. There was the broader piece by Mark Schlabach, then an Oregon specific piece in which Sam Alipour took enough time off from hanging out with LeBron James to wag his finger at the Ducks.
Now, this isn't steroids in baseball or crack on the streets or alcohol in the car, but we are still talking about young men using a substance that is illegal (save me your high and mighty bullshit on whether it should be legal or not. I don't care). There are issues here that need to be dealt with, we just have to put our finger on just what exactly the problem is before we begin to get carried away with cries of "these football players are out of control."
Enter the always reasonable Ty Duffy:
Should you choose to discuss a Marijuana "problem," define the problem. Are we dealing with a moral issue, a legal issue or a competitive issue? Are we concerned with (A) players using marijuana occasionally and recreationally (B) players' habitual usage affecting academic and/or athletic performance or (C) players become involved with dealing and criminal activity?
C is a big deal, B is worrisome, and A is the kind of thing that a large portion of the population --- either with marijuana or some other substance --- is guilty of. TCU players running drugs is unequivocally bad. Starting linebackers lighting up at night after 14 hours of class, practice, and weight training is in a gray area that ESPN isn't going to be able to parse out.
What should be more troubling than the realization that college kids smoke pot is that the NCAA is still allowing schools to dictate the lives of student athletes based not on that player's best interest, but petty jealousy and childish tantrums by the coach.
Wisconsin freshman basketball player Jared Uthoff wishes to transfer after spending a year on the bench. Maybe a hasty decision, but it is his life. Bo Ryan and the rest of the Wisconsin athletic department have effectively barred 25 options (in all actuality 14 options as the Big Ten prohibits intra-conference transfers; a rule I can't get too upset about since it is established and seemingly fair to all parties).
Dan Wetzel, what do you think about this?
When it comes to dodging calls for increased compensation for athletes, for fairer treatment of breadwinners, for explanation on why this entire billion-dollar enterprise remains tax-free, they lean on that simple collegiate model - these are just college students who play sports.
When it comes to actually running the enterprise, even a kid who's never scored a point is considered a controllable entity, a professional who signed a contract (a scholarship agreement that was neither individually nor collectively bargained, of course) with a school and must adhere to the letter of it.
Bo Ryan is making $2.1 million per year, a rate that should demand he figures out how to successfully operate his program in spite of a teenager changing his mind. Wisconsin basketball is not going to crumble because it might have to face off against a former player one day.
Remember things like this next time you make an amateurism argument about college athletics.
A few more quick links:
A Spring Glimpse into the Urban Meyer Offense and Personnel - Ross Fulton breaks down the basics of OSU's offense after seeing some spring scrimamges.
Treadmill - Basketball Prospectus on the value of tanking in the NBA vs. staying the course with a fringe playoff team.
Take a shot at good lottery picks away from Charlotte, and how are they supposed to get better? If rebuilding for a terrible team becomes a long-term affair that requires flawless late-first round drafting, there will be an eddy of shitty teams at the bottom of the league with no hope of improvement. If you think watching a team bag the end of a season is bad for the fans, what do you think a decade of relentless awfulness would do for them? The worst thing for an NBA team to be right now is decent but no better; a team in that position can try to get better, or get short-term worse to be long-term better. If we make the worst thing for an NBA team to be genuinely bad, how is such a team supposed to escape that prison?
The stellar NBA blog There Are No Fours takes its own look at tanking and what we hope to accomplish by getting rid of it.
Our favorite Mike Wallace stories - Watch the best of Mike Wallace on 60 minutes.
Bonus after the jump, the best twitter reactions to the ESPN pot expose.
This would be funny if marijuana wasn't killing millions of teens every day. RT @scrappled: More like 3rd and Bong, right?— Adam Jacobi (@Adam_Jacobi) April 18, 2012
To be fair, I'd need to be high too to read all the way through ESPN The Magazine.— FriendsoftheProgram (@FOTProgram) April 18, 2012
Apologies to Mark Schlabach on being the only person in the college football media to never be offered pot :(— Luke Zimmermann (@lukezim) April 18, 2012