Things ran long in first part of today's Happy Hour, so it will be a double dose. Look for part two coming at 11am. For now, links:
Former Michigan football players see Wolverines 'torturing' Urban Meyer and Ohio State in coming years - I'll have what Steve Everitt is having.
But seriously, it is nice to have The Game back to the point where both sides are brash and confident. I was on campus for the last of the Carr years and I know how it feels when that confidence slips out of your grasp and you walk into The Game with a feeling of dread hanging over you like a rain cloud in a Zoloft commercial. Optimism is more fun anyway.
Email exchange: Legends spring wrap-up - The guys over at ESPN's Big Ten blog finished up the spring tours of each campus (save Minnesota, because Minneapolis is a cold, unforgiving place in the spring. See also: Minnesota football). Most of this centers around what will be the main point of discussion over the next few months: Michigan or Michigan State.
Back to Storm the Dorm for one more point: It may not even be possible right now to have a female announcer doing national coverage and displaying any hint of the wacky personality I so cherish in the above-listed gentlemen. We’re all not there yet. Would a pair of ladies reciting the exact same lines, word for word, as those Hawaii homers be greeted as a fitting sideshow for a game with a 1 a.m. ET kickoff, or derided for show of bias and lack of analytical chops? I have a guess.
Holly Anderson putting some perspective on the demotion of sexism-lightning-rod and all-around poor college football announcer Pam Ward. Ward opened doors, but she did so as many pioneers do: by just being there, not being the best. Let's hope that her contribution to women's place in sports is greater than her influence on their style, because nobody gets away with badmouthing injured players, even girls.
The Rose Bowl, the Playoffs, and Jim Delany's Long Game - Brian Cook dealt with this in UV yesterday, but I wanted to add my own two-cents.
I think the Big XII/SEC "Champions" bowl actually adds more fuel to the fire when looking at the Big Ten's undying love for the Rose Bowl. If those two conferences see enough value in creating a game that will rarely, if ever, feature both conference champions, couldn't the Big Ten do the same with the Rose Bowl? The Rose Bowl is no stranger to taking the second place team from either the Big Ten or the Pac-12. This saves the tradition of the Rose Bowl as a matchup between the two conferences, and gives the Big Ten a chance to push for on-campus semi-finals. Win/win as far as I'm concerned. Tell me why I'm wrong, I dare you.
One looming issue still persists that negates this concern. It’s an issue that contradicts the very nature of professional and collegiate football itself: We still watch the game. Despite the mounting tragedies, the popularity of football in the United States has only grown in recent years. The Super Bowl set the record for U.S. television ratings three years in a row, with the latest garnering an average of 111.3 million viewers. Eight of the Big House’s 10 highest attendances — which are effectively collegiate football’s attendance records —have occurred in the past two years. When a market this conductive to the growth of a product such as collegiate or professional football is present, questions of ownership with issues like player safety persist. Who is to be held responsible for Duerson or Waters? Surely the players who delivered the hits to Duerson, Waters, Webster, Easterling or Seau could point the finger of blame to the coaches who called the plays. The coaches, likewise, could turn the fault to the owners and athletic directors who pay them to make these decisions. And who else would the owners and ADs shift the blame to but us, the very fans who put the money into their hands, who create the demand for such a product?
I caught this opinion piece on The Daily's website yesterday and was blown away. At some point we are going to have to look in the mirror and come to terms with our place in football and the parade of injuries.
Even More College Football Relegation - Of course the Mathlete would take something like conference relegation/restructuring and one up everyone else's efforts. Truly outstanding work that won't ever be relevant because if we have to fight tooth and nail for a four-team playoff imagine how much AD blood would have to be spilled -- probably literally -- to revamp the sport into a true meritocracy.
"What (coach Bo Ryan) was saying with too many kids transferring is kids should have some obligation, too," Izzo said. "There's too many middlemen getting in the way of all this stuff, so that part he was right on. But I've never held a kid back. If the kid doesn't want to be there, I don't want him there."
Tom Izzo conveniently forgets to mention that for years colleges have been offering single year scholarships that must be renewed, and that coaches can bolt to other programs at will while players have to transfer, seek permission to talk to other schools, and then sit out a year before they move, all the while they don't make a dime off the games they play. The grad-year transfer rule may be against the spirit of the game, but if it gives college kids any sort of leverage, I have a hard time buying into it being wholly bad.
But wait! Gallant understands that providing a recruiting-age camper a new stick is a violation of NCAA bylaws 13.2.1 and 18.104.22.168, and correctly denies the camper the equipment needed to participate. To further ensure that there's no potential culpability or possible misinterpretation of the camper/university relationship, Gallant repeatedly tells the camper that he "sucks," "is a giant baby idiot," and continues to taunt and mock him until his mother comes and picks him up. Gallant refrains from hitting on the camper's mother because this is not a Wisconsin football sponsored event.
This about sums up 80% of the NCAA rule book.
Luckily, Twitter allows us to mock the recycled plots of sports and circumvent talking meatheads. Hallelujah! But what happens when criticism becomes more entertaining than the subject at hand? Can criticism supplant the substance of sports itself? Generations raised on dial-up internet connections scoff at young folk checking smartphones during games. They don't understand just how long 200 milliseconds feels (an eternity) when waiting for your favorite Twitterer to make a joke about a missed goal. They dare to ask, in a judgmental tone: Has technology shortened our attention span? We timidly rebut: No, it has only activated fertile parts of the brain untouched since the dawn of humankind. Everybody knows that the first fish to breathe air after landing on a beach would've checked in on Foursquare if given the chance. We owe it to past generations to seek instant gratification buttons for each nanosecond that they could not. We heroically carry forward the flame of humanity, aglow from our torch app on our iPhone.
Twitter is just a tool for me to expand what I've been doing while watching sports my whole life: wise-cracking and trying to make other people laugh.