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Notes from the Internets: A New Favorite Player

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BlogPoll, Week #1
The results are here, and look who's taken home his rightful hardware again.

Inarguably one of the true pleasures of college football season
The weekly Gunslinger GameDay recap.

Peep Game
Michigan NCAA Fanhouse - Brian's new hustle.

Nothing like a redemption story
Though not quite as awkward, contrived, or homoerotic as Kirk Herbstreit's annual "Guys Who Just Look Good in a Uniform" designations, one of the peculiar parts of college football fandom is the inexplicable affinity that you can develop for various players. Sure, like all Michigan fans, I loved Charles Woodson and Tom Brady, but the guy who I really liked was FB Chris Floyd. We marveled at David Terrell's physical gifts, but for me, there was always something somehow more rewarding about celebrating Marquis Walker. It's sort of the same reason that I love Alan Finger on Dog Bites Man: it's a little too easy to love the stars when there are other guys whose contributions require more and mean almost as much.

Coming into the season, the player on this year's Michigan team who seemed likely to run away as a new Chris Floyd was Shawn Crable. You can't find a fan who doesn't gush about what Mike Hart means to the program, and you'd be similarly lonely were you to rent out a room for people who don't like LaMarr Woodley. But Crable has scrapped to become a leader of the team--he didn't have a position; he had the wrong attitude; and as of recently, he's been doing it all for two kids. You gotta root for a nice guy who's gone through all that.

But Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press has unearthed another player who might wind up being the undisputed feel-good story of the year: senior defensive end Rondell Biggs.

Writes Snyder:

He's the guy who last week took sophomore Terrance Taylor to JC Penney to buy a suit, so that the youngster would be properly outfitted for game days.

He's the one who drove Jeremy Van Alstyne, with whom he battled for snaps in the past, for an MRI when Van Alstyne was injured.

And he meticulously nursed roommate David Harris back to health after major knee surgery following the 2003 season.

He would help Harris descend the stairs from their fourth-floor dorm room, assist when Harris needed to get up and stumble to the bathroom at night and get him food.

That's some Samwise Gamgee-Master Frodo shit right there. Are you kidding me? How can you read that and not root for Biggs? (Especially when he comes up with four TFLs and two sacks?)

Also notable: Lloyd Carr, apparently done with the nonfiction predilection of his early tenure, has turned to new reading material when searching for ways to motivate his players:

So when he had other offers as a senior, including one from MSU, he waited until a scholarship opened with the Wolverines. After three years of battling homesickness, being challenged with transfer papers by coach Lloyd Carr and waiting his turn to start, Biggs finally appreciates the game as much as his family does. (emphasis added)
How many guys is Lloyd gonna challenge like that? And related, why doesn't he do the same with underperforming assistants? Next thing you know, we'll read that Tim Jamison, struggling to gain weight in order to adequately defend against the run, faced a trying time when Carr pulled out a soy-guava shake and challenged him to either eat all those protein-rich meats in the cafeteria or suck down wheatgrass.

Stewart Mandel, still a fucking douche
You probably already know how I feel about Stewart Mandel, what with the links and the title above. The problem is that I want to like him. A) I'm loyal to the Sports Illustrated brand--I've been subscribing since I was nine-years-old, and no other sports outlet's writing is consistently as smart or literary. B) Mandel is occasionally capable of an original idea or a unique perspective, the few tantalizing needles that compel me to regularly sift through his weekly haystack of contrived gimmicks and misinformed opinions. C) Respected others like him, and I'm still trying to figure out why.

Well, Stewpot didn't help his cause much today. From his mailbag column, discussing the significance of this weekend's Penn State-Notre Dame Re-Re-Re-Re-Re-Return to Glory Bowl:

You're Notre Dame and you want to prove you're not a pretender? Beat the No. 3 team in the country from last season.
Let's all say this together...




NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! Beating last year's #3 team means NOTHING this year. The college football continuum doesn't work that way. Team A of 2005 is not Team A of 2006 when said Team A has a new quarterback, new offensive line, new defensive line, and new secondary. And I am not trying to knock Penn State; the point it just that Mandel's "analysis," as usual, is lazy and insipid. This man is paid to think about college football full time?

Just Because the Grass Is Always Greener Doesn't Mean That Yours Isn't Brown
One of the few good things that came from Mandel this week was this gem from Urban Meyer that Stewpot included in his Top 25 ballot:

The final result (a 34-7 win over Southern Miss) was admirable, but Urban Meyer was fuming over the lack of long pass plays: "Twenty-nine yards was our longest reception -- we are Florida." (emphasis added)
Oh to have a coach who actually wanted to stretch the field...

The Least Surprising News of the Year
Jim Tressel is a liar. Related: Peter King likes Brett Favre; George Allen is a racist; white people still love "Hey Ya!"

Yeah, What They Said
Count me among the many who don't care for the rules changes meant to speed-up college football games. EDSBS and SMQ (lots of initials!) have all that you need to know.