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Tuesday Happy Hour fits the mold

Yesterday Phil Steele released an interesting article that looks at past national champions in order to forecast what teams are most likely to compete for the title this year. The methodology was simple: Steele simply looked at each statistical category, drew a line for the lowest performing national champion in the past two decades, then cut off teams that fell below that line. After looking at a whole bunch of offensive and defensive categories, only twelve teams were left.

Along with some of the national favorites like Alabama, LSU, Oregon, and FSU, three Big Ten teams made the list: Michigan State, Nebraska, and Michigan.

While this doesn't take into account things like the ridiculous schedule, the dearth of wide receivers, or a totally reworked defensive line, it is nice to get some MNC love.

On to the links:

Michigan AD Dave Brandon: Big Ten not currently looking to expand, but will keep 'options open'

"We’re in the good position of being able to sit it out, find out where we are, but I think we’re of the mind we have to keep our options open and make sure we’re doing the right thing for the future of the conference."

Please, nobody say "Rutgers" and "wow-factor" in the same sentence.

Tremendous has some comments from Jourdan Lewis and David Dawson on the performance of each at The Opening. This includes an explanation of Dawson's Florida-visit-drama and the possibility of Lewis to WR. Both are, naturally, worth the read (it is Tremendous after all).

What to watch for: July evaluation period - UMHoops outlines the coming month in Michigan basketball recruiting, including what camps will be of the most importance to recruits and coaches, what the recruiting plan for 2014 looks like right now, and what the three 2013 recruits have to do to improve to move up further in the rankings.

The Opening: Top performers on offense

It is pretty easy to pencil in Morris as the second-best quarterback at The Opening because there was a significant drop off after him to the other four QB's. We've seen him in action a few times this year and we can't help but notice that his arm is much stronger than it was this time last year. He was the top guy during pool play but was hot and cold during the tournament go around, tossing a few interceptions and sailing the ball high at times. He did a good job of getting the ball out quickly but when he had to move on to other reads, that's when he started to struggle. There were some grumbles that Morris was the reason his team didn't win the championship but, frankly, they wouldn't have even been in a position to play for it if it were not for the five-star's precision passing most of the weekend.

Shane Morris comes in for praise from CBSSports as the second best quarterback, but it comes with the standard caveats that seem to follow Shane: big arm but some inconsistency. Still, being the clear number two quarterback at an event this big is nothing to be ashamed of. Michigan target Alvin Bailey also comes in for praise.

College Football Awards 2012: National Watch Lists Now Being Released - Thus far Michigan placed no players on the Bednarik Award watch list and two players, Denard Robinson and Fitzgerald Toussaint, on the Maxwell Award watchlist. I'm not particularly surprised that Michigan didn't get any Bednarik love as the the defense lost its two biggest names (Martin, Van Bergen) to graduation and returns a lot of young players. I expect a couple of these guys to play their way on to next year's watch list, and from here on out Michigan should be well represented.

Today the Mackey Award watchlist (top TE) and Rimington Award watchilst (top center) will be announced. Michigan most likely won't place a player on either list.

2012 Nebraska Football Preview: Is Good, Good Enough? - Bill Connelly takes a look at Nebraska going into 2012 and comes out with the assessment: pretty good, not great.

What Makes A Good Neutral Site? - Land-Grant Holy Land looks at some interesting options for neutral site games in the future, to which I say, "college football in Estadio Azteca would be insane and I would risk kidnapping to go watch it.

Come on, Dave. This has "wow-factor" written all over it. Granted it is written in spray paint by Mexican gangs heavily involved in human trafficking and drug smuggling, but it's still there.

No. 62: Western Michigan

The magic number is 33. Since replacing Gary Darnell in 2005, Bill Cubit has lost only three games — a 60-57 loss to Ball State in 2005; a 39-38 loss to Akron in 2007, thanks to an epic special teams meltdown; and last year’s loss to Toledo — when scoring 33 or more points; overall, Western Michigan has gone 28-3 in such games. In all other games, in contrast, the Cubit-led Broncos are 19-36. Hence Cubit’s game of musical chairs at defensive coordinator: Western Michigan has been through five coordinators over the last seven years. Of the five, only Scott Shafer carried his weight — even if Bill Miller turned one season under Cubit into the coordinator job at Louisville. Steve Morrison lasted two years before ceding way to former Hofstra head coach Dave Cohen, who likewise lasted two years, through last season, before being replaced by former safeties coach Rich Nagy. For Cubit’s sake, W.M.U. hopes that the fifth time is the charm.

Pre-Snap Read looks at the Broncos of WMU.


Funnier still would be taking the most wooden of Tallahassee's football Native Americans, outfitting him in an ACC rival's garb, and then asking his leaden feet to run the flexbone with Paul Johnson. The over/under on downs-until-dead is somewhere around 18 snaps, though the wiser bet would be the "faking injury to be taken out forever." That number stands at 13; the bet for "Digital Not-Paul Johnson snaps his elderly neck" is at eight snaps or so.<--is part of programming and you know it.

EDSBS wonders what would be the worst fits when it came to Heisman winners on 2012 teams.