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Thursday Morning Brews: Go East, young man

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Players should make the best decision for themselves, even if that means sitting out a bowl game

Outback Bowl - South Carolina v Michigan Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Happy Thursday, folks. Welcome to Morning Brews. This morning we’re talking about bowl games, and why I think there’s never been any reason for players making the jump to the NFL to risk injury by playing. Also this morning, we touch briefly on some recruiting news and we check in with women’s basketball.

As usual, there is a song referenced in this morning’s article. There are at least two clues. Clues may be words, phrases, or pictures and they may reference the title, song lyrics, the artist, or the album on which the song appears. If you think you know today’s song, fire away down in the comments.

Let’s get to it:

Michigan v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

So what if Hurst, Winovich, and others don’t play in the bowl game?

There seems to a be a growing trend of potential NFL draft picks, and potential first-round picks in particular, skipping their team’s bowl games. Sports Illustrated wrote on this very topic about a week ago, going so far to call it the “Fournette/McCaffrey Model” after two stars from last year who decided to forego their respective bowl games. To be sure, there is debate about this trend among fans, sports writers, and players.

If you peruse the replies to the Tweets of journalists and athletes (I wouldn’t recommend it), you’ll see some rather unkind comments directed toward players for simply considering not playing - much less actually announcing they won’t play. Michigan isn’t immune from this sort of thing. Jabrill Peppers was subjected to a fair bit of criticism when he didn’t play in last year’s Orange Bowl. He even posted film of his injury earlier in practice, just to show fans that he hadn’t sat out voluntarily.

This year, no Michigan players—so far as I am aware—have announced that they will skip the bowl game. Seniors Ty Isaac and Mason Cole have affirmatively announced that they plan to play in the game. Chase Winovich has announced that, “It will take an army . . .” to prevent him from playing in the game. At last check, Maurice Hurst was unsure of whether they would play in the game or not. But even if he doesn’t play, so what?

I’m of the opinion that these players don’t owe us anything, and it’s particularly harder to argue that these guys should play after seeing what happened to Peppers and Jake Butt. Fortunately, Butt took out an insurance policy to help compensate him if he was injured and his draft stock fell. After the draft, Darren Rovell estimated that Butt’s ACL injury from the Orange Bowl cost him $2.8 million - and that’s after Butt’s insurance policy paid him $543,000.

To be sure, Jake Butt is a better man than I am. Afterward, he told the Detroit Free Press, “I’ll never regret playing in a football game in my life.” Yeesh. I applaud his love of the game, but if I ever do something to cost myself $2.8 million I won’t be quite so stoic. Also, not for nothing, but Butt has spent his rookie season on the IR. He hasn’t and won’t play a snap of professional football this year.

If I were Maurice Hurst, I wouldn’t play in the bowl game - and I, as a spectator, wouldn’t blame him for sitting out. In Todd McShay’s latest mock draft, he projected Hurst to be a late first round pick - number 28 to the New Orleans Saints. How much money is on the table for Hurst? Well, Taco Charlton was selected No. 28 last year and his four year rookie deal is worth a hair over $10 million. I haven’t seen a mock draft for Chase Winovich yet, but NFL Draft Scout ranks him as the No. 9 DE if he decides to go pro.

In my estimation, there is simply too much money on the table to not make the business decision and sit out the bowl game. This is generational, life changing, family circumstances changing money, and I just can’t blame any athlete who realizes that and forgoes playing in their team’s bowl game.

Do you think these players should play in the bowl game or do you think they should sit out if they want? Weigh in with the poll below and down in the comments.

Poll

Should players going to the NFL play in their bowl games?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Yes
    (460 votes)
  • 40%
    No
    (395 votes)
  • 12%
    Other (comment)
    (125 votes)
980 votes total Vote Now

Speaking of players who could one day be going pro, Jim Harbaugh recently went in-home with the second highest rated prospect in Michigan’s 2018 class - Mustapha Muhammad. Muhammad checks in at No. 134 in the 247 Composite rankings. He has a four-star rating, and is the No. 5 TE prospect in the cycle. From everything I’ve seen about the visit, it went well. Afterward, Muhammad told Brice Marich of 247 Sports ($) that he and Harbaugh, “have a really good relationship, one that is going to keep getting stronger through the years. Ever since I met him, we kind of just bonded, that's the type of guy he is.” All things appear to be well in this recruiting race.

In a shift of fortunes from last week, Deontay Anderson will not be transferring to Michigan. Anderson, along with Van Johnson and Shea Patterson, is transferring from Ole Miss and had recently visited Michigan. It appears that the impediment to him joining the Wolverines was administrative, and not a matter of him wanting to play elsewhere. Andrew Vailliencourt of The Wolverine Magazine is reporting that Anderson’s transcripts “didn’t go through.” I suspect what he means by that is there was a problem transferring Anderson’s Ole Miss credits to Michigan.

Another edition of the Brews, another Michigan women’s basketball victory to report. This time the Wolverines did, well, what you would expect Wolverines to do to North Florida - they cruised to a relatively stress free victory this past Tuesday night. Michigan led 24-4 after the first quarter and didn’t look back en route to a 79-34 victory. Katelynn Flaherty led all scorers with 27 pts. Hallie Thome had 11 pts. and Jillian Dunston recorded 15 rebounds. North Florida shot 17.5% from the floor. The Wolverines will be back in action on Saturday when they play Fort Wayne.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Chase Winovich was undecided on whether to play in the bowl game or not. In fact, Winovich has stated that he would play in the bowl game.