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Thursday Morning Brews: Shine on brightly

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Catching up on what went down over the holidays

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, folks. Welcome back to Morning Brews. I have emerged from my holiday slumber to bring you this eclectic edition of the Brews, so strap in. As we race toward the end of the year, the new year is coming into focus. There’s still time for you to take yourself to the wishing well for your New Year’s resolution, but the bowl game is fast approaching. We already have some good bowl coverage out there (Roundtable, Hurst to play, and Top-5 Bowl Games) and some gameweek staples will be coming as well—like our preview and the ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ series.

To that end, I want to mostly cover what’s going on in the world of Michigan sports that’s not related to the bowl game this morning (though there will be some bowl stuff). We start out with one of the first dispatches from team practice down in Florida, before moving on to an interview with Don Brown about preparing for the bowl game, a take on the state of Michigan’s football program, and more.

As usual, there’s a song referenced in this morning’s Brews. There are at least two clues. Clues may be words, phrases, or photos and may reference the song title, lyrics, the album, or the artist. If you think you can guess this morning’s song, fire away down in the comments.

Let’s get to it:

If you are anything like me, you start to get a little bit of football withdrawal during the early part of December. Yeah, there’s the NFL—but it’s just not the same. Fortunately, that thirst is slaked by the start of bowl season. Any old bowl game will do. I even watched the DII playoffs at one point this year. Anyway, Michigan’s bowl practice blackout period is coming to an end. The team has been practicing in Florida and various sports writers are starting to arrive and put out content on Twitter. Our very own Trevor Woods will be in Tampa covering the bowl game for Maize n Brew starting the 29th, so stay tuned.

Don Brown recently sat down with Sam Webb and the folks over at 247 to discuss the impending bowl game. Of South Carolina, Brown said, “You've gotta be alert. They're gonna run all the spread run pieces. They don't feature the quarterback in the run game as much, although, he is capable of escaping. He throws it very consistently, especially the middle game. That intermediate pass game. Certainly got some challenges ahead for us, but we're excited about it.” For more on what Brown sees against South Carolina and his thoughts on Mo Hurst playing in the Outback Bowl, check out the article above (no paywall).

Jim Harbaugh is building something at Michigan. He’s turning around a program that had a losing season three years ago; a program that broke a 33-year consecutive bowl appearance streak nine years ago. Like Trevor said two weeks ago, “The Harbaugh era of Michigan football has been about trusting the process to this point.” With this year’s senior class, we’re starting to see signs of what Nick Baumgardner calls the ‘foundation’ of Michigan football. Players currently on the roster will need to change positions, they’ll need to work harder, and they’ll need to compete. The fact that current stars like Chase Winovich and Khalid Hill did just that shows the process is working. For Baumgardner’s full take, check out his article linked above.

The post-holiday lull is coming to an end for sports other than football, like both Men’s and Women’s basketball and hockey. Women’s basketball starts this week ranked at No. 21, and they’ll open their conference schedule this evening against Penn State. If you’re in the SE Michigan/NE Ohio region, tickets are only $1 so consider a road trip. If not, the game will be broadcast on BTN. Women’s basketball currently stands at 11-2 on the season, which is a win better than the team was at this point in their record-setting season last year.

As we brought you last week, Chase Winovich wanted to give back this holiday season and pledged to dye his hair orange for the Outback Bowl if $15,000 was raised for the ChadTough Foundation. Well, that goal was reached and it has kept going. Grant Newsome said he would dye his hair if the total hit $38,500. It did. Maurice Hurst joined in at $73,000. Devin Bush, Josh Metellus, and Larry Prout Jr. said they would dye their hair orange if the total hit $100,000. It did. Even Don Brown got in on the act, pledging to dye his mustache orange if the total hit $125,000. With the total, as of writing, now over $143,000, this story just keeps going. Michigan Regent Ron Weiser has now pledged to match, dollar for dollar, all donations raised up to $1 million. This is certainly a worthy cause, and one that MnB fundraised for earlier this year. If you want to donate, click on the link in the tweet above.

This last tweet is a bit of levity. The holiday cheer got into several sports twitter accounts on Christmas eve, as they managed to produce a piecemeal rendition of the classic ‘Twas the Night before Christmas.’ To see the full chain of tweets, click on the link in the tweet above. Happy holidays, folks.