02. November 2014 · Comments Off on Dr. Sap’s Decals | Morning in Ann Arbor Edition · Categories: 2014 · Tags: , , , , , ,

maratop[1]

Sap is refreshed, recharged and kindly offers you his post-Hoosier decals.  I tossed in the Editor’s edition for good measure:

 

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION

AMARA DARBOH – This was the breakout game we’ve all been waiting for from Darboh for the past 2 years. Much like the Detroit Lions needed another wide receiver to complement Megatron, the Michigan passing game needed another option downfield other than Devin Funchess. Especially now, when Devin Gardner’s foot injury is forcing him to do his best Dan Fouts-stay-in-the-pocket-no-matter-what impression, Darboh gives the offense another place to go with the ball other than wherever Funchess is.

 

Hopefully Darboh can use this game to jump start his career and the U-M passing game.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION

RYAN GLASGOW – It was obvious that the Michigan defense came to play this game and made sure there was going to be no repeat of last year’s basketball-like score against IU. That all starts up front, and while there were several guys who played lights out by keeping the Hoosiers under 200 yards of total offense, I singled out Glasgow because of his strip and fumble recovery – all in the same play. These guys in the trenches don’t often get the glory, but you had to like what Glasgow did.

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION

MATT WILE – A missed field goal can be momentum-killing and team deflating – just ask Indiana how they felt when their kicker doinked one off the upright early in the game. You gotta make your kicks when you get the chance and not give your opponent the energy and momentum to get back in the game. That’s why Matt Wile’s field goals, why they may seem mundane and unspectacular, were important against IU.

 

Coaches (and Blue-hairs) will tell you that you have to execute in all three phases of the game. Wile did his part against Indiana on Saturday.

UNIFORM CHAMPION

YELLOW LACES – I appreciate the little things that make the Michigan uniform iconic. We’ve all seen the blue socks before and the Pink colored accessories that appear each November. Me? I was geeked when I saw a few of the guys wearing yellow laces on their cleats:

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If you are going to deviate from the traditional black shoes with white laces by adding blue and yellow highlights to the Michigan footwear, you might as well coordinate to the max and make sure the laces don’t clash!

 

EDITOR’S CHOICE

JOHN U. BACON – It was great to see Bacs back upstairs in the press box this week and I’ll leave it at that.

 

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On this day in 1923 give a hearty cheers to the unofficial birth of the Michigan ice hockey program.   As beautifully chronicled in John U. Bacon’s Blue Ice, the long road for fans of the sport on campus culminated on this day 91 years ago as Michigan took on Wisconsin at The Coliseum.   U-M’s Eddie Kahn netted the first goal in team history, and it was Robert Anderson who tallied the game winner in overtime for the 2-1 victory.

Sharing a few quotes from Blue Ice that Bacs pulled from the Michigan Daily:

“Hockey is a game that nine-tenths of the students have never seen, and could not be persuaded to attend,” one student wrote, in a piece that is almost as accurate today as it was when the anonymous student wrote it eight decades ago.  “There are many others, however, who will turn out for the first game.  This last class will be the one that will furnish the hockey following, for few people who have ever seen a game have failed to become confirmed enthusiasts.  It is a sport that combines the science of football, the combination demands of basketball and the individual skill of baseball, with a speed that belongs to hockey alone.”

“Above all other attributes of the game itself, the greatest reason why the Coliseum should be packed to the doors tomorrow night and Saturday night is Michigan spirit, the quality for which the Maize and Blue is known throughout the country.”

“It is up to you.  The players cannot do it alone.”

“Be there.”

For more grab Blue Ice, you won’t be disappointed…whether or not you give a crap about hockey.

 

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You missed it.  I’ve got it. 

From this morning it’s author John U. Bacon who joined  guest host Larry (Pee Wee boys machine-pitch baseball coach) Lage and Ira in studio at WTKA to discuss his latest tome, the long awaited yet-to-be released Fourth And Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football.  

Bacs was kind enough to share an advanced proof copy of the book with me and I’m digging in right now.  I can already tell you my favorite chapter is entitled “The Battle for the Brown Jug” and the term “Brown Jugologist” made it through the first few edits. $$$

A few less jug-enabled media members have torn through the book as well and here are a few testimonials:

“John U. Bacon went deep inside the world of college football, penetrating the locker room doors to meet some players you won’t forget and, most amazingly, learn the secrets coaches protect more fiercely than the CIA. By getting so close to the heart of the sport, Bacon reminds us what we love about our greatest game.” – John Saunders, studio host at ESPN and ABC College Football

Fourth and Long“John Bacon’s exploration of the uncontrolled greed, intellectual corruption, and sheer mendacity that have captured college football would be depressing – if it weren’t so wonderfully reported, engagingly written, and utterly persuasive. If you care about college sports, Fourth and Long is required reading.” -Daniel Okrent, bestselling author, Nine Innings and Last Call


“No one knows the Big Ten better than John U. Bacon, so it’s no surprise he picked the perfect football season to chronicle in his groundbreaking book, Fourth and Long. Bacon has written a riveting portrait of a watershed season in the most venerable college conference in the nation. The Big Ten is at the vortex of so many issues in college sports, and Bacon expertly covers them all.”  — Christine Brennan, USA Today national sports columnist, ABC News commentator, best-selling author of Inside Edge and Best Seat in the House

“John U. Bacon has gotten to the core of the tug-of-war between players and fans on one side, and the people running college sports exclusively for their own profit on the other.  Bacon provides unique perspective that causes even the most ardent supporter of the status quo to question the future of this cherished American institution.” – Jay Bilas, ESPN basketball analyst and best-selling author of Toughness

As always, get your WTKA podcasts here and follow MVictors on Twitter here. 

More importantly, you can reserve your copy of Fourth and Long here and it hits shelves in September.

23. August 2012 · Comments Off on The Bacon Balcony Awaits (Jim Rome Audio 08-23) · Categories: 2012 · Tags: , , ,

Here’s John U. Bacon joining U-M grads/comedians/actors The Sklar Brothers as they guest hosted the Jim Rome show today.   Bacs did a wonderful job discussing an unsourced rumor from an alleged incident a few years ago that I won’t discuss here…and more importantly,  his upcoming book on college football (4th and Long: One League, Four Teams and the Future of College Football) and he served up a few takes on how the whole mess at Penn State will impact college football moving forward.

Strong work by Bacs—he kept up the comedic pace with two pros and gave a top notch interview.

HT to Matt once again for the audio hookup.

* Follow John U Bacon on Twitter and tell him where to hang out in Happy Valley
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Reminder:  Don’t forget I’ll be at Laurel Manor Monday night with Brian Cook and Angelique for the U-M Club of Detroit’s annual Football Kick-off bash.

29. December 2011 · Comments Off on Bacon Goes Nationwide (Rome audio 12-29) · Categories: 2011 · Tags: , ,

John U. Bacon graced the national airwaves today, joining the Jim Rome show hosted by U-M grads, Jason and Randy Sklar.

Bacon discussed Three and Out with the Sklars and shared the situation on the ground in Ann Arbor in the aftermath of the first season of the Hoke era:

 

 

HT to Matt for providing the audio

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threeandout

I just finished John U. Bacon’s Three and Out and I need to talk to somebody.  For a while.  Same thing will happen to you.

If you landed on this page, I don’t need to suggest you buy this book—you probably already bought it or certainly plan to.   You really don’t have a choice now, do you?   (It drops October 25 – get it now on Amazon).

This isn’t a full review.  I was lucky enough to receive a beta version of the book and its content is subject to be tweaked, added or removed.  But I can offer a few thoughts.  For starters, I’ll note that it’s painful enough to relive the past three seasons just from memory.  Now try it in 3D and HD, complete with unreleased scenes, quotes and outtakes.  And did I mention cockroaches?

I give credit to Bacon for writing this—no one held a gun to his head to do it—and he surely knew he’d be ruffling a feather or two twenty by putting this out there.  As Brian mentioned, everyone seems to be upset about the book.   Most people will be talking about Lloyd Carr, who is charged with conduct unbecoming a Michigan Man yet, it is strongly noted, didn’t speak to Bacon for this book so in several cases we rely on the perspective of RichRod and/or his staff.

As you’d expect, Bacon deftly tees up the history of football at U-M, and more importantly, its place as a driving force that shaped the CFB landscape.  His insights into how Rodriguez developed his offense are fascinating.  I laughed out loud at some of the lighter moments and cringed as JUB described the some of the postgame speeches after yet another brutal loss.  Two chest pounds from me to Moundros.  I’ll get into more at a later date when the real deal arrives.

Like most matters concerning Michigan football, I’m guessing your feeling about Bacon’s book will be driven by the type of fan you are, or said another way, your clan.  So I thought, why not revive The Clans and attempt to run down how each group might feel after reading 3&O?  [If these groups don’t look familiar, give this post a read as a primer (includes chart!).]

Here you go:

Clan Who Are They? Comment on ‘Three and Out’

Bo Clan

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Former Bo players and those associated or feel very closely tied (e.g, alums or “Bo signed my hat when I was 9” folks) to that era. 

Defense wins championships, people.

Since Hoke Hire: Happy. They are satisfied that Hoke will uphold Bo’s legacy.

Naturally, they are pleased that Bacon provided proper deference and respect to Bo and how his transition in ‘69 was handled.  They understand, as Bacon deftly described in 3&O, how Bo’s departure from U-M (and when he died) impacted the athletic department and this program.

These guys know that this type of book never would have surfaced in Bo’s day—he would have squashed Bacon’s MacBook like a bug with one swipe of his famous ruler.  But then again, none of this mess would have happened if Bo were around either.  It’s Chicken and Egg (with Bacon).   

Much of the tension of the past 3 seasons has been alleviated by Hoke’s arrival, his rhetoric & his actions on and off the field.    While some are not happy that Carr didn’t vocally support RichRod (as discussed in 3&O), Hoke has gone a long way in a short time to heal old wounds.

The Rebellion image

Bloggers, message-board hounds, recruitniks. Statistical analysis shows, nay, proves that an innovative offense (RR/Chip Kelly) is what is required in Ann Arbor.  And you never punt, man. Carr’s tendencies became maddening in the final few years, and rumors of Carr steering recruits away from U-M make them slam down their X-box controllers in rage.

Since Hoke Hire: Mix in Greg Mattison and a top 5 recruiting class and they’ve cooled down.

“You removed the chart Dooley, so gloves are off!”

This book is right in their wheelhouse.  Bacon points out in painful detail all the obstacles that RichRod faced (and yes, a few he created) along the way.  They cheered each time Bacs mentioned “The Horror” or their homebase, mgoblog.  Would have liked to seen more detail on the internal politics of RR’s handling of (or lack thereof) the defensive coordinators. 

This is a bit of revenge on those responsible for setting the course for the Michigan offense to head back to the Stone Ages and..   [oh, wait a second..they stopped reading this –Bri’Onte Dunn just updated his Facebook page.]

Corduroy Jacket w/ Patch Clan
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Affiliated with the University/Ann Arbor elite who feel we devote too much money to athletics, and feel the stadium expansion is wrong on many levels. They chuckle outwardly at people who spend their Saturday afternoons sandwiched between overweight men in a football 
stadium or in front of their televisions shoveling ‘Funyuns’ into their faces.

Since Hoke Hire: Less drama = less to poke fun at, but these guys don’t really care.  Glad they don’t have to hear “ain’t” anymore; not crazy about Hoke’s affection for “daggone”. 

Would like to suggest to Bacon that “The Hill” [the administrators/brass at the school] is worthy of a little more respect than being portrayed as an annoying group of bureaucrats who directly or indirectly mess with athletic department business.  

All that said, they’ll read this (it’s a book afterall) so they are prepared for the cocktail parties and tailgate chatter.  Yes, they chuckled aloud at the stories of overweight adult autograph-hounds (“It’s for my kid. Really.”) that appear now & again in the book.

In Rod We Trusted image

Die-hard Rich Rod-backers with close ties to The Rebellion. RR should have been retained. Their support was hardened by the negative media coverage coupled with the idiotic ad hominem attacks by sports radio callers and national drive-by columnists/hosts.  He never was given a chance.

Since Hoke Hire: Still pissed, but their numbers are diminishing.

Know one of these guys?  Expect a signed copy of 3&O for Christmas.  They’ll also pick up a copies for their favorite haterz.

RichRod was never given a chance in this town and everyone will now see the truth how he was chewed up by all these distractions.  You and yours should write RR and his staff an obsequious note, begging for forgiveness. 

While you won’t hear them (there’s maybe a Baker’s dozen of these people remaining), they will sprinkle Boos on Carr when he’s honored before the Nebraska game this season.

Lloyd Loyalists

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Former Carr players and those (alums) who feel deep ties to that era. Feel Carr’s Legacy is unfairly represented by many, including the Rebellion and In Rod Clans. 

Since Hoke Hire: They won, Hoke is excelling and they’ll remind you that one of Carr’s assistants should have been hired the first go round.

There are no mixed feelings here.  This book is unfair and one-sided.  John U. Bacon is clearly suffering from a form of Stockholm syndrome from being embedded with Rodriguez and his staff for the past three years.

They feel Carr did the right thing by not talking to Bacon about this book, because, as happened to RichRod again and again, his words would surely backfire and/or be misconstrued.  Besides, Carr’s record with his players and with U-M stand on their own.  And what would he possibly have to gain from engaging in he-said, she-said at this point? 

They will be quick to point out a story or two in the book where they feel Carr was misrepresented & will use that to fuel a Clintonesque attack to discredit how Carr was represented in the entire tome. 

Cotton Pickin’ Blues image

The vast majority of "regular" M fans. Beyond sanctions and horrible & embarrassing results, they bleed Maize ‘n Blue. But the OSU, MSU and bowl poundings put them over the edge with ol’ Rich Rod.

Since Hoke Hire: Thrilled with Hoke.  Most of these fans will have selective memory about their support for RichRod.  (“I knew that guy was wrong for this job..I knew it!”)  No they didn’t.

Disappointed in so many Michigan people involved in the book and really hate seeing the dirty laundry out there. 

But they are fully behind Hoke now and RichRod is now just a character in a few of their knee-slapping jokes at tailgates.  
 

Fierce Pragmatists
image  “..football, hmm..”

Group that was good with Rodriguez & think he deserved one more year.  That said, they understand that DB had to fire Rodriguez as much for the "sense" of Rodriguez in the media and among the alumni and fans, as for the 15-22 record.  The man had become a toxic asset.

Since Hoke Hire: Real happy with Hoke’s success, cautiously optimistic about the future.

Oh man.  First off, a stiff Bourbon.  Second off, they eat up this kind of thing. 

As deep thinkers, they are clamoring to form book clubs support groups to work through the key scenes and heartbreaks to recall their memories and match them to Bacon’s account and behind-the-scenes new info.

These fierce pragmatists know there are two sides to every tale and it hurts them, almost literally, that Bacon couldn’t get Carr to offer his perspective on the past three years. 

The Second Estate image
 

Much like the Second Estate of Pre-Revolutionary France, they make up a tiny portion of Michigan fans, but they control a disproportionate amount of influence.  They are Champions Lot parkers.  They’re guys that Brandon sees and immediately knows he needs to go chat up.  (Note that Brandon, himself, would be of the Second Estate).  DB is loyal to them, but he is also well aware that he needs them.  They are Cotton Pickin’ Blues generally, they want wins the right way–no scandals, no embarrassment, no negative press.

Since Hoke Hire: Couldn’t have gone better. Got their man, didn’t have to pay a fortune, Ohio State is sinking and Hoke stays on message.

They feel Bacon’s story is a mere interpretation of the past three years, but it is incomplete, one-sided and worst of all, detrimental to the Michigan brand.  Privately, many of them will tell you they enjoyed seeing Bill Martin worked over.  Also privately they will tell you that they respect Bacon’s work.

All that said, they will work with Brandon to quiet the buzz about the book.  Where possible, they will refute and discredit some of the facts/stories in the book through influential back channels.  Watch out.

The Decatur Clan image

The fanatical faction of Michigan fandom, named for Capt. Stephen Decatur of the U.S. Navy who famously said, "Our Country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!"  Basically "I love the guy in charge, no matter who it is today.  Go Blue!".  

Since Hoke Hire: Go Blue!

What book?  Like some former coach used to say, “It’s in the past!” 

Go Hoke, Go Blue, Beat [insert nickname of next team we’re scheduled to play]!

red_berenson

On Monday Red Berenson taught Sam Webb and the rest of the media a little bit about ice.  Here’s what he said (thanks to Ira at WTKA for the clip):

Building on Red’s description of the surface for Saturday’s game, I thought it’d be cool to take a look at how the ice has evolved over the years.   Where did I find a lot of this info?  John U. Bacon’s outstanding book Blue Ice of course, get yours if you don’t.

“Outdoor/Outdoor” Ice (1900-1916): Michigan hockey, or at least something like it, started after the turn of the century as students formed ‘The Huron Hockey Club’—a group of students that played the game on the Huron River and its “outdoor/outdoor” ice.  According to Blue Ice, in those early days instead of sweaters they wore bowler hats, coats and ties.  In lieu of pucks they used things “tin cans, wood blocks, frozen fruit and even packed horse manure.”  I’m guessing you could also find a little bit of “maize ice” near the woods back in those days.  For years the group lobbied the athletic department unsuccessfully for funding and more importantly, for its place amongst the other varsity sports.

“Indoor/Outdoor” Ice (1916-1927): The sport (and ice skating in general) was growing in popularity as the years went on.  Eventually the athletic department provided help but this action was prompted, in part, by tragedy.   In 1916 a student fell through the ice of the Huron and died.  The school reacted by working to find safer arrangements for the club.  They first attempted to form a rink on the Ferry Field tennis courts but this didn’t fly.  Eventually the university rented time at the Weinberg Coliseum, Ann Arbor’s lone ice rink giving the hockey enthusiasts a safer home.   The Coliseum was essentially ‘indoor/outdoor’ ice, that is, an indoor facility flooded and frozen by Mother Nature with an assist from the Coliseum’s open windows.  The hockey team earned varsity status in late 1922, but its playing surface was still at the mercy of the thermometer for a few more years.

“Indoor/Indoor” Ice (1928-present): Most of you know that his name adorns the hockey arena where U-M has played since 1973, but few understand the impact Fielding Yost actually had on the hockey program.  As athletic director, Yost not only purchased the Coliseum (in 1925) but in 1928 as part of his commitment to provide Michigan students with the finest facilities, he outfitted the rink with artificial ice.  Yes, it was Yost who first delivered the “indoor/indoor” ice that the maize and blue have skated on since.

“Outdoor/Indoor” Ice: (Saturday): Ah yes, that brings us to Saturday when we’ll see how the boys fare on the Red’s ‘outdoor/indoor’ ice in front of 111,000+.

Want more?  Listen to the WTKA 1050AM pregame show on Saturday or better yet, check out John U Bacon’s outstanding Blue Ice!