Archive for December, 2007

Is it too early to start thinking about the NFL Draft?

I don’t know about you but I get excited about the NFL draft months in advance. I probably have more fun discussing who is going where than actually watching the draft. I don’t know if Miami has locked up the 1st pick yet, but one more loss will do that for them. AOL Fanhouse is already talking about what impact Bill Parcells will have on the 1st pick. A lot of people think he will trade out of the pick, which isn’t a bad move because Miami has a lot of problems. I think a lot has to do with what he does with the current staff there. Does he keep the GM and Cam Cameron? If so, John Beck probably gets another chance because they won’t want to give up that quick. Plus Cleo Lemon didn’t look horrible this week. If he wants to make a splash he takes Darren McFadden. I think that’s the safest move. I know Miami has Ronnie Brown so that might not make sense.

It looks like the next three teams will be Atlanta, NY Jets and St. Louis. Atlanta is almost guaranteed to take a QB, but if McFadden is there they probably give him a look. The Jets aren’t taking a QB but would take McFadden if he is there. If not I see them going with Glen Dorsey or James Lauranitis. St. Louis would probably go with Jake Long if he is there. Otherwise Chris Long could be their guy.

If you look at the 10 teams currently in the top 10, you probably only have 2 who for sure won’t take McFadden, St Louis and Kansas City.

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Christmas came early!!!

To quote the philosopher Harry Dunn from the critically acclaimed film Dumb and Dumber, “Just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this…and totally redeem yourself!” That’s what I would say to Bill Martin if I could.

Reports are coming in from everywhere that Rich Rodriguez has taken the job at Michigan. It’s kind of unreal that this happened. If you could go back to the day Carr announced his retirement and asked them who their top four candidates are, after you remove the unattainables (Urban, Carroll, Stoops, Spurrier), you would probably get the following four guys. This is how I ranked them personally:

  1. Les Miles – He is a proven winner at multiple places. He can recruit. And most of all Michigan is his dream job meaning he would have been a lifer. You know he would have given 110% too.
  2. Jeff Tedford – Genius X’s and O’s man who won at a  place where people don’t win.  Created  future NFL QBs Kyle Boller and Aaron Rodgers. He has ties to the fertile recruiting grounds of California. Personally I think he is holding out hoping Pete Carroll bails.
  3. Rich Rodriguez – Another apparent genius at the X’s and O’s. He turned 3-star players Pat White and Steve Slaton into stars. Recruited in a relatively tough place. Won where it didn’t happen much. My fear is that since he is only 44 he might get tempted by the NFL around 50.
  4. Greg Schiano – Won at Rutgers a bit. Seems loyal. Solid coach. But I always considered him a fallback guy (and was stunned when he said no).

So for me we got my third choice. Maisel made a great point in his article, saying Rich Rod had to take this job because it could be the last big job available for a while. Funny, I was saying the same thing last week. This is a major coup for “Bumbling” Bill Martin. When the dust settles and the sailing season is over, he will have gotten the best man for the job. A guy who is going to completely change Michigan football (for the better) and win some freaking ballgames.

Let me also be the second one (after my good friend who should remain nameless) to say let’s see if Rich Rod can bring Terelle Pryor with him. Obviously we know that he already has a connection with the UM basketball coach…

Do we owe Roger Clemens an apology?

ESPN was reporting earlier today that Roger Clemens, through his lawyer, that “vehemently denies ever using steroids.” He also feels like his reputation is tarnished and no matter if can prove it or not this cloud will hang over his head. Now first of all, it will be impossible for him to prove without a doubt that he didn’t take them. So the best you could end up with is a strong case against. But more importantly, Mike Wilbon pointed out today on PTI that Clemens denied George Mitchell’s request to speak with him.

Let’s be serious here. Clemens is smart guy. His name has been floated in these rumors before. He knew the Yankees would be (heavily) investigated. Wouldn’t he at least try to do some damage control, speak with the Mitchell report and make his case (assuming he never took steroids)? Wouldn’t he want to be in the report making his case and flatout denying it? Didn’t he know that if he waited until after no one would believe him?

There is no way I am going to believe that Clemens thought his name would not be in the report. No one denies his mysterious surge past 40 that I spoke about yesterday is exactly that, mysterious. As I said his name as come up in these conversations before. He’s perhaps the greatest pitcher of the last 50 years. He has to know that the bigger the star, the bigger the news. How can he wait until after the fact to do damage control and expect fans to understand?

The argument against is that Clemens should be innocent until proven guilty and shouldn’t have to say anything to George Mitchell if he is not involved. The evidence they have is hearsay, there is no doubt about it. I guess the guys who named Clemens could want attention but that wouldn’t make sense. Maybe they were assuming, who knows.  The bottom line is that Clemens didn’t play this very well and we don’t owe him a thing right now.

Wait, there’s a steroid problem in baseball?

In case you missed it, there’s a steroid problem in Major League Baseball, at least according to senator George Mitchell. His 320-something page report based on a the investigation he has been conducting over the last two years or so was released to day, and it claims there is a serious steroid problem in baseball. Seriously, how much money did this investigation take to do? How many computers could we have bought for schools with the money it took to confirm the most obvious fact since we found out Britney Spears is a tramp. It also goes on to say that baseball was slow to react to this problem. Again, DUH! Jose Canseco was doing this in the late 80s and even if he embelished, you would still think 10 years later baseball knew what was going on, and that was nearly 10 years ago.

Of course the hottest topic of conversation is the players specifically mentioned. They ranged from the guys we knew (Bonds, Giambi, Sheffield) to the guys we didn’t know [for sure] (Clemens, Pettite, Tejada) to the guys we don’t care about (Josias Manzanillo, Adam Piatt, Jim Parque). The list wasn’t nearly as long as I thought it would be but I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg. There were plenty of All-Stars named but you would fully expect Clemens to take centerstage with all of this.

Clemens is easily the best pitcher of the last 20 years, and probably a lot more than that.  His 7 Cy Youngs are more than any other pitcher. He is 8th all-time in wins and with one more 10-win season he would be in the Top 5. He is 2nd all-time in strikeouts, and if you believe that it’s truly a hitters’ era, Clemens might be the best pitcher ever. But how surprised are we?

Clemens won 61 games after his age 40 season. That’s more than Bronson Arroyo has in his career and he is 30. You could make a serious argument that Clemens’ best two seasons were the two with Toronto (’97 and ’98) when he was 34 and 35  respectively. Guys who have been in the league 13 years typically don’t peak at age 34. Was it Skydome? There isn’t a huge sample size there before or after (surprisingly) but his numbers weren’t good there other than those two years. So how with this affect Clemens and his legacy? My prediction is that this will be the biggest story that comes from all of this.

For what it’s worth  Mark McGwire’s name did not appear.

Check out ESPN’s coverage of the Mitchell Report.

Another coach can’t cut it in the NFL

Bobby Petrino abruptly quit his job as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and returned to the college ranks, this time with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Now while I will agree that the Falcons was one of the worst situations to be in, this is ridiculous. The Falcons traded backup quarterback Matt Schaub in the offseason and then lost their starting QB to some sort of legal problem (I am not really sure what this was about so if anyone can fill me in, let me know).

Petrino won’t even finish out the season as Falcons coach, meaning he didn’t even last one full season in the NFL. I think the biggest fallout from this will be a heavy reluctance for NFL teams to go after college coaches. After Nick Saban lasted just two seasons before bailing out (but not before emphatically denying he was leaving 9,823 times). Now Petrino can’t even last one season before jumping back to the college ranks. The trend is typically to hire coordinators from other teams for head coaching jobs but on occasion you get these college coaches who make the jump. We saw Steve Spurrier and Butch Davis both fail quickly. Spurrier lasted 2 seasons, Davis 3. From my calculations the only head coach left in the NFL that came directly from college is Oakland head coach Lane Kiffin. It could be a while before another one gets a shot. They seem to fail miserably or run away before they can.

As for Petrino, he inherits a good team in Arkansas in probably the best conference in CFB, the SEC. It will be his biggest challenge and give us a chance to see how good he really is as a college coach. Arkansas is arguably the best job available this year (and yes I say that even as a diehard Michigan fan) and while the expectations will be somewhat high, I am sure he will be given 5 years or so to make something of it.

Meanwhile the Falcons will continue on with whoever as their coach in what is one of the most disastrous seasons ever.  They will officially start over this offseason. They haven’t had a winning season since 2004 and Michael Vick was one of the most overrated players ever (seriously why did everyone think he was so good?). Now this team has no QB and basically not a lot else to get excited about. With Petrino it was almost a lock that they took Brian Brohm in the draft, now they might make a smarter choice. If Darren McFadden is there, he should be their guy. We should see.

Heisman Pundit took the words right out of my mouth

The great site Heisman Pundit has their picks for the 2008 Heisman Trophy and had a lot of guys I had in mind:

1. Chris Wells
2. Pat White
3. Chase Daniel
4. Percy Harvin
5. Jamaal Charles
6. Colt McCoy
7. C.J. Spiller

I told my friend at work this week that Chris Wells was my pick for next year’s Heisman. I also think Jamaal Charles is going to be the dark horse. I think regardless if Tebow wins it this year, he, Pat White, and Chase Daniel (if he actually returns) won’t win it. Finalists have such bad luck the next season. Ohio St. is going to be good again next year and “Beanie” is the guy to watch out for.

Michigan Freshman: Who got a redshirt?

 Here is the list of  Michigan’s 2007 recruiting class and who has and hasn’t played this year. I used Michigan’s Official website (mostly the player participation pages of each game). I have some notes on the guy’s who haven’t redshirted yet,

  • Zion Babb
  • Artis Chambers
  • Toney Clemons
  • Marell Evans
  • Vince Helmuth
  • Junior Hemingway
  • Brandon Herron – A 3-star LB was probably not ready to contribute yet.
  • Avery Horn – No surprise here, Horn is a 3-star back without a lot of potential as a starter. With Hart, Minor and Brown he had no chance of playing. I doubt he will see much playing time next year either.
  • Mark Huyge – 3-star offensive lineman, Michigan can be counted on to always redshirt OL unless the situation is dire (read: Justin Boren)
  • Ryan Mallett
  • David Molk – See Mark Huyge
  • Austin Panter
  • James Rogers
  • Renaldo Sagesse
  • Ryan Van Bergen – I looked hard to find this guy and was very surprised he didn’t play. Maybe someone has a better idea why. I guess we have 4 other DEs but seriously this is usually the kind of guy Michigan wastes.
  • Donovan Warren
  • Steve Watson – A 3-star guy at a position with tons of depth already. Especially after Carson Butler came back. I thought after Massey went down it might happen but as far as I can tell, he didn’t.
  • Martell Webb
  • Michael Williams – Another guy I thought for sure would play. Recruited as a 4-star safety, I think he might end up at CB because he’s small. If he is going to play safety I thought he would play by now because Adams and Englemon are both gone after this year.
  • Troy Woolfolk