College Football National Signing Day: Your Team’s Future, Now

By Paul Schmidt and thesportsbank.net staff

This is almost like a holiday for many people, and doubles as the day that some people work the hardest.

I’m speaking, of course, of National Signing Day, when those football players who waffle all season long finally make a decision (or, as in the case of Terelle Pryor a couple of seasons ago, delay the inevitable for several days after signing day). Many schools will be disappointed after their teams lose commitments from players that they thought were in the bag, but hey, unlike basketball, this just happens in football.  You go steal someone else’s recruit and move on.

All day, I will be updating news and signings from ALL of the Big Ten’s teams, so check back here throughout the day for any new news.

Also, I should have some quotes from Ron Zook’s press conference later this afternoon, plus whatever goodies might come our way!

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TSB Exclusive Interview: Rich Rodriguez’s pride

Michigan Rodriguez Football

By H. Jose Bosch

The Sports Bank’s very own H. Jose Bosch has been given a once-in-a-lifetime exclusive interview with Rich Rodriguez’s pride. Long believed to have disappeared, Jose has managed to find it and get the interview everyone’s been wanting.

The transcription after the jump.

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Michigan 1-0 in moral victories; defense still sucks

forcier_on_his_knees
By H. Jose Bosch

On Saturday I went into the game expecting the Spartans to win a shootout. By halftime I “knew” Michigan State would win by more than a field. And by the end of the game I found myself thinking, “Is Michigan State really that bad?”

While I rooted for the Wolverines and wanted them to win, I never thought Michigan actually had a chance. And any rational thinking fan should’ve thought the same thing.

Saturday proved the Wolverines still have a long way to go but it wasn’t all bad. For starters, Tate Forcier is the real deal. He still has room to put on some muscle, he’s very raw and he must learn to slide or go out of bounds and not risk his body on every single run. But, if he’s making these kinds of plays as a true freshman with a bad offensive line, imagine what he will do his junior or senior year when the line should be better?

Michigan should also be given credit just for coming back late in the game. Yes, heart and determination can be very overrated and when you look at the stats, the Wolverines had no business being in the game but they were given the opportunity to come back and tie and they took it.

Bad defense or not, it was impressive to see them do this during their first road game, which happened to be at one of their biggest rivals.

The bad, however, far outweighed the good. The offensive line was atrocious. MGoBlog points to two scenarios: the injury to Molk has hurt the team far more than anyone anticipated OR Mark Dantonio prepared for this game so obsessively, the Wolverines really had no chance to compete.

I think it’s a little of both. Without Molk we’ll probably have to get used to a few low snaps a game and at least one during a very important drive. And the reshuffling of the line doesn’t help chemistry. Dantonio is also a nut case and I wouldn’t be shocked if he went to Captain Ahab-esque obsession for the Spartans’ game plan for Michigan.

MGoBlog believes the Iowa game will be a fair barometer for the line. If that’s the case, the Wolverines are in trouble. The Hawkeyes’ defensive line will probably shred the Wolverines apart based on the one game I’ve watched (Iowa at Penn State).

Defensively we already knew the secondary was terrible. But what we didn’t know is that the linebackers would also epically fail. Allowing Kirk Cousins to have 10 ypc is pretty pathetic. It got to the point where my dad and I could call when Cousins would be able to step up and then scamper for some yardage.

I’m not sure what Greg Robinson is doing with the defense, but to anyone who thought his previous coaching pedigree was proof that he’d improve the defense, I say you are very, very wrong.

Overall, nothing shocked me on Saturday, except for Michigan’s final drive. (And even that shouldn’t have been shocking considering State’s propensity fo choking in the clutch). I’m neither upset nor happy with the performance. To me, Michigan played par for the course. We really didn’t learn anything new.

Forcier is the team’s best player and continues to grow into a leadership role; the secondary is about as strong as Obama is on healthcare and the offensive line still can’t quite gel together.

Expect the same strength and issues to either doom the Wolverines at Iowa or help them pull off an improbable win.

College Football Live Blog, Afternoon and Night Games

michigan-football-ethics-742807

Welcome to the afternoon game edition…Since I know HJB is here live blogging and getting ready for the big UM-ND big I figure I’d lead with this picture, which I’m sure he’ll love. –PMB

24-10 Northwestern, 12:20 left in game by the way

DIRECTIONAL MICHIGAN is giving the big ten problems, central michigan, eastern michigan, and western michigan are all giving NU, MSU, and Indiana all they can handle. one posession games in the final minutes all around. good thing. there’s no northern michigan and southern michigan to ad to the stress and strife.

–PMB

NU wins on last final seconds 49 yard field goal

WOOO!!! WHO IS READY FOR SOME MICHIGAN FOOTBALL???

So, um, anyone catch the score of the Central Michigan-Michigan State game?
-HJB-

By the way, why on earth is Matt Millen on this game? Or on any game for that matter? Can I just mute him?
-HJB-

Me on Charlie Weis: “He looks like he just ate a baby.”
My dad’s friend: “He looks like he’s having a baby.”

And that tackling is giving me bad flashbacks of last season.
-HJB-

Michigan 0, Notre Dame 0 (9:16 left in first quarter)
Two drives and Notre Dame moved the ball much better than Michigan. That missed field goal looked like my tee shot (yeah, I borrowed that line from the play by play guy) but I’ll take it.
-HJB-

Michigan 7, Notre Dame 0 (4:12 left in the 1st quarter)
It’s always a great feeling to strike first. Especially when Notre Dame missed out on its one chance in the red zone thus far.
-HJB-

Michigan 14, Notre Dame 3 (46 seconds left in 1st quarter)
Special teams! Special teams! Special teams!
-HJB-

Michigan 14, Notre Dame 3 (End of 1st quarter)
There is still plenty of game left but man this feels good. That’s what happens when you come off a 3-9 season. Just a good quarter makes you giddy.

-HJB-

univmichcheerleaders

Notre Dame 17, Michigan 14 (6:50 left in the half)
Urgh. I had every right to be giddy with Michigan in the lead. Now I have every right to be mopey. I wish I had a sad Badger face to cheer me up.

In seriousness though, if the Fighting Irish play their A-game, Michigan doesn’t have a chance. I’m willing to admit it. Sigh. This might be a long afternoon.
-HJB-

Notre Dame 20 , Michigan 14 (2:41 left in the half)
What frustrates me about this game:

1. Clausen has enough time to cook a damn roast behind the line of scrimmage. I could find open receivers with that much time.

2. I could drive a GM truck through some of the holes the ND line is opening up. UJnfortunately the truck would probably break down before I got to the line of scrimmage.

3. Matt Millen is being paid to offer his football advice.
-HJB-

Notre Dame 20, Michigan 17 (halftime)

The field goal leaves a good taste in my mouth going into the half.

When Holly Rowe interviewed Rich Rodriguez at the half, part of me wanted him to say “We need to practice more. We clearly haven’t practiced enough. If these guys lose today, no way they go home tonight. We’ll stay at Schembechler all night if we have to.”

Alas I’ll settle for crappy commercials and UCLA-Tennessee until the second half. I’m not sure which one is worse.
-HJB-
michigan_cheerleader
Gratuitous? Yes. Necessary after the first half? Absolutely.

Notre Dame 20, Michigan 17 (11:28 left in 3rd quarter)
Michigan just missed a field goal after fumbling a snap two plays earlier and committing a holding penalty. Those kinds of mistakes will drive me to drink.

But I’m more upset about the idiocy of Matt Millen. The Wolverines, wisely, took a delay of game penalty to get a better angle on the field goal. Then Millen offers his bright advice: “They should decline it.”

Um, what? Since when can a defense decline a delay of game penalty Mr. Millen?

Sigh
-HJB-

Michigan 24, Notre Dame 20 (7:55 left in the 3rd quarter)
Just when I lose hope, those sons of guns drag me right back to the cusp of joy. A forced fumble and recovery followed by a march down a short field for the lead? Thaaaaaaaaaaaank you very much.
-HJB-

Oh, nice job on that return boys.

I need a cheerleader photo.
cheerleader

Michigan 24, Notre Dame 20 (end of 3rd quarter)
I’m still alive but barely breathing. This will be a difficult 4th quarter.
-HJB-

Michigan 31, Notre Dame 20 (14:16 left in the game)
I just might lose my voice and I’m just sitting in my living room. Tate Forcier has pretty much locked up the top spot on the quarterback depth chart. That’s not a stretch to make, but we’ll see less and less of Denard Robinson behind center. If I’m Rodriguez, I think of ways to get the ball in Robinson’s hands without putting him behind center the rest of the year.
-HJB-

Michigan 31, Notre Dame 20 (12:14 left)
Cissoko is going to need a hug after this game. He might actually want to spend the night and all of Sunday inside Schembechler Hall.
-HJB-

Michigan 31, Notre Dame 26 (9:46 left)
Again, Cissoko is going to need a big hug after this game. He won’t get it from me, but he’ll need one.

At least they stopped the 2-point conversion try. Now, let’s not go three and out her, OK?

By the way, I can’t get enough of the Playboy Guitar Hero commercial. The folks at Guitar Hero know how to appeal to its demographic: lonely, lonely, lonely men.
-HJB-
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Illinois, Illinois St, 20 minutes til game time.
The Illinois State band kind of sucks, but that’s not the biggest travesty of the day so far…it’s that you have to pay for the food in the press box, drinks included!!  Seriously!  I’m not exactly pleased about this development because A) they didn’t tell ANYONE this was going to be the case, and B) they only take cash.  Which, that’s fine, but because they didn’t tell anyone, I DIDN’T BRING ANY CASH!!!  What a freaking joke.  After last week’s debacle in St. Louis they should be paying us to be here and eat.

Michigan 31, Notre Dame 26 (6:22 left)
That Forcier interception killed me a little bit inside. Not going to lie.
-HJB-

NO FREE FOOD IN THE ILLINI PRESS BOX?? Are you serious? That’s terrible! The spread they had last year was SOOOOOOO Good and better than other teams. Wow! I really became less interested in coming down I-57 this fall. –PBIllinois 7, Illinois St. 0
I was coming in here to post about the fact that not only didn’t Martez Wilson start at middle linebacker, but on the first drive of the game.  The box, however, just announced that Wilson is doubtful for the game because of a sprained neck.  OUCH.

Juice Williams set up that first TD with a long, 49 yard run down the sideline on a fake option pitch, but he stumbled and fell near the goal line.  Unfortunately the reason that he fell was there was a little hitch in his giddyup and he pulled something, either a quad or his groin.  He’s currently being worked on on the table and Eddie McGee is warming up.  Maybe it was just a tweak, hard to say. PS

Illinois 7, Illinois St. 0
Juice Williams didn’t come out for this drive, and Eddie McGee just through and awful interception that was well overthrown and nowhere near intended receiver Chris Duvalt.  So much so that I didn’t know Duvalt was the intended receiver.  Things have taken a bad turn here in Champaign as Illinois State has completed a couple of passes.  If they hang around and gain confidence I may have to pay attention to the whole game.

To make everyone feel better, here’s a great pic of my Twitter buddy, @Red_Grange. redPS

Michigan 38, Notre Dame 34 (game, set, match)
OK, so I got the craziness out of my system in the comment. But that was the greatest/most nerve wracking/worst/scariest/most joyful/craziest game I’ve ever watched from the comfort of my own home.

Michigan is going to be a force this season. No, not a National Championship force but a “we’re-going-to-a-bowl-game” force. Considering the next two games they should win, the Wolverines could probably win at least two more games to get bowl eligible.

That probably means a Big Ten season with more ups and downs than I care to make an analogy for.

I’m emotionally exhausted from this game. That doesn’t mean i can’t be snarky for the Ohio State game though.

Bwhahahahahaha.
-HJB-Illinois 21, Illinois St. 0 (12:01 left 2Q)
Bosch ate my last post, which is more than I’ve had for dinner…and yes, PB, no drinks either.  No fireworks either, so apparently the economy IS that bad….

There are a ton of seats that look empty around the stadium for the game, but they actually aren’t.  It’s people in uniform, I can’t tell if it’s Army men or Boy Scouts….and yes I’m being serious.  Roughly 3 or 400 of them in the upper deck.

Nice pass from McGee to a wide-open Chris Duvalt, though McGee nearly overthrew him again. Illinois is, to some extent, having its way with the Redbirds on offense, but the defense is still having some troubles. The drive stayed alive on a roughing the kicker penalty as the Redbird punt team absolutely creamed Anthony Santella, and HE got up limping afterwards…no word on if he was actually hurt or just not used to getting hit. –PS

Illinois 21, Illinois St 0 (8:51 remaining 2Q)
Nice tip from Corey Liguet to Doug Pilcher, and he rumbled and stumbled 43 yards on the interception return.

HUUUGE hit on Eddie McGee on the front-side rush…something he needed to see coming.  He didn’t fumble surprisingly enough, because it was a huge hit.

Nice  FG by Matt Eller, my favorite Illini, to make it Illinois 24, Illinois St. 0 — 7:44 remaining. -PS


Ohio State   USC

Lou Holtz just said this is the most important game for OSU since 1951. Surprised he can still talk after ND’s national title hopes were dashed this afternoon. I just saw the buckeye band dot the eye for the first time. Pretty impressive, whoever choreographed that should draw up plays for the offense. OSU has lost its last five games against top five opponents. The start is key, if they can stay within striking distance in the first half, they’ve got a chance. I wish i could hear Tressel’s pre-game speech. Thank God i missed Lou’s pep talk. Anyway, here we go. Time to get some respect boys!

-Jake Fowler

USC  7  OSU  0

USC tried to take it easy on OSU giving them the ball first. T. Pryor said no thanks i want you guys to have it and threw a wounded duck interception that was returned to the five yard line.  Huuuuuge early moment that could have saved the game, fourth and goal from the one…..touchdown USC. I can’t believe they handed it off on fourth down. Probably the worst start the buckeyes could have hoped for. If they come back from a start like this it’s going to say a lot about the young team. -JF



Illinois 24, Illinois St. 0 (halftime)
I’m somewhat unimpressed by the Illini thusfar…I just feel like they should be killing this team, one that is predicted to finish eighth in the nine-team Missouri Valley Conference ahead of only Indiana State, a school that has the longest losing streak in all of Division I football….

Juice Williams officially has a quad injury and is questionable to return, but speculation from the S.I.D.’s was that Juice could see some second half action to get some reps. –PS

mi

Illinois 31, Illinois St. 0
Great drive to start the second half and the Illini picked apart the Redbird defense.  They look lamer than Fredbird, I tell ya!

I wouldn’t have bothered to update the score, because this is pretty much over, but Daniel Dufrene just burst through a small hole for a 24-yard touchdown scamper. Showed some great breakaway speed.  He NEEDS to be the starting Illini tailback. –PS

Illinois 31, Illinois St. 7 (8:42 3Q)
Here come the Redbirds!!  Terrible D all around from the Illini, from Ian Thomas missing a coverage assignment, Donsay Hardeman again showing his complete inability to make an open field tackle, and Tavon Wilson getting absolutely schooled in the corner of the endzone by a D-1AA wide receiver.

Also, Bowling Green is beating Missouri 13-6 IN Columbia.  This has not been an entertaining evening of football. –PS

OSU  10   USC  7

Beautiful response by Pryor and co. A 56-yard pass and run to the USC 5 followed by a nice blast off tackle by Boom Herron got the crowd back in the game. After a defensive stand, Pryor lofts a gorgeous touch pass down the middle to Posey. Fourth and goal for OSU… and Tressel decides to kick the field goal. Bold strategy cotton, we’llsee if it pays off for them. Earlier in the drive,  USC safety Taylor Mays seems to have hurt his knee, obviously a terrible sign for the Trojans. Pryor’s inconsistency is going to drive OSU fans crazy but the flashes of brilliance seems to outweigh the ducks .  -JF

James Madison 35, Maryland 35 (going into OT)
Yeah, I’m going Div. I-AA (FCS) on you guys. I’m currently living in Harrisonburg, Va., home of James Madison University. Should the Dukes pull off this upset, the ACC is officially the worst conference in the nation. A win would make the Colonial Athletic Conference (an FCS conference) 3-1 against the ACC. As a Big Ten fan, you should be rooting for this win.
-HJB-

Maryland 38, James Madison 35
Congrats on barely saving your crappy conference Maryland. Anyone who says the Big Ten sucks should look at the ACC. Seriously, weak.
-HJB-

Georgia 31, South Carolina 23 (second half begins)
Oh yeah, this game is going on right now. I didn’t see any of the first half, but I assume it’s been exciting. And Mike Patrick is calling the game, which means we’ll probably hear a Britney Spears reference at some point.

Oh yeah, Georgia cheerleaders.
-HJB-
georgiacheerleader

Georgia 31, South Carolina 26 (5:30 left in the 3rd)
Jake McCormick via twitter:the other usc makes be wonder whether steve spurrier is really all that and a bag of Wavy Lays with French onion dip.

I think he’s more like pork grinds at this point in his career.
-HJB-

Ohio State 10, Southern Cal 10 (start of the second half)
Here’s another tweet from Mr. McCormick: kind of surprised ohio state is playing better than usc at this point. hopefully barkley is learning a thing or two about cfb.

Yeah, like how to run for your life effectively. That and that he’s making way more money at USC over OSU.
-HJB-

Illinois 45, Illinois State 17 (final)
Well, the Illini regained some of their manhood but I don’t think they’ll fully redeem themselves until they win some Big Ten games.
-HJB-

Georgia 38, South Carolina 28 (end of the third)
The game no one is talking about should have a thrilling end. Fortunately for me I have picture in picture.
-HJB-

Ohio State 12, Southern Cal 10
This might be the first time I’ve ever seen the Trojans look rattled. That safety was killer.
-HJB-

More Jake McCormick gold via twitter: good thing kirk herbsrteit is doing the osu/usc game. he has to choose btwn his current stroking of matt barkley and lifetime humping of osu.

I think I saw something like that in a movie before.

Georgia 38, South Carolina 37 (4th quarter)

I Don’t know the time and I’m not even sure how it happened, but this game is officially worth watching of OSU/USC right now.
-HJB-

If Georgia’s starting quarterback can just remember his name, that’s a victory. Man that was a vicious hit.
-HJB-

I know William & Mary won at Virginia, but what was the other Colonial Athletic victory over the ACC? Oh yeah Richmond over Duke. But Maryland held on to win…bummer I guess it’s 2-2 in the CAA-ACC Challenge. and yes as a Big Ten fan I’m all for that. Too bad UNC came alive late and rallied against UConn

Just saw this on Yahoo!

Cowboys crash

Case Keenum and Houston torched No. 5 Oklahoma State’s defense for the 45-35 upset

Case Keenum?? who, I would love to hear Gundy at that presser. THAT’S GARBAGE!!!! AND WHOEVER DEFENDED TODAY IS GARBAGE..I’M A MAN

–PBIllinois 45, Illinois St. 17 (Final)
Well, it wasn’t the most inspiring effort, though Ron Zook and the rest of the coaches and players seem to disagree.  I personally think any time a team passes for 354 yards against you, that’s a bad sign.  Add in the fact that this was a 1-AA team that did it this week, starting their backup QB, and…well, again, let’s just leave it at it wasn’t an inspiring effort for the Illinois secondary.

Juice could have played in the second half, said the team doctor, but Zook asked him for his professional opinion whether or not he could make the injury worse, and the doc said, ‘Well, yeah, he could,’ and that was that.  Eddie McGee was…above average, and played more in this game than he ever had in a college game, so given that, he was to be commended.  I felt as though he could have made some better reads on the field than he did, but then again it isn’t like he even knew he was going to be playing today.

This was the first time in 26 straight games that Arrelious Benn was held without a catch.  I believe that that is every game of his college career, which is impressibe.  It also goes to show that he really still wasn’t quite right today.  Jarred Fayson picked up the slack today (and might be the best route runner on the team), but Benn needs to be healthy, along with Juice and Martez Wilson, for the Illini to hvae a chance in the Horsehoe in two weeks.

And so starts the odd third week bye for the Illini, prior to starting the early Big Ten season.  My guess is they will be worked VERY hard this week to try and get some kind of emotional uplift heading into Columbus in two weeks. –PS

Ohio State 15, USC 10 (4:10 left 4Q)
Well, it took literally the entire game here in Champaign, and then another hour on top of it, but we finally have on USC/tOSU in the press box.

USC is currently driving, and attempting to drive a stake through the heart of the Big Ten, but it would appear that, even if the score, the Buckeyes will get another shot. –PS

USC 18, Ohio State 15 (1:05 left in the 4Q)
Just an incredibly methodical drive by the Trojans to get downfield and score there.  And how the Bucks didn’t key on Joe McKnight on the 2-point conversion I’ll never know, but they didn’t.

McKnight has absolutely been a MAN on this drive, and has completely carried the Trojans late in this game, completely taking any pressure off of Matt Barkley to do anything of consequence.  He deserves all the credit in the world if they win this game, and is finally the beast that the Trojans recruited.

My earlier assessment that the Bucks would have time may have been premature, as they have a scant 65 seconds to win this.  Can they? -PS

Here’s a drinking game for watching any sport Herbstreit announces. take a drink every times he says “____ must step up”

you’ll be wasted in no time

–PB

USC DBs breaks up final 4th down pass OSU…it’s over now

–PB

USC 18, OSU 15 FINAL

It’s a shame the Buckeyes blew their lead..but at least they didn’t get owned like last season. maybe the b10 isn’t so bad after all.

I’m signing off for the day

–PB

Oh yeah one last thing..as we now must endure ESPN’s non-stop whoring of USC…the Ohio State Cheerleaders

osucheerleader

Our Favorite (And Least Favorite) College Fight Song

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By TSB Staff Contributors Paul M. Banks, H. Jose Bosch and Peter Christian

Tomorrow’s battle between Michigan and Notre Dame will feature the two most famous fight songs in all of college sports. For a lot of people, most fight songs sound very similar, and a lot like your standard military march. And that’s not accidental as they are called “fight” songs, not “spirit” songs, as both forms of music have similar ROTC roots. But for college sports aficionados such as us, saying all fight songs sound the same is blaspeheme! Here’s why, as we break down our favorites, as well the ones that annoy us. To make it fair, I told my panel of writers that you were not allowed to select your alma mater’s song.

1. Michigan-

I still can’t figure out how our own HJB graduated from this school. He actually has charm and personality, much more  than any “Michigan Man” I have ever met. Most girls and guys I know rocking maize and blue are to personality what Sarah Palin is to logic and reasoning. But I can’t deny their song, which is my favorite despite my possessing not even the slightest bit of non-loathing for the school. That’s how good it is.

msu-cheerleaders-msu-t-cl-00001lg

2. Michigan State-

I have to admit it’s the only fight song that has given me goosebumps (other than The Victors) at a sporting event. Maybe it’s the interstate rivalry or just the enthusiasm of the students when they sing along so carelessly as articles of clothing slowly but surely fall off over the course of the game (seriously guys and gals, wear clothing that fits) But this song always gets my blood boiling in a good way. –HJB

Seriously, take in a game at the Breslin Center and watch the entire crowd sing-along. Then listen as the band cuts off the song when play resumes and the ENTIRE building finishes the song off acapella. Gossebumps everytime. Besides, it was also featured in Michael Moore’s “Roger and Me”. And how many fight songs make it into socially-conscious socioeconomic documentaries produced by polarizing filmmakers?   –PMB


3. Florida State-

Their song is so good it reminds us how dominate the program was in the 1990s and how many great NFL players were once Seminoles. It also makes us forget…what thugs their players are, how little the school even pretends to value education, how slaggish-looking many of their female fans are, well maybe not that last one.

florida_state_cheerleaders

Other Favorites

Aggie War Hymn – Texas A&M:

I’m not a huge fight song guy (likely a product of not attending a big time football school) but this song has always stuck with me. I love its cadence and how you can hum it all day long without getting tired of it.

Fight On, State – Penn State:

I really like the change in page and the slow build up to the finish.

On, Brave Old Army Team – Army:

Army seems like one of the only teams that should really have a fight song that its teams would get fired up by. I like it. I like it a lot.

Wisconsin:

I was this close to being a Badger after high school and I’ve always had a soft spot for alcoholism and debauchery. While this fight song isn’t anything like the unofficial school anthem “Jump Around,” just the thought of getting piss drunk along with this jovial tune makes me giggle.

Tennessee:

I spent a summer in Tennessee and it’s unreal just how popular this song is. Even people who can’t spell Tennessee or find it on a map sing this with vigor and I’m just talking about those who graduated from UT.

Our Three Least Favorite:

1. Ohio State:

It’s not just because I’m a Wolverine. I hate this song because its pacing reminds me of little knomesaimlessly marching around . Yeah, it doesn’t make sense, but neither does celebrating the spelling of a four-letter word. And script Ohio? Yeah, Michigan’s marching band was the first to do it. Leave it to the Buckeyes to ignore the beauty of the formation and instead celebrate the dotting of an “I.” But I’m not bitter. –HJB

Everything Ohio State does is pretentious. It takes too long to get started and everytime I hear it, I feel like stabbing someone. That seems like a good reason to let it be the worst.  –-PC

2. Notre Dame:

This song just screams pompous, which is fitting because it’s Notre Dame. I feel like I should be wearing a top hat and a monocle while sipping on brandy beside the fireplace while this song plays on the gramophone. Yes, we’re just as pompus and drink just as much wine and eat just as much cheese at Michigan, but at least our fight song doesn’t sound so stuffy. –-HJB

It was used in the closing credits of “Airplane,” so I can say one good thing about it. However, this tune is the most over-played, over-hyped, and over-used piece of garbage signifying everything exemplifying the evils of bandwagonism. There is a reason ND fans, not actually affiliated with the school won TSB’s inaugural douchebracket this past March; a tourney determined by reader polling

-PMB

3. USC:

The more ESPN whores them in their college football coverage, the more I think about replacing ND’s song with this one. Watching USC play on TV is so irritating because their stupid marching band knows literally 2 whole songs, and they play one of them after every first down. It’s more overplayed and sappy than the Celine Dion crapola from “Titanic” was during my sophomore year of college. But I guess it’s ok, because USC (and ESPN in general) pander to front-runner frat boys with no genuine knowledge of sports. Therefore, repitive trash is right up their alley. –PMB

Mostly because it sounds like an instrumental that would open a Hollywood movie from the Golden Age. –-PC

Others we can do without

Oklahoma:

This fight song is kind of the like the song “Oh, Christmas Tree” where no one knows the actual words, so they just keep repeating “Oh Christmas Tree.” How is that inspiring? I’m surprised it doesn’t lull anyone to sleep. I’ve met someone from Oklahoma once. The person had less personality than the computer screen you’re staring at right now. So it’s no surprise this song is as dull and tasteless as it is.

Florida:

it’s just so boring and simplistic (exactly like most of Tim Tebow’s fans). The program may be at the pinnacle, but the song is very forgetable and primitive.

Michigan season preview part III: special teams and outlook

zoltan

By H. Jose Bosch

Part III of my “epic” season preview of Michigan is supposed to focus on the special teams.

Woot!

The sad thing is Michigan’s best special teams player, arguably the best player in terms of how he plays his position, is the punter, Zoltan Mesko. Great guy. But it’s not good when the punter is the only player excelling at his position.

As for place kicking, who knows what to expect. KC Lopata was the go-to guy last season. If he was the starter last year with his numbers (10-15) that means the other kickers must have been sitting in a corner, gnawing on their kicking shoes while being distracted by a set of keys.
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Ranking the Big Ten Football Venues

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By Paul M. Banks

Our friends over at Midwest Sports Fans.com have ranked the atmosphere at all 11 Big Ten football Stadiums. And Chicago’s two teams, Illinois and Northwestern, did not place well. Actually, their showing was pitiful, 8th and 11th respectively. If you can use the term “respect” in regards to what the writer thought of the Wildcats and Illini home fields- at least in these rankings. Of course, these rankings were compiled by an Indiana University graduate/fan, so take it with a grain of salt. Then again who would know more about crappy, unexciting football than an IU alum?

Either way, be sure to check out the full list by clicking here. There’s lots of cool pictures, YouTube videos, and even the clip of Brutus the Buckeye getting into a fight with a Michigan fan on the sidelines of Ryan Field. Good times indeed.

Michigan season preview part II (the defense): Greg Robinson is in for quite a battle

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By H. Jose Bosch

As I look ahead to the upcoming regular season and Michigan’s defense, I can’t help but think of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Greg Robinson, Michigan’s new defensive coordinator, is not too different from the novel’s protagonist, Santiago, a down-on-his luck fisherman.

oldmanofthesea_3502Both men are old, both haven’t had much success (Santiago had gone over 80 days without catching a fish while Robinson lost nearly 80 percent of his games as Syracuse’s head coach) and both are in for an epic battle that will test their physical and mental mettle.

OK, so maybe Robinson won’t be as physically taxed as Santiago was but the task at hand is just about the same.

With the defense under its third coordinator in three years, running an efficient system may be just as difficult as hauling in an 18-foot marlin over the course of three days. Robinson is  switching the main scheme from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and it remains to be seen if this will help or hurt the defense.

On the plus side, the three down lineman give Robinson more flexibility with a defensive line that lost defensive end Tim Jamison and defensive tackles Will Johnson and Terrance Taylor. Brandon Graham, who was voted the team’s MVP, is coming back and his 20 tackles for loss last season was second in the nation. With him leading the charge the line could be, at the very least, as effective as last season.
The linebackers are in better shape and the fourth linebacker spot will be filled by Stevie Brown, who will be a LB/S hybrid. Jonas Mouton and Obi Ezeh are back as is JB Fitzgerald, who has 12 games experience and eight tackles from last season. This will be defense’s biggest strength.

The secondary loses some experience but there aren’t any spring chickens at the top of the depth chart. I’m personally excited to see how Donovan Warren and Boubacar Cissoko do in their second seasons. And maybe with the extra LB/S hybrid wrinkle, the secondary can do a better job covering ground than last season.

Like with just about any defense, the key to success will be in the trenches and whether or not Michigan can stop the run and rush the pass. Also, a major factor in Robinson’s ability to turn things around may not even be in his control. The offense could determine how successful the defense will be.080911_clausenmichigan

Last season the offense went three and out on so many drives that the defense barely had time to breathe before they had to go out on the field again and usually in bad field position. The defense still underperformed, but it wasn’t being helped out.

If Michigan’s offense can get generally better field position than it did last year, Robinson might have an easier time turning around what was an inconsistent unit last season. But, if the offense has another off year, Robinson can’t use it as an excuse if his unit also plays poorly.

Aside from the head coach, the defensive coordinator has been the loneliest coaching position recently. Since Rich Rodriguez is supposed to be an offensive guru, the defensive coordinator has and will continue to come under much more scrutiny.

My hopes aren’t sky high for the defense. They won’t be horrible (they have too many good athletes for that to happen) but they’ll be far from the dominating defense of 2007.
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If you haven’t read The Old Man and the Sea, you should. I won’t ruin the ending for you, but Santiago’s epic battle with a marlin is a great metaphor for Robinson and his defense this season. Rather than reeling in a large fish, Robinson will have to reel in a defense that was very inconsistent last season.

I can just see Robinson during the season opener, arms crossed, watching his defense from the sidelines and having the same feeling as Santiago when he first hooked the big fish:

“Now we are joined together and have been since noon. And no one to help either of us.”

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