What the Deuce: Bo Knows ND

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bo Knows ND

ESPN has an ad campaign for Monday Night Football that accurately describes what I'm feeling right now. Instead of every Monday is one Monday closer to Monday Night Football, its every Saturday is one Saturday closer to College Football. With that being said, I"m coming across more MSM stories on the beginning of the season.

The Great Wide Open: SI's Stewart Mandel creates an artificial list of 16 teams that could contend for the National Championship. Added bonus: Each of the 16 teams has its own page of Mandel-ian analysis. My favorite has to be the "Good Omen," a wacky stat that gives hope to a team's fans. Iowa's has to be the best:

"Ferentz's contract pays him $2.7 million annually, trailing only Charlie Weis and Pete Carroll, who between them have won 5 titles (national championships or Super Bowls)"

I understand the gimick, but come up with something better than comparing Ferentz's salary to a guy who's only coached 1 year of college football and Uncle Pete.

Mandel's analysis of Michigan doesn't provide any new analysis as he makes broad generalizations that have become his hallmark. Although, his concerns are the same ones that most Michigan fans have - OLine, Blown Leads, etc.
Basically, its a gimicky article meant to get readers excited about the upcoming season while giving some fans hope while angering others.

Bo Talks to Media at Lions Camp: Bo graced the media with his presence yesterday after a Lions's pre season practice. He had some interesting things to say. While I don't agree with a lot he has to say or the fact he still looms over the program like Terrance did over Endeavor during his extended leave of absense, I do agree on his view regarding the Notre Dame series:

"We don't need Notre Dame. They need us more than we need them."

Earlier this year, my friend told me that Lloyd said he'd like to see the series with Notre Dame to come to an end because it posed an stiff non conference test and that in order to contend for the National Championship, Michigan needed to play an easier non conference schedule (this logic is based off Lloyd's assumption that going undefeated in the Big Ten surely would assure a berth in the Championship Game).

I don't know Bo's motivation for making this comment, but I do recall him saying something about Notre Dame's refusal to join the Big Ten. Economically, the question is whether ND receives a financial benefit from playing Michigan, MSU, PSU, Purdue, and occassionally Ohio State. Arguably, yes. Assuming the value of ND's television contract is based on ratings, the Irish stand to gain more by playing teams that will draw a national audience. In all likelihood, playing a schedule against the service academies, BYU, BC, and some other filler school would not draw similar ratings, thus eroding NBC's incentive to have an exclusive television deal with Notre Dame.

On the other hand, there is a good possibility that the Irish could replace its Big Ten opponents with other quality opponents from the other power conferences, thus making Bo's argument moot. Still, it would be interesting to see what the Irish would do if every school in the Big Ten refused to play them. In reality, it seems that the Irish need the Big Ten and vice versa as a victory over a renewed Irish would help in the National Championship quest.

Buckeyes' are Ballsy: I received an email from a friend last night highlighting the Buckeyes' non conference schedule for the next few years:

2006: Texas (back end of a home and home)
2007: Washington (played the dowtrodden Huskies in 2005; hopefully UW will be on the rise in '07)
2008-2009: USC (home and home)
2010-2011: Miami (FL) (home and home)
2013-2014: Cal (home and home)
2015-2016: Oklahoma (home and home)

That's balls. As much as I loathe OSU, I have to give them credit for scheduling games against "elite" programs. I would love to see this from Michigan, but as long as Lloyd Carr is coach and believes going undefeated in the Big Ten with a mediocre non conference schedule is the formula getting to the championship game, I'm not holding my breath. Another reason we shouldn't expect this is Lloyd's attitude towards winning and losing. I can't recall if he's always been like this or if this is something more recent, but its disappointing. There isn't any reason that Michigan teams cannot get out of September undefeated, winning their opening road game, something that hasn't happened since I was enrolled at Michigan. I firmly believe with preparation and the right mind set, Michigan could have a schedule that mimics OSU's and still succeed, contending for the National Championship.

For selfish reasons, mainly boredom, I'd like to see the Irish off the schedule. Assuming nothing changes, it would be too difficult, given Lloyd's attitude, to have ND and another "elite" program on the schedule and go 2-0. In reality, most years, 1-1 would be successful. Under the right coach, 2-0 could be a strong possibility but that is just speculation. Assuming the coaches and athletic department didn't want two "tough" games in the same year, I would rather see Michigan take on more home and homes with teams like Georgia, Texas, and SC. This would increase fan interest while also keeping the tradition of having 1 "elite" non conference game and 3 manageable/easy ones. I'm just really surprised that Bill Martin, a successful business man, hasn't lobbied more for big named opponents instead of debating whether to play that football powerhouse, Maine. Maybe he has but hasn't done anything because he's received resistance from Carr...who knows. But from a fan's standpoint, I'd love to see some new matchups instead of Eastern, Western, and ND. Maybe someday.

Other News: Clarrett arrested again. Its gone past the point of being funny to where someone needs to keep an eye on him at all times. Its only a matter of time before he's dead or on trial for killing someone (this isn't implausible - the only person I know who wears a bullet proof vest as a fashion statement is 50-Cent...and Clarrett reportedly had an assortment of weapons including a hachet). Starting TE Frost suspended for the year for violation of team rules. Southern Cal's Dwayne Jarrett ruled eligible.


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