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Varsity Blue

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Various Things

If you only check this blog once a day, make sure you don't miss out on the post about Junior Day, directly below this one.
The Recruiting Board has been updated slightly to include headings for each column. This was based on the requests from a couple of readers. Also, OK RB David Oku now has an offer.
A request regarding said recruiting board:
Do readers prefer Hometown and School fields OR State and Hometown/School fields? Leave your response in the comments to this post (and any other requests/suggestions you may have for the board, while you're at it).

The Big House Thing
Various fans and members of the blogosphere are up in arms about Michigan Stadium's capacity being below that of Beaver Stadium during the next two years. Personally, I think it is no big deal.

While having the largest stadium in the nation is something nice to be able to hang your hat on, I'm pretty sure avoiding constant litigation is more productive for the athletic department. Being able to get on the good side of the ADA also holds Michigan to the higher moral standard that I believe is an important aspect of our Tradition, and rids us of the annoyance of John Pollack, who Brian dubs (not-so-affectionately) "The Hero of Tienanmen Square."

It's also important to note that Michigan Stadium, despite announcing it was the home of "the largest crowd watching a football game anywhere in America today," did not in fact hold this distinction on two Saturdays. The September 8th contest against Oregon was outdrawn by Notre Dame's visit to Happy Valley (109,733 to 110,078) and Michigan and Penn State's respective beatdowns of Eastern Michigan and Iowa had the attendance battle go to the Lions as well (108,415 to 108,951). The top 15 most-attended games in '07 were all in Ann Arbor or State College, with the top 4 taking place in the Big House.

It is important to note that Michigan Stadium was not at or below official capacity (107,501) once in 2007, nor would I expect this to be the case in 2008 (at 106,201). With a new headman in Ann Arbor, and a lot of media interest surrounding this change, it is likely that there will be many members of the media in attendance, at least for the first game. Media and other game services personnel account for the difference between capacity and attendance. Penn State is also the only school in America who averaged more than Michigan Stadium's projected new capacity (other than Michigan, of course). An exciting style of play, as Michigan is expected to have, will only help the case.

So, do I think this is a lot of hand-wringing about something that won't greatly affect anyone? Yes. There is little practical reason to have a dick measuring contest in terms of attendance. It won't impress recruits (they will still be awed at the sheer expanse of Michigan Stadium, and think that Beaver Stadium looks like an erector set gone wrong (for the record, I like the stadium, but it is far from aesthetically appealing)).

Recruiting Woes
Speaking of fans being irrationally concerned over matters, many are starting to express worry over the lack of Michigan commitments so far in this class. There are a few points that people will need to take into account before they start jumping of bridges.

Rich Rodriguez and staff had to play catch up on 2008 before they could worry about 2009. While other staffs had their 2008 classes completed, and were sending out feelers to 2009 prospects, Rodriguez had to first secure all of Lloyd Carr's previous commitments, then get more players to sign with the Maize and Blue (Hill, Floyd, Feagin, Roundtree, Shaw, Robinson, Odoms, Barnum, Omameh), almost all of whom were four-star prospects. Odoms's recruitment even stretched out past signing day, and Terrelle Pryor's is obviously still ongoing (even if many Michigan fans have given up, don't think for one second that Rodriguez has). Thus, other schools (including Michigan State) had a head start on Michigan.

Mark Dantonio's class is looking good, but the players haven't signed anything yet, and some of them might not fit Michigan's new system. Brian covered this yesterday.

Michigan is one of the last schools to have its junior day. While schools like Texas get nearly their entire classes to commit at junior days, Michigan hasn't had an opportunity to hold its junior day yet. This is mostly because of playing catch-up (see above, in addition to the coaches getting to know existing players and each other). Junior Day is finally coming tomorrow, and with more offers likely being given out, and a good possibility for a commit or two, Michigan will jump back into the recruiting game with a vengeance.

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“Various Things”

  1. Blogger mzgoblue Says:

    Tim, I thought Penn State actually outdrew Michigan on THREE (3) football saturdays last year: (9/8/07; 10/6/07; & 10/27/07). See post of http://thosewhostaywillbechampions.blogspot.com/2007/10/fans-in-stands-ii.html Either way, I don't think it matters that Michigan won't have the largest seating capacity as long as the sellouts continue. Go Blue!

  2. Blogger Tim Says:

    You are in fact correct. Of course, I had to go and believe ESPN without diligently checking ALL the facts.