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State of Michigan Football, Pt. 5

State of" in the sense that Michigan is a state, and in the sense of a condition of being. Part 5: Discussion on reader feedback and questions.

Part 1:
My first assertion, that fans in the state of Michigan are not all fans of the Wolverines, was not disputed:
I'd say Tim is correct. OSU is the only game in football crazy Ohio while Michigan is divided. M could dominate the state but has only done so in SE Michigan. MSWho has been dominate in Saginaw/Flint. But the rest of the state....

Southwest Michigan's population has Chicago team and Notre Dame fans. Further, you cannot discount the in state MAC teams. Many of my relatives in SW Michigan are Western fans before they are M or MSWho fans. My niece attends Central and knows all about the Chips, but little about Wolverines!

- Wolverine 98284
I agree with Wolverine 98284, but would like to mention that he is perhaps overstating the SW Michigan ties to non-Big 2 schools. In Grand Rapids (where I live, and which could be considered SW Michigan), people are indeed fans of MAC schools, but Michigan and MSU have strong influence as well, along with Notre Dame. I disagree that many SW Michigan residents are Chicago team fans, however. Tigers, Lions, Red Wings, and Pistons are the overwhelming favorite almost throughout the state.

The comparison to Ohio was not a topic of debate, either:
I grew up in Ann Arbor and now live in Cincinnati. Tim is 100% correct about the Buckeyes, it's the only game in town when it comes to college sports. OSU is even bigger then UC in Cincinnati. Ohio recruits have one choice where to play football and that's at OSU.

- Bob
Pretty much everyone was in agreement that Ohio is a state united (behind the Buckeyes), whereas Michigan's loyalties are spread amongst 2-3 (I didn't account for Notre Dame in the original post, but I think it is definitely something that needs to be accounted for (i.e. eliminated from the face of the earth)).

However, some people didn't quite see the connection between having 2 "main" schools in the state, and the Wolverines losing recruits to out-of-state schools:
I feel your argument on why Michigan recruits go to other schools (MSU/USC/otherwise) was not fully developed. Are you arguing its because they lack a central allegiance to one school? I could see this as a strong reason to support losing kids to MSU, but I feel its a rather weak argument in regards to USC/out-of-state opposition.

- kowisja
While the split loyalty does indeed mean that the Wolverines will lose some recruits to MSU, I still believe that it does help out-of-state schools with Michigan prospects as well. If a player is a lifelong fan of Michigan, then Michigan has a distinct advantage in his recruitment. However, with a state divided, he is more likely to be a casual fan of the Wolverines (or even a fan of Michigan State). When it comes time to make his decision, Michigan doesn't have the advantage that they would have had if the Wolverines were the overwhelming choice of the entire state (see: Ohio State), and both instate schools start without as significant an advantage as a single instate school would have had. In addition, if he grew up a State fan, but wants to go to a good school/program, he might choose to go out of state, so as to not have to play for the rival of his favored Spartans.

There were also a few other explanations offered by people:
We have definitely pushed harder to get the recruits from out of state. I don't quite have the desire to research this, but I'm interested to see how many instate recruits of high ranking and in positions Michigan needs have bolted to schools outside of UM/MSU.

- kowisja

1. Recent Coaches/Success
2. It's warmer in other places. Hi USC, Florida, LSU.
3. Visibility/Draftability.
4. I hesitate to mention this, but based on various reports: Shadiness. OJ Mayo, Reggie Bush, Maurice Clarett, Troy Smith.

- Dave
I think kowisja's point isn't necessarily true, especially regarding a player that he cites as an example, Nick Perry. I don't believe that the staff missed on Nick Perry because they were focused on out-of-state guys. On the contrary, I think they really wanted him and simply whiffed (note: I think this happened before the new staff was in the picture), mostly because they had taken him for granted. As far as the first part of kowisja's post, I might go through and do a bit of research about instate prospects who went places other than Michigan or OSU sometime soon.

As far as Dave's points, I hesitate to ever call #4 into play, mostly because I think it's more of an excuse than an explanation, but it may be relevant. The first two definitely play something of a role. I think #3 is a nearly-direct result of #1, and if Michigan started winning more, the recruiting rankings, both in- and out-of-state, would improve.

On to Part 2:
Some people tried to help come up with reasons that Michigan produces so much less D-I talent (especially high D-I talent) than Ohio.
Several of our football players stopped playing football to concentrate on soccer, baseball, and particularly hockey, which played a prominant role in our town's fandom. Are other sports as big of a deal in Ohio? I don't know about others, but I can't imagine hockey being as prominant.

- footymcgavin
I originally thought that this would be a significant factor. Obviously Michigan produces more hockey players, but I thought maybe there was something to Michigan's reputation as a "basketball state" compared to Ohio's pedigree as a "football state." However, while Ohio does indeed produce way more football talent, the two states are about even in terms of producing basketball players. With no easy way of checking for soccer and baseball prospects, this is an issue that likely can't be resolved statistically.

Even still, if such a difference between the two states exists, there must be some explanation why Michigan's athletes are moving away from football whereas Ohioans stick to the gridiron.

And finally, Part 4:
Most people agreed with the rules that I would change for the MHSAA:
The all star game rule is the dumbest...i remember grady wasn't able to play in one because of that.

- RJHOVE
There was also a question about coaching, too:
I'm somewhat curious how coaches salaries work in Michigan. Are they subjected (harsh word choice I know) to normal teaching salaries by the Teacher's Unions, or can they make more money? The football coach at my high school was making more than everyone minus the superintendent for the entire district. Granted our coaching staff was comprised of probably 24 coaches covering 6 football teams (Varsity, JV/A, JV/B, Freshmen A,B,&C). There were at least 2 coaches (HC and OC) that didn't teach any classes other than Football period. I highly doubt Michigan's teacher's union would have the same allowances.

Makes me wonder then how many of the best coaches stay in Michigan, not just the recruits.

- formerlyanonymous

Good points here. However, I'm not sure too many people go into high school coaching as a career, leaving the state for a higher salary. If coaches were moving up to the college ranks, it might make sense, but a great HS coach leaving the state of Michigan for a HS coaching gig in, say, Texas, doesn't seem to ring true.

On the other hand, it may be the case that some high schools in Texas are able to pay competitive enough salaries to prevent coaches from making a jump to small-college coaching. This would certainly go a long way to keeping good coaches at the high school level within the state.

Thanks for the great dialog, everyone. If you have anything else you'd like to contribute, I'm all ears.

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“State of Michigan Football, Pt. 5”

  1. Blogger RJHOVE Says:

    Does forcier go back on the board since he went to camp? Or do you still think it's a backup plan

  2. Anonymous MBAUM Says:

    Being from SW Mich, I can attest to there being many ND fans, though many usually come out of the woodwork only in good years. There are also a LOT of cubs fans, and to a lesser degree bears and white sox fans although this is not as relevant.

    Addressing HS coaches, those below head varsity are essentially volunteers (making a few grand), but are not necessarily HS teachers.

  3. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    im sorry this had nothing to do with this, but is there a reason that kevin newsome was dropped from the 100 on rivals after being i think 18th then 39th and now out of it.

  4. Anonymous Dave110 Says:

    I did the research on top michigan players, and here are the results...
    Since 2002 there have been 58 players from Michigan rated as 4 stars or higher
    24 - Committed to Michigan
    18 - To Michigan State
    17 - Went Elsewhere
    2 - Still Uncommitted (Dion Sims/Cameron Gordon)

    Of those 17, 10 had Michigan offers...
    Those ten were...
    Vernon Gholston - OSU
    Ronald Johnson - USC
    Dionte Allen - Florida State
    Joe Barksdale - LSU
    Darris Sawtelle - Tennessee
    Chris Colasanti - Penn State
    Taurian Washington - OSU
    Nick Perry - USC
    Jonas Gray - Notre Dame
    James Jackson - OSU

    Sawtelle was a UT legacy, so he's out. We slowplayed both Gholston and Gray in favor of other prospects. There was a general consensus that Jackson and Colasanti wanted to leave the state from the beginning. Allen grew up an FSU fan, Washington had his offer essentially pulled by Michigan since we were full at the position. That leaves three players that we flat out struck out on, with no mitigating factors...

    Joseph Barksdale
    Ronald Johnson
    Nick Perry

  5. Blogger RJHOVE Says:

    Jeffrey to USC