Some relatively interesting news coming out today, but once again another slow day in sports now that the Stanley Cup Finals are over. In the college football world the Michigan Wolverines, according to Twitter, have agreed to a home and home series with the Utah Utes in 2014 and 2015. They would play at the Big House in 2014 and then play on Thursday Night in Utah in 2015. This is a pre-cursor to the Big Ten/Pac 12 agreement that is set to start in 2012-2013 for men and women’s basketball and the Olympic sports, and then in 2017 for football. Many Big Ten and Pac 12 football teams already have games on their schedules to play one another before the agreement officially starts and so the teams left for Michigan to play were very slim. I personally would rather have not played any Pac 12 teams before the agreement starts simply because there were not any good teams left to play and the fact that Michigan has already played Utah within the last five years. Besides, who wants to play on a Thursday night? Utah may have moved to the Pac 12, but they are still complete benders with garbage game time slots.
The other news regarding Michigan today is that they have announced which jersey numbers will join Desmond Howard’s #21 as Michigan Legends numbers. Those are President Gerald Ford’s #48, Bennie Oosterbaan’s #47 and Ron Kramer’s #87. Oosterbaan’s will be brought back during the Air Force game (September 8th), Kramer’s during the UMass game (September 15th) and finally, Ford’s during the Illinois game (October 13th and Homecoming). All three of these numbers had been previously retired and are now being brought back into circulation. Initially I was unsure about un-retiring such historic numbers, but Athletic Director Dave Brandon says that not only did he get permission from the families, but it was what they wanted. So long as the families are okay with it then I will be okay with it. Realistically it is a great honor, and probably better than having the number sit in Schembechler Hall where no one sees it and is eventually forgotten about. As some may have been taught in John U. Bacon’s class, Gerald Ford was famous mostly for his actions off the football field, supporting Willis Ward, a black teammate that was told he could not play against Georgia Tech and had to sit out because that was “customary” when playing southern teams at that time. He was also the team MVP his senior year as the starting Center, on an absolutely garbage Michigan squad. Oosterbaan was famous for being on the receiving end of the Benny to Bennie connection that popularized the forward pass (Benny as in Benny Friedman). Kramer meanwhile, was a multi-sport athlete and is now in the College Football Hall of Fame. The two other numbers that still have to be un-retired are Tom Harmon (#98), the school’s first Heisman Trophy Winner and #11, which was worn by three different Wistert brothers. Personally, I do not see either going back in rotation. Harmon is arguably one of the greatest college football players of all-time and I think at this point that #11 will be left for only a Wistert family member.
In other non-Michigan news, Tom Lemming, a major recruiting guru, came out today and said that most rankings are not based on player’s ability, rather they are based on the offers they receive. This is the reasoning as to why many highly ranked high school players do not pan out in the NFL. Other than the fact that people highly underestimate Long Term Athlete Development and worry far too much about winning when they are younger (ask anyone from USA Hockey about this). This causes kids to peak far too early and that is why kids do not pan out in college or in the pros. Want an example? See Will Campbell. Granted Campbell still has this year to redeem himself, but he has certainly not played like a five-star recruit over the course of his Michigan career.
Finally, these videos are old at this point, but they certainly made me love the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Always helpful to have rock stars from the state of Michigan to promote your squads.