Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ride Captain Ride

News came down from on high today that Bill Martin will be hanging it up as AD by next September. Now while most of us wouldn't know what makes a good AD, I think it's pretty clear that Bill Martin has been one of the best ADs in the country for the last ten years. To recap some of his accomplishments:
-He took an athletic department that was opertaing at a loss each year and made it one of the most profitable departments in the country, even without luxury boxes.
-He dramtically improved the facilities here, including a new football practice facility, new soccer stadium, boxes at Yost, new basketball practice facility, new wrestling facility, new varsity tennis complex, new academic support center for athletes, a renovated baseball and softball complex, and of course, the new suites and press box at Michigan Stadium. It is easily the most prolific building period in the history of athletics at the university.
-He helped provide a new emphasis on women's athletics, leading to our first ever women's national championship (2oo1 in field hockey).
-Eight top five finishes in the last ten years in the Director's, or Sears Cup, the annual award given by the NCAA to the school that finishes with the best overall placements in their top 10 men's sports and top 10 women's sports. These finishes have come against a number of schools that have extraordinarily large private endowments (like Stanford), or sponsor more sports than Michigan due to climate or size of athletic department (like Texas).
-Despite some high profile misses in coaching hires (Tommy Amaker, Bob Bowman), he has made some outstanding hires -- John Beilein, Rich Maloney, Marcia Pankratz and Rich Rodriguez -- that have put a number of the athletic programs in good hands for years to come.

All in all, it's safe to say that not since Don Canham retired has Michigan had such a successful AD. Here's hoping his successor has half his business sense.

-Not much to talk about with the Delaware State game -- both teams got the cash they needed out of the deal, the Hornets their 500k payout, which probably paid their season expenses, and Michigan their $4 million gate, which paid for a few different non-revenue sports
-From my vantage point, the national championship pecking order looks as follows:
1) Alabama / Florida winner (assuming they are undefeated)
2) Texas
3) Iowa
4) Cinncy
5) Boise
6) TCU
7) Alabama / Florida loser (or 1-loss SEC team)

Actually if the championship game is not a rematch, I think the one loss SEC team shoots above the two mid-majors, and maybe even above an undefeated Cinncy.
-I'll be interested to see how many of the SEC slappies who cried injustice at the idea of a rematch 3 years ago will now campaign for the loser of the SEC championship game to get a second bite at the apple.
-I'm not buying this "woe-is-me" routine from the Buckeyes and their fans. No matter how awful they look and how many games they lose between now and November 21, I'll still expect Pryor to go 28-32 for 350 yards and 4 TDs against us.
-A weird line for this weekend's games: Iowa @ MSU is a pick'em. Now I know it's tough to win on the road in the Big Ten, but Iowa already won by 11 in a night game at Penn State. Do the oddsmakers really think Penn State is 11 points worse than MSU?