Rantings of an avowed Michigan homer.

Christmas Interrupted

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There are certain days of the summer that I consider red-letter days. The Spring Game. Big Ten Media Day. The first day of fall practice. Things like that. But perhaps the most fun of all is the day I get my Michigan Football Media Guide. I love it. It's like Christmas 4 months early. I tear through it digesting every little morsel of statistic, intangible, and tidbit of information. And this year is no different. Today I stopped by the M-Den at Briarwood and picked up this year's edition of the Media Guide. Entitled "Michigan Football Tradition," I flipped it open and gave it a preliminary perusal. And one thing immediately stuck out:

Apparently, 2005 (or as I like to call it these days, 200(7-)5) isn't a part of that tradition as far as the Athletic Department is concerned. No season stats. No game-by-game recaps. No pictures, nothing about the Alamo Bowl. Nothing. Only the customary little box with the game scores, team captains, and the like alongside the other 126 seasons of Michigan football. This was the season that did not exist.

Before last season, the NCAA changed the rules on media guides to restrict the number of pages to a paltry, arbitrary 208. And so schools like Michigan, who were accustomed to putting out Biblical texts of 400 or more pages were forced to decide what to put in, and what to eliminate. Stat hounds like me are now forced to check out mgoblue.com to get bowl recaps, lists of letterwinners, and other things thought too trivial for the guide. Apparently this year, they didn't have a lot of difficulty filling pages, as the guide is now home to pages and pages of filler, including:

-2 pages on the Women's Football Academy (206-7)
-2 pages on Carr's Wash for Kids, with great pictures of football players in t-shirts looking very bored washing cars for C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. (204-5)
-2 pages on the Radio-a-thon the team held this summer at 1050 WTKA (202-203)
-2 pages on the "Michigan football traditions" involving sedate Ann Arbor street scenes and a full page on the Detroit professional sports teams and their venues. (198-199)
-4 pages on the Athletic Academic Center (184-187)
-21 pages of 1/3 to full page pictures of every Wolverine in the NFL today. Who knew that John Navarre's 2 games of NFL action was worth a half of a page? And, for that matter, who knew that Todd Collins was still in the league? And Kevin Dudley has never been on anything better than an NFL practice squad? (62-83)

That's a full 33 pages of pretty useless crap. Yeah, it's something to turn a new page and turn your back on 2005. But to eliminate any trace of the entire thing ever existing? Mmmm-hmmm.

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