Sunday, September 28, 2008


Well, would ya look at that. Rich Rodriguez gets doused with the bucket of Gatorade and Michigan pulled off the impossible comeback against a very talented Wisconsin team, winning in historic fashion 27-25. Season salvaged.

The 500th game at Michigan Stadium was a tale of two halves with what seemed to be two different sets of Michigan teams. If I didn't know any better, I would have guessed that before the game, the coaches told the Wolverines that Crisco was a great substitute for stick-em and told Steven Threet that the secret to a perfect spiral was to throw it with your eyes closed. I mean wow, the offense was beyond horrendous in the first 30 minutes. Five turnovers, 21 total yards, and a 19 point deficit that was only 19 points because the defense played admirably. To be honest, I was ready to throw in the towel on the whole season at halftime. After Wisconsin went up 16-0 and Threet threw another interception, I fell asleep. When I woke up at the half, I didn't want to move. This was embarassing. The Wolverines were staring a 1-3 record right in the face and I only kept the TV on because after so many years of watching, I've learned that Michigan football is its own type of masochism.

Dating back to 1927, when the first game of football was played at Michigan Stadium, the Wolverines had never come back from more than 17 points down while playing at home. 81 freakin' years. Then came Michigan's first real offensive drive and Threet's long pass on 3rd down to Kevin Koger for a score. 19-7. Big deal. But wait, then Brandon Minor blasted through a Grand Canyon sized hole and capped off an 85-yard drive with another score. 19-14. Huh? Then, before I could blink, Wisconsin threw a wobbling pass that was tipped up and returned for a touchdown on the very next play. 20-19. And you know the rest...McGuffs takes it in for an extra cushion and the Michigan defense bends to the breaking point before boomeranging Wisconsin back to the loser's circle. Season salvaged.

2-2. Not 1-3, but 2-2. Doesn't seem like much of a difference, does it? They're still unranked. They still have a bumbling offense with 11 turnovers in the past two games. There are still questions in the secondary and on the offensive line. So, what's different? Confidence, pure and simple. Yeah, they lost to unranked Utah and girl-quarterbacked Notre Dame but they completed the biggest comeback in Michigan Stadium history and knocked off a top ten team only four games into a season with a new system and new personnel. Sounds like salvation to me.

(Next week I'll be back with a preview of the Michigan-Illinois game and hopefully another installment of column writing...or Camolumn for short).

Friday, September 26, 2008


"We're the coolest band ever. Yeah, I said it," declared Rivers Cuomo, the lead guitarist and singer for Weezer, during the opening show for their U.S. Tour in Lowell, Mass. on Tuesday night. Weezer has been one of my favorite bands for years, as far back as elementary school, and at least two of their albums would rank in my personal top ten. This was the second time I've seen the group in concert, the first was back in 2005 when they played with the Foo Fighters and were promoting their fifth studio album, Make Believe. This tour could potentially be their last, since the band split up after the tour in 2005 and then rejoined to make a sixth album early last year. The newest addition to the Weezer discography, Weezer (The Red Album), is the focus of their tour and is something I blogged about months ago because it is clearly their best album since the mid 90's and far surpasses anything they've produced in years.

So, when a generous friend allowed me to borrow a car, I drove to St. Anselm College to pick up my friend from home and then we made our way down to Lowell for the show. The place was completely sold out and it was pretty exciting to be seeing a band that I've admired for most of my music-listening life. It's usually pretty special when you get to see a band perform where you know almost every word to every song they play, and this was no exception.

Angels and Airwaves was the opening band and they were surprisingly better than I'd hoped. I knew of them because Tom DeLonge, former blink-182 guitarist and singer, is their frontman. After listening to some of their music when it first came out, I wasn't exactly enthralled. As much as I loved Tom in blink, he wasn't nearly the same and wasn't producing the same kind of music in Angels and Airwaves. So, I didn't expect much. But, some of their songs were more enjoyable live than on the album so it was a pretty solid opening for the amazing band to come.

When Weezer took the stage, the packed house erupted. Everybody went nuts. The classic band didn't do anything flashy or technically advanced when they walked on stage (like I've seen many newer bands try to do) but instead calmly walked to the center, looked up at the crowd, and started strumming the chords to one of their old favorites, "Dope Nose." They played for almost two hours! and had the crowd completely in the palm of their hand from start to finish. Here's the set list:
  • Dope Nose
  • Hashpipe
  • Dreamin'
  • Undone (The Sweater Song)
  • Automatic
  • Say It Ain't So
  • Suzanne
  • Troublemaker
  • King
  • My Name Is Jonas
  • Pink Triangle
  • Pork and Beans
  • Keep Fishin'
  • Perfect Situation
  • El Scorcho
  • The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)
  • Cover of "Morning Glory" originally by Oasis
  • Island in the Sun
  • Beverly Hills
  • Cover of "Sliver" originally by Nirvana
  • Buddy Holly
To sum up these 21 songs, I would say that they played everything I would have wanted them to. The only thing they could have played to make it better was "The Good Life" from their second album, Pinkerton, because it is one of my all-time favorites but since they played many of my other favorites (El Scorcho, Perfect Situation, Say It Ain't So, and The Greatest Man That Ever Lived), I was blown away. I will say it was disappointing to hear them play two covers because they have such a wide variety of their own songs to perform, but as musicians I'm sure it's fun for them to experiment with things they don't usually play. And, as you can see above, Tom DeLonge came on stage to sing along with the band as they played "Undone (The Sweater Song)" off of their first record, Weezer (The Blue Album). Tom sang the first verse and when he finished, Rivers chimed in with "That was pretty mind if I give it a try?" and jumped right into the next verse. So, the show not only succeeded as a fantastic musical experience but as a general entertaining performance as well.

I know I will be listening to Weezer and singing their praises for many years to come; they've had too much of an influence on me to have it any other way. It was awesome to see them again and I hope that someday, they will be as appreciated in the modern rock world as they are by their loyal fans. I'll be back later this weekend with the recap of the Michigan game...have a good one!

Week 4: Wisconsin at Michigan

Here's another nice picture of Michigan celebrating against the team they play this week. Hopefully, this picture of Tom Brady and Anthony Thomas bumpin' chests in the 1998 season when they beat Wisconsin 27-10 will get the Wolverines to pull an upset but, in all reality, it isn't likely to happen. Wisconsin is ranked 9th in the AP Poll and 8th in the Coaches Poll and Michigan isn't even in consideration for a single vote in either. But, the Maize and Blue will have the home crowd on their side and after a bye week, they should come out firing. Here are some expectations for Saturday's game at 3:30 p.m.
  • Michigan's offense will continue to improve. Yes, their last game against Notre Dame featured some of the most horrific ball-protection I have seen in my many years watching UM but, they were still able to move the ball effectively when they could hold onto it and Sam McGuffie was insane. He should be a bright spot on the team and with Carlos Brown coming back to full health for the first time in a long time, I think Michigan could put some points on the board.
  • Michigan's defense will continue to be an enigma. Sometimes they resemble an NFL-caliber defense that can stop anybody and other times they look so inept that they might as well go back to Pop Warner football. I have every hope that the D will step up and let the offense relax and try to manage the game but I think the inconsistency will remain and the Wolverines might be behind early.
I think that even though Wisconsin is ranked much higher than Michigan and has more talent and experience overall this season, Michigan could surprise experts and take this game. Think about it: it's the Big Ten opener, RichRod will have used the bye week to his advantage, the fans will be hungry to pull off an upset, and as I saw last night with Oregon State beating USC, anything can happen. With that said, Wisconsin is also coming off of a bye week and will want to come into the Big House and keep their hopes of an undefeated season intact should be a tight game. Prediction: Michigan 17, Wisconsin 14.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Ugh. Well, I was half right about my prediction for the Michigan-Notre Dame football game. It was ugly, but only for Michigan. Seven fumbles, four of them lost, and two interceptions. How can any team possibly expect to win when they can't take care of the ball? The only positive thing about the loss today was that Steven Threet showed that he can be accurate with his passes and that Sam McGuffie is an amazing runner with breakaway speed. But costly penalties, some of which were blatently bad calls, and terrible ball handling gave Notre Dame way too many chances and took Michigan right out of the game this afternoon.

The second half of the game was incredibly ugly, like I predicted, because the rain picked up and both teams were turning the ball over like it was a hot potato (Michigan had 4 turnovers and ND had 2). Other than one of the fumbles that was returned for a touchdown, there were no other points scored in the half and it was very hard to watch. Neither team could move the ball effectively on offense. It was a grudge match. That's the exact game I was expecting to watch. Only problem was, the first half featured fairly decent weather in which ND quarterback Jimmy Clausen showed that he can beat you with his arm and went deep a couple times to his speedy receiever Golden Tate (who in the hell names their kid Golden, by the way?). Even though Notre Dame led 28-17 at the half, the first two quarters were fairly even. If not for two early Michigan turnovers that Notre Dame turned into touchdowns, Michigan would have been up 17-14 at the half. But, that's life and Michigan couldn't keep their hands on the ball.

In closing, I really hate Notre Dame and their fight song and their stupid golden helmets. If Jimmy Clausen really wants to sport that haircut, he might as well just do everyone else a favor and get a sex change. He looks like a girl. An ugly girl. Unfortunately, his haircut didn't influence his passing abilities and he was able to throw to his favorite target, Golden Taint, sorry...I mean Golden Tate, who was too fast for the Michigan's cornerbacks and was seemingly running circles around them whenever he got the ball.

So, Michigan's 1-2 and they have a bye week next weekend. They should use this time off to regroup and figure out how to fix the turnover problems. Oh, and I don't want Nick Sheridan to ever be quarterback again. Threet's the guy Michigan needs if they want to get to a bowl game this year. The Wolverines' next game is in two weeks, at home against Wisconsin. I will know more about the Badgers after their tough game tonight against Fresno State but in reality, they are 10th in the country and Michigan will have to play extremely well to beat them.

Week 3: Michigan at Notre Dame

This image, taken from the 2006 Michigan-Notre Dame game, is an image that I hope will sum up today's game between the Wolverines and the Fighting Irish. Unlike the 2006 matchup though, the two teams facing off today are both unranked in the polls and being overlooked by everyone in college football. There's good reason for that, seeing as how Michigan is 1-1 after a tough loss to Utah and a less-than-stellar win against Miami (OH) and Notre Dame barely escaped their home opener against San Diego State with a win. But, even though this contest will lack some of the luster from the usual Michigan-Notre Dame game, these two teams are still the top two winningest programs in the history of the sport (Michigan's #1, as they should be). Here are some things to keep in mind when the maize and blue take the field in the third week of the season:
  • Michigan is ranked 36th and Notre Dame is ranked 45th, in the CBS Sports Top 120.
  • There is a 90% chance of rain in South Bend, Indiana today, where the game will be played.
  • There is a 100% chance of this game being the ugliest game you will see in all of college football this season. Both quarterbacks are pretty bad, although ND's Jimmy Clausen can throw the deep ball pretty well. Neither offensive line will do much to help the quarterbacks out and the defenses will both dominant their sides of the game. All of this, combined with crappy weather, will make it a smashmouth run-first pass-second style game, which will give Michigan a slight advantage because their defensive line is so strong. If Notre Dame is going to win this game, Jimmy Clausen is going to have to beat the Wolverines with his arm.
Overall, I think both of these teams are pretty bad. Both of them will be trying hard to get this victory to get their team one step closer to bowl eligibility. I don't have much confidence that Michigan will win, but I definitely think that they can. It's their first road game, so it will be interesting to see how they react to a hostile atmosphere. But, in the end, I always want my team to win and I don't believe in picking against them so...I think that the rain will help Michigan and hinder Clausen's chances of beating the Wolverine secondary with the deep ball. Prediction: Michigan 13, Notre Dame 9. Like I said, it's gonna be an ugly one.

Why Bulgarian Women Shouldn't Play Hockey

Defeated. Lopsided. Blown out. Beaten down. Crushed beyond recognition. None of these terms can fully explain the loss that the Bulgarian women's hockey team suffered to Slovakia in the European Olympic pre-qualifying tournament. Let's just consider what a completely one-sided score in a sixty minute hockey game really is. At the highest level of professional men's hockey, in the NHL, the record for the most lopsided score was a 16-3 victory by the Montreal Canadiens over the Quebec Bulldogs in 1920. So, from that statistic, it's safe to assume that a margin of 13 goals would normally be considered the worst loss that a capable team could suffer in the sport of hockey. And, this matchup between Slovakia and Bulgaria was in the European Olympic pre-qualifying tournament so, the teams must be at least capable right? I mean, these are the best players that the country could find to represent their country, right? Wrong. Unequivacally wrong. See if you can wrap you head around this box score.

Goals: Slovakia 82, Bulgaria 0. Shots on goal: Slovakia 139, Bulgaria 0. For you math geeks out there, that's one goal every 44 seconds. That's one shot every 26 seconds. Fourteen different Slovaks netted a goal and the leading goal scorer had 10 by herself. What's even more ridiculous is that two of their other losses in the tournament, a 30-1 defeat to Croatia and a 41-0 slaughter at the hands of Italy, didn't even make any headlines. In the entire tournament, Bulgaria scored one goal and allowed 192.

There are approximately 7.4 million people in Bulgaria and 37 of them tried out for the country's national hockey team. A team can only carry 25 players on a roster. That means 12 of these women didn't even make the cut. How would it feel to get the axe from a team that was outscored 192-1 in a single tournament? That's real pain, knowing that you weren't good enough to compete on a team that couldn't stay within 80 goals of Slovakia. Ouch.

Now, when I used to play hockey in pee-wees and squirts and other ridiculously named sections of young kids, our coach would tell us to lay off the other team and work on passing or skating techniques when we were winning by a wide margin. That wide margin was usually 7 or 8 to nothing. Not 82-0. Can you imagine what kind of person this Slovakian coach must be to keep the pressure on when they were winning by 80 freakin' goals? I mean really, how good could it have felt to score the 81st or 82nd goal of that game. Isn't there a point where the coach calls the dogs off? Bulgaria didn't even get a shot on goal in this game. Not a single shot.

"We took it as training," said Slovakin coach Miroslav Karafiat. Oh really? How exactly do you train a team during an 82-0 victory? Explain that to me. Hockey training usually consists of passing, skating drills and offensive and defensive strategies. How do you have time to do any of that when you're scoring a goal every 44 seconds and getting a shot on net every 26 seconds?

A win is a win. Whether the Slovakian team won 1-0 or by their actual score of 82-0, they still were going to move forward in the tournament. Would it be embarrassing for the Bulgarians to watch the Slovaks simply stop trying and just pass the puck back and forth on the ice? Probably. But that kind of embarrassment can fade away with time. An 82-0 defeat is recorded, written in the International Ice Hockey Federation history books. That kind of embarrassment lasts forever.

The 50th Post!

Back when I started this blog, on December 10th of last year, I didn't think it would last. My first post was used to vent some of the anger I felt towards the talking heads on TV who were constantly criticizing Michigan's head coaching search. I never thought it would become a weekly updated venue where some of my best writing could surface and allow me a place to write about what is happening in my life and what I really care about. From Michigan football to Red Wing hockey to the devastating loss of my grandfather, this blog has given me a new idea of what a "blogger" really is. Many folks still see it as somebody who has nothing else to do with their life and sits in their basement, writing ridiculous opinionated statements about a variety of subject matters. Creating my own has shown me that it's really just a way to express my own opinions in a place where my family members and friends can read and comment on my writing. So, in celebration of the 50th post, I've decided to make a few goals to try and improve this blog even further. At least once a month, I want to reach out and find an issue about anything from sports to news that irks me in some way or catches my attention and I will write about it. I plan to emulate my idols in the columnist field, Mitch Albom and Rick Reilly, in doing this. Readers should also expect to see more Michigan football previews, talks about hockey and the Red Wings, and reviews of movies, concerts, and other things happening in my life. So, I will begin the post-50th post era of When Cameron Was In Egypt's Land with my first attempt at a column followed by the third Michigan football preview of the 2008 season.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Finally! The first victory of Michigan's 2008 season and first under new coach Rich Rodriguez came yesterday afternoon at the expense of the Miami (OH) Redhawks, 16-6. The Wolverines started out fast and scored 10 points in the first quarter before cooling down and holding off Miami the rest of the way. Although a win is a win, I wasn't exactly in awe of Michigan's performance yesterday. True, they did execute the offense slightly better than last week and the defense played much better over an entire game but there were many lapses in downfield coverage and were it not for a few dropped passes and a good play by Michigan safety Brandon Harrison, Miami might have won this game handily. When you're a two-touchdown favorite, the other team should never even sniff a chance at victory. So, clearly, there is still plenty of work left to do before the team's first road game at Notre Dame next weekend.

Things I liked about yesterday's game:
  • Steven Threet's legs. I was amazed at how mobile he was in comparison to what I had been told about him. Everyone had said that he could not move around or out of the pocket but yesterday he was running all over Miami's defense. As a 6'6" quarterback, Threet shouldn't be able to do things like that. It was incredible to watch.
  • Sam McGuffie. This true freshman is the real deal folks. He may, in fact, be the fastest white guy I've ever seen in college football since Tim Dwight. He ran around Miami defenders so easily it looked like they were standing still. I think McGuffie easily would have eclipsed the 100-yard plateau if the play calling was more creative.
  • Michigan's Defensive Line. They got to Miami's quarterback occasionally and stuffed the run for most of the game. They weren't as good as they were in the second half of the Utah game but they were much better than they were in the first half of the Utah game. Overall, a solid performance.
  • The big plays. Michigan almost never runs plays that end up going for 30, 40, or 50 yards. Yesterday they had a few pass plays and running plays that utilized the speed of their skill players and went for huge chunks of yardage. Those were exciting to watch and I expect more to come as the season moves along.
Things I didn't like about yesterday's game:
  • Steven Threet's arm. His passes were off target and often overthrown. As good as Threet was running the ball, he was just as bad throwing it. And at the end of the day, I will always take a quarterback who can throw the ball effectively over one that can run the ball effectively.
  • The continuous quarterback circle. I did not like Rich Rodriguez's decision to switch back and forth, seemingly without reason, between quarterbacks Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan. In the Utah game, it made sense to make the switch during the game because Sheridan wasn't getting the job done. But yesterday, Rodriguez replaced Threet with Sheridan when Michigan was up 10-3 at the end of the first half even though Threet was running the offense fairly well. Then, Rodriguez started the second half with Threet instead of Sheridan and later switched the two again. I understand that neither or these quarterbacks are very good and they both need to gain some experience but I think it hurts the rest of the team when no one knows who their quarterback is going to be on any given possession.
  • Michigan's Defensive Secondary. I was disappointed in the amount of plays where Miami receivers were completely open and would have scored if their quarterback had better accuracy. Donovan Warren and Morgan Trent had some big hits but sometimes left too much space in their coverage and allowed Miami players to get a couple extra yards and key first downs. Stevie Brown was a disappointment at safety for much of the game and definitely needs to improve before next week.
  • On/off switch of the offense. The first drive of the game was amazing. Right down the field for a convincing touchdown. After that, the offense must have flipped the switch to "off" because they couldn't move the ball at all. A lack of creativity in play calling and execution on third downs allowed Miami to slowly crawl back into a game they had no business competing in. The final touchdown of the game was another great drive down the field to put the game out of reach but I don't understand why they can't succeed like that more often. The botched extra point at the end was also worrisome but hopefully a fluke occurrence.
Well, like I said before, a win is a win. And they needed to beat Miami (OH) yesterday. If they had lost that game, I might have lost all faith in humanity. Thankfully, they won and can hopefully use their first victory to build some confidence, move forward and continue to improve. It wasn't pretty, but it will do. Luckily, Notre Dame looked positively awful yesterday in their close victory over San Diego State so I'm hoping they will nurture that ineptitude and bring it to next week's game against Michigan. I'll be back sometime before Saturday to preview the first rivalry game of the year and the first road test for Michigan but until then, take care and I hope everyone had a good weekend.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Week 2: Miami (OH) at Michigan

The second week of Michigan's 2008 football season will culminate with today's game against Miami University at Ohio. Michigan and Miami will both look to rebound from opening week losses and move to 1-1 on the season. Neither team is ranked in the AP or USA Today Top 25 polls, but in the CBS Sports Top 120, Michigan is ranked 39th and Miami is 75th. On this morning, Michigan was a 14.5 point favorite and clearly expected to win this contest. I'm inclined to agree, but Michigan's closer-than-they-should-be victories over MAC teams in recent years leaves me with a few questions about the match-ups for today's game.
  • Miami's Offense vs. Michigan's Defense. This should be the reason why Michigan wins the game. Their defense showed with little doubt that they are a force to be reckoned with in the second half of the game against Utah and Miami's offense only managed to score 13 points in their opener against a mediocre Vanderbilt team. Miami has some depth at running back, but their quarterbacks and wide receivers are extremely subpar. Advantage Michigan.
  • Miami's Defense vs. Michigan's Offense. I really hope that one more week of practice and conditioning can help bring Michigan's offense over the hump but in all likelihood, it will be more of the same from last week. I expect some turnovers and poor decisions by the pair of inexperienced quarterbacks but I'm hoping that creative play-calling and talent alone will be enough to overcome Miami's solid defense. Still, with talent and experience at most defensive positions, neither team has an advantage in this match-up. Even.
  • Miami's Nerves vs. The Big House. This is, without question, the most difficult game on Miami's schedule this year. While Michigan Stadium isn't exactly new territory for Miami (they've played against Michigan here in 1995, 2001, and 2004), they have never had success in the Big House and their narrowest loss was 38-19 in '95. I don't see that trend changing and in front of 106,000 angry Wolverines fans, it wouldn't surprise me to see a couple Miami players lose control of their bladders during warm-ups. Advantage Michigan.
Overall, this is one of the games on Michigan's schedule that they absolutely must win if they want to compete for a top 25 spot or continue their streak of consecutive bowl appearances. I liked what I saw at the end of the Utah game last week, but that was about all that I liked about it. There are still a ton of things to fix and kinks to work out before they will be able to compete against the best of the Big Ten. I believe that this game against Miami, though, will prepare them for the tests to come and be the first win of the Rich Rodriguez era. Prediction: Michigan 38, Miami (OH) 13.