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Maybe It's Time for a New Approach to Michigan's Trash Talk

In this weekend's Hot Clicks: Despite nearly two decades of embarrassment, Michigan continues to talk. Plus, a robot to beat pro curlers, calling Iowa's bluff and more.

Robot Olympics

Look out, Jared Allen, you have a new curling nemesis: Curly.

Scientists at the Berlin Institute of Technology have developed an A.I. robot that can beat professional curlers:

“The robot is shaped a bit like a flattened teardrop, with two wheels up front and one caster in the rear. (It’s difficult enough for a human to walk on ice, much less a humanoid robot, hence Curly’s wheels.) It’s equipped with two cameras, one that telescopes 7 feet high to give the robot a view of the house, and another on its face just above the front wheels to watch for the hogline. Curly grasps the stone between those front wheels using four smaller wheels arranged in a U shape. These are powered by a conveyor belt, which spins the stone, allowing the robot to curve its trajectory, just like a human player does. Spin clockwise and the stone will curl right; spin counterclockwise and it’ll go left.”

Maybe it’s time for a different approach

Michigan blanked Ohio State, 22–0, in the regular-season finale in 1976, their first win over the Buckeyes in five years but the first of three straight wins in the series and first of 18 wins over their next 28 meetings, the longest stretch of success by either team in the rivalry since Michigan dominated in the early 1900s. Since the last of those 18 wins, Michigan is 1-15 vs. Ohio State, including last year’s dismantling, which increased the average scoring margin to nearly two full touchdowns over that time.

Despite nearly two decades of embarrassment, Michigan continues to talk...every single year. This year, Cameron McGrone stepped to the podium. The junior linebacker, who’s seen the Wolverines allow 118 points to Ohio State in their last two meetings, is “scared” for everyone in Michigan’s path, including the Buckeyes.

The confidence is admirable. Sincerely. But, maybe it’s time for a different approach.

Calling their bluff

The postponement of the college football season was cited as a reason by several universities that cut athletics programs, including Iowa, whose athletics director Gary Barta and president Bruce Herrald released this statement after announcing the disbanding of four sports (men’s and women’s swimming, men’s gymnastics, and men’s tennis):

“The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a financial exigency which threatens our continued ability to adequately support 24 intercollegiate athletics programs at the desired championship level. With the Big Ten Conference’s postponement of fall competition on Aug. 11, University of Iowa Athletics now projects lost revenue of approximately $100 million and an overall deficit between $60-75 million this fiscal year. A loss of this magnitude will take years to overcome. We have a plan to recover, but the journey will be challenging.”

Barta added this during a Zoom press conference with the media:

“The financial fallout that COVID-19 led to the postponement, cancellation, of fall football. Were it not for that, we would not have been dropping those four sports. And so, Aug. 11 was a memorable day. From that point forward, we started to put a plan into action.”

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If Iowa was playing football, they wouldn’t drop those four sports. That’s not reading between the lines or speculating; that’s a fact, unless, Barta wasn’t being fully transparent. And now, two weeks after the Big Ten announced a return of the fall football season, Iowa’s bluff has been called.

“Will the announcement of football change the decisions we made? No,” Barta said one day after the Big Ten’s reversal. “The short answer is no. … Maybe our deficit goes from 75 million to 60 million. The deficit we will take on this year—I hate to use the word catastrophic, but it really is catastrophic. … Unfortunately that’s still going to be the case.”

The return of football doesn’t eliminate all financial issues. Iowa still loses gate receipts, merchandise sales, and media revenue from the lost games. That’s an entirely fair argument. However, where’s the explanation? Where’s the accountability?

Pat Forde dug into those questions this fantastic article.

Odds & Ends

NASA astronaut casts her ballot 200 miles above Earth … Aaron Judge no longer has the MLB’s top-selling jersey … Seven-hour flight to nowhere sold out immediately … ICYMI: Air Force is honoring the Tuskegee Airmen with awesome uniforms vs. Navy … Fernando Tatis hit a 458-foot dinger on Friday night … But Ronald Acuna topped that with a 495-foot moonshot… FIFA suspended Trinidad and Tobago … Four years ago today, Dee Gordon did this … MACtion is gonna be on steroids this year … What to watch in MLB’s final weekend … A 60-foot robot is gonna take over the world.

Fashion Statement

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