ALDLAND takes you live to Ohio State-Michigan in Ann Arbor

ALDLAND will have a presence on the ground at this weekend’s Ohio State- Michigan game in Ann Arbor. According to widespread commercials promoting this game, the annual meeting between these two rivals is known as “The Game.” I have attended this game many times over the past twenty or so years, and I’ve never heard it called that. Unless Brendan, between gulps of Four Loko, corrects me on Saturday morning, I’m going to chalk this labeling up as a media marketing concoction.

Outside of pride, this game does not have a lot of meaning for either team. Ohio State is undefeated but has only an outside shot at the BCS championship game, and has already secured a spot in the Big Ten championship game against Michigan State. Michigan is bowl-eligible at 7-4, but they have a losing conference record and will be home dogs on Saturday.

In year three of the Brady Hoke era at Michigan, things are slipping a bit. His teams have yet to beat Michigan State and Ohio State in the same season, and it looks like the Wolverines could go 0-2 against their conference rivals this year. Michigan was 11-2 with an exciting Sugar Bowl win in Hoke’s maiden maize and blue voyage, but they were 8-5 last year, losing to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. There’s still room– with zero margin for error– to improve on that mark this year, but even if they do, it may not erase the feeling that there’s a noticeable lack of spark with this Michigan team. Negative forty-eight yards of rushing against Michigan State says a lot about the Spartan defense, but it says something about the Michigan offense too, and although at least one critic has pointed a finger of blame at Hoke, most Wolverine fans have been calling for the head of offensive coordinator Al Borges. (Text message from a die-hard Michigan fan after the Nebraska loss: “I can never actually root for Michigan to lose, but I hate the offensive coordinator enough that I think  a few more losses are in Michigan’s best interest if it gets the OC fired.”)

Still, the feel in Ann Arbor under Hoke is decidedly different than it was under the coach Hoke replaced, Rich Rodriguez. Should it be, though? Is there a chance Michigan fans are missing Rich Rod?

Ohio State is about a two-touchdown favorite on the road this weekend, and although that feels about right as I write this on Tuesday morning, my prediction is that they will not cover on Saturday.

Unless Michigan has beefed up their mobile reception capabilities, expect in-game coverage from Brendan and I to be somewhat limited, but you can always track us @ALDLANDia.

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College football bowl schedule released

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The full bowl schedule, including times and broadcast networks, is here. Some highlights, in chronological order:   Continue reading

And then there were four: Joe Posnanski’s Sports on Earth joins the fray

Yesterday marked the first day for a new online sports site, Sports on Earth. Helmed by Joe Posnanski, who left Sports Illustrated this spring after just three years there, the site’s “senior columnist” has assembled a supporting cast of twelve other writers, only two of whom, Deadspin founding editor Will Leitch and Patrick Hruby (who wrote the Dock Ellis feature I highlighted last week), are immediately recognizable to me. That appears to be farm more an indictment of me than Posnanski, though, as a review of the bio pages of the other ten writers discloses a diverse group of talented writers with online and offline experience in national and noted regional newspapers, blogs, and book-writing, representing a range of ages, geographic localities, sporting interests, and, thankfully if barely, genders. On first blush, this appears to be an accomplished and professional staff that, at least based on two days of operation, is up to the call to post regularly and on current topics.     Keep reading…

A reexamination of performance enhancing drugs in sports, and Peyton Manning’s neck

Jason Whitlock, a writer for Fox Sports, formerly of the Kansas City Star, even more formerly a footballer for Ball State, and sometimes guest host of Jim Rome’s radio show, asked in his NFL column this week, “If human growth hormone or some other performance-enhancing drug would help Peyton Manning’s nerves regenerate and heal his neck, would you be against the NFL’s top player using it/them?”

Keep reading (and vote)…