Saturday, October 21, 2017

2017 Michigan gameday #7: at Penn State

How else would I start out a Penn State post?

It's game day for Michigan, and the Wolverines will be joined by ESPN GameDay as they travel to Happy Valley for a 7:30 pm matchup with #2 Penn State.  Jim Harbaugh's team could largely turn its season around and erase the effects of a close loss to Michigan State by beating the Nittany Lions for the fourth straight year.  This is nothing if not a marquee night matchup and a tough road test for a team that's still struggling to put up points, though the good news is that the defense is even stingier when it comes to the scoreboard.

While an upset would go a long way towards the Wolverines' 2017 goals, in many ways a Penn State loss is great in general, because it's a program that deserves nothing but scorn for the way its fans and former coach Joe Paterno's family continue to blindly support the disgraced leader despite all of the evidence against him.  Plus there's these jackasses that thought it would be funny to compare Michigan's quality to that of the lead-laced water in Flint.  Stay classy, Penn State.

Regardless of what those mouth-breathers think, this game, the 21st in the series (Michigan leads 13-7) which only started in 1993, could very well be a good one.  The defense could keep the team in it by doing their usual thing while keeping all-world RB Saquon Barkley in check, while the offense needs to pitch in by eliminating turnovers and finishing off drives.

Here's hoping Michigan remembers past successes like
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the 1997 game, also against the #2 team on the road, and
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Mario Manningham in 2005,

2006, the year we learned that ALAN BRANCH KILLS QBs, plus
last year's 49-10 thumping for the Wolverines' third win in a row in the series.

Ride your defense and newfound running game to a huge upset.

Let's.

Go.

Blue.
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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

10/7/17 card show report: wide world of Wolverines

If you read my TMV post (which is likely how you got here), you know the show I went to a couple weeks ago and the subsequent report post were pretty much paint-by-numbers, but I can't complain since the cards were new to me and fun to dig out as usual.

Here's the Wolverines content:
Let's start with the football base stuff.  Last year's Donruss offerings of Funchess and David Harris bookend a nice 2009 Upper Deck Leon Hall, and I also added Harris' Donruss base from this year's design, which I also like.

One of the biggest surprises of the day was card #5, a 1988 Swell Greats issue of Bill Hewitt, a player I believe is totally new to this here blog.  A native of the state (Bay City), he attended Michigan in the late 20s/early 30s as an "end" (I believe a pre-forward pass TE) and FB, then went on to an NFL Hall of Fame career with the Bears, Eagles, and the amazingly named Phil-Pitt Steagles, the combined team that was formed due to a player shortage resulting from WWII.  He doesn't appear to have appeared on much cardboard, so this was one of those really fun dime box finds!

I also wasn't expecting to turn up a numbered first-year for my Rookie Blue collection, but suddenly I saw a 2003 Absolute Memorabilia RC (#0616/1100) of former TE Bennie Joppru.  It's my 20th of his surprising total of 32 rookies, and one of the nicest ones at that.

Finally, I grabbed another one of those crazy and fun Pacific offerings of the 90s, a 1996 Crown Royale base of coach Jim Harbaugh.  When Pacific wasn't trying to melt your eyeballs with shininess they tried to grab your attention in other ways, like this all-die-cut set, and I salute them for it!
I also came up with a surprising number of Michigan Football inserts, though if it took me this long to find them I can't imagine the dealer would feel like putting in the effort to dig them up and price them at a small premium.

The top row is all Refractors all the time:  Biakabutuka's hails from 1999 Finest, Breaston's is a parallel of his 2007 Finest RC, and I also found what seems to be a rarity:  a Braylon of that parallel that I hadn't tracked down yet (2006 Bowman Chrome).

The next three are all numbered, with a couple $0.50 cards from the same set bookending one numbered way higher than both combined.  QBs Elvis Grbac and Brian Griese are both representing with identical numbering (#221/299) from Pacific's 2001 Vanguard Blue parallel, plus I turned up a Silver parallel of Griese's 1998 Topps Stars RC (#2430/3999).

The bottom includes parallels of a couple positions that face each other on every play, a CB and WR.  While I already had Leon Hall's 2007 Topps Chrome Refractor parallel of his RC, until this show I hadn't tracked down his XFractor.  Done and done!  Jumping back more than a decade I then grabbed Amani Toomer's super shiny Ground Zero parallel from 1996 Summit.
That wasn't all, though, since I made it an even ten with these two horizontal offerings.  The first is a 2001 Team Nucleus insert that plays on its product's name:  Pacific Prism Atomic.  All three players on that card ended up having at least solid careers, though HOF RB Davis's career would be over the year after this insert came out.

Speaking of 2001 Atomic, I also came up with this awesome die-cut/numbered insert of WR Tai Streets, a Gold parallel numbered 005/116.  The color really goes well with the 49ers uniforms.  Remember when they didn't suck because they weren't owned by a know-nothing spoiled brat?
Lastly, I turned up two very cool hockey parallels.  The first is one of my favorite hockey alumni in Morrison on one of my favorite parallels and products:  1999-00 Paramount Holo-Gold (#050/199).  I surprised myself when it came up in a big pile of numbered hockey cards I was grabbing for someone else (who could that possibly be?  I'm going insane trying to remember.).  The other is one of the better goalies the school produced, Steve Shields, on one of the greatest of all parallels, an Artist's Proof, which happens to be of his 1997-98 Pinnacle RC, so big bonus there!

That's it for this month's show, but I've still got waaaaaaay too much to scan and post to show off for you, so stay tuned for whenever I get around to that.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

2017 Michigan gameday #6: at Indiana

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Last Saturday's loss to (#3) rival Michigan State was a huge blow to Wolverine fans, though not exactly unexpected based on the way the team played.  Still, it's just one game, and like a pitcher that gives up the winning run in the 9th, the team needs to have a short memory and move on to the next game.

That contest will take place at noon in Bloomington, Indiana, as Michigan travels west to face the Hoosiers for the 66th time.  The last time the Wolverines lost to Indiana, by a 14-10 score, I was four and Bo Schembechler was still in charge.  The '87 team also lost to all three Rivals (Notre Dame, MSU, and OSU) on the way to an 8-4 record, though oddly enough, while Michigan was unranked, the Hoosiers were a top-20 team.

Of course, circumstances are a bit different 30 years later; despite the loss Michigan remains a top-25 team, and Indiana, whose identity was formerly built on offense, effectively neutered that side of the ball by naming former Michigan OC Mike Debord--he of offenses straight out of the 1970s--to the same role for their program.  Instead, their defense has led the way, which could make things interesting for an offensively-challenged Michigan team.

Will the Wolverines right the ship a week before a huge matchup in Happy Valley?  Will we see another crazy finish that seems to be the hallmark of this series in recent years?  Will the Wolverines write another page in their storied history with a play ala "Wangler to Carter"?
Tune in at noon to see how a Michigan team licking its wounds responds to a tough loss--I know I'll be looking for them to come out hungry for a W.

Let's.

Go.

Blue.
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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

2017 COMC purchases: Suite hockey cards

Today seems like a good enough day to split my COMC football pickup posts right down the middle and show off some hockey stuff instead.  Hooray, eh?

This time I picked up a trio of cards for my supercollection of mighty mite goaltender Shawn Hunwick, a super fun player to watch in college who appeared in three minutes of a 2011-12 season Blue Jackets game and still managed to show up on more than 70 hockey cards, not including 1/1s!  As a bonus, pretty much every card of him features some combination of his college equipment, which is hilarious since he played for Columbus.

Here's what I landed:
First up is this Gold Rush parallel of Shawn's 2012-13 Score rookie.  Frankly I prefer the 90s baseball versions of this insert as this one manages to go more of the recent Topps parallel route despite actually having borders.  Since I already owned the product's base card I'm just left chasing his Black Ice parallel.

This pair of hits hails from the very cool multi-product 2012-13 Panini Rookie Anthology offering and represents both of Hunwick's non-1/1 entries in the Luxury Suite portion (which is actually listed as a Pacific brand, if you take a close look at the banner in the upper-left of each card).  On your left is his jersey/auto/RC (#35/99) from the Rookie Autographs group while you see the tougher Gold version (#19/25), including a "prime" jersey swatch on the right.  It's definitely a nice pair and I was glad to grab it for less than I was expecting.

Today's trio gives me 25 of Hunwick's 71 regular issues (and 28 cards overall), plus a new count of 13 hockey hits, making me wonder if I should have saved this post for Friday.

Stay tuned for a couple more COMC recap posts with 100% FOOTBAW action!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Which Glasgow?

I was going to post this on Sunday but after Saturday nights game I was just to disgusted. I'm not going to get into all that but I will say it was a very frustrating game to watch as you can tell by my tweet.


I did just want to drop by and show you my latest $3 pick-up.


It's my first card of Ryan Glasgow, my first card of any of the Glasgows as this family keeps churning out football players for Michigan. Graham is in the pros (Lions) as is Ryan (Bengals) and the younger brother Jordan is still at Michigan. Regardless, I've bid on this card a couple of times and ended up outbidded as I usually only put $3/shipped on autos but I finally managed to get this one for my max bid.

As far as the team goes, I won't shut any games off, I just can't, but if they keep playing like this, my excitement for going to the Ohio game lessens. Let's see if they can turn it around this weekend at Indiana. At least this game is at noon, I hate having to wait all day to watch them.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

2017 COMC purchases: a loss, not a win-serts

A disappointing offensive performance (five turnovers!) all but sealed Michigan's fate this evening but MSU still gifted the Wolverines with one last gasp attempt that failed by inches.  Oh well, you don't win 'em all!  On to Indiana.

To celebrate a pretty good game (maybe not great sans victory), let's have a look at the bunches of football inserts I grabbed on COMC over the past few months:
We'll kick things off with lots of offense, starting with Refractors of WR Derrick Alexander from '94 Stadium Club Bowman's Best and '99 Finest.  FB B.J. Askew makes an uncommon appearance with a Rookie Blue parallel of his 2003 Mystique RC (#261/350).  Then we have a trio of possession WR Jason Avant:  '06 Playoff Contenders ROY Contenders (#0861/1000), a Topps Chrome Refractor parallel of his RC from that year, and a Chrome Black Refractor from the following year's Topps Draft product.  Finally, there's another trio, this time representing RB Tim Biakabutuka via '96 Leaf Gold Rookies, '97 Ultra Comeback Kids (on a very cool die-cut design) and 2000 Mystique Running Men.
This scan gives us plenty more offense starting with a five-spot of shifty WR Steve Breaston:  '09 Score Scorecard (#082/299), 2010 Certified Platinum Red (#271/999), 2010 Playoff Contenders Playoff Ticket (#23/99), 2011 Certified Mirror Red (#240/250) and 2011 Prestige Xtra Points Gold (#025/250).  Lots of serial-numbered stuff there!

Next is a trio of ex-QB Todd Collins:  1995 Pinnacle Trophy Collection (football's answer to baseball's Museum Collection), the same year's Select Certified Mirror Gold (remember when those were huge), and a protected 1997 Pinnacle Totally Certified Platinum Red parallel (#4946/4999).

Short-lived NFL LB Shawn Crable is a rare defensive player here on a 2008 Topps Chrome Refractor parallel of his RC.  I hope you like Refractors because there's more where that came from!
After a short hiatus we're back with more QBs.  Elvis Grbac, Desmond Howard's QB for his 1991 Heisman campaign, is here from 1999 Score Showcase (#0953/1989) and 2000 Pacific Prism Prospects Premiere Date (#083/138).

Doubling him up is title-winning QB Brian Griese:  a 2000 Bowman Chrome Refractor, 2002 Bowman's Best Blue parallel (#132/300), 2005 Leaf Rookies and Stars Longevity Ruby parallel (#050/299) and another Refractor from 2005 Topps Chrome.  The way the non-Griese subjects are portrayed on the Blue parallel is both creepy and cool.

Lastly, I turned up a rare trio of numbered cards of a defensive player--David Harris, erstwhile NY Jet who joined the Pats for this season.  Topps Gold parallels from 2010 (#0865/2010) and 2013 (#1972/2013) bookend a 2011 Prime Signatures Prime Proof Red parallel (#21/99).  After suffering through Jetsdom I'd love to see him win a ring with fellow Wolverines Tom Brady and Alan Branch.
This scan continues the run on defensive players with DBs Marlin Jackson--2006 Score Gold (#109/600)--and Ty Law--2006 Topps Chrome Own the Game.  Law, of course, had Super Bowl success with the 2001 and 2003 Patriots.

Jake Long flips us back to offense with his 2011 Topps Gold parallel (#0674/2011), and the only OL of the day is followed up by the lone TE--Tony McGee and his 1998 Bowman Chrome Refractor.

Shoelace's card, a 2016 Donruss Stat Line Season parallel (#011/266) is a call back to one of my favorite baseball inserts of the early 2000s.  The numbering, of course, corresponds to his rushing total from the previous year.

We then close out the scan with three parallels (including two Refractors) of Giants WR great Amani Toomer:  2004 Topps Draft Gold Chrome (one of my favorite Topps products), 2005 Finest Refractor (#045/399) and 2008 Score Gold Zone (#170/400).  Seriously, why can't Topps make products that look like '04 Draft/Chrome?
Here's a group of horizontal cards that even includes another defensive cameo!  Previously-seen WRs kick us off with Derrick Alexander's 1998 SPx Finite Radiance parallel (#4153/5050) from that totally numbered product, then a couple 2006 Michigan uni appearances from Jason Avant:  a die-cut Press Pass Big Numbers card and an example from that year's Prestige Draft Picks insert.

Then it's over to a couple QBs.  We already saw Griese earlier, and here's another cool numbered insert, this time from 2001 Pacific Invincible, called Widescreen (#1150/2500).  It's easy to forget that aspect ratio was exotic at the time.  He's followed up by current coach Jim Harbaugh on a cool holographic insert I hadn't seen before:  1996 Select Four-midable.  Great design!

Law makes his second appearance, this time on a 2008 Topps Chrome Dynasties insert that highlights one of his aforementioned Super Bowl victories.

Finally, a pair of die-cut RBs:  Chris Perry on the 2004 version of Press Pass's Big Numbers insert, and Anthony Thomas out of 2002 Pacific Heads Update's Big Numbers.
Because of the sheer number of cards I grabbed of Braylon Edwards, I decided to scan him separately.  This can includes seven vertical cards of the former #1:  2007 Finest Green Refractor (#074/199), 2008 Leaf Limited Banner Season (#654/999), 2008 Select Future Franchise (#404/999), 2008 Topps Chrome Copper Refractor (#384/425), 2009 Bowman Chrome Xfractor (#221/250), 2010 Certified Platinum Red (#047/999) and 2010 Topps Gold (#0209/2010).  Thanks to Bray-Bray being out of the league, I can find lots of cheap numbered inserts of his like this bunch.
I also grabbed eight horizontal inserts.  The semi-translucent 2005 Playoff Contenders Rookie Round Up (#213/450) is easily my favorite of the bunch.  It's joined by another Press Pass Big Numbers card, this time from 2005, and this bunch of Panini-branded numbered issues:  2006 Leaf Certified Materials Certified Potential Gold (#0322/800), 2009 Donruss Elite Prime Targets Gold (#550/899), 2009 Playoff Prestige Prestigious Pros Blue (#0803/1000), 2010 Panini Threads Silver Holofoil (#158/250), 2011 Donruss Elite Craftsmen Gold (#222/999) and 2011 Prestige Prestigious Pros Green (#103/250).  A nice looking bunch of inserts for sure!
We'll end things tonight with four more cards of Michigan's coach, who may not be too popular for a few days after tonight's loss, but still has my full support.  First is another example of a '95 Pinnacle Trophy Collection Parallel.  The next--my favorite of my Harbaugh haul--is a die-cut '96 Stadium Club Fusion, half of a pair that includes HOF Colt/Ram RB Marshall Faulk.  Finally, we have a pair of '96 Upper Deck-branded inserts:  Silver All-NFL and Proview (which may look familiar to you baseball collectors).

Michigan fans may have to endure the usual pains of going through a week after a loss, but we're hardly the only fans to be disappointed this season and there's still plenty to play for.  Hopefully years down the line I'll get to see many of the guys I watched tonight appear on inserts like these.  For now, it's onward to Indiana for the team and onward with my collection for me!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

2017 Michigan gameday #5: vs. Michigan State

It's early October and I got to wear shorts today as the high climbed into the 80s.  That makes me a very happy camper--the old gridiron cliche of "football weather" never worried me much, and I promise we'll get plenty of that soon enough.

Still, it's a great day for the sport, not to mention a matchup that sees Michigan's number one two three rival Michigan State head to Ann Arbor for an ill-advised evening tilt.  I mean, people get rowdy enough when they haven't had about seven extra hours to "pre-game", and that's before taking into account the folks in East Lansing, who've never met a couch they didn't burn.

For the Spartans, this is the date that's circled on the calendar every year--MSU's Super Bowl, the game where they deploy the entire arsenal (and then some) as they furiously try to shake off the "Little Brother" moniker (famously bestowed upon them by Mike Hart) by...completely obsessing over the more relevant in-state team with a series record of 69-35-5.

For Michigan this game offers a chance of reaching 5-0 and continuing conference play with an unblemished record.  It's also an opportunity to see what they've got in backup-turned-starting QB John O'Korn, a guy who jumpstarted the relatively stagnant offense after coming on in relief of injured starter Wilton Speight two weeks ago at Purdue.  And finally, it gives fans across the country another look at DC Don Brown's ferocious defense, a group that surely spent the bye week filling up on milk and steak to refuel for this matchup.

Come 7:30 the Wolverines will be back to work against their #1 (in-state) rival as they look to add another win to the record books, something that would make a very nice present for birthday boy Charles Woodson (41 years young today), a guy who knew a thing or two about beating State...
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...in some cases, one hand at a time. 

Take care of business and let old Paul Bunyan stay where he's nice and comfortable.

Let's.

Go.

Blue.
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