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B1G 2021 // Jim Harbaugh, Masturbation, and Cornflakes: A Michigan Man Special

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Penn State v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Superintendent John Kellogg needed something healthy for the residents of the Battle Creek Sanatorium. His brother William had a solution.

Of course, myth is more powerful and a whole lot more fun than the truth, and the popular story surrounding cornflakes is that they were invented as a way for Kellogg to get the sanatorium residents to stop masturbating. Don’t believe me? Here’s Stephen Fry, and there’s no way he’d lie to you:

Now, we know that’s not quite true, but hey, it’s Michigan Week. You can guess where this will eventually go.

1. Are you a cornflakes fan? Give us your breakfast cereal of choice — bonus points if you combine cereals, a la Paris on Gilmore Girls, and use Kellogg’s brand cereals.

2. In honor of how late this question is: what do you call it when you have breakfast in a time normally reserved for evening eating?

Zuzu: Yes, I like cornflakes. I usually add a little sugar to make them a little sweet, but not as sweet as Frosted Flakes. Overall I'm actually a fiend for cereal, but my favorite is Honey Comb. Post changed the recipe to something awful for a while a few years ago and I was part of the outrage brigade and I guess I sent in an online form with my address? Anyway a few months later I got one of the first boxes of "new" old Honyeconb in the mail and this letter about how they "heard the fans." Needless to say they changed it back it became my favorite again. That's how serious I am about cereal.

2. Is there a name for that? I always said time of day takes priority over the food. You can have typical breakfast foods for dinner and it's still Dinner. Same way pizza for breakfast is Breakfast.

HWAHSQB: I’ll pass on cornflakes. My parents would never buy sugary cereal when I was a kid so I’m making up for it now that I’m paying for my own groceries. My favorites are Frosted Mini-Wheats, Honey Smacks, Cap’n Crunch, and Golden Grahams. I generally eat them in some combination of two or more. I also eat a fair amount of Grape Nuts, but almost exclusively as a topping for yogurt.

If I eat breakfast at night, we call it breakfast for dinner. I like breakfast foods. When I last changed jobs, I lived in an apartment away from my family for a few months until the school year ended. I ate sausage/bacon and eggs with veggies for probably 45% of the meals I consumed as a bachelor. My second favorite meal to consume as a bachelor was beer.

RU in VA: I was also allowed no sugary cereal, so I’m well acquainted with plain ass Corn Flakes. They’re okay. In a prison or a middle school cafeteria.

My favorite cereal is Raisin Bran Crunch. Born out of a 13 month deployment to Iraq in 07/08, I got hooked on those 2 or 3 ounce cups with some rehydrated banana-flavored milk almost every day. I’ve since 86’ed the banana milk - but still get some RBC when I know I have a cereal occasion coming up.

2. Ya know, when you have kids, breakfast for dinner sounds like a great and easy idea. It isn’t. Just make dinner. Pancakes still take a long time to make, and your kids will still bitch about it.

Kind of...: Also not allowed sugared cereals, but it really was more of a ban on ridiculously sugared cereals as raisin bran and Life were permitted. I barely eat breakfast cereal anymore, but when I do, it’s still raisin bran. I am a very fun person.

Add another vote for the uninspiring “breakfast for dinner.” I do have to take issue with the notion that pancakes take a long time to make. If you have a griddle and you buy pancake mix, it barely takes longer than frying an egg, and not as long as bacon. I don’t eat as much meat as I did growing up, but if I’m having breakfast for dinner, it’s going to have some sort of pork in it.

Beez: I haven’t had cereal in a while, but Frosted Mini Wheats have long been my go-to “This isn’t THAT bad, right?” cereal. If it needs to be healthier, I love some good raisin bran crunch or even just cheerios. If we’re going full bore sugar overload unhealthy? Rice Krispie Treats cereal for days.

If you eat breakfast at dinner time, it’s just “breakfast for dinner.”

MNW: I am decidedly not a cereal person, but if I do, it’s Grape Nuts.

Hear me out.

...

...

...

OK, you don’t have to.

Anyway, I asked that question because “brinner” is the popular portmanteau if you call it anything else. But I was raised in a household that called it “Silly Supper”, and I call it that to this day, and it makes my wife very angry.

Thank you for coming to this talk.

WSR: I don’t feel like I need to answer, since MNW correctly responded with Grape Nuts and brinner. My other favorite is Cinnamon Life, which is thankfully Kid1’s favorite and therefore always accessible to steal.

Poll

I call it...

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Brinner
    (9 votes)
  • 68%
    Breakfast for dinner
    (60 votes)
  • 1%
    Silly supper
    (1 vote)
  • 19%
    Something else
    (17 votes)
87 votes total Vote Now

Now, we’re fortunate to have a few good Michigan fans around here, so an anti-masturbatory cornflake is more fiction than necessity at Off Tackle Empire...but how’s that whole Harbaugh thing working out?

Brian provided a great in-depth look at some of the turnover and new blood in Ann Arbor this fall—from new DC Mike Macdonald to recruiting coordinator to definitely-not-stupid-thing-sayer Mike Hart—but...what good is all that if the head of the snake is busy picking his nose and eating it?

It’s tough to read much into any 2020 campaign, so I’m fine to put Michigan’s 2-4 in a little box and forget about it...for now. And that aside, Harbaugh has certainly been...passable? He’s gone 10-3, 10-3, 8-5, 10-3, and 9-4, only finishing worse than 6 wins once in the Big Ten, and righted the ship against Michigan State (yes, .500 is “righting the ship” when they’d lost 6/7 prior to his arrival).

But there’s the question of the rest of his resume: 3rd, 3rd, 4th, T-1st, 3rd. A win in the 2016 Citrus Bowl, then four straight progressively-disappointing bowl game losses. Most damningly, perhaps, Harbaugh is 0-5 in The Game, with only 2016 being decided by one score.

And now Harbaugh’s been extended through 2025. So Michigan appears to be in it for the long haul, though when you’re playing with Michigan money, you never know.

So tell me, writers…

1. How much longer does Jim Harbaugh last at Michigan?

2. Assess the Michigan “brand” in 2021: Is it...anything? Or just a bunch of lunatics pulling it to the past?

3. What’s one thing your team’s fans are excessively self-masturbatory about?

Zuzu: 1. I give him one more year of not beating Ohio State.

2. As a Rutgers fan I'd given anything to have Michigan’s "bad records" these past few years. But truthfully Michigan’s modern brand beCAUSE of the past is defined by just not being good enough to truly play with the big boys and having the Khaki coach.

3. For Rutgers the answer is obviously being the birthplace of college football, but come on that's pretty awesome. If talking about that is self-masturbatory, hey, more pleasure to Rutgers fans.

HWAHSQB: I think Harbaugh will last until he doesn’t want to coach in Ann Arbor any more. Locking yourself to only hiring “michigan men” for head coach severely limits the talent pool and if this guy can’t beat osu, no one else is going to.

michigan has a brand today. It’s self-delusional boo-hole fans that still think anyone outside of the Rust Belt gives a damn about their team and they are on point, very consistent with that message.

I’m really struggling on that third question. You have to be good at something first in order to have those relentless masturbatory celebrations. Red Grange, Dick Butkus, five football national titles, invented Homecoming, I don’t know. It’s sad when your best days are approaching their centennial. I suppose people over 45 are still crowing about how good Illinois was in the 80s. Even our “good” stuff comes with caveats. At one point, Illinois had won more NCAA tournament games than any team that hasn’t won a tournament, (not sure if that is still true) The 2005 basketball team was voted the best team to not win a title once. We are the kings of schadenfruede I suppose. Every time we win, we get to laugh at the other team for losing to Illinois. OMG, Scott Frost! You lost to Lovie!! Whose turn is it this year to get laughed at when the Fighting Biellini win 1-2 B1G games? Tune in this Fall to find out.

RU in VA: 1. He’s one loss away from a 2021 Rutgers/Illinois/Nebraska/NW team causing a firing mid-season. An L to Ohio State and MSU in one season would do it as well.

2. If they didn’t have a big ass historic stadium, they’d be Washington. Good-ish, in a populated Blue area of the country that no one really visits willingly.

It helps when your key skill positions are a wet fart and you can still get a top 15 preseason ranking.

3. The Schiano round 1 teams. I mean, they were good - and stocked the NFL with some talent - but the best player from those years is more known for his right hand than anything on the field. We were seriously staring down a top 5 ranking that may have included Louisville, Rutgers, and WVU, with SOUTH FLORIDA peeking in and out.

Weird times, but damn do I miss that parity.

Kind of...: 1. Harbaugh will be there for a few years still, unless he decides to leave. The powers that be seem to have accepted that OSU is at a different level, and, other than last year, Harbaugh hasn’t lost many games to inferior competition. Ironically, if Harbaugh were a young hotshot, his seat might be getting a bit warmer, but it seems like it’s easier to let Harbaugh play out the string. Everybody thinks of him as this manic weirdo, but he’s also 57.

2. Michigan’s brand at this point is basically “pretty good” sports school. They’re Wisconsin, but a little better and with more history. But the Fab Five carries more clout today than anything Bo Schembechler did on the sideline (as evidenced by the spellcheck not recognizing “Schembechler” as I type his name), and the hoops program probably has a brighter future...until Howard heads to an NBA job.

3. UW fans are pretty masturbatory (isn’t “self-masturbatory” redundant?) in assigning themselves as keepers of the sacred run-first style of play. It definitely works for UW, but it’s not as if there is some sacred scroll or candlelit ceremony for each incoming RB. It is fun to see the opponent get worn down, but Chryst let Russell Wilson fling it around, and he’ll do the same with Mertz. A lot of success in the trenches doesn’t mean you’re honoring the ghost of Amos Alonzo Stagg in some profound way.

Beez: 1. I think Harbaugh has 3-4 more seasons of 2nd/3rd place finishes in the division. I think anything worse than that and he’s got maybe 2.

2. Michigan’s brand is fine. It’s hard to know it, living in the B1G bubble as we do, but most of the rest of the country still thinks of it as a real and good thing. It’s not like they’re Tennessee or Nebraska.

3. It’s gotten less bad, but maybe the rowdiness/advantage/loudness of the student section? Like, it’s not that great. It’s always been a slightly late drunken mess that is horrible about self-policing its more horrific members, but now it’s a very late drunken mess. Your last shitty beer can wait. Your two-story beer bong really isn’t that great. Get to the g-d games.

MNW: I’d give him a couple more years of third place finishes and OSU losses, and then even if he’s going 10-3, I think there’s a heave-ho.

I have no answer for (2). Michigan is a school in the Big Ten that people across the country appear to care a lot about. I don’t get why, as they’ve been relevant in football approximately twice in my lifetime (I was born in 1990), but as a Northwestern fan I guess I don’t know what I would know about national relevance.

Speaking of, a huge fuck-you to Northwestern fans who talk down to other schools about their academic standards. Yes, we have them, but that doesn’t mean you should make the other idiots feel bad.

Oops.

WSR: 1) 2 more years, since he’s not beating Michigan any time soon.

2) What is Michigan other than what it’s always been? Good-but-not great fart sniffers. You love yourself. You love telling other people how great you are. You’re literate wisconsin without cirrhosis and half of a national title since the Eisenhower Administration. I’m not sure if you even care to change that, so I’m rather confident that you won’t.

3) Gopher Hockey and the WCHA. Yes, the WCHA was the best hockey conference because it had the Gophers, North Dakota and their 27 year old freshmen, and the Colorado schools. And yes, it was amazing to be able to take a half-day on Fridays in the winter, drive to wherever the Gophers were playing for, have dinner and a couple drinks. and still make it to puck drop with time to spare for half of the road games in the league, and yes it was great that we knew most of the players because they had previously been in the Minnesota State Hockey Tournament **insert chorus of angels singing here**. But it’s dead. Penn State’s stupid asses killed it by showing up and it’s never coming back. So accept that we’re now in a mediocre hockey conference and shut up.