It Appears Connor Stalions Was A Teenage Michigan Football Blogger
1:05 PM EDT on November 3, 2023
The new message-board poster, registered under the username cstalionsuofm, announced himself 101 days before college football season in 2012 with the headline “College Football 101.” He said it was the first in a daily series. “As the days get closer, the topics will get better and better until we get to #1 on August 29th, which is one day away from kickoff,” cstalionsuofm wrote. He also promised a second Michigan Football 101 series to be posted on Wednesdays. The first post in the College Football 101 series was about Boise State.
“Although they may be in some trouble this year, any team with a blue field has to be interesting,” he wrote. “Personally, I find it interesting to watch them on TV because the players somewhat blend in with the field. My Dad says it hurts his eyes, but he's getting old :) but most people love it!”
Users of Mgoblog, the popular Michigan-focused site and message board where the blog was published, were not big fans. “What’s the value added here?” a user named Needs commented.
“Please work on your grammar. Capitalization of Random words is Great,” Vivis added.
“Thought this guy got banned. Oh well,” Craze for Maize wrote.
“You mention blue turf a million times but can’t give me the name of the new starting qb or anyone except the coach?” TrppWlbrnID wrote. This one got a reply from cstalionsuofm: “Fixed it a bit for ya. And they’ll get a lot better as time goes on.” He also replied to a Boise State fan who dropped into the comments to say he was correcting some facts about the number of national championships the Broncos had won. “An FCS championship DOES NOT COUNt,” cstalionsuofm replied.
The Michigan football team employee currently at the center of a hilarious, exhausting sign-stealing scandal was once just a fan. Connor Stalions is accused of coordinating a complicated operation for the Wolverines, where he and his hirelings attended games of future Michigan opponents and filmed the sideline in order to steal other teams’ signals. Stalions, a Naval Academy grad, was hired by the team in May of last year. Devin Gardner, who played for the Wolverines from 2010 to 2014, said on the radio last month that Stalions was around the team back then, too. “He would be at every away game,” Gardner said. “When we got off the bus, he would be there just cheering us on.” It’s basically a Rudy story—only instead of annoying Notre Dame until they let him play football, Stalions annoyed Michigan until they let him coach.
Stalions was greeting Gardner as he stepped off the bus right around the time cstalionsuofm was writing College Football 101. Stalions is now 28 years old. When those blogs were posted in 2012, he was a teenager.
“I assume that is Stalions himself, but have no real proof since the only data I have beyond the username is the email he used to sign up, which was—surprise—email@example.com,” Mgoblog founder Brian Cook told Defector. “The only other thing I can tell you is that he signed up about 12 years ago and hasn't logged into his account in about 10 years.” Contrary to that commenter, Stalions was not banned.
Mgoblog went live in December 2004. It is a lively community with about 500,000 registered users. Not all of them are active, but Cook told me the site earned 8 million pageviews last month. Cook, who was at the old AOL Fanhouse for the majority of its run, was originally the sole writer. (Here’s a look at it in October 2007, which takes me back and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside.) The site now has three writers and more contributors. But users can also write their own diaries, just as cstalionsuofm did. Registration is five bucks now; it used to be free.
Stalions’s sign-stealing operation was careless. He bought tickets under his own name, and used a public Venmo account to compensate people who attended games for him. He was a superfan waiting outside the bus who one day believed he would take over the team. “Stalions claimed to have a Google document between 550 and 600 pages long that he managed daily, containing a blueprint for the Wolverines’ future,” Sports Illustrated’s Richard Johnson reported. “He referred the document as a movement more than a plan, dubbing it ‘the Michigan Manifesto.’”
The user behind cstalionsuofm certainly had the heart of a blogger: He posted just three entries in the College Football 101 series. That is the kind of follow-through that made the whole blog scene great. His second post in the football series was about the best press conferences in college football history. “The interesting thing about press conferences is that they are the only time you hear from coaches and players,” he wrote. In 2012, Mgoblog commenters were getting nicer, though they questioned why there was so much non-Michigan content posted to the diary section. They thought it should be in the MGoBoard section. This is the kind of exciting drama message boards provide.
In general, though, commenters were nice! Even TrppWlbrnID had changed his tune. He was convinced cstalionsuofm was going somewhere: “But this is an intriguing idea that i hope the OP grows into a bit, as these first couple posts have been a little short on substance and the degree to which they relate to our purposes here.” Commenters ended up angrier at UMFootballCrazy, who posted several derogatory comments about cstalionsuofm's post. Cstalionsuofm's final entry in the series, which he did post on the MGoBoard, was about the Auburn-Georgia rivalry. Things were less positive. “I’ll keep downvoting you,” hart20 commented. “After you stop upvoting yourself, I’ll likely continue to keep downvoting you, simply because I don’t think this is board material.”
Another user kind of caught on that cstalionsuofm was just a kid: “As someone who sadly has to grade a bunch of undergraduate writing, this could use a lot of work. I’d suggest that you go pick up elements of style, read it ten times, and try again next year.” Rough.
There was a consensus summed up by stephenrjking: “Over the course of a summer, even in a dead period, I suspect the negative feedback will grow… to continue posting here risks drawing the ire of the entire MgoBlogosphere and receiving so many negs that the OP’s posting privileges could be frozen. This has the potential to be highly frustrating, even embittering for the OP; I would hate to see that happen to someone who demonstrates this kind of enthusiasm and energy. A better strategy would be to fire up a blogspot or wordpress blog, post the content there, and then every five rankings or so post a board post listing those rankings.”
Cstalionsuofm did just one Michigan Football 101 blog. It was the first in a 25-person ranking of Michigan football players. Brandon Graham, then and now with the Eagles, was his pick for No. 25.
“OK, so at least this ‘series’ will be a little more interesting than your other one,” Happy Gilmore commented, “but you clearly have way too much time on your hands — find a job.” Boy, did he ever.