Monday, November 29, 2010

You're Welcome! Big Ten Champs!

1. Steve Stamkos:  One of the best young players in the NHL is finally getting the recognition he deserves.  Barry Melrose didn't play him because he thought he wasn't NHL ready, then he gets the most goals in the league.  Now that clown Melrose is on ESPN's pitiful hockey coverage and Stamkos is making every shot imaginable for the Lightning.  Hes only 20 and hes improving and Steve could be the new face of the league for many fans, not the unlikable Crosby.  

2. MSU Spartan football:  In a roller coaster season, the Spartans won an Overtime game in a I-guess-they-aren't-so-bad Notre Dame team, only to lose their coach for a few weeks with a heart attack.  Then the Spartans upset Wisconsin with Don "The Tread" Treadwell.  Then they steamrolled lesser teams with Dantonio returning (including a third straight against the Wolverines, twice in their house) to finish the season with the most wins since 1999.  It looks like the Capital One Bowl again (oh darn) against the SEC (my pick, South Carolina)  in a return to playing on New Year's Day.  The only thing that could be sweeter is if the Spartans snapped their streak and won a bowl, over a quality opponent, to shut up the critics who said the Spartans only beat bad teams.  A Cinderella year that was huge for everyone involved.  Remember when everybody said Dantonio had to win this year to prove he can be a difference maker?  That seems ages ago.  The talented young Spartans should be challenging for the Big Ten title next year, when we don't have to share it with anybody. 

3. Chicago Bears:  Don't get to excited.  Sure, the Bears look improved, and many things are going right.  But this is a typical Bears playoff season.  Their defense improves to the point of respectability.  Their special teams steals a few games for them, and their offense puts together a few good weeks to make people think they are something special.  They got a win week 1 from the refs, and they beat the pitiful Panthers with Todd Collins throwing for about 30 yards and a pick.  They get all the bounces and the coach (this time its Smith, last time it was Smith, before that it was Jauron) looks like a genius.  Even Marinelli and Martz, the worst two hires of the decade, will get credit for the new resurgence.  Here, I'll look into my crystal ball to tell you how this ends up.  They will probably make the playoffs, I think Wild Card, vs a team like Seattle.  They win that game, beating maybe the worst playoff team in the past five years.  Then they meet the Falcons in the playoffs.  Cutler gets killed and turns the ball over 5 times against a mediocre Falcon D, and the defense and special teams can't bail them out.  They lose 35-14, Turner runs for 150 yards, and the Bears look forward to next year, when not everything falls into play and they go 5-11.  Write it down. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Scientific Study: A Look Into the Evolution of a Michigan Fan

Today we will take a look at a Michigan Fan, who has evolved faster than Caterpie (Gotta Catch em all!) in the last decade.  Lets look at the stages, shall we?

The Unbearable A-Hole:  (Michiganus Buttholeus): This breed of Michigan fan won't ever die out, but was more relevant around 1995-2007.  They talked mostly about stuff that happened before they were born, and put a lot of faith in running game and defense, which has gone the way of the Dodo.  A half a national title increased their numbers, with the hiring of a spread coach hurting their population.

The Trying To Be Educated Fan: (Michiganus Dontknownothingus)  Their calls include "Denard should win the Heisman, but he is a sophomore and won't" or "the Spread is the future of football"  or "the defense needs more players."  They try to sound smart and objective, but in the end rely on dumb websites and stupid sports writers to formulate seemingly unorthodox opinions which in fact, sound good, but are dumb.

The Infamous Wal-Mart Wolverine:  (Michiganus Bandwagonus Walmartus)  This is the most prevalent breed, these Wolverines never went to the University, or any university for that matter.  This species is highly concentrated in Grand Rapids, Detroit, Saginaw, and most rural communities with their watering hole, Wal-Mart.  They talk a big game, with little or no stats to back them up besides National Titles won before the forward pass.  They differ from the Spartans fans who do not attend MSU by obviously nobody would enjoy Spartan football for the past decade.  They do not root for a university because it is easy, or fun, but for the love of the game.  The Wal-Mart Wolverine are rumored to be able to survive a Nuclear War, making life miserable for the cockroaches.

The Respectable Level Headed Smart Wolverine: (Michiganus Unicornus)  They are rumored to exist, but not have been seen.  May have been around at some point, but were cannibalized by other fans.

The New Breed Wolverine (Michiganus Eightandfourisgoodenoughus) These Wolverines exploded in population since the hiring of Rodriguez.  After being told putting in a system will take time but pay off, they devolved due to lack of success.  Things that would have caused illness in 1998 were now accepted into everyday life.  High scoring games, little or no defense, a crappy running game, no vertical passing, scandals for the head coach, no bowl games were all forbidden until sacrifices were made to try and improve for the future.  Winning 7 or 8 games used to be not good enough, and led to the firing of Lloyd Carr, is now reason for excitement.  Not making a bowl or beating a team that is any good is now an acceptable way of life.  Michigan State has become a large rival, and beating OSU isn't high on their priorities.  Now, going to the Pizza Pizza! Bowl is reason for excitement.  They could cross breed with Wal-Mart Wolverines to create the worse fans in the world.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

You're Welcome: Sunday Morning Edition

Before I watch the excellence in journalism of the Ford Lion's Report, I will relaunch You're Welcome with a vengeance.  I want to give out my NFL Mid season Awards too, because I can. 

MVP:  Philip Rivers, San Diego
Comeback Player Of the Year:  Michael Vick, Philadelphia
Offensive Rookie Of The Year:  Sam Bradford, St Louis
Defensive Rookie Of  The Year: Ndamukong Suh, Detroit
Coach Of The Year:  Tom Coughlin, New York

1. New Orleans Hornets:  They have a better record than the Mega Heat, and CP3 and company are looking very good right now.  In a wide open Western Conference, the Hornets could find themselves winning a series or two in a reloading year.  They need to keep this momentum up, or the Ultra Knicks could rise in the next few years. 

2. Oakland Raiders: Watch out, but the Raiders are in first place in the AFC West.  Sure, the Chargers are going to keep climbing the standings with Philip Rivers having a season  Coryell and Fouts would cry over.  But Oakland, purely by running the ball and getting a play here or there from their defense and specials teams, are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since Rich Gannon was QB.  It is nice to see a terrible franchise turn it around like this, after a terrible slew of draft picks and a bust first overall pick.  Hmmmmmmm.

3. Buffalo Bills:  In a yearly ritual, the Bills got bailed out by the Lions to ensure nobody will touch the holy record of 0-16.  Honestly, the Bills should have lost all 16, and I would bet money that they will lose 15 this season.  The team is awful.  They have a 3rd stringer playing QB, their first round pick has done nothing for them, their defense is a mess and their best player is a punter.  That being said, they did whoop the Lions, who looked uninspired for the afternoon.  Chan Gailey will be fired this year, and maybe they can talk Bill Cowher into cleaning up this once proud franchise.  In the mean time, they can celebrate beating us like the Rams in 2009.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Lions Are Improving, I Guess

As tough as it may be to hear, the Lions are a better football team that last year or the year before that.  The talent level is starting to increase and Detroit could be close to breaking out.  Sadly, they have been close to breaking out for about each year in the late 90's, and we all saw how that went.  Let's look at the state of the team while I give you some Blue Kool Aid.

The team is competitive: Something we couldn't say for the last few years is that the team is competitive.  Every game the Lions have a chance to win or tie at the end of the game.  With this team in year two of a rebuilding project, we are seeing a transition.  Remember when the Brown or Texans came into the league?  The first season they were awful and beat some crappy teams to set up another high draft pick. The second year they competed, won around 3-5 games and were competitive in all but two or three games.  In the third year, they compete for the playoffs.  So, this is a satisfactory season if we look at it from this angle.  It's frustrating, but I believe we have to stay the course.  Being able to compete every weekend is pretty big. 

The talent level is rising:  The defensive line is stacked top to bottom, and the offense is full of weapons.  Remember when it was a rookie Cliff Avril, Dwayne White with Corey Redding (who has been traded twice and doesn't play much anymore) and Chuck Darby were the starting defensive line?  What a difference.  Our wide receivers were Megatron, John Standeford, and Adam Jennings.  Our secondary had nobody at all.  Ernie Sims was our best player, maybe on the team.  There hasn't been this amount of talent for Detroit since 1999.  Now we have to fill more of our holes and get some depth.  That can take years, not two offseasons.

Schwartz is a rookie too:  He has had made some terrible calls, and can't manage the clock and the team is penalized more than any other Lions team in history.  The penalties are on him.  That being said, he is (hopefully) learning on the job.  Belichick didn't just walk into the NFL and start winning and making excellent decisions.  Dungy needed time too.  Schwartz is probably not in that class of coach, but it is too early to give up on him. 

Injuries:  Not an excuse.  I just wanted to point out how sick I am of hearing this.  Its the NFL, everyone is hurt.  Sure, not having depth hurts us more than other teams, but its not a get out of jail free card.

For the rest of this season to be a success, the Lions need to break their road losing streak and win 3-4 more games.  I thought 5-6 wins wasn't asking much at the beginning of the season, and now it looks unattainable.  Plenty of teams get hot to end the season and then play well at the beginning of next year.  I can only hope we can do something similar.  This season will be hard to watch to the end, but the team has to improve with more games under their belt, not get worse.  Next year has to be a march to the playoffs, or we can officially declare this team stuck in neutral. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What Hurts Worse, Stafford's Shoulder, Or My Soul?

I am really sorry for the extreme lack of posting lately.  My Senior year of college, work, midterms and squeezing in time to watch sports has taken up a lot of my writing time.  Splitting duties a little has helped, but its no excuse.  I am not retiring from this blog.  I think I did need a break to keep my mind working.  I will make an effort to post more regularly and keep things more entertaining.  Thanks for sticking with STWWC, those who stay will be at least above average sports fans. 

Well, my soul was destroyed this weekend in football.  My WMU Broncos couldn't win a close game against the top rivals CMU, in the annual Lose A Close Game And Ruin The Season Bowl Presented By Ro-Tel.  Cubit is a good coach, and in no way am I calling for his job, but something has to change.  The team is young and talented, but before they were experienced and talented, and before that they were promising and talented.  Eventually they have to start winning big games and going to bowls, basically becoming CMU.

Michigan beat Illinois at home this weekend, saving RichRod's job and assuring MSU will win next year in the Game That Doesn't Matter To U of M Except It Really Does (or the Battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy) and that Michigan will have a defense that works against crappy teams but struggles against Big Ten talent.  Remember when giving up 65 points and winning 7 games was intolerable in Ann Arbor? 

MSU won a scrimmage before their bye week.  I think they played East Lansing High School dressed as Minnesota.  Please hire Leach, Minnesota. 

And here we go.  The Lions season was, in 5 minutes, was completely turned around.  It went from joy, realizing the dream of beating a good team and winning back to back games, with our best players playing amazing, with Stafford finally commanding the offense and looking like a Pro Bowl caliber signal caller.  Sure, Megatron was shut down, and Hanson got hurt, but those are just speed bumps for what looked like a trip to .500 (road games against the Bills and Cowboys) and a shot at the NFC North title by Thanksgiving.  It was going great.  I was even playing the what if game, as in what if the NFL didn't make up interpretations of rules in Chicago.

But of course, things had to go awful really fast.  Stafford hurt his shoulder again, in a routine fall, and I bet he will be either perfectly fine or out for the season and go into next year with a ton of question marks.  Then, they blew a lead and lost in overtime to the most arrogant stupid team in the NFL.  I'm sure Rex Ryan made a ton of jokes over his post game snack quadruple whopper, but I don't want to hear any of his dumb remarks.  Now the Lions are 2-6, the season is over, and they play an improving Bills team on the road.  Then they go to the strangely talented but awful Cowboys before taking on the (why NFL, why?) Patriots on Thanksgiving, where we will be blown out terribly, and people won't want us to have a Thanksgiving game (these people are called idiots) and I'll be kicked in the gut multiple times.  I knew we were not making the playoffs, but I though we would win a few games here and there and our Franchise savior QB would play more than five minutes at a time.  I now believe he is injury prone and we could be looking at 5 years of not knowing who is starting week to week. 

This was the roughest loss I have ever endured.  With the fan base starting to believe, with more Lions fans than ever on campus and ticket sales going up, I thought the Lions had a win in the bag that would help the team come together and build on what they had started earlier.  But, I guess I will have to hope and wait for next year, again.