Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Mom's First Year In Fantasy Football: A Housewife's Guide

I asked my mom to play in my fantasy football league this year, for the fun mother-son bonding experience.  And since it was her first year, I gave her some of my best magazines and told her to have fun.  Now here is some of her advice to give us all to think about next year.

  I have as much skill in picking winners in football games as I do for driving the big rig in Alaska. But Weston asked, so here goes.

   1.  Pick teams you like. You probably will be irritated if you pick a team you really don't like and they go on to win the super bowl. At least if your team loses you can always say that they will be better next year. Like- This is the Lion's rebuilding millennium.

   2.  Pick teams that have major players with names the same as your best friend, brothers or maybe your pet. Unless your dog is named Fluffy or Princess.

   3.  Don't be a fair weather fan. If you disliked the Cowboys in the beginning of the year don't start saying how you were sure they could pull it out at the end of the year. (Editor's note: my mom hates the Cowboys)

   4. Your Mom's favorite team is your favorite team. Especially if she gives you money or bakes you cookies. (Editor's note:  my mom makes the best everything.)

   5. Unless you have a girlfriend. Then her favorite team is your favorite team. But tell your Mom you still think she is right. Just quietly.

   6.  Don't take it so seriously. Unless it's your job or you are trying to make it your job. Have fun. Does it really matter if you pick the winner? (Editor's note: Yes.)

   7.  And if your going to have a party, clean your apartment.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Improvement Is Real

I worship Mike Valenti.  Hes almost always right, especially about college football.  And when I said the Lions were improving earlier this season, losing by less than a touchdown every week instead of being blown out every week.  He said the Lions were just good enough to lose, and that isn't good enough.

But he was right, not only were we just good enough to lose, but they were still behind almost the whole league in every statistical category, and losing games in dumb ways.  Sure, they lost close games, but they should have won many of them.  And good teams don't do that.

At the same time, Valenti pointed out how great Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez looked, and how hurt Stafford was all the time.  He had some points, Stafford was hurt constantly and Sanchez was playing well.  Sanchez was handed a Super Bowl team, and when he plays  above average teams, he tends to struggle.  Bradford is more impressive to me.  Despite having no receivers, he puts up solid numbers and is going to lead his team to the playoffs, in the worst division of all time.  I'm still hoping Stafford just re injured his shoulder twice, after coming back too soon to play against the Redskins.  Its a possibility, and may mean he isn't injury prone, but it is still a concern.

But the Lions have proved everybody wrong by getting hot down the stretch and beating good teams to show with no doubt they are improving.  Wins over two teams struggling to make the playings, and one over a team that just can't win at home.  And they are winning without many of their starters.  This much is clear, Schwartz and Mayhew have found some good depth, found some difference making starters, and are changing the culture in Detroit.  We have seen many teams finish a season well and go on to bigger or better things.  For example, the 2008 Packers built a foundation for making the playoffs the next year.  The Lions are going to attract better free agents, and with another good draft, and a little luck the playoffs aren't out of the realm of possibility.

I do not want to play the what if game, because its a complete fan thing to do, but with Stafford healthy all year, and if the refs got the call right in Week 1, the Lions would be battling for a playoff spot right now with the Giants and Packers, not battling the Vikings for 3rd place in the division.  A healthy Stafford is key, and improving the offensive line is vital.  Backus and Peterman must go.  Backus has let up too many kill shot sacks, getting all three QBs hurt, and Peterman has had one dumb penalty after another.  I like Sims, Raiola is still solid, and Hilliard is filling in very nicely at Right Tackle with Cherilus out with injury.  Next year I propose a why the heck not plan.  Let Cherilus and Backus try to win their jobs, but take an OT early, then a new RG soon after that.  Let Cherilus save his job anyway possible.  Try him at RG, LT, whatever.  Then, if he can't play, or Backus can't be moved cut them.  That is why we have Hilliard, and why we drafted Jake Fox.  They aren't working, so make them work or else.

After hitting rock bottom, the Lions are climbing their way back to the top of the standings, improving in every area and winning with backups.  The fan base is believing again, and the course is set.  Now we just have to hit on a few more draft picks, sign some more players and keep playing winning football.  The rest will take care of itself.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Awful Politics of The BCS

My finals are all done, and my computer has been fixed to optimum blogging efficiency.  Now with some time off, let the ranting begin!

Bowl season is supposed to separate great teams from the good, give us a national champion, and continue the wonderful pageantry of college football.  Now, more than ever, college football is big business and some of their actions would make the NFL say enough.  Sadly, college football has ruined most of what made college football great, all for a few dollars more (great Clint Eastwood reference by me).

Remember when the Rose Bowl was the biggest bowl game, and it was always the Pac-10 champ vs the Big Ten champ?  It was still like that when I was a kid.  Now it has been made into a money making glorified exhibition.  TCU is playing in it this season.  Sure, Oregon, the Pac-10 champions, are playing for the National title, but Stanford is a more than worthy candidate.  But as a consolation prize for another fraud mid major, Big Ten fans (who are constantly beat up) has to watch another Rose Bowl with a dumb match up.  Ruin the Fiesta Bowl, don't touch the sacred games.

I don't want to come off as an old fashioned fan who doesn't know how things work.  I know money is key, and these match ups are over who will sell tickets and spend money in the area.  But why is a 8-4 Temple team, who beat the BCS Bound UConn Huskies (another joke, the Big East getting a automatic bid and now with TCU joining, that joke will only get worse) not going bowling, but more than one less deserving 6-6 team get to go?  There are far too many bowls.  35 games, 70 teams and this year 72 teams were eligible.  One of those were my Broncos.  You don't even have to beat half of the Division I teams you play anymore.  All you have to do is front load your schedule with cupcakes and you're in.  You are rewarded for being mediocre. and given cash to celebrate you being average.

I know they will never eliminate Bowl games.  It happens rarely, and they are usually replaced by some other .com sponsored event.  Some new ideas are interesting, for example the bowl in Yankee Stadium, and I am a fan of having a separate national title game.  But the bowls are well set up for a playoff.  We won't get a playoff, not until enough people are upset, or we see an embarrassing title game, for example Boise State and TCU squaring off in the What else is on TV Bowl.  Until then we will have to suffer.  I would love college football even more if they had a playoff.  Every other sport does it, but because of dumb rules and cash college football is