Friday Football Preview

BY: DALTON POTOCKI

There are reasons that I missed some usually scheduled blogs the past few weeks. That reason? Work. Yea, I have a job where I make money. Not a lot of money, but enough to pay the bills. I have a free 20 minutes or so, so heres the first Friday Football Preview of 2019!

 

Michigan vs BYE: Thank god. If Michigan played Wisconsin this week, they might lose by 100. This is the perfect time for the offense to get their shit together, hold on to the ball, and actually start calling some different plays. It has been so frustrating watching this team. Yea, they are in shotgun but they still run it in between the tackles every play so has anything actually changed? The defense is fine.

Arizona State @ MSU: The Spartans might be legit this year. We all knew their defense was gonna be one of the best in the Big 10, but now they have a shot at being one of the best in the nation at the end of the season. The biggest surprise though was the offense last week. It looked pretty fresh and Lewerke showed why people were so high on him after his senior season. I expect MSU to absolutely roll this game.

Chargers @ Lions: The Lions tied, yes. But, believe it or not, there were a lot of positives to take away from the Cardinals game. The offense looked good and the play calling was balanced for 75% of the game. The “time out” drive was pretty impressive for the fact that the Lions were able to run the ball very well despite Arizona knowing they were trying to run it. The defense looked great until they took their foot off the gas. It just seemed like the errors in that game were brought on by the coaching staff and those errors are much easier to fix than having players who don’t make plays. The Chargers are pretty beat up coming into this one but Phil Rivers and his merry band of children still can move the ball up and down the field. The defense is quite good too with Bosa and Ingram on the line. If Decker cant play or plays like he did last week, it will be a long day for Stafford. All that being said, I like the Lions a lot in this spot. Big time “prove it” week for both the players and the staff.

 

 

NFL Gambling Picks:

Since gambling is all the rage online now, here are my picks for the weekend. Spreads are courtesy of Bovada:

Green Bay -3 vs Minnesota

Miami +19.5 vs New England

Lions +1.5 vs Los Angeles

Jaguars +8.5 @ Texans

Browns -7 @ Jets

 

Hope Returned

BY: DALTON

The blazing summer sun has significantly cooled and the sweeping winds bring a certain bite. But what is it exactly in the wind that you feel? Is it the changing of the seasons? Its certainly possible. With the season change comes cooler weather. But, I don’t think that’s what is giving this invisible gust its tinge. There is an energy that follows the late summer gales. From experience, that isn’t the start of school. No, this unidentifiable force is something that brings along the heights of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the depths of the Mariana Trench. This is no fleeting feeling. These winds bring something to stay. In the whirlwind of changing seasons, football stops, stays, and takes over every tangible breath.

Every new season brings the one thing that most fans lose after a couple months; hope. Maybe, just some way, there is a path for your favorite team to capture the championship. Whether it be through pure dominant force or that every other team had a slew of injuries, there is always a way. Sure, you can lie to everyone and say your team is “going through a rebuilding year” or that “if they catch a lucky break they might be able to contend”, but deep down in the pits of your soul, you’re thinking there’s a way. It’s this weird thing we do with sports. The saying goes “expect the best but prepare for the worst” and it is a mighty fine way to live life. In football though, its sort of flipped. Prepare for the worst but expect the best.

Do I know that the Lions will not win the Super Bowl this year? Yes. I do. It sucks. BUT, maybe.  What if Patricia’s defensive philosophies continue to grow and the Lions have a top 5 defense? What if Bevell is the coordinator that can finally maximize Stafford in his 10th and most important season? Hell, Kerryon Johnson was one of the best backs last year before he got hurt and in this fan’s mind that is certainly a sustainable pace. The Lions got better this off season, that’s not me just slurring my words while drunk on Honolulu Blue Kool-Aid. Sure, a lot of other teams in the NFL got better too, but that’s not fun to think about. Then I start thinking about past seasons. The Eagles came out of no where to win the Super Bowl, same thing with Ravens a few years back. I tell myself that the NFL is this weird and wacky league where anything can happen. If you come up and ask me how I think the Lions will do this year, I’ll probably tell ya 8-8 because I know that’s the right prediction. But, if you asked my soul, you may have to lock me up into an insane asylum. Hope. 

It feels like Michigan will never be able to beat Ohio State. I told myself after last year’s implosion that I’ll never get excited for Michigan football until they actually beat OSU. Then all of a sudden here comes Josh Gattis and this new offense that will be the best of all worlds. It will have big plays, tempo, ball control, and Speed in Space™. That receiving group is too good to fail. Don Brown says that he’s done some soul searching and knows what he did wrong. He is going to go to more zone and respect the speed of opposing offenses. Dax Hill is just Jabril Peppers but bigger. I mean, yea, the defensive line lost its stars, but the depth of this years team! Now there is nothing but anticipation and National Championship aspirations. That’s whats great about college football too. Each season can be drastically different. You’re not dealing with contracts and free agents. You’re dealing with boys turning in to men. A crap shoot on genetics. There is this aura of the unknown that blankets college football like Jourdan Lewis on George Rushing. Weird, right? 8 months ago I thought Michigan would never be able to cross the bottomless pit of morals that is Ohio State. I was corpse of a fan. Now? There isn’t a doubt in my mind that we run them off the field in November. Its crazy. Its wild. It cant be measured or captured. Hope.

While it is so much fun to let the mind run wild, wanna know the best part about football season? Its the ride. The ups and downs of a 12 and 16 game season. If your college loses on Saturday, maybe your favorite NFL can win on Sunday and salvage the weekend. If they both win, you cant wait until next weekend. If they both lose? Lord help you. It’s watching games that may help your team in a tie breaker down the road. Its rooting for The Citadel to put a scare into Florida to knock them down a couple spots in the polls. Think about that for a second. Not rooting for the Citadel to WIN, it would be awesome if they did, but rooting them to just keep it competitive for 75% of a football game so 12 humans in a remote location may read the narrative that your favorite team is inherently better than a different team based on nothing but perception. The texts between four different group chats that are all essentially saying the same thing, either the sky is limit or its crashing down harder than the NCAA on a student athlete who put non-approved peanut butter on his bagel. That’s a 4-game suspension! The tailgating hours and hours before a game. The copious amounts of food and beer consumed while telling war stories about the best and worst games you’ve been to in person. Giving a complete stranger a hug like you’re seeing a long lost sibling for the first time in years simply because a man, who gets paid more in a year than you’ll ever make,  kicked an oblong ball through two poles from 126 feet away as an arbitrary amount of time ticks off a digital display. The best part about football is everything about football. Will both of my favorite teams season end short of where I want them to? Probably not. But, hot damn, am I gonna have a good time along the way. 

A B1G Disservice

BY: DALTON

As anyone who follows college basketball knows, Michigan and Michigan State are a couple of the top teams in the country. As of now (Jan. 9th) the Wolverines are ranked 2nd in the nation and the Spartans are ranked 6th. Obviously, nobody expected Michigan to be as good as they are after graduating/losing their three best players in MAAR, Duncan Robinson, and Mo Wagner. Michigan State is doing their typical Michigan State thing where they are really good in November, December, and January. While these early months don’t really mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, they can produce some pretty fun and exciting match-ups. With that said, here lies my issue.

 

Michigan is undefeated and Michigan State only has two losses. Both are firmly in the top ten in the nation. Both are playing great ball right now. Both are the top two favorites to win the B1G Ten. Both have players who are competing not just as a team, but as individuals i.e. Winston vs Simpson. Wouldn’t it make sense for the B1G Ten to schedule one of the games between U of M and MSU earlier than FEBRUARY 24TH?!?!?!?! But Dalton, how would the B1G Ten know that both of these teams would be in the top ten? That is a fair point, loyal reader, but still a stupid argument. Michigan vs Michigan State has been the B1G Ten’s best basketball rivalry for about five years. The B1G Ten could always garner national attention with a January match-up between these two. It just doesn’t make sense to make both games two of the final four games of the B1G Ten season. They also couldn’t be COMPLETELY blindsided that Michigan and Michigan State are both really good. Izzo always has MSU humming in the basketball months that dont matter and Michigan is coming off of an NCAA Championship appearance. Yea, they lost their top players but you would think they would at least be a top 25 team. By waiting for these games towards the end of the season, the B1G Ten takes money out of their own pockets. If MSU and Michigan played tomorrow, it would probably be the highest rated college basketball game of the season thus far. Say both teams get roughed up a little bit in conference play, something that is totally possible. Now, instead of undefeated #2 vs 14-2 #6, that match up might be #18 vs #15. It is just idiotic what the B1G Ten is doing.

Obviously, the B1G Ten being shitty at their job isn’t anything new. College athletic governing boards have made billions of mistakes in the past and will probably make millions of mistakes by the end of this week. But this error of back loading games hurts not only themselves and their respective universities, it hurts fans of basketball everywhere.

And Then There Were Four

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: “Michigan – a team many thought were destined to miss the NCAA tournament halfway through the season – held on for their second victory this weekend, punching their ticket to the national semifinals for the first time in a half-decade-plus.” Continue reading “And Then There Were Four”

Football Rooting Guide

BY: DALTON

Considering all of the football teams in the State of Michigan do not control their own destiny, here is a nifty little rooting guide for each team in the order of importance. NOTE: I do not think Michigan or Michigan State can reach the CFB Playoffs so I only included Big Ten scenarios.

 

MICHIGAN STATE:

  • Illinois > Ohio State: Ohio State needs another loss for MSU to have a shot at the Big Ten Championship game
  • Nebraska > Penn State: Clear up the race a little bit
  • Wisconsin > Michigan: Would completely knock Michigan out of the running for a bid to the Big Ten Championship game

 

MICHIGAN:

  • Maryland > Michigan State
  • Nebraska > Penn State
  • Illinois > Ohio State: This one is strictly for rivalry purposes. For Michigan to have a shot at the Big Ten Championship game, losses to MSU and PSU are the only important ones this week.

 

LIONS:

  • Rams > Vikings: If Lions can get within one game of the division this week, they will have a chance at a season sweep of the Vikings and sole possession of the NFC North on Thanksgiving
  • Ravens > Packers: Still a little far out to look at the Wild Card so a loss to the Packers to drop them even further in the division would be nice.
  • Seahawks > Falcons: I struggled with this one because both teams are ahead of the Lions in the WC race, but considering the Falcons hold the head to head tie breaker, the quicker they drop, the better
  • Saints > Redskins: Need the Saints to run away with the NFC South because, once again, they hold the head to head tie breaker and would oust the Lions for a WC spot.
  • Jets > Panthers: Panthers are ahead of the Lions in the WC and, tell me if you’ve heard this before, they hold the head to head tie breaker.
  • Eagles > Cowboys: The Boys are a spot behind us in the WC Standings.