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. 

Recapping Each Lions Draft Pick

BY: DALTON

So, the NFL Draft happened a few days ago. First off, I would like to thank Mr. Crespi for hosting/cooking for me. Secondly, Nashville looked like there was no less than a trillion people there for the draft.

Here’s how shit is gonna go down in this blog, I’m going to touch on each round, give each a grade, and give an overall grade at the end. Fair warning, I will probably be higher on a few of these picks than others because, for some reason, I am a Lions optimist. Obviously, these are subject to change if each pick becomes a perennial pro-bowler but all we have is now so deal with it, I guess.

  • First Round: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa, Pick 8
    • Let me be perfectly clear, Hockenson will be a fine NFL player. There is no reason to think he wont be an instant competitor and could possibly be a top 10 TE by the end of the season. This pick just hurt a little bit for a couple of reasons. The first being that we almost had UK pass rusher Josh Allen. He was an absolute dream scenario. The other is that Ed Oliver could make this pick exactly like Ebron/Aaron Donald. In Patricia’s system, Hockenson will be a valuable asset but considering the recent TE draft history, if Oliver becomes an All-Pro, Hockenson will always be remembered as the guy we picked instead of Oliver or even Devin Bush. As fair or unfair that it is, its the way it will be. All that being said, they addressed one of their biggest needs with the best TE in the draft, so its worth something
    • GRADE: B-
  • Second Round: Jahlani Tavai, LB, Hawaii, Pick 43
    • After the collective “who?!?” from the Lions overly-loyal fan base, the research into the Lions newest LB commenced. From all sources, it looks like this pick was a reach. Some analysts said he would be there in the late 2nd/early 3rd or even Day 3. But the Lions saw something in Jahlani that fit their mold. He is big, physical, and aggressive. His 2018 was cut short due to injury but I guess the tape was good enough for Quinn to reach. This is the ultimate “wait and see” pick. The 2nd round isn’t exactly the round for “wait and see” picks but if he fits the mold, fills a need, and might not have made it to them in the 3rd round then I guess that’s good enough for the Lions’ front office.
    • Grade: C-
  • Third Round: Will Harris, S, Boston College, Pick 81
    • I don’t know a whole lot about this pick either but he seems like a HARD hitter. It is never a bad thing to draft a safety who is able to fly all over the field and is willing to throw his body at anything that moves. This dude is a leader too, being a captain for his senior season at BC. He will likely replace Glover Quin when his time is up in Detroit. Hopefully he isn’t called on to play safety this season but can contribute on Special Teams
    • Grade: B
  • Fourth Round: Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson, Pick 117
    • Not a whole lot to say about the Bryant pick. He was a member of that Clemson D-Line (three players were drafted in the top 17 picks), but his season was sort of derailed with a pectoral tear. He opted to get surgery after the season. That could be why he wasn’t as hyped up as his teammates on the line. Hopefully he will be fully healthy and ready to prove himself in training camp. Still, for someone who played multiple positions on one of the dominant groups in the nation, pretty decent value to get him in the 4th round.
    • Grade: B
  • Fifth Round: Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State, Pick 146
    • This is by far my favorite pick in the draft. Hes big (6’2) and rangy. He emulates his game after Darius Slay. Many draft experts had him projected as a Day 2 guy. Hell, some of them had him as a top-4 corner in the draft. For the Lions to get him in the 5th is an absolute steal. I fully expect him to come in and compete for that second outside corner position.
    • Grade: A
  • Sixth Round: Travis Fulgham, WR, Old Dominion, Pick 184 and Ty Johnson, RB, Maryland, Pick 186
    • All I really know about Fulgham is that he was a deep threat for Old Dominion. It looks like if he is any good he might be the replacement or a stop gap for when Marvin Jones leaves in a few years. As for Ty Johnson, this is another pick that I absolutely love. While he had his senior year at Maryland held back by some injuries, when healthy he averaged 7.7 ypc and has explosive speed. Something the Lions have lacked since Jahvid Best. He might not contribute right away, but he could be an excellent compliment to our future beast, Kerryon Johnson.
    • Grade: B+
  • Seventh Round: Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia, Pick 224 and PJ Johnson, DL, Arizona, Pick 229
    • They’re 7th round picks. They will fight for roster spots and to contribute on special teams. I could see Nauta taking the Michael Roberts role and I could see PJ Johnson being a heavy-package interior defensive lineman. These late picks and UDFAs are like free gambles. There isn’t much into them and maybe you find a diamond in the rough. Simply because the Lions made picks and didn’t let the clock run out…
    • Grade: B

 

For me, it was a pretty lackluster first couple of days and the back end of this draft really saved it, for now. Obviously we have to let everything play out but this draft kind of stuck with what Quinn had done in the draft in his time in Detroit. Pick high character/high floor guys who will contribute. I would have liked to see him and Patricia try to swing for the fences in the first round with Oliver or Bush, but I guess I will be content with constant singles and doubles.
OVERALL GRADE: B-, simply off the strength of 3rd round and on.

Pistons/NBA First Round Preview

BY: DALTON

As many of you may know by now, the Detroit Pistons will be playing playoff basketball for the first time since 2016 and the second time in the last ten years. First off, suck it to the tank crowd. I hate the idea of tanking because losing sucks and I am not sold on tanking even working. An organization like the Pistons needs to take baby steps to build a winning culture. The first step is effort. Blake has embedded that with his consistent hustle despite being the best player on the team. He continually was diving for lose balls and sacrificing his body. The next step was to get into the playoffs. Its all about the little things. Secondly, the tank crowd can suck it once more.

suck my dick GIF

nbaplayoffbracket-041019

Western Conference Preview:

Golden State (1) vs LA Clippers (8)

  • I feel bad for the Clippers because they have had a great season while retooling for the future only to be promptly curb stomped by the Warriors in the first round. Should be business as usual for Steph Curry and the crew.
  • GS Wins 4-0

Denver (2) vs San Antonio (7)

  • A very interesting series simply because of the experience differential between the two franchises. Denver has been amazing all year but the Spurs are the Spurs and will inherently be pesky. Denver will win but it wont be easy.
  • Denver Wins 4-2

Portland (3) vs Oklahoma City (6)

  • Probably the series in the West that is on the highest “upset” alert. OKC has been pretty bad down the stretch but that doesn’t mean Russ, PG, and Adams aren’t going to be playing. They can turn it around at any time. I guess I just don’t trust Portland yet until they actually do something.
  • OKC Wins 4-2

Houston (4) vs Jazz (5)

  • I’m being completely honest here, I probably couldn’t name three players on the Jazz. For that reason, I will pick Houston. Gobert will give Harden a tough time at the rack but Harden will just end up shooting 50 free throws a game.
  • Houston Wins 4-1

 

Eastern Conference Preview:

Milwaukee (1) vs Detroit (8)

  • As pumped as I am for the Pistons and want to blindly believe they will pull off the rare 8-1 upset, the Bucks have arguably the best player in the league. Add on the fact that Griffin basically has one leg right now and there isn’t much light at the end of this tunnel. I do think the Pistons take the next step in their culture change and win a game.
  • Milwaukee Wins 4-1

Toronto (2) vs Orlando (7)

  • Orlando played surprisingly well this year behind Gordon and Fournier. Former Piston DJ Augustine had been absolutely cooking lately. But, much like the Bucks and Pistons, the Raptors have the best player on the floor in Kawhi Leonard. Also, Toronto provides a huge home court advantage.
  • Toronto Wins 4-0

Philadelphia (3) vs Brooklyn (6)

  • Philly is clearly more talented but I feel like Brooklyn is going to be a tough out. This will be the only first round series to go seven games but the higher seed will persevere. Butler, Simmons, and Embiid are just too much for the Nets.
  • Philly Wins 4-3

Boston (4) vs Indiana (5)

  • This will probably be the most fun series in the first round. A lot of close games and maybe a little controversy. Marcus Smart is out for the Celtics and that is a much bigger blow than people realize. The plucky Pacers are about as tough as they come for 5-seeds.
  • Indy Wins 4-2

 

 

 

 

Lions Free Agency Day 1 Grades

BY: DALTON

What an amazing first day for the Lions in free agency! It seemed like it was one after another after another after another. Schefty and Rappaport were BIZZY with the Lions news in the early afternoon. While free agent signings don’t win games in January, it sure is a lot of fun in March. This effects their draft strategy immensely, but lets worry about that later. Lets talk about the Lions winning the first day of free agency.

Danny Amendola

Contract: 1 year/ $4.25 million base + $1.5 million in incentives

Thoughts:

This was the first deal of the day for both the Lions and the NFL. While Amendola isn’t the same player he was in New England, the Lions are still getting a solid slot receiver and veteran. Did they pay a little more than they should have for a year of 33-year old Danny Amendola? Yea, probably. But if he hits all his marks and earns that extra $1.5 million, he will be worth it. This is obviously just a stop gap solution for a looming problem, but the Lions could certainly have done worse. He will fill the Golden Tate role of being a chain-mover and Stafford’s safety blanket.

Grade: B-

Justin Coleman

Contract: 4 years/ $36 million

Thoughts:

When this move came across the twitter feed, I think I heard a collective “Huh?” from the Lions faithful. After doing a little research, like the hardcore journalist I am, this move is a strong one. I was puzzled to learn that the Lions cut Nevin Lawson. I thought he was an average corner for most of the year. But, Bob Quinn went out and got the best nickle corner on the market while also paying him like it. Coleman is the highest ever paid nickle corner, but in today’s NFL the nickle scheme is being used more and more often. To be able to have the best one is a huge plus for this defense. Did they over pay? Yes. But I feel like Detroit has to overpay for these types of things. The best part of this deal? The fact that he is only 24 years old. We will have him locked up through the prime of his career.

Grade: B+

Trey Flowers

Contract: 5 years/ $85(?) million

Thoughts:

The crown jewel of this years free agency. As I was doing my research on the Coleman deal, my phone started to get flooded with updates from twitter, group chats, and individual texts. I was pretty taken aback. I knew the Lions were in the running but last I heard was that Flowers wanted to go play down in Miami with Brian Flores. I was very surprised and very excited. While the exact numbers of the deal haven’t been announced yet, it is strongly rumored to be in the $17 million/year range. It is a hefty price, but when you consider the Lions were paying Ansah that same price last season, it isn’t that hard of a deal to stomach. My favorite part of the deal, much like the Coleman deal, is that we will have one of the best players at their position locked up through their prime. The price tag may look high, but I think Flowers will be worth every penny.

Grade: A+

Jesse James

Contract: ???/???

Thoughts:

Since we don’t know any of the contract details yet, it is kinda tough to give this deal a true grade. But, just based off player skill and need, this isn’t a home run but it is a bases-clearing triple (hell yea, cross sport reference). The Lions had a glaring deficiency at tight end last season and Jesse James was the best TE on the market this year. He can block well and is someone a defense has to pay attention to in the passing game. I’m assuming they over-payed for him because that is the way the free agency has been going thus far, hopefully they didn’t over-pay too badly for him though. This also should take Hockenson off the board for the 8th pick in the upcoming draft.

Grade: B, for now

UPDATE: Jesse James deal is being reported at 4 years/ $25 million. Above average pay for an above average player. Changing my grade to a B+.

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.

I’m Ready for Charlie Weis

BY: DALTON

I’m sure that by now, you know that Jim Bob Cooter was not brought back as the offensive coordinator for the Lions. What a weird tenure as OC he had, right? When Lombardi was fired, JBC was a breath of fresh air. Then, he absolutely lit it up the next season. His second full season as OC was alright. In his third and most recent season, he was awful. It was certainly time for change. Obviously, injuries and scheme changes played a big factor in what/how JBC called a game, but it was clear that he cant work in the Patricia system. I know JBC is highly thought of through out the league and I can guarantee he will have another OC job by 2021.

There are a lot of names out there to fill in the Lions OC vacancy. Adam Gase is the ideal hire but I HIGHLY doubt the Lions will be able to get him. He is already getting interviews for head coaching positions and should get one considering how many positions are open. The only way I see Gase coming to Detroit is if he thinks to himself that he cant succeed at the OC. Even then its a long shot because, after the year Stafford had, there area few more enticing OC jobs available. There are a few other names in the mix, a few Rams assistants, an in-house name, and a couple retreads. All of those names are irrelevant.

The next Offensive Coordinator for the Lions is going to be Charlie Weis. It just seems too perfect with all of his connections to Patricia and Quinn. It also seems like a very Lions thing to hire a coach who hasnt coached football in 5 years and coached in the NFL in 9. Do I think Weis is the right move? Not at all. Will I be intrigued to see ol’ Chucky Dub back on the sidelines? You betcha. The man is a character in every sense of the word. From being huge to having a parrot that attacks his house guests, the man is football guy through and through. I really don’t think a Charlie Weis hire will help the Lions but considering how poorly Patricia’s first year went, I’m not sold that the Lions are set up for future success. Again, I dont want the Lions to hire Weis, I’m just ready for it.

What is a Rivalry?

By: DALTON

As we all know, the University of Michigan Wolverines will take on the Buckeyes of Ohio State University on Saturday at high noon. According to my close personal friends Merriam and Webster, a rivalry is “the act of rivaling: the state of being a rival: COMPETITION”. But is Michigan still a rival? Let’s break it down:

The Wolverines are certainly rivals in “the act of rivaling”. Any time the Buckeyes win anything of meaning (games, recruiting, internal investigations) it is like a small knife stabbing all Wolverines in the heart. Michigan wants to beat OSU in every single thing that involves 100 yards and a leather ball. So, rivaling is an act that Michigan not only does, they excel in it.

Part two of the definition, “the state of being a rival”. Everything that was said in the paragraph above can be said for Ohio State. They hate us, we hate them. Hell, the entire state of Ohio tries to get rid of the letter “M” for an entire week. I’m willing to put ownership of this lowly frequented blog down that if you ask 100 Ohio State fans who their biggest rival is, 99 of them will say the University of Michigan. To question if Michigan is in the state of being Ohio State’s rival would almost be as dumb as shortening your alphabet to 25 letters for almost 2% of the year.

Competition. If you’ve read to this point and expected me to argue that Michigan had won games that they haven’t, you can probably close out the window. I know the statistics. Michigan has won two of the last seventeen contests against Ohio State. Even Ohio State fans are smart enough to tell you that isn’t very good. An unacceptable amount of wins that Michigan fans have no choice but to accept. It is our reality. We have been flat out dominated by Ohio State and the likes of Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer. Sometimes the good guy doesn’t always win. When push comes to shove, Michigan hasn’t been a rival in terms of competition. It doesn’t matter how close the games have been, who the quarterbacks have been, or where the spots on the field were; Michigan lost.

While meeting two out of the three prongs for being a rival, Michigan misses out on the most important one. But, a rivalry isn’t decided by what’s written in the history books. It’s not what arbitrary electronic numbers are shown on a scoreboard one Saturday a year. It is in the hearts and minds of a fan base. When a stunningly gorgeous baby boy is born at 3:13 am in Saginaw, Mi and raised in Standish to despise anything related to Columbus, Ohio, that is a rivalry. When an Ohio State graduate delivers his last pizza of the night, backs his ’91 Civic into a parked car, and then decides not to leave his information because that Lamborghini has a Michigan license plate, that is a rivalry.

Now, we come to the year 2018 of our Lord. The B1G East title, a spot in the B1G Championship game, and a shot at the College Football Playoffs lay in the balance on Saturday afternoon. While the competition aspect of the rivalry has been dead for 10 years or so, it doesn’t matter on November 24th. This is the biggest game in Michigan’s history since the same teams met in 2006. Not only is all the aforementioned on the line, but this is also a legacy game for Jim Harbaugh. There is absolutely no reason Michigan should lose this year when looking at this game on paper. Michigan has a clear advantage at every position except wide receiver and, maybe, quarterback. But, as I said before, this game isn’t played on paper. At the end of the day, this is THE Game. Both teams will be fired up and should need no extra motivation outside of the game and what’s at stake.

This game is everything for Michigan fans. Well, it is everything for me at least. If Michigan ends up losing this game, I may never be able to care about anything ever again. I will be broken mentally and, quite possibly, physically. I have already seen my passion for sports wane down over the past couple of years. Whether it be getting a job, having more important things to worry about, or simply just getting older, I just don’t get as excited as I do for sports anymore. Yes, I still get juiced up while watching the games. Wins are still sweet and defeat is still bitter, but not like it used to be. Until this season, this season of Michigan football has restoked a competitive fire inside me for events that I’m not even competing in. If Michigan loses, I may never be able to recover. I’m sure there are some sick bastards out there who would love nothing more than to see me and millions of other Maize & Blue fans have their collective hearts ripped out. While I understand the hatred of Harbaugh because he is bombastic, unabashed, and honest, I just can’t simply wrap my head around not wanting Michigan to win unless you’re an OSU fan. Some people would rather see a coach who enables and silently endorses repeated domestic abuse to come out on top again. They would rather see someone who actively harbors murderers on their team win this game. They would rather see someone who fakes health scares in order to draw sympathy when his teams are playing poorly win the B1G East again.

 

Pause a second for me to get off my high horse…

 

BUT, I have a message for the Ohio State University and all who cheer for them or Michigan’s downfall. This year is a new year. For Michigan to start a dynasty over the B1G East, if not now, when? The time is high for Michigan and Jim Harbaugh to do what he was brought in do. Dominate. A victory Saturday may not only usher in a new era of Michigan reign, but it may also end the coaching career of the conveniently-forgetting Urban Meyer. His time is up. The bell tolls for thee, Urban. To quote the great Buhdist monk Bodhidharma, “Still others commit all sorts of evil deeds, claiming karma doesn’t exist. They erroneously maintain that since everything is empty, committing evil isn’t wrong. Such persons fall into a hell of endless darkness with no hope of release. Those who are wise hold no such conception.”. When karma catches up to Urban, he must address it by name. Karma has a name on November 24th, its name is Michigan.

PREDICTION: Michigan 28- Ohio State 17

(These 1000+ words would be pointless if I didnt predict Michigan to win)

 

 

The Lions Have Quit & So Have I

BY: DALTON

This year’s Lions team is absolutely pathetic. I have never seen such a lack of effort in a game. I don’t know if it’s just me getting older or if the Lions have finally done it, but a wave of calmness and disgust washed over me today. Now, now I can clearly see. I can see that the Lions will never win. I really shouldn’t waste my Sundays anymore watching these perennial losers. If they don’t want to play on Sunday, I shouldn’t watch. Am I saying that I’ll never watch again? Of course not, I’m hooked for life. But as for this season, I will no longer plan my Sundays around watching the Lions. If someone comes to me with plans for Sunday afternoon, I’ll take them. Literally, anything is better than watching this team right now. Stafford has played like shit this season, the playcalling has been awful, the defense can’t stop anyone, and the special teams might as well be playing no arms or legs. I feel like the end of the Jim Bob Cooter era is coming to a close. This offense stinks to high heaven. I just don’t understand how there can be such little creativity despite having playmakers littered across the offense. I would probably say that Jim Bob gets fired after this season. It’s inexcusable how bad this side of the ball has been.  I really don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said on this blog or any respectable news outlet. I’m just done. Fed up. Sick of it. Whatever phrase you can think of, apply it.

The Lions, of course, made a little push back in the second half. But, it is not going to fool me. This is a bad team that has seemingly quit on the season. I usually try to write around 500 words for a game recap but you can only write “This team fucking sucks” so many different ways/times. So, until the Lions decide they want to play for 60 minutes, I will not be writing 500 words. If you want more content from me, don’t yell at me, yell at the Lions. This is their fault.

Friday Football Preview

By: DALTON

Ohio State @ Michigan State, Noon, FOX: This is my biggest upset alert for any team ranked in the top 25. Michigan State is getting healthier and at home. Now, the Buckeyes are still going to be the favorite but this is clearly Urban’s worst team at Ohio State. They struggled with a trash Nebraska team. If Dantionio actually wants to put together an offensive game plan, then the Spartans should be in it right to the end. When an underdog hangs around in a game, they usually can find a way to pull off the upset, especially at home. OSU’s season is over at about 3:30 pm. PREDICTION: OSU 21- MSU 24

 

Michigan @ Rutgers, 3:30 PM, BTN: The fact that the line on this game is only Michigan -39 is all the motivation this years Wolverines should need. The only thinking on this game I have to do is will Rutgers have more yards than Michigan has points? PREDICTION: UM 62- RU 0

 

Lions @ Bears, 1:00 PM, FOX: With the Lions looking like absolute garbage against a good pass rush last week in Minnesota, they dont inspire much hope going into Chicago going against an even better pass rush. Now T.J. Lang is officially out so I dislike their chances of stopping Khalil Mack even more. Slay was also announced as OUT for Sunday so the defense is going to be down one of their top play makers. The good news for the Lions? The Bears offense can be stopped. The bad news? They have to stop the running game. The Lions can win this game if they can contain and force Trubisky to throw. That and a little bit of protection for Stafford should make for an interesting Sunday. But, dont get your hopes up folks. The Bears defense will be the best one the Lions face this year outside the Rams. Lions fans should just hope that Stafford makes it out of Chicago with the ability to walk. PREDICTION: DET 13- CHI 24

The Season is Over

BY: DALTON

Just 10 days after I wrote that I was going all-in with the Lions this year, they swiftly kicked me in the balls and punted away the season. I am thankful that they did it quickly instead of dragging it out until Week 15. This team, we can now comfortably say, has taken a step back this year and this means Bob Quinn has some questions to answer. You cant fire Caldwell after claiming a 9-7 wasn’t good enough and then hire your buddy from New England and look the way that the Lions have looked. Am I saying that Quinn and Patricia are on the hot seat? Certainly not. BQ still has a pretty solid draft record and this class is looking like his best yet. The Snacks trade is right up there with one of the best in recent Lions’ history. So, Quinn has bought a little bit of cushion on his seat. But, that doesn’t mean he gets a free pass for this season. Make no mistake, he hitched his GM tenure in Detroit on Matt Patricia and so far, the wagon has yet to leave the barn. Now, you could point at Philadelphia and see that Doug Peterson struggled his first year then figured it out his second year once his system was in place. Ya know what? I’ll buy that argument a little bit.  But I don’t remember the Eagles EVER looking as bad as the Lions have this season.

While Patricia has a few more years before his seat gets super hot, Jim Bob Cooter might as well be sitting on magma. What the hell is this offense right now? Unimaginative, predictable, mistake prone, and boring. The offense has scored 23 points in the last two games and only one touchdown. While the Vikings and Seahawks have formidable defenses, that is simply inexcusable. Stafford has returned to his mistake prone ways. The running game is as fickle as Michigan weather. What happened to the extended hand-offs, short passes, and quick routes? The Lions offensive line was absolute garbage on Sunday. When you give up 10 sacks, there is plenty of blame to go around. Most goes on the line, some goes on Stafford, and the rest go on Jim Bob Cooter. While they couldn’t block if their life depended on it, JBC did nothing to help them. Throw some slants or curls or screens. Do SOMETHING to get the ball out of Stafford’s hand quickly. Stafford doesn’t have time and in turn tries to do too much and in turn makes dumb mistakes. Help your team, help yourself Jim Bob.

The defense I actually didn’t think was that poor. Outside of their “once-a-game” huge run they gave up, I thought they did a nice job stopping the run. They got multiple stops in the second half that left a window open for the offense to come in and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Alas, the offense never came. Teez Tabor is, in fact, awful still. Still the 144/144 rated corner in the NFL per PFF and is also the only corner back in the league that is allowing a perfect passer rating when he is targeted. In layman’s terms, the Lions would be better off sticking me out there.

The only way I can end this article without seeming like and angst-y teen who hates his parents is this, I’m happy Michigan football is back in my life. I’m happy that I have a dominant team in my life. I might even just start blogging about them only because the Lions suck beyond belief and Michigan, especially their defense, is amazing beyond belief. So, here’s to the Lions getting a little bit better to still lose but show improvement and to Michigan kicking the ever living shit out of Ohio State.

Friday Football Preview

BY: DALTON

Michigan, BYE: Glad there is a bye to give a week cushion between coming down from MSU and getting focused for Penn State next week.

Purdue @ Michigan State, Noon, ESPN: Michigan State is hurting. Both in terms of personnel and coaching innovation. After getting dominated by Big Brother last week, this week doesn’t get any easier for Dantonio and Company. Purdue may be the hottest team in the entire B1G Ten right now. The offense is firing on every cylinder they have. BUT, they are in a prime “let down” spot. On the road, after a huge upset of Ohio State, against a beat up Spartans team, and possibly looking ahead to next week against Iowa that will have major implications in the B1G Ten West race.  Now, if the Michigan State coaching staff decides to put together an actual game plan, they stand a chance. But, from what I’ve seen this season, it looks as though they keep trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I think this game is going to be much closer than it should be, but Purdue pulls it out in the 4th quarter. PREDICTION: PUR 27- MSU 20

Seattle @ Detroit, 1 p.m., FOX: The big story into this game will be if Damon “Snacks” Harrison will be able to play for the Lions. The recently added run stopper will help bolster the 30th ranked run defense going forward. Today, Matt Patricia said they were trying to get him up to speed with the system. As of now, he will be a game time decision but I would be mildly surprised if he plays. Luckily, the Lions probably wont need him this week. The key to stopping the Seahawks is to stop Russel Wilson’s ability to scramble/improvise. The Lions defense should be able to do so if they remain disciplined up front and the defensive backfield continues to play the way they have been. There are not many offensive threats on this Seattle team outside of Wilson. As for the Lions offense, they should have no problem moving the ball if they remain as balanced as they were last week. These aren’t your Seahawks of 2011-2016. The Legion of Boom is no more and, while they rank 2nd in the NFL in total defense, the only potent offense they have played this year is the Rams. It wont be a cake walk for Stafford and the rest of the offense, but if the running game can stay on track and the offensive line continues to be a top 5 unit, there should be no real issues. PREDICTION: SEA 17- DET 28

I’m Going All In on Football

BY: DALTON

Folks,,, I’m pushing all of my chips into the middle of the table. All of my maize and blue ones? Middle of the table. All of my Honolulu blue and silver chips? Middle of the god damn table. This past weekend, one of the best football weekends of my life, has me drowning in Kool-Aid. Please, someone, send help. I’m going to be devastated if Michigan doesn’t either win the B1G Ten or the Lions don’t make the playoffs. If for some reason, both don’t happen, it might be lights out for your boy’s football life. But, with what I’ve seen from both teams, I am almost positive one of those things will happen. If I had to guess, I would say Michigan winning the B1G Ten is more likely.

MICHIGAN:

The Wolverines have been fortunate. Don’t get me wrong, they have played well enough to be where they are now. They have dominated everyone they’ve played since losing week one against Notre Dame. But, they have been relatively healthy. The major opponents they have beaten have been banged up (Wisconsin, Michigan State). Now, some people will take that as a reason to be cautious. That’s fair. But, Michigan hasn’t been getting these types of breaks in a long time. Add in the fact that Ohio State’s best defender is quitting the team to focus on the draft, they haven’t been able to run the ball, and that Urban Meyer has seemingly warmed his own seat. Michigan is the favorite to win the B1G Ten, as they should be this year. With the way this team has been playing, the way Shae has been minimizing mistakes and making plays when needed, the way Higdon has run like an out of control train, and the way Don Brown is doing Don Brown things; There is no reason for me not to believe in this team to MINIMALLY win the B1G Ten outright. CFP is a different beast because we still need a game or two to break our way (Alabama to beat LSU and Georgia, ND/Clemson win out), but it will be tough for the committee to keep a one-loss B1G Ten champ out. I am All In.

LIONS:

The start to the season was rough, I’m not telling anyone anything new here. But, the Lions have won 3 of their last 4 and were a play away from beating Dallas. Not only have they won, but they’ve also been dominant. The offensive line is clicking, the run game is gashing, the secondary has been solid, and NOW the defensive line should be much tougher to run against. The Snacks Harrison trade is absolutely massive. It took so little to get him (5th round pick) and we fixed our biggest issue (run defense) with one of the best run stoppers in the league. Now the Lions have an explosive offense, both passing and rushing, and a formidable defense. They are the most complete team I’ve seen since the 0-16 team (completely awful). It is time to buy into the Lions winning the NFC North. They are only, essentially, a game back of the division lead and there isn’t a dominant team in the North like there has been in the past. It’s the Lions’ time. Its Matt Stafford’s time. It’s MY time. I am All In.

Friday Football Preview

BY: DALTON

Michigan @ Michigan State, 12 pm, FOX: The biggest game of both teams season up to this point. Michigan is looking to keep their CFP dreams alive while MSU is looking to sneak into the B1G East passenger seat next to Ohio State. While MSU has basically lost their chance at the CFP, their hopes of a B1G Championship are alive if they win out and get a little help elsewhere. But in reality, all that shit doesn’t matter. This is a rivalry game. We all know that Harbaugh doesn’t have the best record against rivals. We all know that MSU has under performed up until last Saturday against Penn State. This game means much more than just a tally in the win or loss column. It means Harbaugh can take another step in dispelling the “can’t win big games” stigma. The Spartans can get their season back on track. But more importantly, if Michigan wins it will restore order into the universe. This upside down world of MSU dominating this rivalry will come to an end Saturday. A thousand year reign of Michigan football begins Saturday around 3:30 p.m. Get on board or get off the tracks. PREDICTION: UM 31- MSU 14

Lions @ Dolphins, 1 pm, FOX: The Lions are coming out of a bye week and the Dolphins will be without Tannehill for another week. While the Brock Osweiler was able to lead the ‘Fins to a victory against the Bears last week (thank you), but I dont think the Brocketship has much fuel left. Also, Osweiler is really good against the Bears for some reason. The Lions are the more talented team, they are the healthier team, and they have had a week of rest. I love the Lions in this spot, despite being on the road against a team with a winning record. PREDICTION: DET 24- MIA 17