Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Just Lose, Baby!

It is time for the Lions to revert to draft mode. There is no point in winning any more games this season. They won’t make the playoffs and nobody cares how many wins you have if you aren’t a playoff team. Momentum doesn’t span over the off-season either. Just ask the Houston Texans. You’re either good, or not good. The Lions have a pretty formidable defense with a decent group of playmakers on offense. But, no amount of shakeup will turn this team into a winner unless the Lions fix the problem. The two reasons why the Lions can’t win with the current team is the incompetence at the quarterback and coaching positions. We can only hope that Matt Millen brings in a coaching staff that isn’t using a playbook circa 1980. Assuming the Lions can do us all a favor and lose the rest of their games, Millen will have an excellent shot at drafting either Matt Leinart or Vince Young. The Longhorn Gazelle stated that he would return to Texas for his senior season. However, he also said that he could change his mind. I doubt he would come back to Texas if he won the Heisman and Texas wins the National Championship. If Vince Young doesn’t enter the draft, then the Lions will probably not have a high enough pick to draft Matt Leinart. The Lions are in a good situation since Houston, San Francisco, NY Jets, and Green Bay won’t be drafting a quarterback. However, just about every other lousy team would love to including; Arizona, Baltimore, New Orleans and Miami.

There is no question in my mind that Vince Young can equal what Michael Vick has done on the field. Young is an underrated thrower and an all-world runner. His cast on offense leaves a lot to be desired at Texas yet his Longhorns are averaging 50 points per game. Young could be the ignition to light the Lions offense. The only way the Lions would have a prayer of drafting Vince Young is if they finish within the top seven picks. For all I know, Young could go in the top five or even first overall. But, if Young is available, the Lions must bring him to Detroit. You can talk about how many offensive draft picks the Lions have made under Millen but the fact of the matter is that the defense is not what’s holding this team back. The two things that are holding this team back are the quarterback and the coach (and possibly Matt Millen himself). Vince Young solves one of those problems.

As I mentioned above, the Lions need to lose their last five games. I know it’s going to be hard with New Orleans and Green Bay still on the schedule, but I really think the Lions have what it takes to lose to those teams. If they can pull off that feat, the Lions would likely be in good enough position to take one of the two quarterbacks. If they win just one of those five games, the Lions might be out of luck. As most of you know, the Lions can’t do anything right. Even when they win, they beat the wrong teams. In beating Baltimore, Arizona, Green Bay, and Cleveland, the Lions have made it very difficult to finish with a top five pick. The Lions would own the head to head tiebreaker over all of those teams. Unfortunately, three of those teams are in dire need of a quarterback. Here is where the Lions stand now in the NFL standings and a look at how they could possibly climb into the top five.

1). Houston 1-10

The Texans are a sure bet to finish with a higher draft pick than the Lions. However, the Texans are actually an ally for the Lions from here on out. First, the Texans surely won’t draft Matt Leinart or Vince Young since David Carr is still their franchise quarterback. Second, the Texans are going to play a big part in determining how good of a pick the Lions get. Houston’s next three games are against Baltimore, Tennessee, and Arizona. Since Houston has a pretty good lock on the first pick, Lions fans need to root for the Texans to lose all three of those games. Each of those three teams is one game behind the Lions in the standings. The Lions could make a big jump into the top five if Houston can drop those three games.

2). NY Jets 2-9

The Jets are also an ally to the Lions. Much like the Texans, the Jets won’t invest a top five pick in a quarterback with Chad Pennington as their number one quarterback. Also, the Jets play Oakland, Miami and Buffalo who are all tied with the Lions at 4-7. The ideal situation for the Lions would be for the Jets to drop all three of those games.

3). San Francisco 2-9

San Francisco probably won’t play much of a factor in determining the Lions draft pick. They’re two full games behind the Lions and I doubt SF will even get two more victories the rest of the season. The Niners do play Arizona. A SF loss to the Cardinals would help the Lions considerably. The Niners will most certainly end up with a top three pick in the draft.

4). Green Bay 2-9

The Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers last year which will probably preclude them from taking a quarterback with their first round pick. Despite that, I’m still confident that the Packers can finish ahead of the Lions in the standings. They should beat the Lions in Lambeau field. I also think the Packers should beat the Bears once and they get to play the Ravens. I suppose it doesn’t matter if Green Bay finishes with a better pick than Detroit but it would be nice for the Lions to finish as high up the board as possible.

5). New Orleans 3-8

The Lions will play their biggest game of the season on Saturday, December 24. This game will be for all the marbles. If the Lions can pull out the loss against the Saints, they should finish with a top five pick in the draft and be in excellent position to draft Leinart or Young. New Orleans will likely lose the rest of its games so this game is really the only chance that the Lions have of pulling even with New Orleans. Aaron Brooks certainly will not keep the Saints from taking a quarterback.

6). Baltimore 3-8

Baltimore is Detroit’s worst nightmare. Not only do the Ravens own the head to head tiebreaker over Detroit, they also need a new quarterback just as bad as the Lions. The Ravens would love to take Matt Leinart. This is where the Texans come in. If Houston can lose to Baltimore, that would pull the Lions and the Ravens into a tie. With games against Green Bay and Cleveland, the Ravens might just have enough left in the tank to beat out the Lions in the standings.

7). Arizona 3-8

If San Francisco and Houston can lay down for the Cardinals, the Lions could be in the clear. The Cardinals have been playing well as of late and should be able to win those two games. That would put the Cardinals at 5-11 and could finish with a better record than the Lions.

8). Tennessee 3-8

Tennessee is an interesting team when it comes to forecasting their needs come draft time. The Lions were aided greatly by the Titans victory over San Francisco. The Titans still play Houston and Miami. Hopefully they can win both but the Titans are a rare team on this list that the Lions don’t hold the tiebreaker over. It would be nice to see the Titans win two more games but one could be enough.

9). Oakland 4-7

J-E-T-S!!!! The Jets get to do their part in bringing a quarterback to Detroit via the 2006 draft. The Raiders should easily beat the Jets and possibly beat Cleveland. That would give Oakland a minimum of a 5-11 record. The Raiders are also good enough to upset a better team so the Lions should be in the clear in terms of the Raiders.

10). Miami 4-7

J-E-T-S!!!! Miami did the Lions a BIG favor by upsetting the Raiders. Miami and wins have not gone together very well this season. I was beginning to think that the Dolphins might not win another game this year. However, they’re now tied with the Lions and have two winnable games left on the schedule in the Jets and Titans.

11) Buffalo 4-7

J-E-T-S!!!! I have faith that the Bills will beat the Jets on the last day of the season. They should also beat Miami at home next week. The Bills should easily beat the Lions in the standings.

12). Detroit 4-7

Like I mentioned above, the New Orleans game is going to be huge. It really could be the most important Lions game of the last five years. A win over New Orleans would put the Lions in an ugly situation with a plethora of other teams. A loss to the Saints could really separate the Lions from the pack and firmly entrench them into the top five. In the back of my mind, I know the Lions will do something ridiculous like beat Pittsburgh on the last game of the season or win at Lambeau Field.

Even if the Lions can’t finish high enough to draft Leinart or Young, there are still a few extremely talented players that would immediately help the Lions. Most of these players won’t be available outside of the top seven so it’s imperative for the Lions to win no more than one of their remaining games. Here is the list of players the Lions would be looking at if they can sneak into the top five.

1). Matt Leinart QB USC

NFL Equivalent: Carson Palmer

2). Vince Young QB Texas

NFL Equivalent: Michael Vick

3). D’Brickashaw Ferguson OT Virginia

NFL Equivalent: Johnathan Ogden

4). A.J. Hawk LB Ohio St.

NFL Equivalent: Brian Urlacher

5). Reggie Bush RB USC

NFL Equivalent: nobody

6). Mathias Kiwanuka DE Boston College

NFL Equivalent: Simeon Rice

7). JimmyWilliams DB Virginia Tech

NFL Equivalent: Shawn Springs

After each week, I’ll take a look at where the Lions are in the standings and how things are looking for a top five pick. Just as an FYI, this is by far my favorite part of the season. The Lions only have hope in the off-season when the team doesn’t actually have to play games. The NFL Draft is like the Super Bowl for Lions fans. I know the Lions have the intestinal fortitude to drop the last five games. If they can get it done, Lions fans will have a “Super” June as usual. In all honesty, the Lions should just approach the rest of the teams in the NFL about making a deal for a permanent draft pick slot every year. They could agree on a pre-determined 4-12 record every year. The teams on the Lions schedule could divvy up the wins and losses as they see fit and the Lions fans could get excited about a top five pick each year. I’d sign off on that in a second.

Monday, November 28, 2005

ACC/Big Ten Challenge 7th ed.

One of the more interesting dynamics about college sports is the pride, or lack thereof, that fans take in the conference that their team plays in. Some people couldn’t care less how the Big Ten or ACC fares as long as their team wins. Some people draw the line at hated-rivals. Most Michigan fans probably root for the Big Ten with the exception of Ohio St. and Michigan St. The dynamics of conference loyalty are definitely much greater and broader than individual team loyalty.

My personal loyalties definitely involve the conference. I’ll be the first to admit that some of this has to do with making “my team” look as good as possible. The better the teams that “my team” beats, the better “my team” looks. However, I think there is another component to it. In my mind, there definitely is a level of conference pride. If ESPN comes out with an article listing the top five football conferences with the Big Ten at number five, I would definitely be offended. The same goes for college basketball. The Big Ten has been weak lately and it bothers me to see the conference in its current state. For whatever the reason, I definitely subscribe to some level of conference loyalty.

As a result, the Big Ten/ACC Challenge has been tough to swallow. Don’t get me wrong, I never had any illusions that the Big Ten was the better conference. One only needs to look at the NBA lottery picks over the last few years to see where the best basketball is played. But, I was at least hoping for some semblance of competition from the Big Ten. The ACC has won all six challenges. They hold a 34-19 edge over the Big Ten in the challenge. There is only one Big Ten team with a winning record in the challenge and that’s Michigan St. at 3-2. On the other hand, there are six ACC teams with a winning record in the challenge and only one ACC with a losing record. As much as the ACC faithful may argue against this, the challenge really has no impact on which conference fares the best over the course of the season. The Big Ten and ACC have been the most successful conferences in America in terms of getting teams to the Final Four since 1999. However, bragging rights are certainly up for grabs in a head to head format such as the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Big Ten has been dominated and as a fan of the conference, it’s frustrating. I don’t have a lot of confidence that this year’s challenge will be any kinder to the Big Ten but it’s important to note that with the addition of Miami, Va. Tech, and Boston College, the Challenge will now feature 11 games rather than nine. This probably works in favor of the Big Ten since Va. Tech has a weak basketball program and Miami is marginal at best. Boston College is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the future but they will sit out this year’s challenge.

Here are the match-ups, each team’s record in the challenge and how things will likely pan out:

Monday, November 28

Virginia Tech (0-0) at Ohio St. (1-3)

The Big Ten should jump out to an early 1-0 lead with this favorable match-up. Virginia Tech is not a strong program while Thad Matta has Ohio St. looking to make some noise this year in the Big Ten. If Ohio St. loses this game, then the Big Ten could be looking at an ugly showing.

Tuesday, November 29

Wisconsin (2-4) at Wake Forest (5-1)

Wisconsin is no pushover. They play tough against just about any opponent as evidenced by their performance against North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament last year. Wake Forest suffered its first Challenge defeat last year to Illinois. Illinois was playing at home and was a much stronger team than this year’s Wisconsin squad. Wake isn’t as good as they were last year but playing against a less-athletic team in their own building should equal a victory. The ACC should tie things up at 1-1.

Purdue (1-3) at Florida St. (4-2)

Florida St’s record is a bit misleading since they’ve feasted on the likes of Northwestern and Penn St. Purdue should always beat Florida St. in basketball but considering they lost to Xavier by 19 points, I would be surprised if they beat Florida St. If this were in West Lafayette then I might give Purdue a fighting chance. FSU should give the ACC a 2-1 lead.

Clemson (4-2) at Penn St. (1-3)

The ACC’s resounding success in the Challenge can be somewhat attributed to Florida St. and Clemson’s domination of Northwestern and Penn St. Clemson is 3-1 against Northwestern and Penn St. while Florida St. is 2-1 against Northwestern and Penn St. Penn St.’s basketball program is a joke. It would take a miracle for them to beat Clemson. The ACC should take control of the Challenge at 3-1.

Illinois (2-4) at North Carolina (2-4)

North Carolina has been the ACC’s lone dark spot in the challenge. To be fair, they’ve won their last two Challenge games. Illinois really should win this game. Winning on the road in the ACC is a tough task for anyone, let alone when it’s at North Carolina. However, Illinois has the experience advantage and should take advantage of North Carolina’s youth. The Big Ten should pick up a much-need victory to bring the Big Ten with in one at 3-2.

Miami (0-0) at Michigan (2-2)

This is the kind of game that the Big Ten should win every time. Michigan is a talented Big Ten team playing at home against an average Miami team. However, Michigan has struggled against two weak opponents (Boston and Butler) this year already. If Michigan wins, it’ll be by five points or less. I have to go with the home team in a match-up like this one so I’ll give Michigan, and the Big Ten, the benefit of the doubt which ties the Challenge at 3-3.

Wednesday, November 30

Georgia Tech (3-3) at Michigan St. (4-2)

This should be the Big Ten’s lone “gimme” game. Georgia Tech is just a shadow of what it was the last two seasons. They lost to Illinois Chicago which doesn’t bode well for their trip to E. Lansing. Michigan St. is already in prime form having already played Hawaii, Gonzaga, and Arizona. Michigan St. should role. Big Ten takes the lead at 4-3.

Minnesota (3-3) at Maryland (3-3)

In any other year, this game would be a blowout. This year could be a different story. Minnesota might have as much talent on their roster as Maryland. However, I know better than to predict a road win by Minnesota against a team as good as Maryland. To do so would indict me on being insane. The ACC pulls even at 4-4.

Northwestern (1-5) at Virginia (3-2)

Virginia lost to Arizona by 30. That might be the only positive news for Northwestern. These two teams played in the Challenge last year at Northwestern and Virginia won by four. I don’t see much difference this year except Virginia is playing at home. Northwestern will continue to be the ACC’s best friend in the Challenge and put the ACC up 5-4.

Duke (6-0) at Indiana (2-2)

Speaking of conference pride, one of the greatest moments of my life as a sports fan was when Indiana came back from a gazillion points down to stun Duke in 2002. That was the most improbable comeback I’ve ever seen. Indiana was being dominated in every phase of the game against a much more talented Duke team. I don’t know if I’ve felt more joy or glee from a game in my life. That was 2002 and this is 2005. Duke should smoke Indiana to clinch the ACC’s seventh consecutive challenge victory.

NC State (4-2) at Iowa (1-3)

With the ACC having won the Challenge just a few moments earlier with the Duke win, this game is all for pride. Iowa has no business losing this game. They’ve already beaten Kentucky and almost beat Texas. NC State is 5-0 but two of those victories have come against military academies and two others have come against a school that shares its name with a cologne and Delaware, respectively. NC State will not roll over but Iowa is at home with a talented team. Iowa should give the Big Ten win number five in the Challenge ending things at 6-5 in favor of the ACC.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Coin Flip Challenge week 11 Picks

This week is probably the most important week of the Challenge so far this year. If I have another bad week like last week, my goal of reaching +.500 for the season pretty much goes up in flames. The Coin Flip decided to copy off of my picks this week since we shared 9 of 16 picks. Judging from how the Coin Flip has done this season, I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing to share that many picks. I’m not very confident with my picks this week. Once again, Cleveland, Baltimore, New Orleans, St. Louis and Miami leave me with no idea how their games will turn out. My fate lies in their hands. If I can solve the mystery, I could be in for a good week. Happy Thanksgiving!

atl -3 DET

The “Lions always play tough on Thanksgiving”-slogan probably needs to be retired for the near future. The Lions don’t play well on any day and last year’s drubbing by Indianapolis should be proof. On the other hand, Atlanta is precisely the kind of team that Detroit could beat. In fact, the Lions match up pretty well with any team from the NFC North. Remember, the Lions lost by one to Carolina and barely lost on a controversial call to Tampa Bay. Atlanta is a ball control team. They won’t put up too many points. If I had any faith, whatsoever, in the Detroit Lions, I would take them to cover. But I don’t and I won’t. I’m taking Atlanta.

den -2.5 DAL

These team teams are mirror images not only in how they match-up this season, but also how they match-up over the course of their franchise histories. Denver’s All-Time NFL record is 326-234-6 (.580 winning %) with six Super Bowl appearances. Dallas’ All-Time NFL record is 415-307-6 (.574 winning %) with eight Super Bowl appearances. Both teams have questionable quarterbacks that have played well above their means this year. They both have successful veteran coaches who rely on the running game. And most importantly, both teams start with the letter “D”. Denver has been playing way too well as of late and it almost seems like they’re do for an “off” game. Dallas should be well-motivated playing their annual Thanksgiving game at home. I’ll take Dallas with not very much confidence.

KC -3 ne

The Chiefs have been on a roller coaster ride all season long. They stole a game at home on a gutsy last second call to beat Oakland. Then they got blown out against a poor Buffalo team. They bounced back by torching Houston on the road. I don’t know how a team that got blown out so badly by the Bills can all of a sudden be a -3 favorite over New England. My gut tells me that New England will show up and keep this game close. Since they’re liable to pull off the win, I’ll go with New England.

CIN -9 bal

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I can’t pick a Ravens game for the life of me. Some weeks they show up and other weeks they roll over like my dog when presented with a Scooby Snack. The Bengals should be sufficiently ticked off after blowing their chance at beating the Indianapolis Colts. The Ravens couldn’t score if they were in the same room with Jennifer Lopez the day after a divorce. I doubt they’ll start this week. I’ll take Cincinnati to lay a whoopin’ on the Baltimore Brian Billicks.

car -4.5 BUF

Carolina got punk’d in Chicago last week. I got a chance to watch the whole game and the Panthers should be embarrassed. They were dominated by the Bears in every phase of the game. Jake Delhomme looked like Demetrius Brown against MSU. The running game was non-existent and the defense looked like they were on ice skates against Kyle Orton. Judging from last week, there’s no way Carolina covers this spread. Judging from the rest of the season, they should be a good bet. Buffalo followed up their impressive win against the Chiefs two weeks ago with an abysmal performance against the San Diego Chargers. There is one caveat to all of this though. The Chiefs game was at home and the Chargers game was on the road. This game is at home so Buffalo should make some noise. I’ll take Buffalo to keep it close.

TB -3 chi

This Bears team is almost an exact carbon copy of the 2001 Bears team that came out of nowhere to win 12 games. That team was quite possibly the worst 12-win team in NFL history. This year’s version is easily the worst seven-win team in the league. I just don’t believe the Bears are that good. On the other hand, Tampa Bay has beaten Washington and Atlanta to weeks in a row. Combine that with Kyle Orton playing on the road and I have to go with Tampa Bay.

sd -3 WAS

I am very wary of the San Diego Chargers on the road. This is exactly the kind of game that looks like a no-brainer on paper until the game starts. You can tell immediately that the road team is flat and the home team is going to have a strong afternoon. As much as I feel like I should go with Washington, how on Earth can the Redskin offense keep up with San Diego? It shouldn’t be possible. I’ll take San Diego and regret it on Sunday.

MIN -4.0 cle

Minnesota has won three games in a row since Brad Johnson took over. Apparently that hasn’t earned them much respect in Las Vegas. They find themselves only 3.5 point favorites over the Cleveland Browns at home. I can’t stand the Browns. I can’t get the Browns right no matter how I reason my pick. Minnesota hasn’t been very impressive on offense despite their win streak. That makes me nervous about taking them as 4.0 point favorites. On the other hand, Cleveland is horrible on the road. I’ll take Minnesota in a game I will almost certainly lose.

TEN -8.0 sf

Tennessee is another team that I can’t stand. I’m 3-6 picking Titans games this season. I have no idea when they’re going to show up or when they’re going to “mail it in”. San Francisco has been playing teams tough lately including this past week against Seattle. I will most surely live to regret this pick but I’ll take San Francisco to keep this game close.

stl -3.5 HOU

My first inclination is to just take the loss for this game. It doesn’t matter which team I pick, the other team will cover. I would bet on it. I’m not even sure I want to comment on this game since it’ll be a waste of time. Instead, I’ll use this space to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Also, don’t eat too much. It’s not what you eat that’s the problem, rather how much you eat. If you need to unfasten your belt, you’ve gone too far. I’ll take St. Louis.

jax -3.0 ARI

The Arizona Cardinals were the direct recipients of a gift-wrapped victory courtesy of the St. Louis Rams. Kurt Warner is putting up some impressive numbers. Now that Anquan Boldin is back, the Cardinals should continue to be respectable. The Jags on the other hand are hanging on by the flab of Byron Leftwich’s gut against very poor teams. They should be dominating teams like Tennessee but every week they squeak by. I expect them to continue that trend this week against Arizona. As much as I’d like to take Arizona to show up, the Jags have to put a complete game together one of these weeks. I’ll take Jacksonville.

OAK -7 mia

Miami lost 22-0 to Cleveland last week. Oakland is slightly better than Cleveland. So, Oakland should be at least 22 point favorites this week. Miami is terrible. They should be embarrassed by their performance on Sunday. I don’t have a whole lot of confidence in Oakland but I have even less confidence in Miami on the road. I’ll take Oakland.

SEA -4.0 nyg

This game could really go either way. Seattle should’ve dominated San Francisco so that is a cause for concern. The Giants should’ve crushed the Eagles. Philadelphia gave them every opportunity to run away with that game and they couldn’t. The Giants have been a totally different team on the road. Seattle should put up some points at home. I’ll take Seattle.

PHI -5.0 gb

Las Vegas seems to have a lot of confidence in Mike McMahon. He looked OK at times against the Giants. However, the quarterback dual pits Brett Favre vs. Mike McMahon and Brett Favre is getting 5 points. When you look at it that way, it seems like a bad line. I’ll take Green Bay to keep this game close.

no -1.5 NYJ

Does this game really need to be played? Could the NFL fans be spared this pending disaster? Maybe these teams could agree on a tie before the game. That way, nobody loses. The Saints are ridiculous. The Jets are terrible. The Jets have actually lost respectably at home this year while the Saints have lost terribly on the road. I’ll take the NY Jets with zero confidence.

IND -8 pit

If Tommy Maddox were the quarterback for the Steelers this week, I’d take Indy -10. Early indications say that Big Ben will be back. The Steelers have a good defense and a ball control offense. That should be enough to keep Pittsburgh within eight points. I’ll take Pittsburgh to keep it close.

My pick’s


Coin Flip’s picks


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Question of the Week Answers

Question of the Week:

"Should there even be a question of the week?”

Tom from Livonia, MI:
damn right there should be!

Matt from somewhere in Europe via MI:

Hell yes.  I live for the question of the week like I live for bacon.  I was away on business and couldn't answer the last question of the week and I felt some sort of emptiness like being alone in an elevator.  I'd say question of the week is the sole reason I keep this train heading in the right direction.  Without it?  Who knows where I'd be?  I don't even want to think about it.   

Amanda from Germany via MI:

Good morning,
I whole-heartedly believe that there should be a question of the week.  The next question should be "If you were an animal, what animal would you be?"
I would be a shark.

If it were possible to keep the Question of the Week (insiders call this the QOTW) alive with just three responses, these are the three responses that would get it done. Tom’s enthusiasm for the QOTW is unrivaled. I wish I could reward Tom for his unfettered support. Tom deserved better than this. Matt is even comparing his love for the QOTW to his love for bacon. And we all know how much Matt loves bacon. Amanda is so malnourished from not having a real question of the week that she jumped the gun and put out here own Question of the Week. So now I face a dilemma that nobody should ever have to face. Do I continue the QOTW with an audience only big enough to take up 60% of the fingers on one of my hands? Or, do I cancel the QOTW and let Matt’s life take the form of a train wreck and spit in the faces of Tom and Amanda? I never thought that I would hold the fate of so many lives in my hands. It makes me uncomfortable, really. Now I know the incredible pressure that the President faces everyday.

I find it difficult to rationalize keeping the QOTW with the overall lack of support. Society has scorned my attempts to create reader-interaction on my site and I take it personally. I opened my door to millions of blog-readers across the land and I was greeted with burning dog poo in a bag. My feelings are hurt, and even more so, my heart has turned into a cold, dark place. As a result, the QOTW has suffered the same fate as My So Called Life. Both were revolutionary concepts that never got off the ground because the world didn’t know what they had. Both were phenomenons that ended well before their time. Not even a swelling of public support could save Jordan Catalano from the garbage bin. I admit that a similar swelling of public support could save the Question of the Week but that’s like Jennifer Lopez holding out hope for an Oscar nomination for Monster-In-Law.

As a tribute to Tom, Matt, and Amanda, I may just keep the QOTW alive in an alternate form. From time to time, I’ll post a question looking for feedback. I won’t pull all out the stops with the graphics and emailing and whatnot. It’ll be a straight-forward post with a question where interested parties can answer in the comment section.  I don’t anticipate doing this often. In fact, I’ll probably save it for special occasions like leap day or Halloween.  

I apologize for what has happened. I never thought that the QOTW would crash and burn so quickly. I never expected the QOTW to end before Larry Brown and Stephon Marbury’s relationship. Sadly and remarkably, it has.

By the way, I think it’s fitting that Amanda’s question be the last Question of the Week. We might be going out, but we’re going out on top. I would be a Bald Eagle and soar to the highest heights of the land and eat the thickest and tastiest rodents the world has to offer. Then I would regurgitate my rodent meal into the mouths of my baby Bald Eagles to keep the Circle of Life going.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Censorship isn't cool

My “Four-loss Lloyd is back!” (11/22/05) article was posted/linked on the Wolverine Rivals message board—albeit briefly. It lasted a whole 40 minutes before the board moderators decided it was too anti-Lloyd Carr. At least that’s what I’m assuming. I highly doubt that it was because it was too pro-UM. I’ve read the article (since I wrote it) so that decision didn’t affect me any. However, there are about 500 people that pay pretty good money to discuss Michigan football that were denied a chance to read the article. I don’t claim to be a master-writer or the lord of all things UM so I’m sure that the people that missed out on reading the article will be able to move past this difficult time in their lives through anti-depressants and therapy.

It seems that paranoia has set in for the people that can’t stand taking any sort of criticism of the program. In fact, that is the one and only reason why I cancelled my subscription to The Wolverine in print. Each week, The Wolverine answers reader mail on the first few pages of the issue. Any time anybody writes in about a problem with the coaching staff, they are immediately dismissed as being minority dissenters with nothing of value to say. Readers with comments expressing concern for the state of the program are immediately fed the company line of “what more do you want” or “I’m sure many programs in America would love to have Michigan’s success”. How is that informative or constructive? A magazine, with a circulation as big as The Wolverine, should try to represent all view points and avoid being the propagandist for the Utopian Wolverine Society. Nothing in this world is perfect. Intelligent banter is a commodity that Michigan fans value. In The Wolverine, I found a grotesque lack of prospective.

Anyhow, pulling the link down only confirmed to me that the same “homer” slant that is found in the print article is also alive and well on the Rivals internet site. The unfortunate thing is that I have a lot of respect for Rivals and the services that it has brought to college football fans. Their recruiting rankings and search engines are top-notch and their message-boards help unite college football fans across the country. It’s just sad that this sort of censorship would go on at such a well respected place.

When I woke up this morning, I went to the Detroit News online site as I do every morning. I was met with a surreal headline: “Carr Not Upset with Michigan’s 7-4 Record.” Well, that’s perfectly understandable. Who would be upset with four losses after starting the season with a roster so talented that it merited a #4 pre-season ranking? The ridiculous aspect to this whole situation is that a down season every now and again is OK. The problem with Carr is that he has “down” seasons virtually every year. The down seasons aren’t a rotten case of bad-luck either. They are a direct result of incompetence and stubbornness of the coaching staff. How can a coach at Michigan be happy with a four loss season? That’s just unbelievable.

After reading the “Carr Loves Underachieving” errr I mean…. “Carr Not Upset with Michigan’s 7-4 Record” headline, there’s no wonder why my totally accurate portrayal of the Michigan football program was taken down from the message board. The people on top of the totem pole don’t even see a problem with the program. How on Earth could people that run a pro-UM site like Rivals see it or even consider it? For people that defend Lloyd Carr (his family, Message board moderators, Jim Herrmann and great poets of yester year) there is no middle ground. If you criticize Carr, you are being hostile and belligerent. There is no exchange of ideas or intelligent debate on the subject. Instead of being met with dissenting opinion or coherent counterpoints, criticism is swiftly deleted from existence. Now that’s the kind of reputation that Rivals can pride itself on. If you don’t think Michigan football is the greatest run program in the world, you can get the $^%# out of here.

I’ve remained unbiased even in my distaste for Carr’s coaching job. I’ve never said that he should be fired. I’ve never said he was a horrible coach. I’ve done my best to sugarcoat Lloyd’s coaching job while presenting facts that back up my feelings that he has severely under achieved and grossly underestimated the merits of a competent coaching staff that can prepare and adjust. But, even the slightest bit of negativity towards Lloyd and his coaching job was met with hostility at what seems like the most appropriate place to talk about these things—a Michigan football message board. God forbid that fans actually speak and read the truth at a place like that.

I don’t post on message boards too often but I do read them quite a bit. I saw the interaction that took place on the Rivals board regarding my article. I also saw more than a few responses expressing disappointment that the article was taken down. I’d like to encourage any Rivals poster (or any UM message board poster) who a). wants to pass along the article or b). was actually the person that posted the article, if you still want to link just link to my site and tell people which article to read. Maybe that will work. Feel free to link it at other sites if you find no luck at Rivals. If you think it’s an article that other UM fans would appreciate then I encourage you to pass it along even at the risk of running into the Man. I’m sure you were given the company line about “inappropriate” or “damning” articles not permitted to be linked but I don’t write articles like that. I think its ridiculous what happened but as ridiculous as it is, it’s not surprising in the least. Like I mentioned above, it’s the precise reason why I cancelled my Wolverine subscription.

Coin Flip Challenge week 10 results

I almost opted to bypass the “results” for the Coin Flip Challenge for this past week since I’m embarrassed at my performance. I had to go 3-1 in the last four games just to get to 6-10. I fear that I missed on my one chance to get over .500 for the season. There’s really only one way to put it and it’s that I blew it. The Coin Flip wasn’t too impressive either at 7-9. I have to say that there are a few teams that make me sick just thinking about them. I lose every week on any games that involve Cleveland, Baltimore, Miami, New Orleans and St. Louis. I am a combined 11-33-1 in games involving those teams. I almost want to just take the “loss” so I don’t have to play the guessing game since I know I’m going to get it wrong. If it weren’t for those five teams, I would be 18 games over .500! Five teams are the difference between me being four games under .500 and 18 games over. I have no idea why I can’t get a handle on those teams. It’s ridiculous. I have no excuse other than that I’m clueless. Do I start picking opposite of what my initial thoughts are since my initial thoughts have been wrong 75% of the time, or do I keep going with my initial thoughts with the thinking that the odds are that I'll eventually turn it around and start picking some correct games with these teams? I’m hopeful that I can still achieve one of my goals by beating the Coin Flip. I still have a 12 game advantage but my heart is with getting above .500. Hopefully I can bounce back next week.

On to the season totals:

Coin Flip:-----56-84-4

Monday, November 21, 2005

A bad day all around

Saturday was quite possibly the worst sporting day in the state of Michigan’s history. Sure, there have been bad sporting days in the state before, but no other day can equal the amount of losses combined with the circumstances surrounding the losses. Here is a break down of what occurred:

Michigan capped off an underachieving season with a loss to arch-rival Ohio St. The loss was particularly bitter since a win would’ve given Michigan a shot at the Big Ten title and possibly earn the Big Ten’s BCS bid. Instead, Michigan was outclassed in every way by Ohio St. giving Michigan the most losses in a single season since 1984. Did I mention this game was at home?

Michigan St. entered Saturday with as much to play for as any team in college football. They had a chance at beating a top five team in Penn St., not to mention a win would’ve given the Spartans a bowl birth. Instead, Michigan St. came out flat and eventually came up short against Penn St. Michigan St. will miss a bowl game and finish with a losing record. Did I mention this game was at home too?

The Detroit Pistons were the last remaining unbeaten team in the NBA entering Saturday’s games. They were 8-0 which sparked some NBA analysts like Scottie Pippen to predict the Pistons would win 70 games this season. The Pistons went into Dallas undefeated and came away from Dallas with their tails between their legs in the form of a 37 point thrashing at the hands of the Mavs. The Pistons amazing winning streak ended, and ended badly.

The Detroit Red Wings were the hottest team in the league. In fact, they were the hottest team in NHL history to start a season. They tied the single season record for most points to start a season after 14 games. The Wings reeled off 25 points in those 14 games and appeared to be the class of the NHL. The Red Wings promptly went on a three game losing streak which quickly moved them behind teams like Ottawa, Philadelphia, and Vancouver. The Wings went in to Saturday’s game with the Blues with a good shot at ending that three game losing streak. The Blues are one of the worst teams in the NHL having already been blasted by the Wings three times this season. Instead of ending their losing streak, the Wings embarrassingly lost to the outmatched Blues to bring the streak to four games. The Wings are alos 3-6 in their last nine games.

Michigan St. started off their basketball season ranked #5 with many experts picking them as their National Championship team. Michigan St. played its first game of the season against Hawaii. Michigan St. was dominated by the mighty Rainbow Warriors in every possible way.

The good news is that Saturday was just one day. The sports world will move on and Michigan/Detroit sports fans won’t have to think about this day for too long. My only regret is that the Lions couldn’t play their game against Dallas on Saturday to make this truly and unequivocally the worst day in, not only Michigan sports history but, national sports history. Since the Wings, Pistons, and Michigan St. basketball will no doubt contend for big things this year, Saturday was just an anomaly worth pointing out.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Coin Flip Challenge week 10 Picks

The Coin Flip challenge should really start to pick up now that there’s two extra games each week. We had been picking 14 games per week but that gets bumped up with the bye weeks out of the way. This week there are more differences than similarities which usually means it’s a pretty big week. We have nine different picks. There are a lot of big spreads this week which makes me a bit nervous. I have managed to get above .500 on three different occasions this year (all in the last three weeks) midway through Sunday. Each time the evening games didn’t fall my way and I fell below the marker when the day was over. Hopefully I can get a break or two this week and get above the .500 marker for a whole week.

car -2.5 CHI

The Bears have been almost as unimpressive as the Lions in their six victories this season. They have a good shot at becoming the worst playoff team in NFL history. Kyle Orton is a brutal quarterback. I would be surprised if the Bears hold off Minnesota for the NFC North Title. The Panthers, on the other hand, are killing teams. Steve Smith is making 40% of the Panthers receptions which is just ludicrous. I don’t see how the Bears can stick with Carolina. The pick here is Carolina.

jax -4 TEN

The Jags play an outclassed Titans team this week. Jacksonville has been in a similar situation two times in the past couple weeks. They totally blew a game against the Rams who were fielding a group of no-name backups. Then, last week, they dominated the Ravens. This game could really go either way. The Jags play to the level of the competition at times which makes them a gambler’s nightmare. However, Tennessee has been struggling recently. I’m reluctantly going with Jacksonville.

ind -6 CIN

I think it’s safe to say that Las Vegas loves the Colts. They are six point road favorites over a 7-2 team. I have a feeling that the Colts will have some Foxboro flashbacks this weekend. They probably feel pretty good about themselves for dismantling the Patriots at home. But, the Patriots are clearly not the same teams of years past. Cincinnati will be cold and very reminiscent of the environment that plagued the Colts at New England the last few years. Six points is a lot of points to give up to a team that can score like the Bengals. I think a field goal decides this game so I’m taking Cincinnati.

NE -9 no

I’m not sure how New England earned a nine point spread against New Orleans. The Patriots have either lost, or won close in virtually every game this year. They have one win by more than seven points. The Saints are abysmal no doubt. This is one of those games that I know whatever team I pick, the other team will inevitably cover. This is definitely the most difficult game I’ve picked all year. I’ve gone back and forth in my head for the last hour trying to decide who I want to pick. I have no idea how this game will play out. Will the Saints give up before the snap or will Aaron Brooks throw for 400 yards and keep it close? Aaron Brooks and Joe Horn are just stubborn enough to show up and lose by eight this week in Foxboro. But, if I take New Orleans and they don’t cover, I’m going to be kicking myself. So, the pick is New England.

STL -9 ari

Having their whole cast of characters healthy last week against the Seahawks didn’t seem to do the Rams a bit of good. They just don’t have a great team. A lot of their problems come from the defense but the offense has been disappointing as well. Whereas I don’t trust the Rams against any team with a pulse, I think they are the kind of team that will rout a bottom-feeder like Arizona. Plus, St. Louis is at home which could make this game ugly. I’ll take St. Louis.

ATL -6 tb

Before last week, I would not be surprised by this line. However, Tampa Bay and Chris Simms beat a pretty good Redskins team last week. They put up over 30 points against the ‘Skins powerful defense. I said last week that I wouldn’t pick Chris Simms until he proved he could win a game. He did that and more last week. Six points seems a little high to me so I’ll take Tampa Bay to keep this close.

WAS -6 oak

I’m definitely surprised by this line. The Raiders have been a tough out this year. The Redskins have had split personalities. I just don’t see how Vegas thinks Washington is a six point favorite. The Raiders can score and should keep it close. I’ll take Oakland.

DAL -8.5 det

This line is surprising considering that Detroit is finally healthy. I don’t expect the Lions to win this game but I would be surprised if they were blown out. Roy Williams has brought some respectability to the offense would should, in turn, open up the running game a little bit. The Lions have a tough defense which should also keep this game close. I’m taking Detroit.

NYG -7.0 phi

Are the Giants, at home, 7.0 points better than the Eagles without Donovan McNabb and T.O.? I think they are. My only apprehensions are that the Eagles still have a good defense and this is a divisional game. However, the Eagles are Filet Mignon right now and Mike McMahon isn’t going to change that. The Giants have been extremely impressive at home this season so I’ll take the NY Giants.

CLE -2.5 mia

I think Miami is a better team than Cleveland. I’ve been awful in Browns games this season. My record is an embarrassing 1-7. Whatever I’m doing in the Browns games is clearly wrong. The last time I was this bad picking one team was the Minnesota Vikings. I took a look at the Vikings trends and I covered two weeks in a row. So I’ll try to do the same with the Browns. Never mind that I think Miami is going to win this game, the Browns were in a similar situation with the Detroit Lions. They had a -3 point spread playing at home against Detroit. I thought the Lions would win straight up and I was right. Detroit and Miami are comparable teams. I have a similar feeling in this game so I’ll take Miami to cover.

SEA -12.0 sf

If this game were -14.5 I would have big time issues taking Seattle. It’s hard to win by more than two touchdowns in the NFL. All it takes are an off day from a quarterback or a hot fourth quarter by the opposing team for the underdog to cover. But, since two touchdowns would allow Seattle to cover, they seem like a good pick. Shaun Alexander has dominated the Cardinals twice this season and the 49ers having nothing on the Cardinals. Seattle should come out smoking at home against an overmatched defense. I’ll take Seattle and, more importantly, Shaun Alexander to cover.

SD -11 buf

My eyes just about popped out of my head when I saw this spread. I know San Diego is the better team and I know J.P. Losman sucks but Buffalo has a decent defense and a strong running game. I thought Buffalo would get a little more respect. There was a similar game just two weeks ago when San Diego was a heavy favorite over the Jets. There was every reason in the world for San Diego to cover and only one reason for them not to cover. That one reason is Marty-ball. It is for that reason that I have to take Buffalo.

DEN -13 nyj

I think this week has the biggest spreads of the season. There are ten games with spreads of six or more. The Jets have been an elusive correct pick for me this year. Whenever I think they’ll get blown out, they show up, whenever I think they’ll play hard, they get blown out. The Broncos dominated the Raiders last week at Oakland. That opponent was much tougher than the Jets will be this week. The Broncos play like Super Bowl champs at home so I’ll take Denver to bring down the hammer on the Jets.

pit -3.5 BAL

The happiest place in the world this week may just be the Ravens locker room. If nothing else, they get to beat the living daylights out of Tommy Maddox. The Ravens played the Steelers tough just a few weeks ago at Pittsburgh. Tommy Maddox’s only extended playing time this season was his overtime debacle against the Jags earlier in the season. I have a dilemma here. There’s no way I can pick Tommy Maddox on the road against a good defense. Conversely, there’s no way I can pick the Ravens in this game. So, I have to make a pick that I can’t do. That’s never a good sign. I’m going to pretend that Tommy Maddox isn’t the quarterback this week and pick the Steelers to cover.

kc -6.5 HOU

The wheels have fallen off KC’s wagon. Not only has their defense been a bit disappointing, but their offense has been even more disappointing. They can’t score through the air or on the ground. They’re just a disaster right now. Houston, on the other, hand, has been fairly competitive lately. They have covered three straight spreads. This is a tough one because KC will break out offensively if only for one game. If it’s this game, then they’ll cover for sure. The Chiefs are still a respectable 5-4 on the season. They still have slim hopes for the playoffs. If there’s any professionalism on the KC team at all, they will show up and take care of business against a terrible Houston team. I’ll take Kansas City to cover.

GB -4.5 min

Apparently the people in Vegas are not impressed with Minnesota's two game winning streak over Detroit and the NY Giants. I have been impressed. They aren't the bungling fools that they were for the first half of the season. They aren't going to the Super Bowl anytime soon but they're a decent football team right now. Meanwhile, Green Bay has two wins on the season! I'm surprised with how big this line is. I've had luck picking with Brad Johnson and I'm not going to stop now. I'll take Minnesota to continue their march to the top of the NFC North.

My picks:


Coin Flip's picks:


Coin Flip Challenge week 9 results

I had high hopes going into last week’s games. Although I managed a respectable 7-7 week, I would’ve liked to break the .500 plateau in a week that I thought was one of the easier weeks of the season. The Coin Flip took advantage of the easy week to garner an 8-6 record and climb within 13 games of first place in the challenge. The only thing standing in my way of an above .500 record is the Jon Gruden two-point conversion call to beat Washington. It wasn’t meant to be so I have to regroup and come out swinging this week. Despite not being overly impressive this past week, I am still nine games over .500 over the last seven weeks at 52-43-3.

Here are the standings entering this week:

Coin Flip---49-74-4

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Fixing the Lions II: In Practicality

On Monday, I laid out the steps that Matt Millen needs to take to save the Lions sinking ship. I realize that it’s pretty easy to sit at home and throw out “blanket” suggestions like “the Lions need a new coach” and “the Lions need a good quarterback”. I’m sure every Lions fan has uttered those phrases at least once or twice this season alone. So, I’ll take what I said on Monday one step further and lay out exactly how I would go about addressing the head coach and quarterback positions.

In my opinion, the most important position on a football team is the head coach. I didn’t think this when I was a kid. My dad used to tell me this all the time and I thought he was crazy. I mean, how could some old, crusty, out of shape guy be more important than Barry Sanders or Jerry Rice? I must at admit that I have never been more wrong about something in my life. The NBA is certainly a player’s league but the NFL is definitely a coach’s league. An NFL football team is successful or unsuccessful based in large part on how innovative the head coach is. So, I will start with the head coaching position for the Lions.

Finding the next Head Coach of the Detroit Lions

1). Explain to Steve Mariucci that I appreciate what he’s brought to the Lions in terms of professionalism and respectability. His arrival allowed us to sign some marquee free agents that we may not have otherwise convinced to come to Detroit. However, his coaching style clashes with the group the Lions currently have on offense. When we invested three straight first round draft picks on the wide receiver position, we were certainly not envisioning a conservative, low-scoring offense. As a result, it would be beneficial to the Lions, and Mariucci for the organization to move on.

2). After we fired Marty Mornhinweg, we pretty much had a one-track mind in hiring Steve Mariucci. This was understandable since we tried to hire Mariucci just a couple years before but couldn’t land him. Mornhinweg was an assistant under Mariucci so we gave him a shot. Once Mariucci became available, we jumped on the opportunity without really considering anyone else. This time around we must use the interview process to bring the absolute best possible head coach to Detroit.

3). Every candidate that could bring something unique (wins) to Detroit needs to be interviewed. Thus, we need to focus heavily on making our list of candidates as conclusive as possible. My list of candidates is the following in no particular order:

NFL Assistants:

1). Cam Cameron OC SD Chargers
2). Tom Moore OC Indianapolis Colts
3). Bob Bratkowski OC Cincinnati Bengals
4). Sean Payton OC Dallas Cowboys
5). Gary Kubiak OC Denver Broncos
6). John Hufnagel OC NY Giants
7). Al Saunders OC KC Chiefs
8). Ken Whisenhunt OC Pittsburgh Steelers
9). Greg Knapp OC Atlanta Falcons
10). Brad Childress OC Philadelphia Eagles
11). Russ Grimm O-line Coach Pittsburgh Steelers
12). Jim Bates DC Green Bay Packers
13). Mike Trgovac DC Carolina Panthers
14). Jim Johnson DC Philadelphia Eagles
15). Ron Meeks DC Indianapolis Colts
16). Mike Singletary LB Coach SF 49er’s
17). Norm Chow OC Tennessee Titans

College coaches:

1). Pete Carroll
2). Jeff Tedford
3). Charlie Weiss

4). I don’t have an issue considering a college coach for the job but when was the last time a college coach has had a successful debut in the NFL? I might be forgetting someone but all that comes to mind is Butch Davis and Steve Spurrier and a boatload of other coaches just like them. We’ll consider a college coach but our list is short and we won’t deviate from the three candidates on the college list. I also don’t have a problem hiring a defensive coordinator but our organization is having big time issues on offense. We need a head coach that will immediately address our offensive deficiencies. Odds are that we’ll need an Offensive Coordinator to get that done. We’ll look at a few Defensive Coordinators but our focus will be on the offensive side of the ball.

5). The number one priority that I will be looking for in the next Head Coach of the Detroit Lions is the coach’s commitment to having an excellent and dynamic coaching staff. If we hire an offensive guy, that coach better be prepared to bring in a well qualified defensive coordinator to run the defense and vice versa. The coach cannot have a “blanket” philosophy that will permeate both sides of the ball. The offense and defense both have separate game plans and require 100% attention from fully qualified coaches. The best teams in the NFL have offenses and defenses that are both extremely effective while being completely independent of each other.

6). With #4 and #5 fresh on the mind, I will interview each of the coaches I have listed above.

7). Since I don’t have the opportunity of interviewing these coaches in real life, I will make assumptions and narrow the list to ten candidates based on my requirements.

1). Cam Cameron OC San Diego Chargers
2). Pete Carroll Head Coach USC
3). Russ Grimm O-line coach Pittsburgh Steelers
4). Gary Kubiak OC Denver Broncos
5). Jeff Tedford Head Coach California
6). Charlie Weiss Head Coach Notre Dame
7). Ron Meeks DC Indianapolis Colts
8). John Hufnagel OC NY Giants
9). Brad Childress OC Philadelphia Eagles
10). Mike Singletary LB coach SF 49er’s

8). Brief summary of each candidate:

Cam Cameron OC San Diego Chargers

The Chargers offense has been fantastic the last two years which is saying a lot for a Marty Schottenheimer coached team. In fact, Cameron’s ability to bring an offensive juggernaut to Marty-ball is probably the most impressive thing I’ve seen by an assistant coach in the NFL. Cameron is an offensive guy. I would expect him to hand the defense over to a competent defensive mind.

Pete Carroll Head Coach USC

If all coaches that failed miserably in their first stint as a head coach in the NFL were blackballed from the league, then the Patriots wouldn’t have three Super Bowls in the past four years. Bill Belichick bit the dust with the Cleveland Browns. He was given another chance by Patriots owner Robert Kraft and history was made. Pete Carroll has built USC into one of the greatest dynasties in college football history. His offensive is first class and his defenses have been extremely aggressive in getting to the QB.

Russ Grimm O-line coach Pittsburgh Steelers

It might be a stretch to hire a position coach as the head coach of the Detroit Lions but Grimm has received a lot of credit for the success of the Steelers offense. The Steelers have been the top running team in the NFL over the past few years. It hasn’t mattered who’s running the ball. They just plug and chug and that says a lot about the offensive line and their coach.

Gary Kubiak OC Denver Broncos

Kubiak is a solid NFL coach with an impressive resume. The Denver Broncos are playing superbly on offense this season. Kubiak has figured out the enigma that is Jake Plummer and turned him into a top notch quarterback. Kubiak is a run first coordinator but isn’t opposed to opening up the game plan.

Jeff Tedford Head Coach California

Tedford has been solely responsible for the meteoric rise of Aaron Rodgers and David Carr when he coached them in college. Tedford has played USC as tough as anyone else in college football. He’s an offensive guru with a knack for reigning in misguided quarterbacks. If Joey Harrington still has a future in Detroit, Jeff Tedford may help him reach his potential.

Charlie Weiss Head Coach Notre Dame

Weiss is one of the most talented offensive coaches in football. In one season, he’s turned Notre Dame from an offensive nightmare to an unstoppable force. He led New England’s dynamic offensive to three Super Bowl victories. Weiss surely understands the importance of a top notch offense to go along with a strong defense.

Ron Meeks DC Indianapolis Colts

I am extremely impressed with the Colts defense this year which is a far cry from where they were two years ago. Ron Meeks sees first hand how potent a dynamic offense is when teamed with an aggressive defense.

John Hufnagel OC NY Giants

For anyone who remembers the Giants offense last season, John Hufnagel appears to be a miracle worker. I’ve seen the Giants in about five games this season and I’m impressed with how balanced their offense is. Throw in the fact that Eli Manning went from miserable last season to unstoppable this season and Hufnagel keeps looking better. The Giants now resemble the Chargers on offense which is quite an achievement.

Brad Childress OC Philadelphia Eagles

Childress is coaching under a head coach that prefers to pass 70% of the time. As a result, Childress really doesn’t have the need for a power running game. Since the Eagles aren’t built to run teams over, Childress has to work the run game in as best as possible. The Eagles have been one of the dominant offensive teams over the last five years. Childress could thrive even more with a team that has a running back a capable as Kevin Jones.

Mike Singletary LB coach SF 49ers

Singletary was a ferocious linebacker as a player. He saw first hand in Buddy Ryan’s “46” defense just how dominating a defense should be. He has climbed his way up the coaching ranks and has coached one of the top LB’s in the league in Julian Peterson. Singletary could have the same effect on the defense as Jack Del Rio or Marv Lewis has had in Carolina and Cincinnati.

9). I’ll narrow the list down to five by eliminating five candidates. As good as Denver has looked this season, I have not been overly impressed with Denver’s ability to open up the passing game. I fear that Kubiak would fall into the Mariucci trap of trying to win by running the ball and controlling the clock which is what the problem is right now. As much as I want to give Singletary his first job as a head coach, I can’t rationalize handing the reigns over to a guy that inexperienced. I would love to bring in Singletary as the defensive coordinator. Russ Grimm will get a chance some day. I just don’t know enough about him to give him the job. I know he loves the power running game which I would love to bring to Detroit. However, his inexperience and my limited knowledge on how he would thrive with three first round wide receivers keeps him off my short list. The last cut comes down to John Hufnagel and Brad Childress. In my opinion, there hasn’t been a more impressive performance by a coordinator in the NFL this season than Hufnagel. Contrastingly, Childress has struggled in Philly. It might not be entirely his fault but I want a guy that can turn dirt into gold. I’ve seen Hufnagel do that this season.

10). The final six:

1). Cam Cameron
2). Pete Carroll
3). Jeff Tedford
4). John Hufnagel
5). Ron Meeks
6). Charlie Weiss

11). Since I can’t ask these coaches myself, I’m going to make assumptions on their availability. I would guess that Pete Carroll and Charlie Weiss will not be going anywhere. Weiss has his dream job at Notre Dame and has said repeatedly that he’s not interested. Pete Carroll is living the good life at USC. He would have to be crazy to leave for the Detroit Lions. That leaves a final four of:

1). Cam Cameron
2). Jeff Tedford
3). John Hufnagel
4). Ron Meeks

12). The coach that I would inevitably hire would depend 100% on the interview process. I would need to find out from these coaches what their plans are for the team on both sides of the ball. I would need to find out their ideas for the coaching staff. I would also demand that I (the G.M.) would be in on the hiring of any assistant coaches. I am not a fan of handing the fate of the entire team over to the head coach. The head coach’s job is to run the team during game days and prepare the team for the season. His job is NOT to dictate the team’s philosophy in every aspect of the game. For instance, if I bring in a defensive coordinator to run the team, I expect him to bring his defensive expertise and let the offense be run by a capable Offensive Coordinator. I will not allow a head coach to bring in a conservative offensive coach that “fits” with his defense-first mentality. The offense and defense can both flourish independently and that’s what we plan to do here in Detroit. If any of these coaches have a problem with me being involved in the hiring of coordinators and assistants, then this is not the right job for them. This problem is alleviated, however, by hiring a dynamic Offensive Coordinator as the head coach in the first place.

13). Having said that, I think our organization would be better off choosing from one of the three offensive minds on the final list. Thus, Ron Meeks is out of the running. I like Jeff Tedford and I’d hire him in a second if I were a college Athletic Director. I would be a bit hesitant handing the job over to him. He needs a few more years to prove his worth. That leaves Cam Cameron and John Hufnagel.

14). I really like both of these coaches. Hufnagel has worked with Bill Belichick and Charlie Weiss and shares a similar offensive philosophy. Cameron has the advantage of youth over Hufnagel and despite being younger; Cameron has a more impressive resume as an NFL coordinator.

15). I will name Cam Cameron as the new head coach of the Detroit Lions.

16). Staying true to my word, my first order of business with Cameron is to make sure he brings in the most dynamic coordinators available. With the offensive play calling seemingly in good hands, I would search for an aggressive coach to run the defense. My first call would be to Mike Singletary. It is my hope that Singletary would love the challenge of moving from Linebacker coach to Defensive Coordinator. On the offensive side of the ball, I would push for Cameron to bring in Russ Grimm as the Offensive Coordinator. Like Singletary, Grimm has been pushing for a more prominent coaching position. It would be my hope that Grimm would cherish the opportunity to become an Offensive Coordinator. The Detroit Lions have not been a team that can line up on offense and run the ball down the defense’s throats. I think Russ Grimm could change the attitude of our offensive line. The best teams in the NFL combine an aggressive passing game with a power running game. I am confident that both of those goals can be reached with Cameron and Grimm.

Finding the next quarterback of the Detroit Lions

1). My first order of business is to assess Joey Harrington’s performance for the rest of the 2005 season. It wouldn’t be fair to the organization to make the decision now with eight weeks to go.

2). If my feelings on Harrington haven’t changed come January, then I will make it a priority to find a new quarterback.

3). It is my preference to find a quarterback to come in and help immediately. The odds of that happening with a rookie quarterback are slim. That’s why we’re in this mess with Harrington in the first place. We handed the job over to him as a rookie and here we are four years later with no improvement. If we can land Matt Leinart or Vince Young, then I would change my mind but I doubt we will have a high enough pick. Vince Young is Michael Vick with considerably more size. He might even be a better pocket passer. We’ll look at both of those players.

4). We’ll also explore a trade. We know that San Diego has a logjam at quarterback with Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers. Rivers would not be our first choice since he will basically be a rookie. Handing the offense over to Rivers would be a gamble. We need to win now. So, we’ll see if Brees is available and what the price would be. We already know that Cam Cameron and Drew Brees work well together. We would pursue Brees aggressively. If the asking price is too high, we’ll need to move on. Other quarterbacks we’ll inquire about are Billy Volek (Titans), Jon Kitna (Bengals), Matt Cassell (Patriots), Matt Schaub (Falcons), Mark Brunell (Redskins), and Jamie Martin (Rams).

5). Generally, when a team needs a quarterback, the answer is found in free agency. In most cases, these players are not big name players but veterans like Brad Johnson. If a player of Johnson’s ability is available in free agency next year, we will make a play for him. Without having a list of upcoming free agents, we’ll have to wait and see who’s available.

6). I’ll rank the quarterbacks that I’ve named in order from most desirable:

1). Matt Leinart
2). Vince Young
3). Drew Brees
4). Matt Schaub
5). Billy Volek
6). Jon Kitna
7). Mark Brunell
8). Jamie Martin
9). Matt Cassell

7). We will use this list to find our next quarterback. The list will be updated when the 2006 free agent crop is known. But, this is what we’ll go off of as of now. It doesn’t look like we’ll finish with a good enough draft pick to get Leinart. That’s not a big deal since I rate Vince Young on par with Leinart. Hopefully, Young will be available for us at our pick. He will revolutionize the quarterback position in the NFL. Since we’ve taken so many players on the offensive side of the ball in the first round, I would like to address the defense but I can’t and won’t pass on Vince Young. If Young is gone, we will make a play for Drew Brees. If we can’t work out something with the Chargers for Brees, we will then move on to Schaub and Volek who I rate even. Whatever one we can get for the cheapest will be the one we bring in.

8). If Joey Harrington improves considerably over the last few weeks of this season, we’ll see how Coach Cameron sees Harrington fitting into his plans. If he wants to stick with Harrington, we’ll give him another opportunity. If Coach Cameron wants to go in a different direction, then we will try to bring in Vince Young or Drew Brees. Either quarterback will give us a chance to do great things on offense. My worry is that neither will be available. If that’s the case, we’ll just go with options #4 or #5. I have tremendous confidence that either quarterback could thrive under Cam Cameron.

Four shots at ruining the BCS

Our hopes of a BCS-disaster are on life-support at best. As I predicted and feared, USC and Texas are the only two undefeated teams left in D-1 college football. The college Presidents and BCS officials are planning their victory parade as we speak. I can just picture them chanting “Long live the BCS” over and over again as they vigorously compete in the “patting on the back” competition. Alabama’s offense finally failed them as they lost a heartbreaker to LSU. Alabama never really had a shot at saving college football from the BCS with a defense and defense only football team. Their remaining schedule was just too tough. There is only one scenario left that could thwart the BCS party. This is the least likely scenario and always has been. After USC and Texas beat Notre Dame and Ohio St. respectively, it was obvious that neither was going to lose. Consequently, there needed to be a third unbeaten. Now that there are no other unbeatens, our only hope falls on the shoulders of four Universities to pull off a monumental creating havoc with an abundance of one-loss teams staking claim to the BCS Championship game. These four schools are Fresno St., UCLA, Texas A & M, and most likely Colorado. Every one of these schools will be at least 15 point underdogs and have virtually no chance of winning. However, we get four more shots and ruining the BCS. Hope may be dwindling but its hope nonetheless. Send good vibes to Paul Pinegar, Drew Olson, Reggie McNeal, and Joel Klatt. The future viability of the BCS is on their shoulders.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Question of the Week Answers

Question of the Week: "If you were in charge of the Eagles, would you have sent T.O. home for the season?”

Riaz from Orlando, FL

I would send him home, football is a team game and TO does not understand that concept. Of course people don't realize he is doing this on purpose to get out of his contract without him breaking it but the team having to do it so he can go to Atlanta. I believe the offense coach there (qb coach maybe?) is good friends with TO and he has mentioned before he wants to play for Atlanta and even in preseason when he got suspended for a week he went to an Atlanta game. He is doing this on purpose to get kicked off the team to go to another team.

Hollywood, Pittsfield Twp., Michigan

I would keep T.O. on my team, if only because Tony has him in our fantasy league together and I'd hate to incur his wrath.

Jake from Germany via Michigan

It really depends on what the goal is. If the goal is to stay sane and be happy, then you have to get rid of T.O. If the goal is to win the Super Bowl, then you have to keep him. As far as I know, the primary goal of every team in the NFL is to win the Super Bowl. There is no question that Philly is better with T.O. in the lineup despite what some people are yapping on TV. Philly would’ve beaten Washington and Dallas these past two weeks and they’d be in first place. I understand the distraction aspect but you can either win or not win. I would choose “win”. Once Philly made the decision to put their future in T.O.’s hands, they had to be willing to accept everything he brought to the team. Otherwise, they run the risk of bailing out and leaving the team in a terrible situation which is what inevitably happened. Philly blew it. They ruined a whole season and they certainly won’t be better without T.O. this year, next year or any year.

New Question of the Week: Should there even be a question of the week?

Email your answers to

Monday, November 14, 2005

Fixing the Lions

I am going to assume that nobody was fooled by Detroit’s meaningless blowout of the Arizona Cardinals yesterday. I definitely wasn’t. The four wins that the Lions have this season have come against teams with a combined record of 9-27. The victory over the mighty Cardinals wasn’t a statement of any kind, nor was it impressive in any way. The Lions only proved that they are not the worst team in the NFL. As a pretty big sports fan, I usually have a solution/answer to every problem that the Lions have. For the first time on record, I was actually at a loss for what the Lions should do after this year’s ridiculous performance. Instead of seeing the “light” with a few roster moves, I thought the answer was “blow up Ford Field and move the team to Chattanooga.” However, after a week of reflection, I’ve put my G.M. hat back on and I’m certain that the Lions aren’t that far away from being a contending franchise. All it would take are a few bold moves by Matt Millen. The problem is that these moves would indict Millen’s tenure and I doubt he would want to make himself look any worse than he all ready does.

First, Millen needs to overhaul the coaching staff starting with Steve Mariucci. Some people would point to Millen as the problem but given the amount of time William Clay Ford gave Wayne Fontes to toil with the Lions franchise, I doubt Millen’s job will be in jeopardy any time in the next millennium. Plus, the Lions actually have a very competitive roster which is mostly Millen’s doing. So, Mariucci becomes the man responsible for the Lions on-field performance. The number one measure of a good head coach in the NFL is the talent of his coordinators. Coaches with bland offensive and defensive coordinators are sure to fail. Every successful franchise in the NFL has either a dynamic coordinator on offense or defense, if not both. There hasn’t been a Super Bowl Champion in the last 20 years that hasn’t had a dominating unit on at least one side of the ball. The Patriots are the epitome of what a team can accomplish with dynamic coaching. Tampa Bay and Baltimore each won the Super Bowl with dominating defensive schemes. The Rams won the Super Bowl with a dynamic offensive system. The Broncos had both an offensive and defensive advantage in terms of coaching. My point is that if you don’t have a coaching staff to make your team dynamic, you can’t win the Super Bowl, let alone, make the playoffs.

Mariucci’s biggest mistake to date has been his choice of coordinators. He brought in Ted Tollner as offensive coordinator to employ his conservative coaching style. The results have been brutal as the Lions are 28th (out of 32) in yards per game. Keep in mind the Lions were lauded for putting together a team with such offensive firepower that it was compared to the Colts in the pre-season. The worst possible approach for this team is a conservative approach. The fact that the Lions don’t have a dominating running game makes this approach even worse since the number one requirement of a conservative approach is a power running game.

On the other side of the ball, Mariucci brought in re-tread NFL coach Dick Jauron to run the defense.  Jauron got more out of the Bears miraculous 2001 season than anyone else in the Bears organization. Not only did it give him credibility as an NFL head coach but it allowed him a crutch to fall on after he was run out of Chicago. He used that crutch to get Mariucci to put him in charge of the Detroit defense. The Lions have actually managed to play pretty good defense this year without an overly impressive defensive scheme. A dynamic defensive coordinator could make the Lions defense a dominating and fearsome unit. Marv Lewis, Jack Del Rio, and John Fox are just a few of the coaches who have been successful with talented rosters combined with aggressive defensive schemes. The Lions have more talent on defense than 75% of the NFL. Shaun Rogers and Dre Bly are two of the best at their position.  The difference between what the Lions are right now and what they could be is not who’s on the field but rather who’s on the sidelines.  

The Lions have a talented team. To be fair, there have been some untimely injuries this season, but that’s not what’s holding them back. There are at least 30 dynamic assistant coaches in the NFL right now that are begging for a job not to mention countless college coaches that could make an immediate impact in the NFL. The way to the Super Bowl is through one of those brilliant minds. Millen needs to bring in a coach that can maximize the output of the Lions talented roster. Steve Mariucci is as bland as a coach can get. The Lions will never have an edge in coaching with such a conservative approach to the game. The most successful teams in the NFL are the most aggressive on and off the field. The lions, unfortunately, fail in both respects.

Second, the Lions need to bring in an “average” quarterback. Unless Joey Harrington finishes this season with an unbelievable fury, he is not the answer. The Lions only need someone who can drop back and complete a pass on a regular basis. An example of how effective an average quarterback can be is Brad Johnson. Daunte Culpepper was leading the Vikings offense into the garbage can until he tore up his knee. Brad Johnson took over and has calmly brought the Vikings two straights win and immediately brought respectability to their offense. A poor quarterback can ruin an otherwise potent offense. Take the Baltimore Ravens for example. They have one of the best running backs in the NFL (Jamal Lewis) running behind an outstanding offensive line. They brought in one of the best wide receivers in the NFL (Derrick Mason) and also have one of the top tight ends (Todd Heap) in football. Yet, their offense is the worst in the NFL because they don’t have an “average” quarterback. The Ravens would be Super Bowl contenders with Brad Johnson at quarterback. The Lions have scored more than twenty points in only two of nine games this season. They lost close games to Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Chicago because they couldn’t do anything on offense. Granted, the Lions have experienced more than their fair share of injuries on offense but a steady quarterback would’ve given the Lions a chance to win. Joey Harrington has shown that he doesn’t have enough to lead an offense to big things. It is not too late to abandon the Harrington experience unscathed. The rest of the offense is in place waiting for a capable quarterback and a capable offensive coordinator.

Right now, the Lions appear to be a mess with no hope for the future. However, I really think that a few bold moves are the difference between what we’re seeing on the field right now and a consistent winner. I said it before the season and I’ll say it again, most coaches in the NFL would love to have the Lions roster. There are so many talented players suiting up for Detroit every week. They could either waste away under Mariucci’s conservative game planning and Harrington shaky leadership, or they could flourish under a dynamic head coach with a “heady” signal caller.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Coin Flip Challenge week 9 Picks

This week should provide a bit of a rest after an action packed couple of weeks. There are only five differences out of the 14 games so there shouldn’t be too much movement in the standings. However, this week takes on particular importance for me as it gives me a chance to climb above .500 for the first time all season. It’s amazing how big of a whole you can put yourself in just from two bad weeks (week 1 and 2). It’s taken me seven weeks just to get back to .500. Hopefully, I can break on through to the other side. I’m a little nervous about taking all fourteen road teams. That was not planned. I generally subscribe to the investment theory that it’s best to diversify. My picks are certainly not diversified this week. May the force be with me (and you too).

BUF -2.5 kc

The Kansas City Chiefs saved their season last week against Oakland with a gutsy last second call from the one yard line. They were without Priest Holmes but Larry Johnson filled in admirably as the Chiefs barely hung on. There is no question in my mind that KC is a better team than Buffalo. The only question is whether or not KC comes to play on the road. The bottom line is that if the Chiefs are going to make the playoffs, they can’t afford to fall any further behind the Broncos. I think Kansas City takes care of business this week.

was -1 TB

On one hand, you have a team that got destroyed 36-0 in their last road game. On the other hand, you have a team that’s on a two game losing streak having lost to San Francisco and Carolina since Chris Simms took over at QB. Tampa Bay was dominated at home by the Panthers last week. The question becomes, what’s more of a liability, the fact that Washington is on the road, or that Chris Simms is TB’s quarterback? I took the ‘Skins in their road game against the Giants and it was over in two minutes. I don’t want to give them another chance to burn me. But, until Simms proves he can win a game in the NFL, I’ll have to take Washington.

ne -3 MIA

There is no question that New England is hurting without Rodney Harrison. However, it’s important to remember that the team that beat New England last week was the best team in the NFL. Miami can’t hold a candle to Indianapolis. If New England has any chance to make the playoffs, they have to beat Miami and the rest of the teams in their division. I’ll take New England, and more importantly Tom Brady, to bounce back and cover the spread.

CHI -13.5 sf

There are six games this week with a spread of -8 or more. The bad news for me is that most of the teams with the large spreads are offensively challenged starting with the Bears. The Bears should never be a 13 point favorite over anyone. The Bears aren’t even a guarantee to score 13 points the whole game. As much as I hate to do it, I’ll take San Francisco to keep this within ten points.

NYG -10 min

If Daunte Culpepper were still Minnesota’s quarterback, I would take the Giants in a second. However, I think Brad Johnson gives the Vikes a better chance of winning. He’s a veteran with a good understanding of the offense. He has decent wide receivers to throw to and an average running game. With the NFC North being so bad, Minnesota has a reason to show up on Sunday. They’re still alive to make the playoffs. My guess is that this game will be closer than ten points. The last time I thought that about the Giants, they won 36-0. Hopefully, a repeat of that is not in store. I'm skeptically taking Minnesota.

DET -4 ari

Do the Lions really deserve to be four point favorites over anyone in the league? Granted, Arizona stinks but the Lions are spiraling out of control. They have no offense to speak of and the defense is missing some key starters. Four points is too much to give to a team that can score. I’ll take Arizona.

JAX -7 balt

Jacksonville got a big spread last week against Houston and anybody who follows the NFL knows that was way too much. Now, the Jags play a stout defense in Baltimore. Jacksonville might break out in one of these games but I can’t rationalize taking them in a spread as big as 7 over the Ravens until they prove they can score. Baltimore isn’t going to make the playoffs but they at least have the roster to keep things close against an offensively challenged team. I’m going with Baltimore.

IND -18 hou

Part of me thinks it’s crazy to take any team in an -18 point spread. There are so many things that can go wrong in a game. If Peyton Mannings gets hurt, there’s virtually no chance of the Colts covering. If Houston scores a few meaningless points against Indy’s second stringers in the 4th quarter, there’s a good chance that they game will be closer than 18 points. Then there’s the possibility that Houston could actually win. However, the Colts will be playing at home against a very bad team. Houston can’t score and they can’t stop anyone. The Colts can score a lot and they have a very aggressive defense. I’m torn on this game. I’ll take Houston to score a meaningless fourth quarter touchdown to cover.

CAR -9 nyj

The Jets had no business of covering against San Diego last week. Marty-ball cost me the game against a bad Jets team. I like Carolina a lot but the Jets have some good players that won’t give up on the season. I’ll take the Jets to come out with a strong effort and keep the game close.

den -3 OAK

I don’t trust Jake Plummer on the road. Having said that, Denver has just the remedy for Randy Moss and it’s Champ Bailey. Denver’s running game should give them enough to win the game and cover the spread. Oakland has played very well this season despite a less than appealing record. I may regret this pick but I’ll take Denver to keep rolling.

SEA -7 stl

Mike Martz, or the lack thereof, turned out to be the key to the Rams season. Not surprisingly, the Rams have turned their season around since losing their pass happy head coach. The new guy apparently understands that it’s unwise to NOT run the ball when you have one of the best 1-2 combo’s at running back in the league. Steven Jackson is a beast. Marshall Faulk apparently never got the memo that he was outdated and on the decline. With a weak schedule, the Rams could make a push for the playoffs. I’ll take St. Louis to cover this week.

ATL -9.5 gb

These Green Bay spreads are just ridiculous. Week after week, Green Bay is a big underdog. I inevitably have to decide how many points Brett Favre is worth. Green Bay has been hanging tough with very good teams lately. Atlanta wins games by controlling the game clock which will put a cap on how many points they’ll score. Green Bay should keep this game close. I’ll take Green Bay to stay within ten points.

PIT -8 cle

Pittsburgh has been terrible at home this year. They barely, and I mean barely, beat an undermanned Baltimore team at home two weeks ago. The Steelers should’ve crushed the Ravens. Throw in the fact that the Steelers will have Charlie Batch at quarterback and I think an 8 point spread is a little much. I’ll take the Browns to lose by 7.

PHI -3 dal

The Eagles might be happier without T.O. but they certainly aren’t better. There is no question in my mind that Philly would’ve beaten Washington last week with T.O. Dallas crushed Philly earlier this year with T.O. They should be able to handle a struggling Philly team without T.O. I’ll take Dallas to blow out Philly’s torch. The tribe has spoken.

My pick’s:


Coin Flip’s picks:


Lansing Sports Rage

I want to bring attention to the sports website called The Lansing Sports Rage. They will be featuring one of my posts on their website each week. I encourage you all to check it out when you get a chance. I'll also be linking their site under "Michigan Sports Sites". They have a plethora of writers over there which is in stark contrast to this site where you have a choice of reading what I have to say or nothing. So, when you get tired of me, go to The Lansing Sports Rage.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Roll Tide, please!

I can’t speak for anyone else but for the next three weeks, I will be bleeding Alabama Crimson red. Alabama is the only team standing in the way of a BCS “love fest” which would make me throw-up all over myself. Rooting for Alabama to survive their buzz-saw of a schedule is like rooting for the Detroit Pistons to go undefeated. No matter how good either team is, it’s just not going to happen. If the BCS works this year by pitting the only two undefeated teams against each other in the Championship game, it will only confirm to BCS officials and University Presidents that they have the perfect system. Never mind that the BCS fails as much as it works. One year of a perfect BCS outcome is equal to three years of failure in the minds of the people that matter. That seems like funky math to me. As long as the BCS succeeds and fails and equal amount of time, BCS officials will keep loving themselves more and more every year. So, college football fans have to root for failure every year. Sadly, Alabama is the only hope we have left this year. I just don’t see how the Tide can beat LSU, Auburn, and Georgia in three straight weeks. Alabama has scored one offensive touchdown in the last 13 qtrs. That’s three games! Here is how the remainder of the season looks for the three remaining undefeated teams in D-1 football:

1). USC

Remaining games:

at California, Fresno St., UCLA


Playing at Cal is no easy task but the Bears aren’t anywhere near as good as they have been in the last few years. Fresno St. will be outmatched athletically. UCLA is a good team but they got embarrassed by Arizona. USC will also be in the Rose Bowl.

2). Texas

Remaining games:

Kansas, at Texas A & M, Big 12 Championship


Texas is all but a sure thing to finish the regular season undefeated. Texas A & M is terrible and so will Texas’ opponent in the Big 12 Championship game.

3). Alabama

Remaining games:

LSU, at Auburn, SEC Championship


I don’t think there’s any way that Alabama beats LSU and wins at Auburn. If they somehow pull that off, they would then have to match up against Georgia in the SEC Championship game. There is no way Alabama finishes undefeated.

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