Friday, September 26, 2008

Free Kicks

I saw it. I flipped over to the USC-Oregon State game as an afterthought when I realized I had already seen that episode of “First 48”. Then things got interesting. In the summer you forget the sudden-ness of football, the feeling that you know on that play that things will change for one way or the other. There are no fouling off pitches in football. There was nothing more exciting than watching USC line up for the onside kick...

God I Love Thursday Football

I shuddered when I saw the students start to claw over the walls with 2:39 left to go in the game. I winced when I saw Mike Riley doused with Gatorade with 1:40 left and an onside kick yet to play, clinging to a 6 point lead. I had seen all of this before. USC would somehow come back and steal a game they had no business winning. But then Oregon State recovered the onside kick and the celebration could begin in Corvallis. How incredible is college football? Let’s be honest, no one really thought that Oregon State could beat Southern Cal… again. This team that was throttled by Penn State and Stanford took apart the Trojans from start to finish.

Then again, USC has had a tendency to give away the easy one lately- be it to Stanford or Oregon State, they seem to wilt when facing a team that refuses to be intimidated. Either way, I love games like this. In the NFL, a 1-9 team beating an 8-2 team is unusual, but not Earth shattering; the league is built on parity. College Football is built on a hierarchy, of Storied Programs, Major Conferences, Mid-Majors, FBS, etc etc. It is so much sweeter to watch that hierarchy turned on its head.

It’s Almost Funny… Nope, Still Depressing

Matt Millen is gone. I will spare you the diatribe about how terrible a General Manager he was, that will be all over the news. The more important thing to consider is the future of the Lions. The city of Detroit will shrug their shoulders and give a weak smile, but the problems of the Lions will likely remain for years to come. This is a team that just seems snake-bitten with incompetence at all levels. People will applaud Bill Ford Jr. for his statements and subsequent pressure to remove Millen, but we shouldn’t be too excited. The Fords have never cared much about the quality of their product on the field.

Like Peter Angelos, they care about keeping butts in the seats. They knew that the fan base had reached its breaking point. Lions fans are loyal fans, but even their spirits have limits- a statewide depression lasting over a decade long and 8.9% unemployment will drag down the willingness to shell out a few thousand to watch a football team go 4-12. The Fords are following in Angelos’ footsteps- do nothing until the fans start to turn away, and then fire some executives to make it look like real changes are being made. It won’t be until the Lions enjoy a couple more seasons of failure that a complete overhaul will be made. The slogan for this year’s Lions reads “Do You Believe in Now?” No, we don’t. Don't ask again for another few years.

Now That’s Some Job Security

The Mets have awarded GM Omar Minaya a 4-year extension, and I actually don’t have a huge problem with giving him an extension. I do raise an eyebrow about giving him an extension NOW. I mean, this tells the fans that where they are is okay, that possibly missing the playoffs after a sizeable September lead is more than acceptable. I am not arguing that Minaya is to blame for the 2007 or 2008 collapses, but that the organization cannot start patting itself on the back just yet. Remember, the only reason they are still tied for the wildcard is because the Brewers decided to lose 5 out of 14 during one stretch earlier this month. Minaya put this team together, and if this team fails to make the playoffs with a $140,000,000 payroll, fans will have to question what they are paying for. If you have the second highest payroll in the majors to work with, you better be able to put together a playoff team. If not, then maybe there IS a problem with the GM.

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