Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Plenty of Big Games to Feast on This Thanksgiving

ATH may be taking a break on Thanksgiving, but feel free to check in on the blog in between bites of stuffing (or watching the stuffing being beat out of the Lions).

Speaking of which, how odd is it that we manage to get two of the polar opposite teams in the league playing on Thanksgiving every year? The Lions, the most hapless team (historically) in the NFL, having not won an NFL title since before the AFL was even thought of. Think about it, there was not a single active NFL player alive when Detroit won their last NFL championship in 1957. I am actually looking forward to watching the Lions on Thursday. They take double digit 1st half leads and lose by 17+ points on such a consistent basis, that I wish I could watch and see how that is done week in and week out. I couldn’t watch it even if I was in Michigan, as the Lions have been blacked out in their home state due to low attendance for a month, and it will likely get even longer.

If I was the Ford family I would be proud that I lasted this long with a losing product before starting to go under. Then again, it seems like that is a pattern with Ford these days, huh? We Orioles fans talk about our loyalty in filling up Camden Yards consistently up until the last couple of years; what about the Lions? This team is a mess, the ownership is a mess, and they came consistently for decades! Sorry Baltimore, in this we got nothing on Detroit. But when the measure is being a pathetic sports team, I will take that loss.

Meanwhile, we also get the Cowboys, one of the most legendary franchises in the league. 160 consecutive sold-out games. The most valuable franchise in the NFL according to Forbes. 5 Super Bowl wins. All-time record of 422-306-6 (the Lions have 488 wins, but 562 losses to go with them). I know the ‘Boys aren’t playing up to expectations this season, but what a pairing? Could you have a more disparate pair of teams to feature annually like this? I guess the day is designed that way- the Cowboys during the feast, and the Lions to help you fall asleep afterwards.

However, while we are all preoccupied with pro football, there is a lot of other big games going on this Thursday to sneak away from your mother-in-law to see. Texas vs. Texas A&M us always a big one, despite Mike Sherman’s disappointing debut season. I am a fan of Sherman and I am convinced he will turn this football team around in a few years. Being as they are in the Big 12 South that might take longer than a year or two, but it will happen. Texas however would be loathe to overlook the Aggies… nevermind. You get blown out by 20 points to Baylor and it just isn’t your year to upset anyone. It could still be good to see Colt McCoy try to resurrect his Heisman hopes after Graham Harrell took a big step back against Oklahoma last week.

The New Orleans Hornets will face off at 10:30 PM against the Denver Nuggets who are sporting a shiny 5-1 record in their last 6 games, and are *gasp* playing team defense behind point guard and new leader Chauncey Billups. I wrote here a couple weeks ago that the Iverson trade was bad for Detroit. I didn’t say anything about Denver, but I should have- Chauncey is so much more than an aging point guard. He has a mind for the game and knows how to get a team to come together. Don’t believe me? 114.8 points per game allowed last year, 97.2 points per game allowed so far this year. Without him, the Pistons are not the same team anymore, and are left with “Shoot first ask questions later” Allen Iverson. This should be a great matchup between Chris Paul and Billups.

You want more? How could I forget Maryland-Michigan State basketball at 7 PM? If the Terps are anywhere close to contending this season, it will have to come through for this drama-filled club to keep pace with the #5 Spartans in the Old Spice Classic. I’ll still be keeping tabs on Oklahoma State- Gonzaga. I don’t trust the Bulldogs outside the safety of their terrible conference, and the Cowboys are better than a lot of people think. It’s still too early to make any determinations in college basketball, but these are the games that could get a team in (or keep them out) of the Big Dance in March.

Photo Credit: (Kirthmon Dozier: Detroit Free Press)

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