Monday, December 17, 2007

Thoughts on Rich Rodriguez and the Sports World

1. There are others who are much more versed in the world of college football. I'm sure the usual suspects will be able to break things down a lot better than I. That said, I can't help but be absolutely thrilled with the outcome to this coaching search--thank you Mary Sue Coleman. Rich Rodriguez is one of the top coaches in the game. He's pioneered an offense that many of the top programs use. He's built West [freaking] Virgina into a kind of sort of national power. And now he's here, to take our offense out of the stone age. As offensive coordinator, he went 12-0. At Tulane. With Shaun King at QB. Read those last 3 sentences again. He made Shaun King the most prolific passer in college football history. It's hard to not get excited about this one. Especially when Terrelle Pryor might follow him to Ann Arbor.

2. I really feel for Les Miles. There have been rumblings that he was still interested in the job, and I believe it. Ironically, if West Virginia hadn't choked on applesauce against Pittsburgh, Miles would probably be our coach, with Rodriguez in the title game. People can say what they want, but anyone who loves this school enough to flirt with it, even with his damn strong football team in the national title game is someone that I will always root for. Beat those Buckeyes, Les.

3. The loss to Pitt will no doubt get brought up by Sparties trying to justify to themselves that this was a terrible hire or that he'll "fit right in". That game doesn't bug me so much. Les Miles lost to Arkansas at home with a chance at the title game hanging in the balance. Same with Tressel's team losing to Ron Zook and Illinois at home. Those two still ended up getting in. But Bob Stoops and the Sooners dropped a game to Texas Tech. Lloyd Carr and company lost to App State. St. Nick and the Crimson Tide lost to a team from Louisiana not named LSU. Urban Meyer lost at home to a ho-hum Auburn team that got beat by Mississippi State. Pete Carroll and USC lost to Stanford. Georgia lost at home to a 6 loss South Carolina team. Mack Brown's Longhorns got blown out at home by Kansas State. It was a weird year.

4. It takes a special play to get me to mention an NFL happening before talking about my Packers, but one happened today. Brian Westbrook, my hat is off to you. For those who didn't see it, the Eagles were up 10-6 on Dallas just before the two-minute warning at the end of the game. Westbrook ripped off a run for a first down and had clear sailing to the end zone. He stopped at the one yard line and took a knee, knowing that they'd be able to run out the clock with Dallas out of timeouts. It was the most heads-up play I've seen in a long, long time. Most players wouldn't have had the awareness to pull it off, and some would've been selfish enough that they would've scored the TD anyway. If there are two things that I'm strongly in favor of in football, they're a) not going for 2 before it's necessary and b) letting the other team score if tackling them means you lose. The latter is hardly ever practiced (or it's not practiced correctly, Mike Holmgren). While I don't think Dallas was trying to let Westbrook score, he was smart enough to pass up the sure TD anyway.

5. I can't wait to hear all the stories about people who lost their fantasy football playoff games because of Brian Westbrook's heads up play.

6. Congrats to the greatest quarterback in history on breaking another of Dan Marino's records, this one, the all-time passing yardage mark. That record came en route to leading the Packers to a 12-2 record, clinching a first round bye. They've got a real shot to come out of the NFC, and I think they can give any AFC opponent a game (and I'm not at all convinced that it's going to be New England).

7. It's amazing to me that after not having a return game since Allen Rossum left a few years ago, it appears the Packers have 4 guys that can get the job done. Koren Robinson gave them great field position all game today and is an ex-Pro Bowler at KR. Tramon Williams has also done well in that role, and took a punt back for a TD against Carolina. Will Blackmon has shown some sizzle on punts, including a punt return for a TD against Oakland last week. And Charles Woodson is solid as well.

8. I really do feel for Lions fans. That team is an absolute disaster, and the city deserves a lot better. It's a testament to the quality of football fans in the Motor City that they continue to show up for games after the crap that Matt Millen has put on the field for the last 6-7 years (not to mention the pre-Millen suckfests).

9. Amir Johnson: 15 minutes, six points, seven boards, three blocks. The other night he had 5 blocks in under 10 minutes. It still blows my mind that he wasn't active for the playoffs last year. No, you're not going to play him 30 minutes or anything, but his energy and ability to create exciting plays could have been the ticket to get the crowd back into a game or gain some momentum. I love Jason Maxiell as well.

10. Another great move by Joe D with the Nazr Muhammad trade. He gets two players he liked, sheds a ton of salary, creates cap flexibility in the future, acquires expiring contracts for if he feels so inclined to deal again, and lands a 7'1" player who was starting as well as a guy who was dropping 20+ a night at the end of last year when he got a chance to play. That's a good move in my book.

11. They said it's a first in team history, but I wonder if it's ever happened where an NHL team has had 2 penalties shots in a game, let alone a period. That was pretty cool for the Wings last night. That team is simply amazing. I still think they need another scorer for the playoffs, but they're playing amazing hockey right now. I'm pretty convinced that no one in the world is better at their job than Nick Lidstrom is at his.

12. I still believe in Beilein but this is hard to watch right now.

13. Congrats to the Michigan volleyball team. They were eliminated in the Sweet 16 by #1 Penn State, but that's the farthest the team has ever made it and the future is bright. Thanks to the outgoing seniors, Katie Bruzdzinski, Stesha Selsky, Sarah Draves, and Lyndsay Miller. Bruzdzinski was a pleasure to watch, and I think she could make a strong case for being the best player to come through our program. I also loved Miller's energy and how happy she seemed to be out there all the time. They're a fun group.

14. I'll get to the hockey point projection analysis hopefully sometime on Monday.


Anonymous said...

"Beat those Buckeyes, Les."

Are you serious? All because of a little sentimental bullshit, you want OSU to lose and the Big Ten to be made into an even bigger laughing stock?

Packer487 said...

People are going to view the Big Ten as a laughing stock anyway (and this year it was probably deserved), they'd just say "The Big Ten outside of Ohio State".

Any amount of negative pub for the Big Ten is far superior to those inbred assholes down south having a reason to be happy. And to have them be able to hold 2 national titles in 5-6 years over us in recruiting.

To me, there's absolutely NO reason for a Michigan fan (and it's unclear what allegiance you hold) to be rooting for OSU in that game. Michigan gains no real benefit from Ohio State being national champs.

And those hicks don't deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Normally I'm all for rooting against non-conference opposition in any sport, simply for the fact that it makes your own conference stronger, or at least appear stronger.

However, Tim has a point: An OSU win over LSU serves to benefit no one but OSU. Recruits won't suddenly be thinking Big 10 over SEC, although they may take OSU over an SEC school. Michigan gains nothing with an OSU win, so we default to the norm... F_ck OSU.

As for the Westbrook play, I haven't seen it, but heads-up moves like that will certainly win me over as a fan far before personal stat padding. Absolutely BRILLIANT decision.

Rodriguez: Martin goes from goat to hero in a day. Nice redemption Bill :) There will certainly be some growing pains next season, but the excitement surrounding it is far superior to another season of status quo. Fortunately for us, the waiting will be very short-lived, what with 2 fantastic hockey teams to watch until April/June (fingers crossed), and the tremendous potential the Tigers have.

Lions? Where!?!?

Packer487 said...

There's the Westbrook highlight. It's pretty incredible. Apparently Jon Runyan suggested it to him (yeah Michigan!) but I still give Westbrook all the credit in the world for taking the knee.

I'll generally root for any Big Ten team in the bowls depending on the matchup, but not OSU in the title game. No way.

I will root for every CCHA team in the NCAA tournament, OSU and MSU included, though I didn't want to see Sparty actually pull off the title. If it was Sparty vs. Minnesota though? I'd be singing that circus march as loud as anyone.