Monday, January 07, 2008

Sports World Wrap-Around

With no real need to write a preview for an exhibition game tomorrow, I figured today might be a good time to post some random thoughts bouncing around in my brain.

-Maize n Brew Dave provides a case for rooting for OSU tonight. It ain't happening in these parts. I appreciate that it would make the conference as a whole look better, but I fail to see how the benefit Michigan might gain by some people being like "Hey, maybe the Big Ten isn't that bad" wouldn't be off-set by OSU being able to claim 2 national titles and 3 title game appearances in what? 6 years? People have their stereotypes about the Big Ten. Michigan keeps beating SEC teams in bowl games and every year we hear about how the SEC is better and how Michigan won't be able to match-up with the SEC speed. Would an OSU win over LSU really make people change their tune? Or would we just hear, "Yeah but in a playoff system, Georgia would've smoked them"?

Plus, no matter what you think of him as a coach, the way the job search went down, or even if you wanted him as our coach, I have to root for a guy like Les Miles, who loves U of M as much as he does.

-Next up, Mike Tomlin. Is he getting killed in media? He should be. I haven't read too much about the Steelers/Jaguars game, but based on what I read on ESPN and in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the night of the game, I can't believe he's not getting skewered over that completely indefensible decision to go for 2 from the 12 yard line with a ton of time left and down by 5 points. I didn't agree with the decision to go for it from the 2 yard line, but it was at least understandable. But after you get called for holding, you have to kick the football.

What are the chances of making a 2 point conversion in the NFL? Probably 40%ish? What would the chances be at making it from the 12 yard line? It has to be under 10%. And the only benefit you gain is if there's no scoring (or you match scores) the rest of the game and you need a FG to tie. It was unnecessary and the odds were so far against them making it, the decision was asinine. If you kick the PAT, then on the next TD, you're also kicking the PAT, and then you're up 3 rather than 1. Then Jacksonville either has to take some shots at the endzone, or settle for OT.

It blows my mind how coaches still find a way to bungle when to go for two and when not to go for two. Quick rules of thumb: Don't do it before the fourth quarter (preferably deep into the fourth quarter). Don't do it unless it's absolutely necessary. If it's a high scoring game, there are probably going to be more points, and take into account the ramifications if you miss. Realize that the odds are against you making it.

-Speaking of the Jaguars, I'm one of the people who was really pulling for a Pats/Jags matchup in the second round, because I like a lot of the things that the Jaguars bring to the table. I'm less excited now. I'd still give them a chance in that game, and I think the Pats giving 13 (Gotta plug BetUS right there) in that game is way too high, but I'm less excited about that matchup than I was when I saw the score at the start of the 4th quarter in the Steelers/Jags game.

-One of my childhood favorites is back! American Gladiators started up again last night, and I know a lot of people didn't like it, but I enjoyed myself.

No, it's not as good as the old one. I think they're trying to hard to make it all dramatic, and I almost had a seizure from the way they change camera angles but overall it's still pretty great.

That event, the Pyramid (or whatever it's called), is amazing. People getting rocked all over the place on that one. The skinny Asian dude got literally thrown off of it at least 3 times. I don't remember it being on the show before, but someone said that it was. Either way, it's sweet!

And the new Eliminator? Awesome. That's just mean to put the hand bike toward the end (when your hands are wet) followed by the reverse treadmill, when your shoes are wet. There aren't going to be too many people getting through that thing on the first try. I do wonder why the contenders even bother with the hand bike. There doesn't seem to be a "penalty pit" anymore and it's a lot quicker to just fall and go up the ladder.

I was really disappointed that neither of the contenders won in Assault last night. I wanted to see the Gladiator go flying into the water. That's a really nice touch.

I didn't like the new Hang Tough because the course just isn't long enough. One time the contender and gladiator went right at each other and they hit when they were both reaching for their second ring.

The gauntlet is always fun. And there's no better event for people getting rocked than Powerball.

I love that show...I don't think they ruined it at all. I just wish they had more "classic" camera angles--particularly on Powerball and Assault.

-In light of the fact that they just promoted the guy that headed up one of the worst offensive lines in the league, shouldn't the Lions have waited to see what would happen with Cam Cameron before bringing in a new Offensive Coordinator? It is the Lions....

-The Wings are a machine, and both of their goalies are playing great hockey. Osgood probably deserves to be an All-Star and Hasek has played every bit as well over the last month and a half. Check out these numbers over each of their last ten starts:
Hasek: 8-1-1, 1.47 GAA, .930 save percentage, 2 shutouts
Osgood: 9-1-0, 1.70 GAA, .934 save percentage, 1 shutout

That's not even fair. And the team as a whole is making good hockey teams look really bad. Look what we just did to Dallas in that home-and-home. The Stars are right up there with the (second) best in the West, and they didn't even belong on the same ice as Detroit in either game. It makes me wish the playoffs were starting now, because no one in the league is even close to the Wings at this point.

Rather than just winning another Norris (which is a foregone conclusion barring injury), isn't it high time Nick Lidstrom wins the Hart or Pearson? He leads the league in defense scoring, he's the best defensive defenseman in hockey, and he has been for years. He plays 30+ a night, and he's ::knock on wood:: out there every night. I'd have a hard time picking a more valuable player in the league, and I'm not so sure that he shouldn't have a couple of those trophies in his case by now.

-The NHL's outdoor game was a success--the highest rated game in a decade. I still have to wonder what kind of number it would've drawn had it not been on New Year's Day, and if it had included one team that people care about. These outdoor games are awesome. The sight of the snow coming down, the massive crowd around the rink, the hats over the goalie's all amazing. I'd be curious to know how much it costs to put one of these games on, and if the huge crowd offsets it enough to make it more profitable than a normal game. They need to put on more of these games and involve some bigger name teams. I don't know that I'd go as far as Mike Wilbon's suggestion to play an outdoor game every Sunday or Kornheiser's suggestion that every team play 5 of these a year, but I do think they need to have more outdoor games.

Since the new schedule will allow for every Original Six team to play the others at least one time a year (NOT ENOUGH) I'd like to see them schedule a yearly informal round-robin tournament between the teams (maybe I could expand this idea in a future post), and have a few of the games outside at least for the for the first year. Leafs/Canadiens at Skydome or Molson Stadium where the Alouettes play, Wings/Blackhawks at the Big House, Bruins/Rangers at Giants Stadium or'd be awesome.


Anonymous said...

hey, Pack...i wanna say that it cost MSU 600-750k. they only needed ~40,000 to attend to break even (about right, if the tix were $15-20 as i recall).

Packer487 said...

If that's the case, then it's hard to see how more outdoor games wouldn't be profitable to everyone involved. The TV ratings might not always be outstanding once the novelty wore off, unless it was a great matchup, but I gotta believe every teams' fans would want to do it at least once.

And I'll tell you right now, I'd be at every Wings/Wolverines outdoor game I could make it to. It's an incredible experience.

The only big problem with it is that at some point we're going to see a game canceled due to the weather. It'd be interesting to see how much of a hit that would cause. Then again, I guess it's not much different than a Nascar race or baseball game getting rained out. As long as there's no reason the ice needs to come up the next day, it could probably be rescheduled...

Especially with the Northern teams and the teams in the traditional hockey markets, it's hard to see how they wouldn't be rousing successes all around.

Anonymous said...

Wings/Blackhawks at the Big House? We need to find you an in with some marketing guru around here ;)

BRILLIANT! Yes, like Guinness.

Packer487 said...

If there were any concerns about a game like that selling out Michigan Stadium, all they'd have to do is schedule Wings/Leafs. All the Toronto fans would make it down in a heartbeat. Then again, that would require a Wings/Leafs game to be on the schedule in Michigan. :-P

Anonymous said...

UM/MSU and Wings/Leafs doubleheader in Michigan Stadium in 2010 when construction is complete. That would be beyond sweet.