Monday, September 12, 2005

It loves me, it loves me not, it loves me...

It's a little late in the day for football thoughts from the weekend, but I had to write something about the emotional roller coaster experienced in front of the TV at Casa de Casselberry over the last couple of days. I've been feeling a little cruddy today, and I think my favorite football teams are to blame.

Following the University of Michigan's extremely frustrating 17-10 loss to Notre Dame (along with Iowa's inexplicable spanking from Iowa State), I was in a rather melancholy mood on Saturday.

I'm often surly when Michigan loses a game it should've won. I won't say could've won, because I don't think the Wolverines played well enough to deserve such an outcome. (Evan breaks down all of the reasons really well at Orotundity.) Yet I still think they're more talented than Notre Dame, which is where my frustration comes from.

That doesn't mean I think head coach Lloyd Carr should be fired, which is a lot of the noise I heard on sports talk radio after the game. That's just idiotic talk. Show me a coach who's done a better job than Carr. Has he ever lost to schools like Texas Christian University, as Oklahoma did last week? Has the Michigan football program ever fallen off the table, as Nebraska's or Penn State's has?

In the past, I wouldn't listen to sports talk radio after Michigan football games. Why? I was usually talking to my dad, either while watching the game with him or on the phone afterwards. We'd go over every little detail of the game, the two of us trying to figure out why they lost. Offense, defense, special teams, officiating, that dropped pass in the second quarter, that fumble in the third, etc. I knew watching Michigan football games without my dad would be tough. But this was the first time I really felt it. That throw of the remote control was for you, Dad.

(Image via John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)

♦ Is there any chance we can blame the loss on former Detroit Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman? Last week, Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis asked Bowman - who was on campus for a banquet - if he could give a speech to the football team. Did some of that Stanley Cup-winning magic rub off on the Irish? Maybe Lloyd Carr should ask Bowman for equal time.

Hawkeyes and Lions? Oh no, oh my! Read more:

But hey, Michigan shouldn't feel too bad. At least they didn't produce a giant, steaming bag of stinking cow dung against their in-state rival. Iowa State 23, Iowa 3. So much for the popular "sleeper" pick of Iowa contending for the national college football championship.

Three points? Five turnovers? Sweet Jesus, what the hell was that? Did you guys think those dorm windows were a hypnotic suggestion when you arrived on Iowa State's campus Friday evening? Coach Ferentz, if you want me to take the blame, I can do that. If that makes your job easier, go ahead and flog me. My leaving the Iowa campus has apparently brought some bad, bad ju-ju to the football team. (Football record while Ian attended Iowa: 20 wins, 5 losses. You're welcome, Coach Ferentz.)

(Image via Associated Press)

Who would've guessed that the Detroit Lions would be my football angel, making it okay for me to watch and enjoy the sport again? Lions 17, Packers 3. Thank you, Detroit Lions, thank you.

Maybe the Packers are really that terrible of a football team. Quarterback Brett Favre probably had many other things on his mind, such as his hurricane-ravaged hometown. But c'mon, a win is a win. Ask any Detroit fan whether he or she will take it, especially against a team that's consistently beaten the Lions like a hammer treats a nail.

Two weeks ago, the Lions looked like they seemed truly intent on torturing their forever-suffering fans for yet another long season. And that might still happen. Sunday's win over Green Bay might just be a big tease. But it sure felt good. And that's exactly what Lions Country (I'm not sure I like it, but I'll use it) needed.

At the risk of sounding like a sore winner, however, I'd like to pass a note to Coach Steve Mariucci. Mooch. Dude. The rules of professional football actually allow you to throw the ball farther than 10 yards down the field. That 31-yard pass to Charles Rogers late in the game wasn't cheating. And it led to a touchdown, didn't it? See, good things can happen when you let your quarterback throw the ball. So no more of these running plays up the middle on third down, with 15 yards to go, okay? Those don't work. They never do. There's a reason the whole stadium boos and your quarterback looks like he smelled a fart when you call those plays, Mooch. It's because they really, truly suck.

♦ Signing tight end Marcus Pollard was a really savvy move by Lions General Manager Matt Millen. It might turn out to be the best one he's ever made. Yesterday's five catches for 58 yards and one touchdown were just the beginning. A big guy who can catch passes when the Lions are close to the end zone (along with speed to run past the linebackers covering him)? He's going to be Joey Harrington's best friend by the end of the season.

(Image via Rashaun Rucker/ Detroit Free Press)