Thursday, April 27, 2006

Damn you!... Mallett?

A confusing cry, to be sure. One that may just ring out through my living room on many a fall Saturday. Or may not. Perhaps an old standby will stay, the cry that has sustained me through many a football game:

Damn you Navarre!
Ah, it feels good to type it. I haven't had cause to say it in far too long (since the Alamo Bowl, to be exact). Why am I damning Navarre, you might ask? What has he done to make me hate him so?
I don't hate Navarre. Far from it, he's one of my favorite players in quite some time. He's responsible for one of my alltime favorite plays (more on that later).
But he's a good scape-goat. In his seasons as a starter, you could often find fault in his play. He was a good player, to be sure, but he had his fair share of plays which were damnable. It's now become a running joke amongst my football buddies and I, responding to any bone-headed play during a Michigan with a good damning of Navarre.
Breaston drops an easy pass?
-Damn you Navarre!
Hart slips up while making a cut towards daylight?
-Damn you Navarre!
Woodley blows a tackle?
-Damn you Navarre!
Navarre was everything I love in a quarterback. Massive. Untackleable. An arm like a cannon. Slow, ponderous steps that made my room shake all the way over here in East Lansing. He was... he was... he was Navarresque. What is perhaps my alltime favorite play exemplified this.
The situation was the Minnesotta game in 2003. The 100th anniversary of the Little Brown Jug. Michigan was down 14-0 going into the second half. Navarre threw a lateral to Breaston, to whom defenders began to swarm as he cut towards the left side-line. Moments later, Breaston stopped, turned, and fired a pass back to Navarre, who was on the right edge of the field where most of the offensive line was forming a wall. Navarre caught the pass and lumbered, each giant step shaking the foundations of the Metrodome, 36 yards to score a touchdown. Oh, how I wish I had that play on tape. It's one that I could watch all day.
I was saddened by the loss of Navarre to the NFL. Now, Henne is fine and all, but he simply isn't very Navarresque.
Two days ago, I received news that lifted my heart. A kid named Ryan Mallett had committed to Michigan. As one who doesn't follow recruiting, I was initially indifferent. Then I began to read the newspaper articles and blog posts on him.
Once threw an 81 yard pass.
Can throw 40-50 yards from a standstill.
Throws so hard he breaks receivers hands.
Completely incapable of running.
It was like a dream come true. This guy seemed to have the potential to be the most Navarresque QB Michigan has ever seen! The timing couldn't be more perfect either. Mallett's freshmen season will coincide with Henne's senior year, allowing him to get a handle on the offense before being given the reigns as a sophmore and unleashing such a swath of devestation upon defensive backs (not to mention the dislocated shoulders of linebackers who attempt to tackle this giant of a man) thatMike Leach will give up on his passing attack and run soley direct snaps to his RBs for the rest of his days.
So welcome Ryan Mallett. I look forward to championships won by you. I look forward to your Navarresqueness. I look forward to maybe, someday, damning you.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Amused into action

After my inital post, I'd planned on waiting until the end of the semester to begin the blog inearnest. I'd hoped to do a Big Ten Football preview, beginning with my pick for last place and working upwards through the ranks until finishing with my pick for the league champion. However, a change of plans was forced by one Demond Williams, a senior cornerback at Michigan State University.

Following what has by all accounts been a great performance by MSU's defense during spring practice, expectations for the fall are high in Spartan country. And to be honest, despite my self-avowed disdain for all things Spartan, I can't blame them. Despite the loss of much of their offensive line, the offense that ranked in the top 20 in the country last year should be even more dangerous. Any improvement to the defense should make this year's State team bowl eligible for sure. Last week, senior QB Drew Stanton went on the record as saying that "Anything less would be a tremendous disappointment." Barring a characteristic post-September crash, MSU could finish as well as 9-3 though the safe bet is on 8-4 or even 7-5, which would be a significant improvement on last year's 5-6 record. No, a 7-5 or 8-4 record and a bowl game would be great expectations for this year's team, but apparantely it is not. In yesterday's State News, Mr. Williams decided to make his own views known:

"I'll put the burden on my back and say we will be even better than a bowl team."

Then he said the words:

"National Championship. Really"

Wow. As a senior, Williams was there four years ago. He knows firsthand the damage that drugs can do to a promising young football player (see Smoker, Jeff, circa 2002). Yet he wasn't alone. Drew "I'm a Heisman contender too guys! Really, I am!" Stanton backed up Williams's statements:

"We don't have to sit out here and publicize it, but we have that mentality going into it. We can beat anybody on our schedule."

Anybody? Maybe. But everybody? On a schedule that contains 2.9 teams that are considered serious national title contenders (OSU, ND, and Michigan, who gets the 0.9 because I'm not fully convinced that Carr won't coach us out of it), asking 12-0 of anyone is tough. Add in MSU's long running history of losing to teams that truly shouldn't be able to hang with them (see MSU, circa damn near every season) and their odds of going undeafeted are only slightly better than the likelyhood of Woody Hayes rising from his grave, congratulationg Carr on a victory over the Bucks, then leading the Wolverines in a rousing chorus of The Victors. Even their coach, John L. Smith thinks that they may be aiming a little high, asking "Were they drinking before they left?" in response to Stanton and Williams' expectations.

That being said, I do think MSU will have a pretty good season and finish in the upper half of the Big Ten. A schedule almost as nice as you can ask for when playing in the Big Ten (Indiana and Illionis, OSU @ home, no Iowa or Wisconsin, only significant road games @ Michigan and PSU), returning their top passer and running back and their top two receivers from last year, as well as some of their top defensive players have the makings of one of the best seasons MSU has seen in years.

2006 Schedule
DATE OPPONENT Projected Result
09/09E MichiganW
09/16at PittsburghW
09/23N DameL
10/07at MichiganL
10/14Ohio StL
10/21at N'westernW
10/28at IndianaW
11/18at Penn StateL

Projected Final Record: 8-4 (5-3)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Welcome to the site

After years of obsessing over sports privately, I knew what needed to be done: obsess to an audience! This site is primarily devoted to:

-University of Michigan football
-College football in general
-Other college sports (primarily basketball, hockey and track, primarily as they relate to UM )
-Detroit professional sports

While there will be deviations from the above, they'll usually be relevant. And I can promise there will be no random political rants, personal stories no one cares about (one possible exception to this rule will be stories that involve ridiculing MSU), or other such nonsense. So to you, the reader, I say only sit back and enjoy.