Friday, September 30, 2011

Tigers-Yankees Preview

I hate….oh, covered that. This will count as my “legit” series preview. In typical SEMS style, I will do a positional breakdown. This will be easier since it’s only a 5 game series.

CATCHER

Who would have thought at the beginning of the year that the Tigers would hold such an advantage behind the plate? The Yankees have Russell Martin who had a good start, but wound up hitting .239, Hip, Hip, Jorge Posada who played in the first World Series, and Jesus Montero who is a young phenom. The Tigers have the All-Star starting, Silver Slugger winning (most likely), alliterative Alex Avila. He came into the season a question mark, and finished it as an exclamation point. If Avila needs a rest, the Tigers will turn to Victor Martinez. Yikes.

ADVANTAGE-DETROIT

FIRST BASE

Mark Teixeira joins Carl Crawford as most disappointing player in the AL East for 2010. He hit his typical 39 homers with 111 RBI, but his average was .248. His career average is .281. He can get hot and turn a series on its head, so don’t dismiss him yet.

Miguel Cabrera led the majors in average and OBP. He also threw in 30 homers and 105 RBI. He will get MVP consideration, but will probably finish second….on his own team. Still only 28, he is just now entering his prime.

ADVANTAGE-DETROIT

SECOND BASE

Here’s New York’s biggest advantage. Robinson Cano is a great, great player. He won the HR derby, hit .302, added 28 homers during the regular season, and plays aboverage defense. He is very good, obviously.

Detroit will counter with Raburn and Santiago. That is what Webster’s calls a drop off. You know the story. Raburn has pop, and is a streaky hitter. Razor Ramon plays solid defense, and has a little speed.

ADVANTAGE-NEW YORK

THIRD BASE

With mandatory steroid testing, Detroit wins in a landslide. Unfortunately Bud Selig cares more about money than silly things like integrity, historical context, and the health of his players.

Even with AROID, Betemit keeps this position close. He hit a 423 foot homer when Leyland was concerned about his knee. He has been a huge upgrade since he came from the Royals, and is on fire.

AROD has been injured most of the year, and hit .276 with 16 homers in 99 games. He is reportedly healthy, so who knows. He also is a known playoff-choker, so there’s that.

ADVANTAGE-NEW YORK (SLIGHTLY)

SHORTSTOP

Derek Jeter is a first ballot hall of famer. He is “The Captain” and has more World Series rings than Magic Johnson has white blood cells. I get it. I don’t get why he’s hitting second on a playoff team. Reputations can be a dangerous thing in sports. He hit ok this year, but has been declining since the Clinton administration.

Jhonny Peralta has been the opposite. He has gotten better the last year and a half since arriving in Detroit. He beats Jetah in every important hitting statistic, and his range is twice as large as Jeter’s at this point. It isn’t even close at this point.

ADVANTAGE-DETROIT

OUTFIELD

The Yankees have Gardner, Granderson, and Swisher. The Tigers have Young, AJAX, and Magglio. Uh oh…

Gardner is the leadoff hitter, who led the AL in steals and plays an incredible left field. He can change the complexion of a game with his speed in many ways.

Curtis Granderson is yet another MVP candidate playing in this series. I have been told, but cannot confirm, that he used to be a Tiger as well. 2011 was Grandy’s best season hitting .262 with 41 homers and 25 steals.

Swisher is an obnoxious Ohio State alum that once appeared on How I Met Your Mother. Strike Three! He is who he always has been. Middling average, good pop, horrendous defense. His teammates love his clubhouse demeanor which makes everyone else hate him. It’s the AJ Pierzinski syndrome.

The Tigers have another AL Central reclamation project in left. Delmon Young was once the top prospect in baseball. He was traded to Minnesota for Matt Garza, and never clicked up there. He has been a monster in Detroit however. He gives you Swisher production, except in left. He will smack a homer and allow a 
groundball triple.

Austin Jackson is enigmatic like a virgin cheerleader. He hit waaaaaay above his head last year, started slow this year, and picked it up in the second half. Who knows how he’ll hit in the playoffs. He plays the best defensive CF that I have seen this year, which is important at home.

Magglio, well he has come on lately. He too can carry a team when he’s on, but can also tweak a hammy putting his chapstick back in his pocket. Let’s hope for 2 more months of healthy-o.

ADVANTAGE-NEW YORK

STARTING PITCHERS

NY will go with a 3 man rotation against Detroit. CC, Nova, and Freddy Garcia.

Detroit will counter that with Verlander, Fister, Scherzer, and Porcello.

Nuff Said. Verlander>Sabathia. Fister>Nova. Scherzer=Garcia (worst case due to his inconsistency.) Porcello=?. Verlander>anyone else.

Verlander twice and Fister once can get the 3 wins you need to advance. It really is that simple. Will the Yankees win a game or two. Yes. Will they beat Verlander twice? No. Will Nova outduel Fister? Doubtful.

ADVANTAGE-DETROIT

BULLPEN
The bullpens match up fairly evenly. Valverde and Benoit are equivalent to Rivera and Robertson. They both have decent mop up guys, and both can get left handers out. I am leaning towards giving NY the edge due to their playoff experience, but Valverde has been lights out this year. Hey, I haven’t copped out yet…

ADVANTAGE-EVEN

MANAGER

Joe Girardi is a player’s manager. He is one of the best managers in baseball. He uses his bullpen well, and lets his players play.

Jim Leyland finally found a lineup that works, so hopefully he doesn’t try to get too creative. He leaves his starters in too long on occasion, but with JV and Fister it may be a good strategy. He has shown a knack for making good decisions on pinch hitters late in the season, so hopefully that continues. He also has a ton of playoff experience with Pittsburgh, Florida, and Detroit.

Sorry, it’s a wash. I can’t find any discernible reason to favor one over the other.

ADVANTAGE-EVEN

INTANGIBLES

New York is the team everyone thinks has a shot to win it all every year. Detroit had question marks up until August. New York has the biggest payroll in baseball. Detroit is 10th. The Yanks seem to choke at inopportune times. Detroit does also. Sigh…

I have to like Detroit’s chances. There is something to be said about having the best pitcher in baseball in a 5 game series. I like the Tigers. Wait…

ADVANTAGE-DETROIT

PREDICTION

I will take the Tigers in 5 games. JV wins twice, and Fister once. The Tigers will take on Texas in the ALCS.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Tigers will play the Yankees


I'm sorry. What I meant to say is FUCK NEW YORK.

 While it isn't exactly an earth shattering stance to take, I hate the Yankees. I hate AROID. I hate CC Sabathia. CC? More like PeePee, amirite? I hate Nick Swisher. I hate Cano, who won the HR Derby by having his dad pitch to him. He'd still be hitting homers if he had his teammate AJ Burnett pitch to him instead. Yes, I hate Burnett too.

I hate Rivera for still wearing Jackie Robinson's number. I hate Jesus Montero for having the same name as many people's lord and savior. I hate Bartolo Colon because:
  1. He's old and fat
  2. His name is colon, which is where poop is stored, and we all know Bartolo is full of shit
  3. Dr. Bartolo is a character in The Barber of Seville, and I hate that fucking FIGARO, FIGARO, FIGARRROOO SONG
  4. He's still old and fat
I hate setup man David Robertson for having a name that sounds like Nate Robertson. I hate Freddy Garcia because he's almost as old and fat as Bartolo Large Intestine. I hope Freddy gets fingered.

I hate Ivan Nova because my mom used to drive a lemon yellow Chevy Nova, and it always smelled like exhaust. I hate Brett Gardner for having so many stolen bases. At he reinforces the stereotype that everyone in New York steals. I hate Brandon Laird because his brother, Gerald, hit like Brandon Inge in his tenure in Detroit.

I hate Rafael Soriano because Michaelangelo was the better Ninja Turtle. I hate Dellin Betances because both of his names have red squigglies under them when I typed it. I hate Phil Hughes because he just sounds like he'd be a total cock-master, personality wise.

I hate Jeter. Yep, I said it. Fuck you, he got to bang Minka Kelly. (Who pales in comparison to my wife, if she's reading this. Hiya Sweetie) He also left Michigan to sign with the Yankees. I also hate George Steinbrenner(RIP, though) for signing Drew Henson away from the Wolverines. Jeter has been an over rated player for 5 years, and held his team hostage last winter. WAHH...I want to make eleventy-billion dollars for hitting .288 hit diminished speed/power/range. WAHHH...I wanna hit leadoff with my .710 OPS. Eat a shit sandwich on herpes bread.

Sigh.......Here's where it gets bad. I don't wanna do it.

I hate Curtis Granderson. I really don't, but I do. I hate that he hit leadoff when it was apparent that he was a 3-hitter. I hate that my wife (hi again, pumpkin) would leave me for him faster than Snooki's morals leave her on Thirsty Thursday. I hate that he became half the player when he went to NY. He wore 28 here, 14 there. (See what I did there?) I hate that he was everything the city of Detroit needed, but got traded away.

I hate him for reasons beyond his control, but hate him all the same. I don't hate him. I hate him. I don't..

I'd hate Luis Ayala, Boone Logan, Eric Chavez, and the rest but outside of their families, no one knows they play for the Yankees.

Oh yeah....Tigers in 4. More informative preview to come, unless guys named Vinny, Saul, and The other Vinny make me sleep with the fishes.

EDIT-I hate that I just now thought of Fister-Colon...

Monday, September 26, 2011

On 3-0, 4-0, and 92-67

On this date, September 26, 2011, the Detroit Lions are 3-0. This isn’t some weird situation where the preseason started late, so the games don’t count. They are 3-0 in the regular season. Of the NFL.


By now I’m sure you’ve seen all the stats about the last time they were 3-0. How Jimmy Carter was president, and gas cost $1.22 /gallon, and the number one song in America was Diana Ross’ “Upside Down”. Shit, I wasn’t even born yet. But there are other fun facts. For instance, only 8 players from the 53 man roster were actually alive the last time they were 3-0. In 1980, the Kansas City Royals played in the World Series. I will stop there.

But is all the celebration a case of a starved fan base grasping onto the first glimmer of positivity they have seen in what seems like forever? Maybe. Is this a mirage; a team playing way above their head that will struggle to win another game this season? I say no. This is a team that blew out Tampa Bay (10-6 last year, and 2-1 so far this year), Kansas City (which isn’t that impressive given their struggles this year, but they were 10-6 last season), and then rallied from a 20-0 halftime deficit to beat the Vikings in Minnesota for the first time since 1997.

I am trying so hard not to overreact. I truly am, but I’m not sure I have the self-control. This is obviously one of the 5 best teams in the NFL right now. Key word being now. Will they keep this up? Hopefully.

Up next is Dallas. Dallas is one of the more wounded teams going right now. Tony Romo is playing tonight with a broken rib, and is one hit away from starting Jon Kitna again. Miles “gums” Austin is out, Felix Jones and Dez Bryant are hobbled, and they have 2 injured kickers. Ouch….literally. This could be a completely different looking team on Sunday. They will also have a short week after playing on MNF.

Also, check out my predictions so far….Not too shabby.

As for the Wolverines, it is a similar story. They are 4-0, when I expected 3-1. It took the comeback of all comebacks in the greatest football game I have ever witnessed to beat Notre Dame to get there, but there they are.

Many thought that with “Gorgeous” AL Borges coming on as the offensive coordinator, that Denard Robinson’s rushing production would be limited. Wrong-o. Wrong,wrong,wrong. Denard is currently leading the NCAA in rushing yards per game since they didn’t count the Western Game. His passing game has regressed (save for the heaves in the 4th quarter of the Irish game) but his legs still need to be game planned against.

The defense is a toss-up from week to week. They gave up 207 yards on the ground to Eastern, but held Ronnie Hillman to his worst game so far. No one knows which defense will show up. They have only given up 12.8 ppg, good for 11th in the country, a far cry from last year when they gave up 7349 points a game.
There is more good news. They play Minnesota next. Yay! Minnesota is 1-3, and just lost to Div I-AA North Dakota State by 13. I would talk more shit about them, but their coach has medical concerns, and I’m better than that. Shut up cocksucker, I am.

So, it’s a pretty good time to be a Lions/Wolverines fan right about now. 7-0, with postseason aspirations, and Denard Robinson and Calvin Johnson are two of the most impressive athletes in their respective sports.  Of course, it could all come tumbling down like it usually does. I don’t care, I’m getting naked and dancing in the streets. Wanna stop me? Donate money to a charity. BOOM.

Also, as I am preparing to go to the monsoon turned game tonight, the Tigers are heading to the postseason. I have a future post planned, but I wanted to give you a heads up that I will be in the front row above the bullpen for tonight’s game at Comerica. If the Tigers start losing, I will be the guy drunkingly stumbling around in left-center before getting tased by a 73 year old lady security guard.

Friday, September 9, 2011

2011 Lions Preview

To say expectations about the Detroit Lions haven’t been this high since Barry was still playing is like saying that Brian Kelly has anger management issues. It would be akin to suggesting to Sammi and Ron-Ron that maybe they would be better off seeing other people. Hell, Peter King of SI/NBC called them a Super Bowl contender. I know, right? While he has since back tracked faster than Nnamdi Asomogha, he still has them making the playoffs. That is still optimistic, but realistic at least. I think that his 10-6 prediction is “best case scenario”, and would be happy with 8-8. This optimism is all based upon Matthew Stafford playing all 16 regular season games, and therein lies the rub. You guarantee a health Stafford, and I am on board with 10 or 11 wins. I just have yet to see anything that makes me believe he can stay healthy. His injuries have been of the freak variety, but they cost him games nonetheless.

For this preview, I will group all the position groups together, before taking a broader view.

QUARTERBACK

This, as I alluded to earlier, should be the difference between playoffs, and draft lottery. Matthew Stafford has killed it this preseason, putting up a 25/33 for 395 yards with 5TD and 0 picks. I know, I know, preseason. But dude showed what he can do. He did that against mostly first team defenses, and with the shortened training camp, they had their foot on the pedal. The biggest stat to look at is that he was only sacked once. Backus and crew have to make this their priority, and it looks like they finally “get it” for once.

So what does that mean for the regular season? Beats me. And anyone who tells you they know what will happen is a flat out, poopy-faced liar. Yeah I said it. I hate to be Debbie Downer, but I doubt he starts all 16 games this year.  He has yet to do it, and until I’m proven wrong, I will be cautious.

So I guess it’s all gloom and doom again, right? Not so fast my friend. There is actually a capable backup. His name is Shaun Hill, and he performed well last year in relief. 2686 yards with a 16/13 ratio isn’t too bad considering the run game was essentially nonexistent by the time he took over. Jahvid Best was playing on 8 toes, and he was the highlight. He isn’t Peyton Manning by any means, but he also isn’t Peyton Manning’s neck. He’s a guy that will win you a game or two that you shouldn’t have won. He can also cost you a few in the same vein. He should fill-in admirably should Stafford need a few weeks off.

Drew Stanton is still on the roster. He played well enough for me to not hate his guts (as much) at the end of the year. And I know I keep harping on this, but the Lions benched him in favor of Hill last year, despite the miniscule fact that SHAUN HILL HAD A BROKEN ARM. I thought Zac Robinson should have won the job, but I digress. If it comes down to Stanton, chances are Mayhew is looking for a QB early in the 2012 draft.

This position will be the only copout.

HEALTHY STAFFORD GRADE-B
HURTY STAFFORD GRADE- C

RUNNING BACK

Jahvid Best started out like gangbusters last year. He ended up like Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters 3. He suffered from the dreaded turf toe for about the last 2/3 of the season, and lost his explosiveness. Unfortunately, Maurice Morris, Kevin Smith, Aaron Berry, and company couldn’t pick up the slack. The team addressed the depth issue by drafting Mikel Leshoure in the 2nd round. Leshoure promptly tore his Achilles, and put the team back to square one.

Best and Morris are back, and that’s about it. A healthy Best is an offensive weapon both running the ball, and catching it out of the backfield. But he is not a 25 carry a game guy, and neither is Morris. The team brought in 2 new players to help out in Jerome Harrison from Cleveland, and Keiland Williams from Washington.

They are good depth players, but not the type of guy that will lead you deep into the playoffs. Although, I think Williams is a sleeper.

Had Leshoure been here, I would be happy but not ecstatic about the position. As it stands?

RUNNING BACK GRADE- B-

WIDE RECEIVER

Calvin Johnson is Calvin Johnson.

Nate Burleson had what could be a breakout preseason both production wise and, more importantly, chemistry wise. He and Stafford looked to be N’Sync, and said “Bye, Bye, Bye” to the questions about his inability to keep teams from double covering CJ. He had 55 catches and 6 scores last year, but I could do that opposite Calvin Johnson, and I’m out of shape and a smoker. It’s a good bet that the team will get better production out of the position this year.

And just to be sure, the Lions hedged their bets by drafting Titus Young in the second round of the draft. Young is a prototypical slot WR who should be most effective on short to intermediate crossing routes where he can use his speed to separate from linebackers.

Other players at the position are Rashied Davis, a special teamer from Chicago. Maurice Stovall, a 6’5’’ 220 pounder they picked up off the scrap heap, and looked impressive. Stefan Logan is the main return guy, who I will cover in the Special Teams section.

Anytime you have CJ, a player like Burleson in his second year with the team, and a speedy second round rookie, you are incapable of anything less than a B+ in my book

WIDE RECIEVER GRADE- A-

TIGHT END

Brandon Pettigrew is emerging as one of the best young tight ends in the game. He had 71 catches and 4 TD last year while recovering from a torn ACL. He should be a great ¾ option in the passing game.

Tony Scheffler is the backup, and had 45 catches last year. That is impressive. He could start on a large number of teams, but will still get plenty of time in 2 TE sets when the team tries to establish the run.

Will Heller is an H-back who will play FB when the situation arises. Meh.

TIGHT END GRADE- B

OFFENSIVE LINE

Lest I be considered an imbiber of the Kool-Aid, it gets worse. The skill positions are legit. If this was NFL Blitz, I would pick them over almost everyone. But, in the real world, blocking is important. And blocking is far from this team’s strength.

Contrary to popular opinion, Jeff Backus did not create cancer. He did not fund any terrorist attacks. He did not have sex with your sister. (Ok, I’m 99.9% sure on the first two, and about 50-50 on the third. Dude’s a millionaire.) He is not Jake Long or Joe Thomas, but he isn’t (insert a Raiders or Bills OT here). He’s a serviceable piece that will need replacing soon.

Rob Sims is aboverage (above average) at LG, and is the strongest piece they have. He can be a Pro Bowler if the team succeeds.

Dominic Raiola talks too much, but is still a starter-level player.

Stephen Peterman/Jacques McClendon/Dylan Gandy is the weakest link on the line. The upside is McClendon, but hopes aren’t high.

Gosder Cherilius just got called for a penalty, and he isn’t playing. He is a first rounder that hasn’t developed. He still has time, but not much.

What else can I say? They are the weakest position group on the defense by a large margin. Whether it’s a reflection on the patchwork offense of last year is yet to be seen.  The line gets a horrible rep, but actually isn’t as bad as most think. It gets dinged for not keeping Stafford healthy, however.

OFFENSIVE LINE GRADE- D

OFFENSE

Like I said, this can vary depending on Stafford’s shoulder. If the deep threats at WR and TE can keep teams from loading the box, Best can have a big year. It would also keep blitzers from having free shots, since they will be in coverage. It will also allow someone other than CJ to have the honor of being double teamed on a play-by-play basis.

I will again hedge my bets, and say Stafford misses 3-4 games in the middle of the year, and Hill fills in adequately.

OVERALL OFFENSIVE GRADE- B-

In years past, coming to the defensive side of the ball is when I would start taking shots of paint thinner until I could convince myself that Jordon Dizon and Paris Lenon were legit NFL linebackers. This year I am just going to refresh my cocktail and try to stay realistic. OK, maybe 1 or 2 shots for having remembered Dizon was once a starter.

DEFENSIVE LINE

The obvious strength of the defense, this D-line is one of, if not THE, best in the NFL. The Suh-Nami was defensive rookie of the year, and could be better this year with a healthy KVB. He gets labeled dirty, but I say he just plays hard. Yes, I named numerous fantasy teams the “Suh-Namis” this year, wanna fight about it?

The other DTs are pretty badass as well. Corey Williams more than held his own, and Sammie Lee Hill and Andre Fluellen are quality rotation guys. And they drafted the most dominating collegiate defensive player since, uh, Suh, in Nick Fairley. He has been injured, but when healthy he should clean up next to the House of Spears.

The Des should also reap the benefits of Suh, but it is dependent on Kyle Vanden Bosch’s health. He can be a playmaker when he isn’t double teamed, and the tackles should ensure that he isn’t. He’s getting older, but is far from done. (Fingers crossed)

Cliff Avril had 8.5 sacks last year, and should be able to improve on that with better linebacker and DB play. He has really emerged as a pass rusher, and should hit double-digit sacks this year.

Lawrence Jackson was a steal after he was waived by Seattle, and Willie Young adds depth.

DEFENSIVE LINE GRADE- A

LINEBACKER

This is the most revamped unit on the team, and with that comes a Hallelujah. Julian Peterson was a bust in his time here. He put up good stats, but was constantly out of position, and had some bad penalties. He is no longer here.

The holdovers from last year are DeAndre Levy, who looked like the player he was drafted to be. He was out of position playing MLB last year, and luckily will no longer be there. He will move to the weak side, and can hopefully put some pressure on the QB.

Bobby Carpenter, Ashlee Palmer, and Isaiah Ekejiuba (yes, I had to look it up….thrice), are also back, and should be special teamers/depth guys who won’t kill you. I like Bobby Carpenter, and seeing as he’s a former Buckeye, that is high praise.

Now here’s where most of my personal optimism comes. The Lions signed two starting linebackers. One is Justin Durant, formerly of the Jaguars. He will start on the strong-side, and will be solid. That is nice to say.

But Mr. Stephen Tulluch could be special. He, well, just read what I said when they signed him. I won’t throw out the S word, but Spielman is the potential.

This is the most improved unit on the field and, assuming the gel sometime before November, could be a real strength when the weather gets cold, and teams want to run the ball. Homer grade coming in 3….2….
LINEBACKER GRADE- B

DEFENSIVE BACKS

It starts with Louis Delmas, not only because he led the team in tackles, but he rocks gold teeth, and mostly because he has a pet alligator. He can be a ballhawk when not chasing down receivers that are roaming free 30 yards downfield.

Amari Spievey is a converted corner who will start at strong safety. He should again fit the solid criteria.
The backups at safety are Erik Coleman, Randy Phillips, and special teamer extraordinaire John Wendling. Coleman is pretty good, Phillips is young, and Wendling is a special teamer extraordinaire.

The much-maligned cornerbacks got upgraded as well. Chris Houston probably isn’t a true #1 corner, but he is here. He had one pick, and spent too much time tackling guys after 12 yard gains.

The new starter is Eric Wright, a FA signed from Cleveland. He was a beast two years ago, struggled last year, and is a high-upside question mark this year. He should be somewhere in between, shading towards good. He should be better in this defensive scheme.

Alphonso “Do the Carlton” Smith led last year with 5 picks, but got burned so bad in the New England game, he needed skin grafts.  He was pressed into starting last year, and should man the nickel spot this year.

The rest….uh oh. Aaron Berry should be OK. The rest are guys I doubt you have seen play. Let’s hope it stays that way, if you catch my drift.

This is a below average unit that will be helped by a great D-Line, improved linebackers, and an Offense that may make teams press. If I’m wrong about any of the aforementioned units, expect what you’ve seen the last few years.

DEFENSIVE BACKS GRADE- C-

SPECIAL TEAMS

Jason Hanson is back for the umpteenth time, and will be accurate. He’s Jason Hanson.

Longtime punter Nick Harris lost the job to undrafted rookie Ryan Donahue from Iowa. Harris was decent, so I expect the same or slightly better from Donahue.

The new kickoff rules hurt Detroit more than 75% of the teams, since Stefan Logan is one of the best in the league at returning kicks. Expect to see him taking a knee in the end zone more times than not. However, he also returns punts. He averaged 12.1 yards a return last year.

Let’s just hope this unit never becomes front page news. They should be around middle of the pack, which is fine. Or whatever, it’s special teams.

SPECIAL TEAMS GRADE- C

DEFENSE/SPECAL TEAMS

This is where it gets tough. It comes down to “Do you buy the hype” or “I have seen Lucy pull the ball away right before I kick it, so I am tempering my expectations. Yes, in fact I am Charlie Brown. No, I never understood what my teacher was saying.” The age old question of head –vs- heart. Or in this case, head –vs- liver. I am begrudgingly going with my heart. I always hear about the NFL’s parity, and how it’s cyclical in nature, and herpity derpity derp.

The truth is, this is the most talent assembled on this side of the ball in ages. And, I can’t bring myself to go in halfway. I have to trust in The Schwartz, and hope Suh isn’t negated by suspensions or chop blocks from butthurt offensive linemen.

OVERALL DEFENSIVE/SPECIAL TEAMS GRADE- B

INTANGIBLES

These Lions have a chip on their shoulder. At least they better. They have been the butt of jokes on The Simpsons, The Tonight Show, and countless ESPN studio shows for years now. They will continue to be a laughing-stock until they prove themselves otherwise. The roster only has 10 players that was here when they went 0-16, so let’s hope the new guys can get some redemption for Hanson and the others.

CRAZY PREDICTIONS

Here’s where the fun starts. Here’s where I throw shit at the wall and sees what sticks.

  • ·         The Lions have 4 Pro Bowl starters. Calvin, Sims, Suh, and Tulluch. Avril makes it as an alternate, despite deserving to start.
  • ·         CJ has a career year, and passes Andre Johnson as the undisputed best WR in the NFL.
  • ·         Tulluch leads the NFC in tackles.
  • ·         Avril has 12+ sacks.
  • ·         Stafford misses 3-4 games, but plays as a top 10 QB when healthy.
  • ·         Hanson is unable to finish the season, and kicking becomes a huge weakness.

RECORD
The tough part about predicting the record is the uncertainty surrounding so many teams on the schedule. What do you do with Kansas City, who made the playoffs last year, but waaay overachieved? What about Chicago, who made the playoffs with Jay Cutler at QB?

I will go with 10-6. The wins?

·         At Tampa Bay
·         Kansas City
·         At Minnesota
·         Chicago
·         San Francisco
·         At Denver
·         Carolina
·         Minnesota
·         At Oakland
·         At Green Bay

I just peed a little. I am picking them for the playoffs, but losing in the first round unless the pull the winner of the NFC West, in which case they go 1-1 in the playoffs, and statues of Schwartz are erected outside Ford Field. Also, I just said erected.

Here goes nothin….


Friday, September 2, 2011

Quickie Previews for the 2011 season


So, this year, I have decided to do all my previews for Michigan's opponents before the season. I figure that not much changes during the season, and I am too stubborn to change my opinion anyway. And since any Tourette's afflicted chimpanzee can write in-depth scouting reports about college football (seriously, Google that ish) I will put my typical SEMS spin on it. For my 6 loyal readers, you know what that means. For the people that stumble upon this looking for some weird fetish porn; I'm sorry, but good luck in your search.



LEGAL DISCLAIMER



The facts listed below are not based on actual, you know, facts. This is to be taken as humor, so don't bet your house (ok, let's be honest, anyone who would take this as gospel, and bet their residence is probably living in a trailer park) or kid's college fund on it. Except the Michigan State portion, I'm pretty sure it will be 100% factual.



Ok, with the lawya stuff out of the way (actually, I don't have a lawyer on staff, but I was watching Judge Mathis) let's get down to the nitty gritty. Nitty Gritty? When did I turn 60? The previews are meant to be read in less than 2 minutes each. Any more than 2 minutes, and it gets boring, just ask my wife. Right honey? Honey? Hun? Who's that Italian gentleman talking to my wife? Where's she going in his Fiat? Hon, where you going? Hon?

Ok, so maybe 2 minutes and 15 seconds will be better. Unless you can't read, in which case s.kfgduihgduslfgfghliufgihdsbo;.



WESTERN MICHIGAN



Anytime you have a direction in your school's name, you don't count. And before you say West Virginia, that's the name of the state, and they still don't count. If you have a direction in your name, or it's only a fineable offense to fellate your cousin, you don't count. But I digress; WMU will be ok this year. They have Alex Carder who plays quarterback. And Jordan White had 10 td catches last year. I'm also willing to bet they have other players that wear uniforms. The bottom line is that Hoke will be looking to make a statement in his first game, and that statement will be accompanied by pointing, because that's what Hoke does. Easy Michigan win.



NOTRE DAME



ND will be good this year. They have returning depth at QB, a Samoan MLB, the top incoming DL class in the nation, and a drunk driving WR. In essence, they are the Bengals circa every year I've been alive. They will be the typical ND team. They will win one to two games against real opponents, and beat the cupcakes to reach a New Year's Day bowl game. I just hope that Jimmy Clausen breaks his leg. Yes, I realize Jimmah is in the NFL for the second year, but I really can’t stand the emu. Close game.



EASTERN MICHIGAN



I just can’t bring myself to say mean things about the Hurons. I also can’t bring myself to call them the Eagles. The Eagles have won two games in 2 years. They haven’t had a winning record since 1995. They haven’t been to a bowl game since 1987. But they return QB Alex Gillett and 7 starters on the defense. They should be better than they were last year, but that isn’t saying much. I’m guessing Hoke lets off the gas pedal earlier than normal since Ron English is a Michigan Man. Easy Michigan win.



SAN DIEGO STATE



The grudge match. The scorned team seeks revenge on the coach that left them for greener (bluer?) pastures. The surfer dudes versus the Northern hippies. The Hatfields versus the McCoys. Snooki versus dignity. This is a game I am looking forward to. SDSU knows what Hoke and Borges will do. They also have the best QB-RB duo Michigan will face all season. Sorry, Spartan fans, but it’s true. I think this game will be very close, but the Aztecs lost their 3 leading receivers from last year. Then they lost the 2 receivers who were expected to replace them in the starting lineup. Their WR 2-deep will remind you of last year’s Michigan secondary. Sorry for that visual. Hey coach Hoke, which way to the beach?





Thanks, yo!


At this point, I would be stoked for a 3-1 record, with a loss to either Notre Dame or SDSU. 4-0 would make me ecstatic until I remembered that they started 4-0 and 5-0 the last two years.



MINNESOTA



The Geauxfers lose their all-time leading passer, but replace him with MarQueis Gray, who is a tremendous athlete. They return 8 starters from a defense that gave up 33 ppg last season, so I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not. I mean, YAY experience, but it’s experience that is not very good at playing football. The have a new coach in Jerry Kill who was 23-16 at Northern Illinois in 3 seasons. But his name is Kill, so they have improved in the “coach’s name is intimidating” area over Tim Brewster. I will go out on a limb, and pencil Michigan in for a W here.



NORTHWESTERN



Nerds –v- Nerds. Only, this time, the Nerds can fight back. NW has Dan Persa back from tearing his Achilles whilst throwing a game-winning TD against Iowa. They have 9 total starters back on offense. This will be a good game. Based on pure talent, Michigan wins in a massacre. But Michigan is transitioning, and NW is a very well coached team under Pat Fitzgerald. I think Michigan wins, but I’m not putting any money on it.



MICHIGAN STATE



I will be nice. I will be nice. I will be nice. The Spartans have the second-best QB-RB duo Michigan will face this year, Kirk Cousins had 2825 yards and a 20-10 ratio last year.  He is being touted as a 2-3 round NFL draft pick, which LOL, so he has some talent. Edwin Baker is an All Big Ten pick. They have good depth at RB with Caper and Bell, and decent talent at WR with Cunningham and Nichol. They also have Jerel Worthy who some call a top-10 draft pick, despite his 4 sacks and 4 tfl last year. Another close game that could go either way, but MSU has all the momentum in the series.



BYE



I haven’t heard of this school, but they play every school in the country, so they must be tired at the end of the year.



PURDUE



Danny Hope is a cock-faced shit raper. I really can’t stand him, and his stupid pedo-stache. Ever since he flipped out and threw his gum, I hope he stubs his toe every time he wakes up to piss. When he coined the “Snake Oil” meme, I wanted to hit him in the face with a sock full of rusty nails. Also, their starting QB tore his ACL, and will have to play former Miami Hurricane Robert Marve. They also lost Ryan Kerrigan who was a first round draft pick. HAHA Hope. Karma’s a bitch. Michigan wins 134-0.



IOWA



I thought bringing excitement to the Purdue game was tough… Iowa loses Ricky Stanzi, and a bunch of their BAMFs on defense. The return 9 starters total, and their “star” RB Marcus Coker will tear an ACL or contract Ricketts, because that’s what Iowa running backs do. Their QB is Dawson’s Creek sound alike, James Vandenberg, and he will throw it to Marvin McNutt. I just wanted to work McNutt’s name in there somehow. I hope I didn’t force it too bad. Despite the evidence to the contrary, Iowa will be good again, and will likely be favored in this game.



ILLINOIS



I want to thank the Illini game from last year for bringing Greg Mattison to Ann Arbor. The 67-65 3OT game sealed Gerg’s fate, and that is a reason to be thankful. I feel like I should send a fruit basket to show my gratitude. They are a trendy sleeper pick, which is a complete oxy-moron, but it’s true. Nathan Scheelhaase looked good as a redshirt freshman last season, and well, that’s about it. They lose Mikel Leshoure. They lose perpetual under-achiever Jarred Fayson. They lose Martez Wilson, Travon Bellomy, and Corey Liuget on D. And they have Ron Zook as their head coach. That sounds like it equals out to negative 3 wins. Michigan SHOULD win this easily.



At this point, I will say 6-4. 7-3 or better, and I will do unspeakable things to pictures of Hoke. Which picture?







Now comes the grinder. Nebraska and Ohio. Bring that shit, son.

NEBRASKA

I like Nebraska in the Big 10. I welcome their style of football, and their history. I just think that they will have success this year that will cause their fans to become insufferable. They are in a down Big Ten, and probably don’t see it. The only competition in the Legends Division is MSU, and they are coached by a moron. So, I will say this to them….”SHHH. That sound you hear is nobody being scared of you, no matter what happens in 2011. Have your fun. Enjoy the trip to the inaugural Big Ten Championship, because it gets harder. Not to say you can’t compete for it every year, but it won’t be this easy. This is like the introductory rate from Comcast. We suck you in, treat you well until it’s too late to back out, then BOOM, abuse you like Britney Spears’ children. We hope you enjoy your stay.”

Ahem… They return Taylor Martinez and 4 other starters on offense. They return tackling machine Lavonte David and Baker Stenikuhler on D. Kickers….coaching…blah blah. Probable Michigan loss until further notice.

What time is it? GAME TIME!!!

OHIO

I was going to start off with a joke. Maybe a tattoo joke. Possibly a car dealership joke. Maybe something along the lines of a “people from Ohio are so stupid……” joke. Then I remembered that I’m better than that. Then I was reminded that I’m not. How many Ohioans does it take to get free tattoos? 2. One to get the tattoo, and one to lie to the NCAA about it. Right to their faces. Even when they ask you directly about the incident in question. And then you suspend yourself for less games than the kids who messed up. Then you just say fuck it, and resign.

HAHAHA. I love jokes.

Ohio is still a talented team. They will start 26 year old Joe Bauserman at QB and sprinkle in highly touted freshman Braxton Miller. As much as Pryor underachieved, he will be missed in Columbus. They will lose top RB Dan “Boom” Herron for the first five games, and another RB was just suspended. Their top OT is suspended for 5 games. You get the picture.

Their defense returns 4 starters, 2 of which Phil Steele named first team Big Ten this year. Nathan Williams, who had 46 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 5 tfl, and LB Andrew Sweat who was their #9 tackler last year, and had 1 tfl. His magazine is based in Columbus, OH, so it makes more sense now. Fat Detroit native, Johnathan Hankins also returns. He is still fat.

Coaching wise, who the fuck knows? If Tressel returns, they win this game going away. With Fickell, I haven’t a clue. I am not impressed with their defense, and their offense “depends” on a 26-year old QB. Depends, get it? Unless Miller is some sort of superstar right away, I think Michigan wins this one.

So, there you have it. I am calling for 7-8 wins, and an early December bowl game. I can live with that in year one for coach Hoke. Hey coach, if we lose the toss, which side of the field do we defend?