Luke Waltons Forehead presented by the Sports Dude.

Thursday, December 29, 2005 at 11:38 AM

Happy New Year Post.

Now that football season is officially over for me, well except watching the Patriots in the playoffs and such, the year ends and a new one looms on the horizon. Here is the sports dude's well wishes and memories from an interesting and long 2005, enjoy.

First let me say have a happy and safe New Year folks, I hope all of you come back next year. I would like to thank you all for taking time out, stopping by and reading the senseless ramblings that I spew here on this bloggy-blog of mine. It means a lot so please celebrate safe and responsibly this weekend. As far as the rest of this post goes here is a reflection of the few things that I could recall, off the top of my head that made 2005 a special year in sports and abroad for me.

The coaching carousel that became known as the Detroit sports scene – you had Larry out and Flip in, you had Lewis out and Babcock in, you had Tram out and Leyland in, you had Mooch out and Jauron in. Oh, and by the way, we all know that it will soon be Jauron out and some other poor sap in.

The Pistons – game #7 in Miami, Robert Horry and the “bonehead” play, game #7 in San Antonio, Brown saying “I love you guys” in the huddle during a time out, and of course who could forget all the Larry Brown drama all season long.

The Red Wings – well the lockout ended and stuff.

The Lions – another receiver drafted, another year wasted, the angry fan march, the orange out, “FIRE MILLEN”, the ugly black jerseys, the five year extension, why the hell did we sign Raiola again, Joey or Jeff, and of course the word “embarrassment”.

The Tigers – more losing, more of the same, the locker room turmoil, Pudge and his extended vacation, the injuries mount, the fun ends and, as usual, is there really a point?

The Wolverines – an injury plagued season comes up short, tailgating at the golf course, upsetting MSU, losing (once again!) to the hated sweater vest, the last play against Penn State, the final seconds against Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, finally showing some promise in hoops, looking forward to next year and the lovely Sun Belt officials down in the Alamo Bowl.

The Spartans – “STANTON FOR HEISMAN”, the OSU game and that damn blocked field goal, “the coaches are screwing it up”, women and men in the Final Four, women in the Finals, at least one more year of funny and wacky stuff from John L.

Sports in general – the MLB All-Star Game, the build up (and building cover up!) for the Super Bowl, how the hell Kwame got reelected, T.O., Ron Artest, bye-bye Reggie Miller, steroids, Kobe and his ego not making the playoffs, Phil Jackson and his ego coming back, the White Sox winning the World Series, the Mitch Albom scandal, the NBA dress code, the NHL on OLN, the Vikings and the Love Boat, the Vikings and the “Wizzinator”, Hurricane Katrina, the best bowl game ever (except the outcome) in U of M against Texas, the sports pig and his U of M banner, Kenny Rogers and the camera man, no more powder puff Barry Alvarez schedules and my arch enemy Drew Henson riding the pine in Dallas as Tom Brady ran off his third Super Bowl in four years.

On a personal note, like I said, lots of thanks for another year of this blog, my wife and three sons and their continued health, going back to Eastern Michigan to do something I love, another year with my mom, seeing Aerosmith in concert at the Palace, finishing my very own “mans room” in my basement, going to see Mount Rushmore and the beautiful surrounding areas in South Dakota this summer and just being healthy and alive.

Thanks again to all of you, be safe, be responsible and as always Godspeed my friends. Oh, and one last thing, even though it is cheesy as hell you all know I got to do it… talk to you all next year! Later – the sports dude.

at 8:15 AM

So sports dude, what did you think of the Alamo Bowl?


More later, the sports dude.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 at 10:41 AM

Rememer the Alamo! Or just 1997 for that matter.

You knew that I was going to do it didn’t you? Come on, admit it, you all know by now that I am an avid U of M slappy right? You had to believe that I was going to take this opportunity, even eight years later, and compare the 1997 records of the Wolverines and the Huskers didn’t you? And, as if you even need to ask, yes U of M would have kicked the shit out of the Huskers in a head to head match up that year. The Wolverines deserved the outright National Championship; the only reason why the Huskers got it was because they were given a retirement present to their coach. That is right, their coach (Tom Osbourne) was retiring and the Huskers won the coaches poll National Championship while U of M got the other. It was a scam, a slap in the face and robbery of the gravest kind. I was so pissed, in fact, that at the time I was working for a major company that delivers mail and parcels and such around the world. The dock I was working on had a truck for Nebraska and one night, while checking boxes into the truck, noticed a bunch of boxes being delivered to a “Tom Osbourne” in Nebraska. I know, immature and all yes, but damned if I didn’t write a little “GO BLUE” love letter on each and every one of those boxes just to say “hi”. Was it the same Osbourne, probably not, but it still made me feel better all the same. Anyway, here is a look at the opponents from each of those teams and you tell me how much easier Nebraska had it than U of M.

Wolverines = Colorado (W 27-3); Baylor (W 38-3); Notre Dame (W 21-14); at Indiana (W 37-0); Northwestern (W 23-6); Iowa (W 28-24); at MSU (W 23-7); Minnesota (W 24-3); at Penn State (W 34-8); at Wisconsin (W 26-16); Ohio State (W 20-14); Rose Bowl against 10-1 Washington State (W 21-16).

Break down = ranked opponents of #8 Colorado, #15 Iowa, #15 MSU, #3 Penn State, #23 Wisconsin, #4 Ohio State and #8 Washington State. That is seven ranked opponents out of 12 and only two true “gimmie games” in Baylor and Indiana, plus they had to beat MSU, PSU and Wisconsin on the road.

Nebraska = Akron (W 59-14); Central Florida (W 38-24); Washington (W 27-14); Kansas State (W 56-26); Baylor (W 49-21); Texas Tech (W 29-0); Kansas (W 35-0); Oklahoma (W 69-7); Missouri (W 45-38 OT); Iowa State (W 77-14); Colorado (W 27-24); Texas A&M (W 54-15); Orange Bowl against 11-1 Tennessee (W 42-17).

Break down = ranked opponents of #2 Washington, #17 Kansas State, #14 Texas A&M, #3 Tennessee for a grand total of four out of 13 and only Washington and A&M were on the road. If you look at their schedule they had a shitload of “gimmie games” in Akron, Central Florida, Baylor, Texas Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma (before they became good again!), Missouri and Iowa State.

If you compare U of M and Nebraska in shared opponents U of M killed Colorado and Baylor while Nebraska just barely beat Colorado and gave up more to Baylor. Lastly Nebraska needed OT and a little “cheating” to beat Missouri, while U of M never really had any games to worry about. That’s right Husker fans, don’t forget your boy kicked that ball in the end zone to his teammate for a TD, which should have been called off because you are not allowed to use your feet for that purpose in the rule books. U of M clearly had the upper hand in all things related to tougher opponents, strngth of schedule, etc. Sorry, head to head U of M would have steam rolled your punk asses, get over it! Now, briefly on to the 2005 match up.

Look, I am over the snub, it still makes no sense to me how an Iowa team we beat at home (to end the longest home winning streak in the nation mind you!) gets the nod over us in a January Bowl but hey, if it smells like bullshit, looks like bullshit and tastes like bullshit it is most likely bullshit! All that crap aside U of M is trying to avoid its most losses since 1984 when they finished an unimpressive 6-6. Nebraska is simply trying to prove to everybody that they are done rebuilding and are ready to be considered one of the nation’s elite programs once again.

To me the key to U of M and this game, as it was all season, is Mike Hart and that damn ankle of his. I tell you what, I am tired of sounding like a broken record here, but the dude is truly the “Hart” of that U of M team. Here is a little tidbit I read in the paper today; U of M was 3-1 with Hart and 4-3 without him at all or in VERY limited duty. Even still, with all the games he missed, Hart still lead the Wolverines in rushing with just under 600 yards for the season. If Hart can carry the load 70% of the time and U of M only needs Grady to give Hart some breathers I feel U of M has an excellent chance of not only winning but winning big. If Hart is the featured back throughout the game and Grady, Jackson and Bradley (Max Martin did not travel with the team!) are only in there sparingly I think this game will be out of reach by the fourth quarter for Nebraska. Sorry, I am a U of M fan; I am allowed to be cocky and arrogant from time to time.

Look, U of M still feels the sting from last second bullshit losses to Wisconsin, to Minnesota, to OSU, shit even Notre Dame was a weird game! They know the promise that was once there and they feel they need to get this game, in a big way, to help propel themselves into next season. I think they will take all the pent up frustration of a season that, if you ask me, never actually got a chance to get started, they will add to that what they feel is a snubbing in the bowl picks (don’t tell me Carr ain’t using that in the locker room!) and I think they will punish the hell out of Nebraska. Oh, and don’t forget, I am sure Carr will bring up all that 1997 bullshit as well too! That being said I am going to say that Hart’s ankle is better than Carr is leading on to be (you know how he is with injury reports!), I think Henne will have the type of game we have been waiting to see and Avant will go out on a nice note, so my predictions are as follows:

Hart – 145 yards rushing, 2 TD’s
Henne – 270 yards passing, 2 TD and 1 INT
Avant – 115 yards receiving and 1 TD
Breaston – 220 all purpose yards


U of M 41, Nebraska 23

Later, the “still pissed off about 1997” sports dude.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 at 10:14 AM

The surviving Christmas post

Well, I got basically everything on my Christmas list (I missed out on one of the Better Than Ezra CD's and the Jason Mraz one) as well as a few surprises, but none was better than the greatest gift of all... the stomach flu! Or maybe it was food poisoning, but whatever it was it kept me up all night on Christmas Eve spreading holiday cheer all over my bathroom... if you catch my drift! Needless to say I am still feeling a little out of sorts today, but hopefully by tomorrow the sports dude should be back to his smart ass self. That being said, let us take a look at some of the things that occurred this weekend shall we?

The Lions truly were the definition of a Christmas miracle actually winning a damn game, in fact, let me take that one step further... Winning a game that they normally would find a way to lose. From the descriptions that I read it appears they almost did, but luckily the best player on their team also happens to be their kicker and pressure situations like that will not rattle him easily. I know, I have to admit, the sports dude did not watch the game, in fact the sports dude totally and completely forgot they were even playing. I have not cared about Lions football in many years now but hopefully someday again I will. I will say this, if there wasn't so much history with Joey Harrington I would agree with most of my blogging brethren and give him one more year under a coach that plays to him and not vice versa, but could he survive it? Would the fans, the media, even the team stick together if he gets that chance? Or would it be mutiny? If Harrington and Garcia are both gone (bare minimum Garcia better be!) then that is two QB's that need to be replaced, that is no small task, that is why I think Joey will be back. A combination of he should "kind of sort of" get a fair shake with the right coach and "shit, we have no choice!" But look, they better go out and get a damn good viable back up that has something left in that damn tank (please see Jon Kitna of Cincy for reference) that we know can win and we know will not play rubber ball like the only other option we had this year in one Jeff Garcia. Oh, and by the way, I still like Orlovsky a lot, but I think he needs another year or two on the bench.

Next, I want to talk about the Pistons and just say this... Three losses, that is pathetic! How the hell do you expect to contend for the title when you have lost three of your first 25 games? That is embarrassing fellas and you need to get back to that "Goin' To Work" mentality from the last couple seasons. Okay, give me a break, you all can allow me some sarcasm right? Tonight they face the Raptors at home, a nice little "trap game" right between the Spurs (their biggest Western rival who they throttled!) and the Heat (their biggest Eastern rival whom they want to bitch slap!), so please don't get too full of yourselves and lose this one boys. Besides that, what the hell else can you say? I still think the talk of 70 wins is premature, all I care about is winning the Central which, like I said in my preview, will get them the #1 seed in the East and hopefully for the Finals as well. They need ALL game 7's on their court, they sense it, they know it and it looks like they are doing all they can to make it happen.

Later and welcome back from the break y'all! The sports dude.

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