The Prince song, “I Want to Party Like It’s 1999,” fits the Detroit Lions here in 2011. Yes, 1999 was the last season the Lions qualified for the NFL Playoffs. A decade-plus of rotten football here in Detroit since their last playoff appearance. Heck, if you wanted to make a kid cry on Christmas, you bought him Lions clothes as a gift.
Those days’ kids are in the rear view mirror. It is cool to wear Lions gear and I’ve noticed numerous people wearing it lately. Man, it was so sweet Sunday afternoon watching those hungry Lions clinch a playoff berth. What a show they put on for all us longtime suffering fans.
It was the most complete football game the Lions have played offensively and defensively that I can remember. Detroit absolutely dominated the San Diego Chargers in all phases of the football game.
Matthew Stafford put on a quarterbacking clinic. How about these numbers for the season: 4,518 passing yards, 63 percent completions, 36 touchdowns and only 14 interceptions, and has played all 15 games under center! He has answered all his critics, you think? Yes he has. Lions fans, this quarterback is only 23 years old. He also did it with basically a non-existent running game.
The Lions with a playoff berth has exceeded my expectations here in 2011. I am throwing a Lions playoff party and hopefully the dream season will hold a playoff victory in the cards. Yes, Jim Mora, here in Detroit we can say PLAYOFFS. PLAYOFFS? YES, PLAYOFFS!
I will close by saying how good do you all feel for Jeff Backus and Dominic Raiola? They have seen it all and most of the seeing was an awful picture. Well, boys, enjoy this. You have waited a long time for this. Lions fever is running wild, grab a thermometer and take your temperature. Your ailment is PLAYOFF FEVER! Let’s go bowling
The college bowl season hits high gear this week. The Big Ten has 10 of its 12 teams participating in bowls. I am going to watch one of them in person, the Purdue Boilermakers. I am headed to watch the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl. However, I will be rooting for the Western Michigan football team. I hope other than Purdue, all the rest of the Big Ten teams win their bowl games. Here in Michigan the two schools we will be following are MSU and U-of-M.
The Outback Bowl on Jan. 2 at one o’clock has the Spartans and Bulldogs from Georgia hooking up in a dandy of a matchup. The MSU boys were hoping for a Rose Bowl bid but came up short in the Big Ten Championship game. Georgia also came up short in the SEC Championship game, losing to No. 1 LSU.
The defenses are spectacular, both top five in the nation. Both are also top 15 against the run and pass. We cannot overlook rushing the passer as Georgia had 34 sacks, second in the SEC, and MSU 41 sacks, No. 1 in the Big Ten. I feel as though MSU has an offensive advantage, averaging 38 points in their last five games, with Kirk Cousins completing 67 percent and having a 13/2 touchdown-to-interception ratio in those five games.
What makes me nervous for MSU? Coach Dantonio is 0-4 in bowl games and 1-3 against the spread. Throw in the fact two losses were by double digits to SEC teams. Outback Bowl winner? Cheeseball says Let’s Sparty in Tampa 26, Bulldogs to the Dog House 24.
Michigan is in its first BCS game in five years. Last
Michigan BCS victory?
The 2000 Orange Bowl.
Mr. Excitement Denard
Robinson comes in completing 56 percent of his passes with an 18/14 TD/interception ratio. Yikes! My advice is run it, Denard, run it and hand it off to Mr. Toussaint.
The V. Tech Hokies defense allows 314 yards a game and 17.2 points a game. I caution you, though, these numbers were compiled against very weak competition. The Hokies were blasted by Clemson twice this season, the only quality opponent they played, in my eyes.
Speaking of defense, that is were Michigan made its improvement here in 2011. U-of-M went from 110th nationally to 18th nationally. The bottom line is, Michigan played the better schedule and tougher competition. That will be the difference in this game. Michigan is 9-2 against the spread in non-conference games. Bad news is, they are 8-20 against teams with a winning record. The Hokies have covered 14 of their last 20 spreads as a underdog. Yet they went 3-9 the last 12 against the spread. Sugar Bowl prediction: Michigan Sweet as Sugar 33, Hokie Pokie 24.
I made it to .500 in NFL picks, 114-114 on the year. This is a big week! Roll’em, Loutron and Megatron… the firstname.lastname@example.org