What a difference a year makes.
A mere 365 days ago, the Lions were in the midst of a playoff run. Michigan State was gearing up for the inaugural Big Ten championship game. And Michigan was celebrating a win over Ohio State and anticipating a trip to the BCS. Back then; the Big 10 only had 12 teams!
A year later…what? The Lions are done (not quite mathematically, but effectively). Michigan State is gearing up for what has to be the inaugural Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl right? I say inaugural because I’ve honestly never heard of it before. Michigan lost to Ohio State and now must wait to see if they’re headed to Florida or Florida on New Years Day. And the Big Ten is currently sitting at 14 teams with more sure to be coming. Commissioner Jim Delany reportedly spent Thanksgiving in England. We assume formal invites to Oxford and Cambridge are forthcoming.
So I apologize if I don’t have the same hope and hype for the coming weekend of championship football as I did last year. Sure, the Alabama/Georgia game looms as a “De facto National Semifinal game.” And I’d like to lodge a formal complaint with ESPN, Fox Sports and every other network for forcing “De facto National Semifinal game” down our throats. It’s now passed “Fiscal Cliff”, “Black Friday” and “Ndamukong Suh” as the most overused phrase in the English language.
College football desperately wants this “Championship Saturday” to be the marquee date on the college calendar. But I think they lose sight of the fact that most college fans are only fans of their actual college (or whatever college happens to be the dominant football team in their state…especially if they shop at Wal-Mart). So if our team is in it, we’re watching! If our team isn’t in it…well, this isn’t the NFL. This is a lot more like the NHL. When the Wings are alive, it’s HOCKEYTOWN baby. When the Wings are out, it’s SUMMERTIME baby.
It’s CLOSING TIME baby when it comes to the picks, as in we’re closing in on Wooley for the top spot in the standings. We didn’t publish our picks last week because of the Thanksgiving holiday and when I say, “We didn’t publish our picks” I mean that I got lazy and didn’t update my blog. All three of us made our picks. All three of us went 2-0-1 correctly picking the Michigan and Michigan State games and pushing on the Lions. We’ll keep picking games until either Wojo or I pass Wooley in the standings. (That’s what the bylaws explicitly state).
GEORGIA (+7) VS. ALABAMA (Atlanta) – The winner of the SEC title game will face Notre Dame in the BCS Championship game in late February which means…(repeat after me)…it’s a DE FACTO NATIONAL SEMIFINAL GAME!!! Alabama destroyed every team it played but got nipped by Johnny Football and Texas A&M. Georgia barely beat all the good teams on its schedule and got mauled by South Carolina. They also snuck by Kentucky (currently looking for a new coach) and Tennessee (currently looking for a new coach). Poor Georgia. They were the fodder last year for LSU (42-10 final) and they’ll be the fodder this year for the Crimson Tide. PICK – ALABAMA
WOJO – ALABAMA
WOOLEY – ALABAMA
NEBRASKA (-3) VS. WISCONSIN (Indianapolis) – I don’t understand why nobody is referring to this as the De Facto Rose Bowl Semifinal Game. Perhaps it’s because the Rose Bowl doesn’t want to be associated with a game of this (pathetic) magnitude. Then consider the fact that the Pac-12 title game doesn’t feature Oregon this year and you can understand why the Rose Bowl is petitioning Barack Obama to have Ohio State’s bowl eligibility re-instated. (Ha ha. Nice joke funny man. The only problem is that some Ohio State fans really already tried this. No really!) Nebraska enters with the Big Ten’s #1 overall offense. Wisconsin enters with the #2 overall defense. Defense beats offense, right? One problem. The Nebraska defense is pretty damn good too, only allowing 11 more yards a game than the Badgers. So I will go with the offense. PICK – NEBRASKA
WOJO – NEBRASKA
WOOLEY – NEBRASKA
COLTS (+4 ½) AT LIONS – The Colts are the feel good story of the NFL this year. They had the worst record in the league last year. They now have Andrew Luck at quarterback. And the team and the city have rallied behind their cancer-stricken coach Chuck Pagano. It truly is an inspirational story. As for the actual on-field product, they have this crazy knack for winning close games. Six of their seven wins have been by one score or less. If that sounds familiar, it shouldn’t because it’s the polar opposite of the Lions. Detroit has LOST six games by one score or less. The good news for the Lions is that the Colts secondary is shaky and Calvin Johnson is performing at the tippy top of his game. The bad news for the Lions is that they still have to field a secondary, and nobody throws the ball deeper more frequently than Luck. Indy has been blown out on the road this season by good teams. But the Lions are not a good team. PICK – COLTS
WOJO – LIONS
WOOLEY – LIONS