Sunday, December 17, 2006


So I assume anyone reading this watched UW freak out on the Panthers of the University of Pittsburgh. Good lord, that game ruled. As may have been apparent from earlier posts, I was pessimistic. But they did it. Quacktastic.
What a weird game. For a team that usually spreads the scoring around outside of A-Tuck, we operated almost like an NBA team--going with the guy that's hot. A-Tuck, Butch, then Kam, then A-Tuck. The most any other player scored was 5 points-- that was the Hoft, all off of free throws. Flowers- 0 points. Landry- 3 points, off one 3-pointer. Wild. And it worked. Everyone else contributed by playing solid D and not getting demoralized when Pitt was nailing all their contested shots in the first half, and by taking care of the ball and rebounding as well as we could against a big, athletic team. Though Flowers and the Hoft were killing me with some of those free throws toward the end, it was a team effort. Sometimes you have to play your part and let the guys who are feeling it take the shots.
It was also very pleasing to see Butch get quality shots off against Gray; I was dubious about his ability to score against another good big man. (I remain dubious about his ability to do anything against Oden). Also, after plays where A-Tuck would make a very heady maneuver look easy and natural-- cutting by his defender to take a pass for an easy bucket, grabbing a loose ball and throwing in a contested layup without pausing to think-- I found myself thinking about how rare a player he is, and how much we'll miss him next year. Yeesh. Must live in present.
The end result of this: the Men's Basketball Badgers are soon to be ranked higher than they have ever been before. According to various reports, #6 is as high as we've been in the team's history. Since we are currently 7th, and just beat #2 by multiple possessions, likely we'll fly into the top five, ahead of teams like Duke and Kansas. Crazy. Plus, if Pitt performs as expected in the Big East (they're predicted to win the league), come NCAA seeding time, we could get some serious boosts, even if we lose to OSU repeatedly. Knock on wood for everyone's continued eligibility and health, and enjoy the ride that this historic UW team is giving us. (Was that homoerotic or what?).

Alright, now to the Nays. The Packers managed to triumph in a terribly ugly and poorly played game against the Detroit Lions this afternoon. Favre threw 3 picks, taking a large step closer to the career interception record, and actually exceeded Jon Kitna's own turnover-based incompetence. (Favre also screwed me personally by throwing a total of two passes in Greg Jennings' direction-- Jennings is my 3rd wideout in fantasy; he finished with 5 yards on one reception). We also had two fumbles, and committed 9 penalties.
The Pack only managed to win because Detroit outdid us in awfulness, performing pathetically on offense--142 total yards, giving up 6 sacks, coughing up the ball thrice, only giving their best remaining (i.e. non-injured) player, Roy Williams, two touches. (He was also on my fantasy team, and since I got a total of one point from two of my WRs, unless Larry Johnson and Marvin Harrison fumble a combined two dozen times tonight and tomorrow, I will be eliminated from the playoffs).
Favre's poor decision making was quite evident, often gunning the ball into heavily covered receivers, and failing to see much more open targets. Plus, why didn't he throw to Driver more? Detroit's defensive game-plan was apparently to let DD run free through the defensive backfield. As a result of so many poor decisions, McCarthy was visibly angry with Brett, perhaps for the first time.
And what was the end result of this dilapidated double-wide of a game? Pushing Detroit, a division rival, into a tie for the first pick in the draft. And we're now in a tie with 6 other teams for the 9th pick of the draft, which means if it happened today, we could pick as low as 15th. Yick. And our other two games are against a very iffy Vi-Queens team at home, and then against the Bears' second string. We could finish at .500, and be drafting in the late teens. If you find a superstar in the teens of the draft, you've gotten lucky, because most of those guys just turn out to be good, not great, players. And the Packers are in dire need of great players, because the only people on the team who are at all close to that label are in the downslope of their professional careers.
So yea, we beat an absolutely terrible division rival. But nay, say the soothsayers, pack away the party hats: our penchant for winning late in the season, when playoff chances are mathematical delusions, will screw us for years to come. I am such a Cassandra. Don't wheel the horse inside the gates, you morons!


Sal said...

I think our only hope for the Packers' draft this year is the Joe Thomas falls into our lap, and then we can move Tauscher insde and regain some remnant of an O-Line. Then perhaps we will stumble across some type of skill position player in rounds 2-4 who pans out a la Driver/Sharpe/every other good receiver we've ever had. How that fills our needs on defense, I don't know.

Now that Bucky beat Pitt my point of view has changed. Now, if they crap the bed against NW or Penn State as they are wont to do, I will be seriously pissed instead of just writing it off to being somewhat overrated. Ever notice how being truly good is more stressful than being good enough to beat the truly good teams occasionally? Dammit, the tourney is going to be pure stress.

Anonymous said...

You need to stop your whining about draft position. There are no guarantees a top 10 player will be good. The Draft is an overrated crapshot. Take it from me, a Bears fan who has seen many high picks flop in past (and currently, many lower picks flourish).

If you want to root for your team to lose just to shake things up, fine. For your own sake, don't worry about the NFL Draft of all things. Best of luck with your shitty team.

Mr.Man said...

The draft is a partial crapshoot, I agree. There's never a guarantee that someone will become a great, or even good pro player. But teams are not picking blindly, because far more top ten picks turn out to be Pro Bowl players than players picked 11-20. That's because really talented players, those with the potential to be great, usually go very high.
So someone who says that position in the draft doesn't matter has not seriously looked at things. This is especially funny coming from a Bears fan. Urlacher was picked 9th. Know who was picked 10th and 11th that year? Travis Taylor (WR from FL) and Ron Dayne. Draft order's not important!?
The Bears are/were good this season because their defense had been excellent (until they got shredded by the worst scoring offense in the league, that is). Their defense had been excellent because of Urlacher and Tommy Harris, two guys who may be the best players in the NFL at their respective positions. These two forced opposing offenses to constantly account for them or double team them, taking teams out of their game plans. Without just one of them, the Bears defense has been iffy the last two games (even against poor teams). Both those guys were top 15 draft picks.

There is no way, with Harris out, that the Bears will win the Super Bowl. With no Harris, they probably won't even make it there, even though they have home field and the NFC is weak. They lost a player who was far too valuable. Hence, giving up bombs to Tim Rattay.

I encourage all Bear fan readers, especially if they don't want to her me bemoan our middling draft status, to avoid reading the Packer portions of my posts.
Anonymous Bear fan-- best of luck with your early playoff exit.

Sal said...

Well said, Mr. Man.

I think we need to convince Mike Shanahan that he doesn't really want Jay Cutler on his team, and would like to trade him for Aaron Rodgers and KGB. Did you see cutler throw that ball 62 yards on a rope to Walker? Freaking ridiculous. People here (Denver) were freaking out about switching to him in the middle of the season (in a bad way), even after begging for the switch a couple of weeks beforehand. Plummer looked shitty all year, and he sucks. Shanahan is smart. He realized early on that this was not a Super Bowl team, and as soon as the team started to crap the bed he took the opportunity to get his rookie some PT. It was was and easy decision for him because he had Plummer at QB. Not so easy for McCarthy to decide when it is time to sit Mr. Completion/Soon-to-be interception leader next year.

Anonymous said...

Well put. And congrats on that 9-7 vic over Minnesota.
-Anonymous Bear fan