November 18, 2007

Ave Maria!

*** BULLETIN *** BULLETIN *** BULLETIN ***

LLOYD CARR HAS RETIRED AS COACH OF THE MICHIGAN WOLVERINES.

*** ENDITEM ***

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AVE MARIA! TE DEUM LAUDAMAS! The Associated Press has reported that Lloyd Carr, the University of Michigan's football coach, has decided to retire on Monday. Carr confirmed his decision to the news agency in a telephone call on Sunday.

I know that some of my readers may take the position that God Does Not Care About Football, but the way I see it, He has answered my prayers and those of so many other Michigan fans. It took a while, of course, but who am I to question His authority on the matter? Clearly, Michigan fans have been wandering in the desert for many years now and surely the promised land awaits us. One can only hope that Les Miles will lead us there.

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SPEAKING OF AVE MARIA -- check out this hit on poor Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan. Amazingly, the Eagles managed to beat the Clemson Tigers on Saturday night despite this hit, which incredibly enough did not knock Ryan out cold. I mean, my God.

***

IN OTHER FOOTBALL NEWS, I am pleased to report the Saskatchewan Roughriders, my team in the Canadian Football League, defeated the British Columbia Lions today to advance to the Grey Cup. They shall play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL's championship game.

Those readers who follow the CFL -- surely some of you must -- are undoubtedly a bit surprised to see Winnipeg make it into the championship. Winnipeg went 8-10 this year and was clearly the third-best of the four teams in the CFL's eastern division. But they defeated both Toronto and Montreal and have made it to the final. Saskatchewan, on the other hand, turned in a solid 12-6 performance and after squeaking by in their playoff opener against the Calgary Stampeders, knocked out the hated Lions today. Glory!

The Rant, for the record, expects the Roughriders to emerge victorious in Toronto. 29-18 sounds like a good score.

***

SO TODAY AT BILLY'S SPORTS BAR WAS INTERESTING -- from the moment I walked in at 1 p.m. Consider this conversation between me and Hapless Browns Fan Rick:

ME: You had a tough week last week.
HAPLESS BROWNS FAN RICK: (narrows eyes, glares)
ME: I know it was a tough loss.
HAPLESS BROWNS FAN RICK: (glares)
ME: OK, fine, I'm not unhappy the Steelers won!
HAPLESS BROWNS FAN RICK: Oh, man, we should've won that.

But the Cleveland Browns DID manage to win today in a downright thrilling game against the Baltimore Ravens. It may seem strange for the words "downright thrilling" to be associated with a match between the Ravens and the Browns, but boy! What a game! The ending was especially good, considering the last-second field goal which forced the game into overtime. Sadly, I don't think the clip of this field goal is on-line, but dig this:

Browns kicker Phil Dawson launches the rock on a 51-yard field goal attempt as time runs out. Dawson's kick flies up, hits the goal post and bounces inside the goal, hits the post leading into the crossbar and bounces out into the endzone. It took the referees about five minutes to decide that since the ball made it through the goal posts -- if ever so slightly -- that it was good. The Browns went on to win in overtime with a much easier field goal try.

That in itself pretty much wraps up the weekend's football news, and ---

READERS: Ahem.

What? That's it. Nothing more to see here! Let's go! Move along!

READERS: Uh, didn't the Steelers play today?

No! Not at all! They're playing ... uh, Tuesday! Yeah, Tuesday!

READERS: Last time we checked they were playing the New York Jets.

Do we really have to discuss this now? I mean -- look over there! The Buffalo Bills are only two touchdowns behind the New England Patriots! What? Oh, all right. Fine. Let's talk about the Steelers.

You know, I'm wondering if in fact this may not be our year after all. There are some games where we show up and play spectacularly and crush our opponents. Then there are games like today, when we lost to the New York Jets. THE NEW YORK JETS, FOR PETE'S SAKE.

I mean, this was a team that was 1-8 coming into the game. ONE AND EIGHT. This was a team that could do absolutely nothing prior to this week. Then we show up and the Jets go gangbusters on us. Of course, they were aided by the fact that a) our famed defense decided to take the week off; b) our offensive line continues to get overpowered and c) our special teams aren't very special. By "aren't very special," I mean "completely and utterly atrocious" and "deserving of someone getting their walking papers on Monday."

I mean, come on. Even though we were playing the Jets, it was an important game for us to win. After all, we're now only one game ahead of the Browns for the division title, and we're a game behind the Colts for the second bye spot in the AFC. We're playing ourselves out of the bye spot and at the rate we're going, we're going to wreck our own season. I can only hope Coach Tomlin opens an industrial-sized barrel of whoopass at practice this week and starts reminding the players why they're paid so well. Because if we have this conversation next week after we play Miami, we're going to have some problems.

Finally, I would note one other thing. As I watch the Patriots deliver a beatdown against the Bills, I've noticed that Tom Brady -- although amazingly accurate with his passes, as usual -- is whining to the officials a lot. I can only hope the Steelers defense gives him a hell of a lot to complain about Dec. 9. But you know, I'm not too optimistic about that right now.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at November 18, 2007 09:37 PM | TrackBack
Comments

The Jets? Good God in short breeches! There's no way to put a happy face on that.

Posted by: Rev. Uncle Dave at November 18, 2007 10:15 PM

You ain't just whistling Dixie.

Posted by: Benjamin Kepple at November 19, 2007 12:06 AM

I for one have nothing but respect for Lloyd and what he gave us as Michigan alums, not just fans. The best program in college football history is also one of the classiest, and no one exemplified this more than Mr. Carr, in an age when everyone goes after fly by night NFL coaches and quick fix solutions, Lloyd represents the old tradition of quality men coaching men in life as well as a game. As for his record, only Fielding Yost and Bo stand ahead of Lloyd in many categories. 5 Big Ten titles during the conference's heyday, and a national title in our senior year. I think his best stat is his insane winning percentage against teams ranked in the Top 10 (.654). I'm sad to see him go, even if it's best. I just hope most don't fall prey to a view askew, as it were, in that we MUST remember the good more than the tough seasons, a time in which many other Big Ten schools were better than us anyway and we were underdogs in most if not all of our bowl losses. My two cents. Lloyd Carr is one of the ALL TIME greats, a man who deserves many a school property named after him, and who will be very very difficult to replace and follow.

Posted by: simon from jersey at November 19, 2007 10:28 AM
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