12.08.2007

Weekly Wisconsin Sports Wank 12/8

Hello friends and greetings as we head into the sweet spot of the sports year. Two major sports leauges are in full swing (three if you count the NHL but who does anymore), one is just winding down to choose a quasi-champion (college football) and one is starting to get interesting approaching the leauge play part of it's season (men's college basketball). In my last edition I went pretty easy on our beloved Wisconsin teams accepting their marginal success as some sort of accomplishment. But I think it's time I get tougher with my opinions. I think part of what makes successful franchises successful is the expectations of their fans. Simply put I think sports teams have a tendency to be more accepting of perpetual failure if that's what most of their fans generally expect (kind of like Clippers fans used to be). Higher fan expectation = better team performance fueled by that outside pressure.

So with these thoughts in mind I begin my weekly wanking.

Packers. C+
The Packers were an average team this past week. They had their chance to put a defining win on this season in Dallas and once again made all the worst mistakes at the most inopportune times. They picked their biggest game of the season to play their worst game this season (yes even worse than the turnover filled home loss to the Bears, our only previous defeat). The only reason I'm even giving them a C+ is because they were never out of the game, even after Brett went down and Aaron Rodgers managed to prove that he wasn't a total waste of a first round pick. Plus they did get jobbed on some of those calls. I'll be interested to see if they can refocus against a better-than-you-think Raiders team.

Update: It did look kind of close in the beginning, but then the Pack turned on the jets and put up 38 in a rout. Guess they got refocused. Doesn't change my grade though.

Wisconsin football. Incomplete
Big 10 season is over. But the Badgers have an opportunity to end the season on a good note and once again provide some nationally televised proof that the conference is better than people think by handling a Tennessee team that I'm guessing most sports heads are picking to roll against a typically 'stodgy, slow, unathletic' Big 10 team on New Year's Day. Don't think so? Yeah that's what people said last year before we played Arkansas. We beat them so bad their star quarterback transfered and their fan base turned into a lynch mob.

Milwaukee Bucks. C-
After being pleasantly surprised by the Bucks division leading start and good wins against some quality teams I'm seeing them now settle down into the kind of pattern of play I expected when the season began. At least Yi is turning out to be not horrible as I noted last week. I'm optomistic that the Bucks can make the playoffs this season (the East is still looking like the weaker conference to me despite the resurgent Celtics and suddenly dominant Magic) but my mind is telling me that at least next years draft should be so stacked with quality players that not even Larry Harris could fuck it up.

Wisconsin men's basketball. C+
Badgers are a solid team at 6-2 but have lost to both of the ranked teams they have played so far, Duke and Marquette. No shame in those losses early in the season I guess but Wisconsin is going to have to win some of those games down the road if they hope to be selected (because they will not win a Big Ten regular season title, maybe the automatic tournament bid but you can't depend on that). I'm not really mad they lost to Marquette though. It was an in-state battle that someone had to lose. But the game was good enough that Wisconsin will get credit for effort in a 'good loss'. A interesting subplot of this game was the personal rematch between Marquette guard Wes Matthews (whose father starred for Wisconsin basketball in the '70's) and Wisconsin forward Marcus Landry who also faced off against each other their senior years in the Wisconsin state high school basketball championship game. Matthews won that one too so that's gotta be eating at Landry a little.

Marquette men's basketball. B+
I'm going just a little light on Marquette because they are ranked in the top 20 and have a 1-1 record so far against ranked teams, also losing to Duke. They are right about where they should be heading into the Big East regular season schedule if they're going to make some noise. I guess an A+ would be if they had beat Duke. I hate Duke.

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