Another observation: is Jerry Jones the most powerful man in the NFL or what? I think Roger Goodell answers to him behind closed doors. I mean he comes out to the sideline and all of the sudden the refs are doing things like blatanly mis-spotting the ball by a full yard or more on important downs and calling phantom pass interference penalties after "consulting" for a couple of minutes after the play is over.
What hurts me most is the thought that if it was a conspiracy, how could the leauge choose Dallas over the Packers? We are the flagship team of this leauge, the only publicly owned franchise in professional sports. We have America's Sweetheart, Brett Favre (Romo quickly closing the gap). We have the most NFL championships in history. If you want to tip the field do it for us! Fuck that larger market shit.
But on the alright side we are still 10-2, and who knows Dallas could still lose 2 more games this season and the Pack run the table the rest of the way.
Many casual sport fans may only be familiar with Taylor from his publicized brushes with the law, synonomous with names like Vick and Pac Man. But in my opinion this was a 24 year-old guy who had made a few mistakes in his life but was on the verge of making a big change by switching up his priorities. My prayers go out to his family in this time of need.
Wooohoo!!! It's good to be a Packer's fan right now. Since the Pack won in KC they have put the mash on Minny, Carolina, and the Lions on Thanksgiving and are now poised to avenge some of the buttkickings Dallas used to give us when a young Favre had the Packers almost at that Super Bowl level but not quite yet, perenially getting bounced when when had to go to Texas in the playoffs. Alas by the time the Pack had acheived full force in '96, Dallas was in full decline so we never got a chance to meet in the playoffs again . . .until now. Despite the ominous New England shadow that seems to tower over any puny representative the NFC elects to the title game, this game might be worth watching by more than fans of the two teams. The Pats might be invicible, but I don't think anyone told the Packers that yet and the winner of this game is going to feel pretty good about their chances against anybody, anywhere, anyday.
And the Pack could actually be developing a dependable running game at just the right time. In Ryan Grant's five starts he has broken the century mark 3 times. Salvation from a Notre Dame running back??!!! I'll take it.
Wisconsin basketball/football: B+
Wisconsin's basketball team entered this season unheralded and unranked but have looked optomistically good early in the season while getting to 5-0. Starting point Travon Hughes is a talented athlete who reminds me of Devin Harris his freshman year. Brian Butch looks like he might finally be able to produce on the potential that got him in the McDonald's All-American game. Nothing spectacular so far but he's been very steady which is saying a lot given how his college career has gone. Marcus Landry could be the next Alondo Tucker, the bench/supporting players are still solid, and our coach has not gotten any dumber. I predict we sneak up on the rest of the nation once again this year.
I would give Wisconsin football a B- this season. They started the season ranked very high in a great position to make a serious title run but once again could not maintain focus for all 12 games. That's starting to get kind of old. Wisconsin didn't really have football tradition to speak of until Barry Alvarez (although we did have a Heisman trophy winner) but this is the home state of the Packers so Wisconsin fans have quickly developed a sense of entitlement and will soon be demanding the same success from their teams as fans of programs like Michigan, Notre Dame, and Alabama do. 9-3 is good. Playing on New Year's Day is good. But eventually fans are gonna expect this team to take that next step.
Giving the Bucks highest grade this week because they are currently atop their division, are undefeated at home, and can count the Lakers and Mavs among others as early season victims. All this after I fully expected them to just be looking for their 2nd or 3rd win of the season by now. I mean I really expect no success from the Bucks this season except be in a good spot to land Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose in the draft (O.J. Mayo will be a bust in the league, you heard it here first. He's the next Starbury). But the season has pretty much gotten going and they are still holding their own, I'm impressed. Maybe Larry Harris is not the most incompetent GM in professional sports after all.
Marquette basketball: B+ for their performance against the hated Duke Blue Fairies in the championship game of the Maui Classic. Marquette really should have won this one. Dominic James' off shooting night didn't help. Oh well it's still early in the season and this is one of those games commentators will give the Golden Eagles credit for saying they played Duke tough. (Unfortunately I think this Blue Devil team will be very good this year, get ready to hate Kyle Singler). And now comes the part of the schedule when they play the instate rivals: Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee. Two conceivable losses. Of all Wisconsin sports teams I feel the least loyalty to Marquette because they only compete on a big time level in basketball and the school itself is generally viewed in the community as being kind of snooty, but when everybody plays each other I always root for the school that has the best chance at a good year. Wisconsin has potential but is not ranked, Marquette is. So I'm going for MU on Friday so they can stay ranked.
The post on the site's blog that Deadspin links to is an interesting read also that gives a little detail on the imminent fate of one of Harlem's most significant cultural and historical landmarks, the Renaissance Ballroom. Please do yourself a favor and check it out.
So since I don't always have time to endlessly surf the net for the latest news or tidbit to comment on in my blog I frequently like to post mass commentary Daily Quickie style, but I don't like to bite my man D. Shanoff so I wanted to come up with my own concept. And this is it, the Weekly Wisconsin Sports Wonk (yes I admit I got the idea for the 'Wonk' part from John Gasaways wonderful-but-now-defunct 'Big Ten Wonk' blog. I like the word, sorry) where I can post my rants on the Packers, Brewers, Bucks, Badgers, and Marquette and not feel like I'm just a wannabe Deadspin dick rider. Also because it will only be weekly I won't feel pressured to post something everyday. Let's get to it:
Side note: I've decided to add weekly grades for each of my teams, maybe that will generate some hits.
Packers. Packers get a B+ from me this week. They showed good heart in 'grinding out' a victory in KC. But they still need to do something, anything to make the running game better. This PackerNews.com article suggests there may be a shake up soon. I really don't think the Pack's running game will improve significantly until they upgrade the position. A team can only be successful with a platoon running back approach if their offensive line play is consistent and above average. For the Pack that would be no and no.
Bucks. Bucks get a C+ this week. They have looked extremely average and inconsistent this week. They beat the Raptors pretty good, but then got smoked by the Rocket tonight. Can't get a feel yet for the type of team they will be this year. Whatever the type it seems like it will be the type that still does not play defense.
Badgers. Badgers have an incomplete right now, though they are currently leading Michigan at halftime at Camp Randall. The game last week with Ohio State was closer than the score indicated with us having our chances to win it, but we never should have lost to Illinois or Penn State. (I chalk that up to a young team's inexperience with tough road games). So maybe I can give them a cumulative seasonal grade instead, which would be C-. Wisconsin fans expected a lot more.
Update: I had my profanity laced tirade about how Wisconsin always jacks it off in big games when closing out the year but surprise they actually won. I feel bad that I turned off my tv in disgust after Michigan pulled to within 21 -23 in the third quarter but somehow I am certain they would not have won had I watched all the way thru. Still if they had won at least 1 of those three game maybe they would be in a better position BCS wise.
Marquette/UWM basketball. Marquette had their season opener tonight against IUPUI and squeaked out a victory, avoiding the upset bug that has been going around the top 25 this week. With the three veteran guards Dominic James, Wes Matthews, and Jerel McNeal returning plus the solid experienced role players they should be solid this year even in a tough Big East. And it looks like they might be getting some capable help in the future also.
UWM started out the season Friday with a win over Upper Iowa University, best known in the Midwest for their annoying commercials, I didn't even know they had an athletics program. Coach Rob Jeter had to weather last season with a lot of young inexperienced players after going to the NCAA's two years in a row with talent left behind by Bruce Pearl. I saw some flashes in their exhibition games that indicate some of those players are ready to turn the corner in a big way. They should make a good accounting of themselves in Horizon Leauge play.
Oh and don't sleep on Badgers basketball. Don't forget they were ranked #1 at one point last season before their second leading scorer Brian Butch went down for the year. Yeah Alando and Chris Rock, I mean Kammron Taylor, are gone but we have some other guys who look capable of stepping up.