Cheers & Boos

Annual events can be wonderful…birthdays, anniversaries and rivalry games like Michigan vs Michigan State.  You know they are coming, you plan for them and expect to have a good time.  This weekend, I enjoyed celebrating the first two, but the Wolverines offensive coordinator made me miserable watching the third.

Here’s a tip for all you coaches out there…on 4th and inches when your team is rallying and the opposition is in the middle of an epic collapse and your QB is a great runner, just have him take the snap and fall forward so you have four chances to score the tying touchdown….just trust me on this.  OK, now that I’ve vented, here’s the rest of the weekend recap.

CHEERS for the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions.  Nobody expected it before the season started, but their game was the marquee NFL matchup Sunday and played a game that went down to the wire, with much-maligned QB Alex Smith outdueling heavily-praised QB Matthew Stafford and throwing the game-winning TD pass on 4th down with less than two minutes remaining.
BOOS to head coaches Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz, who marred the conclusion by getting into a shoving and yelling match after the 49ers win.  Harbaugh has a history of run-ins when shaking hands, notoriously being asked, “What’s your deal?” by former USC and now Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll after running up the score against the Trojans when he was at Stanford.  Schwartz is a certifiable lunatic on the sidelines during games, so I’m not sure why he took offense at Harbaugh’s overexuberance, but maybe losing the game had something to do with him losing his mind.
BOOS to Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, who played not to lose late in the 4th quarter against the New England Patriots, which of course led directly to his team losing.  First, with the game tied at 13 and less than six minutes left, he called a shovel pass on 3rd and goal from the five-yard-line, instead of having QB Tony Romo throw it up to monster WR Dez Bryant, who was being single covered.  Then, clinging to the field goal lead after that disaster, the Cowboys forced a three-and-out, but Garrett ran three times and then punted it right back, leaving plenty of time for QB Tom Brady to drive the Pats to the winning TD.
CHEERS for the Oakland Raiders, beating the Cleveland Browns despite losing QB Jason Campbell to a broken collarbone.  Last year, they finished the season 8-8 for their first non-losing campaign since going to the Super Bowl in 2002.  This season, they have started out 4-2 and are a legitimate threat to the Chargers in the AFC West.
CHEERS for the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers reaching the World Series.  The Cardinals made a late season dash to steal the NL Wild Card and then knocked off the favored Phillies and Brewers.  The Rangers are going back to the Fall Classic for the second straight season with a team that overpowers opponents.  In a season that could’ve been marred by the death of fan Shannon Stone, the Rangers have done everything right off the field and are doing everything right on the field.
BOOS to the Michigan State Spartans, who played one of the dirtiest games I’ve ever seen on Saturday.  LB William Gholston dove late into a pile and then twisted the facemask of QB Denard Robinson, in what could only be described as an intent to injure.  Gholston later punched a Michigan lineman, yet amazingly wasn’t ejected.  After the game, Gholston said, “I was just trying to play with reckless abandonment. Just gotta watch the film. … Everybody make mistakes when you’re trying to go hard.”  Neither of those plays was a mistake.
DEAFENING BOOS to Michigan State’s defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who said the Spartans were trying to play, “60 minutes of unnecessary roughness. I’m just happy it didn’t get called on every snap.”  It’s no wonder the players played dirty when their coach encourages it.  I wonder if Michigan State or the Big Ten conference will say or do anything about the despicable display.
CHEERS for the University of Virginia Cavaliers, defeating the previously unbeaten Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 24-21.  At least my sister, Alyse, had a reason to be happy about her school’s performance on Saturday!


-Jake Stevens

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