By Darrin Williams
SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
Bask in the moment Michiganders and Detroiters alike. The football gods were kind to us as our Wolverines and Lions were both victorious this weekend; a feat that eluded us the entire season last year. After four weeks of the college football season and 3 weeks of the pro game, the mighty Wolverines are sitting pretty at 4-0, and the Lions are 1-2. Already, both teams have surpassed their win totals from a season ago. Detroiters can breathe a bit easier with the winless monkey off of their backs, and the boys in maze and blue seem to have a renewed sense of pride. Let’s ride the wave while we can, because the waters will calm soon.
Tate Forcier is the truth. “The force” is definitely with this young Jedi. He displays leadership and a will to win in the clutch when it matters most. His heroics in the final minutes against Notre Dame and Indiana caused Michigan fans everywhere to stand and applaud with pride. It’s true, winning cures all. The talks about Coach Rich Rodriguez violating NCAA rules have dissipated, and the temperature in the “Big House” is much more comfortable as the heat has been turned down with a 4-0 start. However, we must keep things in a clear perspective. The maze and blue is supposed to beat Western and Eastern Michigan; those are “gimmie” games on the schedule. Years ago, opponents like that would have been almost overlooked, but after Michigan got their clocks cleaned by Appalachian State a couple seasons ago, UofM fans began to watch games as such with a present level of anxiety. Michigan just made it past the Fighting Irish. The secondary was scorched by Jimmy Clausen, Golden Tate and Michael Floyd for 336 passing yards, not to mention the 154 total yards they rushed for. The Hoosiers were a mediocre opponent at best. They hadn’t won in Ann Arbor since 1967. Michigan entered the fourth quarter with a slight 3point edge, only to give up an 85 yard scamper for a touchdown to Darius Willis. The Michigan defense gave up 467 total yards of offense to the Indiana Hoosiers!? Here lies their demise. Brandon Graham is the only player worth mentioning on the defensive line, the linebackers are so-so, and the secondary is horrible. These fallacies will be exposed soon. The young Jedi can carry us only so far, he is a great talent; but he’s still only a freshman. For any fan believing we can beat Ohio State this year, come back to reality. Tressel owns us; he has for the past five years. The year to beat our nemesis will come, just not this year.
The Lions finally won one! The fear of another winless season is no more. Let’s all enjoy the moment because we probably won’t see another victory until week 8 when we face the Rams. Coming up we clash with Chicago, Pittsburgh and Green Bay. Chicago and Green Bay are playing well, the defending champs not so much. As I mentioned in an article entitled “Brace Yourselves” the Lions were surely capable of beating Washington as they did. I also stated that we would lose to Chicago and Pittsburgh, and that we could potentially beat Green Bay at Lambeau. I’m not so convinced about beating Green Bay anymore, but I will stick by my analysis. Stafford looks pretty good. I give him a C+ so far for his performance in the first three games. There is no denying the kids’ talent, but with rookies come rookie mistakes, it’s expected. Kevin Smith is running with a chip on his shoulder, and Larry Foote and boys are holding their own for the most part. Fact is we have a long way to go before we can even think about a winning record. We play in a tough conference where we have to face Minnesota, Green Bay and Chicago twice. Look forward to weeks 8, 9 and 11. St. Louis, Seattle and Cleveland should all be victories.
The harsh reality is, although Michigan is undefeated, they’ve enjoyed a great deal of fortuitousness. Best case scenario, they’ll end the season at 8-4. Expect a real spanking from Iowa, Penn State and Ohio State. Take the Lions first W in 19 games with a grain of salt as well. The L’s will be back soon. You want a team with a legitimate chance to win? Watch the Tigers! Until next time…
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