What the Deuce: October 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Vamos! No!

A rare midweek appearance! This is the post I mentioned earlier - the one about Michigan's win over Northwestern this past Saturday.

As I watched Michigan on Saturday, I remembered a conversation with my high school Spanish teacher. She could not understand why I found football fun to watch. In her words it was nothing more than "Vamos, no. Vamos, no. Vamos, no. Comercial." She'd probably gotten this impression after watching Michigan play an overmatched opponent.

Michigan ran the ball right, ran the ball left, and ran the ball up the gut. They ran with Mike Hart, they ran with Kevin Grady, they ran with Brandon Minor, and they ran with Jerome Jackson. It wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing performance, but it resulted in a 17-3 win.

During the game, I kept one eye on the open thread at MGoBlog, whose comments Brian summarized so eloqently the yesterday. Like him, I'm very surprised that one man could polarize a fan base as much as Mike DeBord has. And like MGoBlog, I find myself somewhere in the middle.

DeBord deserves credit for his playcalling against Notre Dame and his emphasis on getting the tight ends involved in the passing game. Still, I don't understand his insistence that Michigan can only run the ball against inferior opponents. I think its a combination of arrogance and reality. Simply DeBord thinks "because we're Michigan, we can win by just running the ball against inferior opponents." The reality is that he's probably right and it leads to wins that aren't sexy or big as the fan base would like.

I have four problems with this strategy. First, it increases the risk of starters getting hurt. Second, it reduces the opportunity to devlop talent. Third, it wastes opportunities to develop the offense. Most importantly, occassionally, it results in Michigan losing a game that it shouldn't.

Injuries to Starters: Simply, because Michigan chooses to run no matter what, the risk of injury is increased. It can't be easy running into 8 and 9 man fronts down after down. And because this offense doesn't generate many points, the starters are forced to play well into the forth quarter. This has happened in the last two weeks. I don't understand why the coaches would risk injury to key players in meaningless games, especially with OSU 3 weeks away. Ideally, I would like to see Michigan jump out to a 3 or 4 touchdown lead and pull the starters in the 4th.

Talent Development: This is a result of point one. If the starters are playing until the last offensive drive of the game, the younger players don't get to play, diminishing their ability to get meaningful snaps. Getting snaps in practice is worth only so much. Getting game experience, in my opinion, is more meaningful because practices don't simulate game conditions.

Development of Strategy: Why not take the opportunity against a lesser opponent to try things out? I understand that a team doesn't want to reveal too much at the risk it will end up on film, but what's wrong in practicing routine pass plays that are the staples of a balanced offense? This is my biggest problem with continuously running the ball. I think it's possible to throw the ball and play close to the vest at the same time. Doing this would help improve the timing between the QB and receivers, it would give the line some practice pass blocking, and hopefully, it would result in points which would then allow the starters to rest in the 4th while giving the younger guys some game experience.

Losing: See Michigan v. Illinois in 1999. For those don't remember, Michigan blew a 20-7 halftime lead by using an ultra conservative offense in the second half. There are countless other examples of Michigan losing as a result of "vamos, no. vamos, no. vamos, no." Simply, running the ball 3 times and punting allows the opposition to stay within striking distance.

While I don't think Mike DeBord is the worst offensive coordinator ever, I do think his offensive philosophy is outdated. I am confident that he could mix the pass and the run while not revealing too much on film. I wish he were more aggressive in his playcalling against teams that aren't Notre Dame, Ohio State, or Bowl Opponent. It's frustrating, to me, to watch Michigan have to grind out a win, when it doesn't need to, against a team that has a lost to 1-AA New Hampshire and allowed Michigan State to come back from 35 points down.

Now, I understand the weather conditions on Saturday were less than optimal so throwing the ball was difficult. But, in general, for a change, I'd like to see a halftime update with Michigan up 24-7 and a final score of 45-17. And it's possible if Mike DeBord chose to do more than just run against these teams. I would like to see Michigan just dismantle lesser opponents like USC, OSU, or even Texas.

What scares me, right now, is whether DeBord's philosophy has negatively affected the offense. It's November and you want your team to be peaking. While the defense looks like it is, I can't say the same about the offense. Has the offense taken a step back because of the playcalling or has it had no effect at all? Will Michigan be able to turn it on when it needs to? I don't know, but we'll all find out November 18th.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Top 25 (Week of October 29, 2006)

1. Ohio State (9-0)
2. Michigan (9-0)
3. West Virginia (8-0)
4. Texas (8-1)
5. Florida (8-1)
6. California (7-1)
7. Louisville (7-0)
8. Tennessee (7-1)
9. Louisiana State (6-2)
10. Auburn (8-1)
11. Southern California (6-1)
12. Wisconsin (8-1)
13. Notre Dame (8-1)
14. Georgia Tech (6-2)
15. Rutgers (8-0)
16. Boise State (8-0)
17. Arkansas (7-1)
18. Clemson (7-2)
19. Oklahoma (6-2)
20. Boston College (7-1)
21. Oregon (5-2)
22. Texas A&M (8-1)
23. Wake Forest (7-1)
24. Virginia Tech (6-2)
25. Missouri (7-2)

Games Watched: Northwestern v. Michigan, Miami (FL) v. Georgia Tech, Clemson v. Virginia Tech

Observations: Will watch Rutgers tonight...Virginia Tech did an excellent job stopping the run and showing other teams how to beat Clemson...Clemson might be more one dimensional than I thought...I don't like the fact Clemson had to play 2 tough games in a span of 5 days but don't know how much of an effect this had on Thursday night...Thought GT was going to live up it's reputation of playing to the opponent's level...Still maintain that GT would be ranked higher if they could get consistent play from Reggie Ball...Will discuss Michigan in a separate post.

Top 25 Comments: None really. USC was finally exposed (Thank God!) but from all accounts, the Trojans comeback was impressive. I'm not sure if Louisville is really the seventh best team in the country and I stuck them there because of their undefeated record. This Thursday will clear up how good Louisville really is. Oklahoma may prove me wrong. Their offense looked proficient yesterday, but I still think they'd struggle against the teams ranked above them. Didn't really know how to round out 23-25.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Comedy of Errors

It ended with a strikeout. A part of me was greatful that it ended quickly. How much more could we take? Eight total errors, five by pitchers. I had trouble sleeping Thursday night. E-1. I had trouble sleeping last night. E-1. Botched throws by Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya, and even Justin Verlander. I still don't believe it. Weren't the Tigers supposed to dispatch the Cardinals easily?

Inexperience, not youth, finally caught up with the Tigers. You could tell they were a little more tentative, a little more careful, and simply, a little more tight. The batters didn't work the count like they did against the Yankees and A's. In the field, players committed errors they hadn't all season. The pressure finally got to them. For the first time in the postseason, the Tiger were expected to win. The first time they were favorites was in the World Series.

Only a few people had the gall to predict the Tigers would even make it this far when the season began. I thought 81-81 would be a success. Thus, no matter how you look at it, this season was successful. I think we can expect good things out of these Tigers in the future. I would expect this team to contend for at least the next 5 years. The pitchers are young and contractually comitted to Detroit. Cameron Maybin, if he performs like people expect him to, will be an anchor in centerfield allowing Curtis Granderson to move to leftfield. If the Tigers can add a couple of left handed bats, they could get back to another World Series, hopefully sooner than later.

I expect next season will be a letdown. The pitchers threw more innings than they ever had and that will be the biggest factor. And let's not forget about the White Sox and Indians. The AL Central could be a tough division to win. Coupled with the Yankees and Red Sox, someone is going to be left out. Realistically, expect the Tigers back in the Series in 2008 or 2009. A return to the Series is not certain but one thing is: Baseball is back in Detroit.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Top 25 (Week of October 22, 2006)

1. Ohio State (8-0)
2. Michigan (8-0)
3. West Virginia (7-0)
4. Texas (7-1)
5. Southern California (6-0)
6. Auburn (7-1)
7. Florida (7-1)
8. California (7-1)
9. Louisville (7-0)
10. Tennessee (6-1)
11. Louisiana State (6-2)
12. Clemson (7-1)
13. Wisconsin (7-1)
14. Notre Dame (7-1)
15. Georgia Tech (5-2)
16. Rutgers (8-0)
Boise State (8-0)
18. Arkansas (6-1)
19. Oregon (5-2)
20. Boston College (6-1)
Oklahoma (5-2)
Texas A&M (7-1)
Missouri (7-1)
24. Wake Forest (6-1)
Nebraska (6-2)

Games Watched: Iowa at Michigan, Rutgers at Pitt, Boston College at Florida State, UCLA at Notre Dame, Alabama at Tennessee, Georgia Tech at Clemson, Texas at Nebraska

Observations: I'll start with Michigan...disappointed in their offensive playcalling in the 1st half...I understand not watching to show too much, but letting Iowa hang around until the middle of the 4th quarter is ridiculous...the defense is the best I've seen since 1997...if the offense can catch up in the next few weeks, things will be looking up going into Columbus...Manningham is very valuable to this offense but I can't tell what is really missing without him there...is there really no deep threat or is Michigan just not calling as much stuff deep because they know they can get by without it? Notre Dame is a joke and people who are Irish fans are saying the same to me. The should have 3 losses to this point...their O-Line is terrible and the only reason they won yesterday is because UCLA went soft at the end, giving me flashbacks to every Michigan loss last year...terrible coaching by UCLA's staff...I can't guage how good BC is...they looked solid in the first half against the 'Noles but let FSU come back and had to use a goofy safety to win the game...I'm not sold on them...Tennessee is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde...one week, they look strong and the next they barely win...Alabama did a great job of stopping an offense that exploded against Cal and Georgia...Tide also lost because of poor coaching...Clemson did a terrific job running the ball yesterday...GT reverted back to being GT...the Yellow Jackets rely on their defense too much...yes, last week I said I thought GT was likely to win the ACC because of their defense but against good teams, their offense can't score and that's their downfall...Rutgers ran the ball effectively and Ray Rice should be a Heisman candidate...their defense surprised me...Scarlet Knights' secondary did its job...congrats to Michigan State...Colt McCoy did a great job of directing Texas' offense and making plays to win in Nebraska...I was surprised though at how close the game was...emphasised the importance of a solid kicking game.

Top 25 Comments: This week I made sure to use my original method of purely ranking based on neutral field competition and making a list from 1 to 25. I disregarded the rankings from last week for the most part (I did use them as a starting point). SC is behind the rest of the undefeated not named Rugters or Boise State because I just haven't been impressed with them this year. Their only strong win came against Nebraska who decided not to pass during that game for some reason. They barely beat Washington and ASU, both of whom are middle of the pack Pac10 teams. Louisville hasn't looked good for the last two weeks and, on a neutral field, I don't think the Cards beat any of the teams ranked ahead of them. Wisconsin gets ranked high because MGoBlog's opinion of them and because of their defense. The Badger offense has looked solid against anyone not named Michigan. Oklahoma ranked in the 20s because their offense without Adrian Peterson has looked dismal - it's gonna catch up to them, just a matter of when.

Person I Feel Terrible For This Week:

Calvin Johnson. Reggie Ball is a terrible quarterback and Lou Holtz was dead on when he said that Ball makes terrible decisions and holds on to the ball too long. I don't know if this is a result of Ball not understanding, a lack of coaching, or my guess, both. He's a senior and still makes mistakes he was making as a freshman. Last night he missed a wide open Calvin Johnson multiple times and made terrible decisions of when to hold and run versus passing. Give GT a good quarterback and they're undefeated.

Thursday, October 19, 2006



Cuisine: Irish and American (no, thankfully, it's not "fusion")
Location: 840 First Street, Miami Beach
Website: www.clarkesmiamibeach.com

Brilliant!: Clarke's menu is truly brilliant. It offers traditional Irish fare like Corned Beef & Cabbage, Fish & Chips, and Shepard's Pie while also serving American dishes like Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna, Sauteed Shrimp, and the King of Steaks, Filet Mignon. In addition, the menu contains unique appetizers - New York Style Pretzel, Scottish Smoked Salmon, and my personal favorite, the Irish Eggrolls. To drink, you can find Irish favorites - Guinness, Harp, MacAllen, and Laphroaig. For those who aren't feeling like a pint or a brown liquid, the bartenders will gladly pour you a glass of wine (a wide selection of Red and White) or mix you a martini.

Limburger Cheeseheads: There are no Limbuger Cheeseheads here, just sunblock, beer bottles, and a picnic in a field...Brilliant!

Eat Up Lad/Lass: The food lived up to the descriptions on the menu. Practically being Irish, the Editor decided on the Shepard's Pie and I decided to sample the Clarke's Hamburger. To start, we got a New York Pretzel and the Irish Eggrolls. To drink, we kept with the authenticity and each got a pint of Magner's.

Irish Eggrolls: Definitely the most unique item on the menu. It's two eggrolls stuffed with corned beef, cabbage, and mashed potatoes with mayo-dijon mustard dipping sauce (ok, so maybe there some fusion on the menu). It was definitely the best thing I ate at Clarke's that night. The Editor says that I should be done with this review by now and "stop making those stupid football lists." As far as the eggrolls, they were perfect because they take the best Irish foods and put them together in a little, easibly eatable package.

New York Pretzel: A New York Pretzel with spicy brown mustard. Thought I was at a Yankees game. "The New York Street Pretzel would only have been better if a street vendor handed it to me." - The Editor.

Shepard's Pie: Delicious but overwhelming for one person, according to the Editor. I saw her plate when it came out and it was huge. I don't think both of us could have finished it together.

Clarke's Hamburger: Really good. Perfectly cooked (medium) with tons of bleu cheese (if you don't like bleu, you can choose from American, Cheddar, or Swiss). I also passed on the bacon and mushrooms that are available. I ate about half of it and had to take the rest home. The burger also comes with a side of fries which are not to salty, so in my mind, just right.

Any Use?: My experience at Clarke's was perfect. The Editor and I arrived at 8 and were seated immediately (if you're going on a Friday or Saturday, I recommend reservations). Our server was a lass with an Irish accent which made the whole experience even more enjoyable. She was very friendly and took really good care of us. She made sure we had enough to eat and drink and even fixed our table when it started to wobble a wee bit.

The atmosphere is what you'd expect from a pub - boisterous with people enjoy food, drink, and each other. In addition, the low lighting added to the ambiance which is purely authentic. Last night we took our friends there, past midnight, and although it was quiet, it was perfect for grabbing a few pints and just hanging out. The bartender was friendly, making sure we had enough to drink, and even joking with us during our time there. And Rattle and Hum only added to the ambiance.

Simply put, for dinner, for drinks, or for both, Clarke's does it right. While there are other Irish pubs on the Beach, if you're looking for somewhere traditional rather than somewhere that turns into a typical SoBe spot at night, Clarke's is the place to be.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Top 25 Poll (Week of October 15)

1. Ohio State (7-0)
2. Michigan (7-0)
3. West Virginia (6-0)
4. Southern California (7-0)
5. Texas (6-1)
6. Louisville (6-0)
7. Auburn (6-1)
8. Georgia Tech (5-1)
9. Florida (6-1)
10. Tennessee (5-1)
11. California (6-1)
12. Notre Dame (5-1)
13. Clemson (6-1)
14. Louisiana State (5-2)
15. Oregon (5-1)
16. Boise State (6-0)
17. Arkansas (5-1)
18. Rutgers (6-0)
19. Oklahoma (4-2)
20. Boston College (5-1)
21. Wisconsin (6-1)
22. Texas A&M (6-1)
23. Missouri (6-1)
24. Iowa (5-2)
25. Wake Forest (6-1)

Games Watched Whole: Michigan at Penn State
Games Watched Partial: Ohio State at Michigan State, Florida at Auburn, Virginia Tech at Boston College

Observations: Didn't watch that much football Saturday because of the Tigers (whoo hoo!). Surprised with how VT has fallen...BC's O-Line dominated the VT D-Line...VT and Georgia have the same problem - bad QBs...with every week that passes, I feel more confident GT will play in the ACC Championship Game...John L. Smith has lost this team and it was sad to see so much scarlet and grey in East Lansing...don't think the Spartans will make a bowl game...Auburn's defense looked awesome against Florida, but I don't know what to make of the Tigers - they didn't score an offensive TD against the Gators...the SEC is up for grabs because every team seems to have a weakness, in which case, I'll pick Auburn because of their defense...Michigan played really well last night on defense...its exciting to see a Michigan D that gets to the ball quickly and hits hard...Carr made the right move making Ron English the D coordinator...unfortunately, the secondary is inconsistent...can't commit dumb penalities on 3rd and long...can't allow the offense to convert on 3rd and long...the secondary has to play better, especially when the opposition rolls the pocket trying to buy their QB time to throw...

Top 25 Poll Comments: I'm writing this after the BCS rankings came out and there's no way USC should be #2 - they haven't looked good all year and they're benefiting from their preseason ranking...Michigan should be #2 across the board...1-12 was pretty easy for me to put together, but the rest was a crapshoot. I've done this poll 3 times this season and I realize two things now: 1) it's difficult to keep in mind a team's past results and 2) unless I watch a team, there's a part of me that wants to rank a team based on history. Regarding my first point - I don't really know how to reconcile the mix of Cal, Tennessee, Auburn, Florida, LSU. In the last 2 weeks, I've been more impressed with Cal than Tennessee, but is it okay to rank Cal above Tennessee seeing that Tennessee drubbed Cal early on? Same goes for Auburn, Florida, LSU, etc. To my second point, I had trouble filling in the bottom of the poll and I was hesitant to put in Wake because I didn't watch them this weekend and thought "It's Wake." Bottom line, determining the Top 25 is harder than it looks. Oh, one more thing, just a dominant win for the State University of New Jersey!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Value of Leadership

I had lofty ambitions for this week. I wanted to post multiple times, on a variety of topics including the Detroit Tigers, Michigan's win over MSU, and the Yankees. Unfortunately, between school and work, I had no energy to write anything insightful, and hard as I tried, I could only produce garbage. Thus, I didn't post anything. After a relaxing Wednesday night, I'm ready to post again, being confident that my post won't read like a caveman had written it.

Managerial Value: After the Marlins fired Joe Girardi last week, local sports radio debated the worth of a manager. Notably, Dan LeBatard of the Miami Herald and ESPN, opined that a manager is worth as much as a bag of baseballs - the players are fully responsible for wins and losses. Polishing that gem, LeBatard asserted, at most, because of strategic decision, a manager might be worth 5 wins. Thus, the Marlins firing Girardi, a 1st year manager, who took a $ 14.3 MM payroll team that started 11-31 to a final record of 78-84 was nothing to worry about. In fact, the Marlins seriously contending for the Wild Card until the last week of the season. I completely disagree with LeBatard, who typically takes ridiculous positions for the sake of taking them while writing columns that are superficial and lacking thought.

Managers might not win games for their teams because of strategic decisions. Yes, ultimately, the players have to make plays - a hit and run is no good when the batter can't hit the ball. BUT managers can do other things that can't be tracked statistically. What made Girardi a great manager was that he got a team of young players to play hard everyday. He was able to enstill confidence in a team that started off 11-31. That's what made Girardi so valuable to the Marlins.

You want more evidence that a manager is very valuable to a team? The Detroit Tigers. They are up 2-0 in the ALCS. They weren't even supposed to make the playoffs. This is a team that lost 119 games 3 seasons ago. What struck me about the Tigers, this year, is that they believed they had a chance to win every game they played this year...and that's because of Jim Leyland. He's done a great job of teaching kids how to be professionals and its showed. Early on in the season, Leyland blew up because the Tigers had loafed in an afternoon game before leaving for a West Coast trip. Leyland wasn't mad because they Tigers lost; he was mad because their of their lack of effort. After that game, the Tigers went 52-23 into the All Star Break. When the Tigers were stumbling to the end of the regular season, risking missing the playoffs, Leyland kept the team calm and guided them into a first round matchup with the Yankees. Against the Yankees, Leyland and his coaches handled the Tigers' pitching staff better than any Tigers manager I've seen since Sparky Anderson retired. In Game 2 of the series, Leyland made multiple trips to the mound in order to get Justin Verlander to calm down. He did the same in Game 1 of the ALCS with Nate Robertson.

The things that are happening under Jim Leyland didn't happen under Trammell or the other terrible managers the Tigers employed before him. It's no coincidence that the Tigers turnaround corresponds with Leyland's tenure and Detroit fans couldn't be happier. And LeBatard, he should stick to idiotic conversations with washed up wrestlers - it doesn't require you to use your brain, something to which you seem to have an aversion.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Top 25 (Week of October 8)

1. Ohio State (6-0)
2. Florida (6-0)
3. Michigan (6-0)
4. West Virginia (5-0)
5. Southern California (5-0)
6. Texas (5-1)
7. Louisville (5-0)
8. Auburn (5-1)
9. Georgia Tech (5-1)
10. Tennessee (5-1)
11. California (5-1)
12. Notre Dame (5-1)
13. Clemson (5-1)
14. Iowa (5-1)
15. Louisiana State (4-2)
16. Boise State (6-0)
17. Oregon (4-1)
18. Georgia (5-1)
19. Arkansas (4-1)
20. Oklahoma (3-2)
21. Missouri (6-0)
22. Nebraska (5-1)
23. Rutgers (5-0)
24. Virginia Tech (4-1)
25. Wisconsin (5-1)

Games Watched (Whole): Michigan State at Michigan
Games Watched (Partial): Louisiana State at Florida, Florida State at NC State, Tennessee at Georgia, Clemson at Wake Forest, Oregon at California

Observations: Didn't watch as much football this weekend because of other committments and Tiger baseball. Really surprised by how easily Florida won...LSU committed to many turnovers, especially at critical times...Tigers were in it with about 5 minutes to go in the 4th...Tim Tebow was great again this week and Urban Meyer's offense is going to be scary next year with Tebow under center...Still think Florida falls to Auburn...Florida State's offense is terrible and Bobby Bowden is more guilty of nepotism - how else does his son still have a job...Bowden seems to be facing the same criticism that Lloyd Carr did last year - overly loyal...FSU is going to have a lot of trouble getting to the ACC Championship Game...in general, the ACC is terrible this year...Thought Georgia had the game won in the first half...after being stout defensively through their first 5 games, Georgia gave up 51 last night...not sure if it was Georgia's defense or Tennessee's offense...maybe Georgia had all of us duped because of success against weak opponents to start the season...Wake's collapse was unfortunate...Clemson's return for a TD changed the entire game...not sure what to make of Clemson...Oregon's pass defense is going to cost them another game this year if it plays like it did last night...Michigan's win reminded me of their win against Minnesota...nothing exciting, doing the minimum to get it done...hope they are up for PSU...that game is worrisome...they need play with the emotion and attitude they displayed against ND.

Top 25 Poll Comments: I had no questions about 1-7. USC is ranked 5 only because they are undefeated. I didn't know that USC employed Spartan Bob and they are not getting through the Pac-10 without a loss. They're too banged up and they needed help "from above" to win yesterday. I really think GT is the 9th best team in the country and its because of their defense. Although Auburn got undressed yesterday, they're 8 more because I don't believe that the teams ranked lower are good enough to deserve higher rankings. I didn't know what to do with Mizzou or Boise State. Oklahoma is hanging on and the lack of pass offense is going to kill them. I'm not going to justify every spot but in general, I ranked the teams based on who would win on a neutral field and I just don't believe there is much difference between the teams ranked from 10-20. I guess I believe in parity. On a personal note, The VP (The Editor's father) joked with me (at least I think he was joking) that Rutgers should be true because of a messy version of the transitive property (Rutgers killed Illinois who beat MSU who lost in a boring game to Michigan). When I told him that he can't rely on the transitive property, he laughed. New post coming soon.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Truth Hurts

No one really thought it would happen. Really, no one thought it would happen. Not the pundits, not the fans, and, most imporantly, management didn't think it'd happen. Why else would they have traded away Darko? But it did happen. Ben Wallace, arguably the man who turned the Pistons into winners, was leaving. No less, he was leaving for the rivals to the West, the Chicago Bulls. To boot, it was the same day Steve Yzerman, the Captain, decided to retire.

Wallace leaving was a loss, but not huge, in my mind. He's going to be 33 at the beginning of the season. He's played over an extra season of basketball in the last 4 years. His RPG and PPG have slowly decreased over the last few seasons. He regularly plays against players who are both heavier and taller. Offensively, Wallace became a liability. Wallace missed 16 of 24 free throws during the Miami series. Most of all, Chicago was offering 60 million, which, everyone agreed, was a classic case of overpaying.

In the days after Wallace signed with the Bulls, people speculated whether there was more to his defection than just the dollars and cents. One story had Wallace leaving, in part, because of a rift with management that resulted from the Pistons not allowing Wallace's brother to attend home games because of his role in the Malice at the Palace. Another, more accurately, cited Wallace's belief that Flip Saunders overly focused on offense, rather than defense. A third stated the Pistons felt that, given the money and the league's emphasis on offense, it made sense to let Wallace go. Still, many of these articles were full of speculation because Wallace refused to really address the reason for his departure.

On Thursday, ESPN.com posted an article, written by Chris Sheridan, in which Wallace finally cleared the air. I read it and was disappointed. I and many other Piston fans loved Wallace because of his attitude - he showed up to play everyday, didn't complain, and put the team ahead of himself. What I got from this article was that Wallace was more selfish that I had originally thought and more sensitive too. Wallace claimed Saunders ignored Wallace's pleas to focus on defense. He was upset that Saunders sat him for the final quarter in Game 6 of the Miami series. He took it personally that Saunders stated that, with Nazr Mohammed, the Pistons would be better on offense.

What Wallace seems to forget is that he was a liability on offense. When asked about Wallace's comments, Saunders pointed out that in the quarter Wallace sat, the Pistons scored the most points of any quarter in their series with Miami. Also, Saunders is right, he is going to be able to run more plays in the post with Mohammed. But Saunders also said Mohammed wouldn't be able to rebound or block shots as well as Wallace did. And if Wallace was unhappy that the Pistons were getting away from lock down defense, he should watch tape of the NBA Playoffs, especially of Dwyane Wade. In fact, he could even read Rasheed Wallace's comments in the Detroit News. Simply, the NBA is promoting offense and flow while getting away from the lockdown defense that helped the Spurs and Pistons win championships. And in this new league, Wallace isn't worth 60 Million.

Yet, the funniest comment that Wallace made was in response to Hollinger's question asking Wallace who Wallace's favorite coaches were. Wallace's response: Rick Carlisle and Larry Brown, amongst others. It was well known in Detroit that Wallace didn't get along with either Carlisle or Brown. Basically, his relationship with those coaches was the same as his relationship with Saunders. In fact, Wallace had major issues with Carlisle because Carlisle wouldn't get Wallace involved in the offense. When told Wallace had made these comments, both Chauncey Billips and Lindsay Hunter both rolled their eyes.

It's sad that Wallace is now sniping at the team that gave him the means to become a superstar and NBA champion. Without his teammates, I firmly believe Wallace wouldn't have won 4 Defensive Player of the Year awards - the Pistons' system allowed him to be a great weakside defender while also freelancing. I thought I'd always remember Wallace for what he did for the Pistons - he made them into winners and helped bring a title to Detroit. Unfortunately, in light of this article, I'll also remember him as a selfish player who put more of an emphasis on himself than was deserved.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Week 6 Top 25

1. Ohio State (5-0)
2. Auburn (5-0)
3. West Virginia (5-0)
4. Florida (5-0)
5. Michigan (5-0)
6. Southern California (5-0)
7. Louisiana State (4-1)
8. Texas (4-1)
9. Louisville (4-0)
10. Oregon (4-0)
11. Georgia Tech (4-1)
12. Notre Dame (4-1)
13. Oklahoma (3-1)
14. Georgia (5-0)
15. Clemson (4-1)
16. Tennessee (4-1)
17. California (4-1)
18. Iowa (4-1)
19. Florida State (4-1)
20. Boise State (5-0)
21. Nebraska (4-1)
22. Virginia Tech (4-1)
23. Rutgers (5-0)
24. Missouri (5-0)
25. Boston College (4-1)

Games Watched (Whole):
Michigan at Minnesota
Games Watched (Partial): Illinois at Michigan State, Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, Houston at Miami, Ohio State at Iowa, Alabama at Florida, Purdue at Notre Dame, Rutgers at South Florida, Auburn at South Carolina

Observations: Not surprised Michigan State lost, the annual swoon begins...I'm dedicating an entire post to this. Looking back, I don't know how Georgia Tech lost to Notre Dame...I think if they played now, GT would win...Jon Tenuta is one of the best D coordinators in the country - they arguably have lesser talent than their opposition in the ACC but manage to overcome this problem. Anyone who thought the ACC Coastal winner would be either Miami or VT is bummin...VT's offensive line is suspect and having a young QB doesn't bode well from them having to play Miami on the road. Speaking of Miami, they are not winning their division...they looked horrible against Houston, they have no game breakers, and seem like they are dragging through the season...Purdue's offense reconfirmed what we've know for a few weeks now - that ND's defense isn't very good...unless ND can improve, I'll have to agree with Desmond Howard who said that ND would be upset before its game with USC. Even though I have Florida 4, I don't know how much I believe in them...they looked sluggish and lost until the second half...they had an excellent fourth quarter but they can't play like that in their upcoming 3 game stretch against LSU, Georgia, and Auburn...including Alabama, that's 4 ranked teams in a row with 3 of them being in the Top Ten...Tim Tebow is going to be really, really good. Ohio State is definitely #1 but I wouldn't go as far as Stewart Mandel. Personally, its good to see Rutgers in the Top 25...interested to see how they do against Pitt...struggled on defense against USF which is surprising given that Schiano has a defensive background. Had Auburn #1 before this week...don't know what to make of this win...Cocks playcalling was too predictable at the end...Auburn's defense looked strong and its their biggest asset.

Top 25 Poll Comments: Originally had Auburn #1 but after OSU manhanled Iowa, they're #1 now. Not impressed with USC...too many injuries and I don't think they are that good...didn't know what to do after 12...going with the logic I use, I really do think GT is 11...Tennessee is ahead of Cal because of week 1...have no idea about Boise State...After 10, to me, its a crapshoot.