The Big Lead Articles 14 December 2009

Onion Bag: Liverpool are Lamer Than Jim Rome’s Shtick

“You aren’t fit to wear the shirt.” The normally restrained Frenchman, Arsene Wenger, resorted to a rousing English cliche, and, despite just one Englishman in the squad, it worked.  Arsenal capitalized on fortune andAndiry Arshavin’s right foot, recovering form an insipid first half for a 2-1 win at Anfield.

ESPN 30 for 30: It’s All About “The U”

Whether it was the story or the soundtrack, The U generated excitement.  Shown a 9:00 PM on a Saturday night, it was not appointment viewing, as many of us have significant others and social lives, but it was certainly appointment DVRing.

The strength and, in some cases, the weakness of the 30 for 30 documentaries is the personal fingerprint.  Here it was helpful.  Billy Corben, the director of Cocaine Cowboys and an avowed Miami fan, presents the Hurricanes’ ascendance their way.  In their own words, the “thugs,” “hoodlums” and “convicts,” as well as those who coached and covered them, describe the experience.  This film was captivating and it was successful.


Michigan Fans Are Antsy, But Calls To Fire Rodriguez Are Premature

Michigan was routed 38-13 last weekend, by an Illinois team with a 1-6 record. The catastrophic loss dropped the Wolverines to 1-4 in the Big Ten. Michigan went five weeks in October without defeating a Division 1 opponent. What was an apparent leap forward has become further disappointment.

Alumni are understandably antsy. Rich Rodriguez does deserve blame, but calling for his ouster is premature. It would be more detrimental at this juncture.

Continued at The Big Lead

Michigan Football: Open to Interpretation

Michigan lost 30-28 on Saturday to Iowa.  The Wolverines should be proud of their effort.  Iowa was artificially ranked #12 so winning would have been “an upset.”  Conversely, Michigan outplayed Iowa and should be horrified that five turnovers and atrocious third-down conversions wasted that effort.  As with everything this Michigan season, there are two ways of viewing it.

Continued at The Big Lead

Mitch Albom Believes You Have a Drinking Problem

How long does it take the Internet to pierce Mitch Albom’s ivory tower? About a week.  The distinguished columnist fired up the old e-mail machine to watch a clip of a drunk Lions’ fan on YouTube.  This screamed for context and credentials.  We laymen needed someone to comprehend it.  Someone with…a master’s in journalism.

Continued at The Big Lead

Will Notre Dame Play In a BCS Bowl Game in January? It’s Plausible.

Notre Dame’s national title candidacy lasted slightly longer than the humor derived from the Kanye West meme. The Michigan loss knocked them out of contention. Many would argue they were never in it. But, Kirk Cousins’ last minute meltdown saved their season. In a development disturbing to those sick of the incessant ND coverage, there’s a good chance they make a BCS game.

Continued at The Big Lead

Thoughts on Notre Dame-Michigan

I thought it would be good to let the moment settle, before commenting on Michigan-Notre Dame.  Here are my thoughts.

This was not an upset. Notre Dame was ranked 18th, but that ranking is arbitrary. Preseason polls are baseless, yet they calcify subsequent perceptions. Set alone, both Michigan and ND had sound non-BCS conference wins in week one. They looked fairly equal in the second week. What sportswriters think is not a tangible factor.

Tate Forcier went from question to legend faster than anyone in perceived history. He was poised, especially after the bad interception. He was the obvious leader in just his second game as a true freshman. Forcier had “it” under pressure. He had the ice in his veins. It’s something I have not seen in a Michigan quarterback, and there have been many good ones.

Despite the initial celebrity, I have not seen it in Jimmy Clausen.

Unless Notre Dame beats USC, that loss sealed Charlie Weis’ firing. He made the crucial mistake, throwing on second down during the last possession. The failure forced ND to throw on third down, giving Michigan the ball back with two timeouts.

Notre Dame should have had an advantage against Michigan. They didn’t. Weis has had five-years of recruiting top-caliber players. Rodriguez has his first real recruiting class as true freshmen. Weis is in the fifth-year of his project, but, despite the preseason prognostications from Lou Holtz and others, it is a project that seems to be heading nowhere.

Urban Meyer did sign a 6-year $24 million deal with Florida, but his buyout remains just $500,000. Meyer is a Catholic and a Notre Dame guy. With Tim Tebow graduating, it should surprise no one if he moves after this season.

Thursday Writing

Ricardo_Clark_52a4.JPGJeter is Great, But Yankee Hit Record is Meaningless (The Big Lead)

Actually Coach, Michael Jordan Never Was Cut From His High-School Basketball Team (The Big Lead)

Onion Bag: U.S. Beats T&T, Very Close to Qualifying (The Big Lead)

A Michigan-Notre Dame Preview, Sort Of (The Big Lead)