This was a big weekend for Detroit sports fans. With Brady Hoke coaching the Wolverines, the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry is interesting again. The Tigers were fighting to stay alive in the ALCS for a chance to return to the World Series. Even the Lions have worked their way to relevance and had a real shot at going 6-0 (yes, 6-0, not 0-6). But nothing went as planned.
Everyone in the state of Michigan is either aligned with the Michigan Wolverines or the Michigan State Spartans. It can be a bitter rivalry at times. State suffers from the “little brother” syndrome (thanks for that one, Mike Hart). Growing up about 20 minutes from Ann Arbor, I am naturally a Wolverine fan. I really hate it when one of their major rivals beats them four years in a row. State had a chance to do that, but I felt they were overrated and that Hoke had gotten this team moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, the Spartans were able to pull out the win.
State won by two touchdowns, but the game was a lot closer than that. Let these two teams play a 5 game series against each other and it could end either way. However, that’s not how things are done. State earned the victory and now UofM no longer controls it’s own destiny. On top of winning out the rest of their games (which will not be all that difficult besides Nebraska and maybe Illinois), they need State to lose at least two (fortunately they play Wisconsin and Nebraska these next two weeks). Ever since moving out of Michigan I root for State when they aren’t playing Michigan, but now I have to root against them so that Michigan can make it to the conference championship.
Later Saturday night I turned to the Tigers to help me get over the crushing defeat. I knew winning two straight games in Texas would be a long shot, but if they won the first, then anything could happen. The Tigers got off to a 2-0 lead early and things looked promising. Then the third inning happened. Sure there was at least one bad call that eventually led to more runs in that inning, but even if everything that could’ve just as easily gone the Tigers’ way happened, it still would not have made up the difference of 10 runs.
Sunday sealed the deal on the crappy weekend. The Lions’ perfect season was ended by the 49ers and ended in this mess between Schwartz and Harbaugh.
It took me some time, but now I’m looking at the glass half full. Regardless of whether Michigan makes it to the Big Ten Championship or not, Hoke has turned the team around and has given us plenty to look forward to in the future. And if the Wolverines win the conference, I’d prefer State to take it.
Detroit should be proud of what the Tigers were able to accomplish this season. I think it’s safe to say they over performed and made it to the ALCS. We got to watch them embarrass the Yankees (yet again). Also, I think I’d prefer to lose now than lose to the Cardinals in the World Series again. That would be just too painful. And Verlander still has a chance to win awards.
As for the Lions, we should be proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish. They are 5-1! I don’t think anyone really expected them to go undefeated, and they lost a non-division game. This really isn’t all that significant. Plus, now we can watch the Schwartz-Harbaugh incident over and over.
All in all, Detroit, things could be a lot worse. Suck it up and get geared up for this weekend.