It's hard to blast your home teams but if you're a sportswriter in Michigan -- it's been the norm lately.
Here's MY wish list, which I can say is probably consistent with many sportsfans' hopes for the new year here in "The Mitten."
Michigan State Spartans
I wrote "Dear, Santa:" Please let the Spartans win a big game in December. The Spartans dropped contests to North Carolina, their mortal enemy on the hardwood, Texas, Florida and barely beat Gonzaga.
If December wins "don't matter," well, they should. In the past Michigan State has beaten the likes of Kansas and Texas in December, reached the Final Four and ran through their Big Ten schedule. The same can't be said for 2009. We'll have to wait and see if State is truly the team-to-beat in the Big Ten come January.
Michigan State will make a run in March, we all know that but would it hurt to win a big game BEFORE the Big Ten season starts? I sure hope not.
I will say this: wins against IPFW and The Citadel DO NOT constitute as something to get excited about. It's just a thought but it's something Spartan Nation would like to see, I'm sure of it.
I also have a hope for the football team: please don't embarrass the university, alumni and fans any further by getting trounced by Texas Tech.
Everyone knows about the recent suspensions of nine, count 'em, nine players on the football team. Off-field antics and ill advised decisions are to blame and the team is severely depleted.
Please, please, please make it a "game."
Come halftime, I hope the game isn't already over. I know it sounds like a lot to ask but it's what I wish for.
I'm not a Wolverine fan by any means, let's make that clear. I will say that when Michigan has been stinking-it-up the last two years, the whole state has felt it.
With the horrid economy in the great state of Michigan in shambles, the state's favorite team blowing three touchdown leads to Purdue hasn't made it any better.
How about that basketball program?
Michigan was supposed to be competitive this year, earning a preseason no. 15 ranking.
Let's just say that they're not living up to the hype. Neither are the Spartans, in all fairness.
Is it not enough that the Lions are the laughing stock of the NFL?
Now the team has let their big-money-number-one-franchise-player suffer a season ending injury.
Why is it the team's fault that he's injured you ask?
Stafford has no one to protect him. His offensive line makes millions of dollars to make sure his knee doesn't get blown out -- that's at the very least. He also needs protection in order to complete passes and win games -- THAT'S what Stafford gets paid for.
Lions: please do not waste another draft pick on another quarterback. Also, I'd like to see Detroit deal their first round pick to a team that's willing to fork out a good swap for the guy the Lions will draft but can ill-afford.
The Pistons' fall to mediocrity has been well documented. How about playing up to their ability and talent and not losing by 30 to the Raptors. Chris Bosh will be a free agent next year, don't scare the guy away when Joe D decides to go after him -- it's rumored that Dumars has his eyes on Bosh.
Making the playoffs isn't too much to ask, hopefully it won't be an eight seed. We don't want to see the Pistons get swept in the first round by Cleveland, Boston or Orlando.
Detroit Red Wings
Here's another team that has slid down to "average" status. Maybe Wings' fans are used to domination but that doesn't make them spoiled. The Red Wing faithful spend millions of dollars every year supporting their team by buying merchandise and tickets.
Third place in the Central isn't cause for worry just yet but come on guys, pick it up a little. The Blackhawks were once "little brother" but it seems like the roles have been reversed. Chicago recently shut the Wings down... again.
Do we miss Hossa?
Granderson and Rodney are now "former" Tigers. Granted, Rodney wasn't the most consistent guy on the roster but he was the main closer and among the league leaders in saves last year.
Let's sign some stud-free-agent and get back to where Tiger fans thought the team was going.
Granderson's deal is either a gift or a bad nightmare, depending on your perspective. The Tigers now have young pitching, which, let's be realistic here, is the foundation for a successful team. Teams like Anaheim, New York (Yankees) Boston have realized the importance of pitching, we should too.
Yes, there is another pro hockey team in Michigan, matter of fact, there's a few. The Flint Generals were once the premier team in the IHL/CHL/UHL but they've struggled a bit lately.
I wish that the hardest working guys in Flint could catch a break and make the playoffs.
The Generals are a talented bunch who's roster boasts NCAA Frozen Four champions, a Stanley Cup champion and several other D1/D3 college players.
Hopefully the Generals will be able to overcome their recent slump and restore their winning ways. There's not a lot of good going on Flint -- the Generals are the lone bright spot that local sportsfans have to cheer for.
All in all, I'm proud to be a resident of Michigan and I love my Spartans, Tigers, Pistons, Generals and Wings. I'm hoping Michigan gets their act together for the sake of the Big Ten but that's where I draw the line.
Happy holidays, readers, happy holidays!
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