All posts by Mitchell Gatzke

Michigan Football: Things are not as bad as They Seem

Saturday night sucked.  Braylon Edwards was correct in his assessment.  And while I totally agree with him, I must admit that things are not as bad as they seemed while watching that sick joke of a game.  Still, this needs to be a wakeup call because it looked like the Wolverines slept through most of their opener. Continue reading Michigan Football: Things are not as bad as They Seem

Not Another List of Big Games: Week 1 (Pt. 2)

Yesterday, I told you there are a lot of big games in Week 1.  Today, we keep it rolling.  Here are some notes on three more games you’ll be watching this holiday weekend: Continue reading Not Another List of Big Games: Week 1 (Pt. 2)

Not Another List of Big Games: Week 1 (Pt. 1)

The powers that be must have read my complaint about last year’s Week 1 schedule because there are a lot of big games kicking off the 2018 campaign.  Here’s what you should know about each one going in:

Continue reading Not Another List of Big Games: Week 1 (Pt. 1)

The Preseason Slate of Games Made Only for True College Football Fans

College football season doesn’t truly begin until that first full Saturday of games.  This year, that’s September 1.  Some of us refuse to wait that long, though.  The good news for us is that we don’t have to wait.  It doesn’t matter that it’s Wyoming battling New Mexico State.  College football is college football (at least when it’s still August and we’re starved for it.)

So, I’m here with some reasons to dig into the seemingly unappealing and unimportant, appetite-whetting menu of taste-tester games taking place a week ahead of that most glorious of Saturdays.  While there’s not much to get overly excited about on August 25, when you’re this hungry, you’ll make do with just about anything.  At some point, you’re sure to be asking yourself, “What the hell am I watching right now?”  Well, here’s what: Continue reading The Preseason Slate of Games Made Only for True College Football Fans

Scott Boras Has a Point But It’s Not His To Make

Scott Boras is, in many ways, the archenemy of all Major League Baseball owners.  His job is to persuade them to spend their money by signing his clients.  He is very good at his job.  Let’s be clear; when Boras says MLB is being destroyed by the “rebuilding” approach, he says that with the goal of getting fans riled up so they put more pressure on the owners to go out and spend.

Continue reading Scott Boras Has a Point But It’s Not His To Make

Don’t Judge a Broadcaster by his Playing Career

I despised Alex Rodriguez toward the end of his playing career.  He was a Yankee.  He was busted for using performance-enhancing drugs.  I was young, still considered the New York Yankees the “Evil Empire,” and couldn’t understand why anyone would cheat the game of baseball by taking banned substances.  I don’t want to get into the whole PED discussion.  That’s not why I’m here.  I will say that I was one of the many people calling for then-commissioner Bud Selig to hand down the dreaded lifetime ban in 2013.  “A-Roid” was easy to hate.

Continue reading Don’t Judge a Broadcaster by his Playing Career

Ohio State Lost and It Doesn’t Matter

The Ohio State Buckeyes were served a cold dish of revenge by Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners this past Saturday night.  The offense found the end zone just once.  The defense gave up 28 points in the second half, including 21 unanswered which turned a three-point lead into a three-score deficit.

They were bottled up by a Big 12 defense and exposed by a playmaking quarterback, at home, under the lights, in front of a national audience.  After the game, Mayfield decided to take a victory lap that ended with him planting the OU flag right in the middle of Ohio Stadium.

As a Michigan fan surrounded by Buckeye nuts at the time, I absolutely loved it.  Really though, it’s not going to end up meaning much when it comes to the playoff picture.  Sure, there will be an effect on the team.  Of course, this will go a long way in molding them for the rest of the season.  All of a sudden, the sense of urgency has skyrocketed.  It will feel like every game could be, in essence, the last one that truly matters for this program that sets its bar so high.

Things will seem much different after suffering this crushing blow.  In reality, however, this season started with that heightened sense of urgency for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.  We know what happened last year.  tOSU snuck into the final four despite not winning its conference (or even its division, for that matter).  It was the first time in the College Football Playoff’s short history that had been done.  Considering the way the Buckeyes rewarded the committee for that decision, it may very well be the last time it happens, too.

So, you come into the 2017 season, if you’re the Buckeyes, knowing that you must win your conference championship game to earn a spot in the top four.  The definition of insanity is yadda, yadda, and you can’t expect the committee to give you the same chance when you squandered it so spectacularly the last go around.  Still, win the Big Ten and you’re virtually guaranteed a spot in the dance.

Here’s the thing: losing to Oklahoma, even if it was by a wide margin, in your own barn, in primetime, in front of the whole country, doesn’t do a damn thing to harm your original goal of winning the Big Ten.  In fact, I would argue that taking such a big L actually motivates, and ends up helping what is still a relatively young squad.

Ohio State fell all the way to number eight in this week’s updated AP Top 25.  That’s still well within striking distance.  Army, UNLV, Rutgers, Maryland, and Nebraska are the competition awaiting the Buckeyes the next five weeks.  Then they have a bye week to prepare a little revenge of their own against Penn State.  Please forgive me for not worrying about where their record will stand when they welcome in the Nittany Lions on October 28.

There are plenty of lessons to be learned from Saturday night’s failure.  If there’s one man who’s going to teach his players how to correct their mistakes, it’s Urban Meyer.  The man’s made a career out of paying special attention to the tiny details and making the necessary adjustments for his team.  I have no doubt he will do the same here, and the Buckeyes will waltz through the next month and a half ahead of the showdown with Penn State.

Ohio State fans are upset.  I get that.  Nobody likes getting beat by two scores on their own turf, at night, with everyone else at home watching.  And they’re really not used to getting bullied in the ‘Shoe.  Still, I don’t see how dropping this game amounts to anything more than a bruised ego and an extra chip on the old shoulder.

Scheduling these massive early season clashes against other national championship contenders does nothing but help nowadays.  Win and you’ve got an impressive, pearly white feather in your cap.  The Buckeyes had just that last fall.  Lose and, really, nothing happens.  You only narrow your focus to what you set out to do anyway, taking home a conference championship.

The rest of the Big Ten had better watch out.  Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners just pissed off the baddest dude on their playground.

E-mail Mitch at [email protected] and follow him on twitter @GreatGatzke.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Saying No to Little Caesar’s Arena in 2017-18

The ice is in.  It’s been painted.  The first octopus has been tossed onto it, scraped off of it, and twirled around in the air over it.  We’re barreling toward the opening of Detroit’s latest attraction, Little Caesar’s Arena, the new home of the Red Wings and Pistons.

I’m excited.  I think we all are, here in Detroit.  It’s been four years since the city filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, and the transformation from then to now has been swift.  Make no mistake, there is still plenty of work to be done.  There always will be.  The public school system is at the top of the list (as it is for most metropolitan areas, if we’re being fair).  But those who were here 10 years ago cannot deny that things are much better now than they were then.

Continue reading Saying No to Little Caesar’s Arena in 2017-18