Monday, October 3, 2011

Sports Nadir?

Just over a year ago I wrote a post asking if I had reached the sports pinnacle? Life was pretty good for my favorite teams. Duke had just won the National Title and was coming back as the consensus favorite to win the 2011 title. The Miami Redhawks were on their way to a MAC championship winning year in football and had just completed back to back Frozen Fours in hockey. The Jazz had just finished a 50+ win season and were adding one of of my favorite players Al Jefferson. The Dolphins were 2-0 with two impressive road wins. The Twins were headed towards the playoffs and adjusting to life as a "big revenue team" with Target Field.

Also, I didn't write about it then, but my fantasy football teams were stacked with the likes of Arian Foster, Peyton Hillis (2 teams), Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, Michael Vick, etc.

Now it looks like their has been a dramatic change for the worse. Below is the update:

Duke basketball - They were blown out in the Sweet 16 to Arizona, which marked the final game for Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Kyrie Irving. While it wasn't a terrible year (going 2-1 against UNC, winning the ACC tournament title) it also wasn't nearly up to the considerably high expectations. Also, it was a terrible year considering UNC won the ACC regular season title, made it to the elite 8 and Roy Williams somehow worked his jedi magic to convince 4 first round picks (Barnes, Marshall, Henson and Zeller) to come back to school. The team can now literally start a roster of 1st round picks because of the addition of James McAdoo. They are going to be good and my only hope is that the small sample size of the NCAA tournament gives them a bad roll of the dice.

Miami Redhawks football - They are 0-4 and not particularly competitive. They lost this weekend to their rival Cincinnati 27-0 despite winning the turnover battle 4 to 2. Their special teams are awful (33.1 average punt in the last game and a kicking game that has missed multiple extra points during the season) and their running game can be summed up by the fact that I rushed for more yards than Miami did against Cincy (38 carries for -3 yards). They have lost as underdogs (to Missouri and Cincy) as a favorite (against Bowling Green) and as a slight underdog to a Minnesota team that has lost to New Mexico State, North Dakota State and by 58 points to Michigan. This is shaping up to be just like the 2007 season, when the Gophers only won one game all year and that just happened to be against Miami.

Miami Redhawks hockey - They lost in the 1st round of the hockey tournament this past year, but they are ranked #1 (or #2 depending on the poll) in the preseason hockey rankings. This is definitely a bright spot among my favorite teams.

Nebraska football - They were destroyed by Wisconsin on Saturday. I lost a small bet to my friend because I thought that at least the Huskers could cover a 7 point spread.

Utah Jazz - They traded away their best player (Deron Williams), missed the playoffs after finishing 39-43 and had Coach Sloan resign in the middle of the season. Their 2nd half collapse was a sight to see as the team almost overnight went from being one of the better 10 teams in the league to being one of the 5 worst. The team has a bunch of young talent, but right now the roster is strangely constructed (too many post players and not enough guards) and their is no guarantee that players like Enes Kanter or Derrick Favors will ever turn into All-Stars. They are just a collection of average to slightly above-average players in a league that requires you to have at least one (normally 2 or 3) superstar.

Miami Dolphins - Last year started off well and ended very poorly. They finished 7-9, which is bad enough to never really feel like they are a playoff team, but good enough to miss out on a top draft pick. In the off-season they kept a coach they should have fired, drafted a center best known for not being able to snap the ball, cut a fullback that was 14 out of 15 in 3rd/4th and 1 situations and decided to hand the offense back to Chad Henne. They have started this year 0-4 and I have decided to root against them in hopes of getting Andrew Luck. Really the best thing you can say about how this team was constructed and has played is that they are much closer to getting the #1 pick than making the playoffs. This year will only be a "success" if they finish with the worst record in the NFL. That is my only positive spin on this year.

Minnesota Twins - The Twins won 94 games last year, which was only 3 wins off the best record in MLB. Of course that still didn't prevent them from getting swept (again) by the Yankees. At the time I was lamenting the fact that I had seen four Twins teams play more than 162 games and zero playoff victories. They were 0-9 in the three series against the A's and Yankees (2). Also, their was the 1-0 loss to the White Sox in Game 163 of the 2008 season. However, at least those teams played good baseball over the course of the year. This year's team won 31 less games than last year and finished as the 2nd worst baseball team in the majors. Every move they made turned against them (example: turning Santana into Gomez into Hardy into Jim Hoey) and the future of the franchise is pretty bleak. Joe Mauer hasn't stayed healthy and Justin Morneau has been worse than a minor league replacement player. They didn't get production from their best players and their worst players (Nishioka, Butera, Tolbert) have been some of the worst MLB players you could ever watch on a day to day basis. It was one of the worst years one can imagine considering the expectations (high), payroll (9th highest in baseball) and end results.

Also, while it isn't a "real" sport team my fantasy football teams are a combined 4-8. I lost Jamaal Charles for the season in two leagues and have had some bounces go the wrong way. For example I lost by half a point in a league because of any number of reasons, but one that stood out was getting a negative point because Alex Henery's missed a 63 yard field goal. This week I lost in a game when I had the 2nd most points in the league, but just happened to be playing the guy with the most points thanks to Aaron Rodgers, Matt Forte and the Ravens D.

I ended last year's post with the comment "Let's see how the Twins and the rest of my favorite teams do in the next 365 days." The answer is not well.

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