1-8-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've made it... barely. Though not all of you are dealing with the extreme cold that we here in the upper Midwest are braving, it does seem unseasonably cool across most of the country. And since the more tropical climes that some of you are used to are woefully unprepared for any un-natural dip in the temperature, it seems everybody is feeling some effect.

Though I still think those of you south of the Mason-Dixon line should quit your bitching. But that's just me!

Today's going to a slight hybridization of the DFTU. Since I'm not feeling particularly inspired to talk college hoops this week, we'll stick to the wild and then have a few, appropriate comments about last night's college football championship game.

Sound good? I thought so too.

Let's do this!

”I know there are people who do not love their fellow man, and I hate people like that!”
- Tom Lehrer (1928 - ), American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, and mathematician

Wow. Now *that's* a resume! I still say it comes down to one of my basic philosophies: “I just don't like people that much.” Be honest... are there really all that many people you care for? I didn't think so.

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Moving on...

We've reached the end of another week. And that means it's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment...

Dan's Favorite Teams Update

Minnesota Wild: The Wild are 21-20-3, which gives them 45 points. They're still 4th in the Northwest Division, and are 11th in the Western Conference.

After the Wild finally broke their four-game losing streak with a win over Calgary, they now find themselves eight points out of a playoff spot, still with three teams to leap-frog.

I guess if I'm going to find the positive here, it's that there's only three teams to pass, even though the point-gap has grown wider.

As good as their December was overall, it ended with a pair of losses to Anaheim and Los Angeles. And the losing continued in January, dropping a game to New Jersey in Jacques Lemaire's return to the X, and a getting shellacked in Chicago (ooh-boy are the Blackhawks good, or what?).

The problem with dropping four straight like that for a team like the Wild is that they were already in such a hole from their early-season doldrums, that they really can't afford stretches like that. They can drop a couple here or there and get away with it. But four-game droughts like that are problematic.

Now that we've hit 2010, that trade deadline in March is suddenly a lot closer than it appeared just two weeks ago. And considering that it's just a few days after the end of the Olympics, there could be a flurry of movement this year.

The question is, are the Wild going to be close enough to the playoffs to be buyers, or will they be far enough back that they'll turn into sellers?

It's a unique question for the Wild, since the previous regime was never terribly active around the trade deadline. And considering the turn-over we saw once the new group took over, a “fire-sale” isn't out of the realm of possibility.

When you throw in the fact that this market is absolutely aching for a winner, the notion of said “fire-sale” becomes even more tricky.

I don't know what the Wild are going to do. The last report I read had GM Chuck Fletcher going through the roster and conversing with players about their interest in remaining in Minnesota long-term. What bearing those conversations will have on the direction the teams decides to take is anyone's guess.

Personally, I'm hoping they're able to hang in there and keep the roster intact. There are a lot of guys on this team who are fun to watch, and it'd be too bad to have them get traded.

That being said, it's also clear that the rosters going to need some serious upgrades if the Wild are going to be competitive in the West long term, so maybe it's better to get to the getting.

Can you tell I'm of several minds on the subject? This team is like that in a lot of ways. They'll give you hope, then depress you for a while, then give you hope again. It's frustrating. But for those of us who love hockey, what else can we do?

I'm not rooting for the Blackhawks dammit. I'm just not!

The Wild are back in action tomorrow night as they host Chicago. Then next week they host Pittsburgh on Monday, Vancouver on Wednesday, travel to St. Louis Thursday before jetting Phoenix next Saturday.

Wow. Have fun with that boys!

That leaves us with a Championship Game to discuss...

Alabama is your 2009 BCS National Champion...

But what a bummer of a way for them to win it. Sure, I'm glad my Alabama pick held up. But that's not the way anybody wanted it happen.

It's not the Tide's fault. It was a legal hit that knocked Texas QB Colt McCoy out early in the game. Alabama did their job and are deserving national Champions.

Like any other sport, football has it's fair share of flukey occurrences. And certainly nobody saw McCoy's injury coming. But injuries are an unfortunate part of the game. They can't be 100% prevented. They can only be dealt with.

But there's only so much Texas could do to deal with McCoy's absence. I mentioned on Wednesday that McCoy was the whole of Texas' offensive production. His back up, Freshman Garrett Gilbert, did as good a job as you could have expected. And Texas' defense deserves a ton of credit for keeping the Tide within reach, so they could come back and make a game of it. But the bottom line is there was just no way that Alabama was going to lose after Colt got hurt.

And maybe that's what made last night's game so dull. Alabama's not an offensive machine to begin with. Once they got that lead and knew they didn't have McCoy to contend with, they could afford to run a vanilla offense. They could afford to hold Ingram out once he started having cramps. They could afford to rest on the laurels of their defense and know they were going to win the game.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think it makes their title any less legitimate. I just wish we could've seen the best of Texas versus an Alabama team that's probably (though not “clearly”) the best team in the country. Maybe it wouldn't have been a thriller of a game. But it would have to have been better than the dreck we saw last night.

None the less, congratulations to Alabama. The history geek in me is glad to see a former national power work their way back to the top. Even if I'm not the biggest fan of their carpet-bagging coach!

That's going to do it for this week. Have a safe and (relatively) warm weekend! I'll be back on Monday with more of the goodness you've come to know and... well at least tolerate!

Until then, thanks for reading!

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