Packers. A+ After probably the best playoff game ever played in Lambeau Field besides the Ice Bowl. Ryan Grant let his rawness and inexperience show right away with two early fumbles but then proceeded to rack up over 200 yards in a rout. So pleasing to silence all those Seahawk fans who were deluded enough to think that they could casually stroll in to Green Bay and win no problem. Each team stuck to following its current trend. Seattle's running game continued to be dormant and Matt Hasselbeck continued to prove why we didn't mind trading him for Ahman Green. Green Bay's running game continued to improve (along with offensive line play) and they continued to consistenly make big plays when they needed to. And to think I was worried. But the G-Men do worry me, even though we beat them pretty easy in the 2nd week.
I think Strahan has at least one more Hall of Fame dominant performance in him and next week could be the game where he unleashes it. Putting consistent pressure on Farve is a key objective if you plan on beating the Pack and I think Strahan is still capable of taking over a game. That I think is the only real way that the Pack is ever close to losing Sunday. The Giants are without their best 3 corners against one of the top passing offenses in the league. Unless everyone has a giant simultaneous brain fart I think I can start bumping Public Enemy's "When I Get to Arizona".
Brewers. Cautious B+ The Brewers seem to just be trying not to fuck up the progress we've made by just addressing some minor concerns like replacing some pitching and shoring up the defense. But they keep adding these players tainted with the stain of the 'steroids era': Guillermo Mota? Didn't he serve the longest drug related suspension in MLB history or something like that? Mike Cameron can't even play the first 25 games this season because of testing positive a second time for PED's. Eric Gagne has been named in the Mitchell report. I hope this doesn't somehow throw the good karma we have been having out of whack. This current version of the Brewers was built the hard way, developed thru the farm system, with guys that management thought embodied the blue collar work ethic of this town, not slackers who might give in temptation to cut corners. But at least we did not overpay for any of these guys.
Bucks. D+ After winning 3 in a row against Charlotte, Philly, and Miami the Bucks went out west and got swept by the class of the conference LA, Utah, and Phoenix (even with Redd back from an injury). One positive aspect of the Bucks that I have observed this season has been the progression of Andrew Bogut. His game has improved much over the summer on both ends of the floor. His numbers are up and so, it seems, is his intensity. And he's averaging a double double over the last 5 games. I'm not saying he's the next Olajuwon just glad he is developing into a solid starter, but damn imagine if we had had the foresight to draft Andrew Bynum that year (went 10th).
University of Wisconsin men's basketball. B+ Still cruising along, 4-0 so far in Big Ten play(No. 17 , AP Poll). Seems like they are really starting to be able to turn the screws on teams they should beat. The Big Ten is a weak conference though. There is tremendous drop off in quality after the top three teams. I fear this play against mediocre competition may come back to haunt the Badgers come tournament time, even though they have showed what they are capable of dispatching Texas in Austin earlier this season.
On another note I've been wondering lately: is the Big Ten in danger of becoming totally irrelevant as a sports conference. It seems like every year they lose more respect, especially with Ohio State getting blown out in the BCS title game two years in a row. Could they ever be stripped of their power conference status? I think this calls for a seperate post to delve into this . . . to be continued.
Marquette University men's basketball. B+ Thursday's game at Louisville will be a good measure of how good this team really is. they are still ranked 13th in the AP and stand at 3rd in the Big East so far, but if they can go into the house that Denny Crum built and beat a so far inconsistent but talented Cardinals team that is now back at full strength with Padgett and Palacios that will be impressive. The Warriors will have to pick up on their rebounding and inside play to get this one.