THE Ohio State University has THE Urban Meyer… WE GET IT.

Urban Meyer….urban meyer…..URBAN MEYER….uRbAn MeYeR…..

Nabru Reyem.

No matter how it’s spelled out it still sounds the same to me: like that of nails across a chalkboard; the screech of my alarm clock; Jim Carrey’s “most annoying sound in the world” from Dumb & Dumber. Or maybe it’s more like the less intense, but equally-aggravating sound of my dog loudly lapping water out of his dish, or the click-click-click I’ve heard when trying to start a car with a dead battery. Let’s just say it’s something like any of the above.

It hasn’t been easy growing up in Ohio while being anti-Ohio State. Just when I thought things were looking up, URBAN MEYER enters the scene.

The worst part about it is that I can’t get away from it. The television, the radio, passers-by in the grocery store, and FACEBOOK. Facebook is the worst! I’m not going to go count, but there have easily been hundreds of posts by my friends in the past few days about this man. Of course that includes a couple multiple offenders with 10+ posts about him (calm down, please). Even a relaxing trip to the dry sauna after a recent workout was interrupted by Urb’ Talk. I can’t even sweat in peace!

I know, I know. I live in OHIO…. COLUMBUS, OHIO…. what do I expect, right? Well, let me tell you… I’ve recently come to the conclusion that all the rain we’ve had here in Columbus the past few days is not rainwater. It’s actually the Urban Meyer-induced saliva of the collective Buckeye Nation pouring down upon us all… and it’s disgusting. I did not expect this.

Now to all of you Buckeyes fans whom I’ve offended and are now muttering,”she’s just jealous” to yourselves, I say this: Darn right, I’m jealous! I wanted Urban Meyer for Notre Dame back in the 2005 when the Irish kicked Ty Willingham to the curb! Meyer is fantastic. He’s a winner, and a heck of a recruiter. Meyer was recruiting talent in Florida long before he actually coached there. He’ll be drawing that Floridian talent to Ohio faster than his hiring made Buckeyes fans forget they just lost to Michigan. Meyer’s resume speaks volumes about what he can do to a program. Let alone a program like Ohio State’s that is typically top-ten anyway.

That being said, I’m curious about how long all my neighbors here in the cap city will be able to enjoy the fruits of Urban’s labor. While his résumé definitely has the goods in terms of wins, it also shows that Meyer might be a bit fickle. Not to be confused with Luke Fickell, who has invested over 14 years in the OSU program, yet most fans couldn’t care less about.

Urban Meyer’s first head coaching position was at Bowling Green State University (my alma mater!). Meyer, who is also known as “Urban Legend” around Bowling Green, went 17-6 for the Falcons. After assuring BG fans he wasn’t going anywhere, he was off to Utah. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. Bigger school, more money, another rung higher on the coaching ladder. Still, don’t say something and go back on your word (not to be salty or anything ;)). However, back to Utah. Meyer posted a 22-2 record over two seasons for the Utes. Yet, even with the perfect 12-0 tally he posted in his second season there, he didn’t have a shot at a national championship.  That’s probably why there was a clause placed in his contract extension with Utah after his first season. The clause allowed Meyer to leave Utah without penalty if he were hired at either Michigan, Ohio State, or Notre Dame. Well, he went to Florida anyway. At UF, Meyer won two Southeastern Conference championships and two national championships. Following a dismal 8 -5 2010 season with the Gators, Meyer resigned citing health concerns and the desire to spend more time with his family.

This season Meyer took on a role at ESPN as a college football analyst. As with most things he does, Urban did a great job. In a statement released early in November, Meyer said, “I am very happy with my role at ESPN. I have no plans to return to coaching at this time.” He followed that up with a statement late last week in which he insisted, ‎”I have not been offered any job nor is there a deal in place. I plan on spending Thanksgiving with my family and will not comment on this any further.”

I know coaches lie. Not just to the media, but to fans, players, recruits, and pretty much just about everyone else at that level. One would think, however, that if Ohio State was trying to restore its image in college football it might go with a coach with a little more credibility behind his words. I’m sure Meyer’s speech after he accepted the position and his reference to Ohio State being his “dream job” gave Buckeyes fans warm fuzzies and a sense of security. Unfortunately, this is not the only destination he’s referred to with that term. In 2008, Urban told a Florida radio show that Notre Dame is “still my dream job; that hasn’t changed.” He’s said that of Notre Dame multiple times. All I’m saying is that I don’t want to see any tears or melt downs due to disbelief if Meyer scoots out of Columbus before you all expect him to. Expecting him to stay here and be that storied coach of the next decade or so that you all are imagining is about as logical as expecting Kim Kardashian’s next marriage to last just as long. Especially when you know that he’s already mentioned other dream destinations.

Now about all those pesky Buckeyes making headlines for breaking laws and violating NCAA rules. Will Urban Meyer fix that scene too? According to The Orlando Sentinel, 25 of Meyer’s players were arrested a total of 31 times during his six years with the Gators. You be the judge.

Of course, if this relationship is short-lived, I know Ohio State fans will be okay. These fans have shown they have a short memory; or selective, rather. “What loss to Michigan?” one might ask. I forgot, only the seven Buckeye victories before this season actually count, right? Nevermind the fact that in this rivalry it is Michigan that owns the longest win streak (9), or that Michigan also holds the largest margin of victory (86-0), and Michigan also leads the series by 15 victories.

Remember that Jim Tressel guy? Wonder where he is these days, not that anyone cares. I bet the people of Columbus could make a record-breaking donation to a second-hand sweatervest store, if one existed. It’s not like anyone would be caught dead in one of those here. They are SO 2002.

Oh wait, I have an even better one! Remember Maurice Clarett? If I had a dollar for every time an Ohio State fan gloated about Clarett in 2002… I would have a lot of dollars! Urban Meyer is clearly on a completely different plane than Clarett, but Buckeyes fans, learn a lesson from this one. Don’t become that fan that buys into a figure so much you’d sell your grandma if you knew it meant keeping him around. Chances are he wouldn’t do the same for you, or your school.

Now that Negative Nancy and Jealous Janet have said what they needed to say, I will be the bigger person here ;). Team loyalties aside and simply as a football fan, I’m excited for this. The addition of Meyer to the Big Ten is exactly what it needed. He’s raising the bar higher for the conference. He raises the bar for coaches in college football, period. But let’s be honest, I’m not the only one tired of the SEC running the show!

As far as the NCAA violations and players in trouble are concerned, again, as a football fan, I HOPE that Urban puts an end to it. College football has been muddied by scandals and drama, especially this season. It takes away from the sport and it takes the attention away from the players and coaches who deserve it. I’m also tired of hearing “we didn’t have so-and-so” as an excuse for losing. If you recruit a stud you get all the things that come with him. If you recruit a thug you get everything that comes with him too. Own it both ways.

Soon enough, we will all see what kind of players Urban Meyer brings to Columbus. I’m as interested as the next person. Intrigued, even. Good job, Ohio State. You certainly have our attention.

For the rest of us football fans outside the Ohio State bubble, we must remember, a little competition never hurt anybody! After all, you’ve got to beat the best to be the best.

In closing, I’d like to give a shout out to some scarlet and gray Bucks whom I will ALWAYS cheer for (just to clarify, these Bucks are the kind with antlers). My high school, Buckeye Central, will play for a state championship this weekend!! GO GET ‘EM BOYS!! 🙂

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Poultry, Pigskin, and Good Ol’ Sibling Rivalry… Yes, Please!

Ah, Thanksgiving. A day for family and food. Toss in a competitive board game or a pick-up game of backyard football and you have all the makings of a great American holiday.

Oh, if it were only that simple. After catching up and reflecting on the year passed, the games begin… and out come the horns. Backyard football was never a favorite option among my family, my sisters in particular. We used to play Sequence, a strategic board-and-card game. Combating a relentless turkey hangover, we’d sit, and we’d battle. Dignity, pride and bragging rights on the line. Intense. Well, it was for us! But not compared to the Thanksgiving Day competition that one particular family has planned this year. Their backyard Turkey Bowl will include over 70,000 screaming fans, grown men chasing each other like hungry neanderthals, and a spot in the history books.

The subjects of this Turkey-Day extravaganza: John and Jim Harbaugh, the first brothers to be NFL head coaches. Sons of long-time college football coach, Jack Harbaugh, these two have continued the football bloodline. While John and Jim were growing up, the Harbaugh family moved 12 times as Jack took new coaching jobs. As you can imagine, the brothers grew very close. Of course with that statistic, they didn’t have much of a choice BUT to be friends! After high school both Harbaugh boys played college ball, John as a defensive back at Miami University (Ohio), and Jim as a quarterback at the University of Michigan. Jim continued playing in the NFL where his career spanned from 1987-2001.

With football resumes like that, the competition has probably been simmering between these two turkeys since their births (just one year and three months apart)! I should point out, I use the term “turkey” here with no disrespect :). I am certain, however, that both men have made each other better at both playing and coaching football throughout the years. John was very supportive of Jim’s decision to take the San Fran job. “He loves competing at the highest level, and the NFL’s the highest level of football. […] he’s built for the job and I think he’s the right guy for the job,” the eldest Harbaugh said of his brother earlier this year.

The other brothers who can closest relate to the Harbaughs’ situation today are Rex and Rob Ryan. Rex, the head coach of the New York Jets, and twin Rob, a defensive coordinator now with the Dallas Cowboys, tend to handle their sibling rivalry a little less gracefully. Basically, they (especially Rex) use press conferences to bicker with each other like two elementary-age girls who have unfortunately been given microphones. Their nit-picking knows no boundaries. Rex has even gone far enough to dress up as Rob for a press conference before the Jets took on Rob’s then-team, the Browns. Maybe that’s why Rob felt it acceptable to openly address Rex’s foot fetish with the media? Hard telling.

Fortunately, the Harbaughs have steered clear of the Ryan brothers’ path of mutual humiliation thus far. Of course, they haven’t played each other just yet. When asked of a face-off with Jim shortly after he was hired in January, John said, “It’ll be fun (to face each other). It’s not going to be new for us. We’ve been doing it for quite a long time. We shared the same bedroom for 18 years, so we’ve been wrestling around for quite a long time. It’ll be fun to get back at it in this way, whenever that comes up.”

Well, it’s finally come up. Jim’s squad made the three-time zone leap to Baltimore yesterday, which makes for a quick game-day turn around in this short week. Jim has this to say on the long trek to the east coast,”I definitely think it was very considerate of the NFL to reunite the brothers on Thanksgiving. I think that’s going to be very difficult for our team. There’s no question that we drew the short end of the straw on this one.”

Sibling translation: “NOT FAIR!” 😉

“Harbowl” aside, I’m loving this matchup. The Ravens are perched atop the AFC North with a 7-3 record, while the rookie, Harbaugh, has led his 49ers to a 9-1 tally. That’s impressive, as is. It’s even more impressive considering that they haven’t had a winning season in 8 years!

My guess is that this will be close and low-scoring. Both squads boast impressive defensive units, with the Ravens holding a slight edge. Turnovers will prove costly and I wouldn’t be surprised if this comes down to special teams play.

My pick? I’m going to go with Jim & the Niners!! While John has the coaching experience in the NFL, Jim has 15 years as a player, which definitely helps. Jim is a little more animated, and I love his energy and intensity. I think the 49ers will play with the same urgency shown by their coach. San Francisco gets the victory and evens up the head-to-head record with Baltimore at 2-2!

Another interesting tidbit to this story line is that Jim and John’s parents, Jack and Jackie, will mark their 50th wedding anniversary on Friday. How’s that for two major milestones in two days?! Not too shabby, Harbaugh Family!

Tebow: The Newest Hunk/Hero (and those that came before him)!

Last week, I ended my post with a series of questions concerning Joe Paterno, including whether the Penn State staple would be absent from the sidelines this past Saturday. The answer? Yes. And believe it or not, the sun rose again on Sunday. I admit, I was as intrigued as the next person by the scandal (obviously). However, I must be honest when I say I would rather discuss a possible collaboration of Justin Bieber and the Jonas Brothers before having one more conversation that includes “Paterno”, “Penn State”, or “Jerry Sandusky”. Thank you, ESPN, and every other news outlet (including myself) for covering this earth-shattering story around the clock. Curtains on this subject.

Moving on… I would like to steer away from the hard news and seriousness of last week’s post and focus on something a little more intriguing. This week’s story will be what the folks in the news industry refer to as fluff. In other words, we’re going to talk about the hunks of football because it makes us feel good. 🙂

(Men who follow this blog, I will not be offended if you veer away now.)

Today’s entry will not only be about the hotties, per se, but also the other just-plain-nice-guys that we find ourselves rooting for simply because they’re so darn sweet.

Let’s start with the most-talked about quarterback in the league, Mr. Tim Tebow. Tonight, Tebow had the perfect stage to continue his turn-around of the Bronco’s season, and another opportunity to shake his critics. Denver had posted a 1-4 record when Tebow was finally given the reigns against Miami in week 7. Now? They are 5-5, only a half-game back in their division, and basically they’re the hottest thing since leg warmers and knee-high boots. Didn’t know that was hot? Well, it is. Anyway, Tebow has continued to make things happen HIS way. Although, I will concede that his throwing motion doesn’t look half as good as his physical appearance. He entered this game with a 44.8 completion percentage while averaging 86.4 passing yards per game. That’s awful. However, if a quarterback can rush for the amount of yards that he’s able to each game, while winning four out of five outings, I don’t care if he passes the football underhand… I’d take it!

Next we’ll move on to the Tebow critics. Merril Hoge, aka Scrooge, and a number of other ESPN and NFL analysts can BACK OFF! Whether they like it or not, this not-so-tiny Tim is writing his own holiday story. Tebow is finding a way to win, albeit ugly at times. But that’s better than losing ugly. Ahem… BROWNS! And I bet you Colts fans would prefer ten ugly wins to the even uglier goose egg you have in your win column at the moment. Am I right?

Tebow

Bottom line is this: I’ve never cared about Tim Tebow’s career any more than I cared about the calorie content in the peanut butter pie I ate last night (which is not at all if you were wondering – it was worth it!). Now that his college-stud days are over, I find myself rooting for the guy just because I feel like people want to see him fail. Even when he wins he gets criticized more than most losing quarterbacks of the week! He’s a good guy. He stands up for what he believes in. Shouldn’t we want and will a guy like him to succeed? Well, thanks to all of his nay-sayers, Tebow has a new fan in me. The phrase, “keep hating, you’re making me famous” isn’t reserved just for teenage girls on Facebook anymore, right Tim?

Next hottie? Kurt Warner. THIS one goes out to my mother :). Of course she would say she likes him because he’s such a nice guy, but let’s be honest, Mom, he’s not too hard on the eyes either. My mom watched a special on Warner a couple of years ago and heard his story. Let me just say, she was pretty taken by the guy! Click here to hear his story for yourself. There have been SEVERAL different occasions since then in which she has referenced her “favorite” quarterback. Each of those times (at least the discussions she has had around me), she’s asked,

Warner

“What’s his name again? You know, the quarterback that Annette (her friend) and I like?”

“Kurt Warner?” I offer.

“Yeah, that’s it! Kurt Warner! ”

So, she may not know his name, but he IS her favorite! I can already tell you that if he were still playing, she would be rooting for him, no questions asked…. as soon as she’d realize he’s the one on the field.

Quinn

The next stud on the list just can’t go without mentioning. Yes, I have already discussed him on here, and yes, I already receive crap about this guy too: Brady Quinn. You may have gathered from previous posts that I’m a Notre Dame fan. During my college days Quinn led the Irish to some of the best seasons I can remember. He holds 36 records at Notre Dame and won the Maxwell Award his senior year. The Maxwell Trophy, though not as prestigious as the Heisman Trophy, is given to the best player in the country according to a panel of NCAA head coaches and members of the sports media. In other words, he is not terrible, and no, I do not like him just because of his looks… although they surely don’t hurt. 🙂

Notice how I’m already defending my bias for this quarterback. Let me tell you exactly why, and exactly why I will admit, yes, the guy also wins points with me because he’s incredibly good-looking. It’s because with most of the men out there, he LOSES points because he’s incredibly good-looking! In other words, they’re jealous. The same goes for Tim Tebow. He’s an attractive, positive, and faith-driven man yet sadly enough, a lot of negative people out there don’t like that. You know what they say… misery loves company!

Ultimately ladies, in your own football world you can like (or dislike) anyone for whatever reason you choose. If you don’t have one already, your assignment is to select your favorite player. Have no shame. Think he looks good in his tight pants? Perfect! Think he’s a nice guy and deserves some support? That works too! Try to make it a point to either watch him play this weekend, or at least see how he did afterwards.

In closing, we’re going to take a poll. Who’s the most attractive guy in the football? If your favorite is not listed, add him in the “other” line. Yes, coaches are allowed too. However, as mentioned before, I’d appreciate it if you could all show some restraint and leave Joe Paterno out of this.

😉

Joe Pa’s Faux Pas

Well, Kim Kardashian, you’ve had a full week in the headlines, compliments of your divorce drama. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) for you, there’s a new household name in the limelight this week: Joe Paterno. No, he doesn’t have his own fragrance, clothing line, or…. ahem…. tape…. but he does have a few other things that are kind of a big deal: the most wins (409) of any coach in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A college football), a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame, and most importantly, the respect and love of thousands of people across the country. At least he did up until this week.

Amidst recent allegations concerning a former staff member of Paterno, Jerry Sandusky, good ol’ Joe Pa has found himself in a situation that makes Kim K’s latest news seem EVEN less important (is it possible?!). Even Jim Tressel’s “you should have known better”-moment fades instantaneously in the shadow of this doozie. Yes, it’s that bad.

Sandusky, a former player of Paterno, served as an assistant coach at Penn State from 1969 until his retirement in 1999 (defensive coordinator from ’77-’99). He was indicted on 40 counts of sexual abuse involving eight boys over a span of 15 years. What does this have to do with Paterno? According to reports, allegations of sexual abuse date back to as early as 1994. However in 2002, current assistant coach Mike McQueary (who was a graduate assistant at the time) witnessed Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in the team’s locker room shower. I’m still wondering why McQueary didn’t do something to stop it in that very moment? He, did however, tell Paterno about it the next day. The head coach apparently fulfilled his “legal requirement” by reporting the incident to university administrators, despite not relaying the information he had to law enforcement.

Hold up. 2002?….. 2002?! This happened almost a decade ago, and according to ESPN.com, Sandusky still had access to Penn State facilities, including the weight room, as recently as last week! SO many people dropped the ball here it’s hard to know exactly where to start. Bottom line is, these ADULTS had an obligation to the poor children that have been victimized by this Sandusky creep. Not to mention, hundreds of other young children who have been left in the same danger since Penn State officials chose to turn a blind eye to Sandusky’s actions. They knowingly allowed a sexual predator to walk free and even continued allowing him access to the facilities where these crimes took place. Yeah, yeah…. I know these are just allegations at this point, but COME ON! Joe Paterno is just one of many competent adults that should have done more. Believe me, I think the others are just as much to blame, if not more. But Joe? He’s the FACE of the University. He is Penn State! You would think a man in his position, who has walked a straight line all these years (only one minor NCAA violation in 62 seasons at Penn State), would recognize the magnitude of this situation.

Then again, maybe he did. Maybe he knew precisely the impact a scandal like this could have on his beloved University.

A few years ago I spent three days in State College, Pennsylvania (home to Penn State University), while playing in a volleyball tournament there. My teammates and our families explored the quaint little college town as much as our schedule allowed during our visit. I loved it. When I heard the news of this story however, I thought back to a conversation my parents had with a State College local about Joe Paterno during our trip. The man said every once in a while, he’d see Paterno cruising around town in his “old” car. He said that Paterno, a very modest man, (whom we know makes over half a million dollars a year, a modest salary for a coach of his stature) “pours” his money right back into the University and the community. This man was clearly proud of his coach, as he should have been. Joe Paterno’s loyalty to Penn State University is without question.

He has proven his loyalty for decades. In 1969, he turned down the head coach position for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He turned down the New York Giants multiple times. Add to the list the University of Michigan. He actually accepted an offer by the New England Patriots at one point, only to back out of it three weeks later to return to Penn State. He’s never been about the money. He’s always been about Penn State.

That considered, was it his loyalty to the University that held Joe back from sharing his knowledge with law enforcement? Could he not bear the thought of his word, his decision to step forward, bringing shame to his darling, Penn State? I really don’t think it was his loyalty to Sandusky. One can only imagine the moral dilemma this man has been faced with, and probably burdened by all these years.

Ultimately, Joe decided to protect his school and his program rather than the children involved. He had a responsibility as an adult and a role model to do the right thing. In this case, it was the head coach (along with other school administrators) that fumbled.

Still, Penn State students and fans stand behind their coach. The video below was taken last night as Joe Pa leaned out his front door to thank the hundreds of supporters who had gathered at his residence.

This whole situation is incredibly sad. My heart hurts for the victims and their families, first and foremost. That being said, it’s a sad time for the State College community, and the sports community in general. Another one of the greats now has a tarnished story. It’s always a sad realization when you learn that someone you’ve held up so high isn’t as admirable as you once thought he or she was.

The Nittany Lions will take the field some time before noon this Saturday, hosting the newest member of the Big Ten, No. 19 Nebraska. For the first time since 1950, will Paterno be absent?

What do you think about this situation? Is the heat Paterno is under jusitfied? If so, what consequences should he face?

And you thought YOUR relationship was complicated…

Have you ever had your heart broken? Believed in something too much, too soon? Have you ever realized perhaps a little too late that you’re in over your head? Very few of us, if any, have been exempt from heartbreak throughout our lifetime. Think about your first big break up. Now consider a few words to describe how you felt at that time: Devastation? Confusion? Hopelessness? Of course it’s the great times in that relationship that make the loss so tough to swallow, right? Or maybe it’s the potential you saw in the object of your affection? So goes the life of the underdog fan. Last week, a reader made a comment that really made me think. He stated, “MOST relationships do not last as long as that developed at an early age with a favorite team.”

I had never really thought about my connections to my teams in that term: relationships. Then suddenly… the lights dim. Over the inspiring melody of the Rudy theme song (play this for optimal experience), I picture myself at my first Notre Dame game: 1998. 12 years-old. Losing feeling in my toes and buried deeply under my stadium blanket. Thrilled as I watch Autry Denson float across the field en route to his school record 4,318 rushing yards. The Golden Dome is behind me, Touchdown Jesus to my left. Man, it doesn’t get better than this! I’m officially smitten. Fade to black…. [and turn off Rudy]

Fast forward to October 15, 2005. The No. 9-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish host the No. 1-ranked USC Trojans as the Irish hope to avenge literal butt-kickings at the hands of the Trojans the previous three seasons. Notre Dame dons the sacred green jerseys. I didn’t have to be at the game to feel the excitement. Fourth quarter. USC trails by three and are just a few yards away from the end zone. There is only enough time on the game clock for one more play. Trojan quarterback Matt Leinart (#11) takes the snap, keeps the ball and hits a wall of Irish defenders at the goal line. Enter: Reggie Bush. Play this. Leinart twists, turns, and throws all of his 230-some pounds toward the end zone as Bush (#5) grabs his quarterback by the jersey and PUSHES him in from behind (if you were wondering, NO, you can’t do that). The result, a play that will go down in history as the “Bush Push,” and a 34-31 USC victory. The result for me? Devastation. Confusion. Hopelessness… maybe some tears… [end Nazareth song]

The Irish have lost far more big games than they’ve won in recent years. Believe me, I’ve felt the heartbreak, along with thousands of fellow Irish fans. The ups and downs of this courtship have been utterly draining at times. You can probably relate in some way, shape or form, right? However, my love for the Irish still doesn’t qualify me as an underdog fan…. my affection for the Browns does. While my relationship with Notre Dame is definitely more serious and passionate, I care enough for Cleveland to admit that they’ve hurt me too. If the Cleveland Browns were a boyfriend, he’d be one that you don’t expect a lot out of, so when he does something even slightly nice for you, you get overly excited. You think, “maybe he’s changed!” This is when the “Believeland” shirts come out. Maybe THIS season will be different. The thing is, we really do believe that! No joke! Just like the ever-loyal and faithful girlfriend, Cleveland fans never give up on their Browns – no matter how many times they mess things up! Call it a dead-end relationship if you want. We have too much invested in this to let it go.

Well, the Browns dropped from 3-3 (which, let’s be honest Browns fans, we weren’t too upset about) to 3-4 with a loss to San Francisco this past Sunday. While I would have loved to have been above .500 for at least a week or so, I have to admit, I’d rather take a loss to the 49ers than one to the Steelers. Or the Patriots. Or any other team that is used to winning. The NFL has been great this year in that a slew of underdogs have been extremely successful thus far.

In the NFC, San Francisco is atop the West at 6-1, having already matched their win total from last season (they finished 6-10). After a perfect 4-0 start, the Detroit Lions are now 6-2, with one of those losses coming from San Fran. The Lions were also 6-10 last year, and an even more dismal 2-14 in 2009.

In the AFC the Cincinnati Bengals have gone from a 4-12 worst-finish in the North a season ago to 5-2 so far in 2011. However, the gems of the underdog studs this season in my eyes are the Buffalo Bills! They’ve also improved a 4-12 2010 record to 5-2 thus far. The difference here? This squad has not had a winning season since 2004! If I had to put any group of fans in the same category as Browns fans, it would be that of the Bills. These fans even sit in the face-frosting, painfully cold, crappy, lake-effect weather to (usually) watch their team lose like we do! I only know a couple of Bills fans, but what I’ve appreciated about all two of them is that every season they know exactly how bad their team is, but it doesn’t make a difference, the love doesn’t fade. It’s like a tattoo. Once you get it, you’re pretty much committed whether you like it down the road or not.

So there you have it. Are the Browns a one or two-loss team this year? Nope. Will they be next year? ABSOLUTELY! 😉 The point is, I’m happy for Bills fans. I’m happy for Lions fans. I’m happy for 49ers fans, and…. and I’m going to stop there (the Bengals are still in the Browns’ division, after all). Anyway, you all deserve the excitement of having a winning team. We know what it’s like to put in our time even when it’s not always fun. Therefore, win-on, fellow underdogs!!

Now ladies, on to this week’s assignment. Last week you were to pick a team (you did, right?). This week, place a friendly bet on that team. Make it a dollar, a lunch, $20…. or if you really want to raise the stakes…. bet your favorite handbag. I dare you. If that doesn’t get you screaming at your television come Saturday or Sunday, I don’t know what will! This week you will have a little something more invested in your team. You can now consider yourself a couple dates into this relationship. Stay open-minded and just see where it goes. 😉