Saturday, October 25, 2008

Michigan and Madden

Today, my university of choice (U of Michigan) was bested by my university of less choice (MSU) - but a place I respect nonetheless for its contributions to the state of Michigan. This has been a pitiful season for the maize and blue, and after watching the entire season to this point, I would like to draw the following analogy.

I'm not a very good Madden player (for the ladies out there, Madden is an NFL football video game), but in the rare instances that I do play, I can sometimes figure out a way to defeat my opponent. I don't really understand the different defensive schemes available to me, and because of that, I don't really know how to pick an offensive play that will best take advantage of the defense the other team is throwing at me. I'm pretty convinced it's all baloney. There are certain defenses in the game that are meant to stop the run, but I've seen many a soul have no problem ripping off a 30 yard run when the other team is in run defense. Point being - I don't really understand the intricacy of the game. However, when I'm losing or I have no idea how to advance my team down the field, I randomly pick one of the many available Hail Mary plays, hike the ball, wait a few seconds, and then launch the ball to whichever guy is running down the left sideline. The game is intended to have a very sophisticated and realistic physics system, but I would say that in more than 75% of the instances, my receiver either magically catches the ball even when a defensive player is covering him tightly, or my receiver has managed to gain about 5 yards of separation from his coverage, catches the ball in stride, and cleanly runs the rest of the way to end zone. It is a crap way of playing the game, but it works often enough that I can sometimes pull off a victory.

Over the course of the entire Michigan season, the other teams seem to be playing offense like me playing offense on Madden, and Michigan can do absolutely nothing about it. Second and twenty, third and forty, it's all irrelevant. The other team loads up on their "launch the ball down field" play, hikes the ball, waits a few seconds, and then launches the ball to whoever is running down the left sideline for a comfortable first down. It's ridiculous and comical. As I am not a football coach I can't contribute a particularly good piece of football advice, I sometimes find that throwing my controller at the video game system helps.

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