MONDAY HUDDLE: Should Lions be buyers or sellers at trade deadline?
5 takeaways from this weekend's football scene around the state
Here are five takeaways from this past weekend's football action around the state.
From Quandre to quandary
After trading defensive back Quandre Diggs last week, the Lions are in a quandary in terms of what direction to take with further trades before Tuesday's trade deadline in the NFL.
The Lions currently sit in mediocrity with a 3-3-1 record (but hey, no last place in the NFC North anymore. Thanks Bears!), but are not completely out of the playoff race.
The Packers have taken firm control of first in the NFC North at 7-1, but the Lions are still alive for a Wild Card.
The Lions are currently ninth in the NFC standings, with Seattle and Minnesota holding down the last Wild Card spots at 6-2.
Los Angeles (5-3) and Carolina (4-3) are behind those teams, with the Lions being next.
Is that too much of a deficit for the Lions to overcome over their last nine games of the season with winnable games upcoming?
Should the Lions be buyers and give up draft capital to address glaring needs, especially at running back with Kerryon Johnson likely out for the season?
Or should they be sellers and look toward the future in an attempt to acquire more draft picks?
There is an opportunity to do that since Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, who sat out Sunday's win over the Giants with a hamstring injury, made it publicly known he was not happy at all with the Diggs trade.
ESPN reported Sunday that other teams have called the Lions and inquired about whether Slay is available in a trade, and he could fetch a good return.
But then again, is that a message you want to send to a fed-up fanbase wanting to win now after over 60 years of failure?
In addition, do you want to officially give up on another season as quarterback Matthew Stafford's prime years are waning?
It's going to be a hectic Monday and Tuesday before the trade deadline for the Lions front office deciding exactly what direction to take.
Great showing by U-M, but no help elsewhere
The big question Michigan fans were asking following Saturday's 45-14 destruction of Notre Dame was surely, "Where has this been all year?"
U-M supporters certainly wish that same team would have showed up against Wisconsin and in the first half against Penn State, but it — at least for one week — got people off coach Jim Harbaugh's back.
Unfortunately, there were two other games on Saturday that hurt Michigan just as much as Michigan hurt Notre Dame.
Some optimistic U-M fans last week spoke on Twitter about how it was still possible to get to the Big Ten championship game even with two league losses, pinning hopes that Wisconsin beating Ohio State and Michigan State beating Penn State would help create tiebreaker scenarios in favor of U-M at the end of the year should the Wolverines win out.
Well, neither came close to happening.
Unless those same optimists feel Rutgers or Maryland will rise up and beat Ohio State in an "upset of the century" and Penn State will lose two of three games to Minnesota, Indiana or Rutgers, then U-M will be kept out Indianapolis once again even with a 10-2 finish.
That will mean no conference title in Harbaugh's five-year tenure and for a 16th straight year in the program.
More embarrassment for MSU
Camera shots in the second half of Penn State's 28-7 rout of Michigan State in East Lansing said it all, and it had nothing to do with what was going on the field.
The cameras panned to a practically empty Spartan Stadium as the crowd wanted no part of watching another inept MSU performance.
Sure, the awful weather had a lot to do with it, but fans would have braved the elements if a better product was on the field.
Get used to it, because that is how the remaining home games against Illinois and Maryland will look with how fast this MSU ship is sinking.
The only thing worse than anger is apathy, and clearly the MSU fanbase has moved on to getting ready for basketball season.
The sight of more empty seats and the effect it has on the financial and public relations bottom line should be an obvious sign to MSU administration that changes are needed in the football program, whether it's forcing Mark Dantonio to bring in new assistants or to just have him gracefully retire.
WMU moves up, CMU down in MAC standings
Western Michigan remained unbeaten at home with a 49-10 win over Bowling Green thanks to running back LeVante Bellamy, who rushed for 178 yards and four touchdowns. The Broncos improved to 3-2 in league play and are a half-game behind Ball State (3-1) for first place in the MAC West.
The weekend wasn't as good for previously hot Central Michigan, which suffered a disappointing 43-20 setback at Buffalo to drop to 3-2 in the MAC West.
Prep football playoff pairings announced
Sunday was one of the most exciting days on the state's football calendar, with the Michigan High School Athletic Association announcing the field for the upcoming state playoffs.
There are eight divisions with 32 teams in each division, and the action starts on Friday with first-round games.
The best first-round games locally should be Saline (8-1) at Belleville (9-0) and Rochester Adams (7-2) at Utica Eisenhower (7-2) in Division 1, and two-time defending state champion Warren De La Salle (5-4) at Birmingham Groves (7-2) in Division 2.
De La Salle played a brutal schedule and should still be a threat to win it all again despite its 5-4 record.
Detroit U-D Jesuit (6-3) at North Farmington (9-0) should be another great matchup in Division 2.
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