Thursday, August 5, 2010

Champions! or maybe not

The World Cup and the potential for a strong USA run got me thinking about the likelihood that teams I support win a championship. I've chronicled in my Wisconsin Sports Woes entry about the torture that we often endure being a Wisconsin sports fan. In my life time, we've had a grand total of one true championship. I'm not counting division or conference or bowl wins here, I'm talking about a bonafide World or National Championship.
My thinking got me a bit sad, as the likelihood of an oncoming plethora of championships looks pretty bleak. Anyways, I've decided to take a closer look at my teams prospects of winning a championship.

1. Packers - The Packers are obviously number one, the far frontrunner of most likely to win a championship in my lifetime. They could win next year. They could win 3 times in the next five years. They have a great QB, an awesome receiving corps, and a strong young (for the most part) defense. But, even with greats like Favre and White, the Pack only won 1 Superbowl. The playoffs are tough, and the best team does not always end up champion.
Last Championship: 1997
Odds of winning a Championship in my lifetime: 97%

2. Bucks - I don't want you thinking I am on the Bucks bandwagon here. I don't think they have a team that can really compete with the best right now. It's just that basketball in many ways is a fickle game. Things change greatly from year to year. You only have 5 players on the court at a time. A few strong draft picks can totally change your fortunes. Look at the Spurs. They are a similar market to Bucks. They don't have tons of money, but a few draft picks, a strong coach, and a couple great foreigners have totally turned their franchise around.
What might be going against the Bucks, though, is that in the NBA, you truly have to be the best team. No "hot now" or "peaking at the right time" team will win 4-straight 7-game series.
Last Championship: 1971
Odds of Winning a Championship in my lifetime: 8%

3. Wisconsin Football - This one might surprise people. Winning a college football National Championship is hard, but I think the Badgers have all the right ingredients, and in the perfect storm, they could win it all. What are these ingredients you ask? A relatively strong program, killer home field advantage, play in a strong BCS conference, play an increasingly unique brand of football. Call me crazy, but I think they can do it. If the Badgers, as a Big 10 team go undefeated, there is no way the BCS can keep them out of the national championship game. They could do this if they build a strong team and play the right teams at Camp Randall. Get to the National Championship game, and they play a brand of football that the likes of Florida and Texas and teams like that are not used to playing. Just look at the Miami game last year. Again, maybe I am dreaming, but in the right circumstances, I like it.
Last Championship: Never
Odds of Winning a Championship in my lifetime: 3%

4. US Soccer - Team USA is what got my thinking about this list. Most agree the US is getting better at soccer, with the great draw and a potential for a break out tournament, you start dreaming. The problem is, the World Cup is only every 4 years. If it was every year, the US would be ahead of the Badgers and the Bucks, but the World Cup is tough. Spain, who were the favorites going in had to beat Chile, Paraguay, Portugal, Germany, and the Netherlands. Tough stuff. The USA will continue to improve, but will that be enough to be genuine contenders?
Last Championship: Never
Odds of Winning a Championship in my Lifetime: 2%

5. Wisconsin Basketball - The Badgers are a great program, but I don't think they are good enough to win it all. Bo Ryan is a great regular season coach, developing players, getting the most out of his team, but they are just not good enough in the post-season. Their flaws show clearly. With their style of play, they will always be good or very good, but never great. In college basketball, you need freak athletes. You need blue-chippers. Wisconsin just does not get them.
Last Championship: 1941
Odds of Winning a Championship in my lifetime: 1%

6. Everton - For Everton, I only consider the Premier League Title or Champions League title a true championship. The League Cup or FA Cup, though greatly desired, does not really count in these terms. Everton are a good team, but everything in football is currently going against them. There is more money, more foreign investment, more foreign players and Everton cannot compete. The can field a strong side, but the best players will leave to get more money and more opportunities. Since 1995, only 3 teams have won the Premier League. That is a pretty wild stat. To compete Everton need a new stadium and new investors, but even that, does not guarantee success.
Last Championship: 1987
Odds of Winning in my lifetime: Less that 1%

7. Brewers - Baseball. It's unfair. A few teams prey on the rest. Remember when we waited 26 years to make the playoffs and then lost in the first round? We were so thrilled just to make it there. Yes, then did nothing the next two years, and much of the success the playoff year was due to a free agent here half the year. Do you think the Rays won't begin shipping off players after this year? If you don't, you are incorrect. Plus Milwaukee is no Tampa. Maybe I've just been jaded by years of disappointment, but I don't think the Brewers stand a chance.
Last Championship: Never
Odds of winning in my lifetime: much less than 1%

Maybe I have unrealistic expectations, but even these 2 or 3 championships in my lifetime will be much more fulfilling than being a Lakers or Yankees fan.


Thorzul said...

Most of those sound pretty on-point.
I'd raise the Badger football probability quite a few percentage points. Basically, a very good-to-great Badger team needs to win three big games during the season. We usually end up playing two out of the big three (Michigan, OSU, Penn St.) in a given year, so win those two. Then play over their heads in the bowl game.
The addition of Nebraska will make this a tougher feat, however, not to mention the possibility of a Conference Championship game.

Oh, and lower the USA World Cup to 0%. Never going to happen.

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