I was just two weeks shy of my 45th birthday when the Michigan Wolverines won the 1998 Rose Bowl against Washington State, earning them the AP U.S. national football championship, their first in my lifetime. I had been a Michigan fan since I was a teenager and was so keyed up, I couldn't watch the end on TV. I drove around the neighbourhood, listening to the Michigan radio broadcast on Detroit's WJR. To say I was over the moon would been an understatement. And I seethed days later when the coaches voted Michigan number two in their pool, meaning the Wolverines had to share the title with Nebraska.

Fast forward to last night: Michigan 34 Washington 13 in the national championship game. The Wolverines finished a perfect 15-and-0 and won't have to share this crown with anyone. So why am I shrugging my shoulders with indifference? Two reasons. One, college football stateside has turned into a money-first clown show. Next year, the Big-10 will have 18 schools playing football, ranging from Rutgers (New Jersey) in the east, to USC and UCLA in the west. The SEC is adding Oklahoma and Texas. The Pac-12 is down to the Pac-2, with Oregon State and Washington State. Seeing the fun and pageantry of a live game on campus is still a blast, but TV money has ruined the sport. The second reason? Michigan's alleged cheating. Where there's smoke there's fire and coach Jim Harbaugh was suspended twice this season for separate infractions. He insists he's innocent and maybe he is. But violations did occur on his watch. I always thought Michigan was a school of integrity, one that would try to win the right way. I don't see that with this current school regime. And much as I admire his brother John, the coach of the Baltimore Ravens, I'm not a Jim Harbaugh fan. I haven't been since a 78-0 rout at Rutgers years ago, when he went for a two-point conversion with the rout already on. It was a classless move on his part and I started moving away from the Wolverines that day.

As for my Detroit Lions, my expectations for them this season were 1) improve on last season's 9-and-8 finish and 2) make the playoffs. They far exceeded that, finishing the regular season 12-and-5, winning the division and securing home field advantage for Sunday night's playoff game against the Rams -- on my birthday, no less. I'd say my expectations were met -- and then some!