One More Week!

Yep, we’re in the home stretch. One week from today I’ll be heading off to a B1G / Spartan friendly rooftop sportsbar here in Raleigh to watch my Michigan State Spartans open the 2011 college football season.  Hells yes!

Sparty on.

 

Spartans Ranked #17 in AP Pre-Season Poll.

Pre-season rankings in college football are about as telling as pre-season records in the NFL. But it’s still nice to be ranked. #17 is consistent with where the Coach’s Poll placed MSU, so no big news here.

Here are the top 25 as we head in to 2011:

  1. Oklahoma Sooners
  2. Alabama Crimson Tide
  3. Oregon Ducks
  4. LSU Tigers
  5. Boise State Broncos
  6. Florida State Seminoles
  7. Stanford Cardinal
  8. Texas A&M Aggies
  9. Oklahoma State Cowboys
  10. Nebraska Cornhuskers
  11. Wisconsin Badgers
  12. South Carolina Gamecocks
  13. Virginia Tech Hokies
  14. TCU Horned Frogs
  15. Arkansas Razorbacks
  16. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  17. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
  18. Ohio State Buckeyes
  19. Georgia Bulldogs
  20. Mississippi State Bulldogs
  21. Missouri Tigers
  22. Florida Gators
  23. Auburn Tigers
  24. West Virginia Mountaineers
  25. USC Trojans
Nothing unexpected at the top of the list. Oklahoma, Alabama, Oregon, LSU all makes sense.
I’m happy to see Stanford at #7 as I’m a fan and they have Luck.  Literally.  But it will be interesting to see how they do under new management.
The B1G has four schools in the list with #10, #11, #17 and #18. Only the SEC has more schools, and they have a lot more. B1G schools not making the Top 25 but getting votes include Penn State, Michigan and Northwestern.
Notre Dame snuck in just above the Spartans at #16. Hard to say how feel about that one. The Irish were not great last year, but finished strong. Does that mean they’re rolling in to 2011 with a full head of steam? That logic has let me down before. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Lastly, what’s up with all of the “Tigers”?

Offensive, Disturbing and Embarrassing.

I read the B1G blog Off Tackle Empire. It’s a good blog with lots of content on my favorite football conference including MSU. But I read an article earlier this week that was so offensive that I’m seriously considering removing OTE from my blog list. Link to the post I’m referencing: HERE

Here’s a quote from the first paragraph:

“The one thing that is certain in my mind is that it would be a huge mistake on the B1G’s part to take any school from a former slave state.”

Who says something like in 2011? More to the point, who thinks like this in 2011? Absurd. The author, MSULaxer27, obviously an MSU fan like myself, is as bigoted and hateful as anyone I have ever witnessed. I’m embarrassed to have MSULaxer27 as a MSU fan, a B1G fan, frankly as an American. Even the user of the term “Slaver School” is disturbing and hate-fueled.

I know this is my opinion, and MSULaxer27 in entitled to his opinion as well, but check out a few more quotes:

“Why then should we subject our athletes to playing in States that honor treason and traitors, men who fought so hard to ensure the subjection of the ancestors of many of these same athletes?”

“Why, one hundred and forty six years after we put down the insurrection at great cost in lives and treasure, when the south still maintains a legacy of hatred towards us and covert segregation, should we reward any institution from these former bastions of evil with inclusion into the greatest amalgamation of intelligence and athletic prowess in the land? Why should we share our vast resources and wealth with those who most assuredly despise us?”

Wow.

I’m a Midwesterner born and raised in the great state of Michigan (except for a short stint in Ohio). I went to Michigan State University and worked in the automobile industry in the Detroit area. In 1997 my job took me to Raleigh, North Carolina. Other than a few years in Austin, Texas, I’ve lived here ever since. The Southern culture is different, but not in some evil, vile way that MSULaxer27 portrays.

Being Southern is very akin to being Midwestern. Southerners are welcoming, friendly, respectful, and gracious. I would say the same about Midwesterners. And my experience in regards to racism is that it’s not any different than Michigan. In fact, I experienced more racism growing up in Michigan in regards to the city of Detroit then I have in all of my time in NC.

And lastly, does MSULaxer27 believe that all the Civil War was fought over was slavery? Grow up. Read something. Or just shut up, really.

Alright, I’ve got that off my chest. I’m still embarrassed, offended and disturbed, but at least I’ve said my peace. I really, really, really hope that not too many people read that blog post on OTE, not because of what it says about the blog but because of what it implies about MSU grads and fans, B1G supporters and the Midwest as a whole.

10 Things You Will Never Hear A Spartan Say…

Spartan Avenue is a really good MSU blog with lots of good content that is well written.  You should, if you haven’t already, check it out.

Their 10 things you will never hear a Spartan Say is spot-0n and very funny.  Read it hear.

Great to see Zeke The Wonder Dog too. I wonder if could get a Zeke homage cape made for my dog? That would be awesome on gameday.

Here’s a fun documentary on Zeke…

Remembering 2010 – MSU 28, Penn State 22

Last regular season game of 2010. The #10 ranked 10-1 Spartans head to Happy Valley to take on the 7-4 Nittany Lions fighting for at least a share of the B1G title. I’ve got to be honest, I had a bad feeling about this one. Penn State at home… yikes.

MSU scored first making it 7-0 about five minutes in. The Lions put up three, 7-3. MSU scored again to make it 14-3 with 10:00 left in Q2. At the end of Q3 MSU scores again, 21-3.

So this feels good. Three quarters done and we’ve got a healthy lead. Then Penn State scores, 21-10. Not quite as cozy, but still a nice lead.

With 8:30 left MSU scores again, 28-10. Back to feeling good, feeling comfortable. Fun.

The Nittany Lions score and they go for two but miss; 28-16 with just under 6:00 to go. With less than 1:00, the Lions score again and once again go for two and fail; 28-22.

Hmmmm. How did this get so dang close.

Penn State goes for the onside kick. MSU recovers it. Game over. Thank God.

It was a very, very cold day, but as Coach Dantonio put it: “We’re playing hot.” Indeed.

11-1 is the first 11 win season in MSU history. A share of the B1G Championship for the first time since 1990. A team on-track and building momentum. A program taking shape for the long run. 2010 was a very good year.

Remembering 2010 – MSU 35, Purdue 31

Michigan State hosted Purdue at Spartan Stadium on November 20th. MSU was 9-1 and ranked #12 after having lost badly to Iowa and then easily beating Minnesota in the previous weeks. Purdue was unranked and 4-6 but was arguably playing better football then their record would suggest.

MSU drew first blood with a TD six minutes in. Purdue came right back with a TD of their own to tie it up. Then a quick pick-six against Cousins and the Boilermakers are up by a score. Ah, but Sparty ties it up (almost, missed extra point) and we’re (almost) back to even. But just before the half, Purdue scores again and goes up by eight. Midway through Q3 the Boilers score again and go up by 15.

I’m a little nervous at this point. My buddy texts me and it simply says “Purdue? Really?”.

It’s 13-28 Purdue in Q4 when MSU intercepts a pass and takes possession in Boilermaker territory. With 11:00 left, MSU scores making it 20-28. Purdue kicks a FG making it 20-31. With 7:00 left, the Spartans score another TD and successfully go for the two-point conversion to make it 28-31. Then by God MSU blocks a Purdue punt just outside of the Boiler’s endzone and takes possession on their front porch.

Now I’m done with being nerv0us and I’m just fired up. I believe I was actually watching this game at home, and was standing up at this point.

Cousin’s scrambles and scores. MSU 35, Purdue 31. What a comeback. The Spartans are 10-1 and there is only one game left in the season.

Remembering 2010 – MSU 35, Northwestern 27

The Spartans headed to Northwestern 7-0 and ranked #7 in the country. The Wildcats were coming off of a bye week and were 5-1 following a loss to Purdue.

Things got off to a slow start with NW going up 17-0 with 6:00 left in Q2. The Spartans finally scored a TD before the half. From here on it was a battle. MSU and NW trading licks the whole way. The Spartans successfully pulled off a fake punt on a play called “Mousetrap” to convert on a 4th down and keep a drive alive. With a minute left it was a one point game at NW 28, MSU 27. MSU had the momentum and won 27-35.

The Spartan’s play in the second half made for an exciting (too exciting) game and helped to unload some of the old MSU baggage about giving up and shutting down.

Remembering 2010 – MSU 34, Michigan 17

Both teams undefeated after five games, and both teams ranked in the top 25 with MSU #17 and Michigan #18. The game at The Big House on October 9th, and it was a beautiful day for football. It was also the largest crowd in college football history according to ABC.

MSU came in to a hostile Ann Arbor with the Paul Bunyan trophy which had resided in East Lansing for the previous two years. MSU had not won three in a row against Michigan since 65-66-67, so this game carried a little extra meaning. Also, there was some additional Mike Hart buzz before game in regards to his “little brother” jive from 2007.

Long story short, the Spartans absolutely dominated the Wolverines and handed them their first loss on the season. Shoelace was shut down. RichRod added a nail to his coffin. Mike Hart self-inflicted curse continued. And Paul Bunyan headed back to East Lansing for a third year.

As I’ve always said, any season that we beat Michigan is a good season. This was very good. Enjoy.

Remembering 2010 – MSU 34, Wisconsin 24

It was the fifth game of the Spartan’s 2010 season, and they were 4-0 and ranked #24 when they hosted the Wisconsin Badger at Spartan Stadium. The Badgers were ranked #11 and were also 4-0 coming in to the East Lansing. This was the B1G opener for both teams.

MSU had a great day on the gridiron, even with Coach Dantonio tuning in from a hospital room after his heart attack following the Notre Dame game two weeks prior. When K-Mart ran the punt back for TD halfway through Q2, it started to feel like the Spartans were going to get it done.

Wisconsin, not so much. From bobbling the opening kick-off reception to turning it over on downs on their last possession, the Badgers couldn’t seem to make it work on this day.

The Spartans and the Badgers (along with a dubious Ohio State) went 11-1 in the regular season, and each earned a piece of the B1G Championship. And like MSU, Wisconsin lost it’s bowl game and ended up 11-2 for the year.

Remembering 2010 – MSU 34, Notre Dame 31

The first “real” game for the Spartan’s 2010 season with The Fighting Irish coming to East Lansing for a rare Spartan Stadium night game. The Spartans were 2-0 and ND was 1-1 after a loss to Michigan the week prior. Brian Kelly was just getting his footing in his first year as head coach of the Irish.

The video tells the story better than I can, but I remember watching this game from my screen-in porch on a perfect fall evening, and even though I was by myself when the game was won, I was jumping around, screaming, pointing, and generally making my dog think I had gone insane. What an amazing finish to a great game. Coach Kelly and Dane Crist looked stunned and almost confused as to what had just happened to them and I don’t blame them.

And, of course, we wouldn’t know until the next morning that Coach Dantonio suffered a heart attack and there would be all kinds of questions regarding the rest of the season.