Ranks and Rants.

When you lose, you drop. Sometimes a lot and sometimes a little. Michigan State dropped 6 positions in the BCS to #17. I feared worse actually.

Here is how all of the B1G rankings are standing after last week:

Nebraska: BCS #10, AP & USA Today #9. If Nebraska consistently plays like they did last week, especially on defense, they may be the best team in the B1G. They’ve got a few tough games to get through, but they seem to have their mojo back.

Michigan: BCS #15, AP & USA Today #13. Michigan fans crack me up. U-M beats a 4-3 unranked Purdue at the Big House and they are already proclaiming that this is not the 2009 / 2010 Wolverines. Could be, but I don’t think Purdue tells us that. I know it’s been tough-going for quite a while, and I know you’re ready for the nightmare to end. Maybe it has?

Penn State: BCS #16, AP #16, USA Today #15. I think Penn State’s stock is a little undervalued. The true test is coming. After a bye week, they face Nebraska and then on the road versus Ohio State and Wisconsin. Reminds me of somebody’s October.

Michigan State: BCS #17, AP #15, USA Today #16. For the Spartans, the worst is behind us. The October-from-Hell is done and we came out 3-1. The loss to Nebraska is still fresh and still painful, but overall it was an darn fine October.

Wisconsin: BCS #20, AP #19, USA Today #n17. Wisconsin is slipping. Back-to-back losses to Michigan State and Ohio State will do that to you. I wouldn’t be surprised if they win out, but it’s not a given.

As for as standings, we’ve got a three-way tie in the Legends and Penn State continues to be top dog in the Leaders:

I’ll wait a week or two before I start obsessing over all of the different scenarios that could mean this or that for MSU, or any other team. The Legends is pretty bunched up and we’ll just have to wait and see who pulls ahead.

Not so much in the Leaders where Penn State has a three game lead and remains untarnished in B1G play. Depending on how things play out, that Penn State – Wisconsin game at the end of the season could be interesting.

Every week brings it’s twist and turns. We may go up, we may go down, but we always Go Green!

 

 

 

 

 

MSU 3, Nebraska 24. Spartans go to 6-2, 3-1 in the B1G.

Nobody likes to lose. I certainly don’t. But a hard-fought game that ultimately becomes a loss is an easier pill to swallow than 60-minutes of disfunction. And yesterday’s Spartan-Husker game was a very bitter pill. Taste’s like Iowa 2010.

The Spartan stats don’t lie.

On offense, 101 total yards rushing averaging 3.4 yards per carry. 86 yards passing with Cousins going 11-27 with one interception. Zero receptions for B.J. Cunningham. Cousins was sacked like 45 times (or so it seems). Total offense was 187 yards with no TDs and one FG. Credit to the Nebraska defense (they finally received their notorious black shirts after the game), no doubt about that, but boy were the Spartans off. Just not there at all.

Defense was a better but not spectacular. Burkhead ran for 130 of Nebraska’s 190 rushing yards, but they averaged only 3.3 yards per carry.

“T-Magic” had 80 yards in the air, which after seeing the mechanics of his throw is remarkably good – he throws the ball like a 7th grader. Martinez went 7-13 also with one pick.

With a few exceptions, the Cornhuskers were running the show. They were doing their thing and MSU was reacting. In a nutshell, Nebraska was totally up for this game and Michigan State was not.

So, the Spartans head back home. Re-group and re-load. We’ve got Minnesota at home next week. The good news is that the “October From Hell” is finally over. We played Ohio State in the Shoe, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska in Lincoln, and we came away 3-1. In September I was just hoping and praying that we would be 2-2 in that stretch, so I should be pleased. And I guess that I am. But that damn bitter taste just won’t go away.

All the B1G teams played yesterday, and it was an interesting day. I’m 14-4 on the conference season going in to this week. Here’s how it played out…

Northwestern beat Indiana – I picked NW by two TDs, and they did a little better than that in their 59-38 score-fest.

#18 Michigan beat Purdue – Shoelace & co. took it to Purdue 36-14. Purdue maintains their perfect alternating win / loss pattern. I picked U-M because I thought they would be rested and highly motivated to prove they are not the 2009 or 2010 Wolverines. So far, it looks like they are not, but they have some tougher match-up still in front of them.

Minnesota beat Iowa – Yep. Who’d of thunk it. I guess when Floyd of Rosedale is on the line, the Gophers can get it done. I missed on this one.

#19 Penn State beat Illinois – I picked the Lions because they were playing in Happy Valley, and I believe they are the better team. They waited until the fourth quarter to prove it, but they got it done in the snow.

Ohio State beat #15 Wisconsin – I underestimated the Buckeyes and I overestimated the fury that the Badgers would bring after a crushing defeat last week. What a second half. Braxton Miller may be the real deal.

I’m now 17-6 for conference games. Pretty good, I think. For the Lucky Strike Extra, Notre Dame blew out Navy. I called that too.

I think the Spartans will feel this one for a while. But Dantonio will use it to get them focused and fired-up for the Gophers and beyond. Unfortunately, the B1G race just got a lot more interesting. Bring on November!

Go Green!

B1G GameDay!

I already miss the ruckus and spectacle of College GameDay being in East Lansing, but it was fun while it lasted.

This week it’s #11 Michigan State vs. #14 Nebraska in Lincoln. Both teams are 6-1 overall with MSU 3-0 and NU 2-1 in the B1G. This game is important as it is the match-up of two schools likely to be at the top of the Legends at the end of the year, and winning this game could decide a tie-breaker down the line. Not to mention it’s two really good football teams squaring off for the first time in-conference. The game is set for a Noon kickoff on ESPN / ESPN3.

Elsewhere in the B1G, here’s who’s playing and my predictions:

Northwestern at Indiana – Noon on BTN.  The Wildcats are the best bad team in the B1G. They’ve played some good teams and payed the price. Indiana is just not good. The only thing worse than their offense is their defense. I pick NW by two scores in Bloomington today.

Purdue at #18 Michigan – Noon on ESPN2/ESPN3.  The Boilermakers are 4-3 and they have alternated win / loss all season (they’re up for L based on that pattern). Their running game is solid and their defense isn’t bad either. But then there is the Wolverines. Who can tell what they’ll do now that they have a loss. We know what happened in the past, but I think things are different in Ann Arbor. I’m not saying U-M will be a one loss team at the end of the season, or anything like that. But at home today, after a bye week, I pick Michigan over Purdue.

Iowa at Minnesota – 3:30pm on BTN – Hawk. Eyes.

Illinois at #19 Penn State – 3:30pm on ABC / ESPN2 / ESPN3.  The Illini are 6-2 after starting 4-0. Penn State is 7-1 with their only loss coming from Alabama. This is the (once) overrated vs. the (not for long) underrated, and the Nittany Lion defense is the deciding factor. JoePa gets win #675,921 today at home.

#15 Wisconsin at Ohio State – 8:00pm on ESPN / ESPN3.  The Badgers are mad. And they’re damn good. The Buckeyes are a shadow of their former self. Wisconsin wins in the Shoe decisively.

No byes this week, everybody plays.

Lucky Strike Extra: Navy at Notre Dame – 3:30pm on NBC.  The Midshipmen are sinking fast even with an offense that averages 325 yards on the ground per game. Navy’s defense leaky and their passing game is one of the worst in college football. The Irish strung four solid wins together only to totally collapse against arch-rival USC. I think Notre Dame wins today, but I just don’t know what to think about Coach Kelly and the Fighting Irish these days. Get it together already.

It’s mighty chilly out there, so throw a pot of Chili on the stove, bundle up and hunker down for some B1G football. And lest we forget, Go Green!

Ranks and Rants.

Top Ten? Almost. So close.

The latest BCS rankings have Michigan State at #11, up from #16 after the win over Wisconsin. We are now the highest ranked B1G school. Other MSU rankings: AP #9, USA Today & ESPN: #10.  A nice improvement over 15, 13 and 14 respectively last week. As with last week, this feels pretty good to me.

Other B1G schools…

Nebraska – BCS: #14, AP / USA Today: #13, ESPN: #14.  About the same from last week after dusting Minnesota.

Wisconsin – BCS: #15, AP / ESPN: #12, USA Today: #11. Dropped nine spots are losing to Michigan State.

Michigan – BCS: #18, AP / USA Today / ESPN: #17. No change after a bye week.

Penn State – BCS: #19, AP / ESPN: #21, USA Today: #19.  Up a couple after beating Northwestern.

Illinois – No longer ranked after a loss to Purdue.

Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Ohio State and Indiana continue to be unranked.

In terms of B1G standings, MSU leads the Legends and Penn State is starting to pull away in the Leaders:

Five more weeks to go. Anything can happen as we finish out Oct0ber this week and look towards November. It’s gonna get cold! It’s gonna get rough! It’s gonna be B1G!

Go Green!

 

 

Week #4 Of B1G Play Is In The Books.

By now it’s old news. #16 Michigan State picked off undefeated #6 Wisconsin in a thriller in East Lansing.

What a special day all the way around. ESPN’s College GameDay was in East Lansing for the Game of the Week. It was Homecoming at State. It was a rare night game at Spartan Stadium. It was televised in Prime Time on ESPN nationally. In a word, this one was B1G.

The game delivered on the hype. A great match-up all the way through and right down to the last play. Kirk Cousins, B.J. Cunningham, Le’Veon Bell, Keshawn Martin, and of course, Keith Nichol all were awesome. They left it all on the field. And the defense played very hard, very intense, at times, even dominated a Wisconsin team that has net felt that all year.

And MSU played a 100% clean game. No penalties, fouls, flags, etc. So let’s cease and disist with all this “dirty team” BS.

I’m happy for my Spartans. I feel bad for the Badgers. I like Wisconsin. I feel that there is a kinship between the two schools. East Lansing and Madison are both great college towns. Fun towns with fun people who know how to have fun. But once a year (most years), we’ve got to face-off. In those instances, I always want MSU to win, even if it isn’t necessarily great for the B1G. I’m sorry, but I’m that loyal to Michigan State.

So anyway, there were five other B1G games yesterday…

Iowa beat Indiana – I picked Iowa by 20. I was close, it was by 21 (45-24).

Purdue beat #23 Illinois – I picked Illinois. It was Purdue 21-14. Purdue did theirs in the first half and Illinois tried to come back in the fourth quarter, but it was too little way too late.

#13 Nebraska beat Minnesota – Huskers 41-14. Picked it.

#21 Penn State beat Northwestern – I picked NW but it was the Lions 34-24. I thought PatFitz would raise his team up at home, but nope.

I went 2-2 in week #4 of conference play bringing my overall record to 14-4. Not too bad.

In my Lucky Strike Extra, I picked Notre Dame over USC. Notre Dame couldn’t make it happen at QB and lost 31-17 to the Trojans. Luckily, this one doesn’t count against me in my B1G prediction score for 2011. The Irish really need a dominant QB. Tommy just isn’t athletic enough and Dane makes really bad decisions. They both can hurt themselves with turn-overs. Neither of these guys are The Guy in my opinion.

And Lane Kiffin is still a huge douche. Totally.

MSU 37, Wisconsin 31. Spartans go to 6-1, 3-0 in the B1G and 2-0 in the Legends.

That was a crazy game. Nail biter to the maximus. More to come, but HOLY CRAP! AWESOME!

Spartans drop to a 0-14 deficit in the first quarter and the Badger look dominant as hell. But Sparty takes the momentum and scores 23 unanswered points to go in to the half 23-14.

The second half was a struggle and State seemed tentative. The play calling was a little conservative and seemed more befitting a 20-point lead. Wisconsin turned it on and was looking all the #6 BCS team as they tied it up 31-31.

And on the last play with four seconds on the cl0ck and overtime looming, Captain Kirk throws it deep.

Hail Mary. Jump ball. These things barely ever work.

it bounces around and lands in Keith Nichol’s hands. But he’s on the one yard line.

He pushes forward and the Badgers push back. He goes down and the officials place it on the one yard line.

They review it and…

TOUCHDOWN MSU!

The Spartans win.

Great game all the way around. Sparty played 100% clean with not one penalty or foul. The Wisconsin Badgers played a great game. They are a great team. But Michigan State pulled it out tonight under the lights at Spartan Stadium.

Wow. I’m going to bed with a big-ass smile on my face. Awesome.

Go Green!

B1G Game Day!

ESPN’s College GameDay is in East Lansing for the #16 Michigan State vs. #6 Wisconsin game today. It’s always exciting to have the GameDay crew in EL. This is a big game for both teams and I’ll be watching, rooting and generally freaking out for all of it. Kickoff is at 8:00pm on ESPN and ESPN3.

Elsewhere in the B1G there are some interesting match-ups. Here’s who playing and my predictions:

Indiana at Iowa – Noon on BTN. The 1-6 Hoosiers are having a nightmare season. Their offense is not good and their defense is worse. They’re coming off a beat-down versus Wisconsin last week and on the road I don’t think Indiana has a chance. The 4-2 Hawkeyes are at home, they can pass the ball pretty darn well and their defense is pretty darn good. I say Iowa by 20.

#23 Illinois at Purdue – Noon on ESPN2 / ESPN3. The Fighting Illini have only the one loss which came last week against Ohio State. Illinois can get you with the running game, and their defense is solid. The 3-3 Boilermakers are much the same with a solid run game and defense, and they are also coming off a loss (Penn State). I think this will be a close one but the Illini win it on the road.

#13 Nebraska at Minnesota – 3:30pm on ABC / ESPN2. Huskers.

#21 Penn State at Northwestern – 7:00pm on BTN. Penn State doesn’t seem to be getting much love this year but they’re 6-1 with their only loss coming from an other-worldly good Alabama. They lead the Leaders with a defense that has allowed only 11.6 points on average this season. Defense wins games, but offense wins attention from the media and the fans. The Lions offense is okay at best. The 2-4 Wildcats have yet to win a conference game. Pat Fitz has an overall weak team this year, and yet they put up pretty a pretty good fight. Going WAY out on a limb, I say NW wins by a FG.

#18 Michigan and Ohio State have bye weeks. Enjoy the rest and recuperation time gents.

Lucky Strike Extra: Southern Cal at Notre Dame – 7:30pm on NBC. Historically speaking, an epic match-up. The bowl-banned and un-ranked Trojans are solid and they can score by passing the ball with the best of them. Lane Kiffin is a total douche though. Notre Dame is better. More solid (balanced) with excellent passing ability AND running game. Brian Kelly is not a douche. And it’s in Southbend in front of God, the Faithful and Touchdown Jesus. If USC could run the ball, I’d give them the edge. Fighting Irish win tonight.

Good luck to all of the B1G brethen today. Keep it classy out there.  And, as always, Go Green!

Ranks and Rants.

From now on the rankings get really complex. There are just too many rankings to look at, and we’re not even talking about standings.

The initial BCS rankings have Michigan State at #16.  The AP Poll has State at #15. USA Today has State at #13. And finally, the ESPN Power Rankings have State at #14. These all feel about right to me for our record and where we’re at right now, and it’s a nice lift from #23 AP / #19 USA Today / #21 ESPN a week ago.

Other B1G schools…

Wisconsin is #6 in the BCS, #4 in the AP / USA Today / ESPN rankings. That #6 is a bit lower than I expected but it is a factor of the Badgers soft non-con schedule.

Nebraska is #13 in the BCS, AP and ESPN rankings, and #11 in USA Today. No real change here after their bye week.

Michigan is #18 in the BCS and AP rankings, #17 in the USA Today and ESPN rankings. The Wolverines were #11 AP and ESPN / #10 USA Today last week, but the loss last week took it’s toll.

Penn State is #21 in the BCS and #22 in the USA Today rankings (un-ranked in AP and ESPN).  The Lions were #25 USA Today last week.

Illinois is #23 in the BCS and AP rankings, #21 in the USA Today and #22 in ESPN rankings. The Hoosiers were #16 AP, #15 USA Today and #13 ESPN last week, but the loss to Ohio State dragged them down.

In terms of B1G standings, the Spartans currently lead the Legends 2-0 and the Nittany Lions are atop the Leaders 3-0 with the Badgers right behind them at 2-0. Here is the breakdown

We’ve got six weeks to go, plus a B1G Championship Game, so there is a lot of football still to be played and anything can happen with these rankings / standings. Let’s not go buying plane tickets to any bowl games just yet, but let’s also not throw ourselves off any bridges either. Stay frosty, the entire landscape can change on any given weekend.

Go Green!

 

Enough Already.

It must be a slow media week in the world of college football.

Yes, William Gholston punched a Michigan player who had just grabbed his facemask and forced him to the ground by it – literally rubbed his face in the dirt. But we all know you don’t go punching people no matter how much they deserve it.

Yes, Gholston also piled on Michigan’s QB and then twisted his head by his facemask in an act of totally unnecessary roughness. We all know you don’t go twisting people’s heads off. This one was just stupid.

The question is not whether Gholston is a dirty player or not. This is B1g football.  Man up you pansies. Nobody got hurt and it didn’t change the outcome of the game. Dirty? No.

The question isn’t even whether Gholston should be suspended. He should. For either of his infractions, really.

I hate the idea of Gholston being out for the Wisconsin game, but he made his bed. I’m not getting on my high horse and passing judgement on MSU’s coaches for taking or not taking action. If they don’t, the B1G likely will.

The real question is why are so many people, media and fans alike, fixated on this? Michigan’s coaches and players aren’t complaining. Ah, but the Michigan fans are up in arms. They need to provide an excuse for the loss and some consolation to make themselves feel better. RichRod is gone and the refs seemed to call a pretty good game, so I guess “MSU plays dirty” is the go-to for this year. YouTube is  ablaze with points and counter-points if you like that kind of pointlessness.

And it is pointless. There were flags and there were 15 yards and first downs given away as payment for them. Gholston got caught and will likely miss the next game. Michigan lost. State won. Let’s all move on already.