Izzo 400!

Being an MSU football blog, I usually don’t post about other sports, but Tom Izzo getting win #400 is too awesome to ignore.

Congrats to coach and best of luck through the rest of the season, the B1G Tournament and the NCAA Tournament.

Go Green!

Air Max.

What do we know about Andrew Maxwell?

He’s the heir apparent for the starting QB job with Kirk Cousins graduating.

He’ll be a junior next season.

He’s bigger than Captain Kirk at 6’3″ and 208 lbs.

He’s homegrown from Midland, Michigan.

He was ranked the #9 pro-style QB in the nation coming out of high school, and the #4 player out of Michigan, both in 2009.

He hasn’t seen much action, but he’s just under 60% for completions and he got one TD and no picks.

My $.02 is that this kid is going to be great.  He’s got the skills and the size, and word is he is much more mobile than Cousins. The coaches praise his leadership as well as his athleticism. But what I don’t think is that he’ll come out of the gate and play like a seasoned player. He’s only seen limited playing time at the college level, so he’s going to make some mistakes. He’s going to force it. He’s going to get picked off. But he’ll learn and he’ll improved.

I’m betting that by the start of B1G play, we really like this kid.

Thoughts?

B1G AP Rankings Chart – FINAL

It’s a long and winding road.

Wisconsin ends up ranked #10. Exactly where they started. They only dropped one spot after losing the Rose Bowl to Oregon. I would have thought they would have dropped further.

Michigan State is #11 for the fourth time this season. Not too bad for a team that was #17 at the beginning of the season. I was hoping after beating Georgia we would have gotten more of a lift. At least ahead of Wisconsin. Apparently not.

Michigan is #12 after their Sugar Bowl BCS win over Virginia Tech. IMO, totally overrated.

Nebraska dropped to #24 after getting spanked 30-13 by South Carolina. Ouch.

Spartan Comings and Goings.

One thing that is a constant in college football is that every year things change. Coaches leave and new coaches get hired. Players graduate, transfer away, declare or get suspended / removed from the team all the while new athletes are committing or transferring in. It’s a never ending process.

Now that the 2011 season is over and the bowls are all played (for the B1G at least), the big news is the comings and goings.  This post is an overview or summary of what’s happening at Michigan State.

COACHING STAFF

Michigan State has found a long-term head coach in Mark Dantonio and with the improvements to his deal made this year, the thought is that we have a coach for life. Dantonio is an excellent coach, but he is also a stand-up guy. He doesn’t really give anyone any shit, but he certainly doesn’t take any either. He’s been criticized for being to lenient with his players, but I don’t agree. He believes in second chances and that isn’t always going to work out. Anyway, Coach D is now and continues to be The Man at MSU for the foreseeable future.

Pat Narduzzi has gotten a ton of press this year, initially for the awesome Spartan defense he oversees, but later for possible coaching gigs at Illinois, Akron and Texas A&M. The good news is that Coach Narduzzi is staying at State. When the right head coaching job finds him, he’s going to take it, but until then, he’s a lynchpin on the MSU coaching staff.

SENIORS

Eligibility runs out. Guys graduate. These are the facts of life in college football. But this class of seniors are amazing. They grew together as a team and collectively changed the culture at Michigan State football. It’s all about the program now. It’s a family, a band of brothers. You hear this time and time again, and these are the guys that led us there. And along the way they beat Michigan four consecutive times and had back-to-back 11-win seasons. Hats off.

These are the guys we’ll be missing next year:

Todd Anderson – Fullback, Garrett Celek – Tight End, Kirk Cousins – Quarterback, B. J. Cunningham – Wide Receiver, Joel Foreman – Offensive Guard, Brian Linthicum – Tight End, Keshawn Martin – Wide Receiver, Jared McGaha – Offensive Line, Keith Nichol – Wide Receiver, Blake Pacheco – Defensive line, Kevin Pickleman – Nose Tackle, Arthur Ray Jr. – Offensive Guard, Trenton Robinson – Safety, Chris D. Rucker – Wide Receiver, Kyle Seldon – Punter, Adam Setterbo – Fullback, Brad Sontag – Wide Receiver, Jonathan Strayhorn – Defensive Tackle

We’ll see some of these guys playing on Sundays, that for sure. And to all of the graduating seniors, good luck and thank you.

LEAVING EARLY

When your stock is at an all-time high, sometimes you’ve got to sell. That is Jerrell Worthy’s plan. #99 will declare for the NFL draft instead of sticking around for his senior season. I don’t think anyone is going to begrudge #99 for his decision. He said he was 50-50 on going pro before the Outback Bowl, but my gut told me it was more like 90-10. He should go in the first round and he’ll be an asset to whichever team gets him. And don’t forget that badass tattoo of a Spartan stomping a wolverine – that’s a man that is all-in.

This one surprised me a bit: Edwin Baker is going to declare for the NFL draft this year. The Rock didn’t have the season he (or I) was hoping for, but it seems like very odd timing to declare. His stock is in no way at it’s highest, and maybe at it’s lowest. He is fast with a great burst, but he’s not the most elusive and he had some bad fumbles this year. Anyway, good luck to Edwin in the pros.

There is a rumor that Johnny Adams is going to declare. I hope not, he’s a major asset. We’ll see.

TRANSFERS

Thus far, I’ve not heard of anyone transferring away from Michigan State, but we do have one incoming transfer that is pretty exciting. DeAnthony Arnett had 24 catches for 242 yards at Tennessee this year, and is moving to State to be near his family while his Dad is battling with health issues. It’s unclear at this point weather the NCAA will allow him to play in 2012 but he will file for a medical hardship waiver.

SUSPENSIONS

Nothing to report here.

RECRUITING

We will get to this a bit later, maybe after signing day when everything is for real. One thing is for sure though, the momentum MSU has built and the level of play is only going to help us attract better and better talent. Dantonio does a great job of looking behind the ratings and highlight videos to find the guys that have the heart to be Spartans.

Go Green!

B1G Bowl Wrap-Up.

It’s all over but the crying. The B1G was sitting 2-2 after the pre-New Years Day-ish bowls and I was 3-1 on my predictions. Let’s see how we faired on January 2nd and how I faired in my picks…

Outback Bowl – Michigan State 33, Georgia 30. Maybe one of the best games I’ve ever seen. Two really good and very evenly matched teams slugged it out but the Spartans pulled it out in triple OT with a blocked FG. Wow, what a game and the B1G goes to 3-2.  I didn’t make a pick on this one so my record stands at 3-1.

Capitol One Bowl – South Carolina 30, Nebraska 13. I expected a high score, but I didn’t expect a total Nebraska second half meltdown. The B1G slips to 3-3 and my pick record goes to 3-2.

TicketCity Bowl – Houston 30, Penn State 14. The Lions want this year to be dead and buried, and it showed in their performance. I don’t blame them, but I certainly expected more. I think it’s going to take three to five years for their program to get righted and stabilized. Anyway, the B!g drops to 3-4 and I go to 3-3. Things are not trending the way I’d like them too.

Gator Bowl – Florida 24, Ohio State 17. The Urban Meyer Is A Douche Bowl was a major disappointment. I picked the his new team to beat his old team. Oops. The B1G slides to 3-5 and I follow suit going to 3-4

Rose Bowl – Oregon 45, Wisconsin 38. This was the bowl MSU wanted to be in, but I’m not sure I would want to play the Ducks (cyborgs from the planet Fast). The Badgers did a very good job offensively up until that pick and the fumble on those late drives to stay in it. Defensively, they couldn’t stop the Ducks, and they only kind of slowed them down. It was a good game that looked like it was going to be exciting and then was just over. I picked Wisky. Oops. The B1G goes to 3-6 and I drop further to 3-5.

Sugar Bowl – Michigan 23, Virginia Tech 20. I hate Michigan, or more specifically, Michigan fans. You probably already know that. Hoke seems legit though and the turn-around on defense this year was truly remarkable. The Wolverines enjoyed a fairly easy schedule, were gifted a BCS bowl game and then were given Virginia Tech over more deserving, much better teams that really deserved to be there. That’s the glorious idiocy of the BCS for you. Anyway, Michigan didn’t play all that well, but neither did VT. Michigan won and as hard as it is for me to admit it, I picked it.

The B1G ends up 4-6 in the post season and I end up 4-5 in my picks. Neither is very good to be honest. With a few exceptions, we played some tough teams and those wins don’t come easy. I say Cheers to the B1G for getting ten teams in bowl games. Can any other conference say that?

The Final B1G Win / Loss Chart.

It’s all over for the B1G this year. Michigan beat Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl to round out a lackluster 4-6 bowl season for the B1G.

The winners this year were Michigan State, Wisconsin and Michigan.

The Spartans won the Legends Division and the Outback Bowl ending up 11-3.

The Badgers won the Leaders Division and the B1G Championship game but lost in the Rose Bowl, so they also ended the year 11-3.

The Wolverines were a surprise to me but a weak schedule and a much improved defense certainly helped. Michigan won the Sugar Bowl and ended up 11-2.

Now attention turns to recruiting, coaching staff comings and goings, and whatever scandal or otherwise unfortunate mess comes to the surface during the slow news cycles. Hopefully, the B1G steers clear of that business for a while, we’ve certainly had our fair share lately.

Great job to the eight B1G schools with winning records this year, and better luck next time to the four schools that ended up in the red. Spring ball is just around the corner.

Go B1G or go home!

B1G Win / Loss Chart 01/02/12

Nine B1G bowl games down and just one more to go. We’ll finalize the 2011 season win / loss chart after Michigan plays in the Sugar Bowl tonight.

First off, big ups to Michigan State for bringing home the win in triple overtime against Georgia in the Outback Bowl. The Spartans dug deep, came back from a 16-point deficit and won one of the most exciting games I’ve ever seen. It was intense!

Secondly, I’ve got to say Wisconsin played hard and put up a valiant effort against Oregon in the Rose Bowl. It was an exciting, fast-paced and high-scoring game. The Ducks are like football robots stuck on fast-forward. But those two late turnovers and some questionable timeout calls by the coaching staff cost the Badgers the game. It will be interesting to see how Bucky does next year without a hired gun at QB?

Lastly, ouch. Penn State, Ohio State, Nebraska… all defeated.

Overall, a bad day for the B1G. Overall, the B1G is 3-6 in the post season with one more to go. Go B1G!

B1G Bowl GameDay!

Today is the day. The last games of the season, or the first games of 2012 if you prefer to look at it that way. Either way, a great day of football lies ahead.

I’ve made my predictions and so far I’m 3-1 in the pre-New Years Day bowl action. I hope that percentage holds. I am rooting for all of the six B1G teams that play today; there will surely be some great games. Let’s win some games today boys. Go B1G or go home!

#17 Michigan State vs. #16 Georgia in the Outback Bowl has the makings of being an excellent game. Two nearly identical teams on paper, and both got dumped hard after losing their conference championship games. Hell, both teams were embarrassed in their bowl games last year with MSU getting stomped to death by Alabama and Georgia strangely losing to Central Florida.

The Bulldogs are simply a very good, very balanced team. They’re offense is very good and their defense is one of the best. To me, this one comes down to desire. Who wants it the most? Who is going to bleed for it?

The men from East Lansing want a bowl win and they want it badly. They want it for their team, for their seniors and for their coach. Nobody on this amazing team has won a post season game. For a team that has come so far and broken so many records, this is it. Today is the the day.

I hope to see some of the furious anger and bad intention that we saw in the Michigan game.

I’m looking for the confidence and ability to take advantage of every opportunity from the Wisconsin game.

Let’s play smart, let’s be crafty, let’s move fast and sure, and let’s hit really, really hard.

When you play Michigan State, you should feel it, and feel it for a few days afterwards.

Today, for the first time in 2012 I say: GO GREEN!