Spartans in the All-B1G Teams awards.

The Spartans did not win any of the “_______ Of The Year” awards for 2012. I thought Le’Veon Bell had a shot at Running Back of the Year since he has the most yards, but Wisconsin’s Montee Ball has more TDs. I hate that Taylor Lewan got Offensive Lineman of the Year as that guys is a face-masking A-hole. The rest of them look to be on the money.

First Team (Coaches)

  • RB – Le’Veon Bell
  • LB – Max Bullough
  • DB – Johnny Adams
  • DB – Darqueze Denard
  • P – Mike Sadler

First Team (Media)

  • RB – Le’Veon Bell

Second Team (Coaches)

  • TE – Dion Sims

Second Team (Media)

  • TE – Dion Sims
  • DL – William Gholston
  • LB – Max Bullough
  • DB – Johnny Adams
  • DB – Darqueze Denard
  • P – Mike Sadler

Honorable Mentions (Coaches) – Denicos Allen, William Gholston, Isaiah Lewis, Chris McDonald and Marcus Rush

Honorable Mentions (Media) – Denicos Allen, Isaiah Lewis, Chris McDonald and Marcus Rush

Pretty clear that the coaches have more respect for Michigan State’s defense than the media does. Maybe it’s because the media doesn’t have to play them. The Spartans are the top-ranked defense in the B1G and yet not one defensive player makes the media’s First Team list? Really?  Michigan State is the #4 defense in all of college football (source) with the next closest being Wisconsin at #11, Michigan at #12 and Nebraska at #15. Maybe it’s a case of the team being more valuable as a unit than any of the individual players, or maybe the media is stupid? Or maybe both?

Anyway, great job to all of the athletes that made the lists, it’s a huge accolade to be recognized.

B1G Week #14 Picks – The Championship Game.

The regular season is over, yes, but there is one more B1G game yet to be played. The B1G Championship in Indianapolis. Let’s great ready to rumble…

#12 Nebraska @ Wisconsin – 8:17pm on Fox.  The Badgers are back at it and they get to play the home team this time.

The Cornhuskers are 10-2, 7-1 in the B1G, and ranked as the #12 team in the country. There only losses came from UCLA in a close one and a total blowout by Ohio State. They can run the ball all day with Martinez and Abdullah, and now Burkhead is back too. And there defense is better than good.

The Badgers are 7-5, 4-4 in the B1G, and unranked. They lost to Oregon State, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and, yep, Nebraska. Bucky didn’t even win the Leaders division, Ohio State did. And Penn State came in second. Wisconsin at third place made it to Indy only because of post-season bans. This is not the Badgers of 2011, let’s be clear on that. The passing game is pretty much terrible, but they do have a very good running attack featuring Montee Ball and his 18 TDs. And there defense is very good, a tick better than Nebraska’s.

Personally, I’d probably rather see the Badgers win as I’m not much of a Cornhusker fan. But my gut says that’s just not going to happen. I’m going to take Nebraska by 17 no less. Bam!

Should be a fun game to watch. Not as fun as last year, but what do you expect when the Spartans aren’t involved. Funny that the Badgers only have one more win than the Spartans and Wisconsin’s season is consider okay and MSU’s is a total disappointment. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. Enjoy the game and then stay tuned over the weekend to see where everyone gets slotted for the bowls.

Go B1G!

Rankings & Ramblings – Week #13.

Now that the season is over, the regular season rankings are out. These will continue to shift through conference championship games and bowl games, but this is what things look like after 2012 regularly schedule games are behind us. The B1G is back to three schools in the BCS Rankings

In order to be considered for a BCS at-large bowl bid, you need to be ranked at least #14, and Nebraska is the only B1G school who makes that cut moving up from #14 to #12. Michigan remains flat at #19 even after their loss to Ohio State. And hello, Northwestern jumps in to the rankings at #22 after their one-week-only appearance back at the beginning of the month.

In the AP Top 25, the B1G get’s one more in the rankings.

After a perfect, unbeaten, pristine and ultimately useless and meaningless undefeated season, Ohio State remains at #4. Nebraska moves up from #17 to #14, Michigan moves down from #20 to #21, and then let’s say hello to Northwestern re-entering the rankings at #22 after a one week stint back in September. And lastly, the almost-ranked crew includes Penn State at #29 and soon-to-be-B1G Rutgers at #30.

Of all of the ranked B1G teams, only Nebraska will play in the B1G Championship game next week, but with the BCS and AP, who knows how stock will rise and fall even when teams are off. It’s not always fair but it’s always interesting.

Great job ranked B1G schools, you earned it. Best of luck to Nebraska and un-ranked Wisconsin in Indy. I’ll be rooting for the team in red.

Go B1G.

Breaking News.

Attention Boilermaker fans, if you know a good head coach that wants to live in Indiana, please forward there resume to Purdue University.

Danny Hope is out as of today. So are the head coaches for NC State, Auburn and Boston College. So much for getting ahead of everyone else by not waiting until after the bowl game.

I won’t miss that ‘stache, it kind of creeped me out.

Week #13 Puts The 2012 Regular Season to bed.

And that’s a wrap! The 2012 B1G regular season is officially closed for business. It’s been a wild ride from start to finish that nobody could have projected back int he summer.

I’m 59-18 going in to the final week and I’m looking to stay at or below 20 misses. I feel pretty good about it, but let’s see how I did…

Nebraska @ Iowa – I was sure Nebraska was way better than this version of Iowa and I picked the Huskers by 17. It was Nebraska by six. 60-18.

Illinois @ Northwestern – Without hesitation I picked the Wildcats over the Hoosiers by 21. It was Northwestern by 36. 61-18.

Michigan @ Ohio State – I like The Game because the Buckeyes usually win and I hate the Wolverines. This year was more tricky because the Buckeyes stock is way down in my portfolio after hiring Douche-master Urban “pleated dress pants with a sweatshirt” Meyer. Anyway, I felt that the Bucknuts would win by three and that would be fitting since they’ll be undefeated with no possibility of a post season. How do your nuts feel now? And Michigan get’s a loss, which always feels oh so good to me. It was Ohio State by five. 62-18.

Indiana @ Purdue – I felt the Boilermakers were the more well-rounded team and I had them winning at home by 10. It was Purdue by 21. 63-18.

Wisconsin @ Penn State – Probably the toughest game to pick this week but I had a gut feeling that Bucky wasn’t going to bring the fire this week. And it seemed like this was Penn State’s last game of the toughest season ever, so I really did think that they would come in ready to bleed, burn and die for a win. I took the Nittany Lions by six. It was Penn State by three. 64-18.

BAM! That’s a perfect 5-0 for the week and my goal of staying below 20 misses is easily obtained. 64-18 is 78%. Done and done. If I had picked the MSU games, I would have picked the Spartans to win every week (yes, I’m that loyal) and that would have put my record at 70-24 or about 74%. Maybe I’ll include MSU next year?

So, we’re done with the regular season which leaves the B1G Championship Game next week in Indianapolis and as many as nine B1G bowl games (probably more like seven). Who do you think will win, Nebraska or Wisconsin? Which team to you like more? Which team has the better chance in the Rose Bowl? Well, that’s the story line for another post.

Nice work this week B1G and best of luck to Nebraska and Wisconsin next week. For the rest of the B1G (with at least six wins), let’s get fired up to do some bowling!

Go B1G.

GO GREEN!

Michigan State 26, Minnesota 10; Spartans go to 6-6, 3-5 in the B1G.

Congratulations Michigan State. The Spartans end the regular season on a high note with a solid victory over Minnesota. That means we will likely get a bowl game and the extra 15 practices that come with it. That is truly something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend.

I don’t know if we would have won this game, or any of them, without the powerful effort given by Le’Veon Bell. Bell ran 35 times for 266 yards and a TD Saturday which makes it three 200+ yard games this years. The o-line was able to move the Gophers around a bit which opened up some running lanes which hasn’t happened all that much this year. And once Bell got up a head of steam it was taking two, three, four and five Gophers to bring him down.

On one unforgettable run in the fourth quarter he carried about half of the defense on his back for an additional 15 yards. Three cheers for Le’Veon Bell, my choice as the Michigan State 2012 MVP. Word is he’s going pro after this year, which is probably good for his career but I’d be mighty happy if he hung around for one more year.

In terms of the rest of the offense, it’s a work in progress, but we did see progress. The receivers looked good making catches and picking up yards after the catch. Bennie Fowler brought in seven for 101 yards including snagging a tipped ball for a nice TD. Tony Lippett had three for 24, Le’Veon Bell had one for nine, Keith Mumphery had one for five and Dion Sims had one for four.

I believe the receivers would have had better numbers if more passes were on the money and if Andrew Maxwell was doing a better job of finding the open man. I don’t think Maxwell is terrible, and he certainly has his moments, but he feels to me like a MAC-level QB. Maybe it’s the fact that our wounded and replacement-laden o-line just doesn’t give him the protection that he needs, but he just seems stiff, robotic and lead-footed. Maxwell’s two picks on Saturday were both on him – terribly off-target throws that were easy-pickin’ for the defense. He only completed 13 of 29 for 143 yards and a TD. That TD was actually a over-thrown pass barely tipped by Lippett that was caught and run in by Fowler.

I don’t know where we go from here in terms of the QB spot, but I hope the coaches level the playing field and give everyone a chance at QB-1 for 2013. If Maxwell is our man, than so be it, but he doesn’t look Spartan or B1G worthy to me based on his 2012 body of work.

Kicking was better but not perfect. Dan Conroy made four and missed one. Hey, he put up almost half of the Spartan points so I’m not going to get on his case. I do feel like if we need a FG in the bowl game and we are inside of 40 yards, take a delay of game penalty or two to get it back to 45 or more as that is where Conroy is consistent.

Lastly, how about that Michigan State defense! These guys have been great all year and Saturday was another excellent example. The Spartan defense was a punishing, intense, tough and powerful unit throughout the game. Four interceptions including two by Johnny Adams and two forced fumbles (although no fumble recoveries, but still). The defense held the Gophers to seven first downs and 96 yards of total offense including only four net rushing yards, and no TDs. This is a Top Ten defense in the nation, and the best in the B1G, so these guys deserve tons of credit.

Thank you Michigan State for getting it done in the final regular season game and getting bowl-elegible again. As always, I’m proud to be a Spartan even if this year was a challenging and frustrating one from a fan perspective. I’ve never seen so many games so close and yet so far. Five B1G losses by a total of 13 points. Missed FGs and bad calls and all of the whimpering and whining that goes along with that kind of defeat. But that season is behind us now. It’s in the books. Let’s fire up for our bowl game and kick some Big12 (probably) ass in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (most likely)!

GO GREEN!

B1G Week #13 Picks.

This is it, the last week of the regular season. Sure, I’ll pick the B1G Championship game and the bowls, but my goal of staying below 20 bad picks for the regular season is within reach, and that’s what I’m focused on right now. I’m currently 59-18, or about 77%. I can miss on two of the six games and still claim victory. I can do this!

First, the Friday, yes Friday, game…

#14 Nebraska @ Iowa – Noon on ABC.  Brilliant! A game to watch on Friday after a day of pro football and before a day of college football. I love it. But will it be a good game? Probably not. The Huskers would really have to step on their dick to lose to this Iowa team. But this is a bit of a rivalry game, and I like underdogs. But no, not this time. Nebraska wins by 17.

And then on to Saturday…

Michigan State @ Minnesota – 3;30 on BTN.  The Spartans need the win to be bowl elegible and more importantly, to get the extra 15 practices in. The Gophers shouldn’t be taken for granted, and it will probably be -20 and dark in Minneapolis. I’ll be at the at the bar watching this one and cheering my Spartans on. Go Green! Go White! Beat Minnesota!

Illinois @ Northwestern – Noon on BTN. The Wildcats crush the Illini just as the rest of the B1G has done. Northwestern by 21.

#19 Michigan @ Ohio State – Noon on ABC.  They call it “The Game”, but everyone knows Harvard-Yale is the really The Game. I hate the Wolverines. I’m learning to hate the Buckeyes now that Urban Meyer is at the helm. The best news is that one of these teams will lose this weekend. I think Michigan could win, but I don’t think they will win. Ohio State by 3 in a close one, possibly OT.

Indiana @ Purdue – Noon on BTN.  The Hoosiers and the Boilermakers this year are kind of like twins separated at birth. Indiana is more dangerous with their air attack, but Purdue is more balanced. And Purdue has an edge on defense. At home, I’m going with Purdue getting bowl elegible when they win by 10.

Wisconsin @ Penn State – 3:30 on ESPN-2.  This should be a really good game, and a close one I think. The Badgers are going to the B1G Championship game even though they are in third place in the Leaders, so maybe Penn State is a little pissed off. Maybe being in Happy Valley is a plus too. I’m thinking Wisconsin just doesn’t bring the fire. Penn State by six.

Everybody plays, and two teams are on the bubble for bowling privileges. The Leaders is set, but the Legends is still open to some degree. Maybe not the most dramatic end to the season this year, but still great match-ups and plenty on the line. Happy Thanksgiving and best of luck to all of the B1G.

Go B1G.

GO GREEN!

B1G Expansion.

The B1G is like my waistband, it just keeps expanding.

Apparently Maryland is leaving the ACC behind and coming to the B1G. The invitation was extended, the vote was made and it’s a done deal. I live in North Carolina where the ACC is sacred and folks on sports radio are none too keen that a charter (original) member is jumping ship. At the same time, they like to give Maryland shit as a “yankee” school as they were the northern-most ACC school. And their athletic department has been losing money after some expansion and improvement investments failed to return.

I like the ACC just fine, and they’ve got Notre Dame now (except for Football, of course) and what about Pitt and Syracuse, so losing the Terps shouldn’t be a huge loss. Shit happens. They lost South Carolina way back when and they carried on just fine.

Rutgers is going to follow suit and split from the Big East tomorrow, at least that is the word on the street.

Both schools will be slotted in to the Leaders division with Illinois moving over to the Legends to keep everything even with seven teams per.

Terps and Scarlet Knights… crazy. Probably not next year right? Or maybe? Get ready for another round of schedule-o-rama everyone.

Rankings & Ramblings – Week #12.

The weekly rankings came out today and there’s not too much B1G movement as compared to some of the other craziness that happened yesterday. The B1G is still sitting with two schools in the BCS Rankings

Nebraska stays at #14 after winning over Minnesota, and Michigan moves up from #21 to #19 beating Iowa. Nothing too exciting, as I said, but these weren’t particularly exciting wins by any means.

In the AP Top 25 we’re holding steady from last week with three B1G schools ranked.

Ohio State moves up from #6 to #4 for what that’s worth (which is absolutely nothing for the Bucknuts this year). Nebraska actually dropped from #16 to #17 and Michigan moved up from #23 to #20. Almost-but-not-quite-ranked teams include Northwestern tied at #26 and Wisconsin at #35.

A hearty “good work” to all the ranked B1G schools. And as we say around here…

Go B1G.

GO GREEN!

Week #12 is dead to me now.

I’ve obviously offended the B1G football Gods and they continue to punish me for it. I’m sorry already! Seven teams are bowl elegible, but my Michigan State Spartans are not… I get it, you’re mad at me. Please accept my apology. PLEASE!

Okay, so I’m 55-17 and my goal is to stay at or below 20 misses. That leaves me three, which isn’t many. Lets see how I did…

Iowa @ Michigan – Whichever QB was under center, I felt the Wolverines would be too much for the Hawkeyes and I had them winning by 17. Michigan won by 25. 56-17.

Indiana @ Penn State – I said the Hoosiers would have a good first half, but that the Lions would take over in the second and win by 14. The Lions didn’t wait, they took over from the start and won by 23. 57-17.

Minnesota @ Nebraska – I didn’t see the Gophers putting up much of a fight against the Huskers, I took Nebraska by 24. Boom goes the dynamite, it was Nebraska by 24. 58-17.

Ohio State @ Wisconsin – I’m really starting to hate the Buckeyes, or is it just their douche coach? It’s the coach. I wanted it so bad that I had to pick Wisconsin to win by three. It was Ohio State by seven in OT. 58-18.

Purdue @ Illinois – The Boilermakers are “meh”, but the Illini are “blech”, I took Purdue by 17. It was Purdue by three in a squeeker. 59-18.

Not to bad this week with a 4-1 record which takes me to 59-18. One week left and I’ve got two missed calls in the bank. I’m feeling cautiously and respectfully confident.

Of course the worst thing about next week is that it’s guaranteed that either Michigan or Ohio State will win. And what’s gloriously awesome is that either Michigan or Ohio State will lose. I never, ever want Michigan to win, so that’s pretty clear, but there is also something poetic about the Buckeyes getting busted and then going undefeated when they have no ability to have a post season or even be ranked. Where is Pryor these days anyway?

Anyway, best of luck to all of the B1G as we enter the final week of the regular season. Those of you that are bowl elegible, great work and congratulations.

Go B1G.

GO GREEN!