Michigan State 26, Western Michigan 13; The Spartans are 1-0.

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 8.59.38 AM

Two things come to mind when I think about this game: Weather and defense. Both powerful and both scary.

13330964-mmmain

What started as a beautifully dramatic sunset turned in to heavy, heavy rain and lightning forcing an evacuation of Spartan Stadium and a long, long delay. It was 10:00PM when he second quarter resumed. This is the first time I can recall this happening in East Lansing. It really throws a wrench in game momentum and in a night game, it means I’ll be staying up way past my bedtime. I was at a bar in Raleigh called the Brickyard with crazy karaoke versions of Sinatra, Journey and many, many more booming behind me. Between the delay, the play of the Spartans offense and the karaoke, I consumed about twice my normal intake of Miller Lite. Oh if only I had the BTN at home. Moving on…

If the Spartan Defense had been any tougher they would have needed an EXTREME DEFENSE, PLEASE EXIT THE STADIUM (THIS MEANS YOU WMU!) message on the scoreboard. The Spartan D met and exceeded expectations. And thank God that they did. Michigan State forced four Western Michigan turnovers. AND returned two of them for touchdowns! That second part is the bit we were missing in 2012. I was extremely pleased by the scoring.

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 9.00.45 AM

How about Jairus Jones with two interceptions including a made-for-ESPN-TopTen lateral to Kurtis Drummond for a 21-yard TD (see photo at top of post). I was glad they didn’t review the tape in regards to Jones’ knew being down before the lateral. Drummond also had an amazing, highlight-worthy one-handed high-flying leap of a pick that was absolutely a thing of beauty. And finally there was Shilique Calhoun’s fumble recovery and 16-yard hustle for another TD. The Defense outscored the Offense two to one.

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 9.00.02 AM

Besides those high profile turn-overs, MSU simply applied tons of pressure all night. Lot’s of batted-down passes green jersey’s rushing in from all angles. There were some big hits on the WMU QB and running backs. In fact, the Broncos only had 11 yards of rushing on the night. They were able to move the ball in the air reasonably well netting 193 passing yards. We need to button that up a bit. Overall, excellent work Spartan Dawgs!

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 8.58.39 AM

Now that not-so-good news. The offense looked exactly like last year. Questionable decision making, too many short passes that don’t get the required yardage, and drops. I hate drops. Jeremy Langford looked pretty good in the second half as he picked up 94 yards and the Spartans only offensive TD. The problem doesn’t seem to be a QB issue, this is an Offense issue. I hope Coach Dantonio experiments a bit with his players to find the guys who can get the job done. We have two games to mess around and this shit gets real. 297 yards of offense versus a MAC school is not a good showing. I know we won and I’m happy about that, but we should have clobbered these guys and we simply could not get it done on Offense.

Did you her the crowd chanting for Terry? Hmmm, maybe there is something there?

Special Teams looked okay. Kevin Muma went 2-2 for field goals and 2-3 for PATs (bad snap) so not much too complain about but flubbing a PAT is bad news beyond week #1. Michael Geiger apparently was busted for underage drinking in Toledo last week and is probably in hot-water with the coaches. Come on Mike, stop being stupid and become the awesome damn kicker that we know you can me.

Next week we have South Florida at home and it should be another relative cupcake game for the Spartans. It’s a Noon game on ESPN-2 / ESPN-U. I’m looking for some difference in the Offense. Try some stuff. Bench some guys, play some other guys. Let’s go merit-based starting in week #2. I know we have the talent, we just need the right recipe.

A win is a win and I’ll take it every time. Let’s “chase it” a bit harder until we “catch it”!

Best of luck to all of the B1G clubs this week.

Go B1G!

Go GREEN!!!

blockS_green_80px

Off To A Great Start.

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 1.42.04 PM

The B1G is off to a great start with Indiana and Minnesota both winning convincingly on Thursday.  Also, that makes my picks 2-0 although I did underestimate the margin of victory in both cases.

The Spartans play tonight and then the rest of the B1G is up on Saturday.  Let’s keep the momentum going!

Go B1G!

Go GREEN!!!

B1G

B1G Week #1 Picks

Ahhh, the start of college football. For me, this is the best time of the year.

Each week I will pick the winner of each B1G game and what I think the score differential will be. I went 64-18 (78%) in the regular season last year and I’m hoping to do better this year. My goal is 80% accuracy or better.

One note, I never pick the Michigan State game. Why would I? I would pick them to win every single week and I feel like I’m just tempting the football gods to mess with me. I’ll comment, but I wont pick.

So, let’s get going shall we. We kick of the non-con season with…

Hoosiers

Indiana State @ Indiana 7:00PM on BTN – An in-state rivalry game? I don’t know about that but I believe the Sycamores are a solid FCS club. The Hoosiers passing game should be excellent with so much talent returning this year, but we’ll just have to wait and see on the ground game, defense, special teams, etc. I say Indiana rolls past Indiana State by 10.

Gophers

UNLV @ Minnesota 7:00PM on BTN – The Rebels are a good team, and I think they have a very good chance at blemishing Minnesota’s record right out of the gate. This will be a game and I don’t see the Gophers covering the 14-point spread. I’m backing Jerry Kill and taking the Gophers by three.

Spartans

Western Michigan @ Michigan State 8:00PM on BTN – The Broncos can be very good. Will they be very good on Friday? Maybe, but probably not. The same could be said about the Spartans, but I’m hoping for a much improved offense and the same stellar defense. AndyMax will start and that is no big surprise. And my gut tells me that the receivers will actually catch the ball and pick up some decent yards after reception as well. A night game in East Lansing… the last time I was at one was 1987 vs. USC. We won that one. Just saying.

Buckeyes

Buffalo @ #2 Ohio State noon on ESPN-2 – The Bucks and the Bulls… no contest here. Ohio State by 45.

Badgers

Massachusetts @ #23 Wisconsin noon on BTN – The 1-11 U-Mass Minutemen should be an easy first outing for Coach Anderson, but I’m not sure they cover the spread. Look for some Badger miscues and mistakes as the new staff settles in. I’m taking Wisconsin by 35.

Illini

South Illinois @ Illinois noon on BTN – What is a Salukis? Is that a Greek dish? No matter as the Fighting Illini, as bad as they were last year, should be able to take care of business against as they warm up for Cinci the following week. I say Illinois by 13.

Boilermakers

Purdue @ Cincinnati noon on ESPN-U – A rare non-con road game, and likely a very competitive game as well. The Bearcats are favored by 10.5, but if you take location out of it I think it’s closer to even. Cinci brings a more potent offense that knows how to score. Coach Tuberville hands the B1G it’s first loss of the season as Cincinnati takes it by 6.

Wolverines

Central Michigan @ #17 Michigan 3:30PM on BTN – The Chippewa’s aren’t bad, but they have no chance in the Big House. Michigan by 35.

Lions

Syracuse @ Penn State 3:30PM on ABC/ESPN-2 – The Orange is a really good team, or they were last year. Very balanced. Very good. They’re favored in Happy Valley actually. Frankly, I think the world is underestimating the Lions. Penn State takes this one in a great game, they win by 3 in OT.

Hawkeyes

Northern Illinois @ Iowa 3:30PM on BTN – I don’t know how good the Huskies were when Iowa scheduled this game, but I can tell you that they are good now. Their offense makes all the difference, even on the road. I’ll take Northern Illinois on the road by a score.

Huskers

Wyoming @ #18 Nebraska 8:00PM on BTN – The Huskers are going to kill the Cowboys and it’s not going to be pretty. Nebraska by 42.

Wildcats

#22 Northwestern @ Cal 10:30PM on ESPN-2 – Man, that’s a late one for the Central Time Zone Wildcats. At home, Northwestern beats Cal handily. Far from home, late at night… that changes everything. Coach Fitzgerald has a good club this year and I think they are in the hunt for a B1G title even, but this game worries me. I wish it wasn’t the first game of the season. I hate to say it but I’m taking Cal by 10.

I think that about covers it. The first week is always tough as you only have last year and spring / fall scrimmages to base your picks on. I’m not feeling 100% about a few of these but I’m going with my gut.

Best of luck to all of the B1G this week.

Go B1G!

Go GREEN!!!

B1G

AP Pre-Season Rankings

AP

The Associated Press has released their 2013 College Football Pre-Season Rankings today and as expected Alabama is sitting at #1. King Saban remains on his throne, at least for now.

Here’s a chart of the B1G:

Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 10.24.22 AM

#2 Ohio State is way up there based upon their undefeated season in 2012. Good for you Ohio State, way to represent for the B1G.

#17 Michigan is the next highest B1G club. I think the Wolverines are a bit over-rated, but you know how I feel about UofM: Over-hypped every year.

#18 Nebraska is probably a bit over-ranked only because their defense looked pathetic against Wisconsin in the B1G Championship Game.

#22 Northwestern is under-ranked to me. I think the WIldcats are going to break out this year and be amongst the top B1G schools coming down the stretch.

#23 Wisconsin might be a bit low too but it’s hard to say with a new coaching staff coming on. They have talent but can they pull it all together in Coach Anderson’s first year? We will see.

As with the USA Today Poll, the Spartans didn’t crack the Top 25; #26 Michigan State was the top vote getter in the “almost but not quite” category. #43 Penn State also received votes (as in exactly two, the minimum number to be able to use the plural of vote).  I foresee both of these land grant pioneers will move up in to the Top 25 once the season gets rolling.

Kickoff is only two weeks away. Do you think any B1G school will lose on opening weekend against a non-con?

Indiana plays Indiana State and Illinois plays Southern Illinois, could the in-state emotions be a factor?

Minnesota plays UNLV, that could be interesting?

What about Purdue vs. Cincinnati, that could be good too?

Lastly, Penn State playing Syracuse?

I will make my predictions for all the B1G games before the first kickoff, but it looks like I have a few things to think about.

Go B1G!

Go GREEN!!!

blockS_green_80px

Go Izzo!

From “The Drive with Jack Ebeling” (pro-UofM radio show) wtih co-host Jack Crawford and guest Tom Izzo:

Crawford: “When we had the show in 2002, and I asked Tom Izzo, would you like it if Michigan were to bring its basketball program up to be competitive with your program, have this big rivalry like Duke and North Carolina, well, you got it coach, so how do you like it?”

Izzo: “Well how do you like it, you got it in football.”

Nice return.

Go GREEN!!!

blockS_green_80px

Three Weeks!

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 12.47.24 PM

The Spartans have their first scrimmage of camp today. There are a lot of decisions to be made including QBs, RBs, WRs, placekicker, etc.

Speaking of running back, I’m really starting to warm up to Gerald Holmes. He’s big, powerful, fast, likes contact and he’s looking good sporting #24 like our man Le’Veon Bell. Maybe he’ll play as a true freshman like Bell did? Anyway, I’ve got a good feeling.

Three weeks! That’s all that’s left before college football starts back up for 2013. And a day less than that for the Spartans who kickoff their season on a Friday which has become a tradition as of lately.

I’m so ready.

Go B1G!

Go GREEN!!!

blockS_green_80px

Going home!

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 3.33.07 PM

I graduated from Michigan State in 1990. And I haven’t been to a football game in East Lansing since 1989.

But that all ends this year.

Yep, I’m going home. October 12th. Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. I’ll be there for Homecoming to see my Michigan State Spartans take on the Indiana Hoosiers.

It’s going to be so great getting back to EL. I bet everything is different. But one thing that never changes is an awesome gameday experience and a great fun watching the Spartans in Spartan Stadium.

Go GREEN!

blockS_green_80px

USA Today Pre-Season Poll

images

USA Today released their pre-season top-25 as voted by NCAA coaches and Alabama sits at #1. No surprise there.

The B1G has five schools in the list including:

#2 Ohio State

#17 Michigan

#18 Nebraska

#22 Northwestern

#23 Wisconsin

In the also rans we have #28 Michigan State.

Notre Dame shows up at #11, FYI.

Are the Buckeyes really the #2 club in the land? Too early to say, really. They could be great. Or not. They have a few discipline issues to work out but overall I think they’re stacked and will do well. Undefeated? I’m going to say no.

I’m not really sure about what the Badgers will do this year, so that #23 is really just a huge “maybe” to me. They could be great, but I think they struggle with a new coaching staff bringing in a new system, it’s only to be expected.

I think that the Wolverines and the Huskers are maybe a bit over-rated here and the Wildcats are under-rated as are the Spartans. But for teams like Northwestern and Michigan State, we typically do better working from the underdog spot.

Go B1G!

Go GREEN!!!

blockS_green_80px