The MSU-UM Game.

This game is always the most important game of the year to me. I don’t really care what Michigan fans say about it being or not being a rivalry, I don’t by that jive for one moment. It’s a big game every damn year for both teams, for both schools and for both fan bases.

This year there are division championship implications so that makes it a bit more important in the larger scheme of things, but on the turf where shoulder pad meets shoulder pad, it’s exactly the same as it always is. It’s important. It’s rough and tumble. It’s emotional. It’s a big damn game.

For you Spartans out there, I’ve compiled some videos to help get you fired up. Enjoy.

The Battle for Paul Bunyan:

Michigan-Michigan State 2013 Trailer:

Rivalry:

2011:

2010:

2009:

2008:

2001:

1999:

B1G Week #10 Picks.

Week #10 is already here… time flies. I’m 48-11 on the season and everyone is active this week, so let’s great right to it…

Illini Lions

Illinois @ Penn State – Noon on ESPN.  Both teams are 3-4 in the B1G and both teams are coming off bad losses. The Nittany Lions are a 10-point favorite with a chunk of that being due to home-field advantage. The Illini can move the ball in the air most of the time, but their defense is a game killer. The same can be said for the Lions except their defense is not quite as problematic most of the time. I think Penn State shows up looking for a win at home, I’ll take Penn State by 17.

Badgers Hawkeyes

#24 Wisconsin @ Iowa – Noon on ABC / ESPN-2.  The Badgers have more firepower, more oomph, than the Hawkeyes, there is no question about that. They score a lot more points, plain and simple. They are also a 9.5-point favorite on the road. Wisconsin’s offense will run all over you and the defense will shut you down. Iowa’s offense is pretty mediocre but their defense is solid. I just don’t think Iowa can put up the points needed to win this one. Heck, they might get shut out? Wisconsin by 14.

Buckeyes Boilermakers

#4 Ohio State @ Purdue – Noon on BTN. I think the Boilermakers have a shot at this one with their incredible… uh, no. There is a reason this game is only on the Big Ten Network and that is because it isn’t going to be much of a game. The Buckeyes are a 31-point favorite and I think that could be conservative. I’m going Ohio State by 45, but Braxton Miller goes out with a season-ending injury in the first half.

Wolverines Spartans

#21 Michigan @ #22 Michigan State – 3:30pm on ABC.  The biggest damn game of the weekend, no question about it. At least for me. This game drives me crazy every year. MSU took four in a row and then dropped it last year after holding Michigan to no TDs (they had four FGs). I was pissed. It really, really sucked. It’s no secret that I really do not like Michigan and it makes my season every time we beat them. I’m glad the game is at home and I’m happy to see MSU as a 6-point favorite too. If the Spartans can contain Gallon and Funches (no small task), we will win. God bless America, that would be a win for the good guys. Go GREEN!!!

Gophers Hoosiers

Minnesota @ Indiana – 3:30pm on BTN.  The Gophers feel like they are surging a little bit right now, like they have some swagger and confidence. Heck, they’re bowl eligible. Yah. But the Hoosiers offense is dangerous – they hung 47 points on Michigan last week in a loss. Their defense kind of blows – they allowed Michigan to hang 63 points on them last week in a loss. The Gophers can run averaging 218 yards per game on the ground, but they can’t pass. This game is a tough one as these teams are so different and I’m not convinced that either team has the answer. I’m going to follow the momentum and take Minnesota by a score.

Wildcats Huskers

Northwestern @ Nebraska – 3:30pm on BTN.  Nebraska is pissed and they are in Lincoln against a failing Northwestern squad. If Bo Pellini loses this one his head might explode. I don’t think the Wildcats right the ship this week. Nebraska by 10.

No night games but plenty of TV games for your B1G viewing pleasure. I hope everyone tunes in to the Michigan-Michigan State game and roots for The Only Colors, The Green and White. GO SPARTANS. GO GREEN, GO WHITE.

Go B1G!

B1G

Good Michigan-Michigan State Game Article, give it a look.

A great article from MLive in the All Michigan section. The writing is clear, get’s to the heart of the issue and very neutral. Well worth a read.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 2.52.54 PM

This is the conclusion to the article, which I really like. And I feel the same way:

No surprises. No tricks. Just football. Everyone knows everyone. Players know each other. Coaches, too.

In the end, this game will be what it always is: It’s a man’s game.

It’s physical. It’s tough. It’s teeth-grinding, for the most part.

In the past 43 meetings between these two schools, the team that’s won the rushing battle has won 40 times.

Strap it up and let it rip.

That’s what this game’s been about forever, and Saturday won’t be any different.

Read the article here.

Legends & Leaders: Week #9.

B1G

Mostly things went as expected but there are usually some interesting twists and turns on the road to the B1G Championship. Things remain close in both divisions but based on Ohio State’s schedule, I can’t imagine a world where they aren’t playing at Indy for the Leaders. And who would have guessed that Northwestern would be at the bottom of the Legends at 0-4? Then again, who would have put Michigan State at 4-0?

Here is how things stand after week #9:

LEGENDS

  1. Michigan State 4-0 / 7-1
  2. Michigan 2-1 / 6-1
  3. Nebraska 2-1 / 5-2
  4. Iowa 2-2 / 5-3
  5. Minnesota 2-2 / 6-2
  6. Northwestern 0-4 / 4-4

LEADERS

  1. Ohio State 4-0 / 8-0
  2. Wisconsin 3-1 / 5-2
  3. Penn State 1-2 / 4-3
  4. Indiana 1-2 / 3-4
  5. Illinois 0-3 / 3-4
  6. Purdue 0-3 / 1-6

If the B1G Championship game was today it would be Michigan State vs. Ohio State. You know I would love that outcome. The next few weeks will be the true test for Michigan State, especially this week against Michigan. Oh and if only Wisconsin could have beaten Ohio State, what a great world that would be.

Go B1G!

Rankings & Ramblings: Week #9.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 11.09.18 AM

 

Good news for the B1G as in week two of the BCS rankings we go from three teams to four. Yes, we lose Nebraska, but we add Michigan State and Wisconsin. I was asking where MSU and Wisconsin were last week, apparently someone was listening.

Here’s the skinny…

Ohio State remains at #4 after crushing Penn State.

Michigan moves from #22 to #21 after a convincing bye week performance.

Michigan State enters the rankings at #22.

Nebraska lost to Minnesota for the first time in 50 years, and also lost there spot in the rankings.

Wisconsin considered by some to be the second best B1G squad enters the rankings at #24.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 11.09.08 AM

In the AP Top25 it’s the same names but the ordering is slightly different…

Ohio State holds at #4 as they have for forever.

Wisconsin holds at #22 after their bye week.

Michigan moves from #24 to #23 after their bye week.

Michigan State enters at #24. Go GREEN!!!

And Nebraska drops from #25 to unranked after their loss to Minnesota.

In the almost-but-not-quite category you have Minnesota at #35.

Next weeks Michigan-Michigan State game will likely boost one team and drop the other one from the rankings completely. You know who I’m pulling for so I’ll leave it at that. Ohio State wont move unless they lose (unlikely looking at their schedule) or one of the three teams above them lose, so that’s a wait-and-see situation. Wisconsin can move up if they beat Iowa but probably not a big move. And if Minnesota beats Indiana they will likely creep closer to breaking in too. Let’s get up in to the teens B1G!

Go B1G!

B1G

B1G Results: Week #9.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 11.34.37 AM

Four B1G squads are now bowl eligible, and who would have thought that Minnesota would get there before Nebraska, Wisconsin, Penn State or Northwestern? Heck, after the first four weeks who would have thought that Northwestern would be 4-4 and have no B1G wins? Just demonstrates that you really don’t know how things will work out.

I’m 46-10 going in to this week, let’s see how I did…

#24 Nebraska @ Minnesota – I predicted that this game wold be closer than the line would have suggested, but I thought that Nebraska would get it done in the end. I picked Nebraska by seven and it was Minnesota by 11. Guess who’s not going to be ranked any longer? 46-11

Northwestern @ Iowa – I feel like the Wildcats spent all their fuel in September and they just don’t have the juice anymore. Iowa isn’t great but they are more solid and their defense is tough. At home, I took Iowa by 14 and it was Iowa by seven in OT. 47-11

Michigan State @ Illinois – I was nervous coming off the Purdue game and being on the road, but I believe that the Spartans defense can keep them in any game. It all comes down to the offense and on Saturday, the offense crushed it. Nice win Sparty.

Penn State @ #4 Ohio State – I can hope, dream, pray for a Ohio State loss, but I just can’t seem to get one. I really didn’t think the Lions would beat the Buckeyes, but I wanted them to. It wasn’t even close.  Hackenburg could really shorten his name just to Hack. What a drag that game was. I picked Ohio State by 17 and it was Ohio State by 49. I would have been so happy to get this one wrong. 48-11

Here I sit at 48-11, that’s 81% after nine weeks. I’m barely above my 80% goal, but above none the less. I was tempted to take Minnesota too, but just wasn’t tempted quite enough. Oh well, two our of three isn’t bad.

Next week will be big with all 12 teams playing, but not too many great match-ups. Michigan at Michigan State is the marquee game for the B1G. Ohio State should stomp all over Purdue. Wisconsin should win at Iowa, but maybe not? Well, we’ll get in to all of this soon enough.

Go B1G!

B1G

Michigan State 42, Illinois 3; Spartans are 7-1, 4-0 in the B1G.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 8.14.14 AM

Now that was fun. yes, the first quarter was a little painful with too many mistakes and penalties, but once the Spartans got past first gear, they just cruised to victory. A real McCoy B1G rout. So much so that I had to keep telling my wife not to change the channel to check in on other closer games. That just felt good.

Too be fair, Illinois is not that good this year. They haven’t won a B1G game in almost two years and they are struggling. It was a bit of the perfect storm in terms of the Illini offense meeting the Spartan defense with most people predicting that it would be very hard for Illinois to put up points. But what nobody really saw coming was the total domination by the Spartan offense. I figured MSU would be able to run the ball but after last week against Purdue, I wasn’t sure if they could move the chains in the air. Turns out they could. And did. That was 477 yards of total offenses with 208 passing and 269 rushing. The Spartans were 14 for 16 on third-down conversions and held possession for 39 minutes. I like these numbers.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 8.15.00 AM

Let’s start with QB Connor Cook. Cook set an MSU QB accuracy record going 15/16 for 208 yards and three TDs.That’s as close to perfect as any Spartan QB has ever gotten. Cook would have had a rushing TD as well if not for a goal-line fumble in the first quarter. That fumble seemed God-awful at the time but was pretty easy to forget over the course of the game.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 8.13.50 AM

You can’t admire Cook’s passing stats without appreciating the receiving end of the equation. MSU receivers were “On” Saturday with 15 receptions by 10 receivers. The most spectacular catch was by Bennie Fowler who had the concentration to stay with it after the pass was tipped twice by Illinois before he ripped it down while falling backwards in to the end-zone for a TD. That catch is a pure example of a talented player who clearly wanted it more than and believed he could get it. Great catch.

Other contributing Spartan receivers included Keith Mumphery who had three catches for 77 yards and a TD, Josiah Price had two for 21 yards and a TD, Tony Lippett had two for seven yards, Jamal Lyles had one for 18 yards, and MacGarrett Kings Jr. was held to only one for 16 yards.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 8.10.23 AM

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 8.11.17 AM

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 8.15.41 AM

The ground-attack was classic B1G with multiple backs rushing hard and picking up yards. Rising star Jeremy Langford had 22 carries for 104 yards and two TDs. Freshman Delton Williams had on e five carries but managed 78 yards and a TD. And it was good to see Nick Hill get in on the action with 13 carries for 70 yards. Langford started and carried most of the weight when it really mattered, but the depth with Williams and Hill is a very good thing. I think Williams is going to be truly amazing as he develops over the next few years.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 8.13.10 AM

The offense did their part, but the defense more than did their part. Put simply, the Illini never scored a TD.

The SpartanDawgs held the Illini to 25 yards rushing, and if it weren’t for a 21-yard rush in the second half, it could have been a number more like four yards. The goal line stand which held Illinois out of the end-zone was beautiful. Excellent run defense for the Spartans.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 8.12.50 AM

MSU allowed only 103 yards in the air which is well below the 261 the Illini are averaging. Scheelhaase was pressured all day completing 13 of 21 including two sacks and a pick, and only converted three of ten third downs. Isaiah Lewis pulled down the interception and Marcus Rush had a fumble recovery. Overall, the Spartans were tough, in-position and dominating. Excellent defensive effort.

Special Teams weren’t a huge factor in this game, in fact the Spartans only punted one time. That one punt just happened to be spectacular and came at just the right time when Illinois seemed to have gained some momentum. Mike Sadler, Heisman hopefull, booted it 54 yards backing the Illini up and apparently crushing their souls in the process as they never really accomplished much afterwards. One guy who did get a workout was Kevin Muma who kicked off seven times, once to start the game and six more following MSU TDs.

To wrap-up, a great, big, fun, happy, stress-free game for the Spartans and Spartan Faithful. Well done. Enjoy it today for tomorrow the real work begins.

This is Michigan Week people! Fire up! Sing the original lyrics to the fight song. Where some green all week long.

The Wolverines had a bye week so they will be rested and well-prepared. Don’t think for a moment that those guys didn’t watch Sparty this weekend. They did and they will study and analyze ever second of tape in preparation. Coach Hoke will have his boys ready to go. Michigan will not be like Illinois, they will be hungry, angry and they will have a plan.

The Spartans have the momentum and they match-up very well. Let’s not forget that this game is in East Lansing, in Spartan Stadium, it’s in OUR HOUSE. The crowd will be loud. The Spartans will be fired up. Let’s get back to “60 minutes of unnecessary roughness”. Bring the intensity, bring the anger, bring the pain. This is the big one boys, and you can do it!

Go GREEN!!!

blockS_green_80px

B1G Week #9 Picks.

Another four game only week this week meaning four teams have a bye this week. It just makes my picks all the more important. let’s get right to it…

Huskers Gophers

#24 Nebraska @ Minnesota – Noon on ESPN.  The Huskers are a 10.5 point favorite on the road coming of a bye week, and that makes sense as they are clearly the better team. I believe they get Taylor Martinez back too after a few weeks off with turf toe issues. Both teams run the ball very well so we should see some good rushing stats. But in the end, the Cornhuskers just overpower the Gophers, but it’s closer than you would think. Nebraska by seven.

Wildcats Hawkeyes

Northwestern @ Iowa – Noon on BTN.  These teams are pretty evenly matched with Iowa the 3.5 point favorite. The Wildcats went from being good to being very mediocre-to-not-good, and their defense is just not getting it done. They’ve lost their fight. The Hawkeyes have a good running game and a very good defense, and when you factor in that it’s at Kinnick, it just seems like Iowa has the upper-hand. Iowa by 14.

Spartans Illini

Michigan State @ Illinois – 3:30pm on ABC / ESPN-2.  Most of the stats basically favor the Illini and yet the Spartans are favored by 10.5. Maybe it’s because the Spartans are 6-1 and 3-0 in the B1G versus the Illini being 3-3 and 0-2? Or maybe it’s that the Spartan defense has shut down better offenses? Or maybe it’s because the Illini defense is not very good and maybe even the Spartans can find a way to score like they did against Iowa and Indiana? Who knows, but I’m pulling for MSU and I’ll be watching and rooting like the SpartanDawg that I am. Go GREEN!!!

Lions Buckeyes

Penn State @ #4 Ohio State – 8:00pm on ABC.  Two scores will not do it for the gamblers as Ohio State is favored by 14.5. I know that Penn State beat Michigan, but they also lost to Indiana. The Lion defense just doesn’t hold up against really good offenses (what does that say about Michigan?). Oh yeah, the Buckeyes know how to score. They do it mostly on the ground, but they’re damn good at it. And their defense is stout. As much as I need want Urban Meyer to lose a freakin’ game, I just don’t see it happening this week. Ohio State by 17.

That’s three out of four games on TV, and one in each time slot too. That makes for a great Saturday of B1G football. Enjoy it!

Go B1G!

B1G

Rankings & Ramblings: Week #8.

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 6.28.12 AM

 

Here they are, the first BCS rankings of 2013. And it’s kind of a funny looking chart isn’t it. And what’s up with my dates? I’ll fix that later.

Anyway, there are three B1G schools in the Top25:

Ohio State is at #4 just like they have been forever in the AP poll.

Michigan is #22 which is a little shocking because they seem overrated to me, but then I hate Michigan.

Nebraska is sitting at #24 after their bye week. Why Nebraska? Who have they beat other than Purdue and Illinois? Odd.

So, where is Wisconsin? And maybe Michigan State?

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 6.27.57 AM

In the AP poll we are now back to four B1G squads. We’re coming back with a vengeance!

Ohio State remains at #4 as Florida State jumped over them to #3.

Wisconsin moves up #15 to #22 after crushing Illinois.

Michigan reappears at #24 following their win over Indiana.

Nebraska also reappears at #15 after their bye week for whatever reason? Maybe their defense got good on the week off?

In the almost-but-not-quite category is Michigan State at #29. I’m fine with that ranking after the lackluster performance our offense turned in. Oh, but if this was just based on how awesome your defense was we’d be right up there.

Next weeks match-ups will likely not change things too much for the B1G, it will be more of a factor of what happens outside the conference. Of course, upsets do happen.

Go B1G!

B1G

Legends & Leaders: Week #8.

B1G

 

Everyone has played six or seven games at this point and the divisional races are starting to shape up. Anything can happen at this point and nobody is a lock just yet. The legends will be hotly contested and the Leaders is Ohio State’s to lose. Here is how things stand after week #8:

LEGENDS

  1. Michigan State 3-0 / 6-1
  2. Nebraska 2-0 / 5-1
  3. Michigan 2-1 / 6-1
  4. Iowa 1-2 / 4-3
  5. Minnesota 1-2 / 5-2
  6. Northwestern 0-3 / 4-3

LEADERS

  1. Ohio State 3-0 / 7-0
  2. Wisconsin 3-1 / 5-2
  3. Penn State 1-1 / 4-2
  4. Indiana 1-2 / 3-4
  5. Illinois 0-2 / 3-3
  6. Purdue 0-3 / 1-6

If the B1G Championship game was today it would be Michigan State vs. Ohio State. MSU won and Nebraska had a bye week which puts the Spartans alone atop the Legends. The Gophers beating the Wildcats cleared up the other tie at the bottom of the Legends.

The front-runners are MSU/Nebraska/Michigan and Ohio State/Wisconsin, it’s very likely that the B1G Champion will be one of these five squads. I bet the world is thinking that it’s the Buckeyes, but you never know. I’d love to see a Spartan-Badger rematch myself.

Each week sheds a bit more light.

Go B1G!