B1G Week #14 Picks.

I’m feeling a little cocky what with being 65-12 and well ahead of my 80% accuracy goal, so I’ll surely blow it this week. But hopefully not. Let’s do this…

Hawkeyes Huskers

Iowa @ Nebraska – Friday, Noon on ABC.  The Hawkeyes travel to Lincoln to face the Cornhuskers it what should prove to be a good contest for a holiday afternoon. The Huskers are favored by three which at home makes it basically a pick ’em game. But I think Nebraska goes off a bit and takes Iowa down a bit harder than that. I say Nebraska by 10.

Gophers Spartans

Minnesota @ #11 Michigan State – Noon on BTN.  The Gophers travel to East Lansing to close out the season. State is favored by 14.5 right now and that’s a pretty darn big spread. I think Minnesota puts up a good fight and takes the Spartans to task. I’ll have to go to a bar to watch this one but I’ll still be going nuts and rooting for my boys. Go GREEN!!!

Buckeyes Wolverines

#3 Ohio State @ Michigan – Noon on ABC. The Game is always fun even when it probably shouldn’t be. These team certainly take this game seriously and the Buckeyes can expect Michigan’s best effort, especially after getting crushed by the Spartans which they consider only a tier-2 rivalry. The Bucks are favored by 14.5 and I have to imagine that is the largest point spread in quite a while for this game. I’m emotionally torn on this one because I always want Michigan to lose, but I am really tired of Urban Meyer being undefeated and such a douche, so OSU losing would be great. I know from experience that I can’t count on Michigan to come through for me so I’m going to have to pick Ohio State by 17.

Boilermakers Hoosiers

Purdue @ Indiana – 3:30pm on BTN.  Purdue just wants someone to pull the plug. Indiana’s offense will oblige. Indiana by 24.

Lions Badgers

Penn State @ # 15 Wisconsin – 3:30pm on ESPN.  I’m kind of amazed that the line is favoring the Badger by 24, that huge. The Lions have struggled but they are not terrible. They ain’t Purdue. But Camp Randall is a tough place and the Badgers are really good. Not 24 points good. Wisconsin by 14.

Wildcats Illini

Northwestern @ Illinois – 3:30pm on BTN.  Kind of “who cares” as both teams are not bowling and not loving 2013 at all. Both are 4-7 but at least the Illini have a B1G win. The Wildcats are favored by 3.5 and I think they handle that at least. I say Northwestern by 9.

Well that’s that. The last pick of the 2013 regular season. I hope they hold up but who really knows. Great year this year, at least for the Spartans. See you on the other side when we look up the results and mop up the mess.

Go B1G!

B1G

Rankings & Ramblings: Week #13.

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A lot of turmoil at the top of the rankings, but it’s all good news for the B1G.

Ohio State remains at #3, of course.

Michigan State jumps up two notches from #13 to #11.

Wisconsin is the big mover going rom#19 to #15 with their win against Minnesota.

Minnesota drops from #25 to unranked.

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Much the same in the AP Top25…

Ohio State moves back up to #3 from #4.

Michigan State moves up from #13 to #11.

Wisconsin moves up from #16 to #14.

In the almost-but-not-quite zone we have Nebraska at #31 and Minnesota at #32.

The Game should be no problem for Ohio State this week, but you never know in a rivalry game of this magnitude. And MSU should handle Minnesota, but again, you can take nothing for granted. Ever. Penn State could give Wisconsin a run too. The ranked teams need to watch their asses this week.

Go B1G!

B1G

Legends & Leaders: Week #13

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With only one week left in the regular season, things are still evolving albeit to a lesser degree and with less importance. The divisional champs are locked so really it’s all just finishing order now. Here is how things stand after week #10 (Division / Conference / Overall):

LEGENDS

  1. Michigan State 4-0 / 7-0 / 10-1
  2. Nebraska 2-2 / 5-2 / 8-3
  3. Iowa 3-1 / 4-3 / 7-4
  4. Minnesota 2-2 / 4-3 / 8-3
  5. Michigan 2-3 / 3-4 / 7-4
  6. Northwestern 0-5 / 0-7 / 4-7

LEADERS

  1. Ohio State 5-0 / 7-0 / 11-0
  2. Wisconsin 3-1 / 6-1 / 9-2
  3. Penn State 2-2 / 3-4 / 6-5
  4. Indiana 2-2 / 2-5 / 4-7
  5. Illinois 1-4 / 1-6 / 4-7
  6. Purdue 0-4 / 0-7 / 1-10

The B1G Championship game will be Michigan State vs. Ohio State on December 7th at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It’s locked. Congrats to Michigan State and Ohio State for winning their divisions. Congrats to all of the bowl eligible teams too.

Go BIG!

B1G Results: Week #13.

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Second to last regular season game and the final distribution is almost set. At the pre-season or even in early October, who would have thought that Northwestern and Michigan would be where they are today?

I’m 60-12 going in to Week #13, let’s see how I did…

#13 Michigan State @ Northwestern – Solid win by the Spartans to sew up the B1G Legends. Nice. Go GREEN!!!

Michigan @ Iowa – Michigan just isn’t very good and I felt Iowa was just a bit better in almost every measure. I took Iowa by 1o and it was Iowa by three. 61-12

Illinois @ Purdue – Purdue just can not win a game against anyone. I took Illinois by 14 and it was four. 62-12

#19 Wisconsin at #25 Minnesota – I thought the rising Gophers might bring some heat to Madison, but just not enough to win. I picked Wisconsin by 10 and it was Wisconsin by 13. 63-12

Indiana @ #3 Ohio State – I simply said “The Hoosiers will be crushed” and picked Ohio State by 28. It was Ohio State by 28. BINGO! 64-12

Nebraska @ Penn State – I saw this as being a really good, close game with the Huskers slight edge partially reduced by the Lions home-field advantage. I knew it would be close taking Nebraska by three in OT. It was Nebraska by three in OT. DOUBLE-BINGO! 65-12

I was flawless this week and I had to spot-on picks. Damn, I’m good. I’m 65-12 with is 84% with only one week to go. My goal of 80% is in the bag!

We wrap up the regular season next week including a Friday night game with Iowa at Nebraska which should be a lot of fun. Of course, The Game is is next weekend too, but it should be a Michigan train-wreck as Ohio State will likely leave the field littered with Wolverine roadkill. Penn State-Wisconsin and Minnesota-Michigan State are interesting as well. One more week, soak it up before it all goes away.

Go B1G!

B1G

Michigan State 30, Northwestern 6; Spartans are 10-1, 7-0 in the B1G and Champs of the Legends Division.

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Winning over the Wildcats makes it official: The Michigan State Spartans are the Champions of the Legends Division. Congrats to Ohio State as Leaders Division Champs. We will see you in Indy in two weeks, green pants and all.

Thinking back to the first four weeks, I am amazed at what this Spartan squad has accomplished and how they have over-delivered. Excellent coaching and very talented players that strive to improve and play together as a team. It’s really been quite a journey, and it’s not over yet.

This is not a surprise win as the Wildcats have been struggling ever since Ohio State’s comeback win. They are not a bad team, but they are injured and seem to have less will to win than is needed to be competitive in-conference. Perhaps we are seeing the groundwork for an outstanding Northwestern squad in 2014 ala the 2012 Spartans? Anyway, the Wildcats came out with some zest but it fizzled as the day went on and the Spartans momentum grew.

Let’s start with the offense this time. 464 total yards with 293 in the air and 171 on the ground. Not as balanced as Coach D likes but healthy numbers none the less. The Spartans went 4-12 on third down conversions which is too low for this team which excels at moving the chains. Zero turnovers is beautiful.

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Connor Cook continues to impress and even though he started slow, he ended up 16 for 23 with two TDs and 12.7 yard average. And once again he spread the ball around hitting eight different targets. Bennie Fowler reeled in a beauty going 87 yards for the TD and ended up with two for 99 on the day. Then there was Tony Lippett with three for 64, Josiah Price with three for 35 and a TD, Jeremy Langford had two for 35 and Aaron Burbridge had two for 22. With one exception, these guys hauled in everything that was catchable and several that were questionable.

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On the ground it was all Jeremy Langford again. Langford had his sixth consecutive game with over 1o0 yards rushing as he had 25 carries for 150 yards and two TDs. This guy has been all over the field for MSU over the years but he has really found his calling. He is sort of a mash-up of several great Spartan running backs as he has power, has speed, has the cuts and jukes, etc. but probably not the best at any one of those, just really solid at all of them. And he can catch and block. I love this guy.

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On defense, the SpartanDawgs once again held their opponent to zero TDs. The goal-line stands were solid. The pass-protection was genuine No Fly Zone. And frankly, the run game got shut down pretty early as well. Northwestern was held to 319 total yards with 239 passing and only 80 rushing. The Wildcats could move the ball, they just couldn’t find a way to string it all together to get down the field and score. The Spartan defense played very hard-hitting football on this 5-degree wind chill day in Evanston and I can’t imagine it felt good to be wearing purple and taking those hits. Somewhere in the third quarter, the spirit seemed to leave the body.

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The Wildcats played three QBs and ended up wtih three picks; two from Siemian and one from Oliver (his only pass attempt). Kurtis Drummond had a great game with two of the picks and Darqueze Denard had the other.

On special teams, Mike Sadler had a not-great day but I think it was mostly due to the 45mph winds and bitter cold. He kept most punts low averaging on 41 yards and only one was downed inside the 20. Wind and cold won’t be problems inside Lucas Oil Stadium. Oh, and enough with the blocked extra points by the way. They never seem to show the replay so I can’t tell if Michael Geiger is kicking low or if the line is letting too much pressure through. Once is a fluke, but twice is the beginning of a trend. Let’s end that trend right here and now before it becomes a factor in a close one.

Great win this week Spartans and congrats on winning the Legends division. That’s twice in three years!

Now, let’s stay in the present. Minnesota is coming to East Lansing next week and they are dangerous. If the Spartans start looking ahead to Ohio State and the B1G Championship game, they could find themselves dropping this last one and going in to Indy with no momentum. Let’s stay focused and keep our eye on the task at hand which is a great Senior Day win at home over the Gophers. Then it’s Ohio State!

Go GREEN!!!

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Remembering 2006.

As the Spartans are in Evanston today preparing to face the Wildcats of Northwestern, I too am preparing for the game. For me, it’s more about an awesome breakfast, hot coffee and catching up on MSU and B1G blogs.

Then I remembered that crazy game from 2006. State was down 38-3 early in the third quarter and it looked like a blowout. I remember being slouched on the couch watching the game and starting to feel defeated. My wife suggested we watch something else as my mood was probably not all that pleasant. I wanted to watch it play out, support the Spartans to the bitter end.

And then this happened…

What a game. What a finish. I believe this is the biggest comeback in NCAA history, or at least it was. Maybe still is?

I learned a lot that day.

1. You are never out of it unless you believe you are out of it.

2. Never turn away from a Spartan game.

3. College football rules.

I don’t know if today’s Michigan State – Northwestern game will be this crazy, but I do know that I’ll watch the entire game and I’ll be cheering on the Spartans like the crazy person that I am. Come on boys, let’s get this done today.

Go GREEN!!!

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B1G Week #13 Picks.

I’m 60-12 with only two weeks remaining in the regular season. My goal of 80% is within reach, but I’ve got to stay on track this week.

Spartans Wildcats

#13 Michigan State @ Northwestern – Noon on ESPN.  If MSU wins this game (or Minnesota loses their game), Indy is a lock. Northwestern has faltered in-conference this season, but they are not to be taken for granted. The Wildcats will show up, they will play hard and they will play to win. The Spartans are a 7-point favorite right now, which is not much. I think this will be a good game and I’m hoping to see the Spartan defense bring some smack-down to Evanston. Go GREEN!!!

Wolverines Hawkeyes

Michigan @ Iowa – Noon on BTN.  Wow, the Hawkeyes are favored by 6.5 over the Wolverines. Part of that is home-field advantage, but part of it is that UofM just isn’t that good. Iowa has better numbers across the board with the biggest advantage being their defense. I think Michigan puts up a fight late, but it’s Iowa by 10.

Illini Boilermakers

Illinois @ Purdue – Noon on BTN. Pur-who? Illinois by 14.

Badgers Gophers

#19 Wisconsin @ #25 Minnesota – 3:3o on ESPN.  This could be a really good game and a chance for the Gophers to show they are legit against one the best B1G squads. I like that the game is in Minneapolis versus Madison. The Badgers are a 16.5-point favorite on the road. Hmmm. I think Wisconsin wins but only by 10.

Hoosiers Buckeyes

Indiana @ #3 Ohio State – 3:30pm on ABC / ESPN-2. The Hoosiers will be crushed. Ohio State by 28.

Huskers Lions

Nebraska @ Penn State – 3:30pm on BTN.  This could be a really good game. The Lions are favored by a mere 2-points so it’s really a pick ’em game. It’s always tough to travel to Happy Valley but I do think the Huskers are up to the challenge. It’s going to be a really good game and a close one. I say Nebraska by three in OT.

Two weeks left, let’s enjoy it while it lasts. Everyone plays this week so best of luck.

Go B1G!

B1G

Rankings & Ramblings: Week #12.

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The B1G has four squads int he BCS rankings this week, and the distribution of the B1G rankings is becoming more equitable too.

Ohio State remains at #3 with Baylor now knocking on their back door.

Michigan State moves up from #16 to #13 after beating Nebraska.

Wisconsin moves up from #22 to #19 with a win over Indiana.

And a hearty welcome goes out to Minnesota who enters the rankings at #15. The Gophers have been on a run winning four B1G games in a row.

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A little different story in the AP Top25 as only three B1G squads make the cut.

Ohio State drops a spot to #4 getting jumped by Baylor.

Michigan State moves up a tick from #14 to #13.

Wisconsin also moves up one from #17 to #16.

In the almost-but-not-quite category we have Minnesota at #26 and Nebraska at #31 with one vote.

Well I got my wish in that Nebraska is not ranked. Not that I want Nebraska to be unranked, it’s just that if they were ranked this week it would have meant that they beat MSU and I certainly did not want that. I was also pulling for Minnesota to make the rankings and at least in the BCS rankings they did. Minnesota now faces Wisconsin and MSU to finish out and these will be possibly their toughest games of the year. Kudos to OSU for consistency; once you find your level you stick right there.

Two weeks to go, let’s keep up the good work.

Go B1G!

B1G

Chrome Domes.

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I’ll be honest, the chrome helmets gave me pause when I first saw them.

Why? They took me right back to 2012 and our loss to Michigan. I love the look but I felt that they represented a bad loss in my mind and I kind of wanted them permanetly retired.

The fact is, i was wrong. They’re cool and the players dig them. Why not bust them out for special games? And now that they were part of beating Nebraska we can forget all about 2012.

Shine on Spartans.

Go GREEN!!!

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