Max Bullough Suspended for the Rose Bowl.

39088

Coach Dantonio announced late Christmas night that Max Bullough did not travel with the team and will not play in the Rose Bowl. This is not good news.

Two things that come to mind immediately…

1. He must have done something really awful. Coach Dantonio is not an Urban Meyer type coach who will sweep anything under the rug in the name of winning. At the same time, Bullough is the QB of the defense and a third generation Spartan so he isn’t going to keep you at home for not making your bed. If it’s something really bad legally, then Dantonio is likely not allowed to disclose it. Lord I hope it’s just dumb-ass college kid idiocy like he got drunk and got in a fight and stole some kids mountain bike. If it’s something bigger like money from boosters I’m going to be really pissed.

2. This Spartan team now needs to rally together and fill the hole left by Bullough. He let his team down but that doesn’t have to mean that the team can’t rise up. Next man up, let’s go. The Spartans have depth, the Spartans have experience. It’s “SpartanDawgs”, not “SpartanDawg”; this defense is a sum of it’s parts not a force of one.

Max Bullough… I never would have thought you would be the one to screw up like this. You’re just too smart. And this is truly a lose-lose for you. If Michigan State wins, you miss the entire experience; the one thing you have been working towards throughout your entire college career. And holy shit, if Michigan State loses you let your team down in the most significant way. There is a lot of shame in that, and that’s tough. Really tough.

I am a very, very disappointed Spartan. But there is no time for sadness, this is a massive achievement and Michigan State needs to focus on the task at hand. It’s time to enjoy a trip to sunny California and get down to work to beat Stanford. These guys are very good and MSU will need to be in top form. Next man up. Lock arms. Close ranks.

Go GREEN!!!

blockS_green_80px

B1G Bowl Picks.

It’s tough to pick bowl games because you just don’t know how the teams will handle the pressure and uniqueness of traveling to California / Florida / Texas for a high-profile game. And the B1G has some very tough opponents this year; nobody has a cupcake. As much as I would like to see the B1G win them all, I’ve tried to be realistic and honest in my picks. Here’s what I’m thinking as of today…

Rose Bowl 100 Logo

The Rose Bowl – Jan. 1st, 5:00pm on ESPN

#4 Michigan State vs. #5 Stanford

These two teams are very similar. The Cardinal has a slight edge in it’s running game while the Spartans have an edge on defense. Stanford had a tougher schedule and have beaten more ranked opponents, but lost to unranked USC and unranked Utah. I think the key is the fire and desire to win. Stanford is in it’s second Rose Bowl in two years and this is business as usual for them. Michigan State is in their first Rose Bowl since 1988 and I think they come in hot, breathing fire and spitting acid. These seniors have won more than any senior class ever at MSU and I think they leave it all on the turf in Pasadena. Pound Green Pound! No Fly Zone in effect. Go GREEN!!!

Orange Bowl Logo

Orange Bowl – Jan. 3rd, kickoff TBD, on ESPN

#7 Ohio State vs. #12 Clemson

Sorry for beating you Urban “sad pizza eater” Meyer, but it was a heck of a game. Now you get to see if your boys can shake off a painful loss and move forward even if it’s not the game you really hoped to be playing in. The Buckeyes running game is 2xAwesome and will give the Tigers fits. What worries me is Clemson’s passing game against the Ohio State secondary; this could be OSU’s undoing. But I’m going to bet that Meyer get’s then sorted and set and that they actually play angry after their loss. I’m taking Ohio State by a last-minute score in a close one.

imgres-1

Outback Bowl – Jan. 1st, 1:00pm on ESPN

Iowa vs. #16 LSU

Oh Iowa, this is not a great match-up for you. This doesn’t end well for the Hawkeyes. Iowa does have a stout defense, but that’s about it. LSU is just solid. Not great or dominating in any one area, just solid and very good in every area even without QB Mettenberger. And the coach is batshit crazy. Anyway, no way Iowa wins this. I say LSU by 21.

imgres

Capitol One Bowl – Jan. 1st, 1:00pm on ABC

#19 Wisconsin vs. #9 South Carolina

No Rose Bowl for Bucky this year which is probably a good thing since they can’t seem to win one. The Badgers have a fantastic rushing game and a really solid defense. The problem is that the Gamecocks are really solid across the board and they know how to win. They also know how to lose to a lesser team, take Tennessee for example. Oddly enough, my gut tells me that Wisconsin runs all over South Carolina and it’s defense has just enough for the win. I’m taking Wisconsin by three in OT.

imgres-1

Gator Bowl – Jan. 1st, Noon on ESPN2

Nebraska vs. #22 Georgia

Nebraska has been devastated by injuries not the least of which is the loss of star QB Taylor Martinez. The Huskers can run the ball really well, but they also have a knack for turning it over. Coach Pellini had a tough ride this year and he just seems a bit unhinged. The Bulldogs struggled with injuries as well but figured out how to recover and finish strong, the question is can they do it without their star QB Aaron Murray who is out with a torn ACL. I think Georgia has the momentum and the edge in terms of talent, I’m going with Georgia by 17.

imgres-2

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl – Dec. 28th, 10:15pm on ESPN

Michigan vs. Kansas State

I hate Michigan. I really don’t know how the Wolverines even won seven games. There are some bright spots and there is some real talent, but there is no consistency or real cohesiveness. This will be Taylor Lewan’s last chance to facemask college football players, so this should be emotional for him. The Wildcats are a very mediocre Big XII team, but there stats are better than the Wolverines nearly across the board and they finished really strong winning five of it’s last six whereas Michigan sputtered losing four of it’s final five games. I think Kansas State has the momentum and a better formula for success, I see them winning by six.

Texas Bowl Logo

Texas Bowl – Dec. 27th, 6:00pm on ESPN

Minnesota vs. Syracuse

I like the Gopher’s guts and fight this year. They play classic mid-western football with a good running game and a solid defense from a bunch of guys you’ve never really heard of. These guys beat Nebraska and Penn State this year. The Gophers are an all-around better team than the 6-6 Orange who squeaked in to a eligibility on the last play of the last game. I think Minnesota takes this one by 10.

So there it is. I’ve got the B1G going 3-3 (no pick on the Rose Bowl) but I hope I’m wrong and they do better than that. I know I’ll be watching and pulling for MSU and all of my B1G brethren.

Go B1G!

B1G

Legends & Leaders: B1G Championship.

B1G

Indy was a whole hell of a lot of fun for us Spartans, and not so much for Buckeyes. Here is how things stand after the B1G Championship game (Division / Conference / Overall):

LEGENDS

  1. Michigan State 5-0 / 9-0 / 12-1
  2. Iowa 4-1 / 5-3 / 8-4
  3. Nebraska 2-3 / 5-3 / 8-4
  4. Minnesota 2-3 / 4-4 / 8-4
  5. Michigan 2-3 / 3-5 / 7-5
  6. Northwestern 0-5 / 1-7 / 5-7

LEADERS

  1. Ohio State 5-0 / 8-1 / 12-1
  2. Wisconsin 3-2 / 6-2 / 9-3
  3. Penn State 3-2 / 4-4 / 7-5
  4. Indiana 3-2 / 3-5 / 5-7
  5. Illinois 1-4 / 1-7 / 4-8
  6. Purdue 0-5 / 0-8 / 1-11

In any given year it is only possible for one team to be undefeated in the B1G and this year that team is Michigan State. Both the Spartans and Buckeyes were clean in their divisions and both were clean heading to Indy, but only one can be the B1G Champions. Way to go Spartans!

I’ll update this one more time in early January once we know how all of the bowls shake out. I’m looking for the B1G to get it done this year so watch out all other conferences.

Go B1G!

Incredible Darqueze Dennard video.

Thanks to Pietrang5 for posting this killer Darqueze Dennard video. I remember all of these plays over the last few years, but seeing them all together in succession makes it really clear why Dennard won the Jim Thorpe award for the nations best defensive back. The hits, the pass break-ups, the picks… just incredible. Pure swagger.

Bring that big game to Pasadena Dennard! SpartanDawgs! No Fly Zone in effect y’all!

Go GREEN!!!

blockS_green_80px

Awesome Jeremy Langford Video.

YTSparty posted this video to YouTube and it rules. Langford broke away from the pack of Spartan backs this year  surprising everyone in the process. I love LeVeon Bell, and was dreading a year without a dominant running back, but Jeremy Langford turned my frown upside down. He’s amazing, as this video demonstrates.

I’m hoping that he has a 100+ yard Rose Bowl.

Go GREEN!!!

blockS_green_80px

Green Pants.

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 6.35.09 AM

The Spartans debuted the green pants for the Michigan game this season, and they have been a fixture ever since.

I for one really like them. No stripe, no graphic treatment other than a small Spartan helmet logo, but somehow very bold. They look good with the white away jersey and they look even better with the green home jersey.

This is not the first time Michigan State has had green pants, in fact MSU wore green as recently as the JLS era. The norm is white though, no question about that.

White pants are good, but the green pants just seem a little cooler. They’re tough.

I hope the Spartans wear them at the Rose Bowl, and I hope they become part of the mix moving forward too.

Go GREEN!!!

blockS_green_80px

#4 Michigan State Vs. #5 Stanford in the Rose Bowl.

Rose Bowl 100 Logo

It’s official, the Spartans will play the Cardinal in the 100th Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, California on New Years Day, 2014.

StanfordLOGO

Let’s talk about Stanford for a moment.

First off, I like this team. They prove that a team can have high academic standards with a no-compromise football program and still perform and be successful at a very high level. They are a case study in not bending/breaking the rules and ignoring any type of standards (SEC) just to win football games.

This will be back-to-back Rose Bowls for the Cardinal as they beat Wisconsin in the 2013 game. 2013 was Stanford’s first Rose Bowl appearance in 40 years.

Stanford played in what is considered to be the first Rose Bowl game which was called the Tournament East-West Football Game in 1902. They lost to Michigan 49-0.

This years Stanford team is 11-2 and Pac-12 champs after routing Arizona State 38-14. The Cardinal has some quality wins against teams like #15Washington, #9 UCLA, #25Oregon State,#3 Oregon, #25 Notre Dame and, of course, #11 Arizona State. Their losses came from Utah and USC.

The chart below is a quick comparison of the two squads.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.18.01 AM

 

These teams stack-up pretty nicely and they are ver similar. I’d say Stanford has a slight edge in offense and Michigan State has the slight edge on defense. It’s really close though so I would find it very tough to say there is a clear favorite. I think this could be one hell of a game.

Go GREEN!!!

blockS_green_80px

Rankings & Ramblings: Conference Championship Week.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 6.37.59 AM

The Spartans did it! They broke away from tier #2 and inserted themselves firmly in Tier #1. Top Five Baby!

Ohio State drops from #2 to #7 after losing the B1G Championship game.

Michigan State rockets up from #10 to #4 following the win at the B1G Championship game.

Wisconsin rises up two ticks from #21 to #19 somehow.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 6.37.46 AM

Exactly the same story here with the AP Top25..

Michigan State #4

Ohio State #7

Wisconsin #19

Looking at the chart, you see three distinct trajectories.

Ohio State start highly ranked and basically stayed there until the very last week. That just proves that you are only as good as you last game.

Michigan State started the season unranked and didn’t even make the party until November. State played well in-conference will all double-digit wins so they steadily climbed up the chart with two big jumps coming from wins against Michigan and Ohio State.

Wisconsin started off ranked, but rode the roller-coaster of ups and downs including dropping out of the rankings for three weeks. The Badgers had two losses and they paid dearly for them in the rankings.

And to all of the B1G squads that were ranked either at some point along the way, I salute you. Michigan, Nebraska and Northwestern were all ranked in the pre-season. Nebraska tanked pretty quickly but Michigan and N’Western made a go of it through the Non-Con and into B1G play before falling out. Nebraska and Michigan staged a comeback re-appearing at the end of October, but it didn’t last long. And Minnesota showed up in the AP rankings for one week late in the season.

Now all that’s left is the bowling. There will be a final ranking after the BCS Championship game is played, but for now, this is how the cookie crumbled. I’m pretty happy with it as MSU has never been ranked this high in my lifetime, especially not at the end of the season. The Spartans face the #5 Stanford Cardinal in the Rose Bowl, and if we can win that one, we could even pick up another tick on the graph. That would be amazing. Of course, I’ll be pulling for all of the B1G brethren during the bowl season, I’d like to see the conference do well this year.

Go B1G!

B1G