B1G Week #1 Wins, Losses and the Point Spread.

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It was a good kick-off weekend for the B1G with 12 wins and two reasonable losses. Congrats to Rutgers for pulling it out in the fourth quarter against Washington State, that was nice. And Purdue, nice work equalling your 2013 win total after only one game. Okay, that was snarky.

Also, one clarification.  If when I do my picks, no point spread is available, I’ll still make my picks and then compare my call to what the spread ended up being in the end.  if there is no spread, then we won’t count it. And, of course, if there is a spread when I pick, I’ll stick to that just as if I had placed a real bet.

Let’s take a look at my picks and see how I did…

Gophers

Eastern Illinois @ Minnesota – “Yep, Minnesota wins this one by only 17 on a warm-ish night in Land-o-Lakes state. (no point spread avail.)”  The spread ended up being 17 in favor of Minnie. The Gophers won by 22, more than covering the spread.. 1-0

Knights

Rutgers vs. Washington State  –  “Washington State is an 8-point favorite but they will go ahead and win by 20 easily covering the spread.”  I guess the Knights are tougher than I gave them credit for, but they’re new and I don’t have a great feel for them quite yet. I’m glad they won in their B1G debut even if it cost me on my picks. 1-1

Spartans

Jacksonville State @ #8 Michigan State – “Go GREEN!!!”  Way to go Spartans coming out of the gate with a convincing route of JSU.  1-1

Lions

Penn State vs. UCF – “This is a pick-em game (even) and I like it. Penn State wins by a TD.”  This was a pick-em game meaning there is no point spread and you just pick a winner. I picked the Lions and they held on to make my pick come true. Yes!  2-1

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Youngstown State @ Illinois – “I pick Illinois by 10. (no point spread avail.)”  The Fighting Illini ended up being favored by 17 but only won by 11. My pick had them not covering the spread so this counts as a win.  3-1

Hoosiers

Indiana State @ Indiana – “Indiana rolls ‘em by 28. (no point spread avail.)”  The spread had the Hoosiers by 33. I picked them by 28 (not covering) and they won by 18 (also not covering).  4-1

Hawkeyes

Northern Iowa at Iowa – “Iowa by 20. (no point spread avail.)”  I really though the Hawkeyes would walk all over Northern Iowa; come on, they’re not even Iowa State. But it was a closer game than expected and I don’t know what that says about Iowa. The spread favored Iowa by 17 so my pick had them covering. Iowa won by eight.  4-2

Wolverines

Appalachian State @ Michigan – “Michigan is a 34.5-point favorite in this one, but I don’t see them covering; Michigan by 30.”  The Wolverines needed a massacre to beat the spread and put 2007 in the history books (why? I don’t know). They basically got that done winning by 38. I knew they would win, I just didn’t think they would cover. But they did. I hate Michigan.  4-3

Buckeyes

#5 Ohio State @ Navy – “The Bucks are a 13-point favorite but I’m going out on a limb here and saying they do not cover the spread; Ohio State by 10.”  Down at the half by one, I wasn’t sure how this game was going to play out. But a more reasonable facsimile of the 2013 Buckeyes came out of the locker room in the 3rd quarter and they took care of business. The Bucks covered winning by 17, and I lost another one.  4-4

Boilermakers

Western Michigan @ Purdue – “Purdue is favored by 12.5 and at Ross-Ade stadium they win by 14 just covering.”  I wasn’t really positive the Boilermakers would even win but I decided to take the leap and have them cover the spread. They won by nine and did not cover. The tumble continues.  4-5

Terps

James Madison @ Maryland – “Maryland wins by 21. (no point spread avail.)”  The spread had Maryland by 24 so my pick had them not covering. The Terps won by 45 easily covering.  4-6

Huskers

Florida Atlantic @ #22 Nebraska – “Nebraska is favored by 23 and they win by 27.”  Thank you Huskers for winning by 48 and more than doubling the spread.  That’s how you dominate.  5-6

Wildcats

 California @ Northwestern – “Northwestern is favored by 10 and they cover by winning by 17.”  Maybe Cal is better than we think or maybe the Wildcats are worse? Either way, they didn’t cover because they lost by seven.  5-7

Badgers

#14 Wisconsin @ #13 LSU – “LSU is favored by 4 but I see them winning by only 3, possibly in OT and not covering.”  This ended up being a pretty darn fun game to watch, but the Tigers came back in the fourth and won by four. That’s a push.  5-7

 

I’m 5-7 for the year making my percentage total after week one 42%.  I’m way off of my goal of 55%. Not a great start. I need to tighten up if I’m going to make it. Picking winners is certainly a hell of a lot easier. But now I have some stats and recent data to go off of… who am I kidding, it’s all gut feel for me.

Anyway, great first week B1G going 12-2. We lost to Cal and LSU, there is nothing to be ashamed of there. Let’s get fired up for week #2!

Go B1G!

B1G

Michigan State 45, Jacksonville State 7; Spartans are 1-0.

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The seal has been broken. The 2014 season is underway. Michigan State on a Friday night under the lights was a fun way to uncork this sombitch. Let’s get in to it a bit, shall we…

OFFENSE

The offense came out on fire. Cook seemingly couldn’t miss a pass and Lippett was hauling in TDs left and right. The stats are solid with 565 total yards, 354 int he air and 211 on the ground.

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Connor Cook ended up 12/13 for 285 yards and three TDs. He only played the first half! The late hit after his first TD throw was scary and terrifying and, in general, awful. I was freaked out. I’m very happy that he seems mostly okay and was able to continue on and have a great game.

Tony Lippett had four only receptions but managed to rack up 167 yards and two TDs. Lippett looked crisp and confident, he could have a really good year this year if he keeps this up.

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Jeremy Langford wasn’t able to run all over JSU, but he did break off a few nice dashes going 57 yards on 13 carries. At the tail end of one of his better runs Langford was awkwardly tackled and appeared to roll his ankle. He didn’t look good and we didn’t see him again for the rest of the game. I hope Jeremy is okay and able to compete next week, or at least soon.

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The rest of the offense performed very nicely. We saw Tyler O’Connor and Damien Terry take snaps and they both looked adequate. Nick Hill had a good night picking up two TDs on 11 carries for 42 yards. Keith Mumphrery and Josiah Price looked to be in mid-season form already, and how about A.J. Troup getting is first Spartan reception and it just happens to be a sweet TD jump-ball in the end-zone. 

DEFENSE

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The Spartan defense was not up to last years’ championship form, but they did look solid for the first game of the year. How about three picks and holding JSU to only 22 yards rushing. Not bad. There were times when the secondary made me pretty nervous, especially at the beginning of the game, but things settled in and the coverage improved. Let’s give it up for Kurtis Drummond, Nick Thompkins and Darien Hicks for hauling in those interceptions though. The linebackers where a bit less electric than the 2013 backers, but again, first game. 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Not the Spartan’s best showing. Michael Geiger missed his first one wide-left, but he picked up the second attempt. Maybe just some rust needed to be knocked off. Let’s not make a habit of missing FGs. Mike Sadler’s punts were only averaging 32 yards although he did put two inside the 20. But the punting seemed slow and lacked power. I hope this is just a blip and we see some good old Sadler action next week when we will likely need it.

SUMMNG UP

A great performance, but also it is what is expected when a top-ten FBS team plays a FCS team. My #1 concern was injuries. At least four key players went down or out during the game. I don’t know how we protect against this but it’s scary.  Other than the injuries, very solid game, great energy, great execution and an excellent opportunity to let a lot of guys play (I think 70 Spartans played) and gain game experience. the #2s and #3s came in and did their jobs quite well. Nice game Spartans!

Next up is Oregon in Eugene. We all know what this one means for MSU and the eyes of college football will be upon us. Big time players make big time plays in big time games, and that is what I’m hoping for. The Ducks are damn good, but they still need to beat the Spartans to prove it. 

And finally, best of luck to all of the B1G as everyone kicks off 2014 this weekend. So far, so good. Let’s keep it up.

Go B1G!

Go GREEN!!!

Spartans

 

It all starts tonight!

College football is back. Thank God!

The B1G has two games tonight:

Gophers

Eastern Illinois @ Minnesota – Thursday, 7:00PM on BTN.

Knights

Rutgers vs. Washington State  – Thursday, 10:00PM on Fox Sports 1.

I’ll check in on the Gophers, of course, now that I have BTN at the homestead.  The marquee games tonight are:

#12 Texas A&M @ #9 South Carolina – Thursday, 6:00PM on SECN / WatchESPN. I wonder if A&M has much gusto after JFF has left the building. My gut says “nope”. The Old Ball Coach is ready to kick some butt I bet. I can’t believe this isn’t on a regular cable channel but I guess they are trying hard to get the SEC Network launched.

Boise State vs. #18 Ole Miss – in Atlanta, Thursday, 8:00PM on ESPN.  I’m kind of surprised to see Boise State favored by 11. I’d bet money they don’t cover. In fact, I bet Ole Miss pulls out the win. At least there is no smurf-turf for this one.

For me, the season really starts on Friday when Michigan State faces Jacksonville State in East Lansing. Friday is going to be a great day of BBQing, beers, cigars and mother-loving Spartan football. So happy.

Good luck Minnesota and Rutgers, let’s get this party started right.

Go B1G!

B1G

Spartan Depth Chart for JSU Released.

Coach Dantonio has released the depth chart for the first game against Jacksonville State. The starters are in all-caps with the back-ups listed afterwards. As Coach D likes to to, there are some “OR” listings where we have two or more starters cycling through.

Have a look.  If you prefer the official PDF, you can find it HERE.

SPARTAN OFFENSE:
X 14 TONY LIPPETT (6-3, 185, Sr.-5)
19 AJ Troup (6-2, 218, Jr.)
87 Tres Barksdale (6-2, 198, So.)

LT 74 JACK CONKLIN (6-6, 303, So.)
73 Dennis Finley (6-6, 305, R-Fr.)

LG 63 TRAVIS JACKSON (6-4, 291, Sr.-5)
75 Benny McGowan (6-3, 312, So.)

C 66 JACK ALLEN (6-2, 299, Jr.)
65 Brian Allen (6-2, 294, Fr.)

RG 76 DONAVON CLARK (6-4, 306, Jr.)
64 Brandon Clemons (6-3, 290, Jr.)

RT 79 KODI KIELER (6-6, 304, So.)
55 Miguel Machado (6-6, 306, Jr.)

TE 82 JOSIAH PRICE (6-4, 251, So.) OR
11 JAMAL LYLES (6-3, 251, So.) OR
84 ANDREW GLEICHERT (6-5, 264, Sr.-5)
83 Paul Lang (6-5, 259, Jr.)
80 Dylan Chmura (6-4, 245, R-Fr.)

Z 25 KEITH MUMPHERY (6-1, 211, Sr.-5)
16 Aaron Burbridge (6-1, 201, Jr.)
5 DeAnthony Arnett (5-11, 185, Jr.)

F 12 R.J. SHELTON (5-11, 204, So.)
85 Macgarrett Kings Jr. (5-10, 186, Jr.)
86 Matt Macksood (5-11, 195, So.) OR
21 Andre Sims Jr. (5-9, 190, Jr.)

QB 18 CONNOR COOK (6-4, 218, Jr.)
7 Tyler O’Connor (6-3, 220, So.)
6 Damion Terry (6-3, 226, R-Fr.)

FB 37 TREVON PENDLETON (6-0, 249, Jr.)
84 Andrew Gleichert (6-5, 264, Sr.-5)

TB 33 JEREMY LANGFORD (6-1, 208, Sr.-5)
20 Nick Hill (5-8, 196, Sr.-5)
22 Delton Williams (6-1, 228, So.)
24 Gerald Holmes (6-0, 221, R-Fr.)
28 Madre London (6-1, 213, Fr.)

SPARTAN DEFENSE:
DE 89 SHILIQUE CALHOUN (6-5, 256, Jr.)
98 Demetrius Cooper (6-5, 246, R-Fr.)

DT 92 JOEL HEATH (6-6, 285, Jr.)
99 James Kittredge (6-4, 298, Sr.-5)
56 Enoch Smith Jr. (6-2, 276, Fr.)

NT 8 LAWRENCE THOMAS (6-4, 309, Jr.)
4 Malik McDowell (6-6, 286, Fr.)
72 Craig Evans (6-2, 320, Fr.)

DE 44 MARCUS RUSH (6-3, 251, Sr.-5)
85 Evan Jones (6-5, 252, So.)
94 Montez Sweat (6-6, 229, Fr.)

STAR 6 MYLAN HICKS (5-11, 197, Sr.-5) OR
45 DARIEN HARRIS (6-0, 231, Jr.)
23 Chris Frey (6-2, 220, Fr.)

MIKE 34 TAIWAN JONES (6-3, 252, Sr.)
33 Jon Reschke (6-2, 236, R-Fr.)

SAM 43 ED DAVIS (6-3, 242, Jr.)
30 Riley Bullough (6-2, 227, So.)
49 Shane Jones (6-1, 237, R-Fr.)

FC 2 DARIAN HICKS (5-10, 180, So.)
36 Arjen Colquhoun (6-1, 195, Jr.)
17 Monty Madaris (6-1, 198, So.)

FS 27 KURTIS DRUMMOND (6-1, 202, Sr.-5)
7 Demetrious Cox (6-1, 200, So.)

SS 26 RJ WILLIAMSON (6-0, 214, Jr.)
29 Mark Meyers (6-0, 183, So.)
9 Montae Nicholson (6-2, 209, Fr.)
35 Jalyn Powell (5-11, 210, R-Fr.)

BC 15 TRAE WAYNES (6-1, 182, Jr.)
39 Jermaine Edmondson (6-0, 182, So.)
12 R.J. Shelton (5-11, 204, So.)

SPARTAN SPECIAL TEAMS:
KO 4 MICHAEL GEIGER (5-8, 189, So.)
24 Kevin Cronin (6-1, 213, So.)

PK 4 MICHAEL GEIGER (5-8, 189, So.)
24 Kevin Cronin (6-1, 213, So.)

P 3 MIKE SADLER (6-0, 175, Sr.-5)
25 Jake Hartbarger (6-4, 209, Fr.)

SN 52 TAYBOR PEPPER (6-5, 220, Jr.)
56 Leland Ewing (6-1, 234, Sr.-5)

HLD 3 MIKE SADLER (6-0, 175, Sr.-5)
18 Connor Cook (6-4, 218, Jr.)

KR 12 R.J. SHELTON (5-11, 204, So.)
20 NICK HILL (5-8, 196, Sr.-5)
85 Macgarrett Kings Jr. (5-10, 186, Jr.)
24 Gerald Holmes (6-0, 221, R-Fr.)

PR 85 MACGARRETT KINGS JR. (5-10, 186, Jr.)
21 Andre Sims Jr. (5-9, 190, Jr.)

I see the names, now I want to see them in action. Oh Friday, why do you taunt me so.

Go GREEN!!!

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B1G Writers Revise #1 Pick.

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There is no official B1G Media Poll, but Cleveland.com conducts it’s own poll to see who they feel will win it all in Indianapolis (and beyond). In July, Ohio State was the clear pick as B1G champion with 29 first place votes. Michigan State was second with 10 first place votes. MSU moves from 31% to 88%. Not bad.

Following the Braxton Miller injury, Cleveland.com went back to the 29 Buckeye voters to see if they would change there vote. 25 of the 29 responded with 22 now picking the Spartans and one each for the Buckeyes, the Cornhuskers and the Wolverines.

Also, Braxton Miller was replaced by Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon as the projected B1G offensive player of the year. Gordon picked up 16 of the 25 votes with Ameer Abdullah also getting 7, and one each for Connor Cook and Jeremy Langford.

I don’t really put all that much stock in this sort of thing, but it is nice to the Spartans get some recognition.

You can read the article HERE.

Go GREEN!!!

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Fire Up Spartans, we’ve got Jacksonville State on Friday.

 

 

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You know I’m pumped! From January 2nd right to today, I’ve been jonesing for some Spartan football. And it all starts up again on Friday. Plus I have a big (should I say B1G) upgrade this year with the addition of The Big Ten Network at the homestead. This is huge for me.

JSU is coming to East Lansing and while MSU is clearly favored, I don’t think we should start celebrating quite yet. These guys are good and they play fast and hot and they will score on MSU’s defense. I believe we will win this game, but I don’t see a typical cupcake 40-point walk in the park. This is actually a great warm-up for the Ducks. 

I’m hoping to see some solid playing on both sides of the ball unlike this time last year. I want to see the offense get off to a quick start and to show balance. On defense, I’m hoping for solid play from the backers and corners so that we can continue No Fly Zone for another season. I know the Spartans won’t be perfect and they will make mistakes typical of first games / early in the season, and that’s okay as long as there not to many of them and they are corrected moving forward.

Fire-up Spartans, football is here.

Go GREEN!!!

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MLive’s 10 Predictions for Michigan State’s 2014 Football Season

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Pretty interesting predictions from MLive’s Mike Griffith, read it HERE.

I agree with most of the article, and I especially love the optimism and confidence of #2 MSU will beat Oregon.  I’ll be a happy, happy camper if this holds true.

Let’s not overlook #8 Bruising nail-biters either. We are fortunate to have Nebraska and Michigan at home, but those games will be hard-fought and could be very close.

Lastly, #10 Narduzzi’s farewell is expected, and a bummer. We all know he is going to move upward and onward in his career, but it doesn’t mean we won’t be upset when it actually happens.

Anyway, good article for Spartan fans. Let me know if you agree / disagree. Football starts this week and the Spartans take the field Friday… I’m so ready.

Go GREEN!!!

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B1G Week #1 Picks.

The 2014 college football season is one weeks away. The long wait is over!

I set a goal last year of picking the winner of every B1G game with at least 80% accuracy. I ended up 68-14 which came to 83%. Mission accomplished. This year, I’m making it much harder and therefore lowering my goal. I’m going to pick each B1G game against the spread and my goal for 2014 is 55%. If no point spread is available, then I’ll revert to picking the winner but won’t count it in my running total. FYI, I’ll be using the ESPN PickCenter for the point spreads, and they will be pulled on the day I make the picks.

One other item to mention, I don’t pick the Michigan State games. I’ll talk about the match-up and generally send good vibes to my Spartans, but it’s pointless to make a pick as I would pick MSU every single time no matter the opponent or point spread. I can’t pick against the Green and White, so making a pick makes no sense and doesn’t feel right either. I’ll leave it at Go GREEN!!! every week.

Okay, let’s have a look at Week #1 of B1G non-con match-ups shall we…

Gophers

Eastern Illinois @ Minnesota – Thursday, 7:00PM on BTN. The Golden Gophers went 8-5 in 2013 but ended the season on a three-game losing streak. They did have some solid wins including a ranked Nebraska team, high-scoring Indiana and Penn State. Basically, they are coming off of an okay season winning all four non-cons (including San Jose State and UNLV) and four B1G games. The Panthers had a great season in 2013 going 12-2 but mainly against teams you sort of have kind of heard of maybe. But with their star QB gone, what’s to be expected in 2014? I’ll tell you what to expect, a loss to Minnie. Yep, Minnesota wins this one by only 17 on a warm-ish night in Land-o-Lakes state. (no point spread avail.)

Knights

Rutgers vs. Washington State  – Thursday, 10:00PM on Fox Sports 1.  Welcome Scarlet Knights! And way to go opening up against a Pac-12 squad right from the get-go. Impressive. In 2013, Rutgers was very mediocre going 6-7 and not really beating anyone notable. This year their schedule is way tougher including this home opener against the Cougars. The Cougars also went 6-7 but managed to beat some pretty darn good squads. Their passing games was top-5 in the NCAA! This could be a good game but it won’t be. Rutgers is too far from home (neutral site, but in Seattle), too late at night and frankly, too not good. Washington State is an 8-point favorite but they will go ahead and win by 20 easily covering the spread.

Spartans

Jacksonville State @ #8 Michigan State – Friday, 7:30PM on BTN.  Welcome back Spartans. 13-1. Undefeated in-conference. Won every B1G game by double-digits. B1G Champs. 100th Rose Bowl Champs. The Spartans are coming off of a great year. They are a Top 10 team and expectations are high. The Gamecocks went 11-4 last year in the OVC. That’s about all I know about them. JSU is solid but should in no way be a serious threat to MSU. My only fear is that the Spartans are so consumed with the Ducks the following week that they somehow… nope, that’s not happening. The Spartans are going to bring it and I’ll be watching on BTN on my screened-in porch with some brews and cigars just the way it should be. Fire up Spartans. Go GREEN!!!

Lions

Penn State vs. UCF – 8:30AM on ESPN-2.  Yes, it does say 8:30AM! Why? This game is being played in Ireland of all places (assuming no volcanos mess up the plan). Even before College Gameday starts, a B1G game has kicked off. And it’s worth waking up for as this could be and should be a really good game. The Knights are a Top 25 team that can score, especially through the air, and they have a stout defense. Heck, a 12-1 UCF beat Penn State in 2013 in Happy Valley! Yes, but the Nittany Lions now have Coach Franklin at the helm and at least in terms of recruiting and attitude, they are born again hard. Franklin would love to pick up a road win for his first outing and Penn State and I think that could happen. This is a pick-em game (even) and I like it. Penn State wins by a TD.

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Youngstown State @ Illinois – Noon on BTN. This should be a cupcake game but you never know with Illinois. If only they can muster some defense and run the ball once in a while. The Fighting Illini were fully one-dimensional in 2013. But the Penguins are very beatable and shouldn’t put up too much of a struggle. I pick Illinois by 10. (no point spread avail.)

Hoosiers

Indiana State @ Indiana – Noon on ESPN-News.  ESPN-News? The Hoosiers offense was potent in 2013, but their defense was abysmal. If their defense can be 25% better, this could be a good season for them. None of that matters becuase the Sycamores are really not good. Indiana rolls ’em by 28. (no point spread avail.)

Hawkeyes

Northern Iowa at Iowa – Noon on BTN.  The Hawkeyes are always good but rarely great. They do know how to play defense though, I’ll always give them that. They play classic B1G football almost to a fault. And the Panthers aren’t a bad team either. They went 7-5 last year but without playing anyone of Iowa’s caliber. This is a good first game situation: Not a total cupcake but not a credible threat either. Work it out Hawkeyes. Iowa by 20. (no point spread avail.)

Wolverines

Appalachian State @ Michigan – Noon on ESPN-2.  Perhaps I’ve mentioned it before but I hate Michigan. For being so smart, why the heck are they playing the Mountaineers again? After what is considered the worst loss in NCAA history, why invite App State back? Nothing good comes from this game. At best, you win but ESPN airs a package on that frightful loss and every sports writer in the nation brings it up before and after the game. And worst case (God, please!), they lose. It’s too much to hope for. Nope, Hoke get’s a win before heading off to Notre Dame in week #2. Michigan is a 34.5-point favorite in this one, but I don’t see them covering; Michigan by 30.

Buckeyes

#5 Ohio State @ Navy – Noon on CBS.  Do you know who had a better rushing game than the Buckeyes in 2013? The Midshipmen! Looking at the stats, these teams match-up pretty nicely. I like that this is a road game for the Buckeyes, especially coming off back-to-back losses after a 24 games winning streak. Where is there head at? They just lost their star, Heisman candidate QB Braxton Miller, for the season and they will be starting a guy with zero college game snaps. Should the Buckeyes be worried? Oh, they’ll be fine. The Bucks are a 13-point favorite but I’m going out on a limb here and saying they do not cover the spread; Ohio State by 10.

Boilermakers

Western Michigan @ Purdue – Noon on ESPN-U.  You’re tied for first in the B1G Purdue, enjoy it. Okay, that’s mean. But the Boilermakers were terrible in 2013. I think they win a few this year instead of just one. And this should be the first as the Broncos were just as bad and in a much worse conference. Purdue is favored by 12.5 and at Ross-Ade stadium they win by 14 just covering.

Terps

James Madison @ Maryland – 3:30PM on BTN. Welcome Terrapins! I love the Terps logo and I even appreciate the craziness of their uniforms. Let’s put some crab cakes on the tailgate table this year! So, the Terps went 7-6 in the ACC last year beating some good schools in West Virginia, Virginia, VT and NC State. And losses to FSU and Clemson are nothing to feel bad about. The JMU Dukes were 6-6 but they are in a very different league. I think this is the tune-up / warm-up / throw-up game that a first game should be. No problems and lots of fun. Maryland wins by 21. (no point spread avail.)

Huskers

Florida Atlantic @ #22 Nebraska – 3:30PM on BTN.  Nebraska has one great season after another, but they just can’t seem to win a B1G championship or a major bowl game. I know this is driving Cornhusker fans crazy as they expected to roll in to the B1G and flat-out dominate. Anyway, the Huskers look good heading in to 2014 with the biggest challenge being turnovers (perhaps you saw the MSU game?). But FAU shouldn’t really put up much of a fight, they are simply out of their league. The Owls will score, but the Huskers will score a bunch more. Nebraska is favored by 23 and they win by 27.

Wildcats

 California @ Northwestern – 3:30PM on ABC / ESPN-2.  The Wildcats started strong last season including a week#1 win at Cal. Northwestern then went on to win only one B1G game (Illinois) and there season ended up being a major disappointment, but compared to the Golden Bears, they kicked ass. Cal can throw the ball, and that’s about it. They can’t run and they certainly aren’t stopping anyone on defense. Their sole win last year was against Portland State (who?) but they did manage a close one against Arizona (33-28) and they hung 34 on Ohio State in week #3. Now Cal travels all the way to Illinois just to lose. Northwestern is favored by 10 and they cover by winning by 17.

Badgers

#14 Wisconsin @ #13 LSU – 9:00PM on ESPN. No question about it, this is the best week #1 match-up for the B1G. This is a neutral site game in Houston, which is a lot closer to LSU’s rabid fan base than to Wisconsin’s buzzed fanatics. The hot and humid weather won’t be a factor as they’ll be tucked away inside a dome for this night game. The Tigers are very balanced meaning they are good to very good at just about everything. The Badgers have a really solid running game and defense, but not very good passing game. I think either team at home would have a distinct advantage, but at a neutral site, it’s pretty damn even. LSU is favored by 4 but I see them winning by only 3, possibly in OT and not covering. Expect a great game.

Those are my picks. 14 picks takes a longer than 12, and adding in the point-spread only makes it harder still. I feel good about it, but not great. We will see. Best of luck to all 14 B1G teams, let’s win some games. An extra shout-out to Rutgers, Penn State and Wisconsin who have the toughest match-ups. I’ll be rooting for all of you, except Michigan that is. I would die and go to heaven if they lost to App State again. I can’t wait to see the video package!

Go B1G!

B1G

 

Rankings & Ramblings: Pre-Season.

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The AP Top 25 was released on Sunday and as expected, Michigan State is sitting at #8. This is the Spartans highest pre-season ranking since 1967. After finishing 2013 ranked #3, some Spartan fans might be upset to have dropped five spots. I say don’t be concerned, there are a number of factors at play.

First off, if you look at that teams ranked ahead of MSU, they are perennial top teams. These teams have proven themselves year after year and therefore the media gives them the benefit of the doubt. It’s the power of a strong brand. The Week #2 match-up with Oregon is an opportunity to take take history and brand-strength out of the conversation, but it’s not going to be easy and that’s as it should be.

Secondly, the Spartans have been known to excel one season only to fall back to mediocrity the next. Outside of the Spartan faithful, I believe there is a lot of optimism, but it’s cautious optimism. There are a bunch of folks ready to tag MSU with a S.O.S. (Same Old Spartans) and the first sign of weakness. As much as I disagree, I can’t really argue from a historical perspective. The perception will change over time as the Spartans demonstrate consistent competitiveness year over year.

Lastly, MSU lost a lot of talent on defense and it was the defense that dominated in 2013. Granted, the offense grew into it’s own during the course of the season, but it was the defense that carried the Spartans. Fall camp seems to be painting a picture of another powerful Dantonio defense so I’m not too worried; not like I was about the offense this time last year. But the press has picked up on it and we keep reading the same angle over and over.

And so the Spartans are #8. Actually, I think it’s a great spot. Top 10 is always excellent, let’s not forget that. And from #8 they can go just about anywhere. It’s in the teams hands once August 29th rolls around.

A list of all B1G squads ranked include…

#5 Ohio State Buckeyes

#8 Michigan State Spartans

#14 Wisconsin Badgers

#22 Nebraska Cornhuskers

The B1G has four teams ranked in the Top25. The other conferences fell out like this:  SEC: 8, Pac-12: 6, ACC: 3, Big XII: 3 (+ Notre Dame). The SEC and Pac-12 are looking tough going in to 2014.  I feel like there are few squads that won’t hold up over the course of the season such as Georgia, Notre Dame, Old Miss and Texas A&M. Oh, and I love that Michigan isn’t ranked although the B1G could have used another ranked team.

Best of luck to all of the ranked teams, but especially to the B1G ranked teams. Let’s get on it this year!

Go B1G!

B1G

 

Arnett’s Year.

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I’ve been meaning to post my prediction for a week or so: I think DeAnthony Arnett is finally going to have a great season.  Because I procrastinated, now I’ll just seem like a Johnny-Come-Lately after Arnett had a great scrimmage and is getting some nice press.

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Check out this story from MLive here.

Well, I missed my chance to be super-smart and ahead of the curve, but that’s okay if DeAnthony plays great this year. I’ll take it.

One last chance at a bold prediction: Come end of the season, Arnett’s stats are behind only Tony Lippett for most TDs. Check it!

Go GREEN!!!

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