Duzer.

Duz

Today is the day that Pitt will announce that our beloved Pat Narduzzi is going to be their new head coach. Not shock here, this has been over a week in the works and pretty heavily reported.

The good news is that Coach Narduzzi is making the leap from DC to HC at a Power Five school that has resources, facilities, history and a solid fan base. This isn’t Central Michigan, this is Pitt. And Narduzzi deserves it as he has been awesome in his time at Michigan State. The Dantonio coaching tree expands nicely too.

The bad news is that we lose Coach Narduzzi. He has been in charge during a wonderful era of galaxy class Spartan defenses. That is a tough loss. He is a large part of the soul of the defense so there will be a missing piece. It’s rumored that he is taking coaches Barnett and Tressel with him which is expected but not great news for MSU.

Coach Dantonio feels good about this move, as he should. He help develop Narduzzi in to a sough-after head coach candidate who could be choosey about where he left the nest for. Sure, now he needs to re-organize and re-structure and do some hiring, but this creates opportunity for the up-and-comers and next generation of coaches.

Yes, it sucks. But you knew it was coming and just remember that this is really good for Coach Narduzzi.

What’s the chances that we play Pitt sometime soon?  Funny thought.

Go GREEN!!!

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Scoring Points vs. Allowing Points in the B1G.

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When I work on my picks, one stat I always look at is average points scored versus average points allowed because to me, that is both sides of the coin. You can fixate on an incredible offense or stingy defense, but truth be told, you need a balance of the two.

And when you look at the chart, the B1G squads that have had the best season are the ones with the largest positive differential. The chart is in order of largest positive differential to largest negative differential, and viola, it’s almost the same order as the win/loss chart.

Ohio State and Michigan State are Tier #1 with +24.0 and +23.2 points. That is over a three possession lead on average which is awesome.

Wisconsin and Nebraska are Tier #2 with +14.6 and +12.6 points. These guys are right around that two possession lead area which is solid but not quite dominant.

Minnesota, Iowa and Penn State round out Tier #3 which is still on the positive side, but with a less than one possession lead on average. These guys are finding a way to win but they’re squeaking it out much of the time.

A special shout-out to the Lions who really had the best defense in the B1G this year, and at the same time had the worst offense. Why did the Gods conspire against you this year Penn State?

Maryland is right on the line. A true 50/50 effort.  Yawn.

Everyone else is on the wrong side of this chart. You can’t expect much when you get scored on more than you score. And these teams are indicative of that. No big winners here. Oh Michigan, there you are under water. You ship is sinking and now it has no skipper. Pitty on you Michigan. If only you could find your dignity. The rest of you tend to spend most years on this side of the chart, so I’m not shocked. I do think Northwestern and Rutgers show the most potential to slide to the positive side next year.

So, no major brain surgery here, but a clear visual of team balance and performance. Let me know what you think.

Go B1G!

B1G

B1G Bowl (Early) Picks.

So, I’m getting a little antsy and I want to start digging in on some bowl picks.  What you see below are what I’m calling my early picks, but I reserve the right to update the point spreads and my picks prior to the first bowl game kick-off. Keep in mind that every B1G team is the underdog as per Vegas. If you have a POV on some picks, let me know. Here we go in the world of B1G bowling…

Friday, December 26, 2014:

zaxby block-i

Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, Dallas, TX, 1:00PM on ESPN.  First off, way to go Illinois, it’s great to see you in a bowl game this year. The Illini are 6-6 but managed to beat Northwestern, Penn State and Minnesota, so they have some game sometimes. Probably their strength is in their ability to pass the ball averaging 243 yards in the air over the season, but yet they only put average 26.6 points per game. The Bulldogs have better stats but in a weaker conference, so don’t buy the hype because they have no quality wins. Vegas has LATech favored by 6-points but I think Illinois wins by three.

Quick Lane Knights

Rutgers vs. North Carolina in the Quick Lane Bowl, Detroit, MI, 4:30PM on ESPN.  NJ meets NC in Motown! I like this match-up and if I was back home for the holidays, I’d probably consider going to Ford Field for this one. The Knights biggest issue isn’t there not very good offense, it’s there very not good defense. They allow five points more per game than they score. The Tar Heels have a better offense but a worse defense, so the net-net is kind of the same. Both teams have some decent wins but I think UNC overall has the better quality wins even though their record overall is not quite as good. North Carolina is a 3-point favorite but I think they by a score to cover.

Saturday, December 27, 2014:

New Era Lions

Boston College vs. Penn State in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, New York, NY, 4:30PM on ESPN.  The Eagles can run the ball and they have a very solid defense. The Lions offense is mostly terrible, but there defense is one of the best in the country. Both teams are wildly inconsistent which makes picking a winner pretty tough. I do think Penn State will be fired up to be in a bowl game again, and years of pent-up frustration counts for something. Boston College is favored by 2.5-points but I think Penn State wins by 10.

Holiday Huskers

Nebraska vs. #24 USC in the National University Holiday Bowl, San Diego, CA, 8:00PM on ESPN.  The Huskers have lost Bo Pellini and there will be an interim coach for the bowl game (who cares who it is, I’ve never heard of him and he’ll likely be gone come December 28th. Just another 9-win failure for Husker fans. Yes, Tommy Armstrong cannot throw worth a shit, but Ameer “going pro” Abdullah is a killing machine so it hardly matters most of the time. The Trojans are good but not great and I’m not sure they can stop Abdullah if he is playing full-speed and for-real. I’m not convinced that this Husker squad actually shows up. USC is a 6.5-point favorite but I think they win by 17 more than covering.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014:

Foster Farms Terps

Maryland vs. Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl, Santa Clara, CA, 10:00PM on ESPN.  I think it would have been more fun to call this the Chicken Bowl, but that’s just me. I like the Terps and they had a pretty nice first season in the B1G. Heck, they beat Michigan, Iowa and Penn State this, although that would be more impressive almost any other year. The Terrapins are solid but not great by any means. The Cardinal beat all of the unranked teams and lost to all of the ranked teams. There offense is lacking both in the air and on the ground which is a shame because their defense is awesome. Like #2 in the country awesome. Maryland has no chance. Stanford is a 14-point favorite and I think they cover winning by 17.

Thursday, January 1, 2015:

Outback Badgers

#19 Auburn vs. #18 Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl, Tampa, FL, Noon on ESPN-2.  Assuming the Badgers show up and not that lame-ass squad that wore the Badger’s unis in the B1G championship game, this could actually be a good game. But then again, Wisconsin just lost Gary Anderson to Oregon State and former coach and AD Barry Alvarez will be coaching for the bowl game. That didn’t work out very well last time they tried it in the Rose Bowl. Wiscy has Melvin Gordon and an awesome defense, but possibly a broken spirit. Auburn beat Ole Miss and K-State, and they have a pretty solid rushing game too. On paper, I think the Badgers are the better squad. In the real world (and after the B1G Championship game), it’s much harder to say unless Melvin Gordon tears them a new one. Auburn is favored by 6.5-points but Wisconsin wins by 21 when Gordon rushes for 300+ yards.

Cotton Spartans

#8 Michigan State vs. #5 Baylor in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Dallas, TX, 12:30PM on ESPN.  The Spartans are 10-2 and boast the #7 scoring offense in the country averaging 43.1 ppg, not to mention a really good defense that only gives up 19.9 ppg. Cook, Langford and Lippett are a force to be reckoned with (not that I’m biased). But the 11-1 Bears are coming in angry after just missing the CFPs and they just happen to have the #1 scoring offense averaging 48.8 ppg including hanging 61 on TCU. Yes, there defense is not as good, but they are good allowing only 24.2 ppg. And let’s not forget that this goddam game is in God-foresaken Texas making Baylor the home team at JerryWorld. That sucks, but it seems to happen to MSU every year. Baylor is a 3-point favorite. Go GREEN!!!

Buffalo Gophers

#16 Missouri vs. #25 Minnesota in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Orlando, FL, 1:00PM on ABC.  Yes, Mizzou got schanked in the SEC Championship, but Bama is really freakin’ good. Looking at the stats, the Tigers are just okay overall with an above average defense. To me, they’re not really very scary. The Gophers have their issues though, and it’s mainly the utter lack of a passing attack. This team lives and dies by David Cobb. Missouri is a 6-point favorite but I think they win in the final minutes by only three.

sugar Buckeyes

#1 Alabama vs. #4 Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl CFP Semifinal, New Orleans, LA, 8:30PM on ESPN.  Yes, I hate Urban Meyer and I really don’t care much for the Buckeyes either, but I’m glad they made it to the CFPs. Now, how about not embarrassing the conference by getting your ass handed to you by Bama. Bitch-slapping Wisconsin is very different than hanging with Alabama. Nick Saban is smarter than you and he’s going to outwork you even if you work 24-hours a day, just know that. The Tide does everything well. Period. They score 37.1 and they only give up 16.6. That’s no joke. Yeah, but Ohio State scores 45.2 and only gives up 21.2, which is pretty fantastic too. Don’t forget it took them two OTs to beat a not-good Penn State team and they look very rough against Minnesota and a historically terrible Michigan team. If you take Wiscy out of the mix, they are trending way, way down. I want Ohio State to win, but I know in my soul that Alabama will win, the only question is whether the Buckeyes will make it a game or not. Alabama is favored by 9-points but they cover winning by 17.

Friday, January 2, 2015:

TaxSlayer Hawkeyes

Iowa vs. Tennessee in the Taxslayer Bowl, Jacksonville, FL, 3:20PM on ESPN.  Oh yeah, Iowa. Man, that’s a lot of bowl picks.. One last one… The Hawkeyes lie somewhere between not-very-good and mediocre. That is also the description that I would use for the Vols. This could actually be a good game. Tennessee is a 3.5-point favorite but I think Iowa wins by three, possibly in OT.

Let’s call this a first draft of my bowl picks. I need to do a little more thinking and scheming before I call them done and for-real. I still can’t believe that Vegas doesn’t have the B1G winning a single game. We shouldn’t take that personally but it’s kind of hard not too. I’ll be pulling for the B1G in everyone of these games and since Michigan isn’t in the mix, I don’t even have to caveat that statement. Let’s do it this year B1G, let’s win more than we lose. Let’s bust some asses and show that nobody hits harder or plays tougher than the B1G. Let’s flip the script and pull off the upsets.

Go B1G!

B1G

Check Out Winsipedia.

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Have you checked out WInsipedia?  It’s a cool info-graphic site that compares college football teams in key games each week. Pretty nifty, no?

For the upcoming bowl season, they have already prepared pages for the Cotton Bowl as well as a few other key bowls (such as a little thing called the College Football Playoff Semifinals).

Check out the Baylor vs. Michigan State Cotton Bowl comparison HERE.  The Spartans have only played the Bears one time, back in 1968, and they won 28-10.  Looking at some of the all-time team stats, MSU leads 10 to two, and if it weren’t for RG3, it would be 11 to one. Why has Michigan State never had a Heisman winner?

You can also go to the home page HERE if you want to check out another match-up or check the info on your favorite teams.

Go GREEN!!!

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B1G Championship Week Wins & Losses & Rankings & Ramblings Hybrid Combo Super-Post.

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Let’s start with the winners and losers, and since there was only one B1G game this week, it’s really winner and loser.

Buckeyes VS. Badgers

In the B1G Championship Game, it was the #13 Wisconsin vs. #5 Ohio State. The Bucks freakin’ destroyed Wiscy 59-0. It was unbelievable.

For example, the Buckeyes had 558 total yards with 257 passing and 301 rushing. Conversely, the Badgers had 258 total yards (300 less) with 287 passing and 71 rushing. How the hell does Melvin Gordon III only get 76 yards on 26 carries? How did Gary Anderson break his offense before the B1G Championship Game? Cardale Jones in his first start ever went 12-17 for 257 yards and three TDs. Oh, and no picks. He hit Devin Smith three times for TDs. The guy who was supposed to be good, Joel Stave went 17-43 (that’s 39.5%) for 187 yards, no TDs and three picks. Wisconsin couldn’t score and they couldn’t stop Ohio State. Gary Anderson looked like we was going to cry, and that is probably the appropriate reaction to that kind of a beat-down.

Let’s be honest, Ohio State made it in to the CFP Semifinals based on the utter and complete destruction of Wisconsin. Where the hell was this Buckeyes team when they were playing a really bad Michigan team?

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Looking at the CFP Top25 Rankings, there are four B1G squads ranked…

Ohio State moved up from #5 to #4.  Good-God almighty, that puts them in the Playoffs. Way to go Buckeyes, beat Bama!

Michigan State moves down from #7 to #8.  Without even playing anyone, Mississippi State (who also didn’t play anyone) leap-frogged the Spartans. That’s pretty questionable. I’m guessing that the rankings leading up to the final ranking don’t mean shit as far as the committee goes. Just ask TCU.

Wisconsin dropped from #13 to #18.  After being taken out behind the middle-school and impregnated by Ohio State, I’m almost surprised that the Badgers are ranked at all. Be thankful Wiscy.

Minnesota re-enters the rankings at #25.  Nice result after a hard week off. Good job Gophers!

I’m really, really, REALLY glad to see the B1G represented in the College Football Playoffs. Let’s make a pact to do this every year, and let’s not make it goddam Ohio State every time.

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The AP Top25 is similar but somehow more logical or expected…

Oho State moves up from #6 to #5.

Michigan State remains at #7.

Wisconsin drops from #11 to #17.

Nebraska remains at #25.

In the almost-but-not-quite ranked category we have Minnesota at #26. So close. Win your bowl and you’re in.

I’m still wondering how the Spartans got jumped in the CFP rankings? There is something screwy there but I can’t figure out an angle on it. Seems like PR and like are now going to be even more crucial to getting a top year-end ranking, especially if you don’t win a conference championship game. The rules are changing and we will all need to adapt.

Great job Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Nebraska (sort of), it’s good for everyone when we have quality teams acknowledged through the rankings. Now, let’s go win those bowl games. Please!

Go B1G!

B1G

Let the Good Times Bowl.

Okay, that was worse than last years “Take The Skinheads Bowling.” headline. By a lot, actually.

Anyway, 10 B1G squads are going bowling! That’s amazing. It has to be a record.  Let’s take a look at the match-up and then I’ll follow-up with a post a little later with point spread info, my picks, etc.

Here’s who bowling in the B1G this year…

Friday, December 26, 2014:

zaxby

Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, Dallas, TX, 1:00PM on ESPN

Quick Lane

Rutgers vs. North Carolina in the Quick Lane Bowl, Detroit, MI, 4:30PM on ESPN

Saturday, December 27, 2014:

New Era

Boston College vs. Penn State in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, New York, NY, 4:30PM on ESPN

Holiday

Nebraska vs. #24 USC in the National University Holiday Bowl, San Diego, CA, 8:00PM on ESPN

Tuesday, December 30, 2014:

Foster Farms

Maryland vs. Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl, Santa Clara, CA, 10:00PM on ESPN

Thursday, January 1, 2015:

Outback

#19 Auburn vs. #18 Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl, Tampa, FL, Noon on ESPN-2

Cotton

#8 Michigan State vs. #5 Baylor in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Dallas, TX, 12:30PM on ESPN

Buffalo

#16 Missouri vs. #25 Minnesota in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Orlando, FL, 1:00PM on ABC

sugar

#1 Alabama vs. #4 Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl CFP Semifinal, New Orleans, LA, 8:30PM on ESPN

Friday, January 2, 2015:

TaxSlayer

Iowa vs. Tennessee in the Taxslayer Bowl, Jacksonville, FL, 3:20PM on ESPN

That’s 10 of 14 B1G schools accepting bowl bids this year. The four who didn’t win at least six games are Michigan, Purdue, Indiana and Northwestern. Poor Michigan, sad Michigan. It’s a pretty bad year when the best things that happened are your fired your pizza-czar AD and too-cool-for-headphones-or-a-coat Head Coach, and the positive press you got from your QB stroking the cheek of Ohio State’s fallen QB before they carted him off the field. Hail indeed.

Best of luck to all 10 of the good B1G squads. Let’s beet some ass this year instead of going 2-8 like we have in recent years. And enjoy the extra bowl practices too!

Go B1G!

B1G

Rankings & Ramblings: Week #15.

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The regular season is over and it’s now conference championship week. The CFP rankings come out which basically covers the regular season. Nothing too shocking for the B1G really…

Ohio State moves up from #6 to #5.  Just outside of the playoffs at the moment, but everyone is waiting to see what happens next week without J.T. Barrett. The B1G Championship Game against Wisconsin will be interesting, for sure.

Michigan State moves up from #10 to #8.  Go GREEN!!! Nice movement coming from the beat-down of Penn State and a few higher-ranked teams tanked last week.

Wisconsin moved up from #14 to #13.  The Badgers took care of the Gophers and possession of a big-ass axe. The real question is what happens to Wiscy if they win in Indy?

Minnesota falls from #18 to unranked.  The committee can be brutal. Sad to see you go Minnie.

Three B1G teams in the Top15 is pretty darn good. Two in the Top10 is great.

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The AP Top25 is similar…

Ohio State moves up from #7 to #6.

Michigan State moves up from #10 to #7.

Wisconsin moves up from #14 to #11.

Minnesota drops from #23 to unranked.

Nebraska re-enters at #25.

And in the almost-but-not-quite ranked category we have Minnesota at #27.

In both polls, the Spartans are ranked as high as they have been all year, and since they are not playing this week, the only chance of improvement is if a higher-ranked team loses. Oh, and how about the Cornhuskers poking their head up in the rankings after rallying to beat Iowa. Bo Pellini was fired as a ranked coach.

Only Ohio State and Wisconsin play this week, and it should be a heck of a game. The Buckeyes are our only shot at the Playoffs, and it’s a long-shot at best. Good luck to both squads.

Go B1G!

B1G

B1G Standings: Week #15.

Well there you have it, the regular season is over and we have our two divisional champs…

Buckeyes VS. Badgers

Congrats to Ohio State (8-1) for winning the East (a week ago) and to Wisconsin (7-1) for winning the West. Best of luck to both teams as they face off this weekend in Indianapolis for the B1G Championship Game.

STANDINGS CONFERENCE OVERALL
Big Ten – East W-L PF PA W-L PF PA STRK
Ohio State 8-0 358 195 11-1 529 275 W10
Michigan State 7-1 316 158 10-2 517 239 W3
Maryland 4-4 202 263 7-5 349 347 L1
Rutgers 3-5 166 278 7-5 307 371 W1
Michigan 3-5 155 188 5-7 251 269 L2
Penn State 2-6 112 165 6-6 237 212 L2
Indiana 1-7 151 288 4-8 301 394 W1
Big Ten – West W-L PF PA W-L PF PA STRK
Wisconsin 7-1 294 143 10-2 450 201 W7
Minnesota 5-3 244 200 8-4 352 281 L1
Nebraska 5-3 267 217 9-3 449 298 W1
Iowa 4-4 250 212 7-5 339 288 L2
Illinois 3-5 188 277 6-6 319 407 W2
Northwestern 3-5 170 201 5-7 276 302 L1
Purdue 1-7 177 265 3-9 286 380 L6

Indiana and Purdue both finished 1-7 in-conference and they make up the Dumpster-Fire class within the B1G. Flaming pile of poop works also.

Rutgers, Michigan, Penn State, Illinois and Northwestern all finished 3-5 or 2-6 and therefore they make up the Shit-Show class in the conference. Come on Michigan and Penn State, get your shit together and stop embarrassing yourselves.

Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa finished 5-3 or 4-4 so they fall in to the Yeah-Okay classification. Sure, pretty good. Nice effort.

Michigan State and Wisconsin both went 7-1 which earns them a spot in the Upper-Crusty class in the B1G. So close to perfection, yet so far.

And in the rarefied air of the undefeated, Ohio State enjoys membership in the Badass-Hombre class. The post-season has not been kind to the Buck-nuts but maybe this year will be different? Probably not with Braxton and J.T. both out and some new guy under center, but maybe.

It was a fun season B1G, thanks for everything. See you all again next year.

Go B1G!

B1G

#10 Michigan State 34, Penn State 10; The Spartans end the season 10-2, 7-1 in the B1G.

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It was good timing that this Spartan offense would face that Nittany Lions defense. The fact that the best version of the 2014 Spartan defense also showed up was a massive perk. And a 90-yard kick return for a Spartan TD on the very first play of the game was a Thanksgiving miracle. Wow, sometimes the pieces just fall in to place.

OFFENSE

That Lion’s defense was very good; perhaps the best MSU has faced. They held the Spartans to only 298 total yards of offense which breaks down to 180 passing and 118 rushing. Those numbers are well below the Spartan offense average but also well above the Lion defense average. For example, the previous low for MSU total offensive yards this season was 422 vs. Nebraska. Yes, it was tough sledding. And yes, Michigan State got the job done.

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At QB, Connor Cook went 13 for 25 for 180 yards, a TD and a pick, which isn’t great except for the fact that Cook was something like 3-13 at the half. He really settled down and took care of business as the game went on. Again, Penn State’s defense is one of the best in the country so we should expect to see below-average performances. I felt that Cook could have calmed down a bit and had a better game in the first half, but that ignores the challenges he was facing in terms of pressure and coverage. Cook did move the ball and even though the result was only to FGs in the first half (not counting the kickoff return TD), he did keep the pressure on and used that time to adjust to the defense and figure out how to persevere.

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There was only one receiving TD, but the Spartan pass-snatchers did a fine job across the board. The Incredible Mr. Tony Lippett shined brightly once again with four receptions for 53 yards and a TD. I am going to miss this guy come next year. Also hauling in passes were MacGarrett Kings with two for 49, Keith Mumphery with three for 46, and Aaron Burbridge with three for 32.

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On the ground it was all Jeremy Langford who had 30 carries for 118 yards and two TDs. Langford has been incredible this year with 100+ yards in nine consecutive games which includes all of the B1G schedule. He show patience, a nice burst, good cutting and power. He has 1,360 yards including 19 TDs on the season. As with Lippett, I’m going to miss this guy next year.

This Spartan offense is one of if the best ever setting records for for most points, most offensive TDs and most yards in a season. Can you imagine if we had this offense and the 2013 defense… we’d be 12-0 and heading to the College Football Playoffs after a quick tune-up at the B1G Championship. A boy can dream.

DEFENSE

The Spartan defense looked like the 2013 defense, and that is some high praise right there. Granted, the Lions offense has struggled this year but those guys were up for this game and the Spartan defense was tested. Test passed.

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The Lions were held to 233 total yards, 195 passing and a mere 38 rushing. Marcus Rush, who I thought was injured but certainly didn’t look like it, had three tackles including 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble that was recovered by Taiwan Jones. And how about freshman Malik McDowell with two tackles and a sack for -12 yards; perhaps “Malik the Beast” in 2015?

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The defense brought a ton of pressure and totally shut down the run. The Spartans had eight pass break-ups with Kurtis Drummond responsible for two on his own not to mention his six tackles. Tony Lippett looked great in the secondary with the commentators wondering which way he would play in the NFL. Let’s not forget Trae Waynes‘ pick also, that was nice.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Big ups to R. J. Shelton for fielding a one-hopper on the opening kick-ff and taking it 90-yards for a TD. Boom goes the freakin’ Spartan dynamite. Beautiful. We haven’t had one of those since K-Mart back in 2009.

Michael Geiger went two for three on FGs which is about what he’s been doing this year.How do you slip from 94% in 2013 to 63% in 2014? Thank God that this offense hasn’t really relied upon those FGs to win games or this shit could have gotten really tense. Personally, I don’t like how the holder positions his knew directly above the ball, that seems off to me. I hope the Geiger works out whatever is bugging him and comes back solid in 2015. Dump her Geiger, she’s messing up your head!

SUMMING UP

Great game. Great win. Great team. Great season.

Yes, the Spartans had lofty goals which they fell short of. So did 124 other teams. Michigan State will get a great New Years Day bowl game against a top-quality opponent, and that game will be challenging. This is all really good news so let’s fire up for a Top10 team playing in a sweet bowl game and not sweat what we cannot change.

Go GREEN!!!

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