The Miracle at Michigan: Lego Style

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Check out this post by DomGarrett at The Only Colors blog on SB Nation, it’s freakin’  awesome. Nice work on Instagram by goldyeller, you are a LEGO animation god. You need to watch this about five times to catch all the details. Amazing!

Click HERE for the link.

Go GREEN!!!

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Tyler O’Connor Named Starting QB.

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We’re just 11 days out from kicking off the 2016 Spartan Season and Coach Dantonio has officially named Tyler O’Connor the starting quarterback. I figured the decision would be held back until after the final spring scrimmage, but apparently the coaches have decided and there is no reason to keep it a secret or postpone the announcement.

A few quick stats for Tyler:

  • Wears #7
  • From Lima, Ohio
  • 6′ 3″, 225 lbs
  • Has 374 career passing yards, 4 TDs and 2 Ints

The QB#2 has not been named but it’s a fairly safe assumption that it’s redshirt Junior Damion Terry with a fair amount of game experience versus redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke and true freshman Messiah DeWeaver (whom I assume will redshirt this year). If this year is anything like the last few years, we’ll see Terry step in for a play or series here and there to change it up and bring some additional running options.

My $.02 on this decision:

  1. It’s the right call, O’Connor has skills and it’s his turn
  2. I don’t really love the idea of starting a fifth-year senior when we probably should be setting up two or more years with a younger guy
  3. O’Connor only gets Furman to warm up as game #2 is Notre Dame on the road
  4. But then again, O’Connor has faced and won against Ohio State, so he knows what’s up for big games

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The Spartans are going to be just fine. O’Connor is going to have a solid season and I think he gains more yards and TDs on the ground than anyone expects.  And hell, he might even punt a few like he did in 2015.

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Go GREEN!!!

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B1G 2016 Pre-Season Rankings.

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Pre-season rankings are about worthless but they do influence perception and acknowledge sustained improvement. For the B1G leading up to the 2016 season, we’ve got four teams ranked.

#6 Ohio State

#7 Michigan

#12 Michigan State

#17 Iowa

I believe that the Buckeyes and Wolverines will almost always be ranked in the pre-season polls, or at least as longs as Urbs and Harbs are there.  OSU makes sense with J.T. Barrett at QB and their track record for success. They would be ranked higher but 97 of their players got drafted to the NFL so the team is pretty young this year.

UofM makes less sense to me and seems to be based on mostly HarbaughManiaManiaMania!!!. Barely anyone is mentioning that they are completely unproven at QB and all of their QBs got passed over for Jake Ruddock coming out of Iowa last year.  Just seems not-great to me but maybe that is my anti-UofM bias showing. To be honest, they have experience in the running game, receivers and both lines so maybe they’ll live up to the hype. God I hope not.

The Spartans and the Hawkeyes feel about right to me.  They both had nice seasons last year and deserve to be ranked, but they got spanked in bowl games and need to prove themselves once again.

FYI, the Spartans finished 2015 ranked #6 and they are the only team in the last four seasons to be ranked within the top six every year. The point being, the end of year rankings are the only ones that really matter.

I’m hoping to see six B1G squads ranked come January. It’s do-able. Heck, we did it last year. C’mon B1G, let’s win some games.

Go B1G!

B1G

B1G 2016 Week #1 Picks.

In two weeks the 2016 college football season will commence and I can’t wait. Football for the B1G starts on Thursday, September 1st followed by games on Friday and Saturday.

If you follow my blog you know that I pick the B1G games each week. Prior to 2014 I simply picked winners and I was pretty good that hitting about 80% accuracy for the season. Starting in 2014 I upped the ante and started picking against the spread which is far more difficult. In 2014 my accuracy was 52% and last year it improved to 56%. For 2016, I’m setting a goal of 60%.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • I make my picks before kickoff of the first game of the week.
  • Once the picks are in, I don’t revise them.
  • I use ESPN for the odds and sometimes they don’t have odds on certain games in which case I’ll find some odds on Oddsshark or something similar.
  • If you think I’m any good at this, you certainly don’t follow my blog.

Okay, let’s kick this pig for the first time in the 2016 season…

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1:

Hoosiers

Indiana @ Florida International – 7:30pm on ESPN-U.  Did you know that FIU are the Golden Panthers? Of course you didn’t. I’m going to assume that the Hoosiers continue to have a prolific offense this year, especially against sub-par defenses. If that is true, I think they hang a shit-ton of points on the Golden Panthers. Indiana is favored by 9.5 and they win by 17 easily covering.

Gophers

Oregon State @ Minnesota – 9:00pm on BTN.  I find this game much more interesting than the Hoosiers match-up, it’s a shame it’s on late on BTN as I’ll probably fall asleep watching it. Anyway, my gut tells me that the Gophers will be good this year, but in an above average kind of way, not a win the division kind of way. Even though they are favored in this one, it wouldn’t surprise me if they lose. I think it’s going to be close with the Gophers opening up an lead in the first half and the Beavers taking it away in the second. Almost too close to call in my book. Minnesota is favored by 13 but they win by three and don’t cover.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2:

Spartans

Furman @ Michigan State – 7:00pm on BTN.  Not only are there no odds on ESPN for this game, Furman doesn’t even have a page on the site. This is a throw-away game that does nothing good for the Spartans. If MSU destroys them, no big deal as it is expected. If it is close, MSU gets picked apart for backsliding after a great 2015 season. And heaven forbid if the Spartans were to… never mind, we’ll not even go there. Let’s be clear, this is Michigan State paying Furman for a warm-up game and I’m sure the Paladins are happy to get paid. The downside is that beating Furman doesn’t help you make it to the playoffs or a great bowl game. So, know odds that I can find but oddsshark has a predicted score of 40.2-2.0 or the Spartans winning by 38. Does that suggest a 38-point spread? Okay, let’s go with that BUT if a legit spread comes out, I reserve the right to revisit this pick. Michigan State is favored by 38 and I have them winning by 36 and not covering. UPDATE 8/25: Michigan State is favored by 42 points and I’ll stick with my original pick with them winning by 36 and not covering.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3:

Boilermakers

Eastern Kentucky @ Purdue – Noon on ESPN-News.  Much like the Michigan State game, this game has no odds posted and no info available on Colonels, so the same disclaimer applies here. Oddsshark predicts the score at 12.4-15.7, or 12-16 which is an oddball score. But these are oddball teams. The Boilermakers should be able to win by at least a score, right? Purdue is favored by four but they win by 10 and cover. UPDATE 8/25: Purdue is favored by 16 and I’ll stick with them winning by 10 but not covering.

Terps

Howard @ Maryland – Noon on BTN.  Yep, same story here. The Terps should destroy the Bison and I think they will do just that. Oddsshark has the predicted score at 2.9-24.1 or 3-24. I think that is conservative. Maryland is favored by 21 but they win by 35 and easily cover. UPDATE 8/25: Maryland is favored by 48 points and I’ll stick with them winning by 35 but not covering.

Wildcats

Western Michigan @ Northwestern – Noon on ESPN-U.  Yes, this could be a decent game considering that the Broncos can be a minor threat and the Wildcats can implode with the best of them. We all know home field advantage is null at Ryan Field. This game comes down to the Wildcats defense and can they slow or stop the Bronco offense. If yes, and easy win. If no, a very long day and possible 0-1 start. I’m going to give NWU the benefit of the doubt but I don’t feel great about it. Northwestern is a 6.5-point favorite but they win by 10 and cover.

Wolverines

Hawaii @ Michigan – Noon on ESPN.  God how I hate Michigan. The HarbaughManiaManiaMania seems to finally starting to rot a bit and even though the world seems to be putting the Wolverines on a pedestal in the pre-season, you can sense the annoyance and exhaustion in regards to Jim Harbaugh “personality”. That guy is a raging dick and a flaming asshole, but he is a pretty good coach for what it’s worth. Well, back to the task at hand, we have the Rainbow Warriors making the epic journey to Ann Arbaugh and the Big House. There is no way Michigan loses this game, so the question is really by how much do they win with new QBs. I think a lot. Michigan is a 41-point favorite and they win by 35 and don’t cover.

Buckeyes

Bowling Green @ Ohio State – Noon on BTN.  Nice to see the Buckeyes relegated to the Big Ten Network for their opener, what with playing a turd like Bowling Green (no judgement). The Falcons are an in-state non-rival that will give their all for a chance to beat the monolithic Buckeyes. It’s that extra determination that gives them an extra score which is great, but still not enough to win, not in the Horseshoe for sure. J.T. Barrett finally has the driver seat all to himself and I think he makes the most of it. Ohio State is favored by 27.5 but they win by 31 and cover.

Knights

Rutgers @ Washington – 2:00pm on Pac12.  The Scarlet Knights travel all the way to Seattle to face the Huskies, that seems like an awful long way to go just to get spanked. Not that I think that Washington is all that great, but Rutgers is a never-ending stream of disappointment and they should never be trusted. So, the Knights lose, but by how much? Rutgers is a 26-point dog but they lose by 17 and cover.

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LSU @ Wisconsin – 3:30pm on ABC/ESPN-3.  Yep, Lambeau Field with ESPN College Gameday, this is going to be quite a spectacle. This is basically a home game for the Badgers with the added impact of playing where the Packers play which should get the fans plenty riled up. Even with the location advantage, the Badgers are a dog in this game. Is it SEC bias or is it simply that the Tigers looks solid and Bucky has a big question mark? No matter, my gut tells me this is a one-score game in the end. Wisconsin is a nine-point dog but they lose by a score and cover.

Lions

Kent State @ Penn State – 3:30pm on BTN.  Yep, another cupcake week #1 game but at least it’s semi-respectable. The Lions should make quick work of the Golden Flashes in Beaver Stadium. I think it will be good for PSU to have some fresh blood in at QB, hopefully the newby will get rid of the ball a little faster and not end up getting sacked 10+ times per game like our old friend Hack did. Penn State is a 20-point favorite and they win by 24 to cover.

Hawkeyes

Miami (OH) @ Iowa – 3:30pm on ESPN-U.  After an undefeated regular season, the Hawkeyes lost the B1G championship game and then lost their bow. Trust me, I know that deflated feeling. The Hawkeyes have a ton of talent coming back this year and assuming they can shake off those losses, they carry a bunch of momentum into 2016. For the Red Hawks, this is the toughest game of the season and they basically have no shot at winning. But they are not a complete push0ver and the Hawks need to pay attention. Iowa is favored by 27.5-points but they win by only 24 and don’t cover.

Illinois

Murray State @ Illinois – 3:30pm on BTN.  Clash of the titans, yes? No. It certainly should be a guaranteed win for Lovie Smith; welcome to the B1G coach. There is no spread on ESPN but Oddsshark has the predicted score at 3.8-34.8, or 4-35, making the Illini a 31 point favorite over the Racers. I have no idea what to expect out of Illinois but I’m going to assume that they come out fighting with a new coach and a fresh truckload of optimism. Illinois is favored by 31 but they win by 35 and cover. UPDATE 8/25: Illinois is favored by 35 points and I’m going to revise my pick to them winning by 31 and not covering.

Huskers

Fresno State @ Nebraska – 8:00pm on BTN.  The Huskers never should have fired Bo, but they did and they are not better for it. But they certainly are beat-Fresno State good, so there should be no question of them winning their home opener. But by what margin? Nebraska is favored by 28.5 and they win by 32 covering.

There you go, 14 B1G squads, all playing week #1. I’m hoping that eight or nine of these are right so that I get out to a good start towards my 60% goal for the season. Let me know if you agree or think I’m full of shit with these picks. I’m probably more that latter.

best of luck to all of the B1G squads this year. Everyone is tied for first place right now, let’s see who maintains that position and who drops like a rock. No matter what, it will be fun to watch. There is just one thing to always remember…

Go B1G!

B1G

 

 

 

 

Coach Dantonio’s First Ten Years

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The 2016 football season will be Mark Dantonio’s 10th as the head coach of the Michigan State Spartans, and what a great ten years it has been. Coach D has created a culture of winning, doing things the right way and working hard to earn success. And the results have proven the approach to work as we now can put Mark Dantonio along side Biggie Munn and Duffy Daugherty as the greatest Spartan coaches of all time.

It’s always good to quantify results so that you know specifically how good “good” really is. Coach D is 87-33 at MSU which is a 72.5 win percentage. He has had five double-digit win seasons in the last six years, won B1G Coach of the Year honors twice and has had four consensus all-americans on his squad. He has taken the Spartans to a bowl every year winning five of them including the Rose Bowl and the Cotton Bowl.

With nine seasons in the books, here is what Coach Dantonio’s win/loss chart looks like.

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Some quick hits worth mentioning:

  • Dantonio has faced 39 different squads in the last nine years
  • He has never lost to 22 of those squads
  • He has never beaten four of them

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Looking specifically at the B1G:

  • Dantonio has never lost to Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, Rutgers or Maryland
  • His most wins (seven) have come against Purdue, Indiana and Michigan
  • He has played Michigan more than any other squad, nine times, and he is 7-2 against the in-state rival
  • His most losses (four) come against Iowa and Ohio State
  • He has a losing record against Oho State and Nebraska

Looking outside the conference:

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  • Dantonio is undefeated against 17 non-B1G squads and has never won against four
  • The non-B1G squad he has faced most often is Notre Dame, he is 3-4 against the Irish
  • He has the most non-B1G victories against Western Michigan
  • He is 13-1 against the in-state directional squads

Summing up, he isn’t perfect but he is amazing. When I think back to the 70s, 80s and 90s, the Spartans were not dominant. The Spartans are now dominant. Dantonio has led them to be in the elite conversations and although there is work to do, much has been accomplished.

I’ll update these charts are we progress through the 2016 season as MSU renews it’s series with Notre Dame and adds two new squads to the list in Furman an BYU. Don’t forget that the B1G plays nine conference games starting this year, so we’ll see those games added to the chart as well.

And then just for fun…

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Go GREEN!!!

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