Sunday, August 31, 2014

MSU a 12 point underdog at Oregon

Yes, it is history the #8 Michigan State Spartans face this weekend... not the 45-7 throttling of Jacksonville State on Friday night, but rather the longer history of Oregon as among the nation's elite.  The  bookies make MSU an early 12 point underdog at #3 Oregon.  MSU has been throttled at Autzen Stadium the past two meetings... and while the Big Green bring its vaunted defense, it has much to prove in the loudest setting in the nation for the Spartans to arrive on the national stage.

Odds for Big Ten stints this weekend:

MSU at Oregon (-12)
Iowa (-17) vs. Ball State
Northwestern (-5) vs. Northern Illinois
Purdue (-3) vs CMU Fire Up Chips!
Illinois (-6) vs Western Kentucky
Penn St (-17) vs Akron
Minnesota (-16) vs Middle Tennessee St
Michigan at Notre Dame (-5)
Ohio St (-13) vs Virginia Tech
Nebraska vs McNeese St (no odds)
Rutgers vs Howard (no odds)
Wisky vs Western Illinois (no odds)
Maryland (-10) at South Florida

Friday, August 29, 2014

Enlightened Spartan Preview with friends: consensus is a VERY GOOD YEAR

The ES presents his 14th annual championship season preview of your 2014 Michigan State Spartans. May the preview begin!  Please find the ES commentary... followed by 6 other predictions of Spartan faithful across the globe!  Read between the lines... WE ARE HEADED FOR THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYOFF.

note: SR is the Sagarin Rating of each team, preseason, for the 2014 schedule.  Notably, Michigan State has a SR of #20.  

Enlightened Spartan preview

8/29. Jacksonville State. 
SR # 96
Win, 52-0.
Spartans should be embarrassed for scheduling such trivial garbage.

9/6.  at Oregon.
SR# 1
Loss, 24–28.
Autzen Stadium is the loudest in North America.  But at least this time the Spartans will make it close.

9/20. Eastern Michigan.
SR# 178
Win, 42–7
The Charlie Batch years seem like a century ago for Eastern.

9/27. Wyoming.
SR# 102
Win, 35–10
Laramie Wyoming is a great town. State should schedule an away game there.

10/4. Nebraska.
SR# 36
Win, 23–18
A battle of great defenses but the home team airs it out in the fourth quarter

10/11. At Purdue
SR# 107
Win, 27–14
Poor Purdue, even Drew Brees is getting old at QB U.

10/18. At Indiana.
SR# 69
Win, 38–28
An Ariel circus with a little bit better defense from the Spartans.  Nice try, but no payback from the Hoosiers.  

10/25.  Michigan
SR# 31
Win, 27-20.
The Other Side feels good about making a score that seems reasonable to the voters, despite once again rushing for negative yardage. Shoelace was the "greatest ever".  Gardner was the "second coming." Whatever. It's the same story, Spartan domination.  

11/8. Ohio State
SR# 10
Win, 9-6.
The most difficult game of the year.  A defensive stalemate.  A FG in OT from Geiger is the difference.

11/15. at Maryland
SR# 59
Win, 28-0.
Welcome to the Big Ten.   The hype about the Terps competitiveness crashes to reality with a wakeup call against the nation's best defense. 

11/22. Rutgers
SR# 87
Win, 42-10.
Rutgers exemplifies 1869.  Their play shows it.  Rutgers is nothing more than a bump in the road, like Eastern Michigan.  Welcome to the B1G.

11/29.  at Penn State.
SR# 41
Win, 24-20.
The most difficult game to call on the schedule.  Penn State with a new coach, but the history of excellence and kicking our butt.  Still, the recovery effort dominates the landscape compared to the well-oiled machine aiming for a title run.  Cook pulls out a late TD to seal a victory.

12/6.  B1G Championship
MSU 31, Wisconsin 17.
Michigan State again matches up against the Wisconsin Badgers, but the juggernaut that is MSU overcomes the new estate in Madison.  Defense, which carries MSU much of the year, wins this championship again.

OTHER PREDICTIONS:  

 Swiss Spartan (Switzerland)

1.  What will be MSU's overall record (Wins-Losses)  13-2 (Losses to Oregon and in the National Championship Final)
2.  What will be MSU's Big Ten record (Wins-Losses) 8-0, 9-0 including the Championship game.
3.  What will MSU finish in the Big Ten East?  6-0
4.  Most disappointing loss or potential for a loss?   Oregon.
5.  Most satisfying victory? (and predict the score)   vs Iowa in the Big Ten Championship game, 35-21.
6.  Best player?  Shilique Calhoun and Mike Sadler.  Shilique will deliver as expected while Mike's 46.5 yard-a-punt average lands him yet another cover photo on Seventeen.
7.  If it were January 2015, what would you say about the performance of the Spartans in 2014?   I'll be sitting by the pool in Pasadena reflecting on another great year and our first back-to-back Rose Bowl visits in school history.

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Sloth (Luxemborg)
 
1. 12-2 (losses to Oregon and tOSU)
2. 8-1 (including loss to tOSU and win vs. Wisky in the Big 10 Championship Game)
3. First place in the East
4. Michigan is always the biggest potential for a disappointing loss
5. Michigan is always the most satisfying victory - 37-9
6. Langford has the potential to have a Lo White season this year
7. I wish Notre Dame was on the schedule so we could beat the living shit out of them

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Chock (San Francisco)

1.  What will be MSU's overall record (Wins-Losses) 
[chock]:  10 – 4

MSU 31 – JS 17
UO 27 – MSU 24
MSU 38 – EMU 9
MSU 28 – WY 13
NEB 24 – MSU 21
MSU 21 – PUR 17
MSU 42 – IND 31
MSU 21 – scUM 17
MSU 24 – OSU 21
MSU 28 – Maryland 21
MSU 24 – Rutgers 13
PSU 24 – MSU 21
B10 Champ Bowl – MSU 31 vs. Wiscy 28
Bowl – LSU 28 v. MSU 27 at the Cotton Bowl, Jan 1

2.  What will be MSU's Big Ten record (Wins-Losses): 6-2  (7-2 counting the B10 championship game)

3.  What will MSU finish in the Big Ten East? Tied for first

4.  Most disappointing loss or potential for a loss? Maryland will be closer than it should be, we’ll lose in Happy Valley

5.  Most satisfying victory? (and predict the score): Beating UM again 21-17

6.  Best player?   Geiger and Sadler continue to make the best kicking tandum in all of college ball.  Other than that, Taiwan Jones makes a name for himself this year … or at least has to if my predictions will come true

7.  If it were January 2015, what would you say about the performance of the Spartans in 2014?  Pretty decent season and great to be playing on Jan 1 once again!

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West Coast Smig (San Francisco)

Reporting my pigskin prognostications – We were who we thought they were!!

1.  What will be MSU's overall record?   13-1
2.  What will be MSU's Big Ten record?  9-0
3.  What will MSU finish in the Big Ten East?  Champions!
4.  Most disappointing loss or potential for a loss?   MSU will lose to Oregon.    We could also win this game and run the table.  I flipped a coin!
5.  Most satisfying victory?  2 straight wins  vs scUM and OSU
6.  Best player  Darian Hicks   Narduzzi is going to make this guy a star in his defensive backfield  
7.  If it were January 2015, what would you say about the performance of the Spartans in 2014?   I plan to be enjoying this conversation in warm weather looking at a national champiionship game in our future and I will say “They were who we thought they were”

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Big Bob (East Lansing)

Here are my picks:

1.  What will be MSU's overall record (Wins-Losses) 11-3
2.  What will be MSU's Big Ten record (Wins-Losses) 7-2
3.  What will MSU finish in the Big Ten East? Tied for first with Penn State.
4.  Most disappointing loss or potential for a loss? Losses to L'il Bo Pelini and the JoePa's.
5.  Most satisfying victory? (and predict the score) Ohio State 31-28.  Urban Meyer has another fake heart attack after MSU's OT victory.
6.  Best player?  Shilique Calhoun
7.  If it were January 2015, what would you say about the performance of the Spartans in 2014?  Very impressive.  Next year:  national championship game.
Big Bob

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mich State odds to play in title game improve... without a single snap

Wow, sure enough... the Braxton Miller injury at Ohio State has juggled the odds for the National Title fairly significantly as far as the Big Ten is concerned.  As noted by the ES, the Spartans' chances in the eyes of the Vegas bookies would likely be better while the Buckeyes' would get worse.

Now, Michigan State has improved from 35-1 to 30-1 odds to make it to the title game.  And, Ohio State?  Way down from 10-1 now to 50-1 odds.

But, we still got to play the games...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

MSU North End stadium expansion photos

So, here it is... one week before the season opener, and the ES and his littlest decide to go for a biking jaunt down to campus, tool through to see if construction season is over and timely, get some books at the MSU Library, some ice cream at the Dairy Store... and

well, check out the new digs on the north end of the stadium.  Here are some shots for your viewing pleasure:




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Michigan State favored by 31 1/2 over Jax State

Michigan State opens as a 31-1/2 point favorite over FCS opponent Jacksonville State next Friday (August 29).  Here are the odds across all the Big Ten for the opening week:

8-28, 10 pm,  Rutgers at Washington State (-8)
8-28, 7 pm, Eastern Illinois at Minnesota (-15 1/2)
8-29, 7 pm, Jacksonville St at Michigan State (-31 1/2)
8-30, 8:30 am, Penn State at Central Florida (-1)
8-30, 12 pm, Appalachian State at Michigan (-34)
8-30, 12 pm, Western Michigan at Purdue (-12 1/2)
8-30, 12 pm, Ohio State (-19) at Navy
8-30, 3:30 pm, Cal at Northwestern (-11)
8-30, 3:30 pm, Florida Atlantic at Nebraska (-23 1/2)
8-30, 9 pm, Louisiana State (-4 1/2) at Wisconsin
8-30, 12 pm, Youngstown State at Illinois (-10 1/2)
8-30, 12 pm, Indiana State at Indiana (-23 1/2)
8-30, 12 pm, Northern Iowa at Iowa (-16 1/2)

8:30, 3:30 pm, James Madison at Maryland (-21 1/2)

About Braxton Miller 

OK, so it takes one day for the ES to chime in on the Big Green getting second-fiddle in the Big Ten... and then, Ohio State's star player is determined to be injured and out for the season.  Suddenly, Michigan State becomes the leading contender for the Big Ten title.

MSU would have won the Big Ten title (with the Buckeyes playing in East Lansing) with or without Braxton Miller on the field for OSU.  However, it now becomes a lot easier for the Spartans.  Miller  was the most significant threat against Michigan State the past two years - including the major playmaker in the Big Ten title game (which MSU won by double digits, anyways).  The Buckeyes always reload, but Miller was their silver bullet.  

Expect the odds to the National Title game to shift significantly.  Before the Miller injury, Ohio State was a 10-1 favorite, with Michigan State 35-1.   The ES figures Michigan State will move up to about 25-1, and Ohio State will drop to 30-1 or 40-1.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

MSU at #8 entering 2014 season...

Well, the ES has been traveling the globe the past four months, thus sans posting on the Big Green Machine... but shall return just in time for the gridiron season!

Look for the annual ES preview next week, just in time for opening kickoff.  That said, it's been nice to live on big, fluffy, green clouds as I don the Green and White and gush in Spartan successes to fellow alums in Paris, London, and Italy.

Love the love that Michigan State and Mark Dantonio are receiving nationally, especially from the Big Ten Network (here and here).  However, it's GREAT that other numb-nuts still doubt MSU, and continue to have the Spartans play second-fiddle to Urban Meyer and his Ohio State Buckeyes, even though the Green dominated Ohio and the rest of the Big Ten last year en route to the best Big Ten season by any school since 2003.  Once again - we got 'em right where we want 'em.

Here's the AP Poll released today.  #8?  I'll take it.... and watch us move up all season long.  The ES is jonesing for more roses...   :)

Go GREEN!
AP Rankings
Rankings as of 8/17/2014
RankSchoolVotesPrev Rank
1Florida State (0-0)1496 (57)NR
2Alabama (0-0)1361 (1)NR
3Oregon (0-0)1334 (1)NR
4Oklahoma (0-0)1324 (1)NR
5Ohio State (0-0)1207NR
6Auburn (0-0)1198NR
7UCLA (0-0)1106NR
8Michigan State (0-0)1080NR
9South Carolina (0-0)1015NR
10Baylor (0-0)966NR
11Stanford (0-0)885NR
12Georgia (0-0)843NR
13LSU (0-0)776NR
14Wisconsin (0-0)637NR
15USC (0-0)626NR
16Clemson (0-0)536NR
17Notre Dame (0-0)445NR
18Ole Miss (0-0)424NR
19Arizona State (0-0)357NR
20Kansas State (0-0)242NR
21Texas A&M (0-0)238NR
22Nebraska (0-0)226NR
23North Carolina (0-0)194NR
24Missouri (0-0)134NR
25Washington (0-0)130NR
Others: UCF (94) , Florida (87) , Texas (86) , Duke (71) , Iowa (68) , Louisville (48) , Marshall (41) , Oklahoma State (37) , Virginia Tech (26) , TCU (23) , Mississippi State (22) , Michigan (19) , Texas Tech (19) , Miami (FL) (16) , Cincinnati (15) , Oregon State (10) , Boise State (10) , Northwestern (8) , BYU (8) , Penn State (5) , Vanderbilt (2) , Navy (2) , Nevada (1) , Louisiana (1) , Utah State (1)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Spring Game 2014: The Beauty of Defense

The ES wuz at the Peanut Barrel, chugging few beers with Big Bob et al, and sitting next to BTN (formerly WLNS-TV 6) Lisa Byington... just gushing about the talent seen at the Spartan Green and White game... Wow.

A few thoughts: OK, a few poor throws by Connor Cook (and Tyler O'Connor), but the other side  would be a few great throws, particularly the beautiful TD pass from O'Connor to a stretching Keith Mumphery in the end zone, and the very very nice reads by Cook to both WR Aaron Burbridge and TE Josiah Price.  Just real, real nice plays.  Backup QB Damien Terry gave the crowd a scare with a bruised shoulder after being slammed into the turf, but he showed he has nice wheels and good athletic ability. The ES enjoyed the play of Tony Lippett  today - 7 catches for 93 yards - keeping up his improved play from last year.  Wow.

More impressively today was just the look by the MSU defense. Some great plays by Darian Hicks (CB, #2, 5-10, 181-lbs), as well as on the DL by  Shilique Calhoun (#89), and Damon Knox (#93).  Kurtis Drummond (#27) had some great plays in the defensive backfield as well as Ezra Robinson (#37).  The defensive backfield looks very strong, surprisingly; and the interior line looks brutal - add Lawrence Thomas (#8) and the interior looks arguably STRONGER than last year - just 132 yards rushing between the two sides in this Spring game on 39 carries.  Ugh, that is truly beautiful.

Check out the video of my walk up to the stadium below, as well as some photos.  Temperature was about 57 degrees and sunny skies.  Beautiful weather. GO GREEN.  The bottom line is the ES found this team's Spring Game talent, competition, and execution to be at such a higher level as I've ever seen before - looks like Title Town!!  Can't wait until we travel to Oregon - the Ducks have no idea what type of insanity on defense they will expect.  Maybe the Big Green can finally win at Oregon?  The ES was there the last two times - at Eugene in 1999 (we were down 42-0 at half) and in 1982 (we lost by 20 or 30).  Can't wait until the start of 2014 season!!!

(Walk up to Spartan Stadium):



(Below: Josiah Price on the game winning TD pass from Connor Cook with 1:01 left)



(A great crowd, maybe 45,000 in attendance.  Best ever for an MSU Spring Game):