Thursday, December 31, 2009

Spartan icers win GLI, again

MSU ice hockey team crushed RPI, 6-1, to win its 12th GLI crown last night. On the previous night, MSU defeated Michigan Tech, 10-1.

That's 16-2 score in the GLI. Congrats Spartans!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bettors more bullish on Spartans in Alamo Bowl on news of Leach firing

As Tom Waits said, "and he goes down down down, and the Devil calls him by name..." well, the Alamo Bowl point spread of Texas Tech and Michigan State in favor of TTU has now dropped by one point to 8 and 7 1/2 points in favor of TTU.

The spread is still solidly in favor of TTU, but the chipping away via the dismissal of head coach Mike Leach is beginning to rear its ugly head for Tech faithful.

Cal Neva (from TTU -8 to TTU -7.5), Golden Nugget (from TTU -8.5 to TTU -8), Leroys (from TTU -8 to TTU -7.5), LVSC (from TTU -8 to TTU -7.5), M Resort (from TTU -9 to TTU -8), Mirage (from TTU -8.5 to TTU -8), Stations (TTU -8.5 to TTU -7.5), Stratosphere (from TTU -8 to TTU -7.5), Venetian (from TTU -8 to TTU -7.5)

Caesars (from TTU -7 to TTU -8),

EVEN (3)
Atlantis (TTU -8), Hilton (TTU -7.5), Peppermill (TTU -8)

TTU's Leach FIRED in advance of Alamo Bowl

Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach was fired today three days before the Alamo Bowl vs Michigan State. As the ES stated earlier last night, "word to the wise: DON'T SUE YOUR EMPLOYER. You're just going to piss them off more."

As predicted, it happened. Leach was fired this morning just prior to the hearing before court to have him reinstated as coach for the Alamo Bowl. They are speechless over at the Double T Nation.

According to ESPN, "(Leach attorney) Ted Liggett said that Texas Tech general counsel Pat Campbell approached him outside the courtroom and told him that win, lose or draw in the hearing, Leach was out, effective immediately." After being notified in writing, Liggett told the judge there was no need for the hearing.

As the ES said, you can't treat a football player under your responsibility like meat after they have been diagnosed with a concussion. You can't play doctor and give out a treatment method. It is better that you listen to the player for his welfare - if you don't get along with the player, then get rid of the kid (terminate the scholarship), but don't throw them in a closet for 3 hours (twice).

Stupid action #1: don't listen to player or trainer, and put James in a shed
Stupid action #2: don't listen to player and put James in a shed again
Stupid action #3: act like a tough guy and don't apologize to a high-profile family for your selfish, incorrect actions
Stupid action #4: take your employer (the university) to court five days before you are due $800,000

What a dummy. As a university who previously employed Bobby Knight in basketball, why would you want this nonsense around? Don't take my word for it? Listen to what Kirk Herbstreit says...

Alamo Bowl: Michigan State Depth Chart vs Texas Tech

(significant lineup changes in bold)

QB - 8 Kirk Cousins, 6-3, 202, So
- 9 Keith Nichol, 6-2, 215, So
RB - 22 Larry Caper, 5-11, 215, Fr
- 4 Edwin Baker, 5-9, 200, Fr
FB - 45 Andrew Hawken, 6-2, 248, Sr
- 42 Andrew Pendy, 6-2, 240, Sr
WR - 82 Keshawn Martin, 5-11, 185, So
- 87 Milton Colbert, 6-4, 210, R-Fr.
WR - 25 Blair White, 6-2, 200, Sr
- 81 Brad Sonntag , 5-8, 177, So.
TE - 83 Charlie Gantt, 6-5, 248, Jr
- 88 Brian Linthicum, 6-5, 245, So
OT - 57 Rocco Cironi, 6-6, 209, Sr
- 71 John Deyo, 6-6, 298, Fr
OG - 67 Joel Foreman, 6-4, 306, So
- 68 Ethan Ruhland, 6-5, 293, Fr
C - 65 Joel Nitchman, 6-4, 296, Sr
- 66 John Stipek, 6-5, 306, Sr
OG - 64 Brendon Moss, 6-7, 284, Sr
- 75 Jared McGaha, 6-6, 298, So
OT - 59 D.J. Young, 6-5, 310, Jr
- 64 Brendon Moss, 6-7, 284, Sr

DE - 58 Trevor Anderson, 6-2, 260, Sr
- 91 Tyler Hoover, 6-7, 260, Fr
DT - 70 Oren Wilson, 6-3, 294, Jr
- 98 Blake Treadwell, 6-3, 272, Fr
DT - 99 Jerel Worthy, 6-3, 292, Fr
- 96 Kevin Pickelman, 6-4, 268, So
DE - 89 Colin Neely, 6-1, 248, Jr
- 54 David Rolf, 6-4, 228, So
LB - 34 Brandon Denson, 5-11, 230, Sr
- 10 Chris Norman, 6-1, 215, Fr
LB - 53 Greg Jones, 6-1, 228, Jr
- 55 Adam Decker, 6-3, 238, Sr
LB - 43 Eric Gordon, 6-0, 228, Jr
- 36 Jon Misch, 6-3, 207, Jr
DB - 38 Kendell Davis-Clark, 6-0, 216, Sr
- 31 Ashton Henderson, 5-11, 189, Sr
DB - 9 Jeremy Ware, 5-10, 191, Sr
- 37 Ross Weaver, 6-1, 203, Sr
S- 33 Dan Fortener, 6-2, 205, Sr
- 11 Marcus Hyde, 6-0, 206, Jr
S - 39 Trenton Robinson, 5-10, 190, So
- 26 Jesse Johnson, 5-10, 188, Jr.

P - 18 Aaron Bates, 6-0, 192, Jr
K - 14 Brett Swenson, 5-8, 185, Sr
LS - 56 Alex Shackelton, 6-2, 245, Jr
PR - 82 Keshawn Martin, 5-11, 185, So
- 25 Blair White, 6-2, 200, Sr
KR - 4 Edwin Baker, 5-9, 200, Fr
- 20 AJ Jimmerson, 5-10, 205, Sr

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Leach to be fired - ESPN sources

UPDATE: 9 am on

According to ESPN tonight at halftime of tonight's EagleBank Bowl (Temple 21, UCLA 10 by the way), "sources closed to [ESPN reporter] Joe Schad state that the university will try to have Leach fired" before the Thursday deadline whereby Texas Tech coach Mike Leach will earn an extra $800,000. This is who Michigan State plays on Saturday in the Alamo Bowl, and in the meantime you can watch the betting line bend more and more in Michigan State's favor. Stay tuned on that.

In the meantime, yes, he done did it! Mike Leach filed a request for a temporary restraining order against Texas Tech to allow him to coach in the Suspension Bowl. A hearing will be held at the 99th Texas District court tomorrow morning. This may be moot, however, if Leach is terminated the following day.

"Attorney for Coach Mike Leach has filed a petition in Lubbock to temporarily stop Leach's suspension. According to the petition, Mike Leach seeks that the court enter an order restraining Texas Tech University from suspending Mike Leach from coaching the football team."

Let the entertainment begin! The game has started four days early, with the coach playing offense against his own school. The ES roars in laughter. Distraction, ha ha ha.

Word to the wise: don't sue your boss, nor your employer. It will likely just piss them off even more. Wow, Mike Leach is a COMPLETE IDIOT. Leach thinks he is all powerful and forgets who is in charge - the university!

Alamo Bowl near sellout

Spartan fans traveling to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl expected to be outmanned in the stands when its team travels over 1,000 miles from its home to play a team in its home state. That's the case at the Alamo Bowl, where it looks like it is going to be a sellout of 65,000 seats... and the majority will be wearing red and black.

Tech sold 14,800 tickets through its athletic ticket office, according to assistant athletic director Dave Welsh. A Michigan State spokesman said through last weekend MSU had sold about half its allotment, which would be about 5,500 tickets.

Now, we just need to break out about 5,000 gallons of green and white body paint and the Spartan Nation will be all set.

So, if you still need tickets, link here.

Bookies are divided over Leach suspension

OK – so the lines are going both ways following the suspension of Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. There is no consistency yet from the bookies, some still have TTU as an 8-pt favorite, some down to a 7-pt favorite, some haven’t changed.

Cal Neva, Hilton, moved toward MSU, from TTU – 8 to TTU -7.5; Leroy’s moved from TTU -8 to TTU -7 since the announcement.

M Resort moved toward TTU, up from TTU -8 to -8.5; Caesars moved toward TTU, up from TTU -7 to -8.

Stations is consistent at TTU -8, but last night moved briefly to TTU -8.5. The Stratosphere, Venetian, Peppermill, Mirage, LVSC, and Atlantis each have not moved and are at TTU -8.

Suspension Bowl line still at TTU -8

OK, after the ES' rant and rave on Mike Leach's reported stupidity, the ES settles down and goes back to read more on the game and previews. Mind you, the suspension because of player mistreatment is directed at serious medical and ethical issues that will be very difficult for Leach to get out from under. Bottom line, regardless of how players, coaches, and parents get along... as a coach you are in hot water if you don't listen to a trainer's recommendations. If communication is a problem, then deal with the communication issue... locking a high-profile kid in a room doesn't solve that; and Leach has learned that the hard way.

This is a bit different then Leach earlier this spring making a player study for an hour in a blizzard on the 50-yard line because he missed study hall; that was directed at encouraging the kid to learn, although you question that punishment as well... I'm sure the kid didn't get much done (ummm, maybe he is there to play football and doesn't want to learn? Not sure if standing in a blizzard solves that).

ES still shakes his head in astonishment at this one.

Still not a lot of movement yet on the betting lines, as all continue to hover around 8 or 8 1/2 in TTU's favor. However, Leroy's Casino dropped from 8 to 7 1/2 after the news of the Leach suspension hit.

ES had to laugh at comment from Louis... should we rename this from the Alamo Bowl to the "Suspension Bowl"

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tech coach Mike Leach suspended for uncaring, unethical treatment of player

Does Mike Leach have as lack of empathy and compassion for his football players as was reported by ESPN today? Leach has been SUSPENDED by Texas Tech University for the Alamo Bowl because he reportedly told a trainer to confine one of his players to a dark (equipment) room (to stand up for hours on end) after the player was diagonsed with a mild concussion and an elevated heart rate in a December 17 practice. Not once, but TWICE. And, the complaint from the family of the player is that it was coach Leach WHO TOLD THE TRAINER how to take care of the player (ok, so if a doctor told you that you had an illness or cancer or whatever, would you then ask your employer or teacher about how to care for it?). If this is true, THEN LEACH IS AN INCONSIDERATE, UNCARING BASTARD, A MEAN INDIVIDUAL, AND A COMPLETE IDIOT. He may have lost sight of his true mission, and thusly, it is the cost of winning in major college football. But, it is no excuse. If this is true, this is the same level of mistreatment that led to Kansas dismissing Mark Mangino. And, if so, does TTU have the same level of compassion for its players, or does it value winning more at the cost of players' health? Let us see how the investigation unfolds and how they handle this. Already, Leach is stating that he DID tell the trainers how to take care of the player (inappropriately, if true) - but if that is the case the ES finds it hard to believe Leach has a leg to stand on. Because it happened twice. Or, maybe Leach is a medical doctor or licensed trainer?

By the way, who was that player? None other than Adam James, the son of Craig James, ESPN all-world reporter and former star player with Eric Dickerson on that Southern Methodist team in the early 1980s. In Lubbock, reports that James was acting "like a slacker and his father like a Little League dad."

To be fair, Leach's attorney responds that James “was placed in an equipment room as it was much cooler and darker [than the practice field] after a doctor had examined him and returned him to the field.” And, “Mike tries to keep the players that are unable to practice as close as he can.” Sorry, this is backtracking that sounds eerily like fellow southerners George W Bush and Bill Clinton. And, the ES ain't buying it. If he had any balls, he would acknowledge what he did was wrong and man up. But, instead he will likely deny everything and lie to his firing squad...

Originally, it was Michigan State and the 14 suspended players that had a significant distraction for the upcoming game. Maybe, now it is even with the Leach distraction and suspension? What is worse - players stupidity or coach stupidity? This has huge implications for the Alamo Bowl, as Leach is a master motivator and Xs and Os guy down in Red Raider land. You can argue he may do more with less than any other coach in the country - as far as getting more Ws with the least amount of talent, and with a crazy scheme. Give a huge advantage to Michigan State in this game at this point. Going into today, the spread from the bookies in Vegas was MSU an 8-point underdog. Let's see how this changes in the next few days.

But, it leads to the question - does he really give a shit about his players welfare, or is he just treating them like meat? On the surface, this is borderline unethical; certainly uncaring.

In the past month, the ES attended an NCAA meeting with representatives from several coaches associations and other student affairs associations, and one of the things that was discussed was the need for education of coaches because "they need to understand the holistic environment of college for athletes as students instead of just treating players like meat." There was plenty of backlash by the coaches association ("we've had enough education") - and rightly so, as the vast majority of coaches care about their players' health and welfare. But, there ARE those extenuating circumstances and cases in which coaches (ummmm.... TTU's Leach, Kansas' Mangino, maybe like RR down in Ann Arbor pushing players beyond their off-season required limits ?) push their players too far because of the pressures to win. And, if it happens, then education IS still necessary. Too often, it is the rotten apple that spoils the bunch, no?

Northwestern men hoops ranked first time since 1969; it is Michigan State's 44th week in a row

Here is the most recent basketball poll. Kudos for Northwestern for making in the AP Top 25 list for the first time since the ES was only 6 months old... in January 1969. That's 40 years! It was before man even landed on the moon. But, this is the AP -- they ain't buying it over at the USA Today poll, where N'western sits at #30.

As a comparison, Michigan State's men's basketball team has been ranked in the AP Top 25 each and every week since the beginning of the 2007 season. That's 44 straight weeks in the regular season.

Still, it's pretty nice to have them as company for once. Welcome to our world, Wildcat fans!

AP Top 25
1. Kansas (52) 11-0 1,607
2. Texas (11) 11-0 1,556
3. Kentucky (1) 13-0 1,476
4. Purdue 11-0 1,407
5. Syracuse (1) 12-0 1,398
6. West Virginia 10-0 1,309
7. Duke 9-1 1,241
8. Villanova 11-1 1,177
9. North Carolina 9-3 1,033
10. Connecticut 9-2 1,002
11. Michigan State 9-3 910
12. Kansas State 11-1 892
13. Georgetown 9-1 813
14. Tennessee 9-2 664
15. Ohio State 10-2 605
16. Mississippi 10-2 544
17. Washington 9-2 490
18. Temple 9-2 403
19. New Mexico 12-1 352
20. Texas Tech 10-1 334
21. Clemson 11-2 300
22. Florida State 11-2 252
23. Wisconsin 10-2 180
24. UAB 11-1 178
25. Northwestern 10-1 144
Others Receiving Votes
Gonzaga 129, Georgia Tech 102, Dayton 94, Texas A&M 91, Florida 76, Miami (FL) 60, Brigham Young 55, Oklahoma State 37, Wichita State 35, USC 27, UNLV 26, Butler 19, Memphis 16, Mississippi State 13, Wake Forest 12, St. John's 10, Virginia Tech 7, California 7, Cincinnati 7, Baylor 7, Cornell 5, Missouri State 5, Northern Iowa 5, Rhode Island 5, William & Mary 5, Seton Hall 2, Army 1.
Dropped From Rankings
Florida 18, Texas A&M 19, Butler 20, Gonzaga 25.

MSU needs its OL to pave the way; TTU at... the University of the Incarnate Word?

The Michigan State football team left East Lansing and arrived in San Antonio on Sunday to begin its preparations for the January 2 stint against Texas Tech in the Alamo Bowl (ESPN, 9 pm). If you are in the Lone Star State, head on over to San Antonio and give a high-five to Mark Dantonio and the Big Green. As of noon, they are smack-dab in the middle of a 2 1/2- hour workout.

Great articles in today's Freep and M-Live stating the obvious: if MSU is to win, the Spartans need to control the line of scrimmage. In particular, the Spartan offensive line needs to create a sustained running game, with long drives to give its defense a rest and a chance.
  • MATCHUPS of MSU-TTU via the Double T Nation:
  • Special Teams: KR Eric Davis vs KR Keshawn Martin. "[Martin is] still averaging 30.35 yards per return. This is going to be an intriguing storyline as the Red Raiders rank 2nd in the Big 12 in return yardage allowed, only 19.34 per return. That's close to a ten yard difference from what MSU is averaging and what the Red Raiders are allowing."
  • Defense: SS Cody Dvis vs. QB Kirk Cousins. "When we look back at the results of this game, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to think that how these two lines play [TTU OL and MSU DL] will decide the game.
  • Offense: RB Baron Batch vs. LB Greg Jones. "I don't know if the Texas Tech coaching staff is in a bit of a quandary in that the Michigan St. pass defense is obviously vulnerable, but the Texas Tech offense has had much more success when they run the ball."
Here are Texas Tech's statistics:

Category National
Actual National
Actual Conf
Big 12
Conference Leader
Rushing Offense 115 81.08 Nevada 362.25 12 Oklahoma St. 191.75
Passing Offense 2 380.67 Houston 450.00 1 Texas Tech 380.67
Total Offense 7 461.75 Houston 581.23 2 Texas A&M 465.33
Scoring Offense 9 36.67 Boise St. 44.15 2 Texas 40.69
Rushing Defense 37 125.00 Texas 62.15 7 Texas 62.15
Pass Efficiency Defense 34 116.43 Alabama 88.81 5 Nebraska 90.54
Total Defense 46 348.75 TCU 233.25 6 Texas 251.08
Scoring Defense T-35 21.75 Alabama 11.00 4 Nebraska 11.23
Net Punting 73 34.98 Georgia 42.84 7 Oklahoma 40.86
Punt Returns T-49 9.79 LSU 18.64 7 Oklahoma 16.72
Kickoff Returns 17 24.48 TCU 30.62 3 Texas 27.38
Turnover Margin T-94 -.50 Rutgers 1.54 11 Texas .92
Pass Defense 73 223.75 Air Force 148.67 5 Oklahoma 184.92
Passing Efficiency 26 142.67 Cincinnati 166.19 2 Texas 143.70
Sacks 2 3.25 Pittsburgh 3.67 1 Texas Tech 3.25
Tackles For Loss 30 6.58 Middle Tenn. 8.83 4 Texas 8.08
Sacks Allowed 91 2.50 Boise St. .38 9 Oklahoma St. .83

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Progress to graduation of football bowl teams: MSU ranks 57 of 68

OK, so we know that Alabama vs Texas will compete for the national title... and that Michigan State will take on Texas Tech on January 2 AFTER the Rose Bowl. But, how well do the players on these teams fare when you consider them on path toward graduation?

The ES wuz curious and looked at the numbers for ALL the bowl teams (all 68 of them), considering the Academic Percentage Rate (APR) compiled by the NCAA each year. MSU is ranked 57th out of 68 teams with an APR of 931 (the benchmark is 925, which equates to a 50% graduation rate, and below which teams are susceptible to penalties).

FYI - the dismissal of Winston and Jenrette will bring these numbers down for MSU and depending on the progress of others (and other potential dismissals or departures) could lead to potential of the Spartans numbers dropping below the 925 threshold and forced to create an academic improvement plan. One other important thing: just because players are closer to graduation, doesn't mean they are learning anything... there is no measure for that.

# School APR
1 Stanford 984
2 Air Force 983
3 Rutgers 980
4 Navy 978
5 Miami 977
6 Georgia 976
7 Penn State 976
8 Northwestern 973
9 Cal 970
10 BC 970
11 Ohio State 968
12 Boise St 966
13 Florida 963
14 TCU 962
15 Central Florida 960
16 LSU 960
17 Georgia Tech 957
18 Southern Cal 956
19 Clemson 955
20 Alabama 955
21 Utah 954
22 Wisconsin 953
23 Oklahoma 952
24 UConn 951
25 Missouri 951
26 Nebraska 950
27 Tennessee 949
28 Auburn 949
29 Ohio 949
30 Fresno State 948
31 UCLA 948
32 Kentucky 948
33 Northern Illinois 947
34 Cincinnati 947
35 SMU 947
36 UNC 947
37 Texas A&M 946
38 Iowa 946
39 Nevada 945
40 MTSU 945
41 Troy 945
42 Southern Miss 944
43 Pittsburgh 944
44 Houston 942
45 BYU 942
46 Marshall 939
47 WVU 939
48 Oklahoma St 939
49 Texas 939
50 Wyoming 939
51 Iowa State 935
52 TTU 935
53 Oregon 935
54 VTU 932
55 Florida St 932
56 East Carolina 932
57 Michigan State 931
58 Oregon St 930
59 CMU 930
60 South Carolina 929
61 Arkansas 927
62 Arizona 924
63 BGSU 920
64 Minnesota 915
65 Mississippi 910
66 South Florida 909
67 Idaho 905
68 Temple 891

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

10 days to MSU vs TTU shootout in Alamo Bowl. Preview time!

Really? Just 10 days to kickoff vs. Texas Tech in the Alamo Bowl? It seems anti-climactic to play in a lesser bowl the day AFTER the Rose Bowl. Strange, but 'tis our bidding. We earned strange.

Need some tickets? Try here.

Here are some early previews:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Live Chat: MSU vs Texas hoops

Just messing around, we'll see how much the ES chimes in on this. But, I'm at home with a six-pack. Tirhg now, UT 21, MSU 16. Let's see if the ES jinx em. ES sez we still win - how about 82-80. We're in the game just fine now, playing alright.

OH well, Spartans ran out of gas, 79-68 loss to Texas. That's ok - we'll be fine come March.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Texas favored by 7 vs Michigan State in hoops

Looks like Texas is a TD favorite (-7) in men's hoops against the Spartans tomorrow night in Austin. Meanwhile the Big Green moves up to #9 in the latest AP and USA Today polls (the women are #16).

AP Top 25
1. Kansas (55) 10-0 1,611
2. Texas (7) 10-0 1,543
3. Kentucky (1) 11-0 1,477
4. Purdue 10-0 1,422
5. Syracuse (2) 11-0 1,397
6. West Virginia 8-0 1,290
7. Duke 9-1 1,249
8. Villanova 10-1 1,175
9. Michigan State 9-2 1,046
10. North Carolina 8-3 959
11. Connecticut 7-2 950
12. Kansas State 10-1 810
13. New Mexico 12-0 707
14. Georgetown 8-1 676
15. Mississippi 10-1 624
16. Tennessee 8-2 616
17. Ohio State 9-2 562
18. Florida 8-2 519
19. Texas A&M 9-2 320
20. Butler 8-3 315
21. Temple 9-2 244
22. Washington 7-2 194
23. Texas Tech 9-1 192
24. Clemson 10-2 151
25. Gonzaga 8-3 146
Others Receiving Votes
Florida State 127, UNLV 126, Wisconsin 96, Northwestern89, Georgia Tech 76, St. John's 53, Miami (FL) 50, Missouri State 45, Dayton 39, UAB 29, Oklahoma State 29, Charlotte 29, Saint Mary's 21, Brigham Young 20, Wichita State 18, Memphis 16, Tulsa 12, North Carolina State 11, Cincinnati 9, Mississippi State 8, Baylor 6, Wake Forest 4, William & Mary 3, Virginia Tech 3, California 3, Richmond 2, Western Carolina 2, Army 1, Northern Iowa 1, Pittsburgh 1, Rhode Island 1.

A Lone Star Spartan Holiday Season

Time for the Big Green to put that push that toasted desert of a state into the Gulf of Mexico this holiday season. Michigan State faces Texas Tech in the Alamo Bowl on January 2, and tomorrow will travel down to Austin to face the Texas Longhorns on the hardwood. We all know Santa is a Spartan, and he will bring a can of whoop-ass to Texas this week.

So, the Spartans are 8 point underdogs in the Alamo Bowl to Texas Tech. Started out as 6 1/2 point 'dogs, now it is up to 8. Everyone is putting their money on the high-flying Red Raiders -- and who could blame 'em? With the suspensions to umpteen Spartan players, two wideouts and RB suspended who would have likely seen playing time... yes, Mr. MD certainly has his work cut out.


The Michigan State Spartans - Texas Longhorns shootout is scheduled on Tuesday, at 7 pm. You can watch the game on ESPN 2. Of course, #2 and 10-0 Texas is coming off a big 103-90 victory over #11 North Carolina before 38,000 fans at the new stadium for the Cowboys. Noone hit that big jumbotron TV with a basketball. The ES can't find a line on the game yet, but last year the Horns were favored by 5 1/2 when we went down there and whipped their arse.

MSU has won the last three meetings between the teams; In fact, Michigan State has never lost to UT during the regular season. In each of the previous meetings, Texas was ranked higher yet Izzo and the Big Green prevailed the last three times. Time to make it a fourseome?
Yes, the rankings are not out yet, but at least we can look at Jeff Sagarin to see where the Big Ten stands so far... and, Michigan, ranked at #162, is irrelevant as a basketball team this year, once again. The garbage they call basketball in Ann Arbor proves that the Big Least and WVU are no match for the Big Ten... but making it to the NCAA tournament once every 10 years ain't so bad now, is it?

Here's Sagarin, through Sunday. This week, Michigan State is the only Big Ten team facing competition ranked by the media poll (AP) or coaches poll (USA Today). And, when considering Sagarin ratings, MSU faces #1 Texas.. the next closest competition is Minnesota facing #48 San Diego State.

Purdue #5. Next up: Southern Illinois.
Wisconsin #17. Next up: Wisc-Milwaukee, Illinois-Chicago.
Ohio State #19. Next up: Cleveland St.
Big Green #26. Next up: #1 Texas
Minnesota #39. Next up: San Diego St.
Northwestern #42. Next up: Central Connecticut St.
Illinois #78. Next up: Missouri.
Joe Pa #142. Next up: American Univ.
Michigan #162. Next up: Coppin St.
Indiana #175. Next up: Loyola-MD, Bryant
Iowa #192. Next up: S. Carolina St.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

ES College Bowl Pick 'Em; Spartan Hoops #1

Hey, the ES invites the Spartan Nation to play along in the College Bowl Pick 'Em game via Yahoo Sports. The winner of the ES' College Bowl Pick 'Em will win a pair of tickets to the Michigan State vs Iowa men's basketball game on January 13, at 6:30 pm.

Link below to play and follow along - you need to sign up with a Yahoo ID, but once you do, you are IN. First bowl game is the New Mexico Bowl this Saturday, at 4:30 pm - so that is when the selection process will be closed for picks.

Yahoo Pick 'Em: link here
Group #: 36800
The password is: gostate

Again, you need a Yahoo ID for this to work. Good luck!

Damn, that's sweet. Seth Davis over at Sports Illustrated named Michigan State as the men's basketball team of the decade -- above UNC and Florida. Read about it

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Big Ten Expansion Is on the Docket. Let Thy Count the Possibilities

Yes, Money Does rule the day. The day after the ES sez that the Big Ten is more likely to add hockey than expand to 12... well, the Big Ten issues a statement in which its Council of Presidents asked Commissioner Jim Delaney for a recommendation of schools to approach IF the Big Ten were to consider expansion. The Big Ten Network covered their statement with input that Big Ten presidents may receive considerations within 12-18 months. See the video below.

But first up, the most likely nominations? The ES shows distance from East Lansing. A current NACDA/Learfield Sports' Directors Cup (formerly Sears Cup) ranking is also provided as food for fodder to consider competitiveness of the full athletics program. FYI - Michigan State is ranked #13 so far. Ranking is listing by the ES in order of best fit for the Big Ten.

1. Notre Dame (147 miles from EL. Cup: #39). Won't happen unless they give up FB independent status. NBC football TV contract worth $9 million will expire by 2015 and is already equated by Big Ten Network revenues; Big Ten also receives $19 million per school from CBS & ESPN for all sports -- something Big East can't match. Negative is ND Not an AAU member.

2. Pittsburgh (283 miles. Cup: NR). Big Least - its closer than Joe Pa (454 miles). Has a lean 17-sport program. Pitt is an AAU member. Strong in football and hoops.

3. Missouri (411 miles. Cup: NR). Big Twelve. KC Star already on this possibility. A long-time AAU member, with a robust athletics program. A total of 20 sports. Strong in both football and hoops.

4. Syracuse (466 miles. Cup: #5). Big Least. Accepted into the AAU two years after Michigan State. A total of 20 sports, including women's ice hockey. Terrible football, strong hoops.

5. Iowa State (562 miles. Cup: #19). Big Twelve. An AAU member. A very lean 16-sports, average football, good hoops. Likely just too far, and too small.

6. Rutgers (682 miles. Cup: NR). Big Least. A recent AAU addition. The Knights have 22 sports. Recently strong in football, great women's hoops teams. The Big knock is they are just too far, and again a smaller institution.

7. Nebraska (728 miles. Cup: NR). Big Twelve. Another long-time AAU member. One of the historically strongest athletic programs in the nation. Strong football, and Olympic sports. 21 total sports. However, many historical ties to Big Twelve (former Southwest Conference) schools. And, likely too far.

Others? Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis... May the dominoes fall. The ES still sez that ice hockey is a greater possibility than a 12th member. But, let us revisit in 2012.

MSU to earn $1.5 million for Alamo Bowl trip

Michigan State will reap $1. 5 million to head to the Alamo Bowl, which will most likely cover expenses -- and potentially any unsold ticket allotment not picked up by Spartan fans. That's pretty good for a 6-6 team; Ohio State, which heads to the Rose Bowl, gets just $2.2 million off a $18.3 million pay day -- the rest is shared equally by Big Ten teams. So, while MSU had a disappointing season, it is only $700,000 away from an equal pay day as Big Ten champion Ohio State.


Bowl: School — Payout/Allotment

Rose: Ohio State — $18.3M/$2.2M
Iowa — $4.5M/$1.95M
Capital One:
Penn State — $4.5M/$1.7M
Northwestern — $3.3M/$1.7M
Michigan State — $2.25M/$1.5M
Sports Wisconsin — $2.25M/$1.5M
Minnesota — $1.35M/$1.35M

Totals: $36.275M/$11.9M

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New MSU Art Museum Animation

OK, this isn't exactly athletics, but pretty freaking cool nonetheless. The new MSU Art Museum, the "Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum" fly through animation as created by architect Zaha Hadid.

Sweet, very sweet. Ground breaking on March 15. This is GOOD, what a university with vision can do in two years and respond to a need. This, as opposed to the City of East Lansing continuing to bungle City Center II, extension after extension for more than five years, trying to take a blighted corner and create more unnecessary retail and housing. This, in a long-term down economy and creating more retail space on a street with never-ending revolving-door occupancy... Why not listen to residents' requests the last several years for more green space? Downscale the $115 million plan to make it affordable and reasonable. Create a plan that is adjustable. But, the dimwits at EL City Hall are too proud to tell the residents "you were right! It costs too much and we don't need it!"

Monday, December 14, 2009

MSU #12 men's hoops, #13 ice hockey, #16 women's hoops

A healthy time for Michigan State in college athletics. In men's hoops, MSU is ranked #12 in both polls (Jeff Sagarin puts MSU at #23, CollegeRPI has MSU #59). In women's hoops, MSU is ranked #16 in the AP poll. In the UCHO men's ice hockey poll, MSU is #13. And, the best part about it? The scUM Yellow Bellies ain't ranked anywhere.

ESPN/USA Today Men's Basketball Poll: MSU #12.
1. Kansas (30) 9-0 774
2. Texas 8-0 735
3. Kentucky (1) 10-0 701
4. Purdue 9-0 675
5. Syracuse 10-0 658
6. West Virginia 7-0 631
7. Duke 7-1 547
8. Tennessee 7-1 528
9. Villanova 9-1 524
10. North Carolina 8-2 497
11. Georgetown 8-0 494
12. Michigan State 8-2 423
13. Florida 8-1 367
14. Connecticut 6-2 358
15. Georgia Tech 6-1 229
15. Gonzaga 8-2 229
17. Butler 7-3 184
18. Ohio State 7-2 176
19. New Mexico 10-0 164
20. Texas Tech 9-0 150
21. Washington 6-2 146
22. Kansas State 9-1 136
23. UNLV 7-1 112
24. Clemson 8-2 110
25. Mississippi 8-1 77

Others Receiving Votes
Cincinnati 76, Texas A&M 58, Wisconsin 58, Illinois 25, Temple 24, Memphis 21, Florida State 20, Brigham Young 17, Saint Mary's 17, Oklahoma State 15, Wake Forest 15, St. John's 14, Charlotte 14, Northwestern 13, Seton Hall 9, Dayton 9, Tulsa 9, Washington State 9, William & Mary 9, California 7, Missouri State 3, Western Carolina 3, Mississippi State 2, Northern Iowa 1, Baylor 1, Coastal Carolina 1.

Dropped From Rankings
Texas A&M 18, Cincinnati 19, Wisconsin 23.

What about RPI Ratings for men's basketball? MSU sits at a pretty #59 in the most up to date ratings.

2Kansas St8-10.718220.6670
3West Virginia7-00.6944270.592667
5St. John's8-10.6806200.6027
8New Mexico10-00.6716620.5622

12Southern Miss3-10.6623300.5915
14Western Carolina8-10.6574550.5664
17Texas A&M7-20.6518110.62131618
18William & Mary6-20.6471280.5920

23Missouri St9-00.64021340.5203
26Texas Tech9-00.63591510.514523
28North Carolina St7-10.6302530.5683
29Northern Iowa7-10.6282830.5481
30San Diego St7-20.6262760.5529

34St. Mary's6-10.6205690.5571
38Long Beach3-40.610770.6333
39Rhode Island8-10.60871670.5038

41Oklahoma St8-10.60481640.5054
44Virginia Tech8-10.59861690.5035
46Ohio State7-20.5978810.54971315
47Loyola (Chicago)5-20.59761090.5325
49Mississippi St7-20.5951610.5627

51Seton Hall8-00.59442460.4593
52Coastal Carolina5-20.59271080.5331
53Western Kentucky5-30.5895410.5801
57Georgia Tech6-10.58601590.50982421
59Michigan St8-20.58521400.51711214
60Florida St7-20.58511730.5009

: MSU #13

Team(First Place Votes)RecordPointsLast Poll
2Denver( 2)11-5-29002
3Colorado College
5Boston College
6North Dakota
10Bemidji State
11Ferris State
13Michigan State
16New Hampshire
19St. Cloud State
20Notre Dame
Others Receiving Votes: Maine 42, Vermont 32, Michigan 23, Minnesota State 11, Colgate 7, Lake Superior 6, RIT 4, Minnesota 3, Nebraska-Omaha 1

AP Women's Basketball Rankings: MSU at #16.

1. Connecticut (40) 8-0 1000
2. Stanford 7-0 957
3. Tennessee 8-0 901
4. Notre Dame 9-0 900
5. LSU 7-0 795
6. Baylor 8-1 762
7. Duke 7-1 752
8. Ohio State 10-1 698
9. North Carolina 8-1 663
10. Florida State 8-0 641
11. Georgia 9-0 624
12. Xavier 7-1 575
13. Texas A&M 7-1 509
14. Arizona State 7-1 486
15. Oklahoma 8-2 395
16. Michigan State 7-3 293
17. Texas 5-3 282
18. Vanderbilt 9-1 270
19. Virginia 7-2 267
20. Nebraska 10-0 262
21. Pittsburgh 8-1 247
22. Kansas 7-2 152
23. Wisconsin-Green Bay 9-0 94
24. James Madison 7-0 92
25. Georgia Tech 6-2 81
Dayton 56, Syracuse 28, Oklahoma State 26, West Virginia 22, Temple 21, St. John's 18, California 16, DePaul 16, Maryland 16, TCU 13, Hartford 12, Oregon 9, Gonzaga 8, St. Bonaventure 7, Texas Tech 7, Mississippi State 6, Iowa State 5, Northwestern 5, Miami (FL) 4, Georgetown 2, Kentucky 2, Wyoming 2, Penn State 1,

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Big Ten ice hockey more likely than 12th team

Adam Rittenberg writes in today's ESPN blog that Big Ten conference commissioner Jim Delaney may be asked by several coaches and athletic directors to investigate bringing a 12th team into the Big Ten. Said Alvarez, ""I just think everybody feels [expansion] is the direction to go, coaches and administrators... We're irrelevant for the last three weeks of the football season because we're not playing."

Here we go again - a one-sport athletic director (and former successful football coach) looking at the Big Ten with his blinders on, and not looking at the implications of adding a 12th team from the perspective of other sports... and the cost implications to other sports. Rittenberg quotes Delaney: ""There are a lot [of schools] that could take a lot away, but there aren't a lot that could bring so much to make the choice an easy one. You have to have a lot to make something go like this, and it's broader than really a championship game or a basketball tournament."

Don't get me wrong, coaches may make a push. But there are few AAU member schools that are within the geographic region to even consider it feasible to the Big Ten. Notre Dame is not an AAU member school; Pittsburgh, Iowa State, and Missouri, however, are AAU members.


However, Penn State is constructing a new hockey arena and is considering a move of its men's ice hockey team to Division I status. And, the ES has been privy to conversations that several Big Ten athletic directors have discussed creating a league for men's ice hockey in the Big Ten. This is also mentioned at MVN's "State of Hockey News." It is a complicated scenario because of the long standing agreements and history with the WCHA and CCHA... but this possibility has real legs now with Penn State moving forward on its hockey arena, and with the addition of many hockey games on the Big Ten Network (and remember, in 2001, Michigan State's Ryan Miller was named Big Ten athlete of the year in Ice Hockey, even the the conference did not sponsor the sport). The Big Ten really wants ice hockey, and only needs a sixth member competing in the sport to make it a reality.

The addition of Penn State is a natural, with the addition of a sixth team to CCHA's Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and WCHA's Minnesota and Wisconsin. Of course, if Notre Dame (CCHA) were to join the Big Ten as a full member, then the league would already have the six qualifying members.... but we all know ND is too full of itself to join the Big Ten in football, so the addition of Joe Pa into ice hockey fills the void nicely.

Hockey is an extremely expensive sport, and with the federal law that will require arenas (like Munn Ice Arena) to replace their R22 refrigerant units by 2015, well PSU can construct its facility with ozone-friendly refrigerant in mind, thus absorbing the cost at the front end.

Big Ten hockey? This will happen folks. It is just a matter of time. It is one helluva lot more likely than adding a 12th team to the conference.