Sunday, September 24, 2023

Thoughts on MSU and Maryland: We're just not very good


The ES with some initial thoughts on the loss to Maryland:

1.  #43 Spencer remains completely out of position and is entirely lost on defense.  Other than being a body, he is 100% ineffective at DB.  Conversely #21 Tatum is playing by far the best secondary ball on the team, is a hard hitter, and is a playmaker.  

2.  When MSU started moving up on the wideouts and dropping the 10-yard cushion in the second half, they started playing better in coverage - especially, combined with... pressure...

3.  It's amazing what defensive pressure does - against a mobile and well-armed quarterback like Tuagoliova, as MSU brought pressure it disrupted rhythm and forced errant throws.  What took DC Scottie Hazelton so long to figure this out?  The man needs to be shown the door. 

4.  The defensive interior played well most of the game.  They just need help from better coaching, better secondary play, and a far better offense.... which leads to some real criticism:

5.  Noah Kim at QB is not the answer.  Way, way, WAY TOO MANY mistakes, all game long. I was praying for it to get better, and it really didn't.  Nearly everytime MSU began to get a rhythm on offense, Kim would screw it up: throw an INT, sail passes (including missing a wide-open TD), or at the end take a 20-yard sack instead of just throwing the ball away.  As competition improves, he is showing he is not very good. Two or three other passes from Kim should have been intercepted, including terrible screen passes.  Very, very poor QB play out of Kim.  

6. Receivers have got to help out the QBs.  They can't drop dimes thrown into their hands.  Too, too many dropped passes, including the potential TD pass to Foster.  Lack of focus. This must improve.

7. Inconsistency in play calling, and a complete lack of misdirection plays vs. Maryland.  MSU stalled with too many mistakes, not giving the offense any opportunity to use some of its speed to put Maryland's defense out of position and take advantage.  

8. Penalties, penalties.  At the worst times. The Spartans need to play smarter and quit it with the infractions. We can't afford any of them.  

9. Didn't understand why MSU is not trying harder to get #5 Carter into the open field.  He needs to have a wheel route, put into the slot for a slant play, or catch a ball (any ball) out of the backfield in open space. He's a dynamic runner who has not showed his full potential.  Very disappointing by OC Jay Johnson not to find space for Carter. 

Bottom line: Michigan State is not being coached well, and is not playing complimentary football, asking the defense far too many times to bail out its pathetic sputtering offensive offense.  To add insult to injury, the kicking game had a FG blocked, a 20 yard punt into the wind (after the Kim sack, it was basically a turnover), and no great returns.  This is not a good football team.  MSU's O/U of 5.5 wins for the season may be a stretch.  With the transfer portal and redshirting coming up in the next 1-2 weeks, things may get significantly worse for MSU.  I feel bad for this team and the players, because they've been dealt a bad hand in the middle of the season.  But, no excuses. Suit up, coach, and play better.  

Saturday, September 23, 2023

ES Game Day: Fear the Turtle and MSU should fire Scottie Hazelton

Scottie Hazelton has resorted to prayer as his only option with his MSU defense

Michigan State Spartans (2-1) host Maryland Terrapins (3-0)
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI 
September 23, 2023.  3:30 pm ET kickoff
TV: NBC/Peacock 
Weather: beautiful, 75 and sunny.

Sagarin Ratings: MSU #51, Maryland #40
Line outta Vegas: Maryland favored by 7.5

When was the last time Maryland was favored on the road in a Big Ten game (other than Rutgers), let alone at MSU?  My guess it has never happened in East Lansing... possibly when Bear Bryant coached Maryland in 1945, but they didn't play MSU.  That would've likely been the only time ever.  Ugh.  Just ugly.  Last year, Maryland was favored by 8 at home and won by 14 (27-13 final score).  

Where's the blame?  Lots to go around.  Today's blame game lies on the shoulders of Scottie Hazelton.  Let's just use data to share about Scottie at Michigan State since he started in 2020 as Defensive Coordinator. Not exactly a stout defense.  What ever happened to the "No Fly Zone"?  Beyond that, MSU is hemorrhaging 400+ yards per game on defense consistently.  

Total defensive statistics

2020 (2-5 record):
Total points per game allowed:  35 
Yards per game allowed: 397
Passing yards per game allowed: 239

2021 (11-2 record): 
Total points per game allowed: 25
Yards per game allowed: 442  
Passing yards per game allowed: 325

2022 (5-7 record):
Total points per game allowed: 27
Yards per game allowed: 417
Passing yards per game allowed: 238

2023 (2-1 record):
Total points per game allowed: 21
Yards per game allowed: 375
Passing yards per game allowed: 250

The problem is worse when you break it into real (or ranked) competition, with Hazelton's defense being gouged on average well over 450 yards per game.  Look at some of the games in the past two years:

2023: 

#8 UW (lost, 41-7)
Total yards allowed: 713
Passing yards. allowed: 536

2022:

#11 Penn State (lost 35-16)
Total yards allowed: 410
Passing yards allowed: 250

#17 Illinois (won 23-15)
Total yards allowed: 441
Passing yards allowed: 288

#4 Michigan (lost 29-7)
Total yards allowed: 443
Passing yards allowed: 167

#3 Ohio State (lost 49-20)
Total yards allowed: 614
Passing yards allowed:   337

Now we play Maryland, coming into today's stint 3-0 and averaging 480 yards per game, including 304 yards through the air from Tua's brother.  

After today's torching, it will be time to FIRE SCOTTIE HAZELTON.  It's been long-past time to send the joker packing. 

Prognosticators:

Sloth: 31-10, Terps
Cat: 38-21, Maryland
ES sez:  Maryland 33 - MSU 22. 

Saturday, September 16, 2023

ES Game Day: What a long strange trip for Warshington

Time to make Penix crosseyed with our stout Spartan secondary

Michigan State Spartans (2-0) host #8 Warshington Huskies (2-0)
September 16, 2023. 5 pm ET.
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI

Weather: PERFECT.  73 and sunny, no freaking winds
TV: Peacock Network - yes it is only available via streaming

Sagarin Ratings: MSU #41, UW #15. 
Line Outta Vegas:  Warshington by 16

It's been another bad week in East Lansing.  Again. 

But, listen.  The players don't deserve it, neither does coach Harlan Barnett, nor the entire MSU community.  One bad apple (Mel Tucker) spoils the bunch. The Spartan Nation needs to rally around the flag and support our young men on the gridiron.  Coach B was a STUD as an All-American DB during his tenure under George Perles at MSU; he bleeds green; and, he's a good guy.  Damn, I am rooting the hell out of myself for Coach B to get a notch under his belt and give him a chance for the job.  We deserve it. 

Travel across the country to play a football game is not conducive to the visiting team.  MSU was whipped last year at Washington.  Time to return the favor.  A decade ago, MSU was whipped by Oregon in Eugene, and returned the favor defeating Oregon in East Lansing.  The same thing happened with Oregon a decade before that.  And, it happened with Southern Cal a decade before Oregon. 

What the ES is saying is the travel itself may be worth 7-10 points in MSU's favor.  Seriously.  

Let's look at the matchup real quick, with UW playing marginally better competition than MSU to date.

MSU:  45-14 over FCS Richmond; 31-7 over MAC Central Michigan
UW: 56-19 over MtnWest Boise State; 43-10 over CUSA Tulsa

Penix has thrown for over 400 yards in each of his games so far this year, thrusting him squarely in the Heisman race.  He torched MSU for 400 yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs last year. The ES was at the game in Seattle, and regardless of a pair of MSU goal line stands, it wasn't enough to stop the Huskies. 


UW

MSU

Total Yards

565.5

435.5

Yards Passing

472.0

291.0

Yards Rushing

93.5

144.5

Yards Allowed

360.0

206.0

Pass Yards Allowed

207.0

107.0

Rush Yards Allowed

153.0

99.0

On offense, MSU has a more balanced attack, running for 50 more yards a game than Washington - who throws for 160 more yards a game than MSU.  

The Spartan defense seems to be the teams' strength, giving up 160 yards less per game than UW.  Despite the weak competition for both squads, that is a significant statistical advantage for the Spartans.   For MSU,  particularly the secondary -- has got to stay tight with its coverage today and put a shadow on the swift Penix.  That's the key to the game.  MSU must pressure Penix and make him uncomfortable, and Barnett's defensive backfield must not give up too many big plays.  If MSU can control the line of scrimmage up front on offense and take some time off the clock, it can limit how much the ball is in Penix's hands.  Our punter seems pretty good so far this year, and we can use a time or two to kick deep balls and flip the field when we're in our three-and-outs.  But, when Penix has it, MSU has got to make life uncomfortable for him.  Otherwise, the Spartans will be sliced and diced all game long.

I can see a turnover or two from the secondary (or a sack/fumble combo) being an outcome of a solid defensive effort. Add in the 7-10 point advantage from travel, the burn from the unfortunate events this week, and this game should be much closer than the bookies in Vegas have it.  As far as a W...  I'm not sure it will be enough.   This is a prove it or lose it moment for MSU and Coach B. 

Prognostications: 

Australian Paul:  MSU 44-0
Lansing Doc:  MSU 44-7
Pittsburgh Lee:  45-17 Bad Guys
Pittsburgh Cam, our recent MSU grad: UW 31-24

ES sez:  UW 31, MSU 22

Friday, September 15, 2023

Why 97.1 The Ticket Broadcasters are IDIOTS: Look at the data on football efficiency, not your beliefs!

People think with Mel Tucker's dismissal at Michigan State University that you can buy your way to victories in getting a new "high profile" football coach. 

There is not one study that backs up that theory. You state "Nick Saban, Lincoln Riley, Ryan Day" and I will state "Rick Neiuhesel, Dan Mullen, Mel Tucker, Charlie Weis, Rich Rodriguez." Football is a zero-sum game. For every winner you spend millions on, there are losers. 

97.1 The Ticket broadcasters are idiots who are bombastic and don't look at the data or reality; they instead buy into anecdotal KoolAid with no data to support their rants. 

It is a gamble to spend money on an activity where there is NO GUARANTEE. The results speak for themselves. Just ask Michigan State.

Here's the graphic and link to the study about who is and who is not most efficient in spending money to win football games.  



Monday, September 11, 2023

Post Tucker: line vs Washington moves more than a FG in Huskies favor

Since the suspension (and eventual firing) of Mel Tucker, the line outta Vegas for MSU vs Washington has moved significantly in the direction of the Huskies, going from -12.5 to -16. 

It's gonna take more than a Hail Mary to take out UW.



Sunday, September 10, 2023

FIRE MEL TUCKER IMMEDIATELY

There is no reason to wait.  Mel Tucker should be fired, without pay, effective immediately.  Read the USA Today report.  

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2023/09/10/michigan-state-football-coach-sexual-harassment-claim/70679703007/

If you show up on Saturday vs Washington, you will be booed from the upper deck to the lower deck...  and there will be a massive protest for you to get the hell out of town.   Please respect MSU and leave us alone.  Don't make this happen.  Get out of town, you are a loser.  

SEXUAL HARASSMENT is unacceptable anywhere.  There is no good excuse acknowledging that it was consensual and ok that he "masturbated while on the phone" with the victim - already a victim of a previous rape at Baylor.  WHY DO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?  Sending her gifts, texting/sexting to a sexual assault victim who you invited to campus to talk about the wrongs of sexual harassment?  What the hell are you thinking?  Keep your organ in your pants, and maybe take care of your marriage first?  

At Michigan State, we've been through the Larry Nassar scandal with hundreds of athletes sexually abused by a predator.  It led to the resignation of the Athletics Director, the President, several athletics staff and coaches, and ultimately several members of the Board of Trustees. I remember walking with Governor-to-be Gretchen Whitmer down Grand River to the MSU Administration building, clamoring for justice for all members of the MSU Board of Trustees to resign in support of the victims.  For the most part, the resignations followed.  I guess the message then wasn't loud enough for now?  

This was before Mel Tucker came to campus... but he should know better - regardless of MSU's history. 

We don't need a jack-off coach with no respect of women to ruin whatever has been left of MSU's self-tarnished reputation that we Spartans have been trying to rebuild over the past decade.  And, it is heartbreaking for MSU to once again have leaders demonstrate a lack of commitment to respect, dignity, and women as people 

There is no excuse.  None.  

Tuck, leave us alone - go away, take the $18 million you've already earned and go buy an island. Repair your marriage.  Just go away, we don't need your stain on MSU.  

Bye, bye, Tuck.  Tuck, Leavin'!   And, don't rape us for $72 million on your way out.  You are a disappointing individual who has broken the hearts of us Spartan fans.  

I have no respect for you.  

Saturday, September 09, 2023

ES Game Day: Richmond Spiders crawling into EL

Michigan State Spartans (1-0) host Richmond Spiders (0-1)
September 9, 2023.  3:40 pm. 
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI

TV: BTN
Weather:  73, sunny

Line outta Sagarin: (no line out of Vegas): MSU by 29
Sagarin Ratings:  MSU #40, Richmond #170

The ES has been to Richmond, Virginia, twice in his lifetime.  Once with Big Bob and his bro about 30  years ago, and the other flying into an interview with UVA.  Hmmm... as the ES recalls, it reminds very much of Lansing, a blue-collar town with rough edges to it and a smaller, OK airport. 

Looking at its history, Richmond has been fairly successful in FCS football.  Back in the 70s, it used to play WVU, Va Tech, and some other schools now in the Power 5 conferences... Richmond took a back seat and instead played in I-AA/FCS, and build a 8,500-seat stadium a few years back.... recently installed a new LED video board.  But, definitely a full step down from FBS.  

Richmond lost last week to fellow FCS member Morgan State, 17-10.  It amassed just 95 yards on the ground and was 3-for-12 on third downs.  It should run into a brick wall with the pretty decent Michigan State defensive front.  Richmond is breaking in a new QB, Kyle Wickersham, who was 23-30 for just 169 yards (about 5.5 yards per attempt), and led the team in rushing with 39 yards on 21 carries (less than 2.0 ypc).  Both numbers are not efficient.  

This is certainly a tune-up for the visit from #9 University of Washington next week, and all-American QB stud Michael Penix (who burned MSU at Indiana before he burned MSU last year at UW).  

Some requests out of the Spartoonies:

#1 - pray noone gets hurt
#2 - lets see more out of the OL and running game for the Spartans (200+ yards)
#3 - how about another long FG?
#4 - defense holds Richmond to under 200 total yards
#5 - QB Kim throws the ball downfield more, and less side-to-side B.S. that will only get him into trouble playing good competition

If there is anything the ES hates... it's spiders. 

ES sez: 

MSU 38, Richmond 7. 

Friday, September 01, 2023

Enlightened Spartan 2023 Preview

The ES doesn’t think he's entered into an MSU football season with as low expectations since the beginning of the decline of the Dantonio era.  Here are some of my thoughts, in a conversation with J (Clarkston, MI):

 

What is your over under for wins for MSU this year?

 

Haven't figured it out yet.  Outta Vegas is 5.5.  Initially, thinking 6-6...  Problem is we don't have a QB.  All depends really if the OL can stand up this year.  If they can't .... it's gonna be a long year.

 

Not as worried about the defense.  They're stout up front, ok at LB, and their secondary can't be any worse.

 

We have a new kicker and punter.  That could be a problem as well.  If we can’t punt ourselves out of trouble, it can also be a long year.  Worried about the punting, in all honesty. If it were up to me, the ES would take a page out ot Dan Campbell's book and go for fourth down all the time.

 

Jesus, look at our kicker: Jonathan Kim. Transfer out of UNC.  Dunno.  And look at our punter.  He looks like he is about 10 years old.  Urgh.  https://www.ourlads.com/ncaa-football-depth-charts/player/ryan-eckley/152803

 

Just not enough experience at QB or at special teams.  That's a concern late in games, if our defense can keep us in it against tough competition.  I hope I'm wrong and Tuck coaches up.

 

Here’s the ES prediction (6-6 overall). 

 

W - Sep. 1.  MSU vs CMU.  7 pm/FS1.  MSU 21, CMU 17.

W - Sep. 9.  MSU vs Richmond.  3:30 pm/BTN.  MSU 42, Richmond 7.

L - Sep. 16.  MSU vs Washington.  5 pm/Peacock.  UW 31, MSU 21.

W - Sep. 23.  MSU vs Maryland.  3:30 pm.  MSU 28, Maryland 24.

L - Sep. 30.  MSU at Iowa.  TBA.  Iowa 24, MSU 14.

W - Oct. 14 .  MSU at Rutgers. 12 noon.  MSU 24, Rutgers 23.

L – Oct. 21.  MSU vs Michigan. TBA.  Michigan 35, MSU 14. 

W – Oct. 28.  MSU at Minnesota.  TBA.  MSU 24, Minnesota 21.

W – Nov 4.  MSU vs Nebraska. TBA.  MSU 21, Nebraska 20.

L – Nov 11.  MSU at Ohio State.  7:30/NBC.  Ohio St 49, MSU 21.

L – Nov 18.  MSU at Indiana. TBA.  Indiana 27, MSU 24.

L – Nov 24. MSU vs Penn St (Detroit). 7:30/NBC.  Penn St 38, MSU 20.

 

 

Other prognosticators for the season:

 

Sloth (Pittsburgh, PA): 

 

Payton Thorne will pass his way into the NFL draft down at Auburn, while MSU plays musical chairs at QB and pretty much every other position. Season starts with a crushing loss at home to the Chips, and ends with humiliation against PSU at Ford Field. Tucker is fired midseason following a 63-0 loss at home to UM and replaced with Scottie Hazelton as interim coach, who decides to improve his defense by having the offensive starters play both ways, with old leather helmets and wearing MSC rugby shirts. Oddly enough, this strategy works for one additional win against Indiana at home. Spartans finish not enough and too many. Tucker is a fucking moron at this point, and not firing Hazelton last season is just Exhibit ZZ.

 

Big Bob (Kalamazoo):

 

After wildly inconsistent seasons to start his tenure, coach T will bring some much needed consistency in 2023 by matching last year’s 5-7 record. At nearly $2 million per win, this ROI will please the investors.  The biggest upset victory will be a one point OT road win at Indiana. This will come one week after the season’s biggest loss, at Ohio State, by seven TDs.  The Spartans will finish second from last in the Big Ten East and we will all look forward to the MSU hoops season.  Praying I’m wrong but I’ve seen this movie before and I don’t like the ending.

 

Australian Paul:

 

Undefeated.

Will be pronounced the greatest team to ever wear shoes.

You're welcome

 

Doc (Lansing, MI):

 

Tuck came

Tuck saw

Tuck conquered

So good, even the 4th stringers will be NILlionaires. The 1st stringers will exhaust their eligibility before they get drafted & take a pay cut with their NFL contracts.

So good, the MSU Ice Cream Shop will be renamed in their honor.

Legend Dairy.

So good, the unofficial conference nickname will be The Big One and Little Seventeen.

So good, Vegas will refuse to publish a line on all Spartan games.

So good, Spartan games will be on Monday Night.

 

Uncle Denny (Florida):  5-7.  

 

Cat (Lansing, MI):  6-6. 

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Tuck on the Clock: Change contract to pay Tucker $1 million per win

Spartan fans... I've had about enough in this football off-season.  It's not pretty. 


The clock is ticking, coach Tuck.  How about we make a deal for $1M per win?

QB & WR?  Thorne and Coleman.  Gone. 


Recruiting? 3 recruits... "3-star" and a #49 recruiting class.


Recent History? 5-7 season.  OT loss to Indiana.  What have you done for me lately?


2023 Preseason Hype?  Athlon put MSU #9 in the BigTen (14)... before the departure of Thorne and Coleman.  


"I'm a horesshit coach right now."  Didn't get any better. 


Street cred?  Now, his street cred has crumbled to #47 among active coaches.


What the hell is going on?


This off-season is reminiscent of John L Smith's latter years, following half-time pep-down speeches, 4th quarter collapses, poor execution at critical times, and compiling injuries.  Difference is: coach Tucker is being paid $9.5 million a year to make MSU a winner.  For 10 years.  How do you think $95 million could help the Lansing School District????  In hindsight, it would be a better use of money. 

The verdict to date:  3 out of 4 losing seasons. 5-7 (Colorado), 2-5 (at MSU, COVID), 11-2, 5-7.  The worst part, when a bowl game was on the line, at home, was the complete collapse against Indiana.
  

Let's discuss the Indiana game, from my seat... The ES was at Circa Sportsbook with a simple parlay: easy W vs Indiana (football), and a more challenging matchup with a W vs Villanova (mens basketball).   The bookie at Vegas actually had just moved from Lansing, MI, two weeks prior, and worked for 10+ years for Terry Hanks at Sundance Chevrolet.  Yeah, that Terry... horses, cheap cars, and his other reported shenanigans.  


Izzo succeded, though the team fought back a tough last-minute challenge against 'Nova.  But, the next morning, the ES headed to Circa to cash in his ticket because we were going to mop up Indiana.  It was amazing to see the huge crowd (SRO) at Circa, with about fifty 45" tvs playing different football games.  And, there was MSU, rolling over Indiana.  An MSU crowd (dwarfed by everyone rooting for Illinois to beat a slugging Michigan squad [UM won]) cheered on for 3 quarters...  until the inevitable.  Running down the clock, then rolling out that backup FG kicker in terrible weather, from the 3 yard line, a guy who has proven he can only kick straight. Miss, Indiana with the momentum rolls to an OT win.  The definition of ugly.  


I kept that damn ticket.  Gonna hang it on the wall, watch as Tucker either flies or crashes and burns.


The plane Coach Tuck is flying doesn't have history on its side.  Sure he dresses great.  Honestly, I, don't care if he shows up in overalls or in pajamas, a few more Ws are in order.  Since at MSU, Mr. T is 18-14 over three years... he has been paid $28.5 million for 18 wins and one bowl appearance. It would be simple to say he should be paid, instead, $1 million per win.  MSU would have saved $10.5 million over the last three years.   


Here's the schedule for this upcoming year, with very early projections from the ES. 


Sep 1, Cenral Michigan.  Win.
Sep 9, Richmond.  Win.  
Sep 19, Washington. Loss. 
Sep 23, Maryland.  Win.
Sep 30, @ Iowa. Loss. 
Oct 7, BYE (-). 
Oct 14, @ Rutgers. Win.
Oct 21, Michigan. Loss.
Oct 28, @ Minnesota. Loss.
Nov 4, Nebraska.  Loss (or Win).
Nov 11, @Ohio State. Loss.
Nov 18, @ Indiana.  Win (or Loss).
Nov 25, Penn State.  Loss. 


That's a 6-6 or 5-7 year Spartan fans.  At $1 million a year, MSU could save $3.5 - $4.5 million if this happened in 2023.  Let's create a different incentive and make coach Tuck work better for wins. Hell, at $1 million a pop, I'd take 9 or 10 wins this fall, wouldn't you?



Saturday, November 26, 2022

ES Preview: MSU v Penn State & Thank God it's over

Spartan players taking a cue from Elvis: "I'll be Home for Christmas"

Michigan State Spartans (5-6/3-5) at Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2/6-2)

November 26, 2022. 4 pm ET.
Beaver Stadium, Happy Valley, PA
TV: FS1
Weather: 52, sunny

Sagarin Ratings: Penn State #5, Michigan State #55
Line Outta Vegas: Penn State by 19-1/2

It's impossible to win at Penn State, especially when your team loses in 2OT to Indiana because of boneheaded coaching and poor execution.  No bowling over these holidays. 

Thank God this forgettable season will be over soon.  Bring on Izzo and hoops.  

ES sez:  Joe Paterno 38, Michigan State 21.

Monday, November 21, 2022

FireCoachTuck.com? Same Old Spartans? Tuck impersonates the John L Smith years


Thanks for the incompetence, Mel "I wanna be just like John L Smith" Tucker

Post-Indiana, the ES doesn't know where to start, other than the obvious:  Fire Coach Tucker for the incompetence we saw on Saturday in the loss to an 0-38-when-down-by-17-at-half-since-2003 Indiana team. 

FireCoachTuck.com?  No, and that's because there's a simple reason. The ludicrous $95 million/10 year contract signed by the athletics department to hire a guy with little-to-no head coaching experience (ok, should we count one year of coaching at national power U Colorado as something?).  Problem is, two years into the fraught-ridden deal, MSU would be on the hook for the last 7 years of the contract.  Thanks to Matt Ishbia and the St. Andre guy, they agreed to pay half of the salary to hire him, but none of the salary (aka "Golden Parachute") to fire him.  So, MSU paying Tuck $66.5 million (last 7 years on contract) not to coach and sit on a sofa eating cheese puffs is a bit ridiculous.  

But, someone else should create FireCoachTuck.com to put some pressure on the staff to get them to get their head out of their arse and stop acting like John L. Smith with the "outsmarting himself" decisions, pep-down speeches, and halftime adjustment failures.  Clearly, it's not working.  Setting up for a field goal on the two-yard line with a questionable-at-best FG unit in a driving, freezing windstorm isn't exactly good coaching.  OK, Spartan fans, everyone watching, raise your hands if you were saying on the final drive "We gotta score a TD, I'm not confident in our FG unit."  Thought so, all of us felt that way... except of course, for coach Tuck.  Listen, coach, you gotta coach from 30,000 feet as much as from the field level and use your authority to make a little better decision for the team and the Spartan Nation instead of acting like this is the NFL.  Either get a new pair of glasses to see the reality on the field and make better decisions or fire guys like d-coord Scottie Hazelton who can't produce any consistent play in the defensive unit (your honor, just look at exhibit A: giving up gashing 20-to-30 yard runs to an Indiana QB after stifling nation-leading Illinois RB Chase Brown is irrational).  

It is painfully obvious that we Spartans were spoiled with Kenneth Walker III in 2021, who put the Spartans on his back and ran like wild to an impressive 11-2 record.  This year, coach Tuck followed the John L Smith stuff-the-roster-with-JUCOs script with his tapping the transfer portal ad nauseum.  Note to Tuck: it doesn't work.  You gotta recruit and develop talent, not spend your time trying to find once-in-a-lifetime lightning in a bottle.  

Unfortunately, 2022 year was the return of the "Same Old Spartans" and very much resembled an overcoached (lack of focus on fundamentals) and underperforming (losing record) transfer-filled Spartan team all year long.  This dud of a season will be the remembrance of coach Tuck's decisions which impersonated slap-yo-mamma John L. Smith (the L stood for "laughter" or "loser", your choice).  

Victory for MSU? Nope.  Same Old Spartans?  Yup.  Thanks for making MSU a laughing-stock again, the pride of averageness and incompetence, coach Tuck.  And Good Luck against Penn State, LMAO.  


Saturday, November 19, 2022

Michigan State Spartans hosts Indiana's Little Pink Hoosiers

Michigan State Spartans (5-5/3-4) vs Indiana Hoosiers (3-7/1-6)
November 20, 2022, 12 noon

TV: BTN

Weather:  Cloudy, 27, windy = 17 mph


Sagarin Ratings: MSU #46, UI #93

Line outta Vegas:  MSU by 10


Land of the free... Little Pink Hoosiers for you and me, babe


Methinks with the cold windy weather, this game is going to be a challenge for both teams, and that means defense will steal the show.  While Sparty is having a sub-par year, there is a bowl bid on the line... and Indiana, well nothing's changed, they still have Little Pink Houses for you and me.  

 

This year, Sparty and Indy are once again dancing in the doldrums of mediocrity.

 

The way both teams are playing, it reminds me of how both teams fared in similar sitnts from average George Perlees-esque years, or par Bobby Williams 2002, or underperforming John L Smith (pick the year), or boring Mark Dantonio 2019.  Not really glory years, very ho-hum AVERAGE football.  


Today will be a ho-hum game between an average team and a perpetual wanna be "runt of the litter".  Harumph.  I'm a bit scared on Thorne throwing it through the air lately, some of his mid-range and short passes are just flat and off.  But, he does throw a damn fine long ball.  A few of those will make the difference in the game.  The defense has got to tighten up on the defensive line. This game will be closer than the 10-pt spread...


The ES is in Las Vegas and will tune in on the boob-tube. 


ES sez?:  Bobby Williams 21, Gerry Dinardo 17.




Saturday, November 12, 2022

ES Preview: Spartans host the Knights

Michigan State Spartans (4-5/1-4) host Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-5/1-5)
November 12, 2022.  12 noon
Spartan Stadium. East Lansing, MI
Weather:  ccccccold

Sagarin Ratings:  MSU #42, Rutgers #105
Line outta Vegas: MSU by 9.5

Cccccc-cccccc-cccc-COLD Spartan Fans!  Huddle up!

ES sez:  MSU 28, Rutgers 17 

Saturday, November 05, 2022

Spartoonies take on #17 Illinoisie

The old days with Dick Butkus are back at Illinoisie. Go figure.

Michigan State Spartans at #17 Illinois Illini
MSU (3-5/1-4) at Illinois (7-1/4-1)
November 5, 2022, 3:30 pm ET 

TV: BTN

Weather:  Sunny, 64, winds 11 mph SW


Sagarin Ratings: MSU #49, UI #22

Line outta Vegas:  Illinois by 17


Wait, Illinoisie is ranked?  What year is this, Butkus-esque 1964?  


This is the toughest game of the season for Michigan State.  After the scUM “tunnel fiasco” leaving 4 Michigan Staters suspended (and two defensive starters - Grose and our best player this year, Windmon), it will be a challenge for the Spartans to defend one of the nation’s best runners at the Illini in Chase Brown.  Ugh.  Top that off by the haphazard and underwhelming performance by the offense this year against the nation’s top-ranked defense, and that can spell trouble.  


Mind you, pudding-boy-coached Illinois has not played a heavyweight in its competition to date (beating Iowa 9-6 in a game that took football back 100 years; beating Wisconsin and Minnesota).  Is MSU a heavyweight?  Traditionally, yes, but this test will be foreboding.  The offense for MSU must get on track to have a chance in this game.


ES sez:  Pudding Boy 27, Tunnel Vision 14.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

ES Preview: scUM week and a Trivia Quiz

She's gonna play on the OLine today for the scUMbuckets

Michigan State Spartans (3-4, 1-3) vs #4 Michigan Wolverines (7-0, 4-0)

Michigan Stadium
Ann Arbor, MI
October 29, 2022.
  7:30 pm
TV: ABC
Weather: 50 clear skies. 

Sagarin Ratings:  scUM #4, Michigan State #48

Line Outta Vegas: scUM by 22


TIME FOR SOME TRIVIA

  1. Who has won 10 of the last 14 in the MSU-scUM series?
  2. Who won 3 of the last 4 in the MSU-scUM series played in Ann Arbor?
  3. Which MSU coach is the only coach to be 2-0 in his first two games vs scUM?
  4. How much was scUM favored by the last time the MSU played them in Ann Arbor?  Who won?
  5. What is Jesus Habaugh's all-time record vs MSU?
  6. Who won the last time scUM was favored by 22 in Ann Arbor?

    Answers below.

Yes, after the defensive-led performance by Michigan State in its W over Wisky two weeks ago, there is LIFE in them lungs of the Green and White.  Today: two weeks to prepare (for both teams).  The Jesus in khakis vs Tuck, the best-dressed man in college football. What better than to repost the ES' thoughts from two years ago, when #13 Michigan were favored by 22 (sound familiar, WalMart Wolverines?) in Ann Arbor :

---------

Ha Ha Ha, Harbaugh: You are on your KNEES!

OK, at first the ES was outraged.  Then, sitting next to Big Bob with mimosas and Bell’s Beer at the steady, we began to finally realize the brilliance of Mel Tucker.


This is all part of the master plan.  Let’s calm down, no worries Spartan Nation.  Getting your asses kicked is fun! Clearly we have the next $aban.  The 38 points allowed by MSU with a new coach (Tucker) in his first game was the most since his mentor, $aban, lost 50-10 to Nebraska in 1995. 


“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”  


Wow, that exactly is what we saw today in Spartan Stadium.  No passion and execution to succeed was on display by the men in green.  Ahhhh, but then we turn to Sun Tzu and realize the genius of Mr. T as we lead into our annual throwdown against the Yellow Jackets from Ann Arbor. 


Sun Tzu – “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”


We certainly deceived the enemy in Ann Arbor today.  It was pure genius; unable to attack, appearing inactive, far away from the action – that was Michigan State football in its greatest deception of the modern era.  Michigan – you have no idea the volume of destruction that is headed your way next Saturday.


Some of the action today was borderline confusing – QB Rocky Lombardi ambling along like a mentally deranged alcoholic on the gridiron, firing passes left and right for no reason.  The offensive line lacking any ability to block or “perceived” lack of ability to strike Rutgers’ iron wall defense. 


Brilliant. 


It is our ruse. Ha Ha Ha.  We got you right where we want you.  Thought you had us figured out, didn’t ya?

Next week, coach Tucker will release Armageddon.  


To quote Sun Tzu again, as is clearly coach Tucker’s strategy: “know yourself and you will win all battles.”  Oh, we Spartans know who we are.  We are proud and mighty, and a 11 point loss at home to mighty Rutgers is exactly the strategy that will bring your savior Jesus Harbaugh to his knees. 


See you next week.  Rest well, little people in Ann Arbor.  The time is ‘nigh. Grab your spears and pitchforks. We’re coming!


------


TRIVIA ANSWERS. 

  1. Michigan State
  2. Michigan State
  3. Mel Tucker
  4. 22. Michigan State
  5. 3-4 vs Michigan State
  6. Michigan State
ES sez.... MSU 24, UM 23. 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

ES eats a plate full of crow for breakfast: Thank you Spartan defense!

 Look at this stat line carefully (ES with arrows as pointers):


Giving up less than 300 yards and just 131 through the air???  Huh????  Thought I'd never see the light of day.  Yes, the ES is GLAD to eat crow and say he was proven otherwise by the Spartan defense yesterday.  Michigan State played its most complete game of the season, and that especially can be said for the defensive side of the ball.  

ES had his keen eye on the DBs all game, and this was by far their most focused and athletic game:  Ameer Speed broke up several plays (turning his head around to look at the ball, yes!) and Charles Brantley also didn't get torched for once (well maybe once), for the most part keeping plays in front of him.  Not sure what happened in practice this week, but give Coach Tuck credit for reaching out of the grave to pull himself and MSU out of it. 


MSU played with grit for much of the game, and the defense made BIG PLAYS (2 TOs, including in double OT) when they needed it: it's been over a month since a big play from the defense.  


This is a game MSU can build upon.  It must.  Two weeks until we meet the overrated Wolverines, who we get at exactly the right time: you hear that Jesus Harbaugh?  We got you right where we want you.  GO GREEN!  



Saturday, October 15, 2022

ES Preview: MSU vs Wisky

Michigan State Spartans (2-4, 0-3) vs Wisconsin Badgers (3-3. 1-2)
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
October 15, 2022.  4 pm. 

TV: Fox Sports

Weather: 50 and cloudy.  Black and blue. 


Sagarin Ratings:  Wisconsin #20, Michigan State #58

Line Outta Vegas: Wisky by 7




I gave up and didn’t post for the matchup vs Ohio State last week because I knew - as did 60,000 others who DID attend the game but left at halftime, that MSU’s futility is no match for an awesome Buckeye team.  This is not the 1999 team with talent that upset OSU; this is actually the worst MSU team since Muddy Waters was coach at Michigan State.  Why?  This team is LOST, its gone AWOL. 


Michigan State has lost its last 4 games by double digits since God knows when - longer than the 36 years since I first attended MSU for my undergrad degree from 1986-90.  For all you Coach Tuck fans, not even coach D or John L Smith or Bobby Williams or Nick Saban managed such a feat.  It means this team is LOST between the ears. They can fight all they want, but they are not being coached to be in a position to win. For this week, this column focuses on the defense backfield to prove the point. 


I’m tired of the poor coaching of the defensive backs.  It’s terrible.  It reminds me of a conversation I had with Mark Dantonio in his fourth year at Reno’s Sports Bar for the MSU Coaches Show.  I said: “Wow coach!  It looks like these DBs are finally learning to turn around and look at the ball for once.”  Coach D took offense to it since he was also a former DB at South Carolina.  


Coach Tuck should also take offense if he is worth his salt.  And then do something about it. 


The defensive secondary has no help without a pass rush.  OK, injuries are a major factor… but that means Coach Tuck has not solved our depth problem on the defensive line or elsewhere.  He got “lightning in a bottle” last year with Kenneth Walker III - but no lightning this year.  His ”transfer portal” strategy reminds the ES of John L Smith’s JUCO strategy — the difference is John L Smith was more consistently better with it over four years than the one year lightning from coach Tuck.  


Coach… if you can’t tell, Charles Brantley is getting TORCHED in the backfield.  All he does is chase receivers around the field all game, even if he is somewhere within 10 yards of being in position. He plays lost.  Why does he NEVER TURN AROUND when the ball is on its way?  THAT IS COACHING.  It hasn’t changed since game one this year, or since game one last year. If anything, CJ Stroud showed all too well the CBs are easy to pick on.  Brantley sucks.  Brantley & Co. gets smoked nearly every route and then put their hands in the air as if helpless.  HANDS UP IN SURRENDER? Brantley in particular has lost confidence and has taken a step back.


And, Coach, your blitzes never get home because they are either telegraphed, bad timing, or just plain poor execution. Again, this is coaching.  Blitz, and you put the DBs on an island where they are already lost.  It’s a pure shame, just watch the tape. 


I’ll be at the stint vs Wisconsin on Saturday.  But unless you get a pass rush and coach the defensive backs to turn around, it will be another loooonnnng outing, and you can expect Spartan Faithful to again exit in droves at the half. 


Tuck Comin’?  His lack of talent, depth, coaching and scheming shows to me he’s as lost as the players.  Tuck Leavin’.  PROVE ME WRONG. 


ES sez: Wisconsin 38, MSU 21.