Monday, December 31, 2012

22 more thoughts from the ES on MSU over TCU in B-Dubs Bowl

In no particular order, below are some more concrete thoughts from the 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl victory.  The ES' original comments posted at 2 am (and refined by 11 am) are also available linking here

1.    Peanut Barrell – packed at kickoff; the first half was so awful to watch, the place was 80% empty by halftime… it was also just past midnight. 
2.    ES and Big Bob closed the Barrell. When the game ended, there was noone else in the bar, if you can believe it. Center of the universe, and it’s Big Bob and the ES that remain standing.
3.    First three quarters of offense were a disaster for MSU – Roushar had no idea what to do or to call, complete lack of rhythm by the offense and the play calling. In the first half, it was as poor of an offensive performance all year by the Spartans.  Reminded the ES of the game vs Notre Dame.
4.    Great time management at end of game by MD.  The ES was very impressed at how the Doctor called timeouts to stop the clock during TCU’s drive for a field goal – with MSU’s offense playing as poorly as it had, the Spartans needed as much time as possible to get down the field to have a chance to win.
5.    Maxwell unable to make good, quick decisions – throughout the game he had difficulty in figuring out what to do, either in the pocket or on the run.  His 6-for-16 efficiency is a reflection of his difficulties (and good TCU defense combined with spotty pass protection).  However, the few times he DID make a good decision…
6.    Dropped passes were not Maxwell’s fault.  Lippett, Burbridge, and Mumphrey all dropped passes at times when Maxwell had nice throws, or when he was under pressure.  The timing of the drops, particularly on third down, was poor and killed drives. Still...
7.    Connor Cook ran better, and had more zip on his throws.  He just looked better.  He was in charge.
8.    When MSU did throw to its TEs and RBs, it certainly proved most effective. Sims had three catches, each of them were huge; of the 11 receptions, six were by TEs and RBs.
9.    The only throw downfield that I can recall was the throw by Bell to Hammock for 29 yards; when your RB has the longest pass play of the game, it means you have major issues at QB. Offensive coordinator Dan Roushar just did a poor job of calling plays to get his WRs and TEs open and downfield.  However, WRs also need to be able to break free and find ways to get open, and often they just gave up on their routes. But, a coach should change his scheming based on what he knows of his teams' strengths and weaknesses.  The bowl game continued the frustrating reality that Roushar all season has had a tough time accepting the fact that this year's passing game is about 10% as effective as under Kirk Cousins.
10.    The MSU offensive line held up well on last drive, but did not play well in pass protection for most of the game.  As mentioned earlier, Maxwell’s issues were not all his fault; it is a team game… but Maxwell just is not talented enough to overcome other deficiencies and make plays when absolutely necessary.  Dantonio's call to put in Cook when it mattered most was a good move - yet another ballsy, risky move that paid off for MD in his Spartan tenure.
11.    The Spartan defensive line was stiff and mean, particularly in second half.  Remarkable how consistently terrific MSU defense was. Other than the first TD drive by TCU, the Frogs barely had room to run all day.
12.    Marcus Rush, Denicos Allen, Will Gholston played extremely well. Max Bullough played well.  This defense makes me want to cry for joy.
13.    TCU’s pair of deep throws that were successful were a result of Spartan safeties taking a risk going for the ball… and missing.  On the other hand, catching up from the miss and tackling the Frog receivers before they scored resulted in TCU settling for FGs instead of TDs.
14.    Sadler punted amazingly well for MSU.  If not for Bell, Sadler probably was the MVP for the Spartans because of his ability to flip the field – and the booming 55-yard punt that led to the late TCU turnover turned into a TD for MSU. 
15.    TCU gave MSU a gift with its muffed punt as a fumble deep in Spartan territory – the 2-0 difference in turnovers was the difference in the game
16.    ES predicted 17-14; ended up 17-16… pretty close.
17.   No need to say much about LeVeon Bell - just the best RB to come out of MSU since Lorenzo White.  He was nothing short of incredible all game, and particularly in the second half.   He accounted for 77% of MSU's offense (174 of 227 yards). 
18.    MSU held TCU to 69 total yards and three points in the second half.  Just total, complete domination.
19.    Shame to see such an amazing defense supported by such a terrible offense all year, and the B-Dubs bowl was the perfect example.
20.    What a great defense to watch all year – dominating, best since the Rose Bowl year of 1987-88.  Who is returning?  Graduating are Johnny Adams, Tyler Hoover, Anthony Rashad White, and Chris Norman.   But when you look at the depth… oh my, this has the makings of another outstanding group to lead the Big Ten in defense next year.
21.    Pat Narduzzi may land a job somewhere…. But what decent job is open?  Purdue would have been a great fit. But, let’s hope for Spartans’ sake he sticks around another year or three.
22.  Finally, let's compare the MSU drive chart for the first half and the TCU drive chart for the second half.  Remarkably terrible.

MSU      1st M28  15:00  Kickoff       M31  12:56  Punt           3-3    2:04
MSU      1st M20  11:52  Punt          M24  10:16  Punt           3-4    1:36
MSU      1st M25  05:45  Kickoff       M47  02:12  Punt           6-22   3:33
MSU      2nd M32  13:19  Kickoff       M48  11:13  Punt           5-16   2:06
MSU      2nd M12  08:09  Kickoff       M33  05:42  Punt           6-21   2:27
MSU      2nd M36  03:48  Interception  M41  02:20  Punt           3-5    1:28
MSU      2nd M47  01:19  Punt          T48  00:09  Punt           3-5    1:10
TCU      3rd T30  14:54  Kickoff       M49  12:07  Punt           5-21   2:47
TCU      3rd T35  08:42  Punt          T42  07:08  Punt           3-7    1:34
TCU      3rd T25  00:34  Kickoff       T34  14:04  Punt           3-9    1:30
TCU      4th T40  12:40  Punt          M39  10:26  Punt           4-21   2:14
TCU      4th T09  00:00  Punt          T04  07:13  Fumble         0--5   0:00
TCU      4th T30  06:53  Kickoff       T25  05:59  Punt           3--5   0:54
TCU      4th T36  04:26  Punt          M36  02:42 *FIELD GOAL     6-28   1:44
TCU      4th T30  00:55  Kickoff       T23  00:21  Downs          4--7   0:34

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cook's the new Spartan leader in 17-16 MSU victory over TCU


The big story - for those of you doubting the reality, Connor Cook will (hopefully) be the bright, new kickstart to the Spartan offense - following his leadership in the stunning, 17-16 victory by MSU over TCU in the B-Dubs bowl tonight. The point about all of this isn't what the coaches or players did wrong (plenty on offense), but who was the one guy who did anything right: Cook did plenty right, he made plays that Andrew Maxwell didn't make all season.

However, the real story today was the Spartan defense CRUSHING TCU in the second half, holding the Frogs to just 69 total yards for the final 30 minutes; MSU dominated defensively today when it really mattered, and turned up the heat with QB sacks and pressure late in the game. Michigan State allowed just 288 total yards, and Will Ghoston had constant pressure for the Spartans. ES also loved the play of Denicos Allen, Max Bullough, Darqueze Dennard, and Marcus Rush - these guys played just fantastic all game long, flying all around the field.

Cook was far from brilliant, but he was very.. well... Gator Tim Tebow-like (THE ES HATES TEBOW) in his ability to GET THNGS DONE. Period. End of story, the way the team reacted, responded, and executed to Cook was far and away more productive than from Maxwell.  OMG, a guy (Maxwell) all year long starting for your team, and finishing 6-of-16 for 28 yards in a bowl game?  The only bowl I know for that performance is the Toilet Bowl that I threw up in.

LeVeon Bell was fantastic, as usual, the only consistent bright spot all game long, running for 145 yards... and getting stronger as the game wore on.  The ES was on OC Dan Roushar's case for a good part of the game, but it was a brilliant call at the right time for Bell to throw a pass from the wildcat -- it was the key play in the game, the longest pass play (29 yards) for the Spartans at the end of the third quarter, that set up the TD from Cook to Burbridge.

There may be some dispute over whether or not to try for a score with the team at midfield near the end of the first half.  But, it was a good call, and no surprise, that coach D called a run to end the first half instead of passing to try to get a field goal... Maxwell nearly had two interceptions on brutal throws, and State just couldn't afford him to make another bonehead throw that may lead to a TCU score.   

The offensive line was terrible in the first half, but did seem to play better in the second half, particularly responding with better protection and run blocking with Cook under center.  Both QBs were inefficient, but Cook certainly looked the part of a leader, and Cook got things done in the end - leading the final drive with a couple of key throws to get into FG range for Conroy's 47-yard game winner.  He has GOT to be the starting QB heading into the spring.  The ES is giddy in our 17-16 victory over TCU. It is a TEAM effort.  But, the ES leaves you with some telling stats.  G'night!

Look at how dreadful the passing statistics were tonight:

Connor Cook4/11474.310
Andrew Maxwell6/16281.800
Le'Veon Bell1/12929.000

Saturday, December 29, 2012

LIVE CHAT: B-Dubs Bowl, MSU vs TCU

Friday, December 28, 2012

ES Game Day & LIVE CHAT: Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Preview

Michigan State vs Texas Christian
LIVE CHAT ON ES WEBSITE (available by 9 PM)

MSU Spartans (# 40 Sagarin, 6-6/3-5), TCU Horned Frogs (# 27 Sagarin, 7-5/3-5)
December 29, 2012.  10:15 pm ET.
Stadium, Tempe, AZ
Weather: 60 degrees, clear skies.
Latest line:  TCU favored by 2-1/2


ES sez:  LIVE CHAT!  The ES will have a live chat on his blog during the B-Dubs game, so tune it!  A more indepth preview will  be up by Saturday, but a defense battle and inept offenses mean…  MSU 17, TCU 14.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

ES Game Day preview status

ES preview for Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - the ES is traveling, and may or may not be able to get a complete preview up to the ES website in time for the game. However, there may be a blog posting for this. Stay tuned. But, if I were to make an early prediction, it would be based on a battle of defenses and mistake-prone offenses: Michigan State 17, TCU 14.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Nix dominates in win over Texas

Watch out, Big Ten. If Derrick Nix and the Spartan bigs play like tonight, the Big Green will be tough to beat. Nix with 25 points and 11 rebounds, in his best game as a Spartan in a nice 11-pt win over Texas...

LIVE CHAT! #20 Spartans host Texas 2pm ET Sat

Friday, December 21, 2012

MSU favored by 10 over Texas in M-hoops tomorrow

Right now, VegasInsider has Michigan State a 10-pt favorite (-10) at home over Texas in men's hoops.... surprise that it is that large of spread.  If the ES does NOT go to the game (likely), then we'll have a live chat here at the Enlightened Spartan.

Why not go to the game?  We have snow, the first time for real this year, about 2 inches over the past day.  Nice and cold and wet.  Sucks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Live Chat: #20 Michigan State at Bowling Green

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thank you Jenison Field House! An end to Teeman?

Wow, it was just great watching the Spartans play at Jenison against Tuskegee tonight.

The ES saw plenty of games at Jenison back in the day - I had a student season ticket pass my entire tenure, including my first three years when MSU played at Jenison, it was punched with a hole-puncher coming into each game (look at right: I just went into my basement and dug through my ticket collection to find my pass at right). 

Back from 1986-1989, I remember sitting on the front row at Jenison, right on the midcourt stripes -- cursing out the referees and listening to Jud doing the same. But, tonight, as the announcers on ESPNU noted, Jenison was LOUDER THAN HELL back in the day... and I remember yelling my head off every single game while I was there.  Congrats to Mark Hollis for pulling off an important historical understanding of the need for inclusion and integration through the important 1963 NCAA tourney game at Jenison -- so many of us Spartan fans previously never knew anything about this event. 

As far as tonight, of course, MSU beat Division II Tuskegee, 92-60, and it was nice to see a dominant game out of Adriene Payne and a nice game by Matt "Elvis" Costello. I am now listening to the radio post-game with Will Teeman and Matt Stegienga. Again, Teeman is absolutely the WORST college basketball radio announcer in the nation. He is late on all the calls, and makes the cheesiest and most-clueless comments in post game: he is completely out of touch with his audience. Oh well, it's who we've got.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Live chat: Sat, 2 pm, MSU vs Loyola-Chicago

Live chat will be available right here at for today's men's basketball game, Michigan State hosting Loyola-Chicago, at 2 pm ET from the Brez.  It will be televised on BTN.  Spartans favored by 16 in this one.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

TCU favored by 2 1/2 over Michigan State in B-Dubs Bowl; Gifts to players; Bielema to Arkansas

The Michigan State Spartans (6-6/3-5) are 2-1/2 pt underdogs vs Texas Christian (7-5/4-5 Big 12) in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.  Kickoff is on Dec. 29 at 10:15 pm ET... which is great, because the ES will be returning late from Indianapolis on that date.

The over-under for the B-Dubs bowl is 41-1/2 points.  Other games of note:
  • Western Kentucky is favored by 6 over CMU in the Little Caesars Bowl (Dec. 26)
  • Texas Tech is favored by 13 over Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl (Dec. 28)
  • Oklahoma State is favored by 17 over Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl (Jan. 1)
  • Mississippi State is favored by 2 over Northwestern in the Gator Bowl (Jan. 1)
  • South Carolina is favored by 4-1/2 over Michigan in the Outback Bowl (Jan. 1)
  • Stanford is favored by 6-1/2 over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl (Jan. 1)
  • Georgia is favored by 10 over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl (Jan. 1)
  • Alabama is favored by 9-1/2 over Notre Dame in the BCS Title Game (Jan. 7)
That's right, not one Big Ten team is favored... but if I were to pick one, I'd pick Northwestern, or Michigan State... 

Hopefully, there won't be any poor time management like earlier this season in the Iowa game as the team scrambled on and off the field before half, missing a FG opportunity.  The B-Dubs bowl is taking care of that, giving every player a Fossil Watch with an embroidered BWW logo, as well as a fancy backpack (each NCAA participant can claim up to $550 in benefits/prizes from a bowl game... the Wolverines get a $420 shopping spree at BestBuy for playing in the Capital One bowl). 

And, can you believe Bielema jumping ship from Wisconsin to Arkansas?  That's what $3.2 million a year will buy you.  Bielema will replace interim John L. Smith... what a pair those two make.  ES never liked Bielema, moreso because he was such an idiot of a coach - a great recruiter, but just a poor X's and O's guy, and he's a terrible chess player.  Too bad, because MSU played Wisky pretty well and often took advantage of Bielema napping... 

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl? Good God.

The ES is so beyond tired of Wisconsin going to the Rose Bowl... again.  These guys are so overrated, and they are going to lose their third Rose Bowl in a row, this time to Stanford.  It's too bad, the Badgers continue to make the Big Ten look silly in football.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

MSU Men's Hoops vs Louisiana on ESPN3

MSU vs Louisiana Lafayette men's hoops live on ESPN3.  Tipoff at Noon ET on Sunday.  Watch here:

Order up your wings: Mich State to B-Dubs Bowl

Looks like 6-6/3-5 MSU will most likely play in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 29 in Tempe, Ariz.  The most likely opponent is a Big 12 opponent, 7-4/5-3 Oklahoma State.  Kickoff is slated for 8:15 pm MST (6:15 pm  ET).  This used to be called the Insight Bowl.

MSU vs Minnesota victory = Fire Roushar


Congrats to getting to a miserable 6-6 record by beating lowly Minnesota, 26-10.  Michigan State CRUSHED Minnesota 421-96 in total yards, but the play calling on offense and the poor execution by QB Maxwell really made things far more difficult than necessary today. Thanks to LeVeon Bell, and his 266 yards rushing on 35 carries.  Unbelievable performance by Bell.

My first thoughts, on reading the quote from coach Dantonio: ""I thought the game plan to run the football against what they did was very effective. I thought our offensive line played very effectively. It's good to see. ...When you look and you see some of the statistics, you wonder why the game isn't a little bit more lopsided. But you've got to score touchdowns in the red zone. We've kicked a lot of field goals this year, and those are things that we've got to work on as we go into bowl season."

1) You wonder???? Duhhhh.... why in Jesus' name do you PASS the ball on first down early in the game when LeVeon is running through and destroying defenses?  POOR COACHING, outthinking yourselves.  Jesus the ES was yelling through the third quarter trying to figure out what was going on.
2) Then, Maxwell throwing (13-of-29 or 44%) for the game was AWFUL, especially in the Red Zone. He over and under threw receivers all day long, if he didn't throw an INT. Instead of leading the team Maxwell was a liability, not adding ANYTHING.
3) Maxwell did not add value to the team today.
4) THE SPARTAN DEFENSE IS INCREDIBLE.  Holding Minnesota to under 100 total yards, and this offense can barely muster 27 points?  Pathetic, really.

What does all of this mean:

1) Fire Dan Roushar.  His play-calling in this game was as bad as it was all year long.  Throwing the ball on first down when Bell is running wild is.... STUPID. Just total dumb-ass.  I know MSU needs to mix up the play-calling, but not on first down with a sub-par QB in Maxwell.... umm... The ES figures the change in calling plays later in the game was because of Dantonio (or someone Spartan in the stands yelling loud enough for him to hear) demanding that every play be run to LeVeon Bell (funny how it worked). The passing calls were stupid, dumb, moronic the entire game.
2) Bench Andrew Maxwell.  He is awful. Anyone who thinks this guy is any good is high as a kite.  Maxwell can't throw the deep ball well, throws the out pattern short, or just makes very very poor decisions (note the pick-six).  Maxwell can't audible, he telegraphs his passes, and he can't execute in the toughest positions. Mawelll is NOT  a play maker.  He is not.
3) Run Bell.  Just run him.  Find different ways (not a screen play) to get the ball in his hands.  Don't pass the ball.  Just give the goddam thing to him, preferably in the deep-I formation.
4) Where the hell was Dion Sims?  The best receiver on the team, and just one catch for four yards?

I hate this offense because the talent is so great but the coaching and Maxwell's play are AWFUL.  It is really a shame for the defense.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Live Chat: Michigan State at Minnesota

Live Chat at 3 pm ET.

There will be a live chat here on the ES website, open to the public at 3 pm ET.  You're invited. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

ES Game Day: MSU at Minnesota. 'Tis the end of Roushar, Lord have mercy.

Wow, didn't expect to be here.  The ES is gonna give kudos to both the Sloth and to CHock for their pre-season picks on MSU.  Both guessed 8 wins, and were closest to the prediction of MSU winning AT BEST 6 games in the regular season. CHock called it best: "But we will lose at least one because of inexperience by our rookie QB. Cousins was really, really good and we’ll miss that." 

Looks like this is the buffoon's last game - offensive coordinator Dan Roushar may be a goner.  We will all toss some salt over a shoulder, kiss a rabbit's foot, and say a Hail Mary or three that it is the end for the dolt calling the plays for MSU.  When an assistant coach apologizes to the faithful - he's on the chopping block.

That said, tomorrow is THANK GOD the season finale.  This is the final preview of the season.

Time: 3:30 ET.
Weather: 34 and partly sunny
Spread:  MSU favored by 8

Sagarin Rankings: MSU #42, Minny #66

  • CFN/Scout MSU 20-13
  • Freep Rexrode MIN 17-16, Sharp MIN 24-14, Seidel MSU 27-17
  • Tom MSU 27-14, Brent MSU 19-16
  •  Ritteberg MSU 20-16, Bennett MSU 24-17
ES sez:  How dumb can the Spartan coaching staff be?  Is MD trying to instill confidence, or is he instead misdiagnosing his team when he sez: "When we win Saturday -- and I'll say when -- we'll be a 6-6 football team."  Why in god's name would the Doctor give the Gophers bulletin board material, especially after watching the MSU buffoonery on the sidelines and the poor decision-making on the field ALL YEAR LONG? 

OK, this is easy.  Let's predict this real quick.  #1 - Is Maxwell starting on Saturday at QB?  YES.  #2 - Is Roushar still the offensive coordinator for MSU on Saturday?  YES.

'Nuff said.  Each will find a way to screw it up in as stupid, maddening, and unnecessary way as possible.  The ES hopes a nor'easter or a massive blizzard from the Yukon swipes over Minneapolis to make life miserable tomorrow.  Lord have mercy.  ES sez:  Minnesota 26, Michigan State 24.  

M-Hoops LIVE CHAT: #15 MSU vs Oakland

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spartans favored by 8 at Minny? Craziness

OK, so the ES has taken a bit of a respite.  It's tough to get fired up for a vastly underperforming football team on the road at Minnesota.  And, seeing as Michigan State is favored by 8 at Minnesota... well, the Spartans need to make a believer out of the ES this year.  Right now, I'd take Minny straight up.  The game kicks off at 3:30 pm ET on BTN this Saturday.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Maryland to join Big Ten

Maryland will join the Big Ten.  Read USA Today here.

"BTN will have live coverage beginning at 2:30 PM ET of the University of Maryland’s press conference regarding joining the Big Ten. Following the press conference, BTN will have analysis from a variety of guests. Dave Revsine will host BTN’s coverage."

The ES just doesn't get it. Who's next? Rutgers, and then who? Expect major musical chairs in the  next month:  UConn to the ACC, Florida State to the SEC or Big 12...

At least we know who will be at the bottom of the conference race in football, vying with Minnesota and Indiana every year. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fire Dan Roushar

Today's loss against Northwestern was unacceptable and inexcusable.  This one is on the coaches. Roushar's incompetence and Dantonio's belief in Maxwell's abilities that he doesn't have cost MSU yet another game.  Not sure when these guys will get it through their thick heads and wake up.

Roushar has GOT to be fired.  He was nothing short of AWFUL, and demonstrated he is in over his head.  What a waste of a great defense this year.    I don't have enough fingers or toes to count the numerous coaching mistakes today.  That's sad, and I feel bad for the players, especially the defense, for the incompetence of the Spartan coaching staff.

Below, I have copied my second half Facebook posts to the Sloth today as we fumed during the game.  It says enough.


4 hours ago via mobile ·

    I hate this football team on offense. Just absolutely loathe them.
    Like · · Unfollow Post
        50 of 56
        View previous comments
         You should see them live-Eesh!
        3 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1
         I'm turning it off now. that last drive with Roushar calling nothing but passes is it for me. time to catch up on a couple episodes of Mad Men...
        3 hours ago · Like
         13-13 now! Go Burbridge!
        2 hours ago via mobile · Like
         If it wasn't so embarrassing it would be funny. I am so goddam upset with this coaching staff for handcuffing the players. It is flat-assed unacceptable. Period. A bunch of incompetent morons, lead by the head dolt himself for hiring these jokers.
        2 hours ago · Like
         Walk in TD. Ugh
        2 hours ago via mobile · Like
         What is Roushar doing with this all-pass crap? Putting Maxwell back with no blindside protection on a first down is suicide, RUN THE GODDAM BALL.
        2 hours ago · Like
         What an embarrassment.
        2 hours ago · Like
         Dantonio needs to own up to this. He is failing his team.
        2 hours ago · Like
         Narduzzi needs to get his ass OUT OF THE PRESS BOX AND DOWN ON THE FIELD
        2 hours ago · Like · 1
         These referees are terrible.
        2 hours ago · Like
         Unbelievable. Thank God for hoops
        2 hours ago via mobile · Like · 2
         If the defense doesn't score, we don't have a chance.
        2 hours ago · Like
         Hopefully Dantonio will do the right thing and get rid of Roushar after the season is over
        2 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1
         Can't blame Maxwell for the dropped balls
        2 hours ago via mobile · Unlike · 2
         What I hate is the percentages on throwing on first down for MSU are just poor. So, if they don't get it, it is a guarantee we will thrown on 2nd down. Roushar just doesn't have a good feel for how to mix things up.
        2 hours ago · Like
         If this were a chess match, it would already be checkmate. If it were war, our conceptual playbook is the Maginot line. Completely static and predictable, and reactionary. It sucks. I'd give the coaching a F.
        2 hours ago · Like
        Can't blame Maxwell for the bad offensive line and piss poor play calling. I feel bad for him. I think he gets a bad rap.
        2 hours ago via mobile · Like
         But when Maxwell does have a shot, he can't make the play. He is not dependable. That's the problem.
        2 hours ago · Like
         Thank God we ran it on first down, even if we only gained a yard.
        2 hours ago · Like
        ...who is the back up Connor Cook, right? Don't know much about he good?
        2 hours ago via mobile · Like
         Put in Cook. Right on queue, Maxwell telegraphs his floater to the NW safety.
        2 hours ago · Like
        , this season was over 5 weeks ago. it's an indication of our resilience as Spartan faithful that we still bother, especially with basketball season here.
        2 hours ago · Like
         Maxwell has no moxie. He CANT GET IT DONE. You know that Gatorade ad, "is it IN you?" Not for Maxwell. He does not have the grit and lacks the smarts of Cousins - it isn't fair to make the comparison, but Maxwell IMHO isn't half of Cousins. To add to it, this coaching staff is so incompetent, they are handcuffing him.
        2 hours ago · Like · 1
         Hey Haskin, don't you have any eligibility left?
        2 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1
         Sloth - I loathe loving my allegiance as a Spartan football fan, and there isn't anything I can do about it for the rest of my life.
        2 hours ago · Like · 1
         The score right now should be 27-20 Michigan State. The fact that the turnovers are 4-0 in favor of NW demonstrates the strength of our defense.
        2 hours ago · Like
         Who is dependable? BELL. Funny, they give him the ball and he just piles up yardage. A total no-brainer.
        2 hours ago · Like · 1
         Keep feeding it to the horse.
        2 hours ago · Like
         bet you a beer this is a pass
        2 hours ago · Like
         Of course, now Narduzzi gets his butt down to the field. The coaches are finally waking up. Too bad they took off the first three quarters.
        2 hours ago · Like
         Keep feeding it to Bell. Give him THE GODDAM BALL
        2 hours ago · Like
         Roushar just killed this drive
        2 hours ago · Unlike · 1
         Fire Roushar.
        2 hours ago · Like
         That pass call was so incompetent.
        2 hours ago · Like
         Sims bailed out Roushar. He should still be fired.
        2 hours ago · Like · 1
         it's an absolute miracle. I should have watched a 2nd episode of Mad Men.
        2 hours ago · Like
         Roushar should be fired - even if we score 100 points in the next five minutes, he needs to be given the pink slip. Let him coach at Mankato State.
        2 hours ago · Like
         seemingly right on cue, our Top 5 defense rips a fart.
        about an hour ago · Like
         Go figure. But they stiffened at the end. Let's see if Maxwell has moxie.
        about an hour ago · Like
         Dantonio has no pulse on this team. He should know by now that the defense checks out late in the game; is this the 3rd or 4th game where we punted late and couldn't get the ball back? Shoulda gone for it on 4th down.
        about an hour ago · Like · 1
         Fitz passing the ball was a dumb move. Stopped the clock. Helped us out.
        about an hour ago · Like
         Dantonio needs to block this kick. It's our only chance. Offense can't do shit.
        about an hour ago · Like
         dropped pass. shocking.
        about an hour ago · Like
         Let's see if Maxwell can make a believer out of me. I doubt it.
        about an hour ago · Like · 1
         another dropped pass. not shocking.
        about an hour ago · Like
         What an AWFUL play call on third down. Why in gods name are you running a 5 YARD SLANT??????? We need 80 yards
        about an hour ago · Like
        about an hour ago · Like
         NEED TO GO TO MY PRESENTATION. I hate this season.
        about an hour ago · Like

Friday, November 16, 2012

ES Game Day: MSU vs Northwestern

OK, so the ES is in Vegas, baby!  Will watch that football game vs. Northwestern from the Flamingo at 9 am sharp.As you can see, the ES put $20 smackers on the Spartans to beat the spread and whip the Wildcats tomorrow.  MSU is favored by a TD (7 pts).  ALSO note that MSU is 18-1 favorite to win the national men's basketball championship... ES put $5 on the Big Green to get to the Promised Land.

That said, an abbreviated game day for tomorrow's game. 

Time:  12 noon
Spread:  MSU favored by 7
Weather: 52 and partly sunny

ES sez:  MSU 28, Northwestern 17.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hoops is back! Big Green stymies #7 Kansas

Loving Michigan State basketball, a nice tonic to the disappointing football season.  A nice pick-me-up watching the Big Green Machine kick some Jayhawk butt in Atlanta today.  That game was a rough defensive battle through the second half, and it was nice to see that old Izzo-esque defense come alive in the last five minutes.  Turning off the faucet at the end of the game is a staple of championship-Spartan teams... maybe this team's got it after shutting down #7 Kansas, 67-64.

Keith Appling was amazing on offense in the final few minutes, with a ridiculous scoop layup around a 7-footer in the final seconds, after previously stepping back to knock down a solid -three pointer.  I'm just loving the play of Brendan Dawson, who is the real deal with an all-around game, great hands on defense, great hops on the boards, and dynamic in the offensive post.  Derrick Nix looks real good on defense and on offense.   Nice, nice win after coming home from the airport hanger in Germany (MSU will win a special pre-season game, someday).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spartans a TD fave over Northwestern

Where's the ES been?  Those of you who know me know this is the busiest time of the year, middle of the term and I am swamped.  That said, I am heading out to... Las Vegas, baby!  So, while I present odds from VegasInsider each week... I guess I can be the official insider this next week.

But, from what I read... our MSU Spartans are favored by 6-1/2 against Northwestern; Purdue is favored by 7 at Illinois; Penn State is favored by 17 over Indiana; no line on Michigan vs Iowa due to injury; Wisky is favored by 3 at home over Ohio State.

Sparty needs a win... BAD. 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

MSU can't overcome mistakes, refs

I give up.  MSU wuz robbed by the referees throughout the game, but made enough mistakes on its own to lose to Nebraska.  If the Spartans stop Nebraska on 4th and 10 with :40 seconds left... or before than, if they even made a 1st down with 1:40 left, they win the game.  But, they couldn't make the final play and gave the Corn the chance.

Referring was brutal - what the personal foul was on the 100 yard INT runback for a TD, I have no idea, we will never know.  The interference call in the endzone at the end of the game was bullshit.  The Spartans were sold out; but, they still had to make plays to win, and couldn't.

I gotta get out of this town.  The Spartans are killing me.  This year, it's one step back to Same Old Spartans...

Friday, November 02, 2012

ES Game Day Preview: #21 Nebraska at MSU

#21 Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-2, 3-1) at Michigan State Spartans (5-4/2-3)
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
3:30 ET. ABC.
Weather: 46 degrees, sunny.
Sagarin Rankings: MSU #35, Nebraska #23
Line: Nebraska favored by 1-1/2

The line has moved since late Sunday, now with Nebraska favored by 1 1/2 pts. A bland, but useful video on the impressions of the Nebraska team to the Corn faithful as posted by the Lincoln Journal Husker Extra.

 Vote!  Go To Big Red Today and make your predictions...

ES sez: OK, so the Doctor is using Facebook to preach to the Spartan Nation to show up strong on Saturday - let's not let the Nebraska Red take up the extra tickets. What impact will that have on the game?  ES believes not much... if the Spartan defense plays its game and keeping Neb QB Martinez honest, plugging holes and watching their lanes - the Spartan nation will roar, and it will be a low-scoring, intense game.  Remember - three of the losses were from a combined 6 pts and OT.  But, the one thing that has remained consistent is just a fantastic Spartan defense, which is getting BETTER as shown in its dominant outing at Wisconsin last week.  Max Bullough is making a run for Defensive POY in the Big Ten, as he anchors a stud-like defense. 

The ES is going to the game to watch a gudge-match, a battle of defense, with blood and guts all over the field.  This game will settle down and get ugly, and turn into trench warfare - look out for the mustard gas. MSU may lose a few battles, but will win this war.  Those predicting Nebraska will score more than 20 are high as a kite - the Spartans have allowed that only once, taking the first half off against Indiana.  Won't happen this week, or for the rest of the year.  Can the Spartan offense score enough?  LeVeon Bell says YES. But, give the Spartan defense six safeties.  :)

Final score: Spartan Defense 12, Corn Wannabees 11.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Watching MSU v Wisky again on BTN now

Great watching this game again, on BTN now (9:45 pm on Mon nite).  They're just starting the 4th quarter, with that TERRIBLE screen pass, no selling of the screen at all by the offensive line giving Maxwell no chance on that play.  Brutal.  But, then Taiwan Jones makes a huge play on the bull rush up the middle to nail O'Brien. 

#35 Spartans favored by 1 pt vs #21 Corn

The bookies in Las Vegas are making the Michigan State Spartans an early 1 point favorite at home over the #21-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers.  Penn State is favored by 3-1/2 at Purdue; Indiana (yes, that Indiana) is a 1-pt fave at home over Iowa; Ohio State is a 24-1/2 pt favorite at home over Illinois; there is no line yet on Michigan at Minny.

Note - the MSU-Nebraska game will kickoff at 3:30 pm ET and be televised regionally on ABC.   And, MSU is ranked #35 by Jeff Sagarin, while the Corn is at #23.  Meanwhile, over at USA Today, they've ranked all 124 teams, with MSU #42 and Corn #22.  Let's get the Spartan student body to fill the seats!

The ES hates Corn.   "Don't eat that Corn... it's GREEN!"

USA Today Poll - um, yes, Michigan State has ONE vote.
1Alabama (59)8-01475
3Kansas State8-01366
4Notre Dame8-01307
7Florida State8-11121
11South Carolina7-2838
13Oregon State6-1684
14Boise State7-1634
16Texas A&M6-2592
18Mississippi State7-1569
19West Virginia5-2326
20Texas Tech6-2284
23Louisiana Tech7-1191
24Oklahoma State5-2166
  • Dropped from rankings: Michigan 20, Ohio 23, Wisconsin 25
  • Others receiving votes: Northwestern 77, UCLA 61, Toledo 59, Northern Illinois 39, Kent State 26, Tulsa 19, Wisconsin 15, Arizona 14, Michigan 11, Louisiana-Monroe 10, Ohio 9, Cincinnati 8, Iowa State 6, Utah State 4, Western Kentucky 4, Ole Miss 3, Arizona State 2, Michigan State 1

Saturday, October 27, 2012

WE WON!!!!

Spartans win at Wisconsin... on a passing play, no less!  16-13  In OT!   Waaaaaaaaaahoooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

Congrats to the Spartan defense which played SPECTACULAR all game long.!  of note... ES predicted a 19-15 Big Green victory! :) Snapping that Wisky 21-game home winning streak.

MSU held Wisconsin to just 190 TOTAL YARDS. WHAT AN AMAZING SPARTAN DEFENSE. That stud Montee Ball for Wisky only had 46 yards rushing...Max Bullough played an amazing game for Michigan State on defense, as did Denicos Allen... the Spartan secondary played GREAT keeping all the plays in front of them, and Johnny Allen played his best game of the season for MSU.

LeVeon Bell ran for 77, and Andrew Maxwell overcame some serious early jitters to engineer the game-tying 80-yard TD drive with a shovel pass to Bell with just 1 minute left in regulation.  What was really smart, and the ES was yelling at the TV in overtime, was "just give the horse the ball" - and MSU did just that, with Bell having the first three carries in OT for 13 major yards setting up the winning TD pass.  Just smart playcalling.

Hopefully, this win gives the offense some mojo that they CAN SCORE in the remaining games. Arrrghhh!!! GO BIG GREEN!!!!

Look at the comparative grades - of Wisky by the Wisconsin State Journal, and of MSU by the Lansing State Journal:

Offense:  Wisky D-, MSU 5 of 10
Defense: Wisky B, MSU 10 of 10
Spec Teams: Wisky C+, MSU 7 of 10
Coaching: Wisky D, MSU 7 of 10
Overall: Wisky C-

Friday, October 26, 2012

ES Game Day Preview: MSU at Wisconsin

Michigan State Spartans (4-4/1-3) at #25 Wisconsin Badgers (6-2/3-1)
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
3:30 ET. ABC.
Weather: 44 degrees, sunny.
Sagarin Rankings: MSU #40, Wisconsin #28
Line:  Wisconsin favored by 6

Nice article on the WIS-MSU rivalry by the AP.

Predictions:Vegas Insider WIS 24-20; ESPN Blog Rittenburg WIS 20-13, WIS 17-14; Freep Rexrode WIS 20-12, Sharp WIS 16-7, Seidel WIS 21-14; CFN/Scout WIS 24-16; JSOnlne has their own link to predictions....  shit, why do we even bother playing the game???

ES sez:  When was the last time Wisconsin was 6-2 and ranked just #25 in one poll, and not ranked in another?  Forever.  This Wisconsin team ain't the best ever, and the Spartans aren't even close to that level.  Wisky has won 21 at home in a row... so, it would be fitting for a disappointing Spartan team to take that victory.  A subpar Wisky team at home is rare, and that should be enuff for a MSU team with a really studly, top-10 ranked defense.  Of course, the whole game rests in the hands of Spartan QB Andrew Maxwell, who leads the #109-ranked scoring offense... he has GOT to get the goddam pigskin into the endzone...  Brett Bielema will do something stupid, and Dantonio will pull out a bag of tricks to win this one.

What the hell... MSU 19, WIS 15.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wisconsin favored by TD over Spartans; Wasting a good defense

The early line out of Vegas is that Wisconsin is a  6 point favorite at home over the Spartans.  Illinois is favored by 2 at home over Indiana; Purdue is favored by 3 1/2 at Minnesota; Northwestern is favored by 6 at home over Iowa; Penn State is favored by 2 at home over Ohio State; Nebraska is favored by 2 at home over Michigan.  What sucks is that with a MSU win over Michigan and with Penn State crushing Iowa, MSU really had a shot at still being in the hunt for the Big Ten title.  Now, it is just a goner... Woulda coulda shoulda....

OK, so the ES is tremendously disappointed by the outcome of the game vs Michigan.  Heck, if the third down toss by Maxwell makes another two yards, Michigan State runs out the clock.  If Marcus Rush gets to Robinson a 1/2 second earlier, Denard's pass doesn't make it.  Or, if MSU DBs covered Dileo a foot closer on the next to last play... game over.  Or, if Conroy had made his FG try earlier in the game, game over.  Or, if MSU would have gone for a TD instead of a FG deep in Michigan territory, game over... OR...

You get the point.  In all honesty, if these two teams met up 10 times, each would win five.  The teams were dead even. The Spartans are six points away from being 7-1.  Instead, this eerily is a S.O.S. drama playing out, and all of the luck from the past two years has been spent. 

The defense is as good, or better than advertised.  The Spartan defense is crushing opposing offenses... but the Spartan offense is the least productive in a generation.  It's too bad, what a waste of a good defense.

MSU played arguably its best game of the year on Saturday in the loss vs Michigan, but the offense again just can't seem to make the extra play to get into the end zone, or to continue drives.  Frustrating to watch, especially when there's a defense doing more than its fair share.

The season ain't over - MSU can still make a good run of it... the ES argues the remaining four games are against talent not as good as the Spartans.  But, the Spartans just don't have that killer instinct this year to close out games.  The last two years, it was Michigan State making plays at the end of the game to go out a winner. This year, it just isn't happening.  A win over Wisconsin would really help to cauterize the open-gash of a wound. 

Some of the fault is on Maxwell, who now is playing very similar to Kirk Cousins' play in his first year -- serviceable, getting things done at a minimum, but unable to be the playmaker to win games in the end. Maxwell had only one INT vs Michigan, but he missed many wide open receivers, and far too often settled for a safety valve (like the third down play which was short and led to giving the ball back to Michigan).  The wideouts actually played better catching the ball... but still the inability to separate consistently isn't helping out Maxwell's decision-making, either. 

But, also, give some blame to the Mark Dantonio. It is time to realize that when it is 4th-and-1 in enemy territory, the Spartans MUST go for it; they can't settle for a FG try because hit-or-miss, they need more points in the end.  In each of the three losses, MSU has settled for a FG try in short distance, and it has wound up costing them in the final minutes. The fake punt vs Michigan was a thing of beauty -- too bad we lost, 'cause that play is used for the year.  

What a bummer of a year.  And, what a waste of a perfectly fantastic defense. The ES would be happy with an 8-4 year, but that means Michigan State has to play a whole lot better on offense... and that starts with Maxwell.

Let's see if the Spartan offense can actually score 2 TDs in a game against a competitive defense -- starting at Wisconsin. MSU is gonna be dangerous in Madison... desperate for a win, like a starving wild cat boxed into a corner.  It's unfathomable to think MSU going 1-4 in the Big Ten and being 4-5 at this point.  Three losses by six points?  Ugh.  It's time to win a game, dammit.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


That hurt. Great defensive battle. A game settled by inches in the end. Congrats to Michigan for outlasting the Spartans. This one will sting for a year.

Live Chat: MSU at Michigan

Friday, October 19, 2012

ES Game Day Preview: MSU at Michigan

Michigan State Spartans (4-3/1-2) at #23/NR Michigan Arrogant A-Holes (4-2/2-0)
The Hell Hole, Ann Arbor.
3:30 ET.  BTN.
Weather: 53 degress, cloudy.
Sagarin Rankings: MSU #35, Michigan #15
Line:  Michigan by 10

Predictions: ESPN Blog: Rittenberg UM 24-16, Bennett UM 16-9; Tom UM 27-13, Brent UM 24-20;   Isportsweb UM 21-17;  Freep: Sharp UM 27-0, Seidel MSU 24-21, Snyder UM 30-14; CBSSports: UM 14-13; CFN/Scout: UM 24-20

After watching Saw 3 last night, the ES wonders if this is
the future of Roushar if he is brain-dead vs Michigan
ES sez:  Michigan State is actually better than everyone is predicting. Problem is, the coaching has really sucked on offense, and the execution on offense has been inconsistent at best.  And, when the defense has needed to make a final stand, it hasn't.  Is MSU getting worse while UM is getting better?

Luckily for the Spartans, they have a red-letter game to turn things around and shake up the nation.  If UM was REALLY good, I'd say the Spartans would get their butts kicked.  But the Wolverines are a sheep in wolves' clothing.  They aren't that great.  At this point, both teams are about even, with MSU underperforming and Michigan overperforming.  The one consistent recently is Michigan State defense dominating Michigan's offense the past four years. 

As the ES mentioned after the Iowa game, offensive coordinator Dan Roushar has been a major liability for MSU this year, using a 2009 playbook with 2012 raw talent. The cloudiness floating across the offense during games becomes cloudier as games go on because of Roushar's not putting players in positions to win. In sum, this year, it ain't working.  Is this the game to put it all together?

I dunno, the ES has been wrong all season.  Matt Millen called the Spartans' the biggest disappointment in the country, and while Millen was the biggest disappointment in the history of the Detroit Lions, he may be right here.  It will take a great defensive effort, minimizing mistakes, and for the offense to cash in early -- for once.

Denard Robinson will have his best game against MSU - maybe 70+ yards rushing, 200 yds passing... but he'll still make his mistakes.  The Spartan defense will show up and force a few turnovers.  Michigan's defense will do the same with Andrew Maxwell. But, can the Spartan offensive line be the difference maker for LeVeon Bell and MSU? Will Roushar handcuff the MSU offense with his over-thinking playcalling, or will he put the game in the hands of its best player (Bell)?  Lots of field goals and a crazy TD or two...

Thank God it's a rivalry game.  Make it: MSU 18, UM 16.

Below:  soaking wet at the end of MSU v Iowa.  This hurt bad to lose this one...

ES Game Day preview coming up

ES Game Day... working on it as I type.  Tough to get fired up for the Spartoonies this week, even with Michigan week. Why?  'Cause, as the ESPN bloggers note, Michigan State is the biggest disappointment in the Big Ten so far.

This year is so "Same Old Spartans" - makes the ES wonder if the last two years were a George Perles-ish flash in the pan, or if MD can actually get 'er going for the long haul.  This week's game is make-or-break for MSU.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wolverines by 10? Maybe

OK, the Wolverines are favored by 10 over the Spartans in Ann Arbor on Saturday.  Two weeks ago, this might have been a pick 'em, but the recent Spartan woes on offense have exposed a team on the ropes.  ES doesn't seen Michigan scoring more than 30, but can the Spartans score more than 10?  That's the million-dollar question.

This could be a tough one to watch if the Same Old Spartans show up.  Offensive Coordinator Dan Roushar has GOT to wake up and give his team a chance on offense, and give some relief to the defense. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

S.O.S.: Dan "Three Stooges" Roushar has got to go

I'm putting this one on the coaches, and mainly Offensive Coordinator Dan Roushar.  The 19-16 double OT loss to Iowa that was dominated for 58 minutes by MSU really is the last straw.  Even the Iowa fan at the Harrison Roadhouse called it "a miracle, We couldn't move the ball all game."  OK, the Michigan State defense should have made a stop on the last drive of regulation, as they had all game long.  But, let's get to the real problem.

Let's try MSU offensive confusion. Say, the botched field goal try at the end of the first half (umm, we never even got that far, running on and off the field in utter Three Stooges confusion reminiscent of John L Smith vs Ohio State).... or, the unbelievably stupid incomplete passes which stopped the clock with 5 minutes left at the end of the game and give Iowa a chance to come back... or, the even dumber call in double-OT for a pass on second and short in the driving rain across the middle in OT is high-risk at best... or, the wasted opportunity with confusion running guys in and out for a wildcat on the 5 yard line, only to call a time out and then settle for a field goal... or, all of the other confusion with substitutions in-between... Roushar has got to go. 

The guy, Roushar, was clueless about what to call all game long, and actually he's been clueless all year. 

The ES has realized that it was Kirk Cousins, BJ Cunningham and the unbelievable skilled talent that bailed out Roushar since former OC Treadwell left.  With the rawness at the skill levels this year, Roushar's questionable play calling is being exposed. The most frustrating part is that the one guy who can help the Spartans, Le'Veon Bell, is a guy Roushar doesn't turn to when we - and he - can use him most... like in double-OT yesterday.

Note to Roushar:  Knock off the John-L-Smith-like outsmarting yourself, and use the talent that works, especially at the most challenging times. And, KISS - keep it simple, stupid.  Your wild guesses and inopportune pass calls sure are making it harder on yourself, and especially the team.

If I wasn't so drenched in cold rain, I would have laughed.  In what started out as a season of hope, Andrew Maxwell staring blinding into space at the end of the game says it all:  what a waste.  With a murderers row coming up next of Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Northwestern... I'm not so sure if this Spartan team can win half its games by year's end and qualify for the Meineke Car Care Bowl.  

What a waste.  Congrats to Iowa - you've got what the Spartans don't: moxie.  This year's Spartans are searching for an identity. This year's Spartans look to be another chapter in the never-ending saga of Same Old Spartans

Friday, October 12, 2012

ES Game Day Preview: Iowa at MSU

Iowa Hawkeyes (3-2/1-0) at Michigan State Spartans (4-2/2-1)
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing
Noon ET.  ESPN.
Weather: 50 degress, rain. A great day for football!
Sagarin Rankings: MSU #35, Iowa #55
Line:  MSU favored by 7-1/2

Predictions:  ESPN Blog: Bennett MSU 17-14, Rittenburg MSU 21-17.  Black Heart Gold Pants Iowa 20-17. CFN/Scout:  MSU 17-13. Freep: Rexrode MSU 17-10, Sharp MSU 24-21, Seidel MSU 17-14

ES sez:  Looking to a great game in the cold rain.  Bring your poncho.  Should be a defensive battle.  MSU figures the defense will pick it up a notch and will force some turnovers.  Look for 100+ total yards (ground and receiving) out of Bell... Besides, I hate the Ugly Chickens. Note: Sims is out at TE, and Treadwell is tentative on the OL.   MSU 17, Iowa 13.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Winning ugly; Spartan homecoming a 10-pt fave over Iowa

Well, ain't nothin' pretty about the nasty 31-27 win at Indiana on Saturday.  Coach Dantonio has plenty to be concerned about as his team spotted the Hoosiers a 17-pt lead before waking up and then shutting out Indy 17-0 in the second half to go away victorious.  Note: MSU had the ball deep in Hoosier territory as they ran out the clock to end the game, maybe 38-27 is a bit more accurate.

ES said that Le'Veon Bell would have a tough time running, and sure enough had only 121 yards... and it took him 37 carries, good for a visibly-tough 3.3 yards per run.  And, the ES also predicted a big day out of Maxwell, who had 290 yards through the air.  Further, the ES figured on the Big Green stuffing the Hoosier running game -- for just 35 total yards on the ground.

What the ES didn't figure was the Michigan State passing defense, which fell asleep early, giving up three scoring drives totaling 215 yards in the first quarter.  And, four personal fouls including a roughing the punter call.  Just a very very dumb and out-of-sync MSU team.  BUT, Indiana can learn a thing here:  'tis better to be good in the 4th quarter than in the 1st quarter.

What does this spell?  Trouble, right here in River City, that's trouble with a capital T.   In every game, this Michigan State team sleep walks through the first 25-30 minutes.  They better wake up and get focused or otherwise will piss the season away.  The pass defense played like arse in the first half, but played well in the 4th quarter.    The potential loss via injury of Dion Sims at TE is huge - but it was nice to see Aaron Burbridge come of age with a huge game, 8 catches for 134 yards. He likely has stolen the starting spot from Tony Lippett.

Right now, the ES would say an 8-4 or 7-5 season is more likely... with difficult stints coming up vs Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, and Northwestern.  The way MSU has been playing, we'd be lucky to win a pair of those.  But, first things first... a crappy Iowa team comes to town.  Time to wake up.

MSU is favored by 10 over the Ugly Chickens -- The ES hain't confident the Spartans can score 10 against anyone. Purdue is favored by 1 hosting Wisconsin. Northwestern is favored by 3-1/2 at Minnesota. Michigan is favored by a whopping 21 at home over Illinois.  Ohio State is favored by 17-1/2 at Indiana.

The Spartans did themselves no favors in the polls with their lackluster performance at Bloomington.  They remain on the outside looking in. The AP poll is below; what IS interesting is that in the USA Today coaches poll, not a single Big Ten team is ranked... first time EVER. 

AP Top 25
1Alabama (60)5-01500
3South Carolina6-01359
5West Virginia5-01260
6Kansas State5-01217
7Notre Dame5-01176
8Ohio State6-01053
10Oregon State4-0873
12Florida State5-1800
19Mississippi State5-0450
22Texas A&M4-1153
23Louisiana Tech5-0129
24Boise State4-1114
  • Dropped from rankings: TCU 15, Nebraska 21, Washington 23, Northwestern 24, UCLA 25
  • Others receiving votes: Ohio 79, Baylor 62, Iowa State 54, TCU 50, Michigan State 49, Arizona State 39, Washington 39, North Carolina State 17, Nebraska 5, Arizona 4, Duke 3, Tennessee 3, Texas Tech 2, Tulsa 2, Penn State 1, Northwestern 1

Friday, October 05, 2012

ES Game Day Preview: MSU at Indiana

Michigan State Spartans (3-2/0-1) at Indiana Hoosiers (2-2/0-1)
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
Noon ET.  BTN.
Weather: 56 degress, partly cloudy
Sagarin Rankings: MSU #31, Indiana #89
Line:  MSU favored by14-1/2

Predictions: ESPN Blog Bennett MSU 28-13, Rittenberg MSU 34-20; CFN/Scout MSU 30-14; Freep Rexrode MSU 34-9, Sharp MSU 24-10, Seidel MSU 31-10; Indiana Daily Student MSU 35-10; Tom MSU 44-20, Brent MSU 37-10

ES sez:  Should be a yawner; the Hoosiers will put 8 in the box to stop Bell, and it still won't be enough.  I figure Bell may get 150 on 30 carries, but won't get 200 yards because of the Hoosiers schemeing... but Maxwell may throw for 350 -- even with poor Spartan receivers.   MSU defense should tee-off and have a field day with Indiana. Of note: Spartans are the only team in the nation to play three ranked teams among first five games.  Final prediction: MSU 38, Indiana 10. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Spartans drop out of Top 25, favored by 15 at Indiana

Well the Spartans certainly played far better on Saturday, despite being tripped up in a 17-16 tough loss to Ohio State.  Anytime you play the Buckeyes, you're in for a great game.  OSU's Braxton Miller is the real deal, he made it tough on a Spartan defense that held the Buckeye offense in check and out of the end zone for much of the game.

What cost MSU the game was Johnny Adams' blown coverage, giving up a 63-yard passing TD, and the defenses' inability to stop OSU and get the ball back in the final 4-minutes.  Give the Buckeyes credit, they earned the win in a game of two very different teams who were fairly evenly matched.  The biggest disappointment was the Spartan offensive line, which didn't find holes for LeVeon Bell and allowed Andrew Maxwell to be battered.   A VERY NICE SURPRISE to see the Spartan receivers finally catch the ball.  Yes, this team is improving, but it was a tough loss.

A note about the call by the refs that stopped MSU from scoring a wide open TD on the fumble recovery...  Well, we still could have scored the TD, if the offense had put it in the end zone; instead, we settled for a FG off that turnover.  Sure, the refs blew it, but MSU did have its chance to put score a TD anyways, and failed to do so.  You gotta take advantage of the turnovers and overcome adversity.  We didn't.

If MSU wants a nice bowl, or the Rose Bowl, it can't lose the rest of the year.  Improvements are still needed, particularly on the O-Line.

As for this upcoming week, the opening line out of Wynn Casino in Vegas has MSU as a 15-point favorite at Indiana. Indiana gave up - get this - 394 rushing yards to Northwestern.  The ES figures we can expect a real heavy dose of LeVeon Bell on Saturday. Penn State is favored by 4 at home over #24/#22 Northwestern. Wisconsin is favored by 14 at home over Illinois. Michigan is favored by 3 at Purdue. #12 Ohio State is favored at home by 4-1/2 over #21/#20 Nebraska.

And, predictably the Spartans fell out of the AP Top 25, but are on the door knocking to get back in.  The two losses -- to Notre Dame and to Ohio State -- were to quality opponents with the Spartans also beating Boise State.

AP Top 25
1Alabama (60)5-01500
3Florida State5-01349
6South Carolina5-01152
7Kansas State4-01123
8West Virginia4-01066
9Notre Dame4-01043
12Ohio State5-0793
14Oregon State3-0647
20Mississippi State4-0306
  • Dropped from rankings: Michigan State 20, Boise State 24, Baylor 25
  • Others receiving votes: Cincinnati 72, Boise State 53, Texas A&M 51, Michigan State 43, Texas Tech 39, Michigan 38, Louisiana Tech 37, Baylor 31, Ohio 30, Arizona State 15, Arizona 4, Miami (FL) 4, Iowa State 3, Tennessee 3

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Spartans' Bad Liver & Broken Heart

Check out the ES GameDay Preview, "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart" on the Huffington Post.

Beaumont Tower webcam

FYI - if you're interested in checking out campus during game day, link to the Beaumont Tower/North campus webcam

Friday, September 28, 2012

ES Game Day Preview: Buckeyes vs Spartans

#14 Ohio State Cheatin' Buckeyes (4-0) at #20 Michigan State Spartans (3-1)
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
3:30 pm ET.  ABC-TV
Weather: 65 degrees, sunny
Sagarin Rankings: OSU #21, MSU #24
Line:  MSU favored by 3

Predictions:  ESPN Blog Bennett: MSU 19-17, Rittenberg OSU 20-17;  CBSSports/Feldman: MSU 14-10; OSU 24-23; CFN/Scout: MSU 17-13; Staff Picks: MSU; Columbus Dispatch: OSU 21-17; Detroit Freep: Rexrode MSU 17-13, Sharp OSU 10-6, Seidel MSU 10-7; FanIQ: MSU 20-14. ESPN TV Holtz & May: OSU.

Full ES Preview is on the Huffington Post

The ES predicts the same rainbow over Spartan Stadium as last week vs Eastern Michigan (see below):  Receivers catch a few, enough to move the chains, for the first time this year.  Spartan Receivers 16, Buckeye’s Braxtons 10.