Friday, November 24, 2023

ES Preview: Let's Get This Season Over in Detroit

Michigan State Spartans (4-6, 2-6) vs #11 Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2, 6-2)
November 24, 2023.  7:30 pm.
Ford Field, Detroit

Weather: it's in a dome doesn't matter.  Outside, it's 32 degrees and sunny.

Sagarin Ratings: Penn State #6, MSU #73
Line Outta Vegas: Nittany Lions by 23

Just waiting to anoint Jonathan Smith as our new coach. Thank God this season is coming to an end.   MSU, while playing better as of late, just isn't good enough to hang in with Penn State.  The Detroit Lions' Thanksgiving magic will rub off on the Spartans. 

ES sez:  Penn State 32, Michigan State 10. 
Cat says:  Penn State 34 - 7

Saturday, November 18, 2023

The Toilet Bowl: Michigan State at Little Pink Houses

The Toilet Bowl is being hosted in Indiana today at noon!  Tune in, or clean up!

Michigan State Spartans (3-7/1-6) at Indiana Hoosiers (3-7/1-6)
November 18, 2023.  12 noon.
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN

Weather: 50 and sunny

Sagarin Ratings: MSU #79, Indiana #86
Line outta Vegas: Mellencamp favored by 3.5

So, we welcome the Toilet Bowl.  Who is the worst team in the Big Ten?  Is it Indiana and their precursor to Kid Rock, John Cougar Mellencamp?  Or, is it Michigan State, which spent yesterday on the ice hockey surface in East Lansing beating #1 Wisconsin?  (ES was there, what a GREAT game).  By the way, MSU beat Indy's neighbor, Butler, by 20 on the hard court last night as well with its men's team.  Can MSU make it a trifecta with hockey, hoops. and football???  That's our only hope.

Who is worse on the gridiron? 

We should be focused on other things than football.  If you are one of 50,000 people to tune into the game on BTN, you're a solid alumni homer.  

This should be a game filled with errors on all sides of the ball. It will be like watching a volleyball game, and not a football game. 

ES sez: No Bowling Mark Cuban 19, No Bowling Magic Johnson 16

Saturday, November 11, 2023

ES Preview: Spartans at the Buckeyes

Michigan State Spartans (3-6, 1-5) at #1 Ohio State  (9-0, 6-0)
November 11, 2023.  7:30 pm ET.
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH

Weather: 42, clear skies.  No wind.

Sagarin Ratings: MSU #75, OSU #2
Line outta Vegas:  OSU by 31.5.  Yup, that's a 5+ TD favorite

We won!  Yup, the Spartoonies limited their turnovers vs Nebraska, collected some turnovers, and hung on late to win 20-17.  It is now officially NOT the worst season for MSU in 100 years.  Whew. 

Unfortunately, now we travel to face #1 Ohio State... in Columbus.  Gulp.

Not much to write about here - a complete and utter mismatch, and the Buckeyes should clean up.  It was hopeful that Rutgers (who MSU shoulda beat) hung on for some time last week against OSU... but that was in New Jersey.  In Ohio, with a struggling Spartan team facing the top team in the land.  MSU's defense is the lone bright spot this year.  But, ya gotta score.  The offense has been horrific.  MSU is playing better than earlier in the year... but against #1 OSU: this ain't Nebraska, Rutgers, or Minnesoter. This is a juggernaut. Not much chance in this one. Don't think I have ever in my life seen 98% on ESPN's matchup predictor... 

ES sez...  Ohio State 41, MSU 10. 

Saturday, November 04, 2023

ES Preview: MSU battles the Corn

Michigan State Spartans (2-6/0-5) host Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-3/3-2)
November 4, 2023.  12 Noon ET.  
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing.

Weather:  50 and cloudy.
TV:  FS1.

Sagarin Ratings: Nebraska #49, MSU #80
Line Outta Vegas: Corn by 3.5

First off, sorry about last week: the ES was out in Washington State helping out with some family issues.  Think that might be the first time the ES missed a game preview in the 22 years of existence.  I did watch the game in Port Angeles, WA, the day after my laptop was stolen.  Back in Michigan now, back on my feet. 

As for the game this week, there again doesn't seem to be much hope.  MSU is having its worst full season since 1982 under Muddy Waters (2-9, but the wins were in the Big Ten), or since 1917 under Chester Brewer (0-9).   MSU can change that narrative with one more win in the final four: the Corn, the Bucks, the Hoosiers, and the Lions.  It is an uphill climb for a team that is not very good. 

The problem with Nebraska today is the Corn have won three in a row: Purdon't, NW, Illini.  Momentum is on their side.  Yet, the Corn were beat down 45-7 by scUM, similar to MSU's drubbing.  Does that provide hope?

Nebraska and MSU both have decent defenses.  Both defenses are stout but make mistakes, and both offenses are offensive.  MSU's special teams have been a disaster with mistakes, despite the big legs of our kickers.  And, the coaching of Barnett & Co. is not situational and is instead reactionary, leading to mistakes in the 4th quarter.

The ES is gonna sit this one out and watch at home.  

Nebraska 17, MSU 13. 

Friday, October 27, 2023

The definition that is Arrogance in Ann Arbor:

 For your reading enjoyment... read below the image for the whole kit and kaboodle.  

A few years ago, I sat down with a former NCAA enforcement officer to compare notes now that their career in Indianapolis was over.

Exhausted by years of feckless bureaucracy, they summarized the job of enforcement in a way I’ve never forgotten: “We don’t catch the good cheaters. That’s basically impossible with the way it’s all set up. And most of them are pretty good at cheating. We catch the bad ones, the dumb ones, and it’s really hard to even do that.”

Michigan is going to get caught for stealing signs because it is incredibly, hilariously bad at cheating.

As of this writing, evidence of Michigan football’s overly telegraphed and woefully concealed national sign-stealing campaign is still trickling out: Connor Stalions, the Wolverines staffer accused of running the operation, apparently used the public setting on his Venmo account to pay a network of sideline recorders, a move rank-and-file drug dealers would scoff at. Stalions also reportedly purchased tickets to at least 12 other Big Ten schools on his own accounts, including Ohio State’s win over Penn State last weekend. Then there’s the video that appears to show Stalions standing next to Michigan’s defensive coordinator during the Ohio State game last year. Weird! My personal favorite anecdote (so far) is that a Tennessee message board captured the entire plot in action 10 months ago, but no one noticed or believed or cared.

NCAA probe began after firm obtained evidence from Michigan computers

Before we revel too much in college athletics’ most pretentious brand suffering this slapstick indignity, understand how silly and how widespread the actual crime is: Everyone — and I literally mean everyone in college football — steals signs. This is why it’s almost certain we won’t see an opposing coach condemn Michigan publicly.

Sign-stealing happens among players in live game action. It happens across the sideline between coaching staffs during games. And, yes, it happens during game-planning when opposing teams review game tape. Schools send each other their game footage as a sort of forced courtesy.

One time I bumped into a staffer in an elevator during a game, and he explained he was rushing from the press box to the sideline after charting the opposing team’s signs for a quarter. “Been stealin’ signals” was his actual quote. Then he asked how my kids were doing.

Despite the ubiquity of the practice (or maybe because of it), sign-stealing in football doesn’t create the kind of advantage it does in a sport such as baseball, as Colorado Coach Deion Sanders explained this week when he told reporters: “You could have someone’s whole game plan. They could mail it to you. You still got to stop it.” Sanders might be the most overexposed individual in the sport right now, but the former two-sport star is also the most qualified for this analysis.

It’s also important to note that college football could fix this tomorrow and catch up with the rest of the sport. The NCAA doesn’t allow certain in-game technology (such as helmet radios) that is commonplace at the high school and NFL levels.

Then there’s the matter of “getting caught” and what those ramifications will be, if any. At present, NCAA enforcement is a hapless shell. Since its amateurism business model suffered a death blow in the Supreme Court two years ago, enforcement has devolved from its already low bar into something even less. This is the same NCAA that actively avoided even trying to punish Baylor for covering up and obstructing investigations of systemic sexual assaults. Expecting some kind of takedown of this year’s Michigan team, which is on a path toward another College Football Playoff appearance at the least, is foolish. (One caveat: If more information surfaces pushing the scandal past the videotaping of sidelines, there’s potential for the Big Ten Conference office to get involved and levy its own immediate penalties.)

There’s a chance Coach Jim Harbaugh will face a charge of failing the Head Coach Responsibility Act, a blanket policy wherein the NCAA says anything that happens within a football program can be tied to the head coach as supervisor, but it’s common knowledge in the industry that Harbaugh is well-lawyered and perpetually on the cusp of an NFL return. Even if this “sticks,” it won’t significantly dent, let alone punish, anyone involved, except maybe Stalions, who has been suspended as the NCAA investigates.

So if the crime in question is commonplace and the cops sent to punish it are entirely Keystone, why is this a big deal? Why have so many in the industry, myself included, met this particular NCAA transgression with such mirth?

Because it’s Michigan. Because it’s Harbaugh. Because this is the single entity that has sworn, screamed and evangelized that everyone is cheating but them, that Michigan is not only the only one doing it the right way but the only one capable of it.

“It’s hard to beat the cheaters,” Harbaugh famously told Michigan hagiographer John U. Bacon. Bacon used the quote, in reference to Harbaugh’s opinion on recruiting in the SEC, as a chapter header in his hilariously titled “Overtime: Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines at the Crossroads of College Football.” I guess we figured out which way they crossed.

For decades, Michigan positioned itself against the cultural and economic changes in the sport, no matter how obvious or uncomfortable, as better-than. If Michigan was successful, it was setting the impossible model of competing with the Alabamas on the field and the Ivies in the classroom. But as the Bowl Championship Series era dawned in the late 1990s, the Wolverines became also-rans after making bad coaching hires both too outsider and too insider.

Rather than self-examine, Michigan’s sizable, moneyed fandom maintained that the success of programs such as archrival Ohio State and the heathen SEC was tainted by compromised morality and NCAA rule-breaking. While those programs hoisted trophies, Michigan boasted merit badges for a morality it alone defined. When you can stare directly at the widespread practice of millionaire coaching staffs breaking rules by dropping thousands of dollars to athletes living below the poverty line and cry foul because of the letter of the NCAA law, it’s evident your excess privilege has choked off the morality centers of your brain.

Then came Harbaugh, another native son but one with an unimpeachable résumé of elevating Stanford, a brutally tough academic school, into a dominant Power Five program. Like any master politician, Harbaugh knew where his base was starving and amped up the “cheaters” rhetoric both to explain away his early struggles and to justify the excessively slow pace the Wolverines took to returning to national prominence.

The problem is now that Michigan has been made great again — the Wolverines are arguably the best team in the nation entering this weekend — it can’t do the one thing Michigan has staked its entire identity on: claiming the moral high ground.

The exposure of Stalions’s hilariously overorganized sign-stealing campaign comes on the heels of Harbaugh serving a three-game suspension for NCAA violations during the coronavirus pandemic recruiting “dead period,” as well as refusing to cooperate with the NCAA during that investigation. During his absence, Michigan players held up four fingers on the field to … honor (?) Harbaugh in a gesture that made it seem as if their coach had died and not simply been pinched for run-of-the-mill recruiting no-nos. Following his return, Harbaugh publicly promised a new “gold standard” for Michigan compliance with NCAA bylaws, a public attempt to reinstate his piousness.

Well, that lasted a month.

The real and unavoidable punishment for the Wolverines is in progress and will play out in the coming weeks: the asterisk rivals and media alike will attempt to pin on a potential national title season. As of now, Michigan is in a frantic race between now and January to undo the morality value prop it has foisted on the sport for decades and, at least right now, it feels impossible it will escape the dreaded “Yeah, but” response that could haunt this team’s potential title forever.

If that happens, Michigan will serve out a worst-case scenario it itself defined: another big-time winner who did it the wrong way. That the Wolverines could experience the pinnacle of success without telling you how different or refined or apart from the chattel of this sport they are is a fate worse than losing to Ohio State.

It’s just sign-stealing, though. All the cheaters do it.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

ES Preview: Spartans host Cheating Jesus & his Walmart Wolverines

Prima Donna Jesus Harbaugh is the second coming for the Arrogant Nation in Ann Arbor

MSU Spartans (2-4, 0-3) host #2 Arrogant Arseholes (7-0, 4-0)
October 21, 2023.  7:30 pm.  
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing

TV: NBC/Peacock
Weather:  49 and rain.  Cold and miserable.

Sagarin Ratings: scUM #1, MSU #61
Line Outta Vegas:  scUM by 24.5

First off, if you think Jesus Harbaugh doesn't know anything about breaking NCAA rules by allowing his staff to spy on other teams, then you are higher than a kite and have so much kool-aid in you, that you can't think straight.  What makes it so stupid is that his team is far more talented and better: Harbaugh's actions defy logic and necessity.  Yo, coach: Put your team on the field without shenanigans, and they'll likely win -- by a landslide.  Your actions, Harbaugh, minimize who you are as a person and as a coach.  It makes you look really stupid. Didn't you learn anything about integrity from your visit to the Pope?  But, the scUM fan base doesn't care, a la the Fab Five - so long as you win, rules be damned.  The Walmart Wolverines are blind to the obvious and will always bow to the holy grail that is Harbaugh. 

Integrity on the left, the cheating liar on the right

Hey, at least we fired our coach, and forced our previous coach to retire.  Integrity.

Back to the game:  Michigan State's defense has played well the past two weeks, at Iowa and at Rutgers.  It's the Kim offense (Iowa) and the boneheaded special teams play (Rutgers) that has cost Spartans their games in the 4th quarters.  As for Michigan? They start slow but second halves are explosive: not sure what Harbaugh is serving up at halftimes, but it is working.  Maybe Harlan Barnett can take a hint. 

I'm banking on MSU hanging in there but folding, as usual, late in the game. The Spartans are the most mistake-prone college team in America. There's not much more to say, other than the last thing Harbaugh needed to do is to hire a dummy to go scout Rutgers and Michigan State mid-season.  Barring a complete Michigan collapse and a miracle from the Pope's boss, this is a foregone conclusion. 

ES sez:  Cheating Jesus 31, Fired Masturbator 10.  

Saturday, October 14, 2023

ES Preview: Spartans at Birthplace of Football

Michigan State Spartans (2-3, 0-2) at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-2, 1-2) 
October 14, 2023.  Noon ET.
SHI Stadium, Piscataway, NJ

Weather:  52, RAIN, RAIN, RAIN all game long

Sagarin Ratings: Rutgers #51, MSU #65
Line Outta Vegas:  Rutgers by 4.5 

Let it rain, rain, rain.  ES remembers going to see MSU beat Rutgers about a decade ago, with the RU players touching the statue of the birthplace of college football as they entered the stadium.  Really liked Rutgers, the city next to campus; we hung out with Connor Cook's family at a tailgate before the game.  RU is an underrated Big Ten town.  

That said, this is a game of defenses, and pathetic offenses.  Actually, MSU has shown it can move the ball between the 20s, only to make mistake after mistake after mistake on offense - particularly from QB Noah Kim.  Kim will be benched for Hauser (thank God!) just because he is too much of a liability.  Time to start anew.  If MSU can get its running game going in the rain, it can keep the time of possession and turn it into an ugly slugfest.  RU held Michigan to 31 points, beat a bad Northwestern squad, and lost to a bad Wisconsin team.  RU can run, but MSU has done well stopping the run this season.  Rutgers has zero passing game.  The statistical advantage is to MSU on offense and RU on defense -> except for the turnovers, of which the Spartans are next to last in the NCAA.  Interestingly enough, MSU's QB Noah Kim is (gulp) 95th in the country in Passing Efficiency (119.0 rating) which is TERRIBLE.  Rutgers' QB Gavin Wimsatt is WORSE at 98th in the country with a 117.4 rating.  But, MSU played well at Iowa except for the damned turnovers, outgaining Iowa by 150 total yards.  Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers gotta stop. They will be reduced today. 

This has the makings of a game that can set football back 70 years.   

Here's the statistical breakdown after 5/6 games, per game averages except for turnover totals. 



Total Yards



Yards Passing



Yards Rushing



Yards Allowed



Pass Yards Allowed



Rush Yards Allowed



Turnover Margin




J - MSU Breakout, Spartans 35-31
Big Bob:  Rutgers 27-14, with Doogie Houser getting first start
Cat: MSU 14-13
Keith:  Rutgers 31-24

ES Sez:  MSU 20-18

Friday, October 06, 2023

New MSU coach? Jonathan Smith from Oregon State

Maybe the next coach of Michigan State?
Oregon State's Jonathan Smith brings no baggage and WINS

The ES is fed up with all the "Urban Meyer for coach" crap.  Meyer hired an individual who beat his wife, was involved in a lap dance, and also in recruiting violations.  Many in the Spartan Nation are asking, "why don't you just want a winner, he is guaranteed."  Meyer is not guaranteed.  He would never offer a guarantee to MSU, so there is no guarantee. People, show me ONE STUDY that shows paying more for a coach equates to more wins.  

I thought so. There is no study. Why?  Because football is a zero-sum game: one team wins, another team loses.  So, the chances of winning is gambling with good money.

To MSU Trustees: Don't spend so much money on a coach without any guarantee of victory!  To his credit, even UM coach Harbaugh cut his contract in half before he could prove his teams could succeed to the promised land, aka CFP. 

As my friend Paul from Australia said - and he and I graduated back in 1990/91: "I don't know enough about college fb to speak intelligently. I would settle for a decent human being."

What a brillant quote.  A decent human being. OK, so let's check Urban Meyer off our list. 

Let's be fair: the last three hires from MSU were unexpected:  John L Smith from Louisville, Mark Dantonio from Cincy, and Mel Tucker from Colorado.  I expect the same: a name noone is talking about.

I give you: Jonathan Smith, of Oregon State.  Personally, if I was coach at Oregon State in Corvallis, I would never leave.  It is the most beautiful campus in America.  I want to die in Corvallis, or Cannon Beach, or anywhere on the Oregon Coast.  That said, Smith is young.  His team is ranked #15 at 4-1, and last year was 10-3.  The year before, 7-6. But he has some impressive wins on his resume: #10 Utah last week, a 30-3 shellacking of SEC Florida in the Vegas Bowl, win over Oregon last year, won at USC in 2021... he has a strong resume.  And, he has no problems. 

I think this is our guy: Jonathan Smith.  My contract deal: Offer him maybe $1M up front, then $750K  per win. The more he wins, the more he makes.  Purely an incentive-based contract.   Take it or leave it.  But this is his chance, and our chance. 

Thoughts?  Go GREEN. 

Saturday, September 30, 2023

ES Game Day: Spartans travel to Ugly Chickens

Michigan State Spartans (2-2, 0-1) at Iowa Ugly Chickens (3-1, 0-1)
Iowa City, IA.  Kinnick Stadium
September 30, 2023.  7:30 ET.

Weather:  Hot, 83 and sunny.
TV: NBC/Peacock

Sagarin Ratings:  Iowa #31, MSU #63
Line Outta Vegas:  Iowa favored by 10.5

The ES is busy this weekend camping up north in beautiful Michigan, gonna watch the game in and around Mackinac Island.  Need power and wifi.  Help!

But, the ES might not be missing much. This is a matchup of defenses vs woeful offenses.  Iowa will double up the score on MSU, but it won't be pretty.  This game should set college football back at least 50 years. 

ES sez:  Iowa 18, MSU 9.  

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:


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


#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. 


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. 



Total Yards



Yards Passing



Yards Rushing



Yards Allowed



Pass Yards Allowed



Rush Yards Allowed



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. 


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


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

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

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.