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. 

Friday, September 01, 2023

Enlightened Spartan 2023 Preview

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


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


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


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


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


Jesus, look at our kicker: Jonathan Kim. Transfer out of UNC.  Dunno.  And look at our punter.  He looks like he is about 10 years old.  Urgh.


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Other prognosticators for the season:


Sloth (Pittsburgh, PA): 


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


Big Bob (Kalamazoo):


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


Australian Paul:



Will be pronounced the greatest team to ever wear shoes.

You're welcome


Doc (Lansing, MI):


Tuck came

Tuck saw

Tuck conquered

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

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

Legend Dairy.

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

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

So good, Spartan games will be on Monday Night.


Uncle Denny (Florida):  5-7.  


Cat (Lansing, MI):  6-6.