Saturday, November 8, 2008

Happy Senior Day! (Michigan State 21, Purdue 7)

The Spartans knocked off Purdue today in what was not a pretty game, but as the expression goes: I'd rather win ugly than lose pretty.

Here are some random thoughts about today's game and MSU football in general:

Is Michigan State a great team? No. Are they a good team? Most definitely. Are they a very good team? If the definition of a "very good" team is one that never gives up, always plays hard, makes the big play, and gets the most out of its talent, then the answer is certainly "yes." Depending on how the Penn State game goes, and how the Spartans play in their bowl game, it's still possible that they could be remembered as a great team, but I'm not too concerned about that. I want to just appreciate what this team has already accomplished this year.

Let's put this season into perspective. Two years ago, in John L. Smith's last (brutal) season as coach, the team completely imploded after the awful loss to Notre Dame. With the possible exception of Bobby Williams' awful 2002 season, the 2006 season was about as dark and dismal as it's been for Spartan football, and we're talking about a program that has had LOTS of peaks and valleys. In only two years, Mark Dantonio has taken this program and completely changed the attitude and culture from top to bottom. One can argue all they want that the Big Ten is down, and perhaps they're right, but that still doesn't change the fact that Michigan State has played with a desire, toughness, attitude, mental discipline, and flat-out consistency that we as Spartan fans have not seen since at least Nick Saban's 1999 squad. I'm as encouraged by this development as I have ever been in my 31 years of following this program. I'm amazed that in Dantonio's second year as head coach, we are uttering the words "Spartan football" and "Big Ten title contenders" in the same breath.

I continue to be flabbergasted by the Detroit media's hostility towards MSU's football season. Not every Detroit sports journalist has been nasty, but some (like the Free Press' perpetually negative Drew Sharp) continue to pooh-pooh MSU football every single week. I know that I shouldn't care what these people write, but it's still extremely annoying. I don't expect the media to be cheerleaders for any program, but a little positive spin once in a while wouldn't be asking too much.

Having just ripped on the Detroit media, I'd like to thank the Free Press' Michael Rosenberg for his classy article about the Spartans. For anyone interested, here's the link:

Back to the game: Purdue's offense looked AWFUL! Maybe that was just as a result of Pat Narduzzi having a great game plan against the spread (and MSU's defense playing really well--too bad they couldn't hang on to the shutout) but I couldn't believe this was the same Boilermaker team that tagged Michigan for 48 points and over 500 yards total offense. It further proves how wacky college football, and the Big Ten in particular, can be and how each game needs to be judged independently.

Johnny Adams' interception for a touchdown late in the second half was a HUGE play. One of the defining characteristics of this team is their uncanny ability to make big plays when they need them the most.

The bye week is coming at a great time for Michigan State. They sorely need it (pun intended). They're banged up and need rest before the Penn State game. Win or lose in Happy Valley, it's been a great season for Spartan football. Let's not forget how much they've exceeded our expectations.
College football is still the greatest sport in the world. Today saw Iowa upset Penn State on a last second field goal, and Alabama beat LSU in overtime in a thriller in Baton Rouge. I had the good fortune of listening to the LSU radio broadcast on my car radio as the Tigers blocked 'Bama's game-winning field goal try in regulation. Those guys were going completely bonkers--unfortunate for them that LSU couldn't win it in OT.

I'm keeping tabs on the Cal/USC game. I'd love it if Cal beat the Trojans (however as I write this, USC has a 10-3 lead deep into the second quarter).
That's all for now, I'm going to go back to watching "iCarly Goes to Japan" with my son!

Postscript: Texas Tech looks like the best team in college football. That offense is absolutely amazing and if I could vote for the Heisman, I'd go with their quarterback Graham Harrell. (Having just written that, watch them lose next week! That's what happens when I make statements like that).

No comments:

Post a Comment