Only nine days until MSU's first football game of 2012, and I'm steeling myself for another four-month adventure ride. With new faces at receiver and a brand-new quarterback, there are some unknowns with this team, and I really don't know what to expect. Boise State should give the Spartans a good test in the opener, and I would not be shocked if the Broncos stole a victory here. I don't necessarily expect Boise State to win, but they will arrive in East Lansing with no fear whatsoever. Heck, look at their track record: since Chris Petersen became coach, Boise State has the obscene record of 73-6. In the last four seasons, the Broncos are 51-2! Sure, they lost some significant contributors from last year's team, including starting QB Kellen Moore, but something tells me they have plenty of guys who are just pining to get on the field. This game will not be easy for Michigan State.
Here's a little potpourri of MSU sports-related topics that I've been mulling over for the last few weeks:
Joe Rexrode, the excellent sportswriter for the Lansing State Journal, has left the LSJ for the Detroit Free Press. I'm not surprised to see this guy's career advance. He's one of those writers whose skills transcend mere sports writing, and it was only a matter of time before his career advanced beyond Lansing. I've long appreciated his wit, intelligence, work ethic, and great writing, and he should bring a welcome Green-and-White presence to the Freep.
Speaking of good local sportswriters, Jack Ebling's book Heart of a Spartan is officially out, and I'd love to pick up a copy (and I'm sure I eventually will buy one), but I just can't afford the 50 buck price tag right now. It's just gonna have to wait awhile.
I still haven't been on the MSU campus to see the enormous new Spartan Stadium scoreboards, but I've heard they are impressive. My only concern--and it's a lame, splitting-hairs concern--is that, from photos I've seen, the north end zone scoreboard looks "tacked on" the stadium, with the scoreboard supports resembling scaffolding that was left there and never removed. So my concern is merely cosmetic. I hope that the scoreboard supports will be fully integrated into the Spartan Stadium architecture. (Go ahead and roll your eyes all you want!).
Some time ago, probably during the 2011 football season, I wrote about how I planned on finding and posting my own, literal, treasures (or perhaps, more accurately, garbage) from my personal "Spartan attic." Well, a few months ago while going through some old papers, I found just the ticket. I admit that I am an inveterate packrat, and I have saved notebooks from as far back as my MSU student days in the late '80s and early '90s. In an English 101 notebook from my freshman year in '86, I found a silly little essay I wrote for my own amusement called "A Sappy Ode to Spartandom", and it was written shortly after the MSU football game lost a heartbreaking game to Iowa--a game I attended. So, here it is...
"A Sappy Ode to Spartandom" (written in October 1986)
I thought we were going to win. I honestly thought we were going to win. State had the ball first and goal at the Iowa 3 and there wasn't any doubt in the minds of anyone in the stadium that we were going to run it up the middle for an easy six and win the game. But did this happen? Of course not. What happens? [Dave] Yarema drops back and throws the ball in the end zone for an interception and we lose.
It's games like the one I just described which test the endurance of long-suffering Michigan State fans like myself. Sometimes I even wonder why I didn't go to a school with a better football team, like that snob school down in Ann Arbor. Luckily, I always come to my senses and remember that Michigan State is the best school in the world.
Michigan State and Michigan State sports have always been a part of my life, so much so that if anyone ways something bad about either one, I take it as a personal insult. Both of my parents graduated from State, so I can remember watching the Spartans on television or listening to them on the radio all of my life. I can still remember the 1974 Michigan State-Ohio State football game in which the Spartans upset the favored Buckeyes. Levi Jackson ran the ball 83 [sic] yards from scrimmage for the winning touchdown. After the game, I knew where I was going to college.
I love Michigan State. Sure, as a Michigan State fan, I always have to hear about how much better the University of Michigan is. However, I never let these comments bother me. There is no school I'd rather go to, and that includes any Ivy League school or Its Royal Highness, the University of Michigan. Whenever I walk home from Berkey Hall after my English class and see the architecture and ivy on the old buildings and Beaumont Tower rising in its infinite majesty, I start playing the fight song in my mind and thank God that I'm a Spartan forever.
And on that note, I will sign off for now. I'm headed up to the Upper Peninsula for a five-day camping vacation, but will try and post one more time before the Boise State game.