Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spartan football, Halloween, and a little Gladys Knight

Amazingly, I have taken the Michigan loss pretty much in stride. I didn't expect the Spartans to win going into the game, and they played better than I expected. It's really remarkable to think that it took a field goal on the last play of the game for Michigan to escape with a win.  The only down-side is that we as Spartan fans missed the pure enjoyment of watching the entire University of Michigan fan base spin out of control had the Wolverines missed that field goal and lost.  This could have been the most enjoyable week of schadenfreude in Michigan State history. Oh well, so it goes...

Call me a lunatic, but I don't think Michigan State is a bad team. They have been in every game this year and have lost three Big Ten games by a total of six points. The difference between winning and losing is slim, it often simply comes down to one or two plays. Unfortunately, MSU hasn't been able to execute the one or two plays that separate the winning team from the losing team. These were the plays that MSU  made in 2010 and 2011.

If I were to pinpoint the biggest disappointment for me thus far, beside the won-lost record, it's the lack of a go-to running back besides Le'Veon Bell. Bell is durable, tough, and dependable, but he doesn't have much speed. I thought that Nick Hill or Larry Caper could provide a little speed as well as a dependable complement to Bell, but that hasn't happened. Larry Caper has disappeared and I don't know know why, and Nick Hill hasn't brought much to the table this year.


Halloween is a nightmare for the Spartans.

In games played either on or less than a week before Halloween, Michigan State is 0-3 the last three seasons, and has lost five of the last six. I don't know if there is any significance to this statistic--probably not--but I find it interesting. Last year, I remember going out to a Halloween-themed store to look for a costume while MSU was playing like zombies against Nebraska. The year before, the Spartans went out to Iowa and I watched the final few minutes of a blowout loss to the Hawkeyes before heading out to a Halloween party.  In 2009, the Spartans lost a close game to Minnesota on Halloween night, when it appeared that the Gophers benefited from some home-cooking by the zebras.  One has to go back to 2008 for the last time MSU won a game the weekend before Halloween. The Spartans defeated Michigan, 35-21.

Unfortunately, the Spartans have to play in front of 80,000 plus red-clad Badger crazies in Madison, so realistically I don't see this trend changing today. (UPDATE: Wow, was I wrong!).


Between MSU's bummer of a football season and close losses to the likes of Notre Dame, Ohio State, Iowa, and Michigan; the Detroit Tigers' recent losses to San Francisco in the World Series; and the Detroit Lions' thus far lousy season, I feel emotionally spent this autumn. As a sports fan, I finally feel rather numb to defeat and I don't think I will be bothered by anything else bad, sports-wise, that happens the remainder of 2012. As Gladys Knight once sang, "You hurt me for the last time/Got no tears left to cry."

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