Saturday, December 13, 2014

Catching up with Spartan (and Big Ten) football

I've been unintentionally silent for the last week. Since I last wrote in here, a lot has happened in the Big Ten.
Ohio State parlayed its 59-0 blowout of Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game into a spot in the four team national championship playoff. The Buckeyes will play Alabama and, in this case, I'd love for the Big Ten to knock the SEC down a few pegs, so I'll be rooting for the Bucks.
Gary Andersen is out as Wisconsin coach and it's hard to make any sense of it. Was the fallout from the Ohio State shellacking so embarrassing that perhaps the Godfather (aka Barry Alvarez) gave Andersen an "offer he couldn't refuse"? Or was it simply that Andersen was homesick for the west coast? I don't know if the truth will ever be known.
Last, but certainly not least, the Spartans take on the jilted Baylor Bears in the (corporate name) Cotton Bowl. I have no idea what to expect from Baylor, a team that can certainly light up the scoreboard. Will Baylor come out angry about being left out of the playoff and take out its anger on MSU? Or will Baylor be flat and disinterested?
These are the same questions I asked four years ago when MSU was about to tangle with Alabama in the Capitol One Bowl. In a game that I have tried hard to forget ever took place, the Tide rolled all over the Spartans, 49-7...and it could have been worse. All questions about whether Alabama would be motivated were emphatically answered.
The 2014 MSU team is more talented and has more big game experience than the 2010 team, so I'd be shocked if there was a repeat of the Alabama massacre, but the Spartans should go into this game expecting a focused and hungry Baylor team--one that is determined to prove it belonged in the playoff.

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