Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Michigan State 34, Penn State 10

Michigan State won a workmanlike, businesslike 34-10 game over Penn State on Saturday, putting the finishing touches on a 10-2 regular season (7-1 in the Big Ten).
In various circles, I've heard that somehow this football season is a "disappointment," but I don't see it that way at all. Reality often does not--and cannot--live up to expectations. And, really, didn't Michigan State end up in exactly the same place they started? The Spartans began the season ranked #8 in the AP poll and they finish the season ranked #8 in the AP poll, with an opportunity to move up if they win their yet-to-be-determined bowl game.
Michigan State could still, when the dust clears, end up as the highest ranked Big Ten team.
Certainly, the Oregon and Ohio State games did not end with the desired results. Oregon, though, may be the best team in the nation. Beating them in Eugene is no small task for anyone. Ohio State clearly had the Michigan State game earmarked since December 7, 2013 and played its best game of the season. So those are the two losses.
What should be encouraging, and maybe even thrilling, for MSU football fans is how the Spartans played in their other ten games--in particular the three game following the Ohio State game. MSU played those games with focus and determination. Granted, the competition that Maryland, Rutgers, and Penn State offered was not stellar, but MSU did exactly what they should have done and throttled all three. This isn't as easy to do as it appears on paper. 
These are glory years in Michigan State football the likes of which I have never seen in my lifetime. In the past, the pattern was an occasional good season that stood out like an oasis in a desert of mediocrity. Under Mark Dantonio, it's four 10+ win seasons in the last five years. For a geezer like me who remembers the bad old days, this is heaven on earth; and not making the college football playoff will not dampen my enthusiasm one iota.

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