Saturday, January 3, 2015

Processing the New Year's Day Miracle

I've had a few days now to process what transpired on January 1, though I am still impatiently waiting for either ESPN or BTN to replay MSU's miraculous Cotton Bowl comeback victory.

Where to start?

It's incredible to consider that the two teams playing for the national championship, Ohio State and Oregon, are the only two teams that beat Michigan State in 2014.

I'm happy for the Big Ten Conference. For at least this year, the conference has acquitted itself well in the bowl season and shaken the critics off its back. New Year's Day was especially sweet with Wisconsin defeating Auburn in overtime, Michigan State shocking Baylor, and Ohio State playing a great second half and soundly defeating Alabama.

Another wonderful aspect of those victories, and in particular MSU's win? The Jim "The Messiah" Harbaugh love-fest was knocked off the front pages for the first time in weeks, and people were reminded that football is still played at Michigan State.

Mark Dantonio and Michigan State also made a statement that this program isn't going anywhere. This was a huge win over a Baylor team that for weeks had complained that it belonged in the college football playoff, and is a legitimate top 5 team. The Bears have the best vertical passing game I've seen in I don't know how long (at least since the Spartans played Oregon earlier in the season--and as everyone knows, the Ducks are now playing for a national championship).

It was a win in a hostile environment that was, for all intents and purposes, a Baylor home game. Perhaps the fashion in which MSU won wasn't pretty, but the Spartans took advantage of every opportunity that Baylor threw its way in the fourth quarter. That's all one can ask a team to do. For as poorly as MSU played in the first three quarters (actually, the first quarter wasn't bad--the 2nd and 3rd were ugly), they figured it out when it mattered the most, and Pat Narduzzi decided to "unleash the hounds" in the final quarter. Probably feeling desperation and acknowledging that the defensive scheme of the first three quarters was a failure, Nardawg had the defense blitz on practically every play in the fourth quarter and it paid off.

So now I must eventually find the time to go out and find some Cotton Bowl merch. I tend to wait until a bowl game has been played and the result known before I spend any money on clothing or other paraphernalia. The one exception was last year when I bought two Rose Bowl shirts: one before January 1 and another after January 1.

One thing I know for certain: when the Cotton Bowl dvd/blu-ray combo pack is released (and I've already seen listings for it) I will be one of the first people to snag a copy. I will add it to my MSU sports dvd collection which now includes: the 1966 MSU/ND football game, the MSU basketball documentary that BTN produced five years ago, the 1979 NCAA basketball championship, the 2000 NCAA basketball championship, and last year's Rose Bowl. (Sorry to get all "Rain Man" on you there. Sometimes I can't help myself).

Well, I'm signing off for now. I'll be back later, whether you like it or not, with more musings.

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