Saturday, November 7, 2015

Just the usual pre-game neurosis

I know Nebraska is only 3-6, but they make me nervous: proud football program with lots of history and tradition, night game in Lincoln, crazy Husker fans. It'll be a tough environment for the Spartans. Getting out of there with a win will be a bigger accomplishment than what they'll probably be given credit for...if they do indeed escape with a victory.

I've gone through my pre-game rituals, which include walking past a building on North Washington Avenue in Lansing which I have, for reasons I can't remember, decided is a "lucky place" that I need to walk by before any big game. I've also completed my traditional pre-game 5 kilometer run through the neighborhood, which I've decided is lucky AND relaxes me before kickoff.

Now, my rational and logical self says that none of this means a hill of beans and has absolutely no impact on the game...but if I didn't do it, I'd feel empty and negligent.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Back to the grind

I've meant to write on this blog earlier, but never got around to it; however, seeing as hardly anybody besides me reads it anyway, it hardly matters.

I enjoyed the MSU football team's off-week. It really couldn't have been timed better: not only was it a great time for the team to heal and get some important players back, but it gave yours truly time to focus on Halloween and catch my breath before the home stretch in November.

Even fans need a breather during the season.

We get back into the grind this Saturday, when the Spartans travel to Lincoln to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Huskers lost last week to lowly Purdue, but they remain a team that can't be taken lightly. Tommy Armstrong--who, at the Big Ten meetings before the season, declared his desire to beat MSU--is back at quarterback. He may still be ailing from turf toe, but I've no doubt he'll bring everything he has on Saturday. To make this game even more dangerous, it's at night and Nebraska is fighting for its postseason life. One more loss and they will not be eligible for a bowl game.

All this said, the Spartans should find a way to win this one. After four consecutive tough games with Nebraska, MSU will not take them lightly--I'm sure of this. I look for the Huskers to hang with the Spartans for about the first three quarters with the Green-and-White pulling away in the fourth quarter. I predict a final score of 38-24.


On Tuesday night, the first college football playoff rankings were released. Michigan State is seventh. I know that many MSU fans are upset about this, but I've neither surprised nor do I care. The bottom line is that the Spartans need to win out to make the playoff. That's all it comes down to. A road win over a wounded (but still dangerous) Nebraska should count some;  a romp over Maryland at home is expected and won't help MSU's resume; but clearly a victory over Ohio State on November 21 will catapult the Spartans into the top four. Then the Spartans will need to beat an improved Penn State on Senior Day in East Lansing and beat whoever the opponent is in the Big Ten title game (probably Iowa). MSU can't afford to stumble at all in its remaining games because there is no way the committee will vote more than one Big Ten team into the playoff, least of all a team like Michigan State with little name recognition.


The Drive with Jack Ebling had former MSU quarterback Bobby McAllister as a guest yesterday. They talked a little about the 1987 Ohio State game in Columbus (a 13-7 MSU victory). That got me to google "Michigan State Ohio State 1987" and, quite miraculously, I discovered that BTN2GO has the game in its archives. I haven't seen the game since it was played in 1987, when I and some college friends wrapped tin foil around TV antennas in order to improve our poor dorm room television reception. About all I remember is that the game was a defensive struggle and a true nail-biter. It was MSU's last major obstacle of the Big Ten season as they marched to the conference title and a Rose Bowl win. I plan on giving a report in this blog after viewing the game for the first time in 28 years.