Saturday, February 6, 2016

Spartans/Wolverines basketball pre-game post

Another Michigan State/Michigan tilt is upon us, so I thought I'd take a few minutes to discuss it before tackling the task of cleaning the dirty cat boxes in the basement.

As usual, I face today's game with a degree of nervousness and trepidation. Though I think the Spartans should win, the game is in Ann Arbor and the Michigan basketball team is about as unpredictable as they come--if their shots fall, they are dangerous, but if they don't, disaster frequently follows. Some point to the Wolverines' drubbing at the hands of Indiana as an indication that the Wolvies are trending downward. Maybe. But I have a hard time believing that they will play that poorly in consecutive games--and this being a rivalry game, I fully expect Michigan to play extremely hard. But I also expect the Spartans to bring the ever-present chip on the shoulder. MSU has three senior leaders in Valentine, Costello, and Forbes who do not want to lose in what could be their final game against Michigan. So, for whatever my predictions are worth (since I'm a shameless homer), I'll pick MSU to win this one in a relatively close game, 82-75.


While on the subject of Michigan (a topic that never goes away), I should take the opportunity to clarify what I wrote about Michigan's recruiting event at Hill Auditorium. It's truly great that it raised so much money for the Chad Tough fund to fight cancer, and it's probably unfair of me to come down so hard on Jim Harbaugh. He has to be given credit for creating such a novel idea that was pulled off so successfully. It's exactly the sort of event that Mark Hollis has frequently devised here at Michigan State. Though I'm not always on board with every Hollis creation, I am generally more charitable towards him than I was towards Harbaugh. It was a stroke of genius to create an event that both loudly and extravagantly promoted the Michigan football program while also raising six figures for cancer research. Though I must admit I still view the whole affair with a bit of cynicism, kudos to Michigan for its generosity.

That was a rare moment of conciliation offered to the University of Michigan. I may be getting a little soft in my old age (though if you saw my back-and-forth with Michigan fans after signing day and after the Spartans' 3-2 win over Michigan in last night's hockey game, you might not think that's the case).

Now, before I get too warm and fuzzy with Michigan, it has to be said that lately they excel everywhere EXCEPT on the field. There is a constant bellowing bluster coming out of Ann Arbor about September Heismans, August Big Ten Champions, and Recruiting National Titles. I'm still waiting for any of this hot air to translate into results on the playing field.

Off to get to those cat boxes now. I may or may not get back to this blog after today's basketball game, depending on what mood I'm in.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

It was national signing day, and I don't care that much...but that shindig in Ann Arbor sure got some attention

College football's national signing day was today.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned it in this blog before, but I really don't care that much about national signing day. In fact, I don't pay all that much attention to recruiting in general. In that, I may be in the minority among fans of collegiate athletics.

With the dog and pony show in Ann Arbor, though, it was difficult to ignore. That, and the constant updates I kept getting on my phone about various recruits making their decisions.

I got in trouble with a Michigan fan on Facebook for referring to Michigan's recruiting hootenanny at Hill Auditorium as a "dog and pony show," but I stand by it. This particular Michigan fan called me "classless" because this Wolverine shindig raised a large sum of money towards cancer research.

It's all well and good that the all the fat wads of money the U of M faithful paid to see Tom Brady, Ric Flair, Lou Holtz (etc.) went to charity, but one has to be incredibly naive to believe this was solely about philanthropy and nothing else. If Jim Harbaugh hadn't already cultivated an image of huckster and shameless self-promoter who will stop at nothing to get attention, I'd think otherwise. The cynic in me believes the "charity" aspect of today's event was attached mainly to make it more palatable to the public, and not appear solely be a brazen attempt to hype the Michigan football program.