This is the second time this morning I’m typing this, the first time I typed it was on the WordPress app for the iPhone while walking my dog dressed in Notre Dame garb. I lost that version when I tried to upload a photo, so let’s try again. This time at the computer drinking my morning coffee from “My Play like a Champion Today” mug.
I would not want to be any team going into Notre Dame Stadium this afternoon, because Notre Dame is going to make a statement today that they should be regarded as serious contenders for the BCS. It doesn’t matter who this afternoons opponent, the Irish are going to came at them with such a relentless and aggressive attack that Michigan State will not know what hit them.
Brian Kelly will not let up on the throttle this afternoon as the Irish will unleash two weeks of frustration upon the Spartans this afternoon in South Bend. Picture the Michigan without the turnovers run in a huddle spread offense from the start of the game; that’s what I expect to see.
I know the last three meetings have been decided by three points or less and two of those games went into overtime, who cares? The Irish will be out to destroy Michigan State today.
Prediciton: ND 44 – MSU 17
The 2010 play of the year was affectionately known as “Little Giants” and it couldn’t have been more beautiful for Spartan fans. That play simultaneously propelled Michigan State to an 11-1 regular season and a B1G championship while crushing the spirit and ruining the season of the Fighting Irish. The fact that State’s Coach Mark Dantonio had a heart attack shortly after the call is testament to how taxing and ballsy that decision was.
But more than anything, the play exemplified the dominance Michigan State (2-0) has had over Notre Dame (0-2) over the better part of the last two decades regardless of circumstance, talent, coaching or even home field advantage. Since 1997, State has taken 10 of 14 from the Irish, including six out of the last seven in South Bend, of which I was lucky enough to witness two in person.
Notre Dame comes into the game nursing substantial wounds from yet another devastating loss, this time to arch-rival Michigan, in what will go down as one of the greatest (well, let’s say most exciting) games in college football history. “Under the Lights” at Michigan Stadium for the first time ever, a superior ND squad managed to piss away a 24-7 fourth quarter lead that included two separate leads in the last two minutes. The loss turned Coach Brian Kelly’s head a frightening color of purple and sent the Irish home 0-2.
MSU, on the other hand, comes in 2-0 after dominating performances with a combined score of 72-6. While Youngstown State and Florida Atlantic are admittedly subpar opponents, the Spartans are riding a wave of confidence nonetheless and certainly are not intimidated by the spectre of playing in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus tomorrow.
It seems the Green & White simply has the Golden Domers’ number and there’s little to suggest that will change this year as State will walk away with yet another Megaphone Trophy.
Michigan State is yet another of the latest schools to let their equipment company convince them to make themselves look like a ridiculous On Any Given Sunday fake football team, unleashing this horrendous creation on the world today.
Not to be outdone by Under Armor (Maryland) or Adidas (Michigan, Notre Dame), Nike persuaded State to join their other schools including Oregon, Ohio State, Army, Navy, Georgia LSU and Stanford in the latest round of their Pro Combat Series. Their attempt to redefine the look of college football really only succeeds in creating a social media frenzy for a few weeks (damn I’m falling for it!) and sells some novelty jerseys no one would be caught dead in in a few years. Maybe it’ll generate some buzz about each of the programs involved, but it’s hard to believe a one-off uniform will help recruiting in the longrun, as I’m sure Nike has promised school administrators.
But when it comes down to it, who really cares about a uniform the team is only going to wear for one day? The Michigan and Notre Dame unis didn’t spoil the taste of my beer on Saturday night and they actually grew on me after awhile. I just wish the Spartan version actually looked like a Michigan State uniform. The bronze, while historically accurate, comes out of left field from the proud Green & White and resembles the uniforms of mediocre football traditions of UAB or Baylor. I think silver would’ve been a better choice—check it out (thank you PhotoShop):
I’ve been going to one Notre Dame game a year with my Dad for the last 32 years, so I’ve seen the National Championship team play, as well as the team that should have won the National Championship but got screwed in 1992. I was even at the Boston College game in 1992 when Notre Dame lost on a 49-yard field goal as time expired to a kicker who couldn’t kick a field goal for more than 35-yards in warm-ups. The National Championship went to Florida State, even though Florida State had lost to Notre Dame that season. Still makes no sense to me, but can’t got back in time. Needless to say, I have a lot invested in the Irish, so when they lost to Michigan again all I could do was shake my head in disgust and turn my thoughts elsewhere. I wasn’t even mad about because I kind of expected it.
When ND kept turning the ball over I felt even though the score read 24-7 that Michigan would stage a comeback. If can’t limit your mistakes you can’t win games. I was at the ND/Michigan in 2010 when the same thing happened. ND came back and took a late lead only to let Michigan score with very little time left on the clock. It was a great game, but totally deflating. When it happened again this year I wasn’t surprised or disappointed, I looked at the TV and muttered, “what new?”
The only new thing at Notre Dame since Brian Kelly took over is more gut-wrenching losses because the Irish have a good, competitive team, so they always lose by small margins. Falling to 0-2 has dashed BCS hopes, but they can still salvage the season starting with a win over Michigan State this weekend. I hope they rip off their heads and shit down the Spartans’ necks. I’m tired of losing close games let’s win some!
So we roll into the first Sunday of the NFL season, and I’m excited about the Cowboys chances this season. They got off to a great start against the New York Jets, but again turnovers cost them the game. I’m not sure which one was more crucial, Tony Romo’s fumble at the goal line or his interception that put the Jets in field goal range to win it. I’m going to go with the fumble, because if Romo holds onto the ball the Cowboys get at least a field goal, and may not have lost the game. Despite losing 27-24 the defense played well, keeping the Jets running game in check while mixing up looks to confuse Mark Sanchez.
The Cowboys excite me more than Notre Dame at the moment because they had an energy and swagger they had not exhibited in the last few seasons under Wade Philips. Part of it was the offense feeding off the dynamic play of the defense run by Rob Ryan. They held the Jets, a running team, to 45 yards rushing and 315 yards passing. The stifling run defense forced the Jets to pass more. Even the mighty Bears defense allowed 110 rushing yards on Sunday, but they won their game.
Tony Romo cruised along playing flawlessly until the 4th quarter, but seeing Romo run an offense that called all the right plays against the last years best defense in the NFL was fun to watch. Romo, forced nothing until the pass in the 4th quarter, which was totally unnecessary. He seems to have returned to form, which is a good sign for the Cowboys because they have a defense that is a game changer.
The fact that the Cowboys’ defense at one point had back-ups entirely playing in the secondary, and still kept a good Jets’ receiving corp. in check speaks volumes about Ryan’s defense.
I’ll stick with my prediction that the Cowboys will win the division and go 11-5, and let’s just say I’m happy I never finished up my college predictions because it would not be good right now.
In regards to the rest of the NFL, I’m 9 out of 14 against the spread this week in one confidence pool, but only 8 out of 14 straight up (Cowboys cost me.) I went with the Pats and Raiders this evening. Not a bad first week, especially if both teams win tonight.
For the first time in 4 weeks, not much changed at the top of the rankings. Oregon was impressive again, this time in a hostile LA Coliseum, putting 53 on the board against an overlooked but tough USC team. Auburn was equally impressive knocking off Ole Miss 51-31. The main shake ups came with the real Michigan State finally rearing it’s ugly head and Missouri’s defense proving useless against Nebraska RB, Roy Helu Jr. who rushed for a school record 307 yards. Both teams showed, once again, neither are ready to make that next leap into the realm of the elite in college football.
1. Oregon (8-0)
2. Auburn (9-0)
3. TCU (9-0)
4. Boise State (7-0)
5. Alabama (7-1)
6. Wisconsin (7-1)
7. Utah (8-0)
8. Ohio State (8-1)
9. Nebraska (7-1)
10. Michigan State (8-1)
For the fist time since 1960, three consensus #1 teams have fallen in consecutive weeks (while The Earhole has had Oregon ranked #1 all along) after Mizzou knocked off Oklahoma, 36-27 Saturday night. Oregon decimated a decent UCLA team, 60-13, thus cementing themselves into the #1 slot in every pole. But don’t be shocked if the #1 curse continues next week as the Ducks have to travel to Southern Cal to take on an overlooked Trojan team. USC has quietly put together the #7 offense in the county and will prove to be a dangerous test for the Ducks. If Oregon does fall, it will mark yet another step taken on Michigan State’s path to a National Championship outlined here last week.
1. Oregon (7-0)
2. Auburn (8-0)
3. TCU (8-0)
4. Michigan State (8-0)
5. Boise State (6-0)
6. Missouri (7-0)
7. Alabama (7-1)
8. Wisconsin (7-1)
9. Utah (7-0)
10. Ohio State (7-1)
Michigan State find themselves 7-0 for the first time in 44 years and dreaming of previously unreachable heights after manhandling Illinois 26-6 at Spartan Stadium Saturday. With Ohio State’s collapse in Madison that same night the #7 Spartans are not only in the driver’s seat to a Big Ten Championship, they actually have a legitimate shot at the BCS Championship Game. Here’s what would need to happen:
1. Take care of their own business. Obviously, the Spartans must win all 5 of their remaining games. State comes to Evanston this weekend to take on a scrappy Northwestern squad, but they should be able to handle the Wildcats with relative ease. The real test comes the week after as they travel to Iowa City to battle the #13 Hawkeyes. If they can get past Iowa (admittedly, not an easy task) their road to an undefeated season is paved with extremely winnable home games versus Minnesota and Purdue and a finale at very mediocre Penn State.
2. Sit back and wait for the computers to screw over the little guys. While perennial Cinderellas Boise State and TCU are currently ahead of State in the BCS rankings, their strength of schedules simply won’t compare with Spartan victories over Top 25 teams Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. Maybe that’s unfair, but that’s just the way it is until the powers that be relent and adopt a long-awaited playoff system (but that’s the subject of another post).
3. Let parity (and anarchy) reign! Seeing the #1 team in the nation lose in each of the last two weeks is more than enough evidence in support of the Spartans hopes. No one is a clear, dominating presence on the college football landscape a this point and every team in front of State in the rankings has much more difficult hurdles to get over than the Green & White. We know one contender will be eliminated next week as LSU faces Auburn. Even if LSU wins on the road, they still have to face Alabama, Arkansas and have the SEC Championship game to deal with. Sorry LSU—not gonna happen. Auburn should beat LSU at home but they would still have to go to Alabama and then face the conference championship game—no way that’s going to work for the War Eagle. The very overrated Oklahoma goes to very underrated #11 Missouri this weekend and still has to travel to in-state rival #14 Oklahoma State. Oregon still has to travel to face an overlooked USC team, then home vs. #18 Arizona and finish the season with their Civil War game versus Oregon State in the Beaver Dam. Even if one of these teams runs through their daunting gauntlets, there’s still another spot in the title game waiting for State.
With a relatively easy path to an undefeated season when compared to the other contenders, the BSC system working against the two non-BCS schools in the mix, and only needing to slide into one of two slots in the BSC Championship Game — you read if here first — the Michigan State Spartans will vie for the national title on January 10th in Glendale, Arizona.
Another week, another #1 falls (well, #2 in my rankings last week). Despite Terrelle Pryor’s desperate pleas to the contrary, Saturday’s loss to Wisconsin does define him and his Ohio State Buckeyes: both are highly overrated and crumble in every big game. Pryor completed only 50% of his passes for a meager 156 yards in their 31-18 loss to the Badgers while rushing for an underwhelming 56 yards. Once again, he and The Sweater Vest couldn’t get it done when the spotlight shone brightest.
1. Oregon (6-0)
2. Oklahoma (6-0)
3. Boise State (6-0)
4. Auburn (7-0)
5. TCU (7-0)
6. Michigan State (7-0)
7. Alabama (6-1)
8. LSU (7-0)
9. Utah (6-0)
10. Wisconsin (6-1)
Big shakeup at the top as Prick Sabin’s Crimson Tide fall to South Carolina (hmm… Prick vs. Cocks—that’s a battle nobody wins). Preseason rankings have given the Buckeyes an unfair advantage pushing them to #1 in most national polls, but they really aren’t close to the caliber of Oregon in my mind. Michigan State breaks into the Top 10 after dismantling the Wolverines and Heisman hopeful, Denard Robinson in front of 113,000 in the Big House. Impressive win for the Spartans and Badass Coach of the Year candidate, Mark Dantonio.
1. Oregon (6-0)
2. Ohio State (6-0)
3. Nebraska (5-0)
4. Oklahoma (5-0)
5. Boise State (5-0)
6. TCU (6-0)
7. Auburn (6-0)
8. Michigan State (6-0)
9. Alabama (5-1)
10. LSU (5-0)