Despite its weak offensive output, MSU has only one loss this year, mainly due to its aggressive, physical defense. However, MSU's aggressive, physical defense has led them to becoming the 117th worse NCAA team (out of 125) for penalty yardage [70 yards/gm].
At ND, MSU's aggressiveness on defense led to numerous key defensive penalties which gave away the game to the Irish.
After the ND game, MSU AD Mark Hollis made an inquiry to Big Ten officials regarding the penalty calls against the Spartans. Mark Dantonio was quoted by the Detroit Free Press as questioning whether the penalty calls against his DB's reflected a change in standards for pass defenders. Many media members questioned the calls against MSU. In MSU's most recent home game vs. Purdue, MSU was only called for 2 penalties for 14 yards.
I think the key determinant in Michigan's upcoming game at Michigan State will be whether the refs fairly call MSU penalties, especially for pass interference/defensive holding and roughing the passer. If Big Ten officials continue to experience a "backlash" effect and exhibit reluctance to fairly call MSU penalties in East Lansing, it will doom Michigan's chances for a big road win. In addition, excessively rough play by MSU (as has occurred in past match-ups) could also result in injuries to Michigan's key players.
Yesterday on College Football Live, ESPN made a list of the best in-state rivalries and debated where BYU vs Utah would fit in. Notably missing from this list was Michigan vs Michigan State as well as Georgia vs Georgia Tech and a few other notables. Where do you feel that the Michigan vs Michigan State rivalry lands in college football?
Alabama vs Auburn
USC vs UCLA
Florida vs Florida State
Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State
Oregon vs Oregon State
South Carolina vs Clemson
Making this worse was the fact that it was delivered by Joe Tessitore, whos spray-tan, botox'd forehead and absurdly white teeth seriously bother me. I am waiting for the day that they let Samantha Ponder run the show again.
I took a chance and waded into the depths of the RCMB for a little Saturday afternoon enjoyment after the Marshall commitment. Meltdown is in full effect. I found this gem that made me literally LOL:
I don't know what's in the water in AA, but it's making kids believe whatever it is they're selling. I'd be very interested to see what the average visit is like down there. Between the dump of a city, the hideous girls, and a disgusting, inarticulate slob of a head coach, I'm surprised they can even put together a recruiting class - let alone a top ranked one. Nostalgia for the 1800s should only be able to take a program so far in 2013.
Enjoy your Saturday, everyone!
In addition to Friday's tilt with Michigan playing Kansas, we'll all be keeping an eye on the MSU vs. Duke game. For many of us it's a classic meteor game, with the upside being that one of them has to lose, but I thought the board might like to sound off on who to pull for.
I've pretty quickly concluded that I'll pinch my nose and pull for MSU. Partially for Big Ten pride, partially because I have a modicum of respect for the job Izzo's done (even if much of it was done via low-hanging fruit from the Ed Martin bushwa), and part of it because I know some pretty decent MSU fans. But mostly because I have an almost pathological dislike for Duke and the bulk of their fans.
I first came to dislike Duke because of Christian Laettner. I read a story in SI way back when where Cherokee Parks came to Laettner's dorm room on a visit, and Laettner cold-cocked him - and followed it up with screaming at Parks about how tough you need to be to play for Duke. At the time I thought "this guy Laettner sounds like a total jackass" and nothing I've seen since changes that view. A talented jackass to be sure, but a jackass.
And then there's Krzyzewski. When I was a kid, I bought into the "he's a class act and does things the 'right way'" image that's hard to get away from even these days. As I got older, I learned to dislike the cult built around him - it's an almost pre-Sandusky Paterno cult of personality. He's been successful, but seems like a weasel most times I see him. From his whinging about fans rushing the court after losing to VA, to his talking about recruiting kids with "character" but somehow overlooking recruiting areas like Detroit (Shane Battier doesn't count - Detroit Country Day sure isn't Detroit!), to defending thuggish moves from the likes of Gerald Henderson, to the American Express ad, and on and on.
And the Duke fans are generally wretched. Anyone who jaws about "Michigan Arrogance" or "Domer Arrogance" likely has not seen the pinnacle of douchebaggery. Whether they chanted about NC State's player's grandmother's death or not - the fact that it was believable to many spoke volumes.
(I have some respect for a few Duke alumns - Grant Hill, Tommy Amaker, and several on the academic side of the equation. But if Coach K. and Laettner are going to be your poster children, well - that's your poster.)
So yeah - MSU fans may have a large juggalo contingent, wear a bunch of Axe, burn upholstered furniture at bad times, and paint numbers on their chest representing days since U-M won in basketball right before they lose on national TV. But I'll be grudgingly pulling for them on Friday.
Who are you pulling for, and why?
Some more changes for Spartans 2013 offensive strategy.
And is Dantonio pursuing future endeavors elsewhere?
MLive Article: Michigan State's Keith Appling breaks out of slump in second half of loss to Michigan
Not sure this guy saw the game?
Appling shot 33%, had 4 fouls, turnover that lead to the game winning basket, and participated in the final possession that resulted in no shot.
Grasping at straws, "Appling's second half play was considerably better than his first half — he was 2-of-4 shooting in the second half and all of his free throws and makes occurred in the second half."