Niko Porikos grew up in an NTDP billet home. Cool story.
BlogPoll Roundtable: Vanity Edition
Yeah, everyone's lost count. This one is over at Texas A&M And Baseball, Order Unspecified.
Q1. Why your school? Did you go to school there? Were you legacy, did you pick it for academics, for the football team, the party reputation?
The appeal to vanity is strong. Yes, I have two degrees from Michigan, a bachelors and masters in computer engineering. When the time came to "choose" a school I applied to two places, Michigan and... go, on, guess, it's really obvious... MIT. MIT said "bitch, please," and I enrolled at Michigan. Even if I had gotten in to MIT, I was going to Michigan. For a Michigan resident, the cost to reputation ratio is better than any school in the country; all my friends were going there; it was close, etc.
But the real reason I was earmarked for Ann Arbor from birth was my family. The general assumption is that if you get in, you go. We've had a set of season tickets since the 60s (yes, they are mouthwateringly good seats, and no, I don't get to sit in them often). My most shameful childhood memory is when I, too young to know any better, decided to support Michigan State in one game because the rest of my family was ganging up on the poor Spartans. Fortunately for me, my father's tendency to have recalcitrant offspring put down had caught up to him. The local ASPCA was on to the trick wherein he dressed one of us up in the ALF Halloween costume we handed down from elder to younger as the years passed. He would tell us to woof and then claimed to the vets that we had heartworms, but they had seen one suspiciously ugly talking dog too many by the time I committed my faux pas. "Oh, Mr. MGoBlog," they would say, "we ain't killin' another one of your kids. You gonna have to trade him in for a Subaru or something."
Thus, in 1997 I was deposited outside South Quad. My father signed a contract with his own blood and drove away in a new Forester; I wandered inside. Here we are, eight years later.
Q2. Name a player or two who had "THE GAME" against your school. I'm talking about a guy who simply dominated your team and all you could do was tip your cap and say, "Wow."
Plaxico Burress. The indelible image from the 1999 Michigan-Michigan State game is Burress metaphorically exclaiming to David Terrell (who was moonlighting at CB... very temporarily, as it turned out) "if you gon' play defense like a bitch, you gon' get slapped like a bitch!" The 6'6" receiver/heart medication dominated anyone who wandered out to cower in his general direction that day. State led 34-31, ball in hand, after an absolutely heroic Tom Brady comeback needing a first down to seal the game: easy eight yard out to Plax; game over.
This category is full of Michigan State players... when Michigan loses to OSU they have an array of good players. When they lose to Notre Dame no one plays well on either side. When they lose to State, it's always one ridiculous player who hates Michigan dominating the game, and Plaxico--the guy who spiked a live ball in the NFL--is emblematic of MSU's dumb but intermittently brilliant program.
Q3. There are games that I have no interest in but I watch simply to see a certain guy play. What players from this season do you do the same for?
No one. I'm remarkably provincial, it turns out, and the reason I watch games featuring the best players ever is to hope they lose. I mean, sure, Reggie Bush is fast and stuff. That's nice. But there will be another Reggie Bush in two years. He's the Best Player In The History Of Man right now, but I have no desire to watch him run up yards against hapless defenses surrounded by a set of players nearly as talented as he is. Boring! An epochal upset I can get behind. Watching someone run faster than the people next to him does not thrill without context, else I'd be a track fan.
Exception: for those who drag the rest of their team to improbable places by doing impossible things. Michael Vick... yeah, I watched him just to see him. But VT was the dog against FSU, weren't they?
Q4. A few weeks ago we were asked who the best player to suit up for our school was. I'm curious who your favorite player to ever suit up for your school is? Certainly doesn't have to be a superstar, or even a starter.
Jason Avant and Mike Hart, pending successful, healthy completion of his career. More on Avant later, as he deserves a more proper sendoff than a shabby paragraph down here.