Closing Argument

Submitted by ijohnb on October 19th, 2011 at 9:12 AM

There comes a point in many discussions or arguments where the opposing party has said too much.  This is where your instinct tells you that something more needs to be said for you take advantage of their overplay, that you need to hightlight their lack of reason, that you must get the last word in order to prove your point.  The problem is that the opposing party has already made your point for you, they have talked themselves into circles, they have spent enough time defending the indefensible and attempting to justify the unjust that their position is no longer viable.  They simply look foolish.  That is Michigan State football right now. 

At that point, against your instinct, you say no more.  If there is a third party ruling on the argument or the issue, you simply look at them, you lock eyes with them in a moment of mutual disbelief and you wait for the shoe to fall. 

In Mark Dantonio's presser on Monday, when referencing the acts of William Gholston, Dantonio said "that is the way the game has always been played by successful teams."  That is the statement.  That is the overplay.  There is not one statement that more aptly defines a program and that programs mentality than that one statement right there.  In defending the indefensible, Michgian State football is defining themselves, and it is a definition that is going to stick with them for the foreseeable future.

State has backed themselves into a corner.  The answer to the question was easy.  The solution to the problem was simple.  In the great Sparty tradition, it passed right by their eyes and they failed to see it.  Now they have a dumpster fire, and they have the rest of their season to sit in it.  They sold out on the Michigan game, they went no holds barred to win it.  If our players were guilty of one thing it was not knowing how desperate Michigan State was to win that game, and being caught off guard by the lengths they would go to to win it, because they are going to win very little else, for the remainder of this year and for the foreseeable future. 

What makes us so angry is not that State "was who we thought they were," it is that M was still one play away from beating them at their own pitiful game and came up short.  It was not a fluke that we were in a position to win that game despite playing a team that disregarded the rules of the game, it is because we are good, we are better than we thought.  For the first time in four years, we are about to see Denard angry, Mike Martin angry, Cam and Thomas Gordon angry.  I am interested to see how the rest of the Big Ten is going to handle that.  If I had a guess it is not very well.

As a blog community, let's let it go.  Anything more said about this topic is too much, it does not need to be said.  Our case has already been proven.  By being Sparty, and staying three steps behind this thing, State has overplayed their hand.  They are the new guy at the table going all in on a pair of eights in a lazy bluff.  They have turned College Gameday into a two hour documentary about personal fouls and lack of integrity of consequences.  They have threatened to "hurt" Russell Wilson.  Their coach has called Gholston's acts "how the game has always been played by successful teams."  They have an article in the Wallstreet Journal detailing their dirty play.  Good luck with the Badgers coach, good luck with any player on your team being able to touch an opposing player after the whistle without getting flagged for the rest of your tenure.  Well played, well played indeed.

As for Michigan, rest easy.  Michigan is good.  Michigan is better than anybody thought they were.  They were one play a way from winning on the merits against a team that was willing to go all in at the expenese of their season and their reputation.  Michigan is going to win a lot more games this year.

Saturday was Saturday, they are who we thought they were.  Game over.  Let's move on.



October 19th, 2011 at 12:00 PM ^

But the thing is that Dantonio never said too much. He's pretty unapologetic about what his program is and what it represents and it seems that he's never been afraid for those facts to see the light of day.


I'm assuming that what you mean is that by saying that dirty play is how successful teams win leaves him open to further accusations of being a scum bag and running a dirty program. My contention, however, is that this would not be some point winning revelation, it would probably be responded to with something like "Duh" or  " I thought everyone already knew that?" 


The bottom line is that a lot of Spartan fans and really, football fans in general, like the rough stuff. It's undeniable. How else do you explain the mystique surrounding teams such as The Raiders and The U? Not Michigan fans of course, far too high brow and dignified for such base entertainment. 


But to act as though revealing the thuggish nature of the program to the world will somehow leave State's program tarnished is bullshit. It is what it is, and most fans of it, don't have a problem with it.


October 19th, 2011 at 9:29 AM ^

Thank you for telling everyone on the board when it is OK to have an opinion and when it isn't.  Do you really think you can dictate to everyone on the board what they can and can't discuss?

Thank you, omniscient and omnipotent Grand Poobah, for a thoroughly enlightening post. You sound for all the world like a Spartan who wants to sweep it all under the carpet but still brag about the win for the next 365 days.


October 19th, 2011 at 11:24 AM ^

Is he really "telling everyone on the board when it is OK to have an opinion and when it isn't"? Or is he trying to inspire Michigan fans to move on so as not to appear to be a bunch of crybabies thereby allowiing Sparty to embarrass themselves on their own merits? 

I think some of us are becoming "Little Brother!"


October 19th, 2011 at 9:32 AM ^

the MSU AD seeking refuge in technical and lawyerly language when the fouls are there for all to see. Modulating this by saying (something like) "Obviously, we let our emotions get away with us several times during the game and are now studying--with the B1G--the appropriate responses,"  etc. would have been the smarter call.

In the end, it's a lack of smarts. At some point this boomerangs on MSU, becomes a PR disaster. Self-attributed thuggery is not a good idea. As with OSU, having it drag out does them no favors, either. 

P.S. All fair point by the OP, though you may have talked yourself out of many responses from other posters :.


October 19th, 2011 at 9:36 AM ^

At the end, they are just a scummy team, and the coached do not have an issue with it - hell, they breed it.

Here is my problem with our team, and to an extent what you said:

"If our players were guilty of one thing it was not knowing how desperate Michigan State was to win that game, and being caught off guard by the lengths they would go to to win it"

I disagree.  While I can understand our team not expecting so many dirty, cheap shots, we should have expected - as we should for every game, but especially this one and OSU -that our opponant would come out and play hard, physical football and try to punch us in the mouth, both on offense and defense.  We should have expected it, and more importantly, we should have been prepared to play equally physical and tough (without resorting to dirty play).

My issue is that we were obviously NOT prepared for their physicality.  We are not prepared to take their metaphorical punch in the mouth and deliver one back.  In short, we played soft.

Note: I still agree with you that these guys should be suspended, and that Sparty is defining themselves as a dirty program.


October 19th, 2011 at 9:48 AM ^

and OSU are not always really physical, but I thought this one exceeded even the expectations that those rivalries bring.  Not excusing it, but I really think that Michigan was caught off guard by a team that appeared to want to seriously hurt them, not on the scoreboard, but like ya know, in life.  I don't  think that is a mentality that Michigan should or wants to adopt.  I think they need to do exactly what they tried to do, counter it by just winning.  They were close.  I think they had absorbed the primary blow in the third quarter and were just on the brink of really closing the deal on the 4th and 1 kitty abuse call.  I understand what you are saying, but I don' think they played soft. 


October 19th, 2011 at 10:14 AM ^

Why don't we just leave all decisions on topics, discussions, and suspensions for dirty play to Matt Millen.  (Please see certain Detroit Newspapers, ESPN, etc. MAD magazine. etc. )


Mitch Cumstein

October 19th, 2011 at 10:21 AM ^

The funny thing about Millen's take is that it is coming from a guy that reached to #2 overall and the 2nd round to take two huge NFL busts from MSU.  If he ever lacked credibility (which he obviously does), he lacks it when talking about MSU players.


October 19th, 2011 at 10:23 AM ^

I actually think you're quite right. I felt that way yesterday. Unfortunately, we don't have a game on Saturday to focus on, so we focus on this because we love talking about Michigan football. Not just talking about it, living it every second in these fall months. I don't know about you, but I eke out every ounce of Michigan football I can. So, to the Michigan State guy who thinks we're obssessed with you - No, quite the contrary. We're obsessed with US, with Michigan football. You guys just happen to be in this week's scenario. 


October 19th, 2011 at 10:34 AM ^

Stop trying to justify ourselves.  This is Michigan, we lost to Sparty, it happens, that's why we play the game.  Twisting Denard's facemask was malicious and could have broken his neck.  That deserves a 2 game suspension.  Twisting Lewan's arm to break it is also malicious and reason for a 2 game suspension.  But the punch on Lewan, seriously whatever, he's a big guy and can take it.

As for Dantonio's words, we get it, he's unapologetic and has an inferiority complex.  There is no debating that he sucks.

Let's move on to other interesting topics, please.

Section 1

October 19th, 2011 at 11:19 AM ^ 

I can't tell if that is part of the paywalled section or not, because I am an online subscriber.  So I get it automatically.

I am just guessing that even thought they might not get the Detroit Free Press in Park Ridge Illinois, they probably do subscribe to The Journal at B1G headquarters.


October 19th, 2011 at 11:15 AM ^


Mark Dantonio wants so bad for this rivalry to be on the same level as Michigan/OSU.  At this point he will do anything to make people notice that Michigan State has a football team.  Playing criminals right after they get out of prison...check.  Promoting dirty play...check.  Calling out 20 year old kids who play for Michigan...check.  He's like a little kid who doesn't feel like he gets enough attention, so he throws multiple tantrums to make sure he's being noticed.

I hate to tell you this Mark but the UM/MSU rivalry will NEVER be on the same level as the UM/OSU rivalry.  Hell, MSU could win 10 in a row and it still wouldn't matter.  Why?  Because MSU is a regional program that nobody outside of East Lansing gives two shits about. 

Just check out the TV ratings, Mark.  Michigan/Notre Dame is bigger.  UM/OSU is bigger.  I don't know for sure but I would guess MSU is the 4th or 5th highest rated game on the Michigan schedule.

When UM recruits kids outside of Michigan, part of the allure is having the chance to play against Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State and Wisconsin, not MSU.  I would guess that the UM coaches have never heard a kid say "I commited to Michigan to have a chance to play against sparty"; especially out of state kids.  On the other hand, having a chance to play against Michigan is a great recruiting tool for MSU.

In conclusion, just keep up the bullshit Mark.  Your chance of ever becoming the Head Coach of a Big Boy program is slipping away with every dumbass move you make. 

Section 1

October 19th, 2011 at 11:16 AM ^

I don't need any counseling, thank you very much.

I am simply going over the thuggery from last Saturday in as much detail as possible, in order to drive the conversation, so as to hopefully spur the Conference into action that might actually hurt MSU on the field and help Michigan's chances of having a better Conference record at the end of the season.  It is a remarkably clear and simple equation.


October 19th, 2011 at 11:25 AM ^

I agree with the OP. Give someone enough rope and they'll hang themselves.

In this regard, it was absolutely perfect and critical for Hoke and the team to consistently stay on message, and never once whine or complain about dirty play and cheap shots. The media tried to bait Hoke, and even some of the players, and they just didn't go there. I didn't hear a thing from Denard, or from Lewan. By taking the high road, it makes Dantonio and MSU look even worse. The video speaks for itself.

I believe that this game will pay many dividends.

  • It will affect how refs call MSU games the rest of the year.
  • It will result in suspensions.
  • It will affect how UM - MSU is called next year.
  • It will toughen Michigan up for the balance of the season.
  • It will define the character of MSU, and of Michigan.

All of these are great results. Of course, I would much rather that Michigan had won the game. But I still am very positive about the balance of the season.

Indiana Blue

October 19th, 2011 at 1:56 PM ^

is based on the fact that he cannot enforce anything on MSU.  You can bet that if a Michigan player was guilty of these actions  -  Hoke would have had plenty to say about it - to the player.

But he also knows that the governing body ... yeah the B1G Office, are the one's that are CHARGED with enforcement when the rules are violated.  The B1G will hand down a suspension for the punch  -  they have no choice as the precedent at EVERY level has been set.  What they do about the blatent attempt to injure Denard is another matter.

If the B1G Office waits to suspend Gholston until after the Wisconsin game  -  then every member of the B1G should know that the league cares little about its players and the rules as long as the ratings are good.  I am already suspicious of this because of their deafening silence on tsio.

Go Blue!


October 19th, 2011 at 12:42 PM ^

For the first time in four years, we are about to see Denard angry, Mike Martin angry, Cam and Thomas Gordon angry.

If Denard Robinson's smile creates rainbows and heals the sick, what on Earth will happen when Denard Robinson frowns? I for one am a little bit fearful.


October 19th, 2011 at 12:51 PM ^

I agree with 99.9% of what was written by the OP.  The only thing I disagree with is how in the heck were we one play away from winning.  We were down by a touchdown with 6+ minutes remaining.  Not that I don't believe we could have won had we scored and tied it up.  It would have been possible for Michigan to pull it out, but things looked pretty grim.

Cpt Cupcake

October 19th, 2011 at 2:04 PM ^

This MSU/Wisky game is intriguing, because I want to see what happens when Cousins starts taking the hits.  Does Dantonio cry foul, I say yes.  Wisky not only has the Coach that will send a message, but the horses to do it.   Belima strikes me as the type that will take a penalty to send a message.

I am looking forward to seeing UW laying the lumber on MSU.  Wisky does NOT like MSU and they WILL protect the franchise (Wilson).  Wilson is also a wold card, I am sure in the ACC he saw his share of players looking to lay the lumber at Miami, FSU, Clemson, and Va Tech, so Gholston and friends will not indimitate him and he has a better OL protecting him

This game could be like the old Raiders/Bears game in the 80's that introduced the Bears as a power, I think it was 9-7.


October 19th, 2011 at 6:07 PM ^

If we don't discuss this who will?. If the Big Ten does nothing (clearly MSU won't by themselves) then it is open season for thuggery. How would the Big Ten be able to explain future suspensions if these grotesque, intentional acts to injure players are ignored?