Jack Ebling on Sparty - The Painful Reality

Submitted by Brother Mouzone on September 27th, 2009 at 5:58 PM


Ebling was a long time sports writer for the Lansing State Journal and now write for Spartantailgate.com

Interesting piece on MSU - Here's a snippet:

"Starting in 1980, a stretch of 30 falls and far fewer rises, seven coaches have gone 168-172-5 (.494). They’re 112-132-4 (.481) in league play and 5-10 (.333) in bowl games, the dictionary definition of sub-mediocrity."




September 27th, 2009 at 6:19 PM ^

He mentions Iowa and Kirk Ferentz...am I the only one not overly impressed with Iowa or Ferentz? He seems to have Penn State's number for whatever reason, but I just don't see them as that great a team or program. How many Rose Bowls have they been to? How many Big Ten titles? I'm not saying they suck, but #13 seems too high and I think they'll get exposed big-time at some point this season.


September 27th, 2009 at 8:38 PM ^

At the time of that 4th down, Iowa's offense hadn't done anything all game. How likely were they, at that point, to gain three yards in a single play? Not all that likely, I'd say. (Later in the game, when their OL started to take over, I might have argued differently.) Throw in the fact that their punter is apparently very good at pooch-punting, and I think it was a defensible decision.

As it was, they executed the punt perfectly and pinned PSU deep, leading to the safety.


September 27th, 2009 at 6:28 PM ^

Iowa is 4-0 and has just beaten a (then-)top 5 opponent on the road. I think they have as claim to being a top 15 team as anyone else. Maybe they'll be exposed down the road, but that's speculation. As of right now, they've earned the right to a good ranking.


September 27th, 2009 at 8:02 PM ^

2 Big Ten titles in 10 years ... oh, rhetorical question? ... eh, since I've already headed down the path ...

He's had a couple of really good seasons by Iowa standards. That 2002 team was 11-1 and beat Michigan about as badly as I ever seen them get beat. Then, as you probably recall, USC hammered Iowa in the Orange Bowl. Hasn't quite had a team or season like that since ... so, yeah, not overly impressive, but I get the impression most of his peers think he's excellent.

Anyway, I've always kind of liked Ferentz. He's never had a bunch of talent but often gets a lot out of what he has. His career has kind of run along a poor man's Barry Alvarez course. I've always wondered what he might have done at a big time program and had a lot of top recruits, but I get the feeling that Iowa's his final stop.

This is another typical Ferentz type team to me. Not a ton of superstars but well coached and tough. Agree they don't seem like a top 15 team, but a lot of top 15 teams this year feel like de facto placements. I think they probably end up winning 8 or 9--likely all of their 5 remaining home games, which includes M, unfortunately and 1 of 3 road games at Madison, Columbus and East Lansing. 2 of 3 there seems unlikely, but who knows. They just left Happy Valley with a W...


September 27th, 2009 at 6:23 PM ^

That column didn't need to be written. State fans are already more than aware of their mediocrity. It's why so many of their fans say their favorite team is "whoever is playing Michigan" and "State", in that order.


September 27th, 2009 at 7:59 PM ^

You clearly know more about MSU fans than an actual MSU fan.

I'm an anonymous internet poster. Making generalizations to an entire fanbase would be stupid (but right up your alley). I don't think my opinions are important enough to blog about them, if that's what you mean.

I'm simply calling you out for repeating the same, tired lie.


September 27th, 2009 at 8:17 PM ^

The UM fans I know are rational and think this place is the Michigan equivalent of tRCMB. They're right.


You're absolutely right redcedar87, you're a rock of credibility in our tumultuous little internet sea.

Yes tRSMB is a supremely well respected college football blog . . for 8th graders.
They really rock those emoticons, bro.


September 27th, 2009 at 7:48 PM ^

It's funny to hear you say that because there's only one other fanbase that devotes more energy to hating someone else than rooting for their own, which is the Red Sox. And I hate that team too.

Hope you're enjoying that Montana State win.


September 27th, 2009 at 8:07 PM ^

and being a Yankees fan are not mutually exclusive:

mutually exclusive

of or pertaining to a situation involving two or more events, possibilities, etc., in which the occurrence of one precludes the occurrence of the other: mutually exclusive plans of action.


September 27th, 2009 at 6:25 PM ^

Again...their focus is on Michigan...what Michigan is doing...comparing to Michigan etc. Some things never change. The writer is correct though, in that Sparty should try to reach the next level of Iowa etc. before thinking about being at the top.

Brother Mouzone

September 27th, 2009 at 6:43 PM ^

Personally hated living in the Lansing area. Suffered through his LSJ sports writing.

Interesting what time and the freedom of the blog will do.

Honest, fair assessment. He put down the green and white pom-poms


September 27th, 2009 at 7:32 PM ^

Iowa is a decent team. They aren't truly elite yet, but a solid team, and probably better than UM this year. And they did take out one half of my projected title game on the road yesterday, not that it means squat.

I am not ready, though, to pronounce them one of the "big boys" yet. There is a "something" that is missing from them. I don't really know what it is, but it is enough that I won't hold my breath waiting for them to win in Columbus.

Iowa needs a splashy, signature victory to put them over the hump in my estimation.


September 27th, 2009 at 7:34 PM ^

on the road, at night, against a Top 5 team (in what is considered not only one of the toughest places in the country to play, but also considerably harder at night) doesn't qualify as a "splashy, signature victory" or what?


September 27th, 2009 at 8:47 PM ^

The rankings are supposed to reflect the state of college football at the time of the vote. After Iowa squeaked past UNI, it was unranked, and justly so. Now that they are 4-0 and have beaten PSU on the road (one of the most impressive victories any team has posted this season), they are ranked, and justly so. Their performance since the UNI game strongly suggests that that game was a fluke.

Ultimate Quizmaster

September 27th, 2009 at 7:54 PM ^

Iowa will reveal itself against Michigan (if we're healthy) and OSU. I think OSU will probably take the Big Ten, but the thought of another OSU/USC game isn't fun. If that happens though, I think you will see a much better Trojans team, assuming Barkley matures as the season progresses.


September 27th, 2009 at 8:05 PM ^

But although he cites many statistics from previous years, he offers little in the way of insight. He also comes up short in the way of suggestions. What was his point, other than to say, "Look how pathetic MSU football has been since Caesar played in the Coliseum?"

Moreover, who is he going after? It almost seems as though he is picking on the Spartan fan base, (not good, writing as he is in "spartantailgate.com"). It doesn't seem as though the coaches are the subject of his ire, nor the players. His lone suggestion seems to be, "We'll just have to cheer louder for our team next Saturday if we want them to win." Yeah, I'm sure that'll turn the tide.

Can someone give that guy a stuffed toy to pound on? Anger management books? A drink? Anything?


September 27th, 2009 at 8:38 PM ^

... and quite a piece of sportswriting. Only a someone who has seen Sparty up close and personal for years could write this--with credibility.

My favorite line:

>>U-M has been practicing overtime to make it 42 years of never losing back-to-back games to “Little Brother.”

The King of Belch

September 27th, 2009 at 9:47 PM ^

Really? And HOW many MSU threads appear here regularly and get 40 zillions of comments???

Personally, I CARE about our rivals. OSU, MSU, PSU and ND are Big Time rivals and Big Time games. I like discussing them because they are important victories (the most important) paving the path to success for UM.

But really, arguments over which fan base obsesses more, or obssesses about the obsessing is pretty damn stupid.