My Thoughts on MSU/UM

Submitted by RationalMSUfan on October 20th, 2011 at 11:09 AM

[Ed-M: If you ignore the obvious derp parts this is diary-worthy]

Here are my takeaways on the MSU/UM game and thoughts moving forward.


1. Gholston - I will start with the elephant in the room.  Did Gholston make dirty plays? Yes. Should he be suspended? Yes.  Should this be the number one story from the game? No.  Do I think Dantonio/Narduzzi teach players to injure opponents? No.

My opinion is that Gholston was super jacked up for a rivalry game and in his warped mind thought that this is what a rivalry game means.  He was wrong, he should be punished and I expect him to learn from this.  If he continues to make these type of plays he should be gone. That's my take.

For those thinking that Dantonio should have removed him immediately from the game, I think you are crazy. I can't think of any coach who has voluntarily removed a player. Did RRod remove Mouton? Did Carr remove Greg Matthews?. Should Carr have? No. Should RRod have? No.  Should Dantonio have? No.

[Ed-M: And there's the derp. I expected both Mouton and Mathews (one 't') to be suspended. Mouton was. If either of those players had a repeat offense during the same game, absolutely you should pull him. Gholston had three such plays, the arm-bar, the punch (the least of them), and the piling-on and facemask twist. He should have been pulled after the second. As I said above, ignore the derp.]

In the heat of the game, coaches don't have ESPN replays and they probably don't even know what happened. Plus, they have a duty to move onto the next play. I just think it is entirely unrealistic to expect a coach to self police DURING the game and unilaterraly remove one of his players.

2.  The game is won in the trenches - Nothwithstanding the snap count timing, I still think MSU won the battle up front.  This doesn't mean UM isn't "tough", it just means that MSU's patchwork OLine did enough to run the ball. To me, that was the biggest key to the game. I said before hand, if MSU loses it is because they can't run it and UM pressures Cousins into bad decisions.  MSU was able to run it and Cousins was clean. 

3. 2012 Whooping in Ann Arbor and beyond - I have read some comments from some regarding the whipping UM will put on MSU in 2012.  I don't see it happening.  You can never predict a year in advance and I'm not saying MSU will win, but I don't see a "whooping".  The reason is that MSU will still be better in the trenches next year. We return 10 of 11 defensive starters next year.   9 of 11 if Worthy leaves.  MSU's OLine will return 4 of 5 starters and a bunch of injured reserves.  Conversely, UM loses its best two DLineman (Martin and RVB) and Molk.  IMO, Michigan will not regain the upper hand until Hoke has his OLine and DLine in place.  This will probably be 2013 or 2014, not 2012.  Here is where I disagree with some UM fans.  I think Hoke is a good coach and nobody can dispute that he has recruited VERY WELL.  However, some people just assume that MSU will fade into Bolivia (isn't that used on this board) and cede control back to UM.  I understand that is what you hope for and expect as UM fans. I get that, but as an MSU fan, I just tend to disagree.  I have no illusions that MSU will win 10 in a row, but I feel that once UM gets back on its feet, MSU will stay there with them and go toe to toe.

Why?  Because Dantonio has proven he can evaluate and develop talent (especially on defense).  This MSU defense is not loaded with 4 and 5 star players. It has a few, but our best players (Worthy, Adams, Rush) were 3 star recruits from Ohio that Dantonio will continue to get. Others (Darqueze Dennard and Trenton Robinson) were 2 stars.  My point is, even when Hoke gets his guys, I expect this to still be a hotly contested rivalry, not an ass whipping like it has been the last 4 years (in our favor) or the last 40 years (in your favor). 

4.  Gardner and Denard - I said before the year that I would have rolled with Gardner because he is the future and he has the tools to do what Borges wants to do.  TO HIS CREDIT, Borges put his ego on the backburner and went with Denard running mostly RRod's offense.  It's easy to criticise after a loss and call for Gardner, but MICHIGAN IS 6-1!!!  If Gardner were QB, what would their record be? My guess is 5-2 at best (a loss to ND).  With that said, I never felt this would be a championship year for UM and it would better to gear towards the future (i.e. Gardner).  However, it is a difficult and delicate decision. It would have been disingeniuos by Hoke to brink Denard back with the promise he was his QB and then ship him off to WR/RB/Slash.  Now that UM is 6-1, I think Hoke would be a fool to switch to Gardner.  UM (even with its warts) is still capable of winning the Legends division with Denard at the helm.

5. MSU v. Wiscy&Nebraska - Of course I desperately want to win against Wisconsin on ESPN under the lights. BUT, if I could play "let's make a deal", I would take a Wiscy loss for a Nebraska win right now.  Beating NEB would ensure that we hold the tiebreaker over NEB and UM and we would control our own destiny.





October 20th, 2011 at 11:18 AM ^

I think you're right that Michigan may struggle a little next year, too (happy that MSU will be in the Big House). The real Denard/Devin issue, largely overlooked here, is next year. 


October 20th, 2011 at 11:18 AM ^

I get you're trying to have a good conversation with us about this game and i respect that.  However, this being a bye week and us not having anything else to talk about, the majority of us are irrationally still steaming about the game and on the hunt for scapegoats.  That being said, until we get something else that's U of M football relevant and news/forum worthy, you posting threads here is not the smartest idea...



October 20th, 2011 at 11:19 AM ^

We're 6-1. You don't throw away a season because it looks like you might only win 9 games.

As far as the whole rational thing go, I think most of us really appreciate your input in discussions, but don't really care about your long-winded rundown.


October 20th, 2011 at 11:23 AM ^

Thank you for this post. You make some good points. I appreciate this take on it (more than your last "who whom" post).

It makes it much more fun to have some rational posters from rivals on the board. In my opinion, you and Irish and even Not a Blue fan are always welcome here and even appreciated. 

Smart dialogue is much smarter when there are dissenting opinions on the board.

As for your thoughts -

1) I have to agree that though we may take the upper hand over the next few years, UM/MSU will always be a tough game.

2) The worst thing was when MD and PN went on record as saying it was a fairly played game and there was nothing that stood out to them. I will be interested to see how much they recant that in a day or so.

3) I really MSU gets crushed by Wiscy and loses a good one to Neb.






October 20th, 2011 at 2:11 PM ^

Additionally, besides Narduzzi and Dantonio's words you have the Wall Street Journal pointing out that the past 5 years (since Dantonio was hired) MSU gets 4 personal fouls for every 1 personal foul that Michigan gets and MSU is single handidly making it one of the most penalized rivalry games.

MSU's personal fouls against Michigan is #2 of any college team against another one the past 5 years.

This is a trend.

Ghoslton's many dirty plays was a trend.


October 20th, 2011 at 11:24 AM ^

I think you had some good points, though I don't read every post on MGblog, so maybe I missed a lot of repetition.  

But I was wondering, what are your thoughts on Dantonio's recent comments regarding Gholston and his lack of action?


October 20th, 2011 at 11:25 AM ^

Does Dantonio teach his players to be dirty? No probably not.  However he encourages it.  He revels in it.  He will do anything to beat Michigan and he has no morals.  I do agree that MSU won the battle up front and that is was won the game for them.  But the lack of class and dishonesty by your players and coaches so overshadow it that it has become the major story.

You are going to get some people in here that just curse everything you say, but I encourage you to keep posting.  You thoughts are welcome.


October 20th, 2011 at 12:06 PM ^

Yes, this.
<br>Dantonio might not teach them to play dirty, but he certainly doesn't seem interested in rectifying that behavior when it does occur. Thus, he's tacitly approving it while exhorting that they played "clean, hard-hitting football" which, in my admittedly biased opinion, makes him a giant flaming douchebag.

Gulo Blue

October 20th, 2011 at 11:28 AM ^

AJ Sturgis + the "ski mask" thing + "zero tolerance" followed by tolerance + the Wall Street Journal stats...

If you compare Dantonio to other coaches, would you say he's more of a strict disiplinarian or he tends to let behavior issues slide?


Just not teaching your players to play dirty is a pretty low bar to set.  I'm pretty sure they can figure it out on their own if you let them.


October 20th, 2011 at 12:20 PM ^

According to the Gregg Reference Manual, you should consider the sound (not the spelling) of the following word.  Use a before consonant sounds, including sounded h, long u, and o with the sound of w (as in one).  Ex: a CPA.

Use an before all vowel sounds except long u and before words beginning with silent h.  Ex: an IRS, an SRO, an MBA.



October 20th, 2011 at 12:02 PM ^

Who knows, I played in the OK-White against Lowell and East and Hudsonville and a handful of good teams - now my high school is in the OK-Magenta or something like that, and the school district I lived in now feeds into a high school that didn't exist when I was there.  I think we're good at tennis still?


October 20th, 2011 at 12:36 PM ^

The answer to this question depends on how you would read the abbreviation "MSU". The sole function of adding an n to the article is to prevent elision of a vowel sound in the following word without resorting to the use of a glottal stop (which, when combined with the glottal stop that begins the word "a", makes an awkward stuttering sound). Consequently, if the abbreviation "MSU" is supposed to be read "Michigan State University," as it might have in an age when abbreviations were often simply ways of saving paper, one would use "a" before it; but if one reads the abbreviation as a distinct word, pronounced "em-es-yoo", then the article "an" should be used to avoid sounding awkward. This issue, like many other problems of orthography, is purely a product of the increasing use of written language that is never spoken; it really doesn't matter what article you use if you never have to say the words aloud, and the "correct" usage becomes instinctively obvious when the words are spoken. There is not, nor probably does there need to be any arbitrary rule stating, for example, that before a consonant one should use "an", just an awareness that by use of a particular article one is telegraphing the intended pronunciation of the abbreviation.


October 20th, 2011 at 1:11 PM ^

Ah, fond memories of History of the English Language. 

I agree with your analysis.  But I'll continue to use "an" before abbreviations beginning with consonants, whether the abbreviation is written or spoken.  Why?  Partly because old dogs won't--or can't--learn new tricks. Partly because the line between an "abbreviation" and and a "word" seems to get blurrier by the tweet. 

And partly because The falcon cannot hear the falconer.  It's every man for him / her / their /them/ self, if you take my drift.


October 20th, 2011 at 11:30 AM ^

Should he have taken Tom out of the game?  OK, probably not - that's on the officials, and they failed in that respect.  My issue with dantonio is that he won't get in front of this and suspend the kid himself.  He's waiting on the B1G to do it and that just doesn't pass the smell test - I don't care what side you're on. 

It irks the hell out of me that everyone (read: sparty, msm) thinks he's a tough disciplinarian when his track record shows quite the opposite.  


October 20th, 2011 at 11:31 AM ^

Probably good you waited a few days to post this.  I appreciate your insight to have a gauge of what the outside world thinks of the program.  My biggest confusion lies in your choice of favorite programs.  I'm trying to be rational here: I see a little bit of myself in the Michigan program; I like how they are coached and how the players hold them selves to high esteem in the media.  I like who they are as NFL players and I really enjoy the Big House game day atmosphere.  I like the iconic uniforms and helmets.  

But, what do you like about MSU?  If it's a proximity thing, I would think the choice would between Michigan or OSU?  If you are an alum (or family) ok, I get that, question answered.  I just can't watch Sparty games and think....yeah...that's my team right there...


October 20th, 2011 at 11:33 AM ^

How do Narduzzi/Dantonio not teach their kids to injure other players? When your defensive coordinator says it was his plan to late hit and he is glad it didn't get called more and one of your defensive players tells the media the defense is looking to hurt your next opponent's QB, how is that not teaching them to try to injure people? Just amazing how the MSU fanbase can still think Dantonio is a great guy just backing up his players. Reminds me of OSU fans defending Tressel. Nothing will change the fact that your coach doesn't care about players, just about wins and which players give him the best chance of winning.


October 20th, 2011 at 11:38 AM ^

Who is Cousin's successor and what is his story?  That is going to be the key to next years game.  That and whether or not we are able to field two defensive tackles.



October 20th, 2011 at 12:22 PM ^

That's a great point. I don't think OSU is dumb enough to expect to win with a team getting 80% of fifteen yard penalties against Michigan on a yearly basis. His discipline record will (ironically) keep him out of the OSU job. He's probably at his apex with MSU.