Monday, January 6, 2014

Coming up Roses: 'Completion' Is Rewarding

As the final seconds clicked off the clock at the 100th Rose Bowl, I started thinking about all the years watching Michigan State football: the close losses, the blowouts, the big wins, the coaching changes, the inferiority complex to Michigan, the seasons where even getting a bowl game was an accomplishments, "Same ol' Sparty," 4th quarter collapses, and so on.

But looking across the field from Section 7 and thinking about some of those brutal moments didn't make me angry. All I thought was: "it was worth it."
This felt like a reward and why you hang in there with your school.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Why You Should Be Excited about Notre Dame in 2014

Despite the final element for the Pinstripe Bowl coming into place, we can pretty much tie a ribbon on the 2013 season. There will be plenty of 'looking back' throughout this week, but we thought it was time - nine months early - to offer three reasons to look ahead.


Here are four reasons why you should be excited about Notre Dame football in 2014 (spoiler alert: a lot of it comes down to this guy).


Thursday, December 12, 2013

#ThrowbackThursday: Spartans '88 Rose Bowl Celebration

When Spartan fans haven't been either scouring the internet or on hold in a desperate search for tickets, they've been re-watching (again and again) the Big Ten Championship Game.

Or maybe watching a few videos from that '88 Rose Bowl.  First, the fun cheese..."We did it, we did it, we did it!"

For something a little less cheesy, some rare post game footage from the Spartans' locker room.  Yes, Tony Mandarich is/was huge. The fight song starts at the 4:40 mark and George Perles sure mentions people being thirsty a lot...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Roses are Finally Green? The Spartans Look to Make a Statement

Following Michigan State football the past 30 years has brought out the spectrum of emotions after losses: annoyance (Iowa, 2012), resignation (Oregon, 1999), anger (Michigan, 2007), black rage (Notre Dame, 2006), embarrassment (Michigan, 2002), shock (Purdue, 1997), and bewilderment (Central Michigan, 1991).

But I don't think I can even begin to describe my emotional state following the Big Ten title game loss to Wisconsin two years ago.

I was a little like Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off after they find out the parking lot attendants took his Dad's car on a joyride.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

#Throwback Thursday: Spartans Knock Off Top Ranked Buckeyes


As Spartan fans look ahead and count down the hours until Saturday's kickoff in Indianapolis, it's worth looking back to the last time Michigan State knocked off an undefeated Buckeyes team. 

Of course, it was 15 years ago this autumn when John Cooper's top ranked Buckeyes - who stood atop the polls since the preseason and faced a 4-4 unranked Spartan squad as a 28 point favorite - stormed out to a 24-9 lead before a season-high crowd of 93,595 at Ohio Stadium.  The cheers and the lead would not last.

The Spartans, a squad Sports Illustrated described as a "one of the most schizophrenic teams in college football," galvanized around Nick Saban's pregame Rocky analogy, Paul Edinger's foot, and Julian Peterson's meager 220 lbs. frame to mount one of the greatest second half comebacks in the program's history.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Is Spartans Dominating Defense as Good as ND in 2012?

The Spartans defense has finished laying the smackdown on the Big Ten - giving up only 541 rushing yards through 9 conference games (60 yards per game), sacking Devin Gardner seven times, going three straight games without allowing a touchdown - and now has run through its entire schedule without relinquishing the crown as the top ranked unit in the country.

As their improbable season heads toward this Saturday's Big Ten Championship Game and a likely Rose Bowl birth, it got this DSG editor reflecting on Notre Dame's defensive-led revival last fall and asking: which of these units is better? 

Throughout the regular season, the Irish were also the top ranked defense, giving up 12.7 points per game, not relinquishing a first quarter touchdown, and allowing only nine touchdowns in 12 games.

Based on these numbers and the opponents, which defense is/was better: these Spartans or those Irish?

Friday, November 22, 2013

It Feels Good to Be Wrong: Dantonio Makes Us Believers Again

It has never felt better to be so wrong.

Well, I wasn't totally wrong about Michigan State.  Before the season opener, I said, "The 2013 season, with a mostly favorable schedule, will go a long way in determining if Michigan State can reignite program momentum and remain a conference power in the coming years."

I called it perhaps Mark Dantonio's most important year as head coach in East Lansing.

Then the season started and I sunk back into a dark, depressing funk.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Kinsler from Texas: A Win For Detroit that Reaffirms Dombrowski's Savvy

Almost a half century after an American tragedy in Dallas, Dave Dombrowski's brilliance is bringing new life from Arlington, recharging the infield and the top of the lineup for Detroit. It was a trade the players all but called out three + years ago.
 
While it's a relief that the Tigers are no longer bogged down with the back half of Prince Fielder‘s nine-year, $214 million contract and that the franchise extricate an increasingly polarizing player who combined to go .196/.267/.239 in 101 playoff plate appearances (and offered some less-than-inspiring words after this year's AL Championship. "It's over, bro."  Really!?), what's more important is what they get in adding Ian Kinsler.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Game of the Century and the Ultimate Ticket Scam


Twenty years ago this week was arguably an inflection point in college football. For the first time, ESPN's Game Day - we'd never heard of it before - set up camp in South Bend for the "Game of the Century." And while plenty of matchups carried that mantra before, very few would live up to it thereafter. 

With Bobby Bowden and the Seminoles en route to South Bend, I wasn't going to miss it. Gratefully, I didn't just have parents, but almost a dozen family members who agreed. So we rented an RV and rolled out from Spring Lake before sunrise, en route to the game of a lifetime ... and a ticketing debacle that nearly made it a day to forget.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Where's the Irish Defense that I Used to Know?

Four hours after my 2:00 a.m. (Europe time) wakeup call to watch the Irish implosion Sunday morning, my pre-programmed alarm went off to Gotye's one hit wonder just as Pitt's Tom Savage took one knee in the victory formation. God those lyrics are painfully catchy. Though not as painful as the question that came to mind: "Where's the Irish defense that I used to know?"

"Now and then I think of when they worked together
Like when our defense sent De-nard home to cry
Told us this fall would bring more glee
But now we're left in unranked company
But last year was love and it's an ache I still remember.

.... Where's the Irish defense that I used to know!?"

Yes, this game had all the trappings of Notre Dame football in 2011: Tommy Rees throwing inexcusable interceptions, red zone turnovers, a bizarre fumble that wasn't, and an offensive coordinator's playbook losing the page labeled 'run game.' 
But for all intents and purposes, Notre Dame's defense in 2013 - minus fits and starts versus USC and Michigan State (the 71st and 86th ranked offenses in the country) - has been the team's Achilles' heel.

Yes, we know they're banged up, but this unit remains a painfully sharp contrast to the 2012 squad.

Ale, Ale to Michigan: Mary Sue Coleman Drunk During Halftime Speech?

Wow!  You be the judge: was University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman hammered during her halftime speech Saturday night?
H/t Deadspin, who points out she was honored for her work before retiring next summer and presented with a #12 jersey (for 12 years of service or finishing off 12 beers? We're not sure...).

After Coleman nearly blew up Twitter (not Manti-esque, but enough for a president you've never heard of), the university was quick to issue an announcement early Monday morning.

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