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Boilermakers @ Spartans Men’s Basketball Gamethread
Jan 24th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Purdue heads to East Lansing to take on the Spartans at the Breslin.

Gametime:  7PM (EST)

National Broadcast: ESPN2

Announcers: Dan Shulman, Dan Dakich and Molly McGrath.

I have two question for which I want answers from every member of TUS as part of their 1st comment.

  1. Final Score Prediction
  2. Based on MSU Football Recruiting news of the past few days, Mark Dantonio’s new nickname should be: A.) d’Poacher, B.) d’Flipper C.) Other (you provide the new nickname)
Cubs or Tribe? Western Michigan New Years Six?
Nov 1st, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Three questions for Membership!

Will the Chicago Cubs take game six or are the  Cleveland Indians going to celebrate a World Series Title?

Will the Broncos of Western Michigan run the table and represent the state of Michigan in a New Years Day Six Bowl?

What would be the worst thing revealed by a hacking of TUS Foundation emails?

Bad To Worse: Brian Lewerke Breaks His Leg
Oct 30th, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

BreakALeg.jpg (550×400)

In the theater arts the phrase “break a leg” is actually meant to be a wish for “good luck” to the recipient.  Evidently Brian Lewerke did not get the message and actually broke his leg during the game against the University of Michigan – just when you thought things could not get worse for the Spartans.

The history behind break a leg [here].

So… What is next?

With Temporary Insanity Over – What Next?
Oct 9th, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

insanity

The best and brightest have defined insanity.  That definition seems to embody the execution plan (e.g., a off tackle running play) employed by the Spartan coaching braintrust in yesterday’s game for MSU football.

For the most part, Spartan football players could not execute at any-level and the coaching staff was unwilling (or incapable) of establishing the need for any type of material adjustment to the plan.

I would say that Mark Dantonio’s post-game comment of “Gotta look at everything we do,” suggests MSU Football can claim temporary insanity as it defense for yesterday’s complete humiliation at the hands of the BYU Cougars.  MSU was run-over by BYU, offered a hand by gracious sportsmanlike Cougars, only to be run-over again on the ensuing snap from the line of scrimmage.  The young BYU squad is only 3-3 on the season, however they are a total of 7 points away from being 6-0.  Their matchup against SEC Mississippi State will provide a better measure of the Cougars mettle than the MSU outcome.  Who could have honestly made that observation in August?

MSU Football has lived at the upper echelon of the B1G Conference and college football for many, many years.  And even with so many player-personnel questions for 2016, who – with the exception of Eyeore – could have seriously believed that MSU would be this inept.  Not me!  Most of TUS membership – even the “Brian Lewerke is the starting QB before seasons end” predicting Eyeore – discussed the possibility, even likelihood of a downturn resulting in 8-4 or 7-5 2016 season for MSU.  If I recall The Pre-season Report by 89 hinted that with a few bad-turns a 7-5 season was possible. The chances of a 2-10, 3-9, 4-8 outcome were deemed as virtually impossible for a MD team.

There are seven games remaining in the 2016 regular season for MSU.  So I ask TUS Membership, what say you?

Important Facts to Know

Albert Einstein was heavily recruited by Henry Keep in 1896 to play varsity football in America starting in 1897. MSU then known MAC (named after MAC’s Bar & Grill in Lansing) played in the MIAA league.  Einstein was a two-way football star* and four-year letterman for Munich’s Lutipold Gymnasium. Albert was known to the sports-media, recruiting experts, fans, and, Lee Corso as “the speed of light.” Albert declined the advances of the Aggies and attended Zürich Polytechnic stating “three-yards and a cloud of dust may be the cats-pajamas in the midwestern United States, but they are 23-skidoo for me, so I am seeking something like, you know, basically, I mean, something like 186,000 miles per-second and a cosmic cloud of dust and Zürich Polytechnic is where I’m taking my skivvies and Girl Friday.”

One of Einstein’s first big published works “Folgerungen aus den Capillaritätserscheinungen” was originally to be titled “The advantages of the repeated use of the run game – no matter what.”  However the Tressel Foundation claimed the title was of their copyright and could not be used by a guy who had earlier advocated for the West Coast Offense.

* Rated ESPN Top 100 (#26), MAXKrautPreps (#17) MonarchyRivals (#19).

Inept and Confused: MSU Football 2016 (to date) ?
Oct 1st, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Michigan State University Football – for the past decade – has had an extraordinary run of success as a football team.  Unless a miracle happens is it over?  What say TUS Membership?

It appears a series of (some of which border on being brain-dead) personal fouls, and complete confusion on key offensive plays (even after calling timeout because of confusion) allowed Indiana to defeat the Spartans 24-21 in Overtime.

There are unconfirmed reports a Hologram image of John L. Smith appeared throughout the game played in Bloomington Indiana.  Other reports claim it was a 5-point Buck that got away from Northfork Rancher.

NCAAF Week #3 Debrief
Sep 18th, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

What did you learn from week #3 of NCAA Football?

gholmestdnd

MSU’s Gerald Holmes runs free for a 70 yard Touchdown with the Notre Dame defense vainly in pursuit. Out of the picture and even further behind are the media Talking Heads who predicted a loss for MSU.

Recruiting News: MSU Targets Overseas Star for 2024 Class
Sep 14th, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

MSU Football would neither confirm or deny it has identified it first recruit for the 2024 Class.  Dave Pruder declined to comment on MSU’s apparent special of request for a XXXXXXL uniform and size 27 EEE shoes.

Recruiting Video has been leaked [here].

College Football Week #2 Comment Central: The No Line Weekend?
Sep 10th, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

College Football 2016/2017 enters its 2nd weekend.  Twenty-three of the of the top 25 ranked teams play this weekend.

Many would support the hype-masters claim that last weekend was the “greatest opening week in college football history.”  And this week’s theme?  How about the No Line Weekend?

Six of the top 25 ranked teams have opponents so weak that there is no posted point spread or over/under line.  It is not mistake and as a point of reference the point spread for the other games involving top 25 teams?  The point spread averages almost 24 points; with Oklahoma giving away 46 points to Louisiana Monroe.  However it should be remembered MSU had a almost 24 point spread with Furman and did not come close to covering.

Below are the No Line Weekend games:

Texas A&M #20 vs. Prairie View (A&M not the scenery on the trip to and from the game).

Georgia #9 vs. Nicholls (State not the Indian Head former currency which might possess more value).

Houston #6 vs. Lamar (College not the guy who served coffee to Northfork Rancher at the Denny’s on U.S. 27 in Marshall).

Florida State #3 vs. Charleston (College not the dance performed by Boston85 and USMC(retired) to kick off each TUS World Tour event).

Ole’ Miss #19 vs. Wofford (often confused with the Waffle House Senatobia Exit I-55 staff team).

LSU #21 vs. Jacksonville State (University not prison team.  The Prison team is too good as it has many former Florida State University players with eligibility remaining).

NCAA Football Week #1 – TUS Comment Central
Sep 3rd, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

With Labor Day in the mix college football has a solid five straight days of games.

With 2.5 days of games (including MSU vs. Furman) in the books, what are the top 3 things you have learned (or predict will be learned) on this weekend?

The 2016 Michigan State TUS Preseason Football Report
Aug 28th, 2016 by 89 Chemistry

To put things briefly, we are going to learn for the first time since 2012 where the floor of Dantonio’s program is.

The good news is MSU has retained its stable, well-proven staff in full.   It also has a very good defensive backfield—and more quality running backs & linebackers than it knows what to do with.

And every game on the schedule—plus the B1G Championship—is winnable.   MSU should beat nine of the teams on the schedule comfortably.   The other three teams have some (or several) uncertainties in their makeup.   If they do not solve those uncertainties as well as MSU solves its uncertainties for itself, the Spartans could go to and come back from Indianapolis with a 13-0 record.

MSU’s 2016 slogan is “Back-to-Back”.   At 13-0 (or 12-1), it would mean back-to-back College Football Playoff bowls—and the new floor will turn out to be the 11-2 record from two years ago.

But MSU is replacing more starters—including quarterback Connor Cook—than it did in 2012, when it was also ranked about 12th in the polls.   That Spartan team descended to within three plays of finishing 4-8.   Considering this fall’s 11-game stretch without a bye week, another 7-6 finish is hardly more unlikely than going 13-0.

Splitting the difference would have MSU go 3-3 between Ohio State; an improved Michigan; at night at Notre Dame; a couple of other unforeseen challenges; and a bowl game.   That would set a new floor of 10-3 for subsequent Dantonio teams that will benefit from experience and maturing talent.

 

ADDITIONAL DETAILS AND EXPANDED REMARKS

Some of what went into the range of outcomes for MSU’s upcoming season presented above follows–beginning with the best case:

One can see how the chances of MSU going 13-0 in 2016 might be about eight percent.   One MSU coach described the round robin of games between MSU, Michigan, and Ohio State to be “coin flips”.   Assuming that MSU will beat the nine teams it should beat, the Report concurs.   Notre Dame is slightly worse than a “coin flip” for MSU, but a victory there improves MSU’s likelihood of sweeping its B1G schedule.   (Facing the Gulos and Buckeyes in Spartan Stadium should help the Spartans.)   Beating the B1G West Champion should be easier than the other three contests.   Thus one has four “coin flips” (or 6.25%) multiplied by a few factors like 53/47 and 55/45, or ~8%.

However, even returning to Indianapolis is unlikely.   It is much more likely that either one of the MSU foes will sweep the Michigan/MSU/Ohio State round robin or that it ends as a three-way tie (i.e., with each team managing a 1-1 record vs. the others).   If the rest of their B1G foes are as weak as the polls suggest, there would be a three-way tie at 8-1 in the East.   Under B1G rules, the tiebreaker would ultimately be CFP Selection Committee Poll rankings.   It is hard to imagine the Committee placing MSU ahead of Michigan unless the latter also had a non-conference loss–which does not seem possible with M’s weak schedule.

Looking at the games individually, it is tempting to suppose MSU would win each of them–especially given the unproven aspects and perceived weaknesses of the opponents.   Take, for example, what is effectively MSU’s first opponent, Notre Dame.   The Irish O-line is supposed to be a strength, yet it has only one returning starter.   Its QBs are very good, but will they have adequate receivers?   Linebackers and D-line reserves are a weakness, and a lack of team leadership was emphasized by off-field delinquencies earlier this month which led to the dismissal of a potential All-American safety.

But that sort of criticism applies to Michigan State, too.   For instance–

  • No active Spartan has earned first-team All Big Ten honors.   (MSU will face at least five 2015 All-Americans this year.)
  • Quarterback Tyler O’Connor [jersey #7] has about two games of experience under his belt, total.
  • MSU’s wide receivers are either unproven or pedestrian.
  • The offensive line is largely inexperienced and mostly rearranged.
  • Other than Malik McDowell [#4], the defensive line is mostly unproven.
  • Special teams were usually awful last year.

Reasons to downgrade MSU to its current poll position or lower include presumed systemic traits.   Lindy’s magazine ranked MSU #22 because, it explained, the Spartans won six very close games last year with a ton of talent and experience that is now gone.   The implication–that MSU will not retain or regain the intangibles that led to high turnover margins and several more close wins than close losses since 2013–should not be summarily dismissed.

It extends beyond the obvious (that MSU will therefore lose one or both of Michigan and OSU despite beating them on the road in 2015).   For MSU has an ugly habit of figuratively playing with its food.   If a B1G Champion MSU can lose to a 5-7 team along the way, then an inexperienced and/or not-so-“lucky” team can lose a few games it is “supposed” to win and fall short of the pennant.   (MSU lost four such games in 2012.)

Separately, the circumstances of meeting opponents affect the outcomes.    For MSU this year, note that the only mid-major foe in an 11-game stretch with no week off is BYU.   The last time MSU had to play 11 games without a break was in 2009.   Dantonio’s best seasons either have had a bye week close to mid-season or two bye weeks.   The odds are small that player-games lost due to injury will be as great as they were in 2012 or 2015.   But prudence calls for the assumption that they will be more of a problem than in 2013 or 2014.

The Report stresses that these considerations may be less important than the typical misapprehension of teams’ likely average performance quality.    That was a significant factor in the Report’s identification of teams that might (>5% chance) upset MSU.

Three of these have roughly a one in four chance of succeeding.   The first is Wisconsin.   (Note that MSU will be coming off of the Notre Dame trip and adjusting to a daytime game from a night game.)   The second is Northwestern–which seems to have MSU’s number in Spartan Stadium and will have a bye week to prepare somehow.   The third is the season finale at Penn State.    A fourth team has a small but not minuscule chance of upsetting the Spartans: Indiana.   Funny things happen when MSU goes to Bloomington, and this will be a night game following the Wisconsin game.   (Dantonio’s teams have usually performed below expectations during night games in opponents’ stadiums.)

Adding these to the three higher-ranked teams produces a Sum of All Fears (5-7) that is not going to happen.   The group of four not-lottery-payoff-improbable upset teams is a pool from which those two “unforeseen challenges” mentioned in the Brief are most likely to come from.

Although the Brief portends a worst-case of 7-6, it is difficult to see MSU dropping below 8-5 in any season for the rest of Dantonio’s stewardship.   Anything better than 11-2, though, seems unlikely in 2016 with all of the unestablished personnel MSU must play.

This should be the year–and probably the final year–that the proverbial other shoe drops for MSU Football under Mark Dantonio.   The Report tentatively reckons that the drop will amount to 10-3, more or less.

 

The Furman Game Report will be published Thursday morning.

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