Another Note: This piece I wrote for EDSBS's Guest Lecturer series (sample here). Suffice to say, it's going to be a lot different then most of the normal previews you read. Just like a 70's party, throw your keys in the bowl, and go with it.
One: What color is your season? In other words, please explain the metaphorical state of your program through the metaphor of color:
Orange. Green or White is too obvious, but orange is about right; the color has drastically different meanings for the offense and defense. For the offense, orange designates explosiveness – for all the talk of Mark Dantonio going back to a more pro-set, ball control offense, MSU was first in the Big Ten in conference in both yards gained and points scored last year. For the defense, orange foretells of structural damage in the defense. The Spartans gave up the third most points in conference last year, loses most of their defensive line, and C.J. Bacher is still haunting my nightmares to this day.
Two: What historical nation and period do you resemble most right now?
Scotland, Circa early 14th century. Scotland, whose armies were once led by a successful at first but ultimately raving madman in William Wallace (THE SCOTS ARE PILLAGING THEIR TAILS OFF, AND JOHN COMYN IS SCREWING IT UP!). William was also into taunting, such as mooning/flag planting. Wallace eventually resigned as guardian, and Scotland was in turmoil until Robert the Bruce (Dantonio) came in to right the ship. After Robert rose to King of Scotland, he had a string of defeats, which leads up to the current state of the program. The rest from here on out is prognostication for MSU/Scottish history. Robert eventually triumphed several times against England (Michigan), who was transferring over the throne from successful Edward I (Carr) to flamboyant Edward II (DickRod), much different than his father. Eventually, Scotland won their independence from England, and Edward II was executed upon a red-hot poker.
Three: You have important players. Discuss a few of them hastily.
Javon Ringer: The one player on MSU you might have heard of if you’re outside the Midwest. I won’t bore with you with the 1447 yards, 6 TDs (the Liberian Lumberjack, Jehuu Caulcrick was scoring most of those last year), and his 5.9 YPC, so I’ll say this: he has a black belt in karate. Sam McGuffie hurdles tacklers, Javon kicks their heads off.
Brian Hoyer: Interesting fact – most likely went red-green colorblind between the Penn State and Boston College bowl game last season, as he had 7 interceptions during the regular season (2nd rated passer in the Big Ten during that period), and threw four to in the bowl game. We’ll see this year how much of his success was due to Devin Thomas.
Greg Jones: Recruited away from Minnesota after Glen Mason was canned, he started the second half of the season as a true freshman, was MSU’s leading tackler, and earned Freshman All-American honors. He’ll most likely start at MLB this season, and hopefully marks a return to the
Julian Peterson Percy Snow days of LBs at State.
Four: Name two games we might actually want to watch featuring your team.
August 30th – MSU @ Cal: It’s on prime time, so you’ve got no excuse. It’ll be the first time Hoyer plays without Devin Thomas at his disposal, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can recreate the big play with wideouts that were thrown to sparingly last season. Ringer against Cal’s experienced LB corps should be a battle, and if State wins, the next halfway difficult away crowd will be…
October 25th – MSU @ Michigan: With an emphasis on the word “halfway” in the previous sentence. MSU has dropped the last six games in this series (some of those in spectacular fashion). If it’s a close game, I’m just glad Henne won’t be able to find Braylon Edwards or Manningham for a 4th quarter comeback. If Michigan’s one-dimensional in the offense at this time, expect to see the victory couch fires in East Lansing from space.
Four-A: Save us all some time and mention the game we’re better off NOT watching.
September 6th: MSU v. EMU – I would’ve said Florida Atlantic, but you should watch that game just to guess FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger’s BAC on the sidelines. Even during the John L. Smith era, the Eastern Michigan game was always a guaranteed five-touchdown win.
Five: Every hero forgets something in their toolbelt. What does your team lack?
Depth on the lines, and at QB. The offensive line returns three starters, they will be decent unless injuries force second-stringers to start, of which means a few freshmen and converted defensive lineman would have to start. The defensive line has an entirely different problem; three starters graduated, and although talent exists (Trevor Anderson was honorable mention Big East in ’06, Antonio Jeremiah was a highly regarded recruit, Tyler Hoover looked good in spring ball), it’s inexperienced. In what might become an apocalypse, if Brian Hoyer goes out, there's only one quarterback on scholarship (a redshirt freshman) to replace him, and if he goes out, the natives will start to bring couches to the fire.
Six: Describe your team with a Jimmy Buffett song. No, we’re serious–do it.
Come Monday. Dad had Jimmy Buffett’s Greatest Hits, and that’s about as far as my experiences with Buffett go. I’d rather be telling you what teams in the Big Ten resemble Arcade Fire members (Win Butler = OSU, Règine Chassagne = Michigan). However, I took a liking to Come Monday, mainly because my hometown is where Hush Puppies shoes are made. This song represents a team who will make a trip to San Francisco (Berkley) during Labor Day weekend and a team that wasn’t meant for glitter rock and roll (the spread offense).
Headin' up to San Francisco
for the Labor Day weekend show,
I've got my hush-puppies on,
I guess I never was meant for
glitter rock and roll.
And honey I didn't know
that I'd be missin' you so.
Seven: We’re master wagerers. Give us a bet to place for up to ten dollars about your team.
MSU wins at least eight games this season. Between Cal, EMU, FAU, and Notre Dame in the nonconference; I think they’ll lose one of those. The away games are Indiana, NU, Michigan and Penn State. They’ll win the Indiana and Northwestern games, drop the Penn State game, and Michigan’s a toss-up. The home games are Iowa, OSU, Purdue and Wisconsin. I believe they’ll beat Iowa and Purdue, lose to OSU, with the Wisconsin game a toss-up. That means MSU needs to win both of their toss-ups, or one of their toss-ups and the bowl game, which I would put $10 on. If you really wanted to play it safe, I’d go eight, but that’s why it’s called gambling. However, I just lost $80 on blackjack at the casino, thus I'm in no mood to gamble. Play it safe and go with eight wins.