Buckeyes

Know Your Opponent: Michigan State Spartans

Crying Jordan Spartans

Welcome back to Know Your Opponent! Each week during the season we shed some light on the Buckeyes’ opponent, examining their record, traditions, mascot, famous alumni and anything else we think is worth making fun of. This week – The Spartans of Michigan State University!

I will point you back to last year’s KYO for all the items that have not changed like mascot, coach, traditions and famous alumni. With that stuff covered, we’ll enjoy a deeper look into MSU’s brutal fall from grace this season. Let’s start with this hype video, titled “Back2Back.” The irony of that title is palpable.

FBS Stats: Unranked (stats from Sports Illustrated)

  • Points per Game: 149th
  • Yards per Game: 104th
  • Points Allowed per Game: 114th
  • Yards Allowed per Game: 74th

Known for their defense under Mark Dantonio, this season the Spartans are decidedly below-average on that side of the ball. It looks like the chips on their shoulders were not enough to keep them from imploding this year. This is what they deserve for last year, not because they beat Ohio State, but because they eked out that last-minute win over Michigan which kept us out of the B1G Championship. I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of both teams, not that I needed any more reasons to dislike the state of Michigan. Yeah, they had a bunch of injuries as well, but making fun of college kids getting hurt playing a meaningless game is not where I want to go. Alas, I will just pretend it’s karma and Mark Dantonio falling from grace. Smile, dude.

Mascot: See last year’s KYO for all you need to know about Sparty, MSU’s misnamed Roman Legionnaire mascot.

So, I had a great time at the OSU-Maryland game last week. I got a free ticket from a pal, but since he was in a booth with his family, I was on my own down with the plebes. It was legitimately 60/40 Buckeyes fans there, and I had no trouble making friends. There are only a few situations on earth where you can you walk up to complete strangers and make instant acquaintances, all because you root for the same team. That’s the beauty of sports, I think, besides the distraction from our terrible lives and the dystopian hellhole our country is soon to become.

2016 Record: 3-7, 6th in B1G East

The Spartans have wins over Furman (??), Notre Dame, and lowly Rutgers. The ND win would mean a lot more if that wasn’t another school going through a historically terrible season. Their losses came from Wisconsin, Indiana, BYU, Northwestern, Maryland (lol), Michigan, and Illinois (lol). This is pretty pathetic, folks. Northwestern and Indiana are always a threat, but losing to Maryland and Illinois?

The great Mark Dantonio has to be feeling the heat through the seat of his pants, and I’m OK with that. I was as bad as anyone at this last year, but it’s great to see MSU lose their “loveable scamp” status. I think I was blinded by Dantonio’s Ohio ties and the fact they’re not UM; anyone looks like a hero compared to the deranged Jim Harbaugh. These guys are wounded, but still dangerous. They’ve spoiled more Buckeyes seasons lately than I’d care to count (2), and cannot be overlooked.

Coach: See last season’s KYO for all you need to know about Sam the Eagle stand-in, Mark Dantonio. Let’s check out this musical journey through the Mark Dantonio era at Michigan State, “Big Stick,” a line Dantonio stole from Teddy Roosevelt, just like he’s been stealing third-rate recruits from Ohio that Urban Meyer passed over.

Silly Traditions: One more time!

Check out Sparty’s highlights from last season:

Famous Alumni: OK I lied, one more time for real!

Here’s another unfortunately named 2016 hype video, “Redemption”:

Spartans currently in the NFL (25 total):

Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh

Max Bullough, LB, Houston

Aaron Burbridge, WR, San Francisco

Shilique Calhoun, LB, Oakland

Garrett Celek, TE, San Francisco

Donavon Clark, G, San Diego

Jack Conklin, OT, Tennessee

Connor Cook, QB, Oakland

Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington

Darqueze Dennard, CB, Cincinnati

Kurtis Drummond, S, Houston

Bennie Fowler, WR, Denver

William Gholston, DE, Tampa Bay

Joel Heath, DE, Houston

Brian Hoyer, QB, Chicago

Taiwan Jones, LB, New York Jets

Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago

Tony Lippett, CB, Miami

Keith Mumphery, WR, Houston

Domata Peko, DT, Cincinnati

Dion Sims, TE, Miami

Drew Stanton, QB, Arizona

Lawrence Thomas, DE, New York Jets

Trae Waynes, CB, Minnesota

Jerel Worthy, DE, Buffalo

Despite being a smarmy asshole, and how terrible his dad is, it is good to see ol’ Connor Cook join the ranks of perpetual backup quarterbacks. Word is he slipped mightily in the draft because of attitude problems and negative feedback from his teammates—it’s super rare to not have a starting quarterback ever be voted team captain. As it turns out, in a team game, you can’t be an asshole forever and get away with it.

Other recent Spartan additions to the NFL’s ranks include Max Bullough, Aaron Burbridge, Shilique Calhoun and Jack Conklin, all playmakers from last year. This may explain some of their issues this season. They should have reloaded, not rebuilt.

Noteworthy Players:

Current Spartans of note include cornerback Darian Hicks, defensive back Demetrious Cox, backup QB and Ohio native Messiah deWeaver, backup QB Colar Kuhns, backup QB Brian Lewerke, wide receiver Felton Davis III, WR Frank Epitropoulos, linebacker Dante Razzano, defensive lineman Enoch Smith Jr., guard Collin Caflisch, center Devyn Salmon, offensive tackle Cole Chewins, offensive lineman Chase Gianacakos, OL Thiyo Lukusa, WR Brock Makaric, and WR Monty Madaris.

These quarterback names keep getting better and better as this season moves towards its culmination. Though a fourth-stringer, Messiah deWeaver hits that sweet spot between religious savior and Dutch nationalist leader that we all look for in a QB. I see big things in this young man’s future.

Prediction:

Here’s how I stand for the year:

BGSU: Predicted 43-7, Actual 77-10

TULSA: Predicted 45-21, Actual 48-3

OKLAHOMA: Predicted 33-28, Actual 45-24

RUTGERS: Predicted 50-14, Actual 58-0

INDIANA: Predicted 48-14, Actual 38-17

WISCONSIN: Predicted 35-28, Actual 30-23

PENN STATE: Predicted 45-14, Actual 21-24

NORTHWESTERN: Predicted 34-10, Actual 24-20

WISCONSIN: Predicted 24-21, Actual: Actual: 62-3

NEBRASKA: Predicted 24-21, Actual: 62-3

MARYLAND: Predicted 55-7, Actual: 62-3

So, I just now realized the scores were the exact same for our games against Nebraska and Maryland. Weird. How about Michigan not losing when we need them to, just like last year?

I tend to side with J.T. Barrett and Pat Eiflein in finding it extremely difficult and tasteless to ever root for Michigan, even when it’s in our best interest, but if there was one goddamn time I needed those jerks to come through, this was it. Can you imagine a B1G champion Penn State? I shudder to think of it, but that’s how things are looking at this point, if PSU wins out and can get through Wisconsin. We’ll see what happens. We just need to sweep the whole goddamn state of Michigan and go from there. With that said, this week I expect the Buckeyes to get the win, somewhere in the vicinity of 42-14, but I’ll take another blowout!

That’s it for this week, Buckeyes fans! Stay safe, have a good time, and go Buckeyes!