This is my second college football post of 2012 and will be the last until the season starts in September. Luckily, it will be a good one.
Sparty’s consolation after losing the inaugural Big 10 conference title game to Wisconsin was an invitation to play Georgia in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida. Initially, I was a bit pissed that a roughing the kicking call essentially kept my Spartans from playing in the Rose Bowl for the first time in nearly 25 years, but I came to the realization that I should be happy with the fact that they weren’t playing in the GoDaddy.com Bowl or What The Hell Are We Doing Here Classic.
I won’t bother giving you a game recap; you can find that here: MSU/UGA recap. What I do have to say, however, is that the win made me proud to be an alum and fan of Michigan State University. After last year’s debacle in the Capital One Bowl, I’m sure there were more than a few people who felt as if Georgia would blast Sparty the way Alabama did last year. However, games are played on the field and not on blogs and other sports websites.
In my opinion, the expectations for the 2011 Spartans weren’t high, despite an 11-win 2010 team. But, then came DT Jerel Worthy. And QB Kirk Cousins. WR BJ Cunningham, RBs Edwin Baker and Le’Veon Bell, LB Max Bullard, DB Trenton Robinson, WR Keshawn Martin, DE William Gholston, KR/PR Nick Hill and the rest of the gang played their part in a second consecutive 11-win season, too.
Two blowout wins were followed by a blowout loss to Notre Lame. Then, 4 straight wins–including consecutive wins over Wisconsin, Ohio St. and Michigan–were followed by a blowout loss to Nebraska. 4 more consecutive wins and then the conference title game loss to Wisconsin. The win against Wisconsin had arguably the greatest ending I’ve ever seen. A win over Ohio St. is always good, no matter the score. And a win over Michigan is the greatest thing a MSU alum can experience short of winning the lottery. This was just a great fucking season, all in all. Sure, I think that Sparty is better than Notre Lame and Nebraska, and that those two losses kept them out of the national title or “BCS automatic qualifier” hunt. However, there was once a time when 11 wins for Sparty’s football team was damn near inconceivable. The defense was beastly most of the year and Cousins and Co. did their part to ensure that the defensive unit’s efforts didn’t go for naught. When Dantonio wasn’t frustrating the entire hell out of me with his back-asswards play-calling, he shut me up with his focus and penchant for calling the perfect trick play at the most opportune of times. Defensive coordinator Tom Narduzzi’s “60 minutes of unnecessary roughness” quote after the Michigan game will forever live on in MSU lore. Worthy was a 1st-team All-American. Cousins was more clutch than clutz. Bell took over when Baker wasn’t getting it done. Cunningham, Bullard and Gholston were manly. Martin wowed. I…I…loved this team.
Can’t wait for the 2012 season. On the banks of the Red Cedar/There’s a school that’s known to all…