Yeah, this is going to a biased assessment of the Michigan State Spartans. Sorry, but I am not going to lie to you and put on a charade, you deserve better than that and my hatred of MSU simply runs to deep for me to try and cover it up. However, if you are a State fan this shouldn’t turn you away from reading, because although I am biased, I’m also a realist who isn’t going to blow smoke up your ass like “Michigan slappy’s” tend to do to each other each pre-season. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t and I hate to do this to State fans… But the only way you are going to enjoy this football season is if you lower your expectations and I am the one who can do that for you (I am the one who knocks).
The Big Ten Championship is hosted each and every year in Indianapolis at the Lucas Oil Stadium. This year it falls on December 7th (just before plane tickets start to jump in price due to Christmas) and if you’re an MSU fan… Don’t hold your breath. I know, I know, what do I know about what it takes to make it to Indy? I’m a Michigan fan and we haven’t even come close to winning the Big Ten East since its creation 10 years ago!
Exactly. I know precisely what a losing team looks like (I’ve had 20 years of experience as a UM fan) and folks… This years MSU team is… To put it simply… Bad.*
*To be fair, they aren’t going to be bad. They are probably going to win like 6-7 games and maybe they will have some fun in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl… But hey! As a MSU fan, that’s something you can be proud of! Woot Woot!
I’m sorry that it hurts to hear that and you can call me an “idiot” all you want, but it’s the truth and trust me from experience on this one, it’s better to know now than to be shocked Week 2 when you are in a dog fight with Western Michigan. However, I’m sure your still not convinced and I sure do love to write about how “bad MSU is” so let me tell you why they aren’t exactly … Indy material.
Let’s just get this over with, Brian Lewerke is your quarterback. Let me reiterate for effect… BRIAN LEWERKE IS YOUR QUARTERBACK! (😂) I mean my god, do you really think you are destined for greatness when you have Brian “boy band”* Lewerke as your quarterback? Wake up! Stop trying to convince yourself that he sucked last year because of “injury” or that this is “the year that he puts it all together”, please for your own sanity, just accept that he is not good. Plain and simple.
*I created that nickname just now and if you are wondering how he got that nickname, just look at his haircut. (I also like the nickname “Frat boy” but it doesn’t roll of the tongue the same way as boy band.
Yes, I understand that he had that one okay season his sophomore year and yes, I understand that he beat Michigan that year. But make no mistake about it, that doesn’t make him good. His entire career he has had a top-10 defense in the country (see, I’m not biased) carrying him to victories. Just look at his stats from his “good year” in 2017:
- 20 passing td’s.
- 8 interceptions
- 2,700 passing yards.
- 59% completion percentage.
Again, that’s a “good” year. Plus, his defense was only giving up the same amount of touchdowns a game as they were forcing (2)… So his stats are a bit skewered to say the least.
But you don’t even need stats to know that Lewerke is bad, he fails the eye test in every way and the last time I checked, good/average quarterbacks don’t make plays like this (see below).
Believe it or not, I’m not sure if Brian Lewerke is actually that bad, I think he might just have the worst core of skill position players in the
entire country Big Ten. You have a solid receiver #1 in Cody White (if he’s healthy), but other than that, who the hell are these dudes?*
*Actually, I stand corrected. Lewandowski and Sowards look like a defenses worst nightmare!
Seriously though, it’s been a problem for MSU the past few years and they have struggled finding a “bell cow back” (just like Michigan). In some ways, Lewerke is really just a scapegoat for an offense that isn’t good at really any position. … … … … … And don’t tell me that Connor Heyward is a “good” back, just because someone has a dad who played in the NFL, that doesn’t mean they are good.*
*See Michael Jordan’s kids and Lebron’s son… Not Bronny, the nerdy one for reference.
The one thing that might be able to help out MSU’s lack of talent on offense, is a good coordinator and does MSU have that with former QB’s Coach Brad Salem? I’m not sure, but similar to ordering tickets for flights to Indy, if I was a State fan I wouldn’t hold my breath.
First, this will be Salem’s first time calling plays since 2009, where he was the signal caller for Augustana College, a division two school in Illinois. Since then, he has bounced around from running-backs coach to quarterbacks coach and everything in between. Maybe he is a good coordinator and he has just been getting groomed the past 10 years under offensive gurus Dave Warner and Jim Bollman. But I find that very unlikely, because last year’s offense was absolutely terrible and if they had some “offensive mastermind” on their staff there is no way that he could have sat idly by as the MSU offense ranked 104,96, and 110th in the nation the last three years.
To be fair, I don’t think I’m alone in that take and every State fan that I talk to was disappointed in Salem’s promotion. However, they always add that “Dantonio’s downfall will be his loyalty”, almost as if it’s like a bad of honor or something. Loyalty my ass! No, that my friends is what we call being the head coach at a program like MSU (no one wants to come). I mean, why else would he do this:
“Brad Salem goes from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator; Dave Warner moves from offensive coordinator back to quarterbacks coach, Mark Staten moves from offensive line coach to tight ends coach and Jim Bollman moves from co-offensive coordinator to offensive line coach. (Lansing State Journal)*
Offense isn’t the only problem that plagues this MSU team, an absolutely BRUTAL schedule might also cause a few problems. Not only does MSU play Northwestern, Ohio State, Wisconsin, & Michigan all on the road, but they also play Arizona State (who is no slouch, as you know from last year) and Penn State as well. Worst of all, the Spartans have to play these teams all of these teams within a 9 week span… It’s the definition of a “murderers row”.*
*Fun Fact: The term “murderers row” comes from the 1927 New York Yankees 1-6 batting lineup made up of: Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel, and Tony Lazzeri… The sad thing is, I think that a 40 year old, overweight, CC Sabathia could strike these guys out only throwing fastballs. Have you seen Babe Ruth’s workout regimen?
Even if MSU is entirely the real deal this year, a schedule like this won’t let them show it and don’t be surprised if MSU drops one or both of their games against ASU and Northwestern*… And if they do, this season could get ugly, quick.
*From everything I have heard, Northwestern’s QB Hunter Johnson (transfer from Clemson) is the real deal, they are my dark horse to win the Big Ten.
The jerseys are another glaring issue with this team and yes, I’m talking about those jerseys.
Listen, I know that jerseys don’t matter or whatever and that “it’s not a fashion show”, but can you honestly look at those highlighter green pants and tell me that this is a B10 Championship caliber team? Forget about it.
The lone bright spot of this team is their defense and with pre-season All-Americans Joe Bachie & Kenny Willekes healthy, I think this Spartan defense could be a top-tier defense not just in the Big Ten, but the entire country.
So what do want MSU fans, a cookie? A good defense alone doesn’t win you games, you need an entire team and sadly, you don’t have that. But don’t let that discourage you, take pride in those Tulsa/Western Michigan shutouts and keep telling yourself that “if you just had an offense you would be unstoppable!” as you lose games 10-3. Because unfortunately for you and fortunately for me, you don’t have an offense.
The one ace-in-the-hole that MSU does have this year is that it could be Dantonio’s last year and if that happens… All bets are off. I wouldn’t be surprised if MSU rolled through the Big Ten and won the Rose Bowl if that’s the case. Dantonio is a master motivator and if he had this to use as fuel, MSU might be the best team in the country. Sadly though, it doesn’t seem likely that this is Dantonio’s last go-around and if it is, then I thank him for what has been a great rivalry the past 10 years.*
*It’s just a shame that Jim Harbaugh had to you back into your place, little brother (You know that had to be in here somewhere).
Overall, this MSU team has a lot of heart and it does often times seem like Dantonio’s best seasons come when no one expects anything out of the Spartans, the only problem is that Brian Lewerke is your quarterback.
Extra Credit: I hate MSU more than anything in the world, but I can’t help but love this this video and song… It’s fire.