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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Same Old Spartans rear their ugly heads

I didn't feel like posting anything after last week's MSU loss to Notre Dame. It was a disappointing defeat, but I was proud of the way the team hung in there and kept fighting back.

This week however...

What is there to say about today's 38-30 loss to Wisconsin. Only about the worst defensive performance I've seen by a Spartan team in quite some time, and this is a program that hasn't exactly had a stellar defense since Nick Saban was coach.

The game wasn't nearly as close as the final score would have anyone believe. Wisconsin decided not to play defense in the final couple minutes, and the Spartans got a couple easy scores.

Wake me up when basketball season starts.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Just checking in with my loyal readers

It's a bright, sunny autumn Saturday here in mid-Michigan, just the type of day I absolutely love.

This post is not going to be one of any great significance, just a few random observations.

We have had very little rain here for a number of weeks, so I mowed the lawn for the first time in two weeks. Had to get the mowing in before the start of the Michigan State/Notre Dame football game at 3:30.

I don't have a read on the MSU/ND game. It's hard to get a feel for how good either one of these teams are. A recurring theme this week seems to be how embarrassing it must be for State to have lost to Central Michigan. I agree that a Big Ten team should not lose to a MAC team in its own stadium, but there is so much more parity in college football these days then I can ever remember. CMU is probably the best team in the MAC, led by an experienced and gifted quarterback. I don't think MSU's loss is as embarrassing as some may think. I just hope State can at least play a competitive game today.

I'm getting the full-court press from my four year-old, so I'm going to cut this short for now. I actually wanted to discuss a few non football related topics. Will have to wait for later.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Worst (football) fears confirmed: Central Michigan 29, Michigan State 27

I was at the game, with seats that, unfortunately, happened to be in the CMU section. They had every right to go nuts, but it sure was hard to take. Lots of "Fire Up Chips" crazies at the game, who looked like they'd been pounding the adult beverages since early Friday morning.

I'm not proud of some of my behavior during the game. I didn't get in the face of any Chip fans (thankfully), but I did blow my stack more than a few times. Let's say that some f-bombs were hurled and my MSU baseball cap took a beating from being tossed on the ground. Not cool, and I should have controlled myself. I have really got to learn not to take these games that seriously, particularly after what I went through with my son this summer. It's only a darned game, for crying out loud.

I did congratulate several CMU people after the game. In fact, I impulsively offered my ticket stub to some random guy in CMU garb whom I saw outside the stadium. He turned it down. Then it occurred to me that Michelle H., who works at the downtown Lansing library and has a daughter in the CMU marching band, should receive this ticket stub as a memento.

I should also mention that, nice guy that I REALLY am (honestly!), I took several photos of the CMU marching band for Michelle.

Hats off to the Central Michigan football team. Those guys came not just to compete, but to win. That team runs the spread offense as well as any team I have seen, and Dan LeFevour is a great quarterback. I have seen enough CMU games over the last three years to know the skills that this young man brings to the table. Don't be a bit surprised if you see him playing in the NFL next year.

Having written all that, MSU played a poor game. Way too many untimely penalties (most glaringly on CMU's first attempt at the winning field goal. If MSU doesn't jump offside, the game is over).

Just an awful game in so many ways for the Spartans. Muffed onside kick anyone? Ugh! (My sight angle of that kick was terrible, and I've heard from those who had a better view that it was one of the best onside kicks they've ever seen. CMU executed to perfection the entire game-- MSU not so much).

Kirk Cousins earned the starting quarterback job as far as I'm concerned. So maybe that controversy will end. Nichol is definitely more mobile, and showed some of his quick moves, but also had some godawful throws.

Where was Greg Jones today? (Turns out he had 15 tackles in the game--how did I not notice?). Perhaps a better question is why were our defensive backs abused all day, why was our offensive line manhandled by Central? Terribly, terrible frustrating.

We need Joel Nitchman to get healthy for next week's game against Notre Dame. Can't underestimate the importance of a fifth year senior center anchoring your offensive line.

Need to keep things somewhat in perspective. Cousins and Nichol are still relative greenhorns. Baker and Caper are freshman and will hit those holes better as time goes on. Dion Sims is also a freshman and will improve.

Blair White sure does remind me of Kirk Gibson. I love the way that kid plays and would love to see him get a chance to take his game to the next level. He should be a true inspiration to any athlete who is ever told that he or she is "not good enough." Just great to see a one-time walk-on become a star of a major college football team.

CMU's receivers made some phenomenal catches today. I was very impressed with them.

Hope for better things next week against Notre Dame.

The Chips are in town

Just a quick post before I head over to Spartan Stadium for today's game against the Central Michigan Chippewas.

Call me crazy, but the Chips scare me. They must be better than what they showed last week against Arizona. Dan Lefevour is a good quarterback and I know he's better than last week's performance.

The Spartans need to take these guys seriously, and I think they will. But in the event that State is looking ahead to Notre Dame, it could be a long afternoon.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Michigan State 44, Montana State 3

Last year, I devoted a post to almost all of Michigan State's football games. Why not make it a tradition?

I don't know that we can take much from the Spartans' first game of the 2009 campaign. I thought both Kirk Cousins and Keith Nichol looked good at quarterback, but would give a slight edge to Cousins. His passing was a bit crisper, but Nichol definitely brings elusiveness and speed. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see them split equal time again next week, when State takes on Central Michigan.

The receiving corps looked quite good. B.J. Cunningham had a nice game, and Blair White impressed me yet again. He's got the best hands of all of them, and is fast.

The real stunner for me was Dion Sims at tight end. I see him listed at 6'5" and 230 pounds, but he looks bigger than that--and, wow, does he have speed for a big guy. This kid is going to be fun to watch.

The running game was solid if unspectacular. I don't know if that was a result of Montana State picking its poison and committing more to stopping the run. Caulton Ray had some nice runs, and both Edwin Baker and Larry Caper showed flashes of brilliance. It's probably going to be running back by committee for the year, which isn't necessarily a bad thing when you have running backs with the raw ability that Ray, Baker, Caper, and Winston bring to the table. I'm a little concerned with the run blocking of the offensive line. Hopefully, center Joel Nitchman is okay after sustaining some sort of leg injury in the game. State needs a healthy offensive line.

The Spartans respected Montana State and came ready to play. Overall, the execution was pretty good (although Dantonio looked rather pained at times in the second half) and State picked up a solid victory. We'll know a lot more about this team next week against Central Michigan.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The act you've known for all these years...is back

Unless you've been living under a large rock, you're probably aware that the Beatles' catalog will be reissued on CD on September 9, and that "The Beatles: Rock Band" video game will be coming out that same day. Perhaps I'm betraying my age, but I'm not that excited about "The Beatles: Rock Band" (although I must admit that the more I read about it, the more fun it sounds), but I am rather excited about the remastered music.

I don't think I've mentioned in this blog before, but I am a Beatles nerd--not one of those "uber-nerds" who, say, owns every single Beatles vinyl, cassette, and compact disc release (Capitol and Parlophone, mono and stereo), every single bootleg recording, has read every single Beatles book, and has every wall in the home plastered with Beatles posters and other memorabilia --but I am perhaps the next level below that extreme peak of Fab Four geekdom. I've got about 20 vinyl Beatles LPs (two copies each of Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper, "the White Album," and Abbey Road. (And, as you can see, I'm a big enough nerd not to put "the White Album" in italics since, as we all know, it's not the official name of that release). In addition to the albums, I own about 15 or so books related to the Beatles (I haven't counted). I stop short at filling the house with Beatle knicknacks and figurines, and I don't own any Beatles bootleg recordings (although, for a time, I had a few that I taped from a friend. During one of my cassette purges, I threw them out).

I also have all of the original 1987 versions of the Beatles CDs, along with 1999's Yellow Submarine Songtrack, the (underwhelming) Let it Be...Naked, and all three volumes of the Anthology, and I even have the fun but not necessarily essential Beatles at the BBC. (I've never bothered to acquire the Beatles' "Red" and "Blue" greatest hits collections on CD, nor The Beatles 1 collection that came out several years back. I thought the Love thing that came out a few years ago was an abomination, so I never bothered with that one either). My quandary now is that, after already investing so much money in purchasing the Beatles' principle canon of music, which of these reissues should I snag? I'm looking at probably Pepper and Revolver, and finances allowing, taking it from there. There's no way I can go all out and pick up the stereo and/or mono box sets. That's financially out of the question.

I will tune in again on Brainsplotch after September 9 with my impressions as to how much better these remasters are compared to the 1987 versions.