Tag Archives: Big Ten Championship

You will be the ones

Let’s talk about Mark Dantonio, Big Ten Coach of the year for the second time in three years. 40 wins in four years. Two Big Ten Championship Games in three seasons.

Mark Dantonio took a beleaguered and pathetic Michigan State football team and made it a Big Ten powerhouse. He took a program barely treading water since the departure of Nick Saban and gave it life, and more than life, a personality, an identity and a belief system. He’s got guts. He believe in defense. He knows the power of the underdog. He takes coal and turns it into diamonds.

He brooks no nonsense. His first season at Michigan State, he announced the Big Ten wouldn’t have MSU to kick around anymore. His “pride comes before the fall” quote is the most famous from his 2007 post-Michigan presser, but the real takeaway is this, “I’m telling them it’s not over…It’s not over and it will never be over here. It’s just starting.” After that first loss, Dantonio has gone 5-1 against Michigan.

Dantonio draws the ire of a lot of Big Ten fans for his shortness, his scowl and his grumpy demeanor. Next question.

But for MSU fans, Dantonio is a savior, the perfect fit for a program that was on its way to sinking to Purdue-levels of suckitude. For those of use who sat through John L, Bobby Williams, et al, Dantonio is a breath of fresh air, a coach who cares deeply about winning and shows it. More than that, he has the guts to ask “Why not us?” Why NOT Michigan State? Big Ten Champs? In the Rose Bowl? National Championships? Why not us?

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Filed under Big Ten, College Football, Football, Hype, MSU, P4RB, Posted by Sarah, Rose Bowl?, Video

Out of the Darkness: The Big Ten Championship

Sarah used that phrase when talking about my reflections of the MSU football teams through the years and I thought it would be most appropriate for this post.

I have gone over what I was going to say about a million times since the end of the game on Saturday. I didn’t want to write something when I was angry; I wanted to be able to sort out my feelings first. Needless to say, it was an emotional roller coaster of the worst kind.

I had the opportunity to attend the Big Ten Championship game on Saturday and it was a ridiculously incredible experience. I must say, Indianapolis put on an incredible show. The city was clean, easy to navigate, and filled with Big Ten fans from every team (yep, we saw all of them…even Minnesota! Dedicated.). I arrived super early (about 11.30 ish) for the 8.17 game. We wanted to do everything and have the opportunity to soak it all in. The first mission? Find Dan Patrick and the Dannettes. I listen to the Dan Patrick show every day. It’s on air from 9am-12pm and it’s the best sports talk show on the radio. They were all going to be there with the Heisman trophy and as people I admire, I was looking forward to meeting them.

We found the Sports Illustrated tent right away and not long after some dreams came true. Below are pictures of me with the Dannettes:

Fifth Dannette?

And my idol, Dan Patrick:

Bang biscuit.

I know that’s not really relevant to the actual game, but they were all super nice and absolutely gracious toward every single person they met. I said this on Twitter, but it’s worth repeating: it’s so awesome to meet people you admire and have them turn out to be better people than you ever could have imagine. Kudos to you Dan and Seton, Paulie, Fritzy, and McLovin. It was incredible to meet you.

Now, on to the less happy portion of this post.

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Filed under Big Ten, Big Ten Title Game, College Football, Football, MSU, Posted by Sara

Between the hashes: Big Ten Title game

The matchup: YOUR Michigan State Spartans vs. the Wisconsin Badgers

Kickoff: 8:17 p.m., Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

The Line: Wisconsin by 10

It’s now about 12 hours before kickoff in one of the biggest games of the past decade for Michigan State football, but apparently no one told the Big Ten that Wisconsin is already going to the Rose Bowl, because they’re still insisting on holding the game.

Denicos Allen celebrates a sack of Russel Wilson. (Photo LSJ)

In a detail unrelated to any of the football analysis that follows, I got in the car last night and someone on sports radio was talking about how Wisconsin was going to win. Fine. But when posed with the question, “How can MSU pull this off (again)?” said talking head replied with “Well, they’ll have to play good defense, and they’ll have to do it without cheating.” Look here sir. That defense gave up the fewest yards per game in the Big 10. Yes, even fewer than Wisconsin. They had no penalties in the first matchup. Just because you saw a YouTube video of William Gholston trying to give Denard Robinson a Swedish neck massage does not mean Michigan State has a defense full of cheaters. They have a defense full of beasts and head hunters.

On to the matchup! There are a few key points that will determine the outcome of this game, and I’m going to dig into them below. Quick summary: Running game, non-offensive scoring, pass pressure and emotional magnitude.

Key to victory 1: The running game. One thing most people seem to agree on is that running the ball will be of the utmost importance in this game. For the Spartans, this means they need to execute the running game better than they have at times this season and contain Montee “Moneyball” Ball. The key to Michigan State getting some significant yardage on the ground is it’s young offense line, which has recently shaped up into a decent blocking unit. If Le’veon Bell can get in the neighborhood of 100 yards, it should do wonders for the Spartans passing game and offensive rhythm.

On the other side of the ball, Michigan State needs to exploit Wisconsin’s somewhat patchwork offensive line (more on this later). Montee Ball is a strong, tough back, but not extremely explosive and if MSU can take away the inside, Wisconsin will be forced to work him to the edges of the field, where he can be dangerous, but not lethal.

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Filed under Big Ten, Big Ten Title Game, College Football, Football, MSU, P4RB, Posted by Sarah, Rose Bowl?

P4RB: Who wins? We win!

Hype Day 5. Here we have a great roll of 2010 highlights, including Captain Kirk pumping up the team before kickoff. This video also features one of our favorite parts of the past two years DENARD SMAAAAAAAAAAAAASH.

Real talk though, I recently relocated from Michigan to Minnesota, and this is undoubtedly Badger Country (The Wisconsin border is about 1.5 hours away, and roughly 25 to 50 percent of people in the area are Madison grads.) Nothing would bring me more pleasure than to put up an MSU Rose Bowl pennant in my office next week. Today, I’m just decked out this season’s lucky St. Louis Final Four shirt. Stay tuned for a real analysis of this matchup later today, but until then, go Green!

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Filed under Big Ten, Big Ten Title Game, College Football, Football, MSU, NCAA, P4RB, Posted by Sarah, Rose Bowl?, Video

Flashback: MSU, 49-Wisconsin 14

For your daily Big Ten Championship game pump up video, we give you Your Michigan State Spartans spoiling the 2004 Badgers run at the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin came into East Lansing ranked #5, with bushels of roses in tow. MSU running back Jehuu Caulcrick said after MSU’s 49-14 drubbing of Wisky, the MSU players took the roses to some of EL’s finest drinking establishments.

Fun fact: Both Sara G. and I were in attendance for this game, but neither of us have very clear memories of it. Freshman year football season is one big blur. We at Sports Squared would like to take this time to point out some fine facts about the five Bielma/Dantonio matchups.

  • In the five times MSU/Wisconsin have met with these two as head coach, MSU leads the series 3-2
  • The margins of victory in these games: 3,1, 8,10, 6.
  • Edge to the home team in every match up.

Wrapping up, congrats to Kirk Cousins for making the finalists list for the Manning Award. Wisconsin’s Russel Wilson also a finalist.

We’d also like to acknowledge that Mark Dantonio was robbed of his second consecutive Big 10 coach of the year award today. That award went to Brady Hoke.

P4RB and as always, Go Green!

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Filed under Big Ten, Big Ten Title Game, College Football, Football, MSU, P4RB, Posted by Sarah, Rose Bowl?