Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fair or Foul: Judging Week 1 Criticisms

One thing Michigan and MSU fans like is winning.
But, perhaps even more, they like seeing the other lose.
This week made for plenty of trash talk from both sides to the other. As an impartial party, here is what trash talk is fair and what is foul.

Argument from MSU Fans: Michigan was exposed as frauds in 41-14 loss to Alabama
Michigan wasn’t exposed as frauds in this game. Many level-headed people expected this game to be lopsided. As much as we would like to think the Big Ten is on par with any conference in the country, it isn’t. Alabama would dominate all but USC, LSU and Oregon (in my opinion) and that may even be a stretch for those three teams. I am sorry Spartan fans, but MSU wouldn’t have looked much better. The Spartan defense might have put up a better fight, but the MSU offense would have looked just as ugly. Let’s not forget that Michigan State gave up 30 points to Georgia last season, an offense that is not nearly as strong up front as Alabama. Also, the Tide rolled the Spartans 49-7 in 2010. The fact is, Michigan isn’t in Alabama’s league, but few are. VERDICT: FOUL

Argument from Michigan Fans: MSU could barely beat Boise State and that is a sign the Spartans are weak
Similar to MSU fans not giving enough credit to Alabama, Michigan fans aren’t giving enough credit to Boise State. Is this Boise State team the greatest in the Broncos’ history? No, but Chris Peterson has developed a tremendous program. He is now 73-7 as coach at Boise. You don’t get that record without developing strong talent and knowing how to win. I still think Boise State puts up another 10-win season this year. Also, MSU only won 17-13, but the Spartans made that more of a game than Boise did. MSU outgained Boise State 461-206. The Michigan State defense was dominant and the offense moved the ball consistently. The Spartans jut decided to turn the ball over four times and make a game of it. It’s easy for Michigan fans to say it played a tougher opponent this week, which it clearly did, but I am not sure Michigan beats Boise State in the opener if the two played. VERDICT: FOUL

Argument from MSU Fans: Michigan’s loss points to the Wolverines struggling with the Spartans this season
I don’t think there is a big secret on how to beat Michigan. If a team can contain Denard Robinson and make him a passer, the Wolverines struggle. The key is having the players and the speed on defense to do that. Not many teams have that combination. Clearly Alabama does, and I think history proves Michigan State does as well. Wolverine fans had to be hoping to see better passing and decision making from Robinson after an offseason of work. He is still limited as a passer and that could be a problem when Michigan runs into the top teams in the Big Ten, including MSU. VERDICT: FAIR

Argument from Michigan Fans: MSU fans have a big head
The Spartans are feeling pretty good about things after this week. MSU beat a ranked opponent to open the season and still can get better while Michigan got rolled by Alabama on national television. Nobody revels in a Michigan loss quite like the Spartan fans. MSU is taking great joy in being in a position of power in this rivalry. The Spartan fans are now treating Michigan fans as they felt they were treated for so many years. Michigan fans need to deal with it, because they will be doing the same if the tide turns back in their favor. There are still plenty of Wolverine fans that are trying to dismiss Michigan State as relevant in their lives, but we all know that isn’t true. To MSU fans, I can understand your joy and eagerness to rub any Michigan failures in their face, but as Mark Dantonio said, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” Be prepared for the backlash to come if Michigan rights the ship. So, while I think the taunting is warranted, MSU fans are probably getting a little ahead of themselves. VERDICT: FAIR

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