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Thursday, December 5, 2013

MSU FOOTBALL FRONT BURNER: B1G Championship Game Edition Part 3. Time for Dessert.

Our weekly feature on MSU Football brings diverse responses to
a variety of questions related to the Spartans program. 


Panelist Responses (Part 3):

MSUSpartan76 Bonus Question: 
You have the most read post on this web site. In that post you discuss the myth of the widening recruiting gap that UM supposedly enjoys over MSU and statistically supported the facts that the gap is, in fact, shrinking. Without sending you on an a multi-day research project, can you comment about the recruiting gap or trends for Ohio State vs. MSU, even in general terms?

It does not take a multi-day research to get to the answer. A quick scan of tO$U class rankings was all that was needed. tO$U and UoLM have recruiting class rankings that pretty much track each other year by year, generally in the top 20 or better ( The analysis of the MSU recruiting versus UoLM directly applies to tO$U versus MSU. MSU is closing the gap on all of the top ranked school. Coach Dantonio and his staff are not making the news by getting celebrity recruits but year by year are getting better and better classes of players. The best part is, the kids they sign buy into the program, plan to stay for 4 years, commit to improving themselves and contributing to the success of the team/program without consideration of personal glory or gain.

Have you noticed that the chUMps have been a little quiet of late, ever since their No. 2 recruit broke covenant with Coach Hoax and decided to go on some official visits to other school. Funny how Coach Hoax has decided to bend the rule in this case, the rule being a kid who talks to other schools or goes for visits is no longer considered a UoLM commit.

ATownAndDown Bonus Question: 
I saw something about Bennie Fowler possibly getting an extra year of eligibility. That would be huge - every receiver coming back? Can you fill us on what you know? Has Lawrence Thomas been limited enough to get a sixth year (if he even needs it)? 

Fowler's ability to comeback next season is a good thing. Calling it huge is a little premature because I think that is based on his ability to take that next step. He got off to a rough start and was nicked up for a few games. He has been our most explosive receiver and obviously the best receiver with a nose for the endzone.  But he isn't exactly blowing last years results out of the water. If Fowler takes a step forward and becomes a guy that can pull over 50 catches (maybe push 60) then you are looking at a real weapon for an offense that might have to step up its game with the defense losing a few key guys.

As far as LT goes, I think he does not get a 6th year and that is for a couple reasons. First and foremost, while LT hasn't been a huge contributor because of the emergence of guys like Knox and Scarpinato at the DT spots while he was absent, he has played in the last five games. I believe in order to qualify for a 6th year you have to have played in less than a third of the teams games and none of those games can be in the second half. Even if he sits out the last two games 5 of 14 is over one-third and all five came after game 7. But the second reason why I don't see that happening is back in the Spring we heard Coach Narduzzi say that LT had the talent to be an All-B1G player and recently Coach D said that even if LT could get a 6th year, he would never see it because he would leave for the NFL before it came to fruition. Basically, LT is a guy that, once he gets healthy and gets an opportunity, is going to put the world on notice of his talent. I have not heard the coaches speak so highly of any player for us over their tenure here and there have been some really quality players that have come through. And if it is all smoke it makes little sense to play him in the fashion they have and not hold him out for that potential sixth season of eligibility.

The guy that I have not heard much about that I think can pick up an extra year is Jairus Jones. He only played in the first four games this year and has been shut down. LB's are losing Bullough and Allen. Secondary is losing Dennard and Lewis. Jones being back in the mix for one more year can really be a nice addition to the defense and boost the LB corps and aid in pass coverage too. I was really impressed with his impact at that new spot when he played this year. I would love to see him come back and end his career on a high note.

SpartanMan82 Bonus Question: 
How about that Mike Griffith of MLive? Even though he ranked MSU higher than most in the polls, the headlines of his articles on the Spartan team still seem to be like back-handed compliments, if not outright denigration. Who does this guy think he is?

He seems to think he is "above" his current assignment, apparently because he thinks the SEC is "all that and more". He is like Drew Sharp without the high intelligence. He makes factual errors in his stories on a regular basis, and says dUMb things like the MSU Defense this year can't be remembered as the best-ever unless the team as a whole is selected by a political process to play in a certain bowl.

He's not the brightest bulb in the lamp, and he tries to make up for his obvious deficits by baiting his readers with controversial claims against the home team. He has a poor grasp of the subject matter for which he is responsible. He offers no relevant insights, as he has none.

Mike Griffith appears to be a run-of-the-mill sports-dork who has risen to his own level of incompetence. To cover for his lack of substance, he takes shots at the home team with back-handed compliments, mixed reviews, and subtle innuendo. There is no point in reading his articles about MSU sports.

[Be sure to read comments for more opinions on this topic, including A-Town's reply to SM82.]


Part 1 Questions (Previous Edition):
1. It was the Michigan football players who started the on-field brawl in their game against Ohio STATE, yet only a single UM player was penalized in any way. This, despite multiple Wolverines who ran onto the field, several of whom made physical contact with Buckeyes. How does Michigan come out of this ugly incident relatively clean, while Ohio STATE is made to look like the bad guys?

2. MSU Punter, Mike Sadler was clearly roughed near the end of the Minnesota game, yet no penalty was called. This feels similar to the bogus pass-interference calls made against the Spartans at Notre Dame, and the multiple non-calls that should have been made against Taylor Lewan in the Michigan game. Do you believe that Michigan State plays on a level field when it comes to Big Tens referees and/or administrators? 

3. The Buckeye Defense looks pretty vulnerable this season, but what can MSU do about the Ohio STATE Offense? Miller and Hyde look pretty damn good. Give your best guess at the point total to be scored by the Buckeyes.

Part 2 Questions (Previous Edition):
4. What under reported developments, plays or story-lines have you observed since our last Front-Burner?

5. Despite the great season in progress, Mark Dantonio has not been able to register measurable gains in recruiting, at least according to the five-star-system used to rate high school players. On the other hand, Langford and Lippett came in as three-star "athletes", and Dennard and Waynes arrived as two-star recruits. Do the benefits of a season most likely show up with high school juniors more than the current class of seniors? Do you care at all about the recruiting rankings for Michigan State?

Click here for Part 1 panelist responses.
Click here for Part 2 panelist responses

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  1. SM82, While I agree with much of your insight I have a few observations. These are not meant to be excuses or a defense for Griffith.

    The world has changed for the media. It has transformed from writers trying to put together quality pieces that would find front page exposure by their editors to a world that a writers value is based on the number of clicks and reader interaction. With that in mind wouldn't factual errors, dumb statements, and other inflammatory tactics be more likely to incite clicks and interaction? If you read an article with a factual error, you are more likely to post a comment correcting the error than you would post a comment congratulating the writer on his quality article, right?

    While the true quality of Griffith or any writer in today's media age is debatable, I think a lot of what he does is simply to drive those analytics. Griffith has been very transparent with his voting throughout the season. He has consistently had voted MSU higher than his articles would seem to indicate. In fact he voted MSU 6th this week and that is tied for the highest ranking we got. Also, when interacting with him in real time (in person or live chat) he takes a vastly different tone than he does in so many of his articles. In fact, I have called him out before for saying something contrary to one his previous articles during one of the live chats. He ignored the comment but its just going to show that he might not believe everything he writes.

    Is he the greatest journalist of all time? Probably not. Is he decent journalist that is simply working the system to boost interactions? Might be. Remember we live in an age where guys with quality insight into sports are being bumped by guys like Skip Bayless and Colin Cowherd that admit that they say some things just to be inflammatory.

    1. ATown, thanks for your insights! You make some good points, as always.

      I know I'm being harsh on Griffith, but maybe I'm just doing it to stimulate page-views. (Ha-ha!) Actually, if he can be sour on MSU, I figure I can be rough with him. Besides, everybody has an opinion on Drew Sharp, and nobody holds back on him, so I'm just blowing the early whistle on Griffith.

      For the record, JOE REXRODE does an excellent job on a regular basis, and has done so for about a decade. The greatest sports writer that nobody knows about is MIKE LOPRESTI of the Associated Press. And there are still a few living legends like FRANK DEFORD that set the bar so high that guys like Griffith will always work in their shadows.

    2. I'd like to add LYNN HENNING to the list. He first popped up as the Lansing State Journal sports columnist in the late 1970s, and I don't have his resume' handy, but he's obviously been with the Detroit News for quite some time. He has a great column on Dantonio, and I would have to say he's probably a better "columnist" than Rexrode, though Joe is the all-time best Reporter.

      Here is is the Henning column link:

    3. I'm also not a member of the "MITCH ALBOM IS GOD" cult, since he wrote a book glorifying the Felonious Five just a short time before the FBI stepped in. Always thought that must have been a bit awkward for Mitch.

      Now that Michigan is off Probation for football, and the decade-long ban on Chris Webber is off the UM docket, does that mean that Albom gets to write a second book, focusing on the life and times of Ed Martin?

      Sometimes I get the idea we should call them the "University of Mitch-Again", if you catch my drift.

      (So I guess you could say I compared Mike Griffith to Mitch Albom.)

  2. ATown, good insights about Thomas, looking forward to that development, as it would greatly surprise the chUMp skeptics. Also a neat observation about Jones, hope you're right about that one, too.

    A football player becomes ineligible for a medical red-shirt when they play in a game that is more than ONE-THIRD of way into the regular season total. That's four games for football, so LT is not a candidate, but potentially JJ is, so we should watch for news on that and not be surprised because you told us first.

    Damion Terry could have played in our fourth game and still gotten a medical redshirt as long as he stubbed his toe in practice later on and sat out a few days. (Look at Devin Gardner, about to get his sixth year, as he only played in the first few games of the season as a redshirt freshman.)

    I believe the marking point is ONE-FOURTH for basketball. By my count, this means that Schilling and/or Ellis could have redshirted this season if only they hadn't played last night. Or perhaps, they are on the cusp right now, and could still do so if they don't play again this season. Not saying that will happen, because they already said they weren't going to sit out this year, but just pointing out the timing for basketball that applies to every season.

    Basically, all players get a free shot for a few games at the beginning of each season, as the NCAA has determined that it is incapable (and/or unwilling) to attempt strict enforcement and rules compliance for validating minor to moderate injuries for thousands of players annually.


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