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Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Wow. What a strange college football off-season. In the past, there was a sense of unfinished business, the need to right the wrongs of the past season and even decades of MSU football (or chUMp mythology), the need to scratch and claw for progress - for that seat at the table, for respect.

In the past, I eagerly awaited each verbal commitment from a recruit and kicked the dirt when programs from out of state or Ann Arbor scored on a kid "we" wanted. I would follow the National Signing Day (why is that capitalized nowadays?) as if it were a crystal ball into the future of the Spartan program. Every transfer, surgery, rehab, off-field transgression, or news of a kid being "a beast" meant something to me. Every negative or positive article about Spartans football or spring practice, and every reader comment, every inaccurate perception, every lie or painful truth increased or decreased the chances of getting more/better recruits - at least in my mind. It was dramatic, fun and maddening all at once. Then summer would arrive and I would long for fall to rush in, introducing a new Spartans football team and a new hope that all would righted "this year" with a magical season (which to me meant more/better recruits again). It was a vicious, seemingly never ending annual cycle.

Then, on January 1, 2014, at the culmination of 2013 football season, our coach, Mark Dantonio, uttered the words that crushed the head of that crazy, ongoing, MSU football fan grind - that grind which almost became my identity and was the very soul for thousands of Spartans fans. Coach D was asked what the Rose Bowl victory (and by default, the whole magical season) meant. His answer? "Completion. Completion." He said it twice as if to stomp on the head of the snake and then to grind it into the ground, leaving no doubt - that the evil annual ritual was dead.

Or does it only seem like that? 

This off season was different for me. I was not attached to every move, every development, verbal commitment, NSD, spring practice, the manufactured drama of summer news posts about "my" team or that other team. For the first time, I'm not really sure I'm ready for it to all start again. It has been so peaceful, so... complete. No longer does success at MSU seem like a temporary experience. No longer do Spartans need to put chUMps in their place when they rear their arrogant heads and say something stupid. They are already in their place. Even most chUMps are asking fellow chUMps to dUMp the Little Brother references (although we all know it will be quick to re-appear at the first opportunity). No longer does the perception of off-field issues plague the program like it does most every other program including the problems hitting the team down the road. Even if  there is headline tomorrow about a stupid thing an MSU player did, it is undeniable that Coach Dantonio runs a tight ship. No longer do we squabble about where or IF the Spartans deserve to be ranked in the pre-season top 25. It's a "just win baby" world now. No longer do I have this drive to post my opinions on-line or even on my own blog. The team's success did all the talking that was necessary. We have experienced "completion". Or at least it feels like that in so many ways. 

Was it just me or is this puzzling calm something others experienced too?

We all know the truth. MD prophesied, "It's not over. It will never be over here."

So, my personal psychoanalysis makes me wonder. How many other fans experienced what I have this off season? Is there a part of that "completion" feeling deep in the psyche of players and/or coaches? How will it effect performance? While the media builds it up, something about it seems conspired. There are a lot of teams with high expectations. They all can't get "there". How many times have we seen teams tabbed as one of the best teams ever - or best in the last decade lose a game or two - or three? How will the Spartans players and fans handle the first let down (if there is one) and the second or third? No one is tabbing MSU football as the best college football team in the past decade, yet it seems fans and media alike are forgetting that a two or three loss season may be just as likely - or even more likely - than a one loss or undefeated season. Is it totally outrageous to think that MSU could lose at Oregon and at Penn State in the last game of the year PLUS a game in between (Nebraska, UM, tOSU or a less likely suspect)? Some of the media are catching on to the potential big let down as described HERE, but they are a voice in the wilderness.
  • So how has last year's success and the general health of the program affected your off-season psyche?
  • What would the Spartans need to accomplish to EXCEED your expectations?
  • What results would get us into real bummer territory?
  • Are you really ready for some football?
  • Check back with to read the reactions from M-Live frequent comment contributors ATownAndDown, MSUspartan76 and others.
See MSUspartan76's response HERE
See ATownAndDown's response HERE

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1 comment:

  1. Well. They played like there is plenty left to "complete", just at MSUspartan76 and ATown predicted. I see areas where we good get gashed for big plays next week. I'm sure the coaches are all over it.


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