A crazy roller-coaster of a year for these guys:
I hoped for better than 6-6, I must admit. But after the 1-3 start, I was justifiably concerned. Here’s my one-sentence-per-game re-cap of the 2009 Spartan football season..
Pre-Season – A bunch of freshman, two quarterbacks, a slew of running backs, and all of them unproven.
Montana State -A great opener, but not much of a look at how Sparty will do against real competition. (1-0)
Central Michigan – A three point loss, and when I tell people the Central is actually good, it just sounds like I’m making excuses. (1-1)
Notre Dame – The second game that MSU gave the opponent a second chance results in a second loss. (1-2)
This one really hurt. If you read my posts, than you know I’m a long-time ND fan. But, and it’s a very large but, I can not stand Charlie Weis. As the Irish’s Head Coach, he’s the worst. And I really, really wanted to beat up on old Chuck one more time before he gets fired (I’m praying). The over-hyped Irish got the job done this year, unfortunately. On a side note, do you remember back in 2005 when ND lost to MSU and Charlie Weis declared that they would not lose to Michigan State on his watch. He’s 2-3 against the Spartans. So much for the “decided schematic advantage”.
Wisconsin – The Badgers converted three of four turn-overs in to points, and the win. (1-3)
Michigan – The undefeated and ranked Wolverines fall to the Spartans in OT, and maybe this season isn’t so bad after all. (2-3)
A note here regarding MSU vs. UM: first consecutive wins by MSU in my lifetime. The Wolverines season falls apart after losing to the Spartans. We didn’t hear too much of the “little brother” jive this year either. Michigan will be back, you can bet on that, so let’s enjoy it while it lasts. And the Paul Bunyan Trophy is probably getting pretty comfortable in East Lansing.
Illinois – The Spartans rolled the troubled Illini handlily, and we were back to even. (3-3)
Northwestern – The 4-2 Wildcats were tough in the first half, but the second half belonged to Sparty. (4-3)
So, at this point, the three game losing streak was offset by a three game winning streak against Big Ten schools, and the Spartans seem to be a much better team than their record would suggest. November is not always the kindest month for MSU football squads, but I feel like that era is over. I said that MSU would at least go 6-6, but quite possibly 7-5 with wins over Minnesota, Western and Purdue.
Iowa – A heartbreaker of a loss against undefeated / ranked Iowa on the very last play of the game, and we’re back to even again. (4-4)
Minnesota – As close as a one-point game in the fourth quarter, the also 4-4 Golphers held off the Spartan come-back to win it. (4-5)
Western Michigan – Everyone plays in this cake-walk against the Broncos, and we’re back to even for the third time. (5-5)
Purdue – With bowl eligibility on the line for both schools, the Spartans rally and win by a FG in the final minutes. (6-5)
Penn State – The ranked lions ruled the third quarter with 28 unanswered points, and the Spartans are back to even for the fourth time. (6-6)
With the regular season over, I must say that I’m disappointed, but optimistic. The Spartans lost some games that they could have / should have won. It’s not hard to imagine wins against Central, ND and Iowa and Michigan State would be 9-3 and this post would have a very different story to tell.
What we know is that the MSU is a young squad with some real talent. Even though we lose the awesome Blair White, uber-dependable Brett Swenson and agro Danny Fortner next season, we’ll see Kirk Cousins, Keith Nichol, B.J. Cunningham, Keshawn Martin, Larry Caper, Chris L. Rucker, and of course, Coach Mark Dantonio all coming back in 2010. And Coach Dantonio is reported as having an exceptional recruiting year, so more greatness to come. Oh, and let’s not forget Sparty. As long as he lays off roids in the off-season, he’ll be back mascotting his tail off next year.