Like My Previous Post, But With a National Scope (and Some Spartan-Gulo Clickbait)
Aug 16th, 2017 by 89 Chemistry

Click here to jump to the Comments.   Click here to access my previous Post, which explains the validity of quadrennials in understanding and comparing program histories.   What “1/4 conv.” means is explained in the 2nd – 4th paragraphs under the first graph therein.


Last time, we saw that State did not fall from the top 20% (quintile) of quadrennial-basis B1G programs — but that it will probably sink into the middle tier if it does not perform up to Dantonio-era par.   Similar unpublished results showed the Spartans to be the nation’s sixth-best program during 2012-2015.   The answer to “How now?” (i.e., for 2013-2016) is detailed below.

The recent history (and hypothetical near future) of the top quintile of FBS programs during 2013-16 are displayed in the first four graphs.   These graphs are mostly split into regions; here, first, are MSU and its pretty-good neighbors:

The top quintile’s threshold is 33 wins.   Five B1G programs (OHSU; WI; MISU; IA; and NE (on the fourth graph)) are among these 26 programs.   I see three sine waves here, but consider only one (Iowa) predictive long term.   Louisville could stay in this group if Bobby Petrino can keep his job — whereas Missouri looks to be in free fall.   My guess is that the Irish will appear to stabilize under Brian Kelly — if he can keep his job with 8- and 9-win seasons.

The next group could be called the Interior Deep South because of the rise of Magnolia State teams and the disappearance of Florida (temporary) and South Carolina (indefinite).   (If USA Today predictions prove true, the Spartans will shadow SC’s decline, with a two-year delay.):

The Egg Bowl coaches seem to have done things right; they should be able to stay somewhat close to their apparent Iowa-like ceilings.   LSU has the talent pool to stabilize, but its perennially elite days are probably over.   And Auburn, while too erratic to join the near-elites, should at least not descend to Bielema-Hog levels.

“Elite” and “near-elite” are arbitrarily defined as 40+ adjusted wins and 38-39 adjusted wins, respectively, per quadrennial.

The third graph had some interesting alternative names because of its schools’ tight north-south alignment:

Before looking ahead, I want to say some things about the past.   Two of the 26 top-quintile programs have had more impressive rises than MSU; one, Baylor, is on this graph.   For some serious perspective, consider the left-most point on Baylor’s curve, at y = 16.   That is equivalent to the worst quadrennial in MSU’s history (1980-1983).   As bad as MSU fans have thought things are at times, they have never been as bad as for four B1G programs since 2000 — nor as bad as for respected programs Stanford and Washington recently (see below).

(Nor was MSU football ever any worse, in terms of four-year winning percentage, than Michigan from 1934-1937.)

Looking ahead, Nebraska will probably drop to an 8-5 program for the next couple of years, while the Cowboys and Aggies should stabilize.   Expect TCU’s curve to cast away its early struggles as a power-conference team and get to near-elite status soon.   (Recently near-elite Kansas State could nudge above the 33-win threshold this year.)

Minimizing clutter on the southeastern graph forced exclusion of two ACC programs.   They appear here, with the pretty-good western programs (and MSU):

At least three interesting tales are behind these curves.   To get the most unpleasant out of the way first, consider Stanford from {2005-08} to {2009-12}.   That rise is attributable to Harbaugh and his recruiting.   That, by itself, demonstrates that journalists’ and analysts’ expectations accompanying his hire at Michigan were not necessarily based on hype, Blue Walliness, and/or ratings-grab cynicism.   Those expecting the Gulos to go .500 overall and lose to State by two TDs per game over the next two years are, I think, going to be bitterly disappointed.

Second, look at Oregon, 2011-14.   It was the first program not named “Alabama” to reach the 48-win threshold in recent years.   This, too, is an uncomfortable lesson: In two years (including a 9-4 campaign), the erstwhile second-best program in the nation (by these metrics) is now tied for 11th.

Third, consider USC’s curve.   Before I lost ten months of work, I was preparing recruiting-class analysis to accompany these graphs (in 2016).   (I did get to put forth such work for the B1G.)   Based on an early observation, my plan was to begin the narrative of such a national-scope project like this:

“Imagine that football recruiting-class rankings correlated perfectly with winning and losing.   In such a world, a 14-0 Alabama and a 14-0 USC would play every year for the National Title — and the Trojans would beat the Tide 75% of the time.”

In other words: USC’s curve should, under that ideal, be off the chart!   Now, let me be clear: Recruiting rankings give people (including reporters and analysts), on average, a better sense of how teams will do in the future than the ignorance of such information.   But even if we allow for uncertainties, the difference between gridiron potential and results in downtown L.A. since 2008 make guys like RichRod and Charlie Weis look good.

On the other hand, a team on which almost everyone is a four- or five-star should have winning seasons while sleepwalking with fentanyl patches on — and that is (figuratively) what USC has done.   It has a great chance of re-joining the near-elites before Washington reaches that level.   Look for Utah to plateau after crossing the 35-win line  — and for the Ducks to dip below it.

No Group-of-Five programs are currently among the top quintile.   Northern Illinois was, in 2012-2015.   Boise State was an elite program in 2009-2012; its datum then would have been about where Stanford’s is today.   With a 10-win season in 2017, it would edge up to where Utah is today.   However, the cut-off for the FBS’s top quintile during 2013-16 might be different in 2014-17.

The foregoing has shown that the Spartans would have been a decent perennial competitor in any region despite 2016.    Would MSU be a national power if it continued to have four-year stints like 2013-2016?   I think the final graph indicates as much:


At the risk of repeating myself: There is Saban’s Alabama, and then there is everyone else.   Imagine 2015 for MSU if it had gone the same except for a close loss in the Cotton Bowl.   That still would have been an objectively “off” year for the Tide.   With another CFP Title, its curve will exceed this graph’s scale.   The Buckeyes — if they are as good as their pre-season ranking — can keep pace with ‘Bama in 2017 and cross the 50-win line for 2014-17.   (One Primary Suspect predicted in 2012 that Urban Meyer’s OSU wins would be vacated by the end of 2017.   He has not been proven wrong yet, buuuutt — well, hurry up NCAA!)

Over at least the past century, the best Spartan quadrennial was 1950-1953 — Clarence Munn’s final four years.  They went 35-2 — equivalent to y = 49 on my graphs.   I have not looked at the Gulos’ Crisler or Yost eras.   But since 1950, the best Michigan quadrennial was 1970-1974 — equivalent to only 45 adjusted wins.

Clemson — elite for years despite contrary opinions — is now, with AL and OHSU, an ultra-elite program (i.e., averaging at least 12 wins per year).   Its curve should plateau until 2016-2019 or so.   Jimbo Fisher got the Seminoles to those heights first, but I expect their curve to continue falling, albeit gently.   Note FLSU’s current tally at y = 46.   Last August, that is where I anticipated MSU would be now…

For technical reasons (explained with other adjustments), the right side of Oklahoma’s curve underestimates its program strength.   It should now be at y = 43, and should remain in that vicinity for the immediate future (depending on Bob Stoops — and whomever might replace him).   Look for Wisconsin to continue its solid improvement and — if it can keep its not-Bielema coach — plateau near Oklahoma.   And Stanford should stabilize.

If I am right (and I would gladly settle for batting .667), then none of the eight currently-elite programs will fall from elite status.   That leaves two near-elites.   Georgia’s curve should pause in its decline; whether it holds its place will depend on teams like Florida and Tennessee.

Michigan State curve will decline — because MSU is not going to win more than 12 games this season.   Media and casino consensus now suggests MSU will win about six regular-season games.   If that and predictions for other teams hold true (I am using USA Today for convenience), then MSU will remain above only one (Missouri) of the other 25 current top-quintile teams for the 2014-2017 quadrennial.   And since there are other, up-and-coming, MSU’s days as a Top 25 quadrennial-basis program are probably about to end.


The rest is optional reading.   Addressing minor and/or technical matters:

Adjustments are more rigorous here than in the July 31 Post.   No adjustments were made for teams playing in the PAC, Big Ten, or B-XII.   Half of a win per year was added to teams playing in the SEC and to Notre Dame.   Subtractions were assessed for teams playing in the ACC [-.25 wins/yr]; American Conference [-1.5 wins/yr]; Big East [-.75 wins/year]; C-USA [-2.25 wins/yr]; MAC [-2.25 wins/yr]; Mountain West [-2 wins/yr]; Sunbelt [-2.5 wins/yr]; and WAC [-2.25 wins/yr].   Besides the Irish, the only other Independents I thought worth considering were BYU and Navy.   Their adjustments, as independent teams, were -1 win/yr.   Primary sources for the derivation of those adjustments included final Massey Composite Rankings and Jeff Sagarin’s end-of-season strengths of schedules.

Subsequent adjustments will be added for independents that would likely have won a conference championship game from 2011 onward, but did not have a chance to play in one; and for the best team of a league that does/did not have conference title games since 2011.   Had such adjustments been included in these graphs, one win would have been added to the quadrennials for: OKSU & TCU [quadrennials including 2011]; Notre Dame and Louisville [2012]; Baylor [2013]; TCU [2014]; and OK [2015 & 2016].

Note that a presumed standard uncertainty of only 5% means that plus or minus two wins per quadrennial is statistically meaningless; although we are sometimes prone to split hairs, we should remember that one cannot really determine how good a football team is unless it plays ~100 games per year.   Adjustments are essential, though, to avoid conclusions like, e.g., Northern Illinois was as good or better a program than MSU circa 2013.

Finally, I considered names like “Tornado-Alley” or “Hundredth-Meridian” for the programs in the third graph.   But I think Tornado Alley includes enough of Missouri to have forced its inclusion (rather than filling out the first graph) — and I thought a longitudinal reference would have been too obscure.

It would also have been technically inaccurate, as none of those six programs reside on the 100th meridian.   All six, however, reside between the 96th and 98th meridians — too striking a coincidence for me to pass up grouping together.  Since the midpoint of the contiguous U.S. is also close to the 98th parallel, “Central Heartland” (as distinguished from the eastern heartland that includes Michigan) won out.

The B1G, Two MAC, and Notre Dame Football Programs Considered as Recent Pre-2017 Quadrennials
Jul 31st, 2017 by 89 Chemistry

Six years ago, I began tracking and sharing four-year win totals of Big Ten teams on the LSJ’s Hey Joe! blog.   (I used win totals for convenience, but quickly realized that they also reward programs that win bowl games and conference championships more than winning percentages do —  helpful in distinguishing upper-tier programs.)

Four years turns out to be an especially appropriate duration in assessing program strength.   Those satisfied with that assertion can skip the next paragraph.

Originally, I chose that datum span because four years is the standard duration we associate with student-athlete university careers on the field.   Years later — in thinking about what makes a program a “program” — I looked at coaching tenures.   To my surprise, the average number of seasons on the job at the beginning of the 2015 season for the FBS’s 128 head coaches was only four.   The average for B1G teams was also only four years, while the average for so-called Power Conference teams was five years.   And since I found ranking orders of team wins per year identical for 2011-15 versus 2012-2015, I think quadrennials have been vindicated as a time span by which FBS programs, in general, can be compared with relative confidence.   (An eight-year span applies well to top-decile FBS programs; that topic is set aside for now.)

The first graph shows the nine most recent such quadrennials, with the most recent (2013-2016) at the right end of the connected lines:

MSU’s one 3-9 season did not badly affect its curve badly because it replaced a 7-6 year as a data-point component.   (For a pick-me-up, compare MSU 2013-16 with Michigan 2005-08  😎 .)   But MSU’s curve will continue to decline unless MSU maintains 11-win seasons through 2020.   Near the other extreme, WI’s surprisingly good 2016 stands out.   (More broadly, WI continues to be a model Program: Athletic Director Barry Alvarez’s three coaching successors, through 11 years, have managed nearly identical success to this point.)   We can also see what it looks like for players to forget the feeling of 10-win seasons (NE) and bowl bids (Purdue).

After a pre-2016 edition of this graph, Jeff Lubeck requested trend lines.   I declined, explaining that the trend lines looked wrong to me — and, as 2016 transpired, they were horribly wrong in MSU’s case.   These are historical, not predictive, illustrations.

I decided to approach the immediate future indirectly, by asking a hypothetical question:   What would a graph including 2014-2017 look like if every B1G team were to go 7-6 in 2017?   The points above “1/4th conv.” answer that question.

Sidebar: “1/4th conv.” is short for “1/4th convergence”.    I settled on that term because, if every team went 7-6 for four straight years, all of the points would converge — in this case, at y = 28.

Of course, if consensus predictions about the upcoming season are roughly close, we would expect the OSU, PSU, and WI points to end up higher — and the IL, MD, PU, and RU points to end up lower.   If the predictions prove fairly close, IN will stand atop the B1G’s broad lower third; the seven-team middle will nudge slightly upward in a tighter cluster; and WI will solidify its replacement of MSU as the B1G’s only program even close to OSU’s neighborhood.

Rather than examining Divisions, this year I am comparing MSU and its 2017 foes in two graphs.   The following graph includes MSU’s first six opponents (with non-B1G foes graphed with dashed lines.)   The legend matches opponents’ order in the schedule, with MSU as a placeholder for the bye week:

Bowling Green State was in three of the last four MAC Title games — but went 4-8 last year.   Western Michigan shattered its Bill Cubit legacy; PJ Fleck and his 1-11 freshmen (2013) explosively self-vindicated with a 13-0 start last year.   (The Broncos retain ample starters, but Fleck is now a Minnesota Gopher.)   The Irish not only saw their BCS Title Game fade from locker room lore — they also failed national expectations in 2016 about as badly as MSU did.   In contrast, IA has overcome its 4-8 season in 2012, while the Gophers — in highly thuggish fashion — exceeded six-win expectations to log their most wins since 2003.

For the MAC teams and Notre Dame, the “1/4 conv.” data reflect seven actual wins (not adjusted wins).   That roughly coincides with pre-season prognostications — but of the three, only the Broncos seem assured of reaching that threshold.   WMU and BGSU appear to equate to the top and middle of the B1G’s lower tier, respectively, as programs.   (Members can judge Notre Dame for themselves.)

Although MSU’s final six scheduled opponents are expected to be a stronger set of teams than the first six foes in 2017,

they have been, on average, a weaker set of programs.   And Penn State was supposed to be worse — about equal to Northwestern.   Whether PSU is not actually ahead of schedule in its reconstruction (q.v. Harbaugh, 2015) remains to be seen, but Franklin’s out-of-nowhere B1G Championship last year puts the Lions ahead of the Gulos in my book.   Indiana finally broke its five wins/year barrier — only to have Coach Wilson fired for player abuse.   Despite coaching stability, NW continues to exhibit inconsistency (academic constraints, perhaps?), whereas Maryland’s curve conceals its inconsistency.   And last (and possibly least), Rutgers continues to collapse from its loss of Greg Schiano’s final recruits.


Regarding Adjusted Wins: Adjustments reflect strengths of different leagues; since the B1G is the standard, no adjustments were made to the win totals of any B1G team except RU.   (The one-win-per-quadrennial penalty for playing in the Big East and ACC that I used in a 2016 Post is not applied here, and the pre-2011 Big XII was practically equal to the Big Ten in average quality.)   Rutgers’ win totals were reduced by two in every quadrennial that includes its 2013 season in the American Athletic Conference.   Nine wins were subtracted from Mid-American Conference team quadrennial totals in these graphs.   Two wins (rounded down from 2.5) were added to Notre Dame quadrennial totals.   (I should probably make it three: B1G teams get one or two additional home games every year compared to the Irish — and away-game adversity adds up over time.)

These adjustments were derived from extensive schedule data and analyses done in 2015-2016.   They — and nearly a year of other football research and work — were lost in a combined computer failure/backup mishap, but primary sources included final Massey Composite Rankings and Jeff Sagarin’s end-of-season strengths of schedules.

MSU’s Mike Sadler honored with Founders brew
Jul 24th, 2017 by Kindle

MSU’s Mike Sadler honored with Founders brew–
July 23rd, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The life of a West Michigan native and former Michigan State University football player who died in a crash last year was celebrated Sunday with a new beer brewed in his honor.

Founders Brewing Co. created Sadler’s Run Apricot Wheat to memorialize Mike Sadler.

Mike Sadler, Michigan State University, Founders Brewing Co., celebration of life
Family and friends of Mike Sadler gathered at Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids to remember him on the one-year anniversary of his death. Founders created a brew called Sadler’s Run for the occasion. (July 23, 2017)

His mother, Karen Sadler, said she and her son used to visit Founders together.

“He and I used to come to Founders and we’d sit up at that bar and we’d look at the names on the blackboard and we’d say, ‘Oh, let’s try this, let’s try that.’ And now to sit there and see his name up there and see his name in a beer made specially for him is amazing. It’s amazing,” she said.

The Grand Rapids taproom closed early Sunday, which marked one year since Sadler’s death, to host a party in his memory. Close to 700 people showed up to support the Michael Sadler Foundation, including MSU head football coach Mark Dantonio.

“It’s a happy occasion, it’s a celebration, and that’s exactly what he would have wanted,” Sadler’s mom said.

Sadler, 24, was killed in a car crash in Wisconsin on July 23, 2016 while heading home from volunteering at a youth kicking camp. Authorities said Sadler lost control on a wet road and his vehicle hit a tree. Sadler and one of his passengers, Nebraska Cornhuskers punter Sam Foltz, were killed. Another passenger, Louisiana State University placekicker Colby Delahoussaye, was injured.

Sadler was a graduate of Forest Hills Northern High School. According to his foundation’s website, he earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering and master’s degree in public policy from MSU. He was an All-American and the first ever four-time Academic All-American in the university’s history. He would have attended Stanford Law School starting last fall.

The beer Founders brewed to honor Sadler is available only at the company’s Grand Rapids taproom. Earlier this year, another brewery, Jagged Mountain out of Colorado, also created a beer for Sadler.

Founders is making a donation to the Michael Sadler Foundation. You can donate to the foundation at its website.


Note/Disclosure:  Mike Stevens, co-owner of Founders, is an acquaintance of NorthForkRancher’s through a mutual friend.
NFR and Mr. Stevens have fished and dined together on several occasions.
Mike Stevens is featured prominently in the Meijer’s ad you have, no doubt, seen many times by now.  Mike is the guy on your left in this video.



One last Reaction to The Lost 2016 Football Season
Jul 18th, 2017 by USMC Retired

Have accepted this undertaking, I was in somewhat of a quandary as to the topic to choose. There are many and varied that I could address that would have a slightly different slant than most of TUS is either used to or have heard. So, I decided to discuss Leadership or the lack there of as evidenced with the Spartan Football team last year. These are strictly my opinions as I sit on a June evening looking at Portage Lake and the Willy Coyote protecting said shore from an invasion by the Canada Geese.


Why did I pick this topic, which has been kicked as many times as the dead burro? It’s that important, in my estimation, as any numbers that one could list in overcoming the tomfoolery of 2016.

Do I have solutions? not with the limited data available, but I will try to say what I hope is happening / has happened.

Leading by example

The first and foremost principal of leadership is that I must convince you that I will do anything I ask of you and do it better (age permitting). Coach Izzo shoots 100 free throws every day (or so the story goes) making many more than he misses. So when he tells his players practice your free throws, he is not just telling them to practice them during the allotted practice time for free throws, but other times when nobody is looking. When I would tell somebody that they need to pull their nose though in order to get into or out of a particular situation in the air, I could expect them to execute it with the proper results because A) I had just demonstrated it and b) if they didn’t they were dead in the mock-dogfight or actually dead in a real one. I think the position coaches do this with their players – I know when I had my Grandson (who has now also gone to Clemson and Arrogant Arbor) in Beast Lansing the (then new) Line coach spent double digit minutes with him showing him what he was doing wrong and what he was doing right(which is far more important)  So from my Leadership point of view this principle would seem to be covered by those in a position to exercise it.

Now, we have to address the players in this scenario. There are really 3 possible avenues for the players to lead by example.

There is quietly doing what is asked of you well, indeed.

There is doing what is asked of you and then making sure that everyone around you knows what is expected of them based on what they just saw (this is tough to do without getting the label of showboat or arrogant ass, but when one is an veteran of the program (or have more tactical hours in the air in a particular jet than the newbies have in any and all  of their aircraft) one can do this and get away without coming across that way (Capt Kirk did this very well).

And, finally, there is putting in the work, but always with the edge that this is a stupid drill, I can do this better than you, what in the world could you know, etc etc. Negative Nancy.

Of those 3 (I will argue that there are no more categories only shades of these) my impression from all we have heard from the football program is that the Senior class (and some others) fell primarily in the last category, with bleed over into the 1st, but NEVER getting to the Middle category.

It is very tough for the adult leadership to countermand this last category, unless they are made aware of it. It is also VERY hard to self discipline from within the player group when the ones who should be doing that are the ones most at fault (Co Capt getting drunk the night before the PSU game) One bad apple can actually spoil the bushel and in the case of the ’16 Spartan Football team, there was more than one and they were part of the Leadership Council.

Taking One for the Team

I had checked in to my first squadron in Hawaii as a Major selectee (Hadn’t pinned them on yet) and was told that we were to deploy in less than two weeks to the Japans and did I want to do that or stay behind? (the Squadron was fully formed all the Department Heads were in place and hand picked by the CO (he later was a 2 star and then head of the Astronaut Program for NASA) and there was no real spot for me in the Hierarchy) I told him it was my desire to go and let’s not worry about the Leaf until we got back. This is one of those kinds of things that one does for a guy like this CO. Well, I became the assistant to every department head for the next 6 months, flew more sorties than anyone but the Skipper, and  we won the Hanson Award as the best Squadron in the USMC. This is not intended to be bragging, it is intended to point out the next phase of leadership and that is sacrifice. I didn’t see a ton of it in last years team; there was a ton of talk about it, but the results don’t bear out the talk. I say that because these seniors were faced with incorporating the best (by those who guess at such things) class EVER in recent Spartan history and they failed MISERABLY.

Cliques the Spoilers of Everything

This 3-9 record all falls on Coach Dantonio for his hire of Blackwell (IMHO). Maybe some would argue that he couldn’t have seen this coming, but my counterpoint is that if I could, he should have. It’s not just the rape charges either, it’s the ‘us against them’ attitude that leads to the things like the rape charges. I will also once again lay some of the blame on the Leadership Council for letting the cliques permeate, they needed to understand and get out in front of the entitlement of the incoming ‘best class ever’ (they read or should have known all the hype about that group, the group CERTAINLY did.)

In Closing

Gerald Holms is demonstrating the verbal encouragement that all teams need, especially in todays world of hours of HARD work not directly football-centric (new word?) The kids coming in now are more used to it (my grandson and teammates have had a personal trainer in the off-season for the past 3 years which for him is 8-10th grade), but it’s still a shock, the intensity, I’m sure (as Greg Kelser says the difference in the speed of the college game and HS is logarithmic). What is needed is less free time to pursue the fun of College, but that isn’t going to happen and probably shouldn’t. Instead, the Spartans need a STRONG Leadership Council who will function as such. The kids left – and bad apples being expunged is how I look at the departures – will all have the examples of those 3 failures and those who are coming should remember the Winter story that ’89 posted a while back ( Fame and adulation is a 2 way street with more rocks and shoals than a teenager can possibly handle – alone.

Coach Dantonio set up the Leadership Council to prevent things like rapes (or to be fair, even the appearance of rape)  Blackwell brought the Clique Mentality which defeated the purpose of the Council.

I did say that I’d point out what I thought was happening or was going to happen. One may infer by my the previous paragraphs that I listed some essentials for moving forward and I would also include continued scrutiny of the incoming recruits by ALL concerned to keep the Family atmosphere free of the “Blackwell’s” in the world.

And now this~~~~
Jul 16th, 2017 by Kindle

In the lull between Independence Day and the forthcoming post by 89 Chemistry there is breaking news…………
Definition: “…a western cultural food hygiene concept, that states that there is a defined window where it is permissible to pick up food (or sometimes cutlery) after it has been dropped and thus exposed to contamination. Some may believe this assertion, whereas most people employ the rule as an amusing social fiction that allows them to eat a dropped piece of food, despite the potential reservations of their peers.”

WATCH: Tom Izzo acts on 5-second rule of eating after dropping popcorn

According to reporters on the scene, “Izzo was having a very good conversation, and obviously was hungry. He did the mature thing and kept the talk flowing, while picking up the popcorn well within the allotted, scientifically-proven-to-be-ok five seconds. He was a pro’s pro, and did what any person should do in that situation: save the popcorn.”

In other news:

Chris Spielman has filed a suit against OSU over the use of the images of student-athletes.

Happy Independence Day 2017
Jul 4th, 2017 by Kindle

The weather is calm enough this morning that the Mighty Mac is flying the Flag.

Mackinaw City’s fireworks display will be at dusk tonight, about 10PM. If you are along the shore, you can see St. Ignace & Mackinac Island fireworks in the distance. Maybe Cheboygan as well. This photo is from July 4, 2010. If you are staying in Mackinaw City, it is recommend leaving your car at your motel and walking to the spot where you watch them, since traffic takes a couple of hours to clear following the display as people return to other communities.

Hungry For News–Finally A New Thread–Gymnastics and more
Jun 27th, 2017 by Kindle

Mike Rowe has spent the last three seasons as assistant coach at his alma mater, joining the coaching staff in 2014.

June 26, 2017

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University Athletics Director Mark Hollis announced Monday the hiring of Mike Rowe as the new head gymnastics coach, effective July 1, 2017. Rowe, a Spartan graduate who has spent the last three seasons as assistant coach, was named interim head coach in February.

“As in all hires, doing what is in the best interest of the student-athletes is our top priority,” Hollis said. “In this case, that meant listening to the student-athletes and doing what was in the best interest for the program. In his stint as interim coach, Mike Rowe has guided our gymnasts to success academically, athletically and socially. They’ve shown great enthusiasm for Coach Rowe. Mike is a Spartan alum with tremendous passion for his alma mater. He does everything with the best interest of Spartan student-athletes in mind.”  Full story HERE.


Twitter world>>>>>>>>>>

MSU fans: are you allowing yourself to move on? To get excited for football season? Or is it still a bit tempered?

Responses to this tweet: about 50/50. Half are ready to put this off-season behind them. Half feel subdued/restrained. Both understandable.


Replying to

Ask again when we are a month out. My guess is most fans will be ready for football by then. Still too close to the 3 dismissals/charges.


43 years ago today: Supreme Court rules conferences can negotiate their own contracts, leading to more than 100 additional CFB games on TV.

47m47 minutes ago

Replying to

Actually, it was 33 years ago.

3h3 hours ago

Replying to

I remember the days well when there was 1, maybe 2 CFB games on each Saturday. Yes, I am old.


Three franchise players – K. Cousins, L. Bell, Trumaine Johnson – have until July 17 to work out long-term deals:



Predicting the College GameDay sites for 2017.


Baseball:  Is a Yankee rookie changing the game?

A Brief on Vayante Copeland, and Links to a Few Other Pieces of Spartan Football News
Jun 14th, 2017 by 89 Chemistry

Copeland was a four-star recruit who appeared on his way to joining Trae Waynes as a No-Fly-Zone worthy before a neck injury ended his debut season in the second game (Oregon, 2015).   Last year he played in MSU’s first two games, then started the next seven games before a different injury ended his sophomore season.   In 2016 he averaged about as many defensive production points as Darian Hicks (and generated more, per start, than Demetrious Cox), and would have ranked third in 2016 production points among all returning Spartan defenders (behind LBs Chris Frey and Andrew Dowell) if he were able to play in 2017.   While I do not know how production points are earned, I do know that Copeland defended three passes and made 36 tackles last year.

Connecting dots presented in this article strongly suggest the reason for Copeland’s release:

The only Spartan cornerbacks on scholarship who played in the Spring Game and are still on the team are Justin Layne (technically a WR); T.J. Harrell.(a converted linebacker); and Josiah Scott (who might not be old enough to vote).   I imagine the several DB losses will force Layne’s designation as a full-time CB.

(Sidebar: DE Demetrius Cooper and safety Khari Willis tied for 10th place in 2016 production points.   They are the only other returning defenders that were in the top 11.)

Copeland’s absence from MSU’s summer roster prompted reporters to ask Mark Dantonio about him yesterday.   Here is the roster (numerical order only):

Separately, USMC Retired shared a link late in the previous thread that suggests why Cassius Peat is not able to play in East Lansing — at least for this fall:

Finally, there is Spartan uniform news!

MSU’s Donnie Corley, Josh King, Demetric Vance charged with sexual assault
Jun 6th, 2017 by Kindle

Donnie Corley, Josh King and Demetric Vance (MLive file photos)

By Kyle Austin/mlive at 9:50AM June 6, 2017, updated June 06, 2017 at 10:06 AM

EAST LANSING — Michigan State football players Donnie Corley, Josh King and Demetric Vance are all facing charges of criminal sexual conduct.

Arrest warrants for third degree criminal sexual conduct for all three were issued on Tuesday morning in 54-B District Court in East Lansing, following a hearing in front of Judge Richard D. Ball. Michigan State University police officer Chad Davis provided testimony.

Third degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

King is also charged with a second count of first degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of capturing/distributing an image of an unclothed person.

The charges stem from an alleged Jan. 16 incident in an on-campus apartment, and come after a four-month investigation by the Michigan State University Police.

The identities of the three players were kept secret throughout the investigation, and weren’t revealed until charges were issued on Tuesday morning.

Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon announced on Monday that her office had decided to authorize the charges.

The three players are currently suspended from the team and have been removed from university housing. A Michigan State spokesperson said on Monday afternoon that “the athletics department will address the situation once charges are issued.”

The criminal investigation is the second to find wrongdoing on the part of the three players. A Title IX investigation completed last month found that the three players violated Michigan State’s relationship violence and sexual misconduct policy.

The Title IX report was forwarded to the school’s student conduct office, which will levy a punishment on the three players.

The prosecutor also announced on Monday that it would not seek charges in a fourth warrant request against a former member of the Michigan State football staff. That charge was for a non-sexual crime.

That member is believed to be Curtis Blackwell, who was suspended on Feb. 9 and did not have his contract renewed when it expired on May 31. An external investigation commissioned by Michigan State found that Blackwell violated university policy when he spoke with Corley, King and Vance and didn’t report what he learned to police or the school.

In total, four Michigan State players have now been charged with sexual assault this offseason. Auston Robertson, a former defensive end, was charged with third degree criminal sexual conduct in April, after it’s alleged he followed a woman into her apartment and assaulted her her. Robertson is free on bond and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for later this month in 55th District Court.

Corley came to East Lansing as a celebrated four-star wide receiver, after leading Detroit King to a state championship in 2015.

He played in all 12 games as a true freshman, and was one of only two to play in the team’s season opener. He finished second on the team in receiving yards, with 453, plus third in catches with 33 and third in touchdowns with three.

He also added defensive duties partway through the season, debuting as a cornerback against Michigan. He also had brief duties as a return man.

As a sophomore, Corley is slated to be the team’s leading returning wide receiver and the most dynamic member of a young but talented group.

King was another one of nine true freshmen to play for the Spartans in 2016. He made his debut in the third game of the year, against Wisconsin, and finished with nine games under his belt, including two starts at defensive end late in the year.

The highest-rated prospect of the program’s 2016 recruiting class, King recorded 10 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in 2016. He is expected to compete for a starting job this fall.

Vance came to Michigan State from Cass Tech as a four-star recruit in the school’s 2016 recruiting class. He redshirted in his true freshman season.


10m10 minutes ago

Vance, King and Corley have been dismissed from the Michigan State football program by Coach Dantonio.


Colorado Brewery Release Honors Mike Sadler Today
Jun 2nd, 2017 by Kindle

The beer label is pictured above. (Photo: Jagged Mountain Brewery)

As most MSU fans know by now, and has been discussed here, Jagged Mountain Brewery in Denver, co-owned by MSU alum RJ Banat, created a craft beer called “Hey Diddle Diddle” that is named after one of Mike Sadler’s most famous trick plays from his time as a Spartan. The wheat ale debuted last night at the Colorado Spartan Social and the brewery – located a few blocks from Coors Field – is having its official release party today, June 2nd.

“Based on everything I know about Mike – a super-funny, witty guy – I think it’s just awesome to have a beer in his name,” said Banat, a Sterling Heights native who graduated from MSU in 1997. “It’s been fun, it’s been a great time. And we feel very privileged and honored to be the guys who were asked to do this.”


Tonight’s the night! We finally get to taste ‘s “Hey Diddle Diddle” honoring at the .

Spartans from the Front Range and beyond celebrated Spartan spirit and generosity in support of the MSU Rocky Mountain Alumni Club and the Michael Sadler Foundation.  The evening included food, refreshments, live music, a silent auction of MSU sports memorabilia and a program featuring former MSU Football players, current NFL players, and other notable Spartans.
6:00pm – VIP Reception
7:00pm – Doors open for general admission ticket holders, silent auction opens
7:45pm – Program begins
9:00pm – Silent auction closes
9:45pm(ish) – Program ends, silent auction check-out

Former Spartans Taybor Pepper, Bennie Fowler, Conner Kruse, Blake Treadwell, Coach Staten and Executive Director of Admissions, Jim Cotter, were among those in attendance.

Nathaniel Bolt of reported that a number of people were visibly emotional when they talked about the heart of Mike Sadler. People who knew him and did not know him alike.  “His effect was so powerful the brewmaster of “Hey Diddle Diddle”, who never met Mike, brought half the event to tears with his speech.”


  • Just spoke with former lineman Blake Treadwell. his favorite memory of Mike — talking about life after football…fittingly over a beer.
  • One of the main games here is “Heads or Tails” — everyone who made a $10 donation at the door gets to participate.  A commemorative Sadler/Fultz coin is flipped. Players select heads or tails until only one person remains. Winner takes home the coin.
  • Main event here is the silent auction. Items such as a Tom Izzo signed basketball and Mark Dantonio signed jersey up for bid.
  • Autographed memorabilia from Gary Harris, Denzel Valentine, and many others up for bid as well.
  • Bennie Fowler and Darqueze Dennard both commit to giving $2500 to the Colorado Spartans and Michael Sadler Foundation.
  • Lots of others ranging from $1000, $500, $250 and a large amount of $100 donations.
  • Mark Staten puts a signed B1G championship ball, his own sideline passes and tickets. Goes for $600.  The winner received a long snap from Taybor Pepper that went a little too high. His response: “Now you know what Mike had to deal with.”  Taybor Pepper’s mother Donna Pepper, “These are the things hardest for me…we always assumed Sadler would be a part of these “reunions” for years to come. Breaks my heart.”
  • Fun thing happen[ed] as Mark Staten takes podium [and says] former players here will get quizzed on old plays to see if they remember the playbook.
  • Video montage: Most of the clips from B1G championship against OSU and Rose Bowl. Players and crowd having a great time interacting with one another.

Taybor Pepper, long-snapper on the famous play samples the brew.


The Michael Sadler Foundation is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. Any gift to the foundation is tax-deductible.

The Michael Sadler Foundation exists to develop programs and awards that emphasize the values Michael embraced: academic excellence, athletic achievement, leadership and character strength.

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