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MSU will beat UofM in football on Saturday – It is Written! And Your Prediction?
Oct 18th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

There is certifiable evidence to support the line of thinking that MSU downs UofM in football this Saturday.  What say you, is the evidence?

15 people who are reputed to be experts in college football say UofM wins.  And the 15 people?  ESPN College Football Experts – all of them.  Each and every one of them says MSU is going down on Saturday.  My counter to-the-ruling mob inclination, plus strong dislike of ESPN Being Homers Conspiracy leads me to believe just the opposite.

ESPN Experts prediction [here].

So what do you think?  Give me a prediction, give us a prediction.  Be on the record about the score of the game.  Who is going to win?

Rivalry Week: The University of Michigan
Oct 14th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

The countdown to Saturday’s game begins.  A picture is worth 1,000 words. Thoughts?

Hey 3-9 Here’s Looking at You?
Oct 7th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Like it or not the 2018 MSU Football team is not even close to the one we expected.  The media hype including profile stories about this squad potentially being the best at ‘xxx’ in MSU history had many drinking the Koolaid.

Well… it appears after five games this Spartan squad does not possess any aspect that is the best in MSU or even the Dantonio era.  Perhaps kicker Matt Coughlin is exception.  Coughlin is spirited, tough, reliable and thrives under pressure.  However MSU has a long list of superb kickers.  The defense against the run is another possible exception.  It is superb.

Looking at the remaining schedule it is quite possible MSU does not win another game.  That is a rather remarkable statement to make given where all the experts had us pegged in August.

Can MSU turn-around the season?  Sure they can.  Is it likely?  No and here is why:

  1. The performance of players in positions key to creating success has been surprisingly bad. We know all too well about the Offensive Line and Defensive Secondary. So look to other examples. The performance at Tight End by Matt Sokol and Matt Dotson has been somewhat comical. The performance in this position is often MSU’s secret weapon and the difference maker in the Red Zone and 3rd and short.  Neither are particularly good blockers.  From a major college perspective they have little to no agility, poor pass receiving skills, poor footwork, and virtually no awareness of field position. Go back and look at the last drives in the game.  Dotson caught a ball on first down with enough open field to get the next 1st down by putting his head down and getting tackled as he progressed – and thereby stopping the clock.  Instead Dotson ran out of bounds short of the flag, leading to a 2nd and 1 with the clock continuing to run.  Why does that happen?  The players has no guts?  He has not been taught to do what it takes to get the first down and stop the clock?  Or his he inept?  As for Sokol.  It hurts to watch him play.  How many times have we seen him stumbling bumbling his way trying to get in position to catch a pass from Lewerke?  Sokol should be leading the way for Lewerke to the reception point, not stumbling backwards.  On the last series at the goal line, he caught the ball and fell down going for the TD.  And do not give me the wet field excuse.  This program spends an extraordinary amount on footwear for every field condition imaginable.
  2. The MSU playbook and general scheme is exacting of players, and possesses little flexibility.  If MSU has the type of players to successfully execute the plan it wins regularly; especially in the close games.  If MSU does not possess the right type of players or the players do not execute, MSU football is a .500ish squad.  And because MSU is not a program that deviates widely from plan – in an attempt to adapt – it is presently a .333 proposition squad.
  3. Dantonio and Staff are considered the Kings of taking decent talent and turning them into solid, if not superb college football players.  Based on the results of recent years, I would say the King title is no longer true, and has not been for some time.  This team returned 19 of 22 starters.  Many of the players who earned time on the 3-9 team, and started on last year’s 10-2 team do not look to have improved at all.  In many cases they look to have regressed.

This is not the time to throw out the Head Coach or anyone else in particular.  What we must understand is that coach Dantonio is excellent at the slow steady build and keeping it in place for a fair amount of time.  We cried for this condition with the roller-coaster era’s preceding his arrival.

Therefore it is nice to have someone of the stature and skill of Dantonio as our bedrock.  The problem is that when things do not work out, there is little to no chance of an in season adjustment let alone one that is materially successful.

Thoughts?

Sep 29th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

So you are telling me there is a chance?  There is a chance CMU can beat MSU in football in East Lansing on September 29th, 2018?

Yes there is a chance!  The experts put it at about 2%.  Which is materially higher that Lloyd (Jim Carrey) had with Mary (Lauren Holly) in the 1994 movie Dumb and Dumber.  Mary gave Lloyd gave a 1,000,000 to 1 chance.  Ironically the two actors married later in real life (1996).  It ended after lasting one football season.

Do the CHIPS have a chance?

Also-ran trophy up for grabs for one team that cannot run and another than cannot stop the run
Sep 22nd, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

 

The Old Brass Spittoon Trophy game has not had an iconic run as trophy’s go.  However, it will be played for again tonight as the Spartan football team takes on the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington.

First played for in 1950, MSU controls the series (46-16-2).  The trophy was created by MSU staff who feared the Spartans  (8-1) would have a letdown after beating Notre Dame the week before.  An old Spittoon was found in a Lansing junk story, shined up and made into a trophy.

MSU (1-1 and ranked #24 in the land) plays its first game after a bye week and after losing as timed expired in the Wilting In The Desert Classic.  Nothing like losing a game at 2:21 AM Eastern time after playing 4 hours in 100+ heat.  Indiana is 3-0 to start the season.  The Hoosiers record seems somewhat impressive.  That is until you take a moment to consider the quality of Florida Atlantic, Virginia, and Ball State.

One interesting aspect of the game is that the numbers suggest MSU cannot run the ball very effectively, while the Hoosiers cannot seem to stop the run very effectively.  Will this aspect have any impact on tonight’s game?

Who’s Next?
Aug 6th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

So who is next is a question we can ask on a variety of topics.

First. Who is the next champion of B1G College Football?  IBelieve is calling it for MSU.  Eeyore is fearful all teams will be disqualified.

So who (without condition or qualifier) will be the B1G Football Champion of 2018 claiming the Stagg Trophy in Indianapolis on Saturday December 1st, 2018?

So respond with the name of one team and why.

Mike Sadler’s Impact–Two Years Following His Death
Jul 25th, 2018 by Kindle

A tweet from two years ago by Coach Dantonio~~~~”He gave us all so much in so little time. Our thoughts & prayers are with him & his family. #RIPMikeSadler” “

Story by Colton Pouncy July 24, 2018

GRAND​ RAPIDS,​ Mich. —​ The line​ outside​ of​ Atwater Brewery grew​ larger​ and larger as​ the​ clock​ inched​​ closer to noon. Inside, a group of 20 volunteers put the finishing touches on the day. Food had been prepared, decorations had been set up, and downtown Grand Rapid’s Monroe Avenue had been blocked off to provide extra space, which was needed after the doors opened and a couple hundred people were welcomed inside the brewery on a cloudy Sunday afternoon.

The driving force behind the collective group of people was Mike Sadler, a Grand Rapids native and former Michigan State football player.

The Spartan community remembers Mike for his easy-to-root-for presence on the field and his charm on social media. His antics and celebrations after each punt quickly made him a fan favorite and beloved member of the team, even after his final collegiate game. Mike’s teammates remember him as leader and a first-team All-America punter who could pinpoint each kick with precision accuracy and touch. He had an unmatched blend of humor and intelligence, and a drive to not only achieve his personal goals, but to help others with theirs.

And on this Sunday in July, a day before the two-year anniversary of Mike’s untimely death, he was remembered again.

“I want to thank you all so much for being here,” Mike’s mother, Karen Sadler, said to a large crowd at the brewery. “It means the world to us and to our family. I know you all took time out of your day, but seeing all of you here inspires us to keep doing what we do to honor Mike’s legacy and the work that he would’ve been doing if he were here.”

Karen remembers the day she lost her son vividly. On July 23, 2016, she received the news that Mike had been involved in a single-vehicle accident on the way back from a football camp in Wisconsin. When police arrived, Mike and Nebraska punter Sam Foltz were both pronounced dead at the scene after the car crashed into a tree, leaving the Sadler family, the Michigan State football team and anyone with a connection to Mike at a loss for words.

Within hours of learning of her son’s death, Karen felt a wave of support from the community as the news spread. The coaching staff reached out. Current and former players sent their love. People she’d never met before offered their condolences in full force.

The immediate and seemingly endless support put her son’s life into perspective. Karen Sadler wanted some good to come out of her loss, so she chose to celebrate the life of her son, a life that was cherished by many when he was alive.

It led to the creation of the Michael Sadler Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to develop and support programs and awards that emphasize the combination of academic excellence, athletic achievement, character strength and leadership in student-athletes. Each year, it works to provide scholarships in Mike’s name and hosts a camp for kickers, punters and specialists.

But one of its biggest annual events is the Mike Sadler Celebration of Life, a day to reflect upon Mike’s time on earth and preserve his memory around the anniversary of his death.

Inside Atwater Brewery, photos of Mike were perched atop each table and around the bar. Volunteers at the event passed out cookies with Mike’s No. 3 jersey in green-and-white icing, and it was nearly impossible to scan the crowd without seeing the same jersey number worn on the backs of hundreds in attendance.

Dean Trailways provided free transportation from East Lansing to Grand Rapids and back, and the school’s marching band arrived to play the school’s fight song, as cheerleaders pumped up the crowd in front of them.

The event serves a purpose. All proceeds help fund the scholarships and continue to grow the foundation. But it also serves as a coping mechanism for those still struggling with Mike’s premature death. On this Sunday afternoon in downtown Grand Rapids, every laugh, every memory, every photo and every anecdotal story about Mike that was shared among hundreds in attendance helped capture a larger, grander idea of who Mike was, and the impact he left behind on the MSU community.


Mike Sadler was a punter, a position that often takes a back seat to quarterbacks, running backs and other more glamorous roles in the sport of football.

Punters are part of a small group of specialists — kickers, long snappers, etc. — who typically work in their own area of the field, away from the rest of the team for large chunks of time in practice, which can make it hard to be fully embraced by the rest of the team. But this wasn’t a problem for Mike. His strong personality and sense of humor allowed him to seamlessly weave through positional cliques and captivate everyone from the starting quarterback to the freshman walk-on.

“He was unique. He was his own guy. He had his own personality, and everybody loved it,” said Darien Harris, a former Michigan State linebacker and teammate of Mike’s. “I didn’t meet one person on this team while I was playing that didn’t love Mike.”

Even now, Mike is still on the minds of his former teammates. Oakland Raiders quarterback Connor Cook was a close friend of Mike’s when the two played together at Michigan State. Cook is a board member of the Michael Sadler Foundation and supports any way he can, tweeting reminders of events and showing up for them when his schedule permits it.

Current Michigan State punter Jake Hartbarger was a freshman when Mike was a senior. He said he often thinks about the ways Mike helped him adjust to life at Michigan State early in his career, and praised his dedication to helping him and countless others.

Harris draws inspiration from Mike on a daily basis, and puts it to use in his own life. After his collegiate career came to an end, Mike received minimal interest from NFL teams and wasn’t able to stick in the league. Instead of getting down on himself, he quickly shifted his focus to education, finishing his master’s program and applying for law school, where he was accepted and set to enroll at Stanford University in the fall of 2016, weeks before his tragic death.

Harris finds himself in a similar situation now. He was a decorated athlete at Michigan State as a two-year starter and contributor on some of the best teams in program history. He had his sights set on a long NFL career and earned a shot with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent, but was cut before the end of the preseason in 2015.

Now three years removed from his final game at Michigan State, he’s at a crossroads in his professional career, so he turned to an old friend for guidance.

“I’ve kind of gone through those same things as Mike, thinking I deserve the opportunity and not necessarily getting it,” Harris said. “So you go and you figure out something else to do. He had that something else. He was going to go to law school at Stanford. He was going to kicking camps. He was going to be successful regardless. I look at a guy like that — who I feel had a more successful career than I did but didn’t get that opportunity — and see that he found something else to do. The inspiration I draw is always from him.”

Harris returned to Michigan State, and is set to earn his master’s degree in marketing research, setting him up nicely for life after football in the event things don’t work out. It’s a direct result of his relationship with Mike.

“That’s why you see all these people out here,” Harris said. “Whether you did or didn’t know him, you want to be a part of the legacy and you want to contribute to the legacy. That’s why it’s so important to have a foundation like this.”


Karen Sadler is often amazed by the support she receives. Sometimes it comes from former high school teachers and people close to Mike. In other cases, support can come from complete and total strangers.

About a year ago, a high school teenager from Chicago named Katie Fleming reached out to the Sadler family. Fleming had never met Mike. She wasn’t a Michigan State fan and had no connections to the program. But she’d closely followed him over the years, and felt a strong urge to reach out to the foundation and Mike’s family.

Karen Sadler received a detailed letter in the mail from Fleming a year after Mike’s death. In the letter, she talked about the stories she’d read about Mike. She wrote about how she saw the community rally around him. It ultimately inspired her to get involved.

“I was just blown away by the character Mike possessed and how he really brought life into everything that he did, and how he was really a light in the Michigan State world,” Fleming said. “I thought it was important to give back and grow their foundation in any way that I can.”

In the weeks leading up to this year’s Celebration of Life, Fleming had been in constant communication with Mike’s mother, who gave the teenager a list of things she could do to support the organization. Early Sunday morning, Fleming and her family drove to Grand Rapids from Chicago to be a part of the celebration. She worked most of the day helping to sell memorabilia at the organized auction, with the proceeds going toward scholarship funds in Mike’s name. While she was there, she was able to hear more stories about Mike from family members and friends while working for a good cause.

Mike’s story left an impact on Fleming. With two more years left of high school, Fleming said she hopes to attend Michigan State in the future. Her involvement speaks volumes to the impact Mike left. His story resonated with a high school sophomore from Chicago with no prior ties to Michigan State, and led to her spending an entire afternoon volunteering for an organization in his honor.

“They were just so sweet and so welcoming, and I felt it was important to do anything I could to help out,” Fleming said. “It’s been so humbling to really be able to give back.”


As a student, Mike was extremely bright. He became the first student-athlete in Michigan State history to earn Academic All-America honors four times. He recorded a 3.97 GPA in three years as an undergrad studying applied engineering sciences, and a 3.87 GPA in grad school, earning his master’s degree in public policy in 2015.

Those close to Mike knew he loved to help people, and one of the ways he did so was by tutoring younger students in the area when he was a teenager at Forest Hills Northern High School in Grand Rapids. One of those students was George Ansara, a local middle schooler who showed a disinterest in math, leading to struggles in the classroom.

After working one-on-one with Mike, Ansara had a change of heart, and his grades slowly improved with each session.

“I ended up liking it,” Ansara reluctantly admitted Sunday, while cracking a smile. “It used to be something I wasn’t a fan of, but I kept working on it with Mike and he taught me how to like it. He was awesome.”

After Mike graduated high school and went off to Michigan State, the two maintained an active friendship through Facebook. They’d message each other often, with Ansara’s questions typically involving Michigan State and the football program, while Mike would inquire about Ansara’s academic life.

When Ansara finished high school, Mike stopped by his graduation party. His presence alone meant a great deal to Ansara, but Mike went above and beyond his expectations with the graduation present he gave him. To Ansara’s surprise, Mike had shown up with the cleats he wore in Michigan State’s 2014 Rose Bowl victory over Stanford — a game Ansara attended with his family — accompanied by a handwritten note describing how proud he was of Ansara.

“Not only did he show up, but bringing me his Rose Bowl cleats and that incredible handwritten note, it meant the world to me,” Ansara said. “I look at it constantly when I’m home.”

Ansara went on to attend Central Michigan University, where he graduated with a bachelor of science in business administration this past May. Sunday afternoon, shortly after the event concluded, Ansara stayed long after to say goodbye to Mike’s mother. She told him Mike would’ve been proud of him.


As each person exited Atwater Brewery, Karen Sadler gave them a hug and thanked them for being there.

All the memorabilia had been auctioned off. Gift bags were handed out. And the event had come to an end, leaving Karen Sadler with some time to reflect on another year of life without Mike.

She spent the day listening to others recall countless stories about her son. She looked around and saw 20 volunteers who took time out of their day to work for free, a mix of strangers and loved ones who came together for a common purpose.

The response is what keeps Karen Sadler in good spirits when she misses her son. It keeps her motivated to build upon the success of the foundation each year. It perfectly illustrates the life of Mike Sadler and the impact he continues to make through foundation events like this, and ultimately, it inspires her to do more.

“The stories about how he affected people — stories that I didn’t even know — came in from all over the country, and continue to come in,” she said. “I feel a responsibility to take that platform that he established and continue it in any way that I can. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

After Nasty Outrage and Condemndation, How Are MSU Sports Team Performing This Spring?
Apr 15th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Each new day appears to bring news and or evidence that Michigan State Athletics and MSU Administration has a lot to answer for in terms of its culture.

As we are all too aware there has been some nasty outrage and outright condemnation towards our Spartans and the University.  And while MSU has attempted to acknowledge and rectify the situation, its early steps could be best characterized as misfires – at least to its recipients (i.e., the victims of abuse).

While I do not want to ignore or show disrespect to the people who have been harmed, I also think we should not ignore the men and women currently participating in Spring Sports as representatives of Michigan State University.

So how are the teams and athletic programs doing as of April 15th 2018?

MSU Women’s Golf is ranked #10 nationally and has a good shot of advancing to the NCAA Tournament Championship round.  The B1G Championship is next weekend. and NCAA starts May 7th.

MSU Women’s Rowing is ranked #16 nationally and has a good shot of advancing to the NCAA Tournament Championship round.  The B1G Championship is May 13th and NCAA May 25th.

The MSU Women’s and Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Teams are making strong improvement as the season progresses.  MSU finished 2nd (Men) and 3rd (Women) in this weekend’s B1G\ACC Challenge (Louisville, ND, MSU,Purdue).

As for the rest?

Lacrosse: To the dislike of many TUS Members including USMC(retired) MSU does not participate in Lacrosse as a varsity sport.

Softball:  MSU continues to be a sub .500 program overall.  The Spartans are 16-21.  The good news is MSU swept JJ’s favorite (PSU) in a double-header (7-1,6-2) on Saturday in State College, PA. MSU’s Kristina Zalewski was the star of both games. MSU’s #1 pitcher started and completed both games striking out 19.  Yes, both games.  The Spartans lost to the Nitany Lions on Friday 8-6.  PSU (7-30) is not very good.

Baseball:  MSU has fallen off in 2018 in a material manner.  TUS Membership has grown accustomed to the Spartans flirting with and even earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament and taking the B1G Title.  Not this year.

Men’s Golf:  MSU is usually decent but 2018 has seen a fall off.  MSU is ranked #54 (Golfstat) in the country.

Men’s Tennis:  MSU is usually an also-ran in most years, and performing the same this season.  MSU under Gene Orlando (1992 – present) has had 10 season above .500. In 103 seasons MSU has won .49% percent of its matches and 33% in B1G competition.

Women’s Gymnastics:  MSU finished 10th in B1G.  Two Spartans advanced as individuals ot the NCAA Regional in Columbus.  Freshman Lea Mitchell competed in the all-around, while senior Hailee Westney performed on bars.  Neither advanced to the NCAA Finals.

Women’s Tennis: MSU Women’s Tennis is 14-7 0verall and 5-4 in B1G.  The B1G Tournament starts April 28th.  MSU was very good in the 1970’s.  MSU won a number of B1G Titles during this period. Childhood friend Debbie Mascarin won the B1G Singles and Doubles Titles during this period.  Deb had few flaws.  Her choice of boyfriend during high-school was one of them and a “low water” point.  Boyfriend = Andary.

 

 

 

Legendary Figures, Images and Story-lines: America’s Greatest Legacy or Achilles Heel?
Apr 12th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Legendary figures, images and story-lines are part of America perhaps like no other country or culture. American in this context means the United States of America.

History may prove that America and its culture was the very best at creating, building, and then dismantling with swift prejudice our legendary figures, images, and story-lines.

Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Apple Pie, Paul Bunyan, Joe Pa, Tiger Woods, Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, O.J. and Michigan State University Athletics are good examples of people, institutions, and objects that have grown to be dominant or ubiquitous in our society.  In short – icons.

In some cases these icons eventually come under heavy attack for a previously hidden flaw in their character or public act that leads to a fall from grace. Sometimes the fall is quick and dramatic.

More often than not the path to and from iconic status is the same :

1.) Great skill and success in some area that America deems worthy or important is associated with our future icon.

2.) Build-up and hype establishes iconic status – some time in mercurial fashion.

3.) A serious flaw or weakness exists within the icon that would otherwise reduce or eliminate the status.

4.) America in general does not know about the flaw and often does not care as long as the situation works for them.

5.) Supporters and handlers of the icon deem it is to America’s benefit to keep the Icon’s flaw or weakness under wraps.

6.) Supporters and handlers continue to look the other way or worse block the revelation; even to the point of completely discrediting a story or person that might undue the iconic status and gravy train.

7.) The flaw is eventually revealed and denied publicly.

8.) The flaw, the cover-up of the flaw, and its implications eventually turn out to be the truth.  The cover-up is almost always more damaging and damning than the flaw.

9.) All hell breaks loose.

10.)  Too, too many scenarios about what occurs next to list here.

And now to our beloved Michigan State University…

MSU is reeling.  It feels as if MSU is careening from one ugly revelation to another.  Nassar, The MSU Medical School Dean, Athletic Department Staff, and Athletes are in the headlines and or in jail.  The University and anyone in an oversight role is getting skewered publicly.  And in the pendulum of life; even people and organizations who are less than savory are using MSU’s fall from grace to advance their agenda almost unimpeded.

I am human and therefore I have flaws.  Given this condition I am not going to judge or throw stones [sic., at] any person or institution from the Pedestal of Perfection.

Also, I am not one to blindly support any person or institution or immediately discredit or dismiss an accuser out of hand.  Also, I am not one to run away or jump ship from someone or institution when challenges appear.

In my opinion and given what is presently known, MSU has messed up big-time on several fronts.  In some instances in astonishing and possibly unprecedented fashion. And with a large GULP… it appears institutional look-the-other-way’s or cover-ups are rearing their ugly heads.  This is humiliating and humbling to me as a graduate and supporter of MSU.

Until now, MSU in the public eye was the darling of the 21st Century – Academics, Athletics, Students, Athletes, Instructors, Administrators, and Coaches.

If you were a Spartan or supporter or fan of MSU – the times were good.  It was a time every major airport or national publication was celebrating and promoting the story Spartan Will. It was a time of catch-phrases such as January-February-Izzo being treated as a fact to the end of time.

Similar to the stories of Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Apple Pie, Paul Bunyan, Joe Pa, Tiger Woods, Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes and O.J. – the imagery of 21st Century MSU did not quite match the reality.

 

What Say You Educated Guesser?
Mar 5th, 2018 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Alumni from Michigan State Football and the current Michigan State University Basketball team are situated at the top of sports news headlines today – Monday March 5th, 2018.

MSU Alum QB Kirk Cousins (currently a member of the Washington D.C. Redskins) is about to hit the free agent market.  The Talking Heads and Experts (aka Educated Guesser’s) state that Captain Kirk can command $30M per year for six years – the highest salary ever.  Wow!  Thoughts?

MSU Alum RB Le’ Veon Bell (currently a member of the Pittsburgh PA Steelers) appears to be far away from agreeing on a new contract. The Talking Heads and Experts (aka Educated Guesser’s) believe that Bell (arguably the best RB in the NFL) may be tagged with the Franchise (player) status for a second year in a row.  The Steelers would be allowed to pay $14.5M for the ability to make the designation. According to the TH\E’s, Bell wants a long-term contract and is threatening to retire.  Thoughts?

MSU Basketball is square in the middle of the discussion of the upcoming NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Talking Heads and Experts (aka Educated Guesser’s) cannot talk about seeding or favorites without mentioning MSU.  MSU (29-4 and B1G Regular Season Champion) lost to rival scUM in the BBT Semi-Final.  The loss stung.  However most of the Poll Voters, Bracketologist’s and TH\E’s were on record today as seeing MSU remaining near the top of the seeding. Thoughts?

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