Just as both Posse bloggers predicted, formerly No. 10 MSU defeated formerly No. 2 Ohio State in a highly entertaining contest. As of this afternoon, following the Spartans 34-24 victory late Saturday night, MSU is ranked No. 4 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls. Ohio State dropped to seventh and sixth, respectively.
For weeks, the know-nothing blowhards at ESPN, The Sporting News, Fox Sports and many other outlets did nothing but slobber all over Ohio State, acting lke it was a preordained fact that OSU would defeat the Spartans and play for the national championship. Their bias blinded them from acknowledging what my co-blogger and I pointed out: Ohio State's defense was pedestrian. Meanwhile, under impressive sophomore signal caller Connor Cook, the Spartans have developed a pretty darned good offense. (We already knew MSU had the nation's No. 1 defense.)
Just as so-called "experts" and pundits who comment on political developments often are pathetically off-the-mark, the same can be said for many sports commentators. Too much of what happens in college football is based on popularity contests, hype and reputations rather than reality. Why else would the now mediocre Michigan Wolverines get hyped each September as possible national championship contenders, and mediocre athletes like Tate Forcier or Denard Robinson be touted as Heisman Trophy candidates?
But back to the game. What impressed me so much about the Spartans' effort last night was not so much Cook's tremendous 24-for-40, 304-yard performance, great as it was. Rather, it was the defense's stalwart resolve when the chips were down. After MSU jumped off to a 17-0 lead, Ohio State suddenly charged back with an impressive offensive display, taking a 24-17 lead. I feared the green-and-white would buckle.
But then in the fourth quarter, the Spartan defense stiffened considerably, making key play after key play. None was larger than when linebacker Denicos Allen stopped the dangerous Braxton Miller from gaining a first down on a fourth-and-two play on the MSU 39 with just six minutes remaining. MSU held Ohio State's ostensibly prolific offense to a miserable 1-for-10 third down conversions. That's solid!
Now MSU will enjoy the warm afterglow of its first ever 12-victory season and look forward to its first trip to Pasadena, Calif., for a Rose Bowl since January 1988. The Spartans will face Stanford in what should be a competitive game.
Congratulations to the Spartan players, coaches, fans and alumni. How sweet it is!