This has been, by any measure, a great and glorious season for MSU football.
My beloved Spartans have won the most games ever – a record which would mean more if they could refrain from adding games, but there you are. (Stray thought: It is growingly increasingly unlikely that we will see unbeaten national champs these days. Winning nine games was doable, 11 was tough, but 13 or 14? Very hard.)
They won a share of the Big Ten title, and – by virtue of beating Wisconsin and not playing Ohio State – get to put their name first on all the official lists.
All four of the traveling trophies – the Old Brass Spittoon, the Land Grant, Megaphone and Paul Bunyon – now sit in repose on our fair campus.
Based on this, the Spartan Nation should be content, at peace with the world and basking in the glow of well-earned triumph.
Alas, the BCS has stepped forward to be the fly in our soup.
Honestly, it is difficult for me to get too exercised over the BCS nonsense. MSU would probably have a Rose Bowl or BCS bid if we had simply showed up against Iowa.
We didn’t need to beat them, we simply needed to stay on the same field. Our lower ranking is the result of getting blown out and humiliated.
The BCS has many sins, but the (alleged) plight of the Spartans this bowl season cannot be laid to rest on it. That was all our doing.
None of which is to question the achievement of the football squad. Greg Jones came back for a championship, and he got one. In four years, Mark Dantonio had led his team from the laughing stock to the top 10, from November meltdowns to November triumphs.
Not that we didn’t try. Watching the last two minutes of that Penn State game was enough to give me heart failure. Hopefully the lesson will now be learned: If you intercept in the end zone, fall down.
Nevertheless the Spartans hung on to win it, and that is the real story. Whether faking out Notre Dame, coming back against Northwestern or dominating Illinois, they won the close games.
Dantonio's selection as Big Ten Coach of the Year is therefore clearly the right choice.
It is perhaps impossible to reflect upon MSU’s accomplishments without also noting that other Michigan school’s vastly different trajectory.
U-M has gone from conference power house to cellar-dweller. Where once it vied for titles, it now picks off the weak and relies on a soft schedule to garner bowl trips.
RichRod’s record is almost a perfect inversion of Mark Dantonio’s.
Dantonio’s first senior class will see the most victories in program history; RichRod’s already has the most losses.
Dantonio has created a new streak of bowl game attendance; RichRod shattered Michigan’s.
Dantonio has celebrated the rivalry games and achieved success comparable to the greats of MSU’s storied past; RichRod has lost every matchup with OSU and MSU.
Sportswriters continue to speculate on whether RichRod will keep his job. Here at the Posse we have this advice to Dave Brandon (whom I have actually met):
Keep Rich Rod. Forever.