Hoegher's 2013 Previews: MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

Yes, I know it's Sunday. Hoegher had a bit of a stressful week at work (mostly resolved now) and had to put a few personal projects on the back-burner. So you get a Michigan State FanPost slightly delayed. It's a bit of a shame, too, as I was really hoping to rip into the Spartan fans' collective inferiority complex, but other things came up. C'est le vie.

Also, I had a date planned, and I made an executive decision to focus on finding time for a hair-cut instead.


NOTE: all historical data is taken from James Howell's excellent resource and/or Sports-Reference (college football edition)

Michigan State Overall Ratings

Michigan State Adj Off/Def

Michigan State Win Pct/Luck

Winning percentage and "Luck" are plotted on a win-pct basis (mind-blowing, I know). Adj Off/Def/Eff/Marg and Resume rankings are plotted on a percentile-ranking basis. Thus, a team rating out in the 99th percentile would be awesome, a team rating out in the 1st percentile would be not-so-awesome.

I could spend this time elaborating on the (actually quite proud) Spartan past. Biggie Munn was a hell of a coach (he went 35-2 between 1950 and 1953, earning a national championship in 1952) and while Duffy Daugherty doesn't quite match that, he still earned a title in 1965 and earns major props for managing a tie against arguably the best college football of all time in 1966 (Notre Dame, it's Notre Dame).

But this is Michigan State, and they are awful. Instead, let's check on what historical happenings occurred since the last time Michigan State has been to Pasadena:

1988 - hoegher was born.

1989 - Berlin Wall comes down.

1991 - Communism ends (NOTE: simplification)

1988 - Bush elected President.

2000 - Bush elected President.

2004 - Bush elected President.

1994 - Wisconsin wins Rose Bowl.

1999 - Wisconsin wins Rose Bowl.

2000 - Wisconsin wins Rose Bowl.

2011 - Wisconsin attends Rose Bowl.

2012 - Wisconsin attends Rose Bowl.

2013 - Wisconsin attends Rose Bowl.

2002 - Nebraska attends Rose Bowl (despite hindrance of not being a Big Ten or Pac-10 team).

1996 - George R.R. Martin publishes first book in ASoIaF.

2013 - George R.R. Martin has still not finished ASoIaF.

1998 - Google founded.

2004 - Google IPO.

1990-1999 - The '90s.

2000-2009 - The '00s.

2009 - Spartan babies conceived during their last Rose Bowl can now legally drown their sorrows in alcohol.

2013 - Every current Spartan player wasn't alive during their last Rose Bowl.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but you get the idea.

THE FUTURE and are used for reference here. I highly recommend both sites.

Projected Rating: 0.341 (30th)

Conf Proj Rec Conf Rec Adj Off rk Adj Def rk Adj Eff rk Adj Marg rk
B10 8-4 5-3 0.934 75 0.635 9 0.595 27 0.299 35
Schedule SOS rk Conf SOS rk n-con SOS rk
Rating/Rk 0.014 51 0.106 60 -0.170 46
Week 1 (H) Week 2 (H) Week 3 (H) Week 4 (V) Week 5 Week 6 (V) Week 7 (H) Week 8 (H)
92 - WeMich 89% 68 - SoFlor 77% 124 - FCS 99% 11 - IRISH 28% 0 - BYE 0% 51 - Iowegia 63% 90 - India 88% 70 - ????? 79%
Week 9 (V) Week 10 (H) Week 11 Week 12 (V) Week 13 (V) Week 14 (H) Week 15 Week 16
84 - LOLinois 85% 27 - FuMich 46% 0 - BYE 0% 18 - CORN 34% 37 - justNW 54% 78 - Minny 84% 0 - BYE 0% 0 - BYE 0%

The number next to each opponent represents the projected ranking for that team. The percentages represent projected likelihood of winning a particular game, helpfully color-coded for your benefit (no regard for home/away, though that status is noted). The team names have been adjusted to better fit your screen, I hope they are obvious enough. You are free to ignore everything and tell me why I'm wrong, you're probably right.

Michigan State 2013 Profile

This is an attempt to quickly illustrate a team's outlook for the coming season. These aren't unique (my personal experience was a Pokemon Yellow Guide from my youth): maxing out the pentagon is better. Winning percentage should be obvious, but other than that: the numbers here represent percentile rankings. 99th percentile is good, 1st percentile is less so.

No time to waste, cutting to the chase here.

OFFENSE: First, lets all take a moment to remember what every rational person thought coming into 2012:

Michigan State loses their NFL quality quarterback, he of the 3-year starting experience. Additionally, Michigan State loses their top four receivers from 2011. It's likely that their offense will struggle next year, especially in the passing game.

Did you listen Sparty fans? No, no you did not. And how did that turn out for you?

Andrew Maxwell: 5.8 yds/att, 52.5%, 13-9 TD-INT

Connor Cook: 5.5 yds/att, 52.9%, 1-1 TD-INT

Not well, not well at all. Fortunately, both those guys are coming back! (Maxwell is a senior, Cook will be a sophomore). Which should you prefer? Well, if you're asking me, then I say follow the Maryland approach and put out a stray recycling bin you have laying around, but that's because I prefer y'all to do as poorly as possible. In all honesty, it doesn't seem to matter very much, they are nearly identical with their stats (a pile of poo, for the most part). It probably depends how much Cook is willing to share his ball.

There is also new recruit Damion Terry (4-star). And - side note here - I'm not terribly interested in recruiting and all that jazz, but I don't think I've ever seen a QB-DT hybrid recruit as ESPN has him listed. (EDIT: just realized that I'm an idiot and that was referring to his status as a dual-threat QB). I'm curious as to how that'll work, because I'm fairly certain Dantonio has run a pro-style scheme for his tenure. TOC mentions that Terry struggles with accuracy, which means he's essentially a younger faster version of Andrew Maxwell. As long as whoever is out there keeps throwing interceptions, I'm happy with it.

As far as who will actually be catching those misplaced balls from [MSU QB], the Spartans at least find themselves in a better position from last year. They return their top five pass catchers (#6 was LeVeon Bell, and #7 was a defensive lineman. You might have to explain that last one to me). Bennie Fowler (SR, 12.8 yds/rec, 524 yds, 4 TD) was probably the best of the bunch, and all five (Fowler, Mumphrey, Sims (TE), Lippet, Burbridge) averaged 10+ yds/rec. All five also had less than 530 yds receiving on the year, which you could say was due to depth, but I'll say was due to crappiness. Dion Sims seems okay, as he's just a tight end, so 13 yds/rec isn't too bad. EDIT: So usually I just look at CFB Stats and check the class listing as to whether the athlete will be back the next year. I missed that Dion Sims went to the NFL, my bad.

Jay Harris (WR, 3-star) (EDIT: WHOOPS) and Trey Kilgore (WR, 3-star) join in the 2013 class, but they seem to value academics in their choice of where to play football. As Cardale Jones can tell you, that's foolish thinking.

Also: Dylan Chmura.

So I was all ready to dismiss the running back position, but then I checked last year's stats. It was all Bell and pretty much no one else. The best returning back is... Nick Hill (JR, 2.3 yds/car)? Could we possibly get an anemic running game in addition to a poor passing game? TOC is already not very impressed with the job their offensive line does for running backs. Incoming replacement possibilities for Bell include Delton Williams (ATH, 4-star), who I thought was going to safety, but would serctinaly fit the mold over the smaller R.J. Shelton (RB, 3-star)

DEFENSE: Normally, I'm not really a fan of talking about defense. My knowledge of the game of football is lacking in several areas, especially as regards to schemes and how to utilize them (my preferred Madden strategy is "run virtual Adrian Peterson into the ground." It works okay). I can compensate from this somewhat with offensive evaluations, as stats can convey a lot of information (yds/att is a great one for passing, for example). However, evaluating defense is almost entirely based on scheme and as much the stats you don't record as the ones you do record. Michigan State offers an exception as:

I dislike the Spartans and can bloviate about said dislike for a while

They were actually good at defense.

Safe to say (and as much as I don't want to admit it) Dantonio and Narduzzi have convinced me that Michigan State's defensive prowess is here to stay. William Gholston is gone and as the TFL leader from a year ago (as well as the bastard who did this), let me say I am very happy about that. Unfortunately (for my interests) pretty much everyone else comes back (I don't know who Chris Norman is and I won't justify it with a response). As Max Bullough and Denicos Allen return, top recruit Shane Jones (LB, 4-star) probably won't see much playing time, but I'll point him out regardless.

Johnny Adams is gone to graduation, but I have a hard time thinking that he's was any better than Darqueze Dennard (SR, 3 INT*), who does return. As with the defensive line, pretty much everyone else returns besides Adams, so it should (again) be a gag-inducing formidable unit in 2013. I'll note Delton Williams (ATH, 3-star) again as a possible safety.


1-11. To heck with Michigan State. Y'all are terrible.

Western Michigan? Y'all have a history of losing to Directional Michigan. LOSS.

South Florida? BCS school from the South. Plus, their new coach made Western Kentucky a winner. LOSS.

Youngstown State? Close game, but edging out the victory. WIN.

Notre Dame? Couldn't even beat them at home last year. LOSS.

Iowa? Couldn't even beat a crappy Iowa team at home last year. LOSS.

Indiana? Tre Roberson > Andrew MaxCook. LOSS.

Purdue? Purdue almost beat Ohio State last year in OT last year. Transitive property means that Purdue would beat Michigan State. LOSS.

Illiois? Uhh... road game? I'm sorry, I got nothing. Regardless: LOSS.

Michigan? Little brothers only win when their older siblings let them. LOSS.

Nebraska? Battle of the Big Ten Championship Game losers! LOSS.

Northwestern? Actually had a watchable bowl game. LOSS.


1-11, the math adds up.


Adj Off - analogous to scoring offense, adjusted for opponent strength.

Adj Def - analogous to scoring defense, adjusted for opponent strength.

Adj Eff - analogous to scoring ratio, adjusted for opponent strength.

Adj Marg - analogous to scoring margin, adjusted for opponent strength.

Luck - difference between actual winning percentage and expected winning percentage.

Resume - analogous to win/loss record, adjusted for opponent strength.

For for information see here: HOEGHER'S PRIMER.

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