Since Graham already discussed the Mitten's premier recipes waaayyyyyyy back in Michigan week, I'm taking the MSU potluck in a different direction. I'll spotlight restaurants in various Michigan locales so that, should you find yourself on this most pleasant peninsula, you might know where to look for good food. I apologize for the lack of food porn pictures, but I'm doing most of this from my phone and I'm sure anyone who's been to these places will back me up in the comments.
Meat! Southern B.B.Q. and Carnivore Cuisine, Lansing, MI
Looking around Lansing's recently revitalized Old Town neighborhood (a veritable nest of hipsters), you wouldn't expect to find high-quality BBQ, but that's exactly how it will go down if you get to Meat! before they sell out of food, which happens on the reg. I advise caution in ordering the meat fries, because the menu description doesn't tell you it's basically a bacon-and-cheese pie with some fries in it, and then they still expect you to eat and pay for the entree you ordered. If you need vegetarian options, they're happy to point you to this section of the menu.
Keeping with the theme of unexpectedly good results, the skill positions on offense were a string of questions going into last year for the Spartans. Connor Cook won the QB job and turned into a functional QB before our very eyes and Bennie Fowler remembered that catching the ball is a huge part of being a wide receiver. But the biggest surprise had to be Jeremy Langford, who spent his first three years on campus as a man without a position before seizing the tailback job by the throat. Who on your team has been a similarly pleasant surprise recently, and who might you tab for a breakout season that most sports outlets aren't talking about?
C4B: While he's probably not the biggest surprise on our roster, the fact that Shane Wynn is a starting wide receiver and kick returner for IU is impressive nonetheless. The 5' 7" senior has been quietly putting up huge numbers in Bloomington, so if there's ever a year he's going to break out and become known, it's now or never, and I'm going out on a pretty sturdy limb to say his time is now
Jesse: Last year it was S Corey Cooper who was somewhat of an unknown quantity until he became the man patrolling center field for our very good pass defense. I didn't expect all that much from him, but he is very much a linchpin for the Nebraska defense. On offense, specifically skill position, I would go with Sam Burtch, The kid can play any of the WR roles for Nebraska, is known for blocking, but showed he can go up and snag passes when they're in his vicinity. I don't think he'll be the feature guy, but he will be someone defenses account for this year.
babaoreally: Last season was so terrible for Purdue that I can't really think of anyone who has been a pleasant surprise recently. As far as a breakout for this season goes, I can't really think of a sleeper-type player that will have a breakout season. I expect DeAngelo Yancey to continue to be the best offensive player on the team, since he was probably the best WR last season when he was just a freshman.
GoForThree: From a Buckeye perspective, I'm going to with Joey Bosa. Yes, he came in as a highly-touted talent. Nonetheless, to make that kind of headline impact on defense as a true freshman is rare, especially at a down lineman position where most guys spend a year packing on strength and learning technique. Bosa a fearsome force up front, and it's going to be hell for B1G offensive lines this year. Take all his talent from last year and a the tutelage of Larry Johnson. Enjoy the show.
Spatz's Bakery, Saginaw, MI
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spatzs-bakery/112530492172948 (how old-school is Spatz's? They don't appear to have their own website)
Should you find yourself in Saginaw, you'd be making a terrible mistake not to stop at Spatz's bakery. This place is why I find all mass-produced bread to be inedible mush, and they've been doing it right for 170 years, all in the same family.
Speaking of Saginaw, my hometown has been very good to Michigan State. Just since the turn of the century, Charles Rogers, Jason Richardson, Draymond Green, and Blair White have all gone Green and White, with great results; I can only hope DeAnthony Arnett, Saginaw's current contribution to the football team, comes up as big. Who from your hometown/area has been the best to suit up for your preferred team? Got any good stories about hometown guys you knew who went on to B1G athletics? Don't feel limited to football, as obviously Richardson and Green were basketball players.
C4B: Unfortunately, Lebanon doesn't have a strong history of producing IU sports alums. Though, since we have produced a couple of B1G athletes, I might as well mention them, even though both went to Purdue. In football, we have former Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Craig Terrill, and in basketball, Rick Mount, who is probably better known for his high school and college basketball exploits than for his rather short pro career.
Jesse: I went to school in Arlington, NE. To my knowledge, the only two Arlington players to play for the Huskers were Clint Brown - LB who played on the 1994 National Championship team and is Defensive Coordinator at South Dakota State University and Thomas Grove - LB who played mostly on Special Teams. Neither were stars per say, but they contributed. I'm absolutely sure there are athletes who played D1 in other sports, but I couldn't even begin to come up with that list.
babaoreally: I am from a rural area of Southern Indiana. One of my neighbors, Jay Seib went to Indiana and played center for them in the 90s. I believe he was the offensive MVP one year when they didn't win any games in the Big Ten. Although it is unrelated to the B1G, Jay Cutler attended the intra-county rivals of my high school.
GoForThree: Not my hometown per se, but small towns in Ohio get to know one another quite well through school sports. Prominent Buckeyes I recall from my generation of youth in Northern Ohio include Tim Anderson (Clyde, OH), who was an outstanding down lineman for the Buckeyes and a state heavyweight wrestling champion. More of my generation was Brandon Schnittker, with whom I collided many times on the football field when he was a Perkins Pirate. Even in high school it was like meeting a small, friendly locomotive head-on. The greatest of all, though, was the pride of Sandusky: Orlando Pace. He's still spoken of in hushed, mythic tones. In 50 years I think we'll all remember him as the last and greatest O lineman to be honestly considered for a Heisman. Contrast him with a man still known among locals as the worst of turncoats: Charles Woodson. The second-greatest thing to ever come out of Fremont (there's a Heinz ketchup plant there) and he turned tail and went to Michigan. Unforgivable.