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Michigan State Cocktail Party 2019

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Mark Dantonio, Brian Lewerke, and the Galaxy-Class Spartans Defense are back and looking to shake up the Big Ten East in 2019. Can they do it?

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Michigan State
Which of them came within screaming distance of meeting expectations?
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Ahh, how has it already been a year since MSU was coming off of a 10-win rebound season, its trophy cases refilled, its roster loaded with returning talent, all the opportunity in the world to assemble a second run on par with ‘13-’15?

. . .

Those were grand times.

Fast forward through last year - which, for most of it, the typical MSU fan probably would have loved to do - and we are instead at a place of tremendous uncertainty.

2018, Recapped Through Gritted Teeth

MSU started off last year by needing a last-minute escape at home against Utah State, and though that win ended up aging very well, it was a bit foreboding. Although the foreboding part was accurate, the reason wasn’t.

Instead, at about 3 am the following Saturday, when their night game at Arizona State ended with a loss as the offense sputtered for most of the night, MSU fans had their season at a glance in week 2 - mistake after injury after bad call after mistake on offense, while the defense kept them in far more games than they had any right to be in.

Sure, there were some high points. Rubbing Penn State’s face in it is always a bit of fun. Beating an ascending Purdue with a backup QB was a nice win. But overall, the season was dominated not just by the losses - early to Northwestern, and then to Michigan and Ohio State to ensure they were not in the conference picture - but by what those losses looked like. Tune in for tomorrow’s nail-biting about the offense for the details on that.

The season was also defined, at least for me, in large part by the completely flat conclusion. One need only look at last week’s #content here at OTE to see how two strong performances to conclude a season can give an entire fanbase syphilitic delusions about how good their team actually is and will be going forward.

Well, the opposite is also true. MSU scored a total of 32 points in its last 4 games, mustering only an escape at home on Senior Day against Rutgers as a win in that timeframe.

2019, Eyeballed With Tremendous Skepticism

Dig, if you will, the schedule:

August 30 Tulsa

September 7 Western Michigan

September 14 Arizona State

September 21 @Northwestern

September 28 Indiana

October 5 @Wisconsin

October 12 @Ohio State

BYE

October 26 Penn State

BYE

November 9 Illinois

November 16 @Michigan

November 23 @Rutgers

November 30 Maryland

So, for the first time in like 6 years, MSU doesn’t have a bye in the first 3 weeks of the season. Which is nice.

Instead, both byes are crammed within 3 weeks, with enough games after them to prevent meaningful game planning for all of them. Good, great, grand, wonderful. NO YELLING ON THE BUS.

It’s an odd year, so Michigan and Ohio State are both on the road; the crossovers also include a trip to Camp Randall, but also a home date with Illinois. The nonconference should be a sweep. If it’s not, we’ll know to check out early and start counting the days to basketball.

When Talking To A Michigan State Fan, Do Mention: Felton Davis III keeping the world’s foremost bowling trophy in East Lansing; keeping Ol’ Spitty; anything basketball-related, in particular exiling the greatest player in the history of the world from the tournament and beating John Beilein’s ass so bad he ran away to the NBA

When Talking To A Michigan State Fan, Do Not Mention: IT; the continued employment of Jim Bollman and Mark Staten.