Michigan State will be back in 2021, but who knows what they’ll look like?
We’ve talked uncertainty on offense and defense—albeit with coaching stability—and wondered aloud how we’d kick the guys in East Lansing into gear. (There was also a Tom Izzo clickbait headline that was /chefkiss; good job, Thump.)
In our nontraditional approach to this year’s Potluck slate (sorry—that’s on me), we’re just rolling around to the schedule now, and much like the subject itself, this one is shrouded in mystery, too.
Food: We all scream...just at the crippling uncertainty, ennui, and pointlessness of it all, really.
This was supposed to be a wonderful day. We argue about ice cream at Penn State and Madison and Michigan State, everyone goes home angry, it’s a great time.
Turns out the MSU Dairy Store paused its operations in September 2020. Will it be back this fall? I assume so, but who knows at this point.
No one said Michigan State Friday would be fun—in fact, it feels very Dantonian to be bitter for a little bit. So, writers:
1. Your favorite creamery and/or ice cream? Bonus points for a Michigan State-adjacent answer.
2. Give us a restaurant or thing you’ve lost in the last year from COVID.
3. Tell me something good going on in your life. We tried to #CelebrateTheState (just coffee and cherries but whatever), now let’s #CelebrateUs.
Beez: There’s a place called Ozzie’s near me that serves Hershey’s brand ice cream. It is an extremely underrated brand, and it honestly might be the best ice cream there is currently.
In the last year I “lost” the ability to go to this amazing bakery to get giant slices of expensive cake. Sure, you can still go, but you have to order ahead and schedule a pickup time, thus putting “lost” in quotes. It’s only “lost” cuz I’m lazy.
A good thing going on in my life is I got engaged whilst on vacation last week. Yay! Sending checks/gifts to me if you’d like.
Kind of…: I am a simple man and will always accept DQ products. That Babcock Hall Dairy Store can hold its own with Penn State’s creamery.
COVID cost me a weekly pub quiz/bullshit session that was always a good time to decompress.
But it’s summer, I remain gainfully employed, and the household acquired a dog. You won’t hear me complaining too much.
HWAHSQB: The Chinese food place in the mall with the openly hostile employees that was surprisingly good closed due to COVID, as did Taco Johns. Those aren’t terrible losses, but they were places I ate at occasionally.
I lost 35# since COVID became a thing that happened and I was able to stop chemo after five years of treatments so those are things that are good.
Unlike Kind of…, you will hear me complaining, because for whatever unknown reason, I’m still an Illinois fan and we can’t have nice things.
MNW: I am a big fan of Nelson’s in Stillwater (and now the Mac/Groveland/Highland area of St. Paul). Nothing fancy, just a metric fuckton of ice cream for very little money.
As about 75% of my dissertation was written at Caffetto and various open-Sundays-til-11pm breweries around the Twin Cities, I “lost” a decent deal, which has been frustrating for my productivity. I also lost any remaining feeling that I was in shape and a side hustle I had reading bar trivia, to continue that narrative.
Good things? I have a job at a P6, R1 (you sunk my Battleship!) institution next fall. That’s pretty neat.
Please be sure to tell us your good news in the comments. God knows we could use it.
Football: This is, uh...it’s a schedule?
Crossovers with Northwestern, Nebraska, and Purdue present a real grab bag of “Who the fuck knows?” for Sparty, while the non-conference trip to Coral Gardens’ ACC Team looks like a real “Close your eyes and think of England” moment.
As usual, folks:
1. How does Sparty finish up in 2021? Show your work.
2. Give me the ACC team you’d want your school to play a home-and-home with.
Beez: MSU was better than I expected last year, but they still weren’t good. And probably aren’t going to be much better.
Fortunately for them, they drew two total scrubs and Purdue in their crossovers. Figure they lose to any school that the below-average college football fan will have heard of and pull off one semi-upset. I see them at 5-7.
I’d like to see Wisconsin get a home and home with Appalachian State, so I’m going to count them as ACC since they are in North Carolina and often play ACC teams and sometimes beat them.
Kind of…: One road win and a split with Michigan/PSU at home should be enough to get to 6-6 and a bowl. I did one run through and had them at 5-7, and another at 6-6. The floor has to be four wins (right?) and the ceiling seems to be eight or so. My most confident prediction is that the season opener with NW will be sloppy as hell.
UW has a lot of half-assed connections to ACC schools. Chryst used to be at Pitt; NC State’s Doeren was an assistant at UW; Hornibrook transferred to Miami; Tony Bennett at UVa, etc. They currently have home-and-homes scheduled with Pitt in about 5 years, and Va. Tech in about 10.
HWAHSQB: I don’t think four wins has to be the floor. I’m just not sure they’ll be ready to move forward this quickly. I think they probably get to 4-8, but I think 3-9 is more likely than 5-7. I say they win YSU and WKU and split the rugters, nebraska, pu, and maryland games and I don’t think they are close in the rest.
Obviously, I would want Illinois to schedule a home and home with Syracuse. Nike gave Syracuse the old Illinois uniforms so mute the TV and pretend like the team winning is Illinois. Also, Dino Babers seems like an okay guy and there is no better pathway to being good than scheduling out of conference games against Illinois. There has been a shocking number of times that Illinois has scheduled non-conference foes for football and they end up being their best teams in decades.
MNW: Youngstown and a pretty moribund Western Kentucky are the two wins I’d feel comfortable writing in pen.
I mean, probably pen in Northwestern, since fuck me, but also you’ve got Maryland and Rutgers teams that are finally just aspiring to quiet competence along with a Purdue team that...I mean, who knows? I’ll put two wins as the floor, give Sparty some three of the non-OSU, -PSU, and -Miami Fluoride games, and say they get to 5-7. But you could talk me into 6-6.
What concerns me about this team is the quarterback situation (duh), particularly because I can see Anthony Russo being a Danny O’Brien-to-wisconsin kind of situation. Maybe I’m not giving whoever the Sparty coach is enough credit.
Northwestern plays Duke approximately 15 times in the next 12 non-conference schedules. Don’t bother checking that math or thinking too hard about it. I hate it.
Of the remaining ACC teams to play for the non-conference, I liked the brief Boston College series we had going for a bit and wouldn’t mind something similar with Wake Forest. Georgia Tech right now, too, since they’re pretty shitty.
Other than that, give me Notre Dame.
How does Sparty finish in 2021?
This poll is closed
3-9 or worse
8-4 or better
Which ACC team would you most like for the non-conference schedule?
This poll is closed
North Carolina State