The Spartan Schedule Quirk & Other ‘Cat Bits

Michigan State is the season finale on a rare post Thanksgiving Saturday game in Evanston.  What makes this even more unique (the Big Ten just moved the final week to post Thanksgiving last season) is that it marks the second straight year Michigan State plays in Evanston.  Not that we’ve had much of a home field advantage in this series as I would argue we play them better in East Lansing (we’ve won two of our last three in Spartan Stadium).  This also marks the last time we won’t be ending the season with Illinois until at least 2015 as our in-state rival is on the books for our season finale each of the next three seasons much like it used to be.

Wildcat fans might remember that this scheduling quirk happens from time to time as Northwestern played back-to-back at Kinnick Stadium in 2008 and 2009 beating the Hawkeyes in both of those games.  The last time Northwestern beat Sparty on our home field was the miraculous finish back in 2001 when we were ranked.

Spartan Stadium

I’ve been to one game at Spartan Stadium – the 2007 CJ Bacher record setter OT win. Clearly it was a great game to be at and the Spartans as a program were a tad wobbly in Dantonio’s early years, but I truly enjoyed the gameday experience. We sat in the top of the upper deck and the views were stellar.  The silver bleachers were less than stellar and the glare off the sun made me think they need a complete green seat overhaul, but the pitch to the stadium is relatively straight up so you feel very close to the action.  The game was not a sellout, but the Spartans have upticked their attendance thanks to a Big Ten title run last year. In 2010, they averaged 98% capacity, 30th best in the NCAA, with an average of 73,556.  The stadium is not overwhelmingly loud unless, of course, you compare it to the quiet den that is the Big House. It’s a great walk through campus to get to the stadium as tailgating sprawls seemingly for a mile in every direction.  We parked at East Lansing HS and walked through the fraternity house street to get to the game and much like Madison, it appears this is a gauntlet that many folks make when making the long walk to the stadium. 

I think fans should experience every Big Ten stadium at least once. The concourses were fantastic and there was tons of room to maneuver unlike Ryan Field. However, it lacked a lot of character and I’d rank it in the middle of the pack in terms of road game priority venues.  I’m curious to find out where you would rank it. 

‘Cats – MSU Draft Preview

Quite an interesting and timely place to find an NFL draft pick perspective this week – a Buffalo Bills NFL draft website. Our friends at CFB Zealots contributed this and it highlights the several Wildcats and Spartans as potential NFL draft picks using film from the 2010 game. Dan Persa, Al Netter, Jordan Mabin and Kevin Watt made the cut while Vince Browne was conspicuously missing.

Persa Report

Adam Rittenberg checked-in with a Dan Persa report which will do nothing but have you pull out your tea leaves interpretation set.  Not really any news in the report. Pretty guarded Fitz speak with the bottom line being Fitz won’t know until a few weeks in to fall camp what his percentage of normal will be.


Tyler Scott was the latest recipient of’s ongoing lovefest for Big Ten players in the weight room. I always thought Dan Persa was the hardest working guy in the weight room, but it appears blossoming DE Tyler Scott is getting that treatment in today’s installment. It will indeed be curious to see the Tyler Scott, Kevin Watt battle. 

‘Cats Caravan

LTP whiffed on promoting the ‘Cats Caravan featuring Coach Fitz last night at Pete Miller’s in Evanston, but I’m curious to see how it went. Do tell!

Fitz – Lunch with a Legend’s Legend

If you missed last night then you can catch Fitz who will be the ESPN 1000 “Lunch With a Legend” guest on Tuesday, July 26.  It is at Morton’s downtown and costs $50 a head. All the info is here.

Chris Malleo – The Ultimate NFL Journey

I came across this link on the message boards. It turns out former ‘Cat LB Chris Malleo is on a mission to try and live his dream as a QB.  It’s quite the typical Wildcat perseverance story including workouts with his former teammate, Eagles QB Mike Kafka. It is well worth the read. Check it out here.

Rick Reilly – Tongue In Cheek

Bring your sense of humor on this one. Rick Reilly put together a rip-all article on the Big Ten in the form of a welcoming 101 to Nebraska. Pretty funny stuff. Check it out here.

Wright Stuff

Congratulations to former Wildcat star RB and two-time Academic All-American, Jason Wright, who just retired from the NFL after seven seasons.  Wright, according to this piece, just trekked cross-country to get ready for business school at the prestigious University of Chicago Booth Business School.  Jason is a PMPee and an all around class act. Best of luck Jason!

  • Thanks for linking to the Film Study Session from my site! Browne is missing because he came into this game injured and did not even start. I did not feel as though it was fair to make a write-up on him knowing he was coming into the game injured. You’ll notice I have Browne ranked as my #8 DE prospect for the 2012 class on the site.

    Thanks again!

  • DT

    While I did not attend Pat and Bill’s Excellent Adventure and Road Show last night at Pete Miller’s, if I read a quote attributed to him correctly via Tribune Purple Mafia member Teddy G, it is not the kind of comment that builds either credibility or reputation… Regarding Oregon- “We actually play faster than they do… But they’re a sexy program because of those funny uniforms”… Note to Fitz: put a stop watch on it and you will see NU is significantly slower per play run (not to mention personnel running it) than Oregon and needless to say, nowhere near productive. As one Cat fan, I’d encourage “Funny” uniforms if it generated the offense Oregon does or for that matter, stops turnovers by running backs and QB’s who sans a healthy Danny Persa who would not even see the depth chart at Oregon…

    Come on, Fitz… While you may geta a few yucks from a partisan crowd, a poor attempt at humor and totally inaccurate… Not the way to build credibility or reputation with other programs or recruits who can see the beyond the top spin… Certainly, not the type rhetroic Barnett or Walker for instance built Big Ten Champs around… Humility was always a strong suit at NU…

    Won’t even touch his latest pitch for more Wrigley games and the comparison to “Bowl Games”, albeit the outcome at Wrigley was in line with all NU bowl results since 1949…

  • HintonforElway

    Sheesh…tough crowd. Are you really concerned about Fitz’s Oregon quip impacting recruiting and/or our perception of our program? I agree, not his funniest moment, but I’m not going to lose sleep. Not trying to go after a fellow Cat fan, but I think the real discrepancy in productivity is probably the personnel Oregon can bring to Eugene.

  • DT

    @Hinton For Elway…
    No sleep lost either, but I think a Head Coach has to be more responsible with his comments about other programs, particularly comparing what is a 40-50 level program with one that is Top 5… Sounds like sour grapes… To my way of thinking way beyond a quip in making the statement he did… I no doubt agree with you that Oregon has the capability to bring a higher level of player into that program and moreover in the case of arguably the best player in college football, LaMichael James, possibly did it outside the guidelines of the NCAA rules. Still, they have the most innovative and productive offense in BCS Football and do it via a high intensity, fast pace that no team in the NCAA is equal to in terms of tempo- most certainly including NU… That said, NU is quicker than many and as witnessed against Iowa, when they don’t make mistakes or commit TO’s can be formidable.. BTW- lets not forget the Oregon Coach Chip Kelly, was the OC of a 1-AA New Hampshire team that stretched the field on NU via passing in 06, en route to a victory at Ryan Field in Fitz’s first year… Next stop for Kelly, was Oregon…

  • Db

    seriously guys? David cant throw a stone or 2 at goliath? FitzSpeak is unreasonably humble at all times. He bites his tongue more than any coach I’ve seen. In a closed room with 70 boosters he’s allowed to make a joke and make light of stuff.

  • DT

    Nothing wrong with David chucking a stone or two at the Big Guy, if indeed David is not posturing that he is is bigger than Goliath– with a Chicago Tribune reporter among the homers to send it viral via multi-platform… Also, is a “Coaches Caravan” a booster function or a public event to be reported?

  • Lake The Posts

    @DT – with all due respect it’s all about context. Fitz is one of the most guarded coaches in America when it comes to this type of thing, let’s not squash it – I like it. You know where he’s coming from – a good place. Heck, with Oregon’s pending NCAA issues this is the least of their worries and it should be ours. Let’s focus on putting the purple in Ryan Field – we’re on the same team here. We need to take it upon ourselves to bring in new recruits and by recruits I mean new fans. Got a great email on how to bring in fans of other teams. Will share soon.

  • Lake The Posts

    Also, just got a tip that Noah Herron has been named an assistant coach at Indiana. Ugh.

  • DT

    Point well taken… I misquoted Fitz actually, in that he called The Oregon uniforms “ugly” not funny as I had wrote. Some truth to tha desecripton, but… No doubt, Oregon has bigger fish to fry as do we, but one need not defend “Context” if the statement is not made… Joke or not, looked like sour grapes in The Trib… Enough said… Herron remains one of my all time favorite Cats… Not good news to hear him teaming up with Wilson…

  • Chadnudj

    @DT: You (and maybe one other person) are the only people that looked at that comment and thought “sour grapes” or anything beyond “HAHAHA, good one coach.” Seriously, people need to lighten up. Fitz is a good coach, building the program the right way, and building it for long-term sustainable success. If you don’t see that or wanna nitpick every stray comment for a reason to criticize Fitz, well, it’s a long offseason and more power to you, but I’m not going to jump in and engage in this game anymore.

  • DT

    @ Chadnudj-
    Fair enough, counselor…

  • I’m really curious to see the Northwestern take on the different stadiums in the Big Ten. For example Madison is a really beautiful town with a great campus, but the stadium – one of the oldest in the Big Ten – isn’t exactly spectacular. Concrete jungle similar to Spartan stadium. I’ve heard Minnesota’s new corporate center is great. I’ll be at Ryan field this year to see if it is great or like a high school field. We’ll see.