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.
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.
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 ESPN.com’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.
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 Rivals.com 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.
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 NUSports.com 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!