Sunday, January 1, 2012

3 Questions: Michigan State

Didn't we just play Michigan State in Florida?
  1. Do we bring the 1st half team from the SEC Championship Game? Michigan State isn't some crappy B1G team. They have the fifth best defense in the nation, and a couple of very fast linemen who will give our Oline fits. They have two receivers in BJ Cunningham and Keshawn Martin that you have to keep tabs on at all times, and a QB in Kirk Cousins that is good at finding the least covered guy. They have a running back capable of pounding the middle and some how making a one yard play become a 3.5 yard play.  We can shut Michigan State down and make this a grind it out ball game. We can let them dictate the tempo and have to play catch up. 
  2. Which team will approach the Outback Bowl with the proper attitude? Make no mistake about it, of the two teams playing in Tampa tomorrow, Michigan State is the one more deserving of a CapOne bowl slot...or higher. They lost early to Notre Dame, got dominated by Nebraska (which ultimately ended up in the CapOne opposite South Carolina), and lost in the B!G championship game to Wisconsin in a squeaker. They also beat Wisconsin in the regular season. That cuts both ways, as the Spartans could come out flat and uninspired. If they give us that opportunity, it could get fun for us early.
  3. Will the drama at running back matter? With a month to scheme, I would expect Bobo, et al, has done more than hope a demotion for Crowell+Samuel back+Malcome's renewed passion for playing=success. We saw some of that in the SECC with the DBs getting touches running the ball. I'm thinking a bit more of a philosophical change, though. Looking to use Murray's running abilities and the no-huddle/short passing game to keep them off balance. 
In the end, I'll take another 20-13 blowout, with us eating chunks of clock late in the game and giving the game over to our defense.  

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