By: Jamie Samuelsen
Historians have spent nearly a decade analyzing the Great Depression of 1929. Economists today are still trying to come to terms with the economic downturn of 2008. And I’d imagine years from now, the white coats and the suits will still be trying to determine what cause the Great Football Malaise of 2012.
The year began with such promise. The Lions were supposed to be headed back to the playoffs and maybe even beyond. There was even some scattered talk around the nation of making a Super Bowl run. Michigan State was locked and loaded with a star running back and a ferocious defense to finally make that trip to Pasadena. Some even listed them as a dark horse candidate to win the National Championship. That is one dark horse. And Michigan had Denard and they had Hoke-a-mania. Michigan was back. And it was only a matter of time before they were going to dominate college football once again the way they did back…um…I could’ve sworn that they did dominate college football the way some Old Blues talk about it. Oh well.
Instead the three teams are a combined 6-7. This would qualify as a dream year under the Matt Millen regime. But in 2012, it’s a massive disappointment. The good news for the college teams is that Big Ten season is underway. And if you think the football we’ve watched so far is bad, wait until you see the rest of the conference! The good news for the Lions is that they have a bye this week and they can’t possibly get any worse. Can they? No really…can they?
So here are the picks for Week Five. We’ve replaced your normal Lions game with a steaming cup of Peyton Manning v. Tom Brady. Let’s see if anybody notices…
MICHIGAN STATE (-16) AT INDIANA – If you read back over these blogs (and really, who doesn’t go back and look at old editions of a weekly picks blog? It’s an American tradition.), you’ll see that a recurring theme for me is that THIS is the week Michigan State finally rights the ship. THIS is the week that Michigan State proves that they deserve to be a favorite in the Big Ten. THIS is the week. The Spartans are beat up on the offensive line so much so that it’s starting to impact Le’Veon Bell. The good news for MSU is that the Hoosiers rush defense is the worst in the Big Ten. And their overall team defense is the worst in the Big Ten. The bad news for MSU? Indiana’s offense is #2. A good defense usually beats a good offense. I’m going back to the oldest football adages of all with this pick. I’m going with the Spartans. PICK – MSU
WOJO – MSU
WOOLEY – INDIANA
MICHIGAN (-3) AT PURDUE – For some reason unknown to me, Purdue thinks it’s good again. Kirk Herbstreit picked the Boilermakers to beat Michigan on Saturday and to win the Big Ten. Yes…read that again folks and no, Drew Brees, Joe Tiller, Cliff Avril and Mike Alstott are not walking through that door. But Purdue does have a strong defensive front that might make life difficult for Denard Robinson. No worries there, if Michigan can’t run – I’m sure that Al Borges can dial up some passing plays for Denard. (Sorry. Too soon?) Even in their two wins, Michigan has looked inconsistent on both sides of the ball. Too inconsistent for me to give their opponents points at home. PICK – PURDUE
WOJO – MICHIGAN
WOOLEY – MICHIGAN
BRONCOS (+6 ½) AT PATRIOTS – At halftime last week, the Patriots were staring 1-3 in the face and people were starting to whisper about Tom Brady. Then the second half happened in Buffalo and the Pats look like a super team once again. I don’t quite know what to make of Peyton Manning. He’s still throwing short passes and has yet to demonstrate that he can throw the ball downfield without it being caught by a member of the opposite team. (Peyton meet Denard. Denard meet Peyton.) Manning has had some glorious moments in his career. Unfortunately none of them have come in Foxboro, MA. PICK – PATRIOTS
WOJO – PATRIOTS
WOOLEY – PATRIOTS