A trip to Detroit would be the perfect Christmas gift for our Spartan football team and MSU fans alike. Yes, I am going to be one of the first to come out publicly and state that a Motor City Bowl invitation is a great thing for Michigan State. I know, it will be hard to deal with the Wal-Mart Wolverines at the water cooler. Youâ€™ll have to endure all of their Motor City Bowl jabs and just buy your tickets for December 26th.
Here is my rationale. Bowl games are supposed to be about rewarding football teams for a fine season. They are also about generating revenue for athletic departments. Letâ€™s face it; Michigan State is not going to be invited to a top tier bowl game. They could be invited to Vegas, but I much prefer a trip to Ford Field. Yes, you heard me correctly; a trip to Ford Field would be a better choice for MSU.
Michigan State will have a hard time breaking even if they score a bowl out west or down south. Travel costs for the team, the band and athletic support staff would eat up most of the payout. A trip to Detroit will be nothing more than a 1.5-hour bus ride. Our kids can practice using our own facilities and never change time zones.
The next point of emphasis surrounds fan support. A 7-5 or 6-6 MSU team will not be a huge out of state draw. Michigan State would probably get less than 25,000 fans to travel to an out of state bowl game that requires a flight. A trip to Detroit the day after Christmas would be a Spartan extravaganza. There would likely be more than 45,000 MSU fans at the game. Michigan State would have an opportunity to play a â€œhome-gameâ€ in a state of the art dome facility. Temperature and game conditions would make it easy to prepare.
Another clear advantage for Michigan State is the needed to build strong relationships in Detroit. With Lloyd Carr on his way out, MSU needs to make up some serious ground in Detroit. Kids that have committed to Michigan, but are leery of Michiganâ€™s next coaching choice would have another opportunity to see MSU play close to home with minimal travel on their part. The loss of Lloyd is going to cost Michigan some major recruits and some key relationships around the Motor City. We need to strike while the iron is hot. There is a ton of football talent in the 2009 class around metro Detroit and you have to like MSUâ€™s opportunity to take advantage of a home game atmosphere. Anybody who follows college athletics in the state of Michigan knows that MSU fans are the most passionate fans about their teams. It would also be within 5 hours of travel for any Ohio recruits that have interest in seeing MSU play. Recruiting is the key to MSUâ€™s rebuilding process. A â€œhome-gameâ€ atmosphere would help sway a lot of kids MSUâ€™s direction. A trip to Vegas will likely yield very few recruiting victories.
You have to look at the competition MSU would be facing if we headed out west. In all likelihood, weâ€™d probably face a WAC team that would throw the ball all over the field. We donâ€™t want any part of a WAC team playing close to home in their own time zone. It would be a nightmare to prepare for them. If we play in Detroit, weâ€™d play a MAC team. Michigan State would match-up at home much better against a MAC than it would two time zones away against a WAC team. Building a winning attitude means winning on the field. A win in Detroit against CMU is better than a loss in Vegas to a WAC team.
The Motor City Bowl would benefit the local economy. Ahhâ€¦ the sound of capitalism alive and well in Detroit. Michigan State bringing money to Detroit would only help MSU foster a better all around relationship with the city. It also allows us to make some of our distinguished alumni and former Detroit athletes a part of the festivities. It helps George Perles build a better foundation for the Motor City Bowl. This is not a bad thing. For as much criticism as George receives, he is a son of Michigan State and is both an ambassador and a true fan. I am not a Perles â€œhomer,â€ but I respect a man who has been as loyal as George has been to his school. People will dog me for my stance. I fully expect the e-mails ripping me because George sued the university. Keep one thing in mind; George Perles won the lawsuit. I consider it water under the bridge.
Lastly, you have to like the Motor City Bowl because it is the ONLY bowl game nationally televised on December 26th. So when Aunt May gets done feeding you that last piece of pumpkin pie at the family Christmas party, you can head downstairs to the big screen, turn the sound off, turn Blaha and Miller on WJR and have uninterrupted MSU time the day after Christmas. This is actually big from both an exposure and recruiting standpoint. It helps MSU if they are the only bowl game on TV that day. Football fans everywhere turn on a football game over the holidays and the only game that will be viewed on December 26, 2007 will be the Motor City Bowl.
I am hopeful that MSU pulls off the win this weekend against Penn State. I will not be giving my prediction this weekend. I wrote an article three weeks ago stating MSU could run the table, but I thought theyâ€™d run into the Purdue buzz saw in West Lafayette. I obviously donâ€™t know what I am talking about. Weâ€™ll just leave it at that!!!