This Weeks Green Lenses Column Looks at a Plethora of Issues

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SPARTANS AGAINST PENN STATE: Okay, I am already bothered by some so-called Spartan fans not giving MSU a chance in Happy Valley against PSU. Look, I don’t know what will happen in that game either, but for a group of players and coaches who have fought so hard to shed the “Same ‘ole Spartans” tag, that is simply inexcusable. I think there is a difference between being realistic and down right depressing, and some of you are a bordering on the latter. I would at least think some of you would wait until the game is played before laying out the negativity. The truth is, if MSU plays defensively like they did against Purdue and offensively like they did against UM, and eliminate the mental mistakes that have plagued them the last few weeks, they can win this game. That may be a tall order, but I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise. People can’t get past the OSU-MSU score and I said it then and I’ll say it now. I believe that game was an aberration where they made some mistakes at the beginning by being perhaps over emotional, got shell-shocked, and before they gathered their wits, the game was over. I also believed they learned from that game. Will they win? I don’t know, but it seems the “same ‘ole Spartans” tag has shifted from the players and coaches to the fans. Good grief.


BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP: Again, I hear negative comments regarding  MSU’s chances of getting to the Rose Bowl because PSU lost. Again I say, who cares?! Do you realize the chance to win a championship, their first in 18 years, supercedes any warm weather destination. Does it matter if they play in California or Florida as long as they are playing in warm weather in January? However, the real prize is WINNING A CHAMPIONSHIP. Even if OSU doesn’t lose to Illinois or UM, the Spartans have their own destiny in their own hands when they play the Nittany Lions. People may forget the actual bowl game they played in eventually anyway, but they will never forget the fact the Spartans will be Big Ten Champions with a win against PSU. Players and coaches will forever have rings to look down at with pride if they can win that game. A championship means everything and won’t be forgotten; therefore the actual warm weather destination means little in comparison.


BCS: Certainly if the Spartans beat PSU then they deserve a BCS game, right? Well, I

was watching the Big Ten Network and they were talking with a guy with his own BCS website who says that Penn State could actually still jump over MSU even with a loss because, get this, “they have 100,000 seat stadiums” and other irrelevant rhetoric. Are you kidding me? I doubt that happens.  It’s a good thing they didn’t bring up traveling attendance or I would have smashed my T.V. First of all, the Spartans travel as well if not better than most other schools. They smashed records for attendance at the Champs Bowl last year and that very bowl, and the Capital One Bowl, and even the Outback Bowl, would welcome them back in a heartbeat if given the chance.  Florida Citrus Sports representative Chris Kearney, who represents two bowls Florida bowls (The Champs and the Capital One Bowl), has been very vocal in how impressed he was with the way the Spartans flooded Florida with fans a year ago.


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However, I do believe not having a 100,000 fan seating capacity is a detriment to the football program. Some may not know this, but back in the 50’s and 60’s MSU consistently had among the top attendance records for the entire nation. Often they finished 2nd or 3rd in the country in attendance. Now, with virtually the same attendance, they are lucky to be in the top 25 teams. Incredibly enough, they also sell a large amount of season ticket packages, enough to where they could easily expand the stadium and get 100,000 people to watch Spartan football on any given Saturday. Geographically, they are in a perfect location to draw from the west side of the state, from the northern and lower U.P, from the east, from lower Michigan and Chicago, in addition to the bevy of fans in the Detroit area who prefer the Spartans over the Wolverines.


It’s not like the Spartans are selling 10,000 season ticket packages and scrambling to put 60,000 fannies in the seats. Just the opposite, the large amount of seats sold are season ticket packages. With fixed costs for construction, even if you sold nosebleed seats for five bucks for a few years to get people out would be well worth it.


Biggie Munn even had plans in the can to enlarge and increase the capacity of Spartan stadium, but didn’t live to see those plans come to fruition due to poor management in athletics, and some poorly timed probation periods that took the wind out of the sails of the

Spartans.


In addition, increasing seating capacity really sells well with recruits. As some of you know, I have written my share of recruiting articles and have talked to my share of recruits, and let me tell you, when it comes to “playing in front of 100,000 fans”, that seems to make more sense to an 18-year old kid that making sure their major is available. In fact, it was Terrelle Pryor of Ohio State himself who said his was dream was to play in front of 100,000 fans. Does MSU have to top these other schools in attendance? Of course not, let OSU, PSU, UM, and others have more attendance, but MSU must at least get past the magical 100,000 seat mark to get the program they really want to have.


If MSU can do this, they can also erase the “little brother” type feeling many in the state have for MSU. Hopefully Mark Hollis will be the man who can put this together. He seems to be a smarter guy that the status quo type “leaders” that plagued MSU for so long. While

MSU puts bandaids down in terms of new facilities around the stadium, putting in real grass, and painting the seat rails green every once in a while, they need to “cure” the sleeping giant of a program by increasing the seating capacity. Will fans come? Of course they will. “If you build it, they will come,” is not just a line from a movie. If the Spartan brass finally shows they are serious about football, the fans will turn out. A move like this in fact, would electrify the entire sports program at MSU, and eventually, even lead to increased revenue, while also leading to being able to retain better head and assistant coaches. It is a win-win for everyone and the smart brainstorming of a brilliant coach by the name of Biggie Munn will not be forgotten.


DETROIT LIONS: How about some love for Drew Stanton. Okay, people are going to say it was a blow out and mop up duty for Drew and yet look closer. He got them their only two touchdowns and would have been a possible third had Rudi Johnson learned how to block and not hold. People are going to say the back-ups were in and I say this: the defense also knows you are going to pass a lot and that they will be teeing off on every snap and coming at you. I also watched the Jaguars blitz Stanton a couple of times and certainly I didn’t see any let up. People also have to remember this is the NFL, the guys behind the starters can play a little bit too. Put it this way, with a healthy Orlovsky and Drew Stanton,

quarterback is not their main priority in the draft. At least in my opinion, and you won’t get too many people saying that. By the way, don’t you love how Drew Stanton keeps “embarrassing” himself? LOL Hey, Billy Kilmer never threw a perfect spiral either.


DETROIT PISTONS: Okay, it’s only been a couple games, and I still haven’t changed my mind about Iverson. Maybe they will get it together as unit, but I still see a lot of problems. Instead of Iverson fitting into the Piston offense, Iverson is attempting to be the Piston offense, and he does have an uncanny ability to draw contact and get to the line. Problem is, the other players on the floor seem to be standing around and watching Iverson. I don’t think they even know how this is going to work. On the defensive end, Iverson is even a bigger liability than I thought, and it takes defense to win championships. I know the Pistons are clearing cap room to make a possible run at Lebron James, but there are those in his camp who say he would go to New York but not to Detroit. We’ll just have to wait and see how this all plays out.


RICH ROD’s MELTDOWN: I don’t have a problem with coaches standing up to the media, especially when he is backing up his players. You’ll see Dantonio and Tom Izzo do it all the time. What I thought was bizarre were Rich Rod’s actual comments. Including the following, “Ya’ll want to make everything so much drama. You think I tell you a lot, I think I’ve been pretty transparent. (I don’t tell you) because you make a big deal out of a wee little thing. ‘Oh, he said this’, psychoanalyze this, psychoanalyze that.”


Here’s the problem with those comments, every media member and beat writer that covers him is now going to sit and wonder what he is hiding and what they are not being told. Which let’s them assume the worst about any future situation. Rodriquez simply has to pick his future battles a little more wisely, for himself and his team.