The first thing I want to say is, good luck to all hunters headed into the woods this opening weekend of firearm deer season. The main thing is be safe and enjoy the great outdoors the State of Michigan has to offer all of us. I love my time in the woods.
The Big Showdown
The Michigan and Michigan State football game takes place this weekend in Ann Arbor. The kick-off is slated for high noon. The Wolverines will be fresh off of a bye week and the Spartans will be licking their wounds after blowing a large lead to Illinois and losing last Saturday. It was the largest comeback in Illinois football history, by the way! Ouch!
The Spartans were up 28-3 in the second quarter and had a 31-10 lead starting the fourth quarter. The loss was almost hard to believe. It makes me wonder how hot coach Mark Dantonio’s seat is. It was the fourth-straight loss for MSU sending the season in total free fall. The program has been pretty strong over the last five years, up until lately. I mean, did anyone see the Spartans at 4-5 overall and 2-4 in conference play? I sure didn’t. Let’s be honest, the play of Brian Lewerke at quarterback has been dismal, and I am being polite.
The win made Illinois bowl-eligible for the first time since 2014. The turnaround by coach Lovie Smith’s team is a tremendous. The question is, can MSU shake off the loss and refocus on the Wolverines on Saturday? The boys in Vegas have made Michigan a two-touchdown favorite in the contest. I don’t see Michigan as a two-touchdown favorite, actually. I think this will be a hard-fought game and a close one, to be honest. I think the offenses for both teams will struggle to move the football. The difference is, MSU cannot run the football and Lewerke is not as good as Shea Patterson. I don’t think much of Shea, but he is better than Lewerke at quarterback. The crystal cheeseball prediction: Go Blue 23 and Go Green 16.
Speaking of Spartans, the passing of Charles Rogers at age of 38 is such a sad story. Charles, a No. 2-overall draft pick to the Lions in 2003 never lived up to his hype. He fought drug addiction, alcohol issues and brushes with the law during his short life. The cause of death was liver failure and also diagnosed with some form of cancer. He was a star receiver at Michigan State and a tremendous athlete. Gone way too soon. RIP, Charles Rogers.
Short-lived ranking for Sparty
The Spartans’ men’s basketball team opened up No. 1 in the country preseason polls on the hoop floor last week. The Kentucky Wildcats made that short-lived with a 69-62 win. The play of Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey was nothing short of spectacular. He made clutch shot after clutch shot. He will be fun to watch on the hardwood this season. It was an entertaining game and Michigan State will be just fine, Spartan fans. I believe this is a top-five program and will make a serious run at the Final Four come March. I love that coach Izzo plays a tough schedule and it usually pays off in the NCAA Tournament. I also love watching Cassius Winston play basketball for the Spartans. The college basketball season in East Lansing could be magical!
MLB passes out awards
The Major League Baseball awards have started and New York Mets Pete Alonso wins NL Rookie of the Year. This one was no-brainer! He hit 53 home runs and 120 RBI to complete a great season. The AL Rookie of the Year is Houston Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez. He was a unanimous selection! There will be more awards announced later this week.
Cherry pushed it too far
The firing of Don Cherry from CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada ends a run started in 1981. Don, 85-years young was known for his loud comments and loud suits, but went too far with some strong comments about immigrants and was fired. He was great in Coach’s Corner and I loved him. It’s shocking he made it this far!
The NFL picks are next…
Pittsburgh + 3 over CLEVELAND
Dallas – 3.5 over DETROIT
TAMPA BAY + 6 over New Orleans
CAROLINA – 5 over Atlanta
Jacksonville + 3.5 over INDIANAPOLIS
MINNESOTA – 10 over Denver
WASHINGTON – 1.5 over N.Y. Jets
Buffalo – 5 over MIAMI
Houston + 4 over BALTIMORE
Arizona + 13.5 over SAN FRANCISCO
PHILADELPHIA + 3.5 over New England
OAKLAND – 10 over Cincinnati
Chicago + 7 over L.A. RAMS
L.A. CHARGERS + 3 over Kansas City
LAST WEEK: 6-6-1; SEASON: 70-71-4
BEST BETS: 4-6 (getting better)
BEST BET: JACKSONVILLE