Sorry for the lack of content lately. I can blame part of that on the soulless, crushing, vacuum of the CFB/CBB off-season, but there's actually been a few very newsworthy developments in the past few days. So let's talk about some of them.
MSU Football's Narduzzi gets big raise
The Michigan State defensive coordinator’s salary more than doubled from 2011, going from $233,000 to $500,000... Each of MSU’s nine assistants received raises for 2012. The total football assistant’s salary pool increased $534,500 this year.
We all knew this was coming after the Great Aggie Coordinator Freakout of 2012, but it is still nice to see the university compensate success. The fact that it's a three year deal, with stipulations that would encourage him to leave only for a head coaching job, gives me at least some hope that we get more than just this one last year of Narduzzi and defensive staff continuity. I hope this move at least gives him incentive to wait for a job that could give him early success (like Paul Chryst to Pitt), and at best gives him a reason to stick around on this staff for a few more years.
In the same vein, it's good to see the assistants get raises as well. The bumps they got moves MSU more towards the upper crust of the conference in salaries, which will dissuade other poaching attempts and hopefully encourage coaching talent to East Lansing in the future.
Athletic director of the year Mark Hollis expects to remain at Michigan State 'a long time,' hopes for higher salary
A well deserved award for a guy who most would agree is exceptional at his job. But the disparity between his compensation and his success was quickly noted, perhaps more so in the wake of salary increases for the football coaches. I tweeted a thought that was almost immediately contradicted by Hollis in an interview:
"I think at the same time, you want to be compensated where your counterparts are. I think we live in a society of comparisons. Am I underpaid and others overpaid? I don’t have the answer to that question. But it’s like anything else. You see the results.
"Am I underpaid and others overpaid? I don't have the answer to that question." (Subtext: "Actually, yes I do. Yes I am, and yes they are.")
But then before you start chewing your fingernails over someone stealing our award winning AD, there's this:
"I have met with President Simon over the last several months, and we are at a good place as far as what my future is at Michigan State. And I’m very, very, very comfortable with where the Board of Trustees and the president has me, and I think we’ll be here for a long time based on that. I’m not ready announce anything right now, but I feel good with where we’re at."
"I’m not ready announce anything right now, but I feel good with where we’re at." (Subtext: "I might build a dollar bill fort in my office out of the raise I'm going to get soon. Hell, I might build two.")
When you add that up with the institutional comforts (no one bats an eye when he talks about playing USC in some Greek Amphitheater with every player decked out in full hoplite gear), personal relationships he has here (in the Athletic Department, his friendships with Dantonio, Anastos and especially Izzo), and other factors (his climb up the MSU AD ladder and his alumni status) the idea of Hollis leaving anytime soon is about the last of my worries. With that said, pay that man his money. He's earned it.
Ohio State to Provide iPads to Student Athletes
Consider me mixed on this news.
Here's the deal: from the standpoint of someone who recognizes that college football and basketball are massive businesses built on the backs of underpaid labor, I don't have a problem with this. These kids work crazy hard and essentially pay for the above raises to their coaches and Athletic Directors, and see little of that money themselves, so if they can get hooked up with some free gear on 'loan', then good for them. And OSU is free to spend their zillions of dollars of athletic department money how they please, provided they follow NCAA rules (JokesandJokesandJokes).
From the standpoint of someone who enjoys technology, I know that coaching staffs can put playbooks onto devices like iPads now, complete with video and audio, eliminating unwieldy and outdated playbook formats. I also think that devices like iPads can contribute to slicker, more mobile, learning capabilities, and help students stay connected with coursework, professors, and classmates.
But from the standpoint of someone who wants MSU to be competitive on the recruiting trail, this is just one more hurdle. Now it's not enough to be successful on the field, to provide good academics, to have good facilities, to have a good athletic support system, and coaching staffs, you also have to have the best gadgets too. Also, unless Ohio State is offering courses on Temple Run (not impossible), consider me skeptical of just how much school work will actually get done on these devices. Urban Meyer is now the annoying malware banner ad of college football coaches: "Congrats to you, our 1000th offer!!! Commit to OSU* to receive YOUR** FREE*** iPad!!!" Well played OSU.
*No backsie outies allowed
**By 'your' we mean 'ours'
***Haha, just kidding. We really hope you don't figure out the labor hours v. iPad conversion rate.
Phil Steele's All Big-Ten Lists
From a website that harkens back to the early days of the internet, when men were men, and websites were 'holy WTF am I looking at Oh Godddddd' Phil Steele released his All Big-Ten picks. I'm probably supposed to care about this, and a cursory glance at the list shows the Spartans coming out quite well in his projections but like, whatever Phil Steele. If I visit a website that gives me a front page like that anything less than the Hamster Dance is just going to leave me feeling underwhelmed. Apparently, he also ranks our team 19th to start the season which is probably more-or-less right.
Michigan State 2015-2016 FB schedules
Oct. 3, Michigan
Oct. 10, at Iowa
Oct. 17, at Ohio State
Oct. 24, Indiana
Oct. 31, at Nebraska
Nov. 7, bye
Nov. 14, Penn State
Nov. 21, at Northwestern
Nov. 28, Minnesota
Oct. 1, at Michigan
Oct. 8, Iowa
Oct. 15, Ohio State
Oct. 22, at Indiana
Oct. 29, Nebraska
Nov. 5, bye
Nov. 12, at Penn State
Nov. 19, Northwestern
Nov. 26, at Minnesota
-The bye weeks and Indiana nicely split up what will presumably be the toughest games on these schedules. Quietly locking in that Indiana game into our protected rivalry while other teams were busy squabbling is going to pay a lot of dividends over the years.
-I'd guess UM@MSU in '15 will be a night game. The other home October option would be Indiana, which just isn't going to be the same draw. Question: Is Dave Brandon MAN ENOUGH to make the '16 return game at night as well? Answer: That depends on whether he can find enough lighting to properly highlight all the advertising on UM's NASCAR driver tracksuit-style uniforms that are on their way in.
-As has been mentioned elsewhere, it's a real shame that we don't see Wisconsin for such a long time in the regular season. I guess if we want to keep the fledgling rivalry of that series going, we'll just have to both keep on winning our divisions.
-On the flip-side, it's cool to be playing Penn State again so that we can resume our battle
to foist the hideous Land-Grant Trophy off on the other team proudly retain possession of the glorious Land-Grant Trophy.
-Looks like Minnesota is the last game of the year for us now. So... that's a thing.
Random linguistic tidbit conclusion: Whoever titled this series of posts gets a Blogging Gold Star. 'Laconically' means you're being brief and concise, which is both alliterative with the word 'linking' and fitting of a links roundup post. So that's cool BUT, it also comes from the Greek word lakōnikos which was used to describe the terseness of the... (wait for it) Spartans (the region we call Sparta was once called Lacedaemon.) Mind: Blown.