What in the hell happened?
I go on vacation for a single week and not only does the same Spartan team I picked months ago to go undefeated run in the #RealRival buzzsaw that was Wisconsin, but LSU lost and they finally went and fired The Mad Hatter himself, Leslie (that is his full name, right?) Miles. College football for ya, never a dull moment.
Well in my catching up of the aftermath of the weekend (and avoiding all debate-themed posts on my Facebook timeline) I came across a piece from Dieter Kurtenbach of Fox Sports on why LSU should go all-in on getting Mark Dantonio and honestly, it made me feel things. Now I know that this is most likely not going to happen (he said as he crossed all his fingers and knocked on all the wood), but we have been burned from a coach leaving MSU for Baton Rouge before (Hi, Nick Saban) and the stages of grief couldn’t help but set in. So please allow me to use this space as a work through some things with all of you.
Stage One: Denial
After I finished an eye roll that reached a level of aggression I typically save for Skip Bayless’ Super Bowl predictions, I exclaimed something not fit to write on this blog (if I want to keep this gig) but the theme was: “There is no way this is happening”. Dantonio is not going to leave, I thought. Plenty of jobs have become available on his run with MSU and he never left East Lansing for a single one of them. Not Texas. Not South Carolina. Not the NFL. The man himself called Michigan State a “destination, not a stop”. No reason to not believe that, right?
Stage Two: Anger
Who the hell does this writer think he is? Going to go in and talk about OUR coach like he is just grabbing for money? LSU paid ~$12 million just to get rid of Miles so common sense would lead you to believe that Dantonio would get more than his current $4.3 million salary in Baton Rouge but isn’t life about more than just money?! It is about more than just money, right?! Why leave the most beautiful campus on earth for a swamp? And if he DID leave? We are talking thoughts of scorched earth in my mind. It was not a good look on me, just glad this one happened alone.
Stage Three: Bargaining
I went to both Kickstarter and GoFundMe to look into raising enough money to get those “Thank You, Coach” billboards up around town we saw for Izzo when everyone thought he was going to bolt for the NBA. Those can’t cost THAT much, right? Maybe we can get some sort of campaign going at games where we can all change the chant after a first down to “ONE, TWO, THREE CLAP PLEASE DONT EVER LEAVE US COACH!” That would work, right? No way the dude could leave after that.
Stage Four: Depression
About 2 hours after reading this one I was seriously thinking about cracking open that bottle of Fireball and having a race with myself to the bottom of the bottle. Google seaches for “Mark Dantonio rumors” showed me that our old buddy Dieter was not alone, plenty of other pundits have linked the names Dantonio and LSU. I started to feel the same feelings I had when I read the LSJ in the backseat of my dad’s Ford Escort in 99 and saw that Saban was leaving before the bowl game. The youthful sadness swept over me and the joy from the vacation was all but gone, just like our coach...
Stage Five: Acceptance
Ya know, things happen. There is a chance that Dantonio is going to leave MSU in a better place than it has been in a long time (maybe ever). There is a chance that he stays and dominates even more in the second decade of his time on the banks of the Red Cedar. Either way, we are going to be alright and I am okay with that. Right now I need to accept that in this wonderful game we call college football, anything is possible. Not a single person ten years ago could have predicted the level of success Dantonio and Co brought to East Lansing. So I will trust in Hollis that if Coach D leaves, there will never be a cloud the size of John L again. What will be will be, Spartan Nation.