What is it, late July?
I can’t even tell anymore. All I know are two things: 1) It’s getting closer to football season, and 2) that means it’s blind optimism season for every fan base.
Our beloved green and white nation is no different, and I can’t be more guilty if I tried.
Guys, maybe we can go undefeated. Oh yeah, hear me out on why we are optimistic right now:
- We’ve had some addition by subtraction this offseason with some (OK, a lot of) roster attrition and basically hitting “reset” on our leadership corps. A clean slate in the locker room, if you will.
- Brian Lewerke has been compared to everyone short of Zeus by Mark Dantonio, and the young receiver lineup looks solid.
- Our linebackers look to be terrifying.
- Oh yeah, LJ Scott and my godson Gerald Holmes* are back again.
*Not actually my godson
So, as I sip out of my College Football Playoff coffee mug, let’s waltz through how MSU runs through an undefeated 2017 season.
Sept. 2 vs. Bowling Green: Alright, starting off with a chip shot. Easy does it – everyone is healthy, it’s the season opener and it’s a mediocre MAC school. 1-0, baby. Can you smell the hope of a good season yet?
Sept. 9 vs. Western Michigan: Three people that won’t be at this game are Corey Davis, PJ Fleck and Darth Vader to use the force to alter the outcome. This will be the “huh, I guess Trishton Jackson is now this state’s best receiver” game as the Spartans win the matchup between the last two Cotton Bowl runner-ups. 2-0. Can you smell the MAC domination?
Sept. 23 vs. Notre Dame: AWWW YEAH, the Butt Of Everyone’s College Football Internet Jokes Bowl is coming to East Lansing! I simply can’t wait for this day, and I bet 75,000-plus feel the same. The home field advantage will be huge in this one, and MSU is due for its first back-to-back win over the Fighting Irish since 2007-08 to go 3-0. Can you smell the perfect non-conference season?
Sept. 30 vs. Iowa: To my surprise, CJ Beathard isn’t returning for his 11th year of eligibility. Who knew? Anyway, after rolling through a perfect non-conference slate, these young Spartans will be hitting their stride for their fourth straight home game. I also have a feeling LJ Scott’s presence alone will be enough to make the Hawkeyes dejected to put us to 4-0. Folks, can you smell the memories of the 2015 Big Ten Championship Game?
Oct. 7 at Michigan: First road game? They’re coming off a bye week? They have their $9 million coach? No problem – we still have Jalen Watts-Jackson, and I can only assume a voodoo witch gave him divine powers whenever he steps into that stadium. I mean, we’re 1-for-1 in that theory. Also, this rivalry is due for an upset – it’s been years since that’s happened. 5-0, gang. Can you smell the yellow and blue tears?
Oct. 14 at Minnesota: We OWN PJ Fleck. 2-0 record while he was at Western? Talk about pure, unadulterated dominance. Fleck also went 1-11 in his first year at Western – I can only assume that happens in his first year as a Gopher too? This is simple math, people. Just like a 6-0 start. Are you smelling the victory party with our Western Michigan brethren yet?
Oct. 21 vs. Indiana: Our Spartans are back home in front of a homecoming crowd that is starving for revenge for last year’s loss in Bloomington. Offensive whiz Kevin Wilson is out at Indiana, and that can only mean Indiana will fall back to averaging 4.6 points per game or something like that. 7-0?! Can you smell the revenge?
Oct. 28 at Northwestern: After watching Justin Jackson run for a trillion yards last year, MSU knows who to stop. Last year they just didn’t know – everyone makes mistakes. This year our Spartans will be the team running rampant this game with the Scott & Holmes law firm taking us to 8-0. Can you smell…the Chicago River? I have nothing for this one.
Nov. 4 vs. Penn State: Alright, so this will be a tough one. Penn State will be coming off a road game at Ohio State, so one of two things will happen. They’ll beat the Buckeyes and think “Alright, tough game is out of the way” and sleep on MSU. Or they lose to OSU and their morale vanishes faster than their 14-point Rose Bowl lead. That game will be a doozy, and the party after 9-0 will be even better. Can you smell the booze in the tailgate tents for that game yet?
Nov. 11 at Ohio State: I mean, we went in there and beat their semi-pro team with a pair of backup quarterbacks two years ago. How hard can it be if we actually have our starter this time? Give me 10-0. Can you smell Urban Meyer’s sad pizza yet?
Nov. 18 vs. Maryland: Alright, so we are 11-0 at this point. No way our Spartans drop the ball in front of a raucous home crowd that’s on the steps of another Big Ten title game berth. I’m also banking that a senior linebacker won’t rack up 45 yards worth of penalties and an ejection within the first 15 minutes of this game vs. the Terps. CAN YOU SMELL INDY YET?!?
Nov. 25 at Rutgers: I mean, come on. While Dantonio has his two-deep resting back home the makeshift team of walk-ons and whatever frat won the IM flag football championship will be taking care of business in Piscataway in front of 14 fans. Can. You. Smell. PERFECTION?!
There’s the blueprint. Thank me later, Mark.