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Offseason thoughts: Should Cousins or Cook be in Ring of Fame?

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Do either deserve to be enshrined in MSU football lore?

When you’re painting ceilings for what seems like hours on end, your mind starts to drift.

And – like a duck to water – my mind automatically drifts to MSU sports.

As I stared at the ceilings losing my mind, I started thinking about the rise of MSU football and the key players that helped get the program to where they are today. Among other names, two really stuck out – Kirk Cousins and Connor Cook. And, furthermore, do you put both on the Ring of Fame? Just one? Neither?!

Inarguably two of the best Spartans in the program’s history. Two guys that have helped the program reach the sport’s highest peaks. Two guys that, really, deserve to be remembered forever.

But, like, Ring of Fame-type of forever? Joining the 12 other Spartan greats already on there? That’s for you to decide.

Outback Bowl - Michigan State Spartans v Georiga Bulldogs Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The case for Kirk Cousins

He’s the guy who bridged MSU’s “pretty good” era at the beginning of Mark Dantonio’s reign to the “borderline elite” status. Other than quarterbacking the first-ever MSU team to get double-digit wins in back-to-back seasons (2010-11) and going 3-0 against Michigan in games he started, here’s what else his résumé looks like with help from the MSU record book:

No. 1 in all-time pass completions (723)

No. 2 in all-time passing yards (9,131)

No. 2 in wins, starts only (27)

No. 2 in all-time touchdown passes (66)

No. 2 in all-time completion percentage (.641, which is .001 behind Drew Stanton)

No. 1 in single-season touchdown passes (25 in 2011)

Oh yeah…he also captained the 2010 Big Ten title team and led the Spartans to the inaugural Big Ten Championship game and the thrilling Outback Bowl win over Georgia. All that and a three-year captain? Kind of a strong case.

Big Ten Championship Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The case for Connor Cook

I mean, explaining all of this is just for standard protocol purposes. His résumé is absolutely insane with wins that include two Big Ten Championships (2013 and 2015), the 100th Rose Bowl Game, the 2015 Cotton Bowl and, like Cousins, went 3-0 against Michigan in his starts.

And I know using wins as a stat for quarterbacks isn’t popular, but guys…MSU went 34-5 in games he started. Thirty four wins and five losses. Just say that out loud – it’s completely bananas.

Other than quarterbacking the teams that saw MSU reach arguably the most elite heights its ever been to, here is where he stands in the MSU record books in a few categories:

  • No. 1 in all-time passing yards (9,194)
  • No. 1 in all-time touchdown passes (71)
  • No. 2 in single-season passing touchdowns (24 in 2014 and 2015)
  • No. 3 in all-time pass completions (673)

Despite starting a program-high 39 games at quarterback, he doesn’t even register in the top ten for career interceptions thrown. That’s efficient.

Notre Dame v Michigan State Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Who else is on the Ring of Fame anyway?

Only 12 names — nine of which were MSU football players — are on the Ring of Fame at Spartan Stadium. The man who most recently played was back-to-back All-American Percy Snow, who wrapped up his career with the Spartans in 1989. The man most recently inducted is Kirk Gibson, who was a star receiver and baseball player for the Spartans.

The other nine men are Don Coleman, Bubba Smith, George Webster, John Hannah, Brad Van Pelt, John Pingel, Gene Washington, Clinton Jones, Clarence “Biggie” Munn and Duggy Daugherty.

Moment of truth

Let’s hear from you...

Poll

Who would you put in the MSU football Ring of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Just Kirk Cousins
    (89 votes)
  • 17%
    Just Connor Cook
    (114 votes)
  • 59%
    Both Cousins and Cook
    (382 votes)
  • 9%
    Neither
    (59 votes)
644 votes total Vote Now

Or, someone else?

You can make the case for so many players. From earlier Dantonio Era players like two-time All-American Greg Jones and All-American Javon Ringer. Or more recent players like Darqueze Dennard (I could be persuaded into putting all No Fly Zone names on one plaque) or Max Bullough?

Let’s talk it out in the comments section. Go Green.