BIG TEN WIDE OPEN-- SPARTANS ARE IN THE MIX

     The Big Ten football season begins Saturday-- plenty of close games-- Illinois at Penn State, Wisconsin at Michigan, Northwestern at Iowa, Minnesota at Ohio State... and oh yeah, Michigan State at Indiana and the Spartans might have the easiest test, if that's the right word, of any of the visitors.  I like the home team in the other four games-- but the Spartans are nine point favorites and I just don't see Indiana's defense stopping Ringer and the guys.

     I'm not one to guess that Ringer will win the Heisman Trophy, nor for that matter come close.  Other Big Ten teams, stronger on defense, know he's the guy and they'll be more equipped to stop him.  Ringer has 699 yards and 282 of them came against the two best teams the Spartans have faced-- California and Notre Dame.  He had 66 carries against those two teams, so against them, his average is a bit more than four yards apiece.  In the big games, MSU will have to win and Ringer will need a highlight reel day to become a serious contender.  Some of the other quarterbacks around America likely will have a better show, if for no other reason than their teams will win most of their games.

     The Big Ten, as usual, appears to be a bit overrated in terms of the national scene.  Wisconsin is ranked ninth, the best of any league school and pre season league favorite Ohio State is down to 14th.  I think Michigan State can play with any team on its schedule.  The only team I'm a bit unsure of is Penn State-- the Nittany Lions haven't played any good teams yet, but they've dominated the four they have faced.  They'll get a better test from the Illini.  Can Michigan State go to the Rose Bowl?  Well yes, Hoyer needs a big year and Ringer can't get hurt and the offensive line must block, and the defense needs a pass rush, etc.  You get the picture.  But it's an excited team and it could be 6-1 when the Buckeyes visit on October 18th.  Until State is out of the Rose Bowl picture, then it's still a possibility in Mark Dantonio's second season.  I still worry about Ringer's durability.  But he's gone 1/3 of the season pretty well hasn't he?

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