Pregame Prediction: O Ye of Little Faith
The thrill of a blizzard victory turned its sights to Sparty, Sparty, Sparty and it’s been a week full of bad memories, testy attitudes, and uneasiness. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think we’re in the middle of another playoff run or something. Wink, wink. The uneasy feelings are truly not from anything Sparty's done this year. Sure, they may be a respectable 4-3 overall, but against the two conference foes we currently have our eye on, OSU and Wisconsin, they nearly just laid down and died. In fact, they’ve got far bigger problems on their plate than that minor little Noah Cain debate we’ve embroiled ourselves in lately. Heck, if you think the transfer portal hit us hard, Mark D'Antonio has been forced to watch six of his Spartans jump ship and take the plunge just since the season began! That’s rough, to say the least.
No folks, on paper at least, round three of this tough as nails three-game stretch we’re in the middle of points in our favor across the board. So it’s not the present that haunts us. It’s all about the past. To make matters worse, the latest weather reports are calling for rain on Saturday in East Lansing right around kickoff. Now if that’s not a bad omen, I don’t know what is! You know where I’m coming from. One point losses to the Evil Empire are not what took us out of the playoff hunt two years straight. In 2017, it was, however, that quagmire of a three-hour rain delay in East Lansing, that officially snuffed out our flame. A year later in Happy Valley, it’s all still just a hazy shade of foggy grey and we never really ever recovered.
If Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz was a thorn in JoePa's side, we may as well consider D'Antonio James Franklin’s ‘L whisperer' as harsh as that may sound for a man I gush over time and time again. Facts are facts, unfortunately, and FrankLion posts a dismal 1-4 overall record versus Sparty. With that in mind, if last week’s blizzard represented the game of the year to date, we may as well consider this one the game of the century. If there is ever a must-win situation on our plate, this week in East Lansing is it. Until we learn how to exorcise the demon that Sparty represents, all we’ll ever be is close but not close enough.
The good news for us is that receiver Felton Davis (aka Jack The Ripper), who always had a knack for twisting the knife jabbed in our gut has moved on. The orchestrator of those back-to-back late fourth quarter heartbreakers, Quarterback Brian Lewerke, is back to give it one more go but he’s struggled so far this year, to put it mildly. We owe him like he stole our wallet so I fully expect those junkyard dogs in the trenches to come out snarling.
O ye of little faith, I feel your struggle. I sense our fear of the ghost of Sparty. With rain in the forecast, you just might get your wish for more Noah, and it won’t have a thing to do with all our gripes. We have a mountain to climb this week in East Lansing, and the world’s ugliest trophy to drag home after we punch those Spartans in the gut: Penn State 27, the L-Whisperers 10.