Payback

By Jim Baird | AM Football Briefing | Saturday, November 19 – 9:15 AM

NO RESPECT: Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio thrives on the fact that his team earns little respect nationally. A Jim Tressel disciple, what Dantonio has done to turn the Spartans program into a power has been nothing short of remarkable. From 2013-2016, the Spartans were 36-5 with two Big Ten championships, Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl victories, and a College Football Playoff entry. Not too shabby. Ranked No. 12 in this year’s preseason AP Poll, Sparty was getting a strange, new thing: respect. Despite the departure of serious talent to the NFL, including quarterback Connor Cook, defensive end Shilique Calhoun, and tackle Jack Conklin, Dantonio seemed to have things clicking in East Lansing. After all, powers don’t rebuild, they reload.

Then this year happened — and Sparty sits with a lousy 3-7 record. The defense, perpetually stout, has been lackluster. The offensive and defensive lines — typically the strength of the unit — have underperformed. Worse, a team known for its discipline has instead stacked up penalties and coughed up the football. Still, Sparty has a heartbeat. After seven consecutive losses, Michigan State woke up last week in a 49-0 victory against Rutgers. Now Dantonio sits as a big underdog at home with a rainstorm forecast. Remarkably, underdogs have won the last five matchups between MSU and OSU. Again, no one is giving Michigan State a chance…

PAYBACK: There is a storm coming to East Lansing. The storm has many names. Curtis. JT. Raekwon. The storm has outscored opponents 124-6 in the past two games. It remembers the loss in the wind and the rain last year. There will not be a repeat. Michigan State has lost seven games, four of those games by more than 10 points. A sloppy rain-soaked track is an equalizer, but it will take more than rain to stop a Buckeye team with revenge on the mind: Ohio State 38-10.

It’s a football Saturday in late November. Nothing beats that. I’m reporting from home base in Washington, D.C. Thanks for clicking on The Buckeye Daily — the Ohio State morning football briefing the press, program and fans read, edited by Sporting News college football reporter Jim Baird. Know someone who would appreciate this e-mail? Sign up here or send me a line jim@thebuckeyedaily.com. And join the squad following on Twitter @buckeyedaily.

HOT READS
1) Game Day Weather Forecast: Expect Rain, Wind, Snow and Cold in East Lansing for Ohio State–Michigan State, Eleven Warriors – November 19
2) Buckeyes not taking any chances, Nicholas Piotrowicz, Toledo Blade – November 19
3) Ohio State vs. Michigan 2006: The day the Big Ten peaked and owned college football, Doug Lesmerises, Plain Dealer – November 18
4) Ohio State’s Pat Elflein talks about brotherhood and overcoming adversity, Geoff Hammersley, Land-Grant Holy Land – November 18
5) Tyler Durbin’s booming punts catch Urban Meyer’s ear, Tim May, Columbus Dispatch – November 18

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