Respect: Let’s see how far we’ve come

When I started attending Michigan State in the fall of 2006, the football program was a team weighed down with expectations and an inability to meet them.

Upon my graduation in the spring of 2011, the football program was a team taking expectations and preconceived notions and going far beyond them.

Now, after another Big Ten season, this football program has proven itself again, dragging doubters and halting haters along the way.

I wrote a post last week before the Big Ten Championship Game how important it was to this group of Spartans, especially the seniors, that they continue proving people wrong and earn their way to the Rose Bowl. While they fell short Saturday night, there is no doubt in my mind they earned something that night: respect.

Something this program has lacked for so many years, this team has brought back.

They were there, in the first Big Ten Championship Game because of hard work and effort from a bunch of 18- to 22-year-old athletes. The other ten team in the Big Ten were at home, watching as they fought for 60 minutes against the Rose Bowl-bound Badgers.

Michigan’s Kevin Koger said this, “…I’d rather play in the Big Ten Championship Game. I mean, the inaugural Big Ten championship — that says a lot of about the teams that played in it. We’d be happy to trade places, but it is what it is.”

Every member of every team in the conference wanted to be in that game Saturday night, to have the opportunity to play for the right to go to the Rose Bowl. Rose Bowl. THE ROSE BOWL.

I remember in 2006, we lost to Illinois on homecoming, part of a tailspin that sent that MSU team to a 4-8 season.

In 2011,  only LSU (Oregon, Alabama, West Virginia) beat more BCS bowl teams than Michigan State (Wisconsin, Michigan). Going into last weekend, LSU and Alabama were the only defenses ranked ahead of Michigan State’s defense.

Now, we as Spartans are talking about getting snubbed from the BCS, for the second consecutive year.

Kirk Cousins said it well last night, “This program is here to stay. It’s funny we are upset about being ranked (so high). Wouldn’t have said that three years ago.”

There is an attitude change within the Michigan State football program — starting at the top with Mark Dantonio —  a change in both expectations in themselves and in handling adversity.

That said, I am not going to rattle off more facts or my own thoughts. I am going to let the Spartan Dawgs tell it how it is for themselves:

“Ain’t worried about whos playing in what bowl… which bowls are “better” than other ones… all I care about is MSU and our next goal.” — Max Bullough

“Best record in the big ten, best team in the big ten still believe that #bcs #SpartanDawgs” — Todd Anderson

“So we win the Legends Division & still don’t go to a BCS game. It is what it is. #BeatGeorgia” — Larry Caper

“On are way back to state, believe spartan nation , we will be champions…” — Arjen Colquhoun

“Thank you for the support #SpartanNation. Mark my words we will be back and the outcome will be different that I promise you” — Nick Hill

“Thank you #SpartanNation for comin out to the game!! Y’all was great!. We gon bounce back! Errythang happen for a reason. #believe” — Darqueze Dennard

“Thanks to all of Spartan Nation who came out to support us. We didn’t pull it out but are still blessed. We will bounce back. #believe” — Jerel Worthy

“You better believe the #spartandawgs gone be back in indy next year so y’all haters mines well continue hatin #Spartandawg4life” — Kurtis Drummond

“I love my team” — B.J. Cunningham

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Posted on December 5, 2011, in Football and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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