#16 Michigan State Football: Holiday Bowl Preview vs #18 Washington State

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brian lewerke

There is nothing Michigan State football fans love more than to get one up on Michigan, and right up there, just below that is griping about when the Wolverines undeservedly get one up on them. Hence the HILARIOUS meme below.

Of course, the Holiday Bowl is actually a better game than the Outback, and San Diego is a much, MUCH better city than Tampa Bay.

Not to mention the Spartans got matched with a superior opponent than the Wolverines did as well. Hey, the bowl selection process is a whole lot of things, but a meritocracy has never been one of them.

The Michigan State football program was certainly JOBBED in 2011 and 1999, when they got passed over for a much better bowl and Michigan was selected instead; despite State being the better team.

MSU is better than Michigan again this season, but this time they didn’t get hosed. Today, the bowl tier is playoffs, then New Year’s Six, then it’s all subjective, arbitrary and debatable. Ybor City in Tampa is nice, but when you compare it to San Diego, no contest. Remember, bowl games are exhibition matches created to sell hotel rooms, and a perceived ability to boost tourism is the only real criteria that matters to the committees.

Don’t be fooled into thinking the Outback Bowl is better just because it is on New Year’s Day, and it has a pirate ship. The Michigan State football team is visiting an aircraft carrier and the world’s greatest zoo next week.

The pictures below are from when NIU visited an aircraft carrier in San Diego, when they were in the Poinsettia Bowl.

niu huskies poinsettia bowl aircraft carriers

niu huskies poinsettia bowl aircraft carrier

niu huskies aircraft carrier poinsettia bowl

Pretty cool, huh? When you look at the value of a bowl game experience, you have to consider the vacation aspect as much as everything else.

HOLIDAY BOWL

No. 16 Michigan State vs. No. 18 Washington State

Dec. 28, 2017 | 9 p.m. ET on FOX

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Spread: WSU -2.5

mike_leach_washington-state-cougars

#18 Washington State Preview:

Okay, given that Mike Leach is a pirate, perhaps it is he and WSU that actually belong in Raymond James Stadium on New Year’s Day. Leach, like pretty much every single human being in America, turned down the Tennessee job, and had he taken it would have provided the absolute perfect ending to perhaps the wildest coaching search ever.

Leach has a really good thing going in Pullman and he knows it, having reached a five year extension this week. The school announced the deal very late last night.

“Coach Leach has led a spectacular turnaround in the fortunes of our football program during the last six years, and we want to keep him in the Cougar family for a long time to come,” WSU president Kirk Schulz said in a statement.

The Cougars come in 9-3, 6-3 in league play

mike-leach-washington-state-cougars

Luke Falk has some NFL Draft stock, and although he’s not in the first tier of pro prospect quarterbacks, he’s not all that far off either. Falk (357 completions in 534 attempts, 3,593 yards, 30 TDs 13 interceptions, 137.0 rating) versus the Michigan State football “No Fly Zone” is going to be the most entertaining match-up to watch in the Holiday Bowl, and it will also likely be the one that determines the outcome.

It’s a team that can throw it all over the yard against a team that’s defined by defense.

Michigan State Football Preview:

joe bachie

(CREDIT: Matthew Mitchell, Michigan State Athletic Communications)

State had some really nice wins this season, but they certainly won ugly at times too. How was MSU able to flip the script from 3-9 to 9-3? Controlling their own destiny for a B1G title opportunity until mid November? Coach D. re-established his Defense and showed he can win the 17-10 game against almost anybody.

Fitting then that a linebacker, Joe Bachie, was selected Most Valuable Player by his teammates. Bachie, who leads the team in tackles, was the first sophomore to win the award since quarterback Drew Stanton in 2004.

“It is a significant statement for Joe Bachie, and it sort of sets the tone for our entire football team. We’ve got a young team and with 78 players being sophomores on down, the future is bright,” Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio said.

brian lewerke

On the offensive side of the ball, QB Brian Lewerke had a phenomenal first season as the full time starter. It’s pretty astounding when you consider how quickly he established himself so well in the passing pages of the Michigan State football record book. And since so few of you paid attention at the time we highlighted that, we’ll link that again for you now.

Maybe you’ll check it out this time. Other stellar Spartans to watch include Chris Frey, Brian Allen, Felton Davis III, David Dowell.

Prediction: Michigan State Football 31, Washington State Cougars 28

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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