Memorial Day has just passed marking the beginning of the Summer of 2014, but that has not stopped Mike Griffith from MLive.com to start the conversation about one of the most intruguing matchups early in the upcoming season. The Michigan State Spartans visit the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on Saturday, September 4th. I am of the belief that it is never too early to talk about an upcoming season. The matchup between the Big 10 and Pac 12 is among the earliest with this much hype in recent years and Griffin starts the conversation talking about the one player who can be the difference maker, Oregon Ducks Quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Michigan State has a several concerns heading into the game that appears larger than the Oregon Ducks issue of replacing a Wide Receiver. Heading into September 4th, the Spartans must replace six starters on Defense. Griffin goes as far as to call the Defense “as Green as the MSU Colors”. Ouch. My question is will this matchup be built on strictly hype? or will Michigan State come into Autzen Stadium ranked respectably enough to warrant the hype. As a reporter and a fan I would prefer to see a matchup of Top ten teams over one ranked in the Top ten and the other below fifteenth for example.
While Spring Games across the country have come and we are a few months away from the Preseason polls that count, specifically for the College Football Playoff, the Oregon Ducks will likely be ahead of Michigan State. The Quarterback and Offense is enough to make them a top five team. We can hope, if you are a fan of Michigan State, that voters don’t have a short memory when it comes to the Rose Bowl victory at the end of last season.
According to Griffin, a big key to any team, leadership has also departed in the way of Seniors graduating. At the end of last season the Oregon and Michigan State matchup was circled on many calendars as a ‘must watch’ game. The issues facing Michigan State seem larger than those of the Oregon Ducks. Let’s hope that four months is enough time to sort it out or the most hyped game in Eugene in the last few years will have fans heading for the gates at halftime.