Indiana v Michigan State

Michigan State’s starting QB questionable for spring game

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For those among the Michigan State faithful looking to catch their first official 2012 glimpse of the heir apparent to Kirk Cousins, you may have to wait a little longer.

The Spartans confirmed Tuesday that Andrew Maxwell suffered a sprained knee in the first scrimmage of the spring over the weekend and will be sidelined for at least a week.  As a result, the redshirt junior-to-be QB is officially listed as doubtful for the April 28 spring game.

The good news is that, at least for now, the injury is not expected to have an impact on Maxwell’s availability for summer camp or even involve any type of surgical procedure.

He may or may not be back by the end of spring ball here,” Dantonio said before the start of Tuesday’s practice. “We’ll see how it goes early in the week next week. But with that (redshirt freshman) Connor Cook will have all the opportunities at quarterback, so you’ve got to look at it as an opportunity and a positive and build from that. A non-surgical thing with Andrew, sprained knee, and we’ll move from there.”

Based on Maxwell’s status as the presumptive front-runner for the starting job, though, it’s highly likely Dantonio will err on the side of caution when it comes to the player participating in what is in essence a meaningless exhibition “game”.  In fact, based on comments made by the head coach prior to practice, he may actually prefer to see Maxwell on the sidelines so that the young backup will get more reps learning the offense.

“The reality is, if it had to happen, you’d rather (Maxwell) do it than Connor,” Dantonio said. “Connor needs the work. He’s the true freshman. Andrew’s been in the system for three years and he’ll be ready to go (over the summer).”

(Writer’s note: the answer is, no, I don’t have any idea why Dantonio apparently referred to Cook, a member of MSU’s 2011 recruiting class, as a true freshman.)

Maxwell has played in nine games the past two seasons — four last year, five in 2010 — as Cousins’ backup, so this is the first opportunity for the former high school All-American and top-rated QB in the Class of 2009 to take hold of the reins of the Spartans’ offense.

Expect Oregon’s quarterback rotation to continue for the next two weeks

AP Photo

Oregon touched the ball 15 times in its 41-24 win over Colorado on Saturday night. Jeff Lockie played seven of them, including the first. Taylor Alie played eight.

As long as Vernon Adams nurses his broken finger, this appears to be the plan for the Ducks.

“They’d both done enough good things in practice last week to merit playing,” head coach Mark Helfrich told the Oregonian. “We just felt looking at the game plan we could parcel out aspects with each.”

“Of course you want to get into a better rhythm but that’s how it goes,” Lockie said. “We’re just going to play the best we can and as long as we’re winning games, there’s no problem with me.”

Lockie completed 8-of-11 throws for 54 yards with an interception while rushing five times for 18 yards. Alie connected on 4-of-9 throws for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on five carries. Not quite Marcus Mariota numbers from either signal caller.

“It’ll just depend on the game plan,” Helfrich said of Alie and Lockie. “I think those guys they have differences. There are some strengths and weaknesses to different areas of their game and so we’ll think about that going forward of just how the Washington State game plan comes out.”

With Oregon playing Washington and Washington State (combined Pac-12 wins thus far: zero) before a tough closing stretch, Helfrich and company have time to alternate signal callers.

SEC shut out of AP top five for first time in half a decade

Stephen F. Austin visits Amon G. Carter Stadium to play the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs.
AP Photo

The polls are meaningless. Especially any poll that isn’t the College Football Playoff top 25 and even then, as the TCU learned late last season, even the penultimate ranking is as meaningless as the paper they’re metaphorically written on.

Still, they’re catnip to college football fans and observers. Place them in front of us and we can’t help but gnaw on them.

And with that said, a bit of milestone was reached in Sunday’s Associated Press Top 25, as the SEC was completely shut out of the top five.

That group breaks down as follows:

  1. Ohio State
  2. TCU
  3. Baylor
  4. Michigan State
  5. Utah

An SEC free top five hasn’t happened in nearly five full years; October 10, 2010 was the last time such a thing occurred. Oddly enough, two of the same five culprits occupied that ranking as well:

  1. Ohio State
  2. Oregon
  3. Boise State
  4. TCU
  5. Nebraska

Underscoring the lesson of the first paragraph, eventual national champion Auburn checked in at No. 6. Those Tigers moved up a spot the following week and never looked back.

None of this means anything at all, until it does. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way.