P.J. Fleck will tell you he has been an underdog his entire life. Too small and too slow to play college football at Northern Illinois. Even slower and smaller to play in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers. But yet he was able to accomplish those feats despite what everyone else thought. So when asked about being an underdog to Michigan State for his first ever game as a head coach, he took it with a grain of salt.
“It is what it is, they deserve it,” Coach Fleck said before Monday night’s practice. “They are a heck of a football team and I’ve said it publicly, they are one of the best defenses I’ve seen in college football.”
“I took over a program that was 4-8 last year. We’ve lost some players to injury and I don’t see it any other way, but that’s why you play the game. You don’t get credit for a win or loss before the game, you go and play.”
And when asked what he thought about the spread being 27.5, Fleck reminded us that the spread is just a number.
“27, 34, 42, 6…you either you win or lose or you are an underdog or you are not. It is what it is. I know that our program and our kids are going to worry about us. They are going to play on a down to down basis and focus on being better every play and that’s all we are going to focus on. If we can take care of the ball and stop the run we have an elite chance.”
And as an underdog that is exactly the way you have to look at it.
Still it’s a MAC school up against a Big Ten school and numerous things will have to go right for the Broncos to come out of East Lansing not only victorious on the scoreboard but also against the spread. The Broncos will have to be perfect on both sides of the ball and will need to get a little lucky here and there as well.
I’m not a betting man, but if I were, based on what Fleck has been teaching his players about why not us, I have a hard time believing that the Broncos can’t go into Spartan Stadium and compete with the big boys of the Big Ten. Will they come out victorious? Probably not but hey crazier things have happened.
“We have our hands full but our kids will accept the challenge and we will not back down. They are a bunch of hungry dogs. I’m really excited,” Fleck added.
And so am I.