Arizona State-Michigan State Game Was an Existential Crisis


This afternoon’s Arizona State-Michigan State game was a transformative experience. The contest, challenging to watch from opening to final whistle, was essentially a modern reboot of 1982 Koyaanisqatsi. Its motif was chaotic and joyless. Its subtext that human life is too short and should be spent pursuing things that aren’t 210-minute long football games so far removed from the Platonic Ideal of the sport that they belong outside the phylum.

In short, it made you think, which is not ideal for the weekend. Who wants to ponder the mysteries of life between mowing the lawn and making a dish to pass for the church potluck?

Seventeen points were achieved in unappealing fashion. Spartan Stadium turned into some sort of Waterworld where the greatest currency was punting. Sun Devils quarterback Jalen Daniels looked as thought he was negotiating throwing a spiral for the very first time. And he was the victorious and heroic one. MSU’s offense gameplan appeared hellbent on minimizing talent and putting personnel in the exact opposite situation it would succeed.

The coaches, Mark Dantonio and Herm Edwards, matched wits in the closing minutes, each trying to outdo the other in a content of who could nuke all their timeouts before it was necessary. The officials, and I can’t stress this enough, were unfit to work a Pop Warner game and surely arrived in East Lansing in some sort of clown car.

Forever the record books will reflect that Arizona State won, 10-7. Tape of this game, as well as the one the two teams played last year in Tempe, does not belong in any vault for future generations. Neither game should have been show live, for that matter in the interest of impressionable children.

A serious collector would not be interested in the All-22. As a curio, though, it has some merits. Poetically, the 60 minutes of play came to a close with a comedy of errors. Michigan State was indecisive, then rushed, then unable to do math. A successful game-tying field goal was washed off the board. Its successor missed way wide.

For every piece of art there is a consumer. Plenty of people in Arizona will cherish this experience for all its quirky imperfection. The ends sometime justify the means. At what cost, though?

We’re trying to live in a society here and I’m not sure what we just witnessed has any place in it.