The Spartan Football Team endured a heart-breaking loss on Saturday, December 3, at the Inaugural Big Ten Championship Game against the University of Wisconsin Badgers. The Spartans “just missed” their second back-to-back opportunity to make an appearance in Pasadena, California, and were uncertain as to where they would be headed for their post-season bowl game. The following evening, SMB members along with Spartans everywhere were gathered around their televisions to hear that MSU would be facing the University of Georgia Bulldogs in the 2012 Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida. The SMB staff immediately began coordinating plans for band members to stay in the beautiful Tampa Bay Region. While still upset and in dismay about recent events in Indianapolis, the ensemble put their focus on the opportunity they had in front of them.
The SMB loaded their charter plane and were ready for take-off on Thursday, December 29. They arrived to weather in the upper 60s at their Clearwater Beach hotel, located on Sand Key and Gulf of Mexico. The following day involved a “beach day” performance shared with the Georgia Bulldog Band, our first of two rehearsals, and a poolside cook-out dinner at the hotel. New Year’s Eve day consisted of another rehearsal and a combined lunch with the Georgia Band, downtime on the beach, marching in the official bowl parade in Ybor City, and showing off our repertoire in a “Battle of the Bands,” once again, with the Georgia Band. New Year’s Day included spending the day at Busch Gardens and performing with the Georgia Band one more time before hitting the rides for the remainder of the day.
Before they knew it, Game Day had arrived. The SMB was very excited to perform one more time for the Spartan Fans that made the trip to Tampa, as well as our beloved Spartan Football Team! We performed our 70s Rock Show for the Outback Bowl crowd, including the tunes “Black Magic Woman” and “Stairway to Heaven.” The second half of the game forced Spartans to the edge of their seats, and resulted in a triple 33-30 overtime against the Bulldogs. This is the first time the Spartans have won a post-season bowl game since 2000. This is also Mark Dantonio’s first bowl game win since joining the Spartan Football Program.
Many thanks to all of those that organized a fantastic trip for the Spartan Marching Band!