Brian Hoyer’s Loyalty to Michigan State Spartans Pays Off in NCAA Bracket

Brian Hoyer's Loyalty to Michigan State Spartans Pays Off in NCAA Bracket FOXBORO, Mass. — Call it school pride or dumb luck. Either way, quarterback Brian Hoyer is in second place in the Patriots' NCAA bracket pool, thanks to his alma mater's run to the Final Four.

Hoyer said he picks Michigan State annually to win in his brackets — not that the Spartans' spring success is uncommon — and that strategy has probably earned him a trip on the medal stand.

"You have to [pick Michigan State], right?" Hoyer said Thursday at Gillette Stadium. "I have them and West Virginia, so I've got two out of the four."

Hoyer said he also picked Kansas State to come out of the West bracket but couldn't remember his choice in the South, where Duke escaped. Heading into Saturday's Final Four, Hoyer believed wide receiver Julian Edelman had already locked up the championship.

Hoyer, a 2009 undrafted free agent, isn't a big basketball fan, but he said he always make sure to be in front of the TV when the Spartans are playing.

"Being up here [in Massachusetts], CBS is always rotating through, so you're only catching bits and pieces of it," Hoyer said. "Now that their full games are on, I've been trying to sit down and watch."

Michigan State advanced to last year's national championship game before getting throttled by North Carolina, but Hoyer said he never heard a peep from former Tar Heel wide receivers Brandon Tate or Sam Aiken. In the event Tate or Aiken peeps up this weekend, Hoyer has all the ammunition he needs.

"I can go and ask them where North Carolina is now," Hoyer said of UNC, which is in Thursday's NIT championship game against Dayton. "And we're back in the Final Four."

Hoyer doesn't know many players on Michigan State's basketball team because it's a younger group, but he did get to know coach Tom Izzo.

"He's awesome," Hoyer said. "He's good friends with [football] coach [Mark] Dantonio, so he came and talked to us before a few games. [Izzo] gets you fired up, man. He's a great coach, and it's proven with the last couple years. Last year, getting to the championship game. Now, the Final Four again. Just a great guy. I know they love him up there, and he was awesome to have around our football program."

After former Michigan State head coach John. L. Smith was fired in 2006, the team's fan base — halfheartedly or half-serious, depending on how you want to look at it — started a push to have Izzo do double duty in the athletic department.

"As crazy as it is, I remember when John L. Smith got fired at Michigan State, people were throwing out rumors that Izzo should just become the football coach," Hoyer said. "That's how respected he is up there, and they're like, 'Yeah, he went to college with [former 49ers and Lions head coach Steve] Mariucci. He's figure it out. He'll know how to do it. He's such a good coach.'

"It was kind of crazy, but you know he's been in that position before," Hoyer added. "He's successful at what he does, so I guess it wasn't that crazy for them to throw it out there. I know he had a friendship with Coach Dantonio before that. I think he was kind of in the recruitment of getting Coach Dantonio. He's a Michigan State man. I don't think he'll ever leave there. I know there's been some rumors thrown out, but he loves it up there and they love him."

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