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An early spin through MSU’s football season: Spartans look to make it 5 of 6 against Wolverines on Nov. 2

This is the ninth in a 12-day series looking at Michigan State’s opponents this football season and their chances against the Spartans.

Week 9: Michigan
Time and Date: TBD, Nov. 2
Venue: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing
TV: TBD

Wolverines at a glance
Coach: Brady Hoke (third season, 19-7)
Last season: 8-5 overall; 6-2 Big Ten (2nd Legends)
Returning starters: 10 (five offense, five defense)

Preseason magazine predictions
Athlon: 10-3 overall; 1st, Big Ten Legends Division; Ranked No. 14
Lindy’s: 1st, Legends Division; Ranked No. 16
Sporting News: 1st, Legends Division

Why they’ll beat the Spartans
Whatever brief physical edge MSU had on the Wolverines is gone, as is the mounting pressure on U-M to stop a losing streak that was becoming embarrassing. And for all Denard Robinson brought to the table, his limits as a passer limited the Wolverines to a Denard-centric offense — the sort of attack that produces seven-win seasons at Indiana, but isn’t needed at a program that can lure the nation’s top recruits. Michigan, minus a few electrifying runs, will be a more complete offense without Robinson. Devin Gardner is a better overall quarterback, though perhaps yet to completely prove the lofty preseason hype he’s beginning to receive. Michigan has a No. 1 wideout in Jeremy Gallon and potentially a big-time backfield with Fitz Toussaint and blue-chip recruit Derrick Green. And the importance of the return of All-American left tackle Taylor Lewan can’t be overstated.

Why they won’t
As a program, MSU is Michigan’s physical equal in the trenches — that has only occasionally been the case over the last 40 years — and the Wolverines and their fans know it. The collective sigh of relief at Michigan Stadium after last season’s 12-10 escape told of a program that gets that it’s in a fight. Year to year, skill-position stars can make the difference in particular games, but the story of lasting competitiveness is up front. And all things being fairly equal in that regard, home field matters.

MSU nearly won in Ann Arbor with an inept offense. It stands to reason that the Spartan attack will begin to somewhat adopt a philosophy of forward movement by the time Nov. 2 comes around. And there are potential weaknesses on U-M’s roster — its pass rush, its wideouts beyond Gallon, the interior offensive line and, if something happens to Gardner, there is zero experience behind him at QB.

Final analysis
This is no longer a game MSU sees an upset. Coach Mark Dantonio has successfully changed that within the culture of his own program as it pertains to this rivalry. He’s emphasized the game with Michigan and his teams have backed up the banter on the field, winning four straight before last season. If the game were played on Labor Day weekend, advantages either way would be nitpicking. By November, so much will have happened to both of these teams, it could be more clear. But there was no real advantage either way last year and nothing has happened since to suggest there will be this time.

Related:
New regime rows WMU into Spartan Stadium for Aug. 30 opener
Rebuilding South Florida visits on Sept. 7
Youngstown State, on Sept. 14, offers final tuneup before season gets real

Notre Dame, perhaps a mirror image, awaits on Sept. 21
Big Ten road begins Oct. 5 against iffy Iowa squad
Offensive-minded and improving Hoosier visit for homecoming, Oct. 12
Boilermakers’ unrelenting schedule stops in East Lansing Oct. 19
Illini have new-look offense, not much left on ‘D’ as Spartans visit Oct. 26

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30 Responses to An early spin through MSU’s football season: Spartans look to make it 5 of 6 against Wolverines on Nov. 2

  1. avatar Football Guy says:

    No way MSU loses to scUM this year. Wolverines barely won in the Big House last year. This could’ve been 6 straight. I’ll take 5 in 6 years though. “Times change” – Mark Dantonio

  2. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Graham , do you know if MSU is in the preseason top 25?

  3. avatar MSU Owns Beilein says:

    The advantage Graham is the game is at home this year. scUM barely escaped last year at home when the whole world thought they would pound MSU. 5 of 6 coming up, all this talk about Gardner and Gallon, please. Just more hype from the media because they completed a hail mary against NW last year.

    • avatar jimb says:

      They won last year without throwing the ball, and now they have a qb!!

      But we all know how well pmsu plays at the woodshed!!!

    • avatar reality check says:

      Thats funny Belein , Doug just told the world he is a Gallon supporter.

      • avatar MSU Owns Beilein says:

        yeah you’re a real tough guy Mark, copy my name, and then delete my posts, no wonder the whole world knows BTN is a complete joke with a bunch of puppets running around.

        • avatar reality check says:

          You call Yarina a puppet???? MSU Doug

          • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

            Yep Urinea is definitely your puppet, he let it slip out once accidentally

          • avatar MSU Owns Beilein says:

            and thanks for manning up mark and paying the 5 grand, told you there was no way I would become a scUM fan ! and trying to copy my name on the btn board with a different IP address : lame ! tell Urinea he lost again !

    • avatar UMFan50 says:

      hey MSU Owns Beilein, actually that hail mary was completed to Roy Roundtree. Get your facts straight before you talk trash. Go Blue!

  4. Pingback: Tuesday’s links: Ireland trip, Devin Gardner & more « Big Ten Network

  5. avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

    You’re hedging Graham. This was the same as no pick at all. Eliana is not happy.

    http://0358bd0.netsolhost.com/wordpress1/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/image.jpg

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      Ghost of Bo, Courtesy of Billy Joel

      There’s a place in the world for the angry young Graham With his MAC conference ties and his radical plans He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl and he’s always at home with his back to the wall. He’s proud of the scars and the battles he’s lost He struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross And he likes to be known as the angry young Graham
      Give a moment or two to the angry young Graham With his foot in his mouth and his heart in his hand He’s been stabbed in the back, he’s been misunderstood It’s a comfort to know his intentions are good He sits in a cubicle with a lock on the door with his media guide and his press box pass laid out of the floor And he likes to be known as the angry young Graham
      ..

  6. avatar Big Jon G says:

    Whatever Walmart or MSU fans say now is irrelevant. Nobody knows how good these teams will be at all. Who cares what you all think. And U-M trollers coming to the Green and White site to justify some Hail Mary win last year means they are losers.

  7. avatar Little Brother Dominates Lesbos says:

    I cannot believe there is any justification for all of the preseason hype that UofM receives each year, and then grossly under achieves…. Even when they won the Sugar bowl against VT they were terrible, so please don’t use that season as a highlight. But it’s UofM, the team with the most self proclaimed championships in NCAA history, a team that has been beat 4 out of 5 years, and a team that has yet to play in a Big 10 champ. game… pathetic. U of M beat writers might as well be meteorologists

  8. avatar Esteban Garza says:

    Hasn’t been to a Big 10 Championship Game? That’s been around for what, 2 years? Go ahead and list all of the BCS bowls that MSU has played in…I’ll wait for the answer. My guess is that you weren’t alive the last time Sparty played in the Rose Bowl.

    • avatar Big Jon G says:

      Per my earlier point Esteban you are a loser.

    • avatar trughostofbo says:

      Oh whoopy zip the Gulo’s played in a BCS game.. Say Garza, was that game for the national championship?????? NO!!!!! why listening to ewe of em fans, you’d a thought so…. The only BCS championship the Gulo’s have won is the BCSBS starlet recruiting trophy. Which pairs nicely with that loss to Appalachian State. And by the way, in 2013, your beloved, em is 0 for 1…………………

      • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

        2nd lowest rated BCS Bowl ever, MSU’s Outback Bowl win over GA was higher rated and a hell of a lot better bowl, that sugar bowl had 2 undeserving teams. GA would have crushed scUM and Vtech. MSU already smashed scUM and would have taken down Vtech without the help of a terrible call like scUM got.

  9. avatar MSU Owns Beilein says:

    Look at all the obssessive scUM Fans on the MSU board, nice. Oh well, Roundtree, Gallon, both of them have stunk over the years. Easy to get them confused. Go Blow !!!!!!!

  10. avatar Esteban Garza says:

    Nice to see MSU history goes back 5 years…

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