A new Michigan State football season, a fresh start with predictions. That goes for me, too, since I didn’t win a single week predicting the score on the Spartan Sports Network pregame show against colleague Joe Rexrode and the Detroit News’ Matt Charboneau.
Here, in our weekly prediction world, GreenGuy took the title, winning twice during last season. I’ve reached out to see if he wants a profile story written on him — the promised prize — or some LSJ swag.
For now, this will do: All hail, GreenGuy!
On to the business at hand — MSU’s opener Friday night against Western Michigan. I don’t think this is going to be close and I’ll have a column on why in Friday’s LSJ Game Day section. The formula for an upset isn’t there and that begins with the fact that it’s an opener.
Home big-school favorites rarely drop openers to mid-majors. The analysis of this is best told from the other side: WMU, for example, hasn’t won an opener against a BCS-level program since beating Temple (then in the Big East) in 1997. The Broncos have been playing up and on the road in the first week every season since 2005 and are 0-8, losing by at least 23 points in five of those games. They’ve never come closer than 31-19 at Virginia in 2005, when Greg Jennings took over the game and then-Cavs coach Al Groh perfected the art of underestimation.
In that same eight-year span, WMU defeated Iowa and Illinois and Connecticut twice, and came within a touchdown or less against Florida State, Cincinnati, Indiana, Purdue, the Illini and Minnesota. None of those were openers. The favorite rarely is asleep, no matter the opponent, for its first game.
There are other factors. And I believe MSU’s defense will be overwhelming in this one.
I’m interested in your thoughts and predictions.
I’d take your season predictions, too. We’ll use them as a tiebreaker.