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Game day eve: Time for your MSU football predictions and analysis (hint: upsets rarely happen in openers)

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.

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19 Responses to Game day eve: Time for your MSU football predictions and analysis (hint: upsets rarely happen in openers)

  1. avatar Trophy says:

    Spartans will come out of the starting blocks with full necessary roughness. MSU defense will rule, allowing less than 150 yards total offense for broncos. MSU offense will roll up 400+ yards and only punt once. Offense scores 35, defense scores 7…. MSU 42-wmu 0. What’s the MSU record for consecutive shut outs?

  2. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Graham you need to win one week this year or Gannett will invoke that diminished skills clause in your contract. Hey did Steph Angel survive the latest lovefest at Gannett last month?

    MSU 41
    Western 14
    Maxwell has no issues tomorrow

  3. avatar Patrick Paterno says:

    MSU to much on Defense and Maxwell play’s well! Make it MSU 35 Western Michigan 3….

  4. avatar SpartyOn says:

    Offense shows lingering issues, defense dominates but gives up a garbage time TD after a turnover. MSU 24, WMU 10

    Season: Cook creeps ahead of Maxwell in the QB battle, provides enough extra offensive production to take the pressure off the defense. Losses @ND, @Iowa, @Nebraska, @NW.

    8-4 (5-3).. I think that’s about Outback Bowl territory; MSU-South Carolina. Clowney sits the game out babying a minor late-season injury to protect his draft status, But Spurrier is hungry for revenge for the 2000 Citrus Bowl loss as HC of Florida. South Carolina 20, MSU 14.

    Alabama over Stanford for the national title.

    • avatar Mattimus says:

      My head hurts so bad after reading this.. They haven’t even played a game yet and you’re writing off the season? Surprised UM wasn’t mentioned with Forrest Gump and visor guy teams. If you haven’t heard, Spurrier’s visor came off in Georgia. YOU THINK VISORS ARE COOL?!?!!

  5. avatar jerseyjohn says:

    i’m tired of hearing that notre dame will be our first test. south florida has speed and talent and i expect that game to be a toss-up. also, although maxwell may be a bit of a stiff in the pocket, most of the blame from last year has to go to the 66 drops by the receivers.

  6. avatar MSU Owns Beilein says:

    MSU covers the 28 and it’s not because of Graham’s excuse of WMU missing their best WR

    • avatar reality check says:

      As much as everyone in the building wants Dantonio to succeed I am afraid he has a tough fight on his hand tomorrow Belein, however MSU needs to win games like this to get to 6-6 so I pick MSU
      19-10.

      • avatar MSU Owns Beilein says:

        Mark, are you going to bet another 5 grand that scUM covers the 32? Come Nov 2nd Mark, you’ll lose that 50 grand and will have to cut off one of your Europe vacations.

  7. Pingback: Thursday links: Hey look! More scoreboard replays! « Big Ten Network

  8. avatar AGSpartanFan says:

    The ONLY thing that keeps this a game for a while is some musical chairs at a few positions. I think we’ll see why Maxwell is the starter and get a glimpse at some new packages with other QBs. RB by committee with Pound Green Pound, WR drops will be under 3 and the D will be dominant. MSU 34 – WMU 3

    For the season, MSU goes 11-1, lone loss at Nebraska, wins the Legends and gets to Indy.

  9. avatar Mountain Sparty says:

    Sparty shows some diversity in a variety of ways. Maxwell is ready and two other QBs show promise with few drops by the receivers. A number of RBs add fairly big yardage and the defense shows they are hungry. MSU 41 – WMU 0. The first test will be ND and Sparty wins-out in South Bend.

  10. avatar Dave Harvey says:

    Should be a big win tonight.

    BUT – as far as home opener upsets – as a member of class of ’95 – we were freshman/sophomores during the consecutive home losses to CMU. The 20-3 loss in my first game in the student section sticks in my head. So we take nothing for granted and appreciate every W!

    Go Stae!

  11. avatar MayoSpartan says:

    MSU needs to put at least 40 points on the board by the 4th qtr. to squelch some skeptics among the fan base and national press. In doing so, I hope to see Warner & Bollman display a few new formations and wrinkles that surprise us but it’s just a taste of what is to come against ND and the B1G teams. 48-13.

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