#7 Michigan State-Northwestern: Brutally Honest Game Preview

michigan state

On my way home from the “Banks Bowl” (nickname I give to the annual IllinoisMichigan State meeting, because the former is my undergrad, the latter my MBA school) on Saturday night I drove past the town of Climax, MI on I-94.

The miles immediately leading into Climax are exciting, but then when you’re past Climax, it’s all downhill.

By the way, wouldn’t it be HILARIOUS if there was a town called Refractory Period, MI bordering Climax?

I bring this up because MSU football has had a tendency to climax during the middle of the season these past couple decades. It seems like they start 5-0 and finish 7-5 every season. They’ve also been prone to tremendous let-downs. Beating undefeated Michigan and Ohio State teams in midseason (see 1998, 1999, 2001) then losing to Indiana and Purdue the following week.

Will this year be different? With a 7-0 record, the first since the national title year of 1966, and a #7 BCS ranking, it appears so. Will the excitement for Tom Izzo’s basketball team will be delayed a little?

This week the Spartans show up for Northwestern‘s Homecoming, where they’ve beaten the geographically closest of my three “home” teams three out of the last four.

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Michigan State-Illinois: Brutally Honest Game Preview

sparty

Ah there’s nothing quite like it when your alma mater takes on your MBA school. It happens every year, the conflicted feelings and ambivalence…OR NOT! When your grad school and undergrad clash, you ALWAYS go with the institution that awarded you your primary degree. And with apologies to the first Kanye West album, “you know what will keep me warm this winter- all those degrees.” 

For two “basketball schools,” the IllinoisMichigan State contest should be a very good one, and among the best contests on the Big Ten slate this Saturday. This marks the 44th meeting between the Fighting Illini and the Spartans and the first at Spartan Stadium since 2006. Michigan State holds a 24-17-2 overall series advantage and leads 12-8-1 when playing in East Lansing. Last season, the Spartans won 24-14 in Champaign after the series took a two-year hiatus in 2007 and ’08.

By Paul M. Banks

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