By now you've heard that Sparty's become a trendy pick for a Legends Division Title. As you can tell by the headline, I firmly disagree with this premise. And as you can also tell by the headline, I'm going on a limb entirely in the other direction. Now before you type on your keyboards an ALL CAPS MISSIVE ABOUT HOW I'M A STUPID JERK AND SPARTY IS GOING TO DESTROY THE BADGERS WITH A LOT OF FOOTBALL POINTS AND LE'VEON BELL ... allow me to explain.
I'm not expecting a scandal of academic, criminal, or get money money nature. There's not going to a rash of injuries. Michigan State's just not going to be the better team than their opponent.
At any point.
And when you follow after the jump, I'll explain why.
August 31st vs. Boise State
The three things Boise State has on the field is a strong running back in DJ Harper and a veteran offensive line. They also run a timing based passing game. This should negate Michigan State's pass rush. And Boise State's 21-1 in the last 4 years on the road, 7-2 in road openers, and 8-1 against the BCS. They live for these games. And they'll win this one.
September 8th at Central Michigan
The Chippewas have been pretty even with their Big Ten Batiushkas. Last year may not have been the Chips best effort. But a rare home game for a MAC school, plus a desire for revenge from last years disaster? The veteran Chips will fire up upon a flat performance from Sparty. Virginia Tech lost to James Madison coming off Boise, after all.
September 15th vs. Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish don't have the turnover inducing majesty of Tommy Rees at quarterback this year. Michigan State doesn't have the passing game to take full advantage of Notre Dame's questionable secondary. And Notre Dame's front seven crushed Sparty's offensive line last year (23 carries, 29 yards). 0-3? 0-3!
September 22nd vs. Eastern Michigan
Now you're thinking I must be kidding. Last 5 games Sparty's averaged a 50-9 beatdown. Eastern Michigan's going to lose. Clearly. Right? Wrong. Alex Gillett was one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the MAC last year. Dominique Sherrer's going to have a veteran line opening holes. Eagles will soar.
September 29th vs. Ohio State
The broken offense of last years clash should be fixed. Braxton Miller's going to be making plays. And that defense remains veteran and annoying. The last time Sparty beat Ohio State back to back, I was in high school. I had hope. This won't happen this year.
October 6th at Indiana
And suddenly, homecoming for Indiana is a hopeful one. September has Sparty teetering on the brink. Indiana cleared all the dross from last season. They'll be improved from the crater they were. They're in a perfect position to storm the field. And it will.
October 13th vs. Iowa
You know the old cliche that you can throw out the records on this one? This will be a close one. But considering that Iowa is likely to be 5-0, and coming off of a bye week to heal themselves. They could be onto a cornerback in name only at running back, and they'll still pull it off. The line should be jelled, and James Vandenburg's one of the Big Ten's best quarterbacks.
October 20th at Michigan
Tyler Hoover is not Jerel Worthy. He doesn't have the leverage. He doesn't have the power. Michigan will get their inside running game going. Michigan will win the rushing battle. Thus and therefore? Michigan wins the game.
October 27th at Wisconsin
I mean, duh.
November 3rd vs. Nebraska
Michigan State has never beaten Nebraska. Last year Nebraska held Michigan State to 3 points after all that in East Lansing. And this year will be no different. The Big Ten's Go-Go Yubari (Rex Burkhead) is going to have himself such a day. And now Sparty's going to be 0-10.
November 17th vs. Northwestern
Northwestern has always been a team that's played Michigan State tough. Sure, Sparty's pulled away the past couple of years. But this year will be different, see? With Kain Colter to Kyle Prater and a much improved offensive line. They'll be ready to adjust to the second half. Especially considering Sparty's general inconsistency in home closers.
November 24th at Minnesota
One of the lesser known collapses of 2012 was how Michigan State nearly let Minnesota come all the way back. Two 4th quarter scores and almost 150 yards of total offense had them a 24-21 lead at one point. And Minnesota has won their last three home finales. Sure, one was South Dakota. But Illinois and Iowa were bowl teams. Heck, Iowa was ranked. An 0-11 Michigan State?
That'll be cake.
You might disagree with me. You might want to yell at me. But I'm laying it out there. And this is just my opinion.
All comments are welcome.