I don't like going Meta, but feel it's necessary here. Due to an overwhelming flood of things at work and this weekend being my first ever half-marathon the blog is going to get about a third as much attention as I'd like this week. My sincere apologies, being slovenly was much less effort than trying to take care of myself.
It's rivalry week and time to address our friends down the road. Much will be made of what this game means. Was Jesus just a prophet for Denard? Is Brady Hoke the long-awaited successor to Bo? Does Michigan State even have a chance against U of M? If MSU loses are we destined to become a second-rate doormat all over again? If we win is U of M on it's way to Richrodding it's way through the season again? I think this is all a bunch of knee-jerk crap honestly, so let's stick to some facts and maybe some mild opinion and go from there.
Fact: Michigan has outscored it's opponents in the second half 114-21.
If you are not winning at halftime, it's unlikely you will beat these Wolverines. A key to success for the good guys will be being up early and making Denard play from behind. Frankly, this statistic is just stunning. Outscoring your opponent 5-1 in the second half over six games is no fluke.
Fact: Michigan State has outscored it's opponents in the first half 89-27.
While this involves us being up 58-0 on FAU and Central respectively, I do think it points to us being more of a first half team. Interesting to note, at halftime we've blanked three of our opponents at the half. So again, better be up at the half or else.
Fact: Michigan and Michigan State have scoring defenses in the top 10 nationally.
Normally this would be extremely impressive, but the Big Ten has half the top 10 scoring defenses nationally, so it's only kind of impressive. The turnaround is more impressive in the case of Michigan who finished somewhere around 2,000,000th in total scoring defense last year.
Fact: Michigan has the leading rusher in the Big Ten at QB.
We haven't yet played a QB in this mold in 2011. We of course played Robinson last year and shut him down very nicely, but until he is stopped we cannot write him off as a threat. A key to the game will be limiting him to taking only a few yards here or there and making him throw the ball.
Fact: Michigan State Football has improved under Mark Dantonio.
I bring this one up in case we lose and fans start jumping off ledges. MSU is better than they've been since Biggie Munn and aren't you lucky because they've been pretty so-so for a long time? Mark Dantonio's current record is 37-20 and 21-12 in the Big Ten. In order for Mark Dantonio to have a winning percentage equivalent to Duffy Daughtery he'd need to lose his next three games. He'd have to lose five to be as good as St. Nick Saban. On Saturday, win or lose Michigan State football is improving under Dantonio.
Opinion(But Strongly Supported): The Winner of This Game will have the inside track on winning the Legends Division
Neither program rises or falls based off of this game, but I think the winner has the inside track on playing in the inaugural B1G title game. Nebraska is already down a game in the Big Ten season and is unlikely to beat both MSU and Michigan. Iowa looks to be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde this year. So it is my opinion that the loser does not become a second-tier program, but instead this might become a rivalry of who plays in the division title game.