Editors’ Note: This roundtable has been subject to the editing team and style guide of Maize ‘n Brew and only Maize ‘n Brew. We have published it as presented and never considered including The Only Colors, because they are evil.
Michigan State is a 24-point home dog to the Wolverines. Explain why that's not enough.
Kyle: Michigan State has very few strengths this season and has looked miserable in their past five outings. Michigan has brought the pain almost every time out and desires revenge in the biggest way this season. Home field advantage does not exist when the opposing fanbase invades your house. This game will not even be within 30.
Trevor: The reason the spread is only 24 is because it is a rivalry game and Vegas is respecting that. Also, it is at Spartan Stadium which may have an affect on the Wolverines considering they haven't played in a tough environment all year. Although, 24 still isn't enough. And the reason is the blatant talent and experience differences between the two teams. And theres this guy named Harbaugh who may want to prove a point on Saturday. Gas pedal.
Zach: Michigan has a historically great defense and MSU is on a historically bad (for them in recent years) losing streak. Michigan has personnel advantages all over the field and a half-dozen contenders to be drafted in the first three rounds of the draft come next spring. The offense is rolling behind a large group of capable running backs and the best pass catching trio in the conference. MSU is quarterbacked by the gang that couldn't throw straight, its offensive and defensive lines are floundering, and its vaunted quarters pass defense has been exposed thanks to a lack of talent in the secondary and no pass rush to bail it out. The only things MSU has going for it are LJ Scott and Gerald Holmes in the backfield, but they can't do everything by themselves.
Tanner: Michigan has been absolutely dominant every damn game this year, save for the first quarter against Colorado. I'll go ahead and say it: this Michigan team is the best in the country. They will go out and provide it Saturday with an ass kicking of biblical proportions.
Garrett: Because the Wolverines only give up ten points a game. Because Michigan State only scores 23 and the Wolverines score 49. Because Michigan State let BYU rush for 260 yards and that's what the Wolverines pick up in an AVERAGE game. Because Wisconsin beat Michigan State by 24 and the Wolverines are better than Wisconsin. Because Michigan State's Defensive S&P+ score is 29.7 which is just one-tenth of a point better than Rutgers, who lost to Michigan by 78 points.
Anthony: This Michigan State team almost looks like they’ve given up. They are soft in the trenches and Michigan is the anti-thesis of this. Wolverines should roll.
Kevin: It seems the line has moved back toward the Spartans a bit, but, I don't know how an oddsmaker can look at Michigan and think, "Yeah, they'll get in a shootout with a 2-5 team." MSU has flashed some competence on offense, but it isn't a good sign if they gave up 31 points to BYU, 54 points to Northwestern, and 28 to Maryland. Michigan has a statistical advantage in every matchup, but the real wildcard is always Mark Dantonio. It's admirable how he can get his guys ready for this game year after year, but the Spartans are about to fall into a volcano.
Fun fact for everyone: Pete forwarded me a study that revealed Michigan State fans have the highest rate of heart attacks in the state, so perhaps that’s why the spread isn’t larger? Their fans are as weak as kittens.
Only a handful of times has Michigan been undefeated and MSU unranked when heading into this game. When was the last time?
- 1978 - The year both schools shared the B1G championship
- 1990 - The “Desmond Howard gets tripped in the endzone” game
- 2001 - Spartan Bob Game
- 2007 - Henne to Manningham in the closing moments
Kyle: The 2007 game; Has it really been nine years since winning in Spartan Stadium?
Trevor: I know its not 2007, I don't want to mention the early season loss that year...
Zach: The 1978 game because I have no idea and am too honorable to Google the answer.
Tanner: I say 1978 as well. The last time Michigan was undefeated and played an unranked team, they were upset at home (!) and had hopes of a national championship derailed. Not this year. Michigan takes care of business.
Garrett: I won't forget that 2007 season. Remember how we crushed Tebow?
Anthony: Taking a shot in the dark and choosing the 2001 game.
KB: In 2001, the Wolverines were ranked sixth in the nation. Spartan Stadium’s clock operator then saw to it that Michigan see that ranking disappear in the arms of TJ Duckett. Spartan Bob, we remember what you did.
Is this Dantonio’s Alamo?
- Yes. LSU needs another former MSU coach
- Nah. Keep ridin’ the Disrespekt Train, baby!
- Unsure. *Commits unsportsmanlike conduct penalty just in case*
- Send him to Texas for a much more rational and patient fanbase!
Kyle: Dantonio to LSU is too funny not to happen.
Trevor: Theory: Dantonio has been shaving points all season for the sole purpose of having the right to play the "underdog, disrespekt" card once again in his pregame speech before the UM Game.
Zach: I don't see any scenario where Dantonio leaves MSU. He has done too much for them and has more goodwill built up than just about any other coach in the nation. Why go somewhere else where you might get fired if your team has a down year or two when on the flip-side, MSU will probably name the stadium after him if he can squeeze out one more Big Ten title and major bowl appearance before he retires?
Tanner: He knows things are taking a turn. Michigan will win almost all of these games for the foreseeable future. I'm sure he wishes he had taken the South Carolina job.
Garrett: A guy called into the radio today complaining that Dantonio hasn't gotten any respect for what he has accomplished at MSU. But. He. Was. Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2010 AND 2013. So I'm still trying to figure that out.
Anthony: Mark Dantonio is going nowhere. He is going to have to get broomed out, which is still a few years away if they stay on this track. He's willing to go down with the ship, so we'll see if the Spartans pony up the money for renowned coordinators.
SBN's own Bill Connelly now has Michigan's adjusted S&P+ ranking at 0.8. ZERO. POINT. EIGHT. Yet some refuse to admit the Wolverines have closed the gap on Alabama and Ohio State. Provide your favorite evidence that states otherwise.
Kyle: Literally any defensive metric. Points per game. Yards per game. Rush yards per game. Pass yards per game. Sacks. Tackles for loss. Third down conversions. Michigan is ranked in the top five -- or better -- in basically every important category. No one else can make that claim.
Trevor: Literally any defensive metric. Points per game. Yards per game. Rush yards per game. Pass yards per game. Sacks. Tackles for loss. Third down conversions. Michigan is ranked in the top five -- or better -- in basically every important category. No one else can make that claim.
Zach: The gap between Michigan and The Tide - Ohio is closing faster than the gap between a wounded antalope and a hungry pride of lions on the chase. Now, is it closed yet, no, in my opinion it can be closed with Ohio if we finally beat them in the Horseshoe. I am not one to talk smack until my team puts all of the proof in the pudding. I am even holding back until I see all zeros on the clock this Saturday in EL, hopefully with a score heavily favoring the Wolverines.
Tanner: Alabama? I'm not touching that one. You've closed the gap on Bama when you beat Bama. Until then, the king stay the king. Ohio State is another story when talking about this year. The Buckeyes are showing some signs of youth, and we have seen vulnerabilities in that offense, and the defense has come back to earth a little after a blistering start to the season. Michigan is good enough to play with OSU, and right now I think Michigan should win that game barring any big things happening between now and then. OSU is still stocked with a ridiculous amount of talent, so the gap isn't closed until Michigan gets a couple more years of comparable recruiting classes to go along with a win or two in this series.
Garrett: Wins over three ranked teams. No one else can claim that at this point in the season. And pretty dominantly, I might add, with a combined score of 108-45. But, Michigan ain't played nobody, ain't that right PAWLLLLLLL?
Anthony: Oh I'm sorry did someone else sign the consensus #1 recruit?
I think athletically and talent-wise they match up with anyone in college football and the recruiting rankings would back that up. It's Harbaugh, Saban, Meyer and everyone else right now.
KB: I saw a stat just yesterday that illustrated how Michigan's schedule has stood up based on common opponents and where those opponents currently stand. The whole SEC West division doesn't have a non conference win better than Michigan's win over Colorado. A Colorado team that is already bowl eligible. Alabama's best is over a 4-3 USC team. The second stat that sticks out is when compared to both Alabama and Ohio State, Michigan's quality wins over ranked opponents is just a few points behind both.
Connor Cook. Go.
Kyle: Connor Cook does not believe Michigan is going to win because Connor Cook does not believe in projection systems. Hard to blame him; everyone projected him to be a first or second round pick and look how that went.
Trevor: I respected Connor Cook's play throughout his tenure in Spartyville. But, I lost all respect for the guy when he dissed Archie Griffin during the postgame awards ceremony of the BIG 10 Championship. I know he apologized, but that was just brutal to watch. The guy seems like his success got to his head.
Zach: Best quarterback in MSU history. The reason last year's team wasn't an eight- or nine-win squad. Still not team captain material.
Tanner: Toolbag. It would have been poetic justice for him to be back for this game. Not even he could save the Spartans.
Garrett: More like Connor Burgerflipper. AMIRIGHT?
Anthony: *eye roll emoji*
KB: I didn’t realize the backup quarterback of the Oakland Raiders is forced to flip burgers! Connor may have beaten Michigan a few times, but it takes a special kind of former player to wade into the weeds of a rivalry week in a down year for his alma mater. Is special the right word here?
Bonus Q: Share the most Sparty fan story you’ve experienced in recent memory.
Kyle: I was told that Peppers is not a good player because tv announcers talk about him too frequently. It was then admitted to me that this treatment would be completely ok and totally different if Peppers was a Spartan, though.
Trevor: Last season, I was at the game. I was sitting in the corner of the end zone where the play that doesn't need any description happened. Everything I heard from Sparty fans walking out of the stadium that day, was enough to confirm my choice of sides in this rivalry.
Tanner: It was my 21st birthday and I had a Michigan polo on. We were having a good time in downtown Omaha, and a drunk Sparty fan came up to me and yelled in my face "BRO DO YOU EVEN GO TO MICHIGAN?" Soooooooo typical.
Garrett: Years after the 2004 triple overtime comeback game, I was talking with a State grad who had also attended that game and I said something about how amazing it was to be there and how these State fans in front of me literally disappeared from the stadium in the time it took me to turn around to high-five the row behind me. He then shared with me the story of how he had made the trip from East Lansing to Ann Arbor to watch the game and he was so distraught after that he cried on the drive back to EL where he went to bed with his girlfriend and she ended up pregnant so they got married. "Which is the worst decision I ever made in my life," he said. "And now we've been divorced three years." This conversation happened in 2011.
Anthony: I don't think there's a specific one, but a famous Spartan bit is "typical Wolverines always living in the past" yet all they've come up with this week is talking about last year's botched punt and their recent success.
Brew Q: What're ya drinking as the fall colors along the banks of the Red Cedar turn from green to maize and blue.
Kyle: Salty tears.
Trevor: Apple Cider and Captain Morgan....once again.
Zach: Are Spartan tears on the menu?
Tanner: Spartan Tears. Taste like sugar.
Garrett: I've picked up some of Arbor Brewing's Crye Baby Rye becuase, well, the joke writes itself and I couldn't find a couch burning porter.
Anthony: Will be my first trip to EL for a football game. My Spartan brethren will have to clue me in on what's good.
KB: I'll need to locate some friendly breweries around East Lansing that will serve me in all my Michigan gear. Hopefully they'll have something available from Bob Vivant or Founders.