Thursday, September 17, 2009

Real Football Insight: Michigan State vs. Notre Dame

Since the Badgers are playing Wofford this week, I figured we could take a look at some other match-ups that may be of interest to the locals. Lets start off with Michigan State at Notre Dame (2:30, NBC).

Let me start off by saying I really dislike Notre Dame. However, after years of looking like crap (and an emu) Jimmy Clausen is looking like a pretty good QB this year. It helps when you have a beast like Michael Floyd running routes and catching balls for you. However, their coach is still Charlie Weis. His latest in douchbaggery came this week when he started his presser by complaining about the officiating in the Michigan game, saying that was all he was going to say because he had Big Ten officials this week, and then spending the rest of the presser talking about officiating. Hey, if you want to see bad officiating, check out a tape of the Packers-Bears game from Sunday night. I was convinced the officials were trying to see if there was any way they could digitally put a 12th Packer on the field during the fake punt review.

Anyhow back to the MSU-Notre Dame game. I know State was embarrassed last week by Central Michigan and Notre Dame played a good game against Michigan. However, I see the Spartans rising up and winning this one. As wildly inconsistent as MSU football has been for as long as I can remember, they always seem to play well against Notre Dame. I am going to go with a Michigan State win here. In terms of watchability, I am going to give this one 8 bottles of High Life on a 10 bottle of High Life scale.

For a better look at the game, lets see what a MSU alum, who I will dub Sparty Tom, has to say about this game:

MSU has beaten Notre Dame an unprecedented six times in a row in South Bend. No other team in college football history can claim that feat in the 78 year history of Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame is coming off a painful loss at the hands of the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, while Michigan State is trying to forget that embarrassment in East Lansing against the mighty Chippewas of Central Michigan last weekend. Jimmy Clausen figures to have a big day throwing the ball as Michigan State's secondary has been a weakness in the first few weeks of play. Pre-season All American Linebacker Greg Jones and the rest of the Michigan State defensive line hope to provide enough pressure up front to keep the Fighting Irish offense off balance.

On the other side of the ball, there is still a Quarterback controversy in the Spartan camp. Both Oklahoma transfer Keith Nichol, and redshirt sophomore Kirk Cousins have split playing time in the Spartan's first two games of the season. Nichol likes to use his quickness to leave the pocket make plays on the run, while Cousins is more of a drop-back passer who throws a more accurate ball. MSU coach Mark Dantonio has not revealed who will receive the playing time against Notre Dame. Either way, they'll have to deal with a Notre Dame defense that is looking to redeem itself after giving up too many big plays against the Wolverines last week. Irish head coach Charlie Weis has had his first team defense taking reps against the first team offense this week in practice to instill more toughness.

This is the type of game that will set the tone for the rest of the season for both teams. How will each team respond to an early season loss? For Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, two early season losses will most likely resurrect calls for his job that were so prevalent at the end of last season. For Michigan State, this is the start of a 3-game stretch that will define their season (Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and Michigan). A loss would put them in a hole that they want no part of. Given the nature of the rivalry, this game promises to be one of the best battles of the weekend
Nice Work Sparty Tom. Look for more Sparty Tom analysis throughout this season as well as basketball season when we discuss Big Ten Championship basketball banners left rolled up in the rafters.

1 comment:

  1. Don't get too down on State just yet - the Chippies are probably the best team in the MAC and Dan LaFevour is probably better than 80% of the Big Ten QBs. This week and next will make or break the season as you say. Beat those Domers down!