Monday, August 13, 2012
A closer look at non-conference play for MSU & Michigan
We are a little under three weeks away from the opening night of games, so I thought I would take a look at both Michigan's & MSU’s non-conference schedules.
Toughest Game – Sept. 1 vs.
Alabama - Clearly there is no
tougher non-conference game in the country than Michigan’s
season opener with Alabama
at Cowboys Stadium. Though the Crimson Tide lost a great deal from last season’s
BCS National Championship squad, there is no doubt that they should be fully
reloaded. A win for Michigan
seems very improbable, as they are still in the process of getting back into
the elite national picture. On the national scale, a win over Alabama would send a huge message that the
Wolverines are “back”.
Easiest Game – Sept. 15 vs. UMass – While UMass has had some success in football, they are making the jump from the FCS to the FBS this season. The Wolverines should have little trouble blowing the Minutemen out of the water at home.
Trap Game – Sept. 8 vs. Air Force – Following what should be a physical battle with
returns home the next week to face the Falcons. Air Force has had a winning
record the last five seasons and they run the triple option, an offense that
can be tough to prepare for when you don’t see it often.
Realistic Record – 3-1 –
also makes the dreaded trip to Notre Dame on Sept. 22. I think the Wolverines should
go 3-1 in non-conference play if they hope to have a successful season. A 2-2
start would feel like a step back from last year, but winning against Alabama or at Notre Dame
will be a tough task.
Toughest Game – Sept. 15 vs. Notre Dame – While
has been stronger
on the national scale, I suspect the Broncos won’t quite be the same given all
they have lost. Notre Dame has high expectations this year, as do the Spartans.
With the game being in Boise
State East Lansing,
this should be one MSU wins. But, you can never count out Brian Kelly and the
Easiest Game – Sept. 22 vs.
Eastern Michigan – The Spartans
host the Eagles at home to close out non-conference play. While Ron English has
made some strides with EMU, the defense should be
able to easily shutdown that run-heavy offense. Michigan
Trap Game – Sept. 8 at
Central Michigan – I know, I know, what
a surprise. But, when you look at this game objectively, it really is a trap
game. First, this game takes place between the meetings with
and Notre Dame. Second, this game is in Boise State .
CMU considers it the biggest game in the history of their stadium. That is a
tough environment for any team to step into. While the Chippewas have struggled
in two years under former MSU assistant Dan Enos, they return a lot of starters
this season. I don’t expect CMU to pull off the upset, but I think the setting
could make this game a tough one for the Spartans to get past. Mt. Pleasant
Realistic Record – 4-0 – The Spartans have the luxury that the Wolverines don’t in that their two tough games come at home and not on the road. Because of that,
can go 4-0. Does that mean they
will? No. Notre Dame could certainly trip them up, as could Michigan State ,
if the Broncos’ first-year starters can have an immediate impact. Anything less
than 3-1 in this stretch would be a disappointment for MSU. Boise State