B1G Schedule Breakdown: Michigan State

It's a mad rush to get this thing done before the season starts. We started breaking down schedules back in May...and here we are in mid-August. Oh well.

Leaders: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Legends: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern

Michigan State Spartans

2011 Overall Record: 11-3
2011 Big Ten Record: 7-1

Aug 31Boise State
Sept 8@ Central Michigan
Sept 15Notre Dame
Sept 22Eastern Michigan
Sept 29Ohio State
Oct 6@ Indiana
Oct 13Iowa
Oct 20@ Michigan
Oct 27@ Wisconsin
Nov 3Nebraska
Nov 17Northwestern
Nov 24@ Minnesota

Do Not Play
Penn State

Biggest Game
No surprise here. Since Mark Dantonio has taken over at Michigan State, he's made no mystery of his pure hatred for his in-state rivals. Say what you will about the guy, but he delivers. If you're Michigan, you're spending more time looking over your back at little brother than you are at what's going on in Columbus this season. Ohio State has their wings clipped this year, so that thrusts Michigan state, with their 4-game winning streak over Michigan, into the Wolverines' cross hairs.

I suspect Michigan will always be MSU's biggest game while Dantonio is at the helm. As a Michigan fan, I have no problem with this. I love how much the Michigan-MSU rivalry has grown in recent years.

Non-Conference Loss
There are two real non-conf threats on the 2012 schedule. Boise State and Notre Dame. For a team like Michigan State who has a relatively untested and unproven offense, those games could be trouble for Sparty. Michigan State has the luxury of a shut down defense, which will keep them in most games this year.

And what is Michigan State doing playing Central Michigan on the road? Is this how we beat the SEC?

It's a Trap!
There are no obvious traps on this schedule. But ending the season with NU and Minn could make Sparty soft going into those finales.

The Game Destined for ESPN3.com
Eastern on Sept 22.

Final Analysis
Michigan State has a great defense. They'll probably win most of their games because of that. But an young untested quarterback, untested receivers and a running game that ranked 11th in the B1G last season, its going to be a lot to overcome. I suspect getting back to  double-digit wins is going to be a stretch for MSU.

Fearless Predictions
Non-conference record: 3-1
Division Record: 3-2
Crossover Record: 2-1
Overall: 8-4
Bowl: Ticket City

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