After a longer-than-anticipated hiatus from fall opposition previews (see the links for entries on Nevada and Michigan), I am moving forward with a familiar, frustrating foe.
If Michigan State were the fat bearded guy from "Lost," the hatch code would read "Notre Dame." That's a confusing way of saying MSU has our number. Davie never beat them. Ty did OK, with the help of Bobby Williams and a spectacular last-second play from Arnaz Battle. The Weis Era has been closer to Davie's in this respect. In 2005, the Spartans jumped out to an early lead, relinquished it, then kicked off a flag-planting ceremony with an overtime victory. 2006 looked to be more of the same, but a Terrail Lambert pick-six led to an Irish victory (and ended all speculation as to John L. Smith's sanity). Coach Mark Dantonio's 2007 and 2008 teams have easily handled ND, winning 31-14 and 23-7.
Commenter and MSU fan witless chum correctly pointed out that I forgot about the Tight Ends. Here is his take on State's TEs: "The one thing you don't mention that's a big strength is TE. Charlie Gantt played very well last year and Clemson transfer Brian Linthicum looks very good. Garrett Celek is a good backup (whose brother played for Dantonio at Cincy and plays for Philly, now) and true freshman Dion Sims is supposed to be a physical freak."
Of course, the one factor that seems to play the biggest role in the Michigan State series cannot be properly analyzed in this space. Put simply, Michigan State has been the tougher, hungrier team, and that's why they've beaten Notre Dame. I like Michigan State. Michigan State is a good program, with a promising young coach, and they hate Michigan as much as we do. But it's time to stop losing to them. This should be a good opportunity to turn the tide.