The Michigan vs. Michigan State football game won't be played until October 25th in Ann Arbor, but I'm thinking already if this might not be the year that the Spartans finally win a game in the rivalry. Saturday's spring wind up scrimmage could be telling-- are the Spartans better defensively, have they found some decent offensive linemen to start and do they have receivers to replace the departed Devin Thomas?
Inter squad games aren't the best way to judge a team's strength, but maybe MSU fans can get a clue. Michigan State has not won in Ann Arbor since 1990. Will Mark Dantonio's first win over the Wolverines indeed come on the road? Beating Michigan might be more readily available this fall than down the road. The Wolverines have a new coach and many new skilled position players to find before their season begins August 30th at home against Utah.
Since 2003, Michigan State has given the Wolverines fits in every game-- two overtime games along the way, both losses and of course the near miss last fall in Spartan Stadium. Mario Manningham's great catch in the final couple of minutes pulled it out for Michigan 28-24, much to the dismay of Dantonio. He has clearly made it known that the Michigan game is a big deal to him and losing is not acceptable.
If you assume that Rich Rodriguez will assemble more terrific recruiting classes down the road, then as I say, maybe this fall is the time the Spartans can earn some hope for the future with a win in the Big House. Such a victory would sure help recruiting and the image of the programs and perhaps create a bit of doubt about Michigan's future.