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ESPN College GameDay 2012: Why Crew Will Spend Week 3 in East Lansing

EAST LANSING, MI - AUGUST 31: Tony Lippett #14 of the Michigan State Spartans tries to avoid the tackle of Tyler Horn #69 of the Boise State Broncos during a third quarter reverse at Spartan Stadium on August, 2010 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State won the game 17-13. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Ethan GrantAnalyst ISeptember 8, 2012

An exciting two weeks of ESPN's College Gameday kept the crew in Texas both Saturdays, at least until the conclusion of the SEC-opener for the Texas A&M Aggies. When they pack their bags and head to the Week 3 destination, their plane ticket should have East Lansing, Mich., somewhere on it.

One of college football's most resurgent programs over the past decade resides there in the form of the Michigan State Spartans. And who should their matchup be against?

None other than the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

Michigan State, who opens Week 2 at No. 11 in the AP Poll, should be 2-0 after their game against Central Michigan. The same goes for Notre Dame, who play their second game at home against Purdue after spanking the Naval Academy in Dublin, Ireland.

Notre Dame is currently ranked 22nd. If both teams win as expected, they could both sit inside the Top 20 and be the premier game of college football's third slate of action.

Michigan State has an early front-runner for the Heisman Trophy in running back LeVeon Bell. He carried the Spartans to a victory over upset-minded Boise State during Sparty's home opener, accounting for 265 yards of total offense and two touchdowns.

The Spartans are breaking in a young quarterback in Andrew Maxwell, and it showed when he tossed three picks against the Broncos. However, if Bell is the kind of running back that we all hope, it will be a show no matter how many people stack the box.

For Notre Dame, head coach Brian Kelly is looking to bring the tradition and expectation of a winning program back to Irish faithful. What better way to do that than pick up a road win against Michigan State before making the short trip back home to face Michigan just a week later?

After picking up nearly 300 rushing yards of their own against an overmatched Navy team, can the Irish muster the same kind of output against teams like Purdue and Michigan State?

Two "rookie" QBs, a talented ground game and an AP Poll Top 25 matchup all in the same night seem like ratings heaven for Lee Corso and the gang.

Of course, both teams must take care of business against lesser opponents this weekend. California at Ohio State, USC at Stanford and Alabama at Arkansas are waiting in the wings should either of the two falter.

Alabama and Arkansas certainly have the most compelling case. Both SEC teams are in the Top 10 of the AP Poll. But after showcasing Alabama just two weeks prior, I think ESPN shares the wealth to the Irish.

But this is the matchup we want to see. Corso must don the Sparty helmet or a lucky Irish beard and hat before the weekend is over, in preparation for a showdown between two teams with big BCS dreams this season.

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