Michigan vs. Michigan State has always been a matchup of bad blood and heated tempers. And while the two schools can't stand one another, it is Michigan State that is up four games to zero in the last four meetings against Michigan.
But even with the Spartans earning the bragging rights for quite some time now, the Wolverines are still viewed as the top dog between these two rivals.
This 2012 matchup will show that Michigan State is still the "little brother" when it comes to that other Michigan school.
While there is no question that the entire Big Ten Conference has seen better days, it is the Wolverines that seem to be playing the better football. The team has won the last two games by a combined score of 89-13, while Michigan State can’t get any type of consistency going.
Quarterback Denard Robinson, who struggled mightily in the beginning of the season, has scored five combined touchdowns in the last two games without throwing an interception. The playmaking senior that we thought we were going to see all season is finally showing signs of life and playing the way everybody in Ann Arbor expects him to play.
Who wins the big game?
Hearing that can't be good for a Michigan State defense that recently allowed Ohio State dual-threat quarterback Braxton Miller to rush for 136 yards and complete 70 percent of his passes. Sure, this is a defense that has rattled Robinson more than any other unit in the past, but the Spartans have struggled to generate pressure consistently this season.
But it seems like this entire Michigan State team is failing to live up to expectations in 2012.
Once a popular pick to win the Big Ten, Michigan State is producing almost nothing on the offensive side of the ball.
The team has only scored more than 20 points three times all season long, quarterback Andrew Maxwell struggles to hit the side of the Sears Tower and the offensive line couldn't block an annoying girlfriend.
Simply put, if running back Le'Veon Bell isn't breaking off huge chunks of yards and scoring multiple touchdowns a game, the Spartans lose.
The good news for Wolverine fans is that Michigan is doing a solid job of stopping the run (less than four yards a carry), and has allowed only two runs of over 20 yards all season, which is the best in the Big Ten.
Because of poor quarterback play and terrible coaching decisions, the Iowa Hawkeyes were able to make a comeback last weekend and knock off the Spartans. Iowa is the same team that lost to Iowa State, Central Michigan and needed a late rally to knock off Northern Illinois in the season opener.
It has been a down year for the Big Ten, and could be considered much worse for Michigan State, especially with the expectations the team had coming into the season.
With their improved play, there is no reason why a motivated Robinson and the Wolverines can't defend home turf and win their first game over Michigan State since 2007.
"The past is the past and I don’t think what’s happened the past few years matters," U-M co-captain Jordan Kovacs said according to Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press. "If you’re a football player and you know about Michigan football, you’ll be ready no matter what."
The Wolverines should be ready and will win this matchup if they continue to play as well as they have in the past couple of weeks.
The streak will come to an end and the little brother title will remain.
Hope Michigan State enjoyed having a short-lived lead.