Spartan Seasons 2008: Back To The Future

Ken BraunCorrespondent IOctober 24, 2008

From the first shots of the Korean War until the year of the Six Day War, 1950-1967, Michigan State's record against Michigan was 13-3-2. The Spartans also notched three perfect seasons, two national championships and two runner-up national title finishes during this run.

Ancient records from the era point to multiple references from disgruntled Michigan fans asserting the glories of their 1902 national championship as a means of keeping the Sparty juggernaut from getting too full of itself.

These were indeed bad years for Michigan, as they posted 4-6 records during both the 1965 and 1967 seasons. The Spartans beat them 34-0 in the 1967 game.

Needless to say, the fortunes of both teams changed in the blink of an eye. Michigan beat MSU in 1968 and hired Bo Schembechler in 1969. Michigan hasn't been seriously threatened with losing six regular season games since.

Until now.

Today, Michigan State is finally on its way to rebuilding the kind of stable football program that can regularly compete for conference titles (and maybe more?) At the same time, in what may be the most undervalued irony of the entire college football season, the Spartans are the first team to be handed the weapon that can blast Michigan "Back to the Future" and give them the sixth regular season loss that they haven't seen since 1967.

Carpe Diem, Sparty. Get it done.

Can they?

I think so. What follows is the latest update of my (so far flawless) weekly prediction for the rest of the Spartan schedule:

@Michigan – 60% chance of W (originally toss-up)

It's in Michigan's house. It's a rivalry. Their backs are against the wall. This really could be the beginning of Michigan spiraling out of control for a while.

All of that means they fight with all they've got because everything's on the line.

Some say this game means more to Michigan State. I don't agree.

Michigan State has it in them to win this big, but I think Michigan keeps it close and the Spartans finally escape Ann Arbor with a win.

Wisconsin – 55% chance of W (originally 45%)

Similar to Michigan in importance for the Badgers, but less rivalry pressure and Wisconsin is a better team (theoretically -- I know they lost to Michigan.) Still, Wisconsin is the biggest disappointment of the Big Ten Season.

Purdue -- 70% chance of W (originally 65%)

Some are surprised that Purdue is losing. I'm not.

@Penn State -- 30% chance of W (originally same)

I thought back in August that this game was hopeless. Nothing has changed. Michigan State is a good Big Ten team. Penn State and Ohio State are great ones.