2018 Spartans Schedule - Potential Pitfalls

2018 Spartans Schedule - Potential Pitfalls

Football

2018 Spartans Schedule - Potential Pitfalls

There are huge expectations for the 2018 Spartans.  No need to worry about focus for the games that jump off the page.  But there are traps sprinkled throughout that schedule and the Spartans need to bring their focus on these Saturdays this Fall.

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Soon, SpartansWire will provide readers with a game-by-game breakdown of the 2018 Michigan State football schedule which will include gameplan speculation, matchup dynamics, and predictions on wins/losses/post-season possibilities, etc.

Today, we’ll take a look at the schedule with a specific focus – strange Saturdays that might need extra focus due to the potential temptation to make irresponsible assumptions.

For those of us old enough to recall the two straight seasons when Central Michigan came into Spartan Stadium and strolled out of the place with victories, we are all-too-aware of the long-since-extinguished Spartan penchant for foggy, sleepy, clunky, and lousy performances on days when only a simple get-the-job-done approach was needed.

It’s one of the more remarkable accomplishments of Mark Dantonio – taking a program that had, for decades, found countless ways to underachieve and lay eggs on days when the Spartans’ opponent had no business being able to even sniff a win over the Green & White.

We could publish an entire month’s worth of essays and commentaries on games like the 1998 home opener against WAC power, Colorado State, when the Spartans frittered away a 16-0 lead only to lose 23-16 on one of the stranger blunders of the last thirty years.

The 1988 season opener – the very next game played after Michigan State won the Rose Bowl – was a 17-13 home loss to a Rutgers team that would make many lists touting the most mediocre college football teams of all time.

I could go on.

The point is that Spartans of a certain age won’t really ever get too comfortable with the way Mark Dantonio’s Spartans win games they’re supposed to win and usually do so without much drama.

So, forgive us if we take a look at a few games on the 2018 slate that might give some of us twitchy fans reason to be twitchy.

There is a legitimate temptation to include the trip to the desert for the September 8th game at Arizona State in this analysis.

Michigan State hasn’t made a trip to Tempe since losing a 20-17 twitch-inducing game there in 1986.  Those Devils went on to beat UMAA in the Rose Bowl so we’ve since tucked that loss away and maybe even have accepted it.

The trip out that way this September has a safety net in the form of Herm Edwards.

When Arizona State named Edwards its head coach, I could hear every Pac 12 coach laughing but trying to cover their mouths with their hands.

So, let’s just be confident and agree that Dantonio will have this team properly focused in Tempe.

On Saturday, September 22nd, Michigan State travels to cozy Bloomington to face Indiana.

Despite the “intensity” of the rivalry that awards the Old Brass Spittoon to the winner of this game, I don’t even think that the 1987 Michigan State Spartans took the 1987 Indiana Hoosiers seriously when that game was for the Big Ten Championship.

I actually have thought over the years that the Spartans might benefit in this annual matchup if Indiana wore basketball uniforms in the game since Indiana Football hasn’t put fear into an opponent ever since……ever.

However, Indiana is sneaky good.

This game might kickoff at 8:30a et and might be televised on The Hallmark Channel so the temptation on the part of the 19-year old Spartans actually playing in this game will be to set their alarms for around 8:10a et and stroll over to the field that Indiana has tried to turn into a football stadium with recent renovations that very few people will ever enjoy since nobody in the state of Indiana cares about Indiana University football.

So, let’s put an asterisk by this game and send psychic vibes to the Spartans that will be meant to instill focus and motivation for this one.

On Saturday, October 27th, the suddenly resurgent Purdue Boilermakers come to East Lansing.

This game comes one week after what has the potential to be one of the most intense and hyped up games at Spartan Stadium in twenty or thirty or fifty years.

Nobody will need to have any concern regarding focus and motivation when UMAA comes to East Lansing on Saturday, October 20th.

And, as we’ll examine in future publications, it says here at SpartansWire that this game will be won by the Green & White and UMAA will leave East Lansing wondering if they’ll ever retrieve their pudendal nerve.

But the following week with the Boilers might be the hangover.

Dantonio has been remarkably successful in making sure his program has been fully focused the week after the Paul Bunyan Trophy gets paraded around for all Spartans to touch and kiss and take photographs with and hug and dance with.

But Jeff Brohm appears to be resurrecting the Purdue football machine and Michigan State needs to get out of bed that morning, get to the closest Denny’s for a hearty breakfast feast, do some jumping jacks, drink a can of Castor Oil, and punish an opponent that should have no business being within three scores of the East Lansing hosts that afternoon.

What’s the story with Maryland?  D.J. Durkin seems like a decent coach and I’ve been told by reliable people that he’s a great guy.

The Terps victory over Texas last season seemed to suggest that the Terps are on their way to becoming relevant.

But then everyone stopped and realized that the win was, after all, over Texas so the bullish thoughts about Maryland subsided.

Maryland had to fight through a ridiculous amount of injuries last season after the win over Texas and that contributed to the end result of the season.

I believe that Maryland’s Dean of the College of Letters started at quarterback for the Terps in their last two games.

I’m seeing in reports written by really smart college football people that Maryland will have healthy football players this coming season so that’s good news for the Maryland football fans.

But after two weeks of football in East Lansing that will have included a massive war against UMAA and a very important and tricky battle with Jeff Brohm’s Boilers, sauntering out on to the playing surface at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium (formerly known as Byrd Stadium) will give our 19-year old Spartans lots of room for daydreaming about drink specials at The Landshark.

As much as so many people will want to include the October 6th game against Northwestern in East Lansing as a game to be concerned about, I refuse to do so since I refuse to think of Northwestern as a school with a football team since the school will always be the school where I could ride my bicycle into Dyche Stadium DURING Northwestern football games and ride my bicycle around the “track” that surrounded the “field” while Northwestern “played” against whatever team had come to Evanston to get their automatic win for nearly thirty years.

I attended this football game and my father purchased this game program for me and I was supposed to be grateful –

And, while we all know that Northwestern has given Michigan State fits and has beaten the Spartans often (including last season’s great triple OT game in Evanston), I will give Northwestern the respect they think they deserve when the Dyche Stadium people learn that football fans that come to their “stadium” on Fall Saturdays like to eat hot dogs and they should probably prepare to have more than around a hundred hot dogs on hand before the hot dogs run out before the game has even started.

Northwestern – just walk the fifty yards over to Mustard’s Last Stand and ask the guys there to grill up dogs all afternoon and have a kid walk back and forth with hot dogs once you guys run out of your own hot dogs an hour before the game has even started.  I’m not a restauranteur nor am I a stadium ops guy but this just seems like a suggestion that might be worth considering.

Other than these games we’ve alluded to here, the rest of the slate’s matchups speak for themselves in terms of challenges, big and small.

It says here that Michigan State will win each of the games we’ve mentioned today.

But the focus, the motivation, the jumping jacks, the breakfast at Denny’s, the proper amount of sleep, the arrival to the location of the game – all of these elements must be prioritized and emphasized if Michigan State is to compete for the Big Ten Championship and beyond….

2018 Michigan State Spartans Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Friday
Aug. 31
Aggies Utah State Aggies 
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 8
Sun Devils at Arizona State Sun Devils 
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 15
OFF
Saturday
Sep. 22
Hoosiers at Indiana Hoosiers 
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 29
Chippewas Central Michigan Chippewas 
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 6
Wildcats Northwestern Wildcats (HC)
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 13
Nittany Lions at Penn State Nittany Lions 
Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 20
Wolverines Michigan Wolverines 
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Time TBA
FOX
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 27
Boilermakers Purdue Boilermakers 
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 3
Terrapins at Maryland Terrapins 
Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 10
Buckeyes Ohio State Buckeyes 
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 17
Cornhuskers at Nebraska Cornhuskers 
Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 24
Scarlet Knights Rutgers Scarlet Knights 
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Dec. 1
Big Ten Big Ten Championship Game
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Time TBA
TV TBA

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