The big topic on ESPN.com this week is college football non-conference scheduling. Specifically, that certain schools (Penn State, Wisconsin) don't do squat in terms of actually trying to put tough teams on the schedule.
Michigan State wasn't listed among the wimpy schools, nor was it among the giant killers. So given that State has scheduled four non-conference games, we'll take a look at one fan's view of the most anticipated non-conference games.
Montana State - Quite frankly, I'm not excited about this game at all. It's patently offensive that we're even playing them. MSU, to this point, is one of just four FBS schools to have NEVER played an FCS school - and the Grizzlies will end that streak the first game of the season. So what if we win by five touchdowns? I don't care if we win 100-0. It's blood money we're giving them, and I absolutely hate it. No guaranteed money is worth killing our streak.
Central Michigan - On paper, this is a great matchup for MSU. Dan "Catch the" LeFevour returns to quarterback an explosive Chippewa offense, and a lack of Chips defense should make this a very high scoring game. You don't want to sit there in the early part of the season and watch a defensive struggle, do you? No, you don't. And this won't be one.
Notre Dame - Touchdown Jesus, Charlie Weis and Jimmy Claussen. In South Bend. Very few things could be better than this. I mean, this is what Spartan football is all about. The annual rivalry is a huge game for MSU, and is arguably one of the biggest games each year. Oddly enough, this is the start of the biggest three-game stretch for State this year - @ ND, @ Wisconsin, home to Michigan. Win those three, and it may be hello to a New Years Day bowl game yet again.
Western Michigan - This game was meant to be played at Ford Field, except the troublesome Michigan economy forced Western to abandon the "home" game in favor of a road trip to Spartan Stadium. I can't say much about the Spartans-Broncos game, except that it's the second Directional Michigan game this year, and it comes late in the season between visits to Minnesota and Purdue.
And the winner is... Notre Dame.
If I've got to see just one game, based on how good the game will be, it's probably Central. But I'd rather see Charlie "We'll never lose to State again" Weis have to eat his words one more time - and in front of his home fans - than almost anything else this football season. Bring on the Irish!